The goals of the Campaign serve to shape our priorities across the board. Before we take any actions as the Illinois Poor People’s Campaign (IL PPC) movement, or attach ourselves to various organizations’ issues, we will check them against the goals listed below. We will provide a handout with greater detail at subsequent trainings; these are our goals in summary.
1) Shift the Narrative
We put the plight, fight, and insight of those most impacted by injustice into the center of national discourse and politics and make our political and economic system have to address these life and death issues.
2) Build Power
Identifying and consolidating emerging leaders and deepening their clarity, commitment, capacity and connectedness to build the Campaign. Power means unity and organization. This is only a Poor People’s Campaign if we actually unite and organize large segments of poor people across racial and geographic lines in the United States.
3) Impact Elections and Policies
Registering people for a movement that votes. Our work is not partisan but it is definitely political. Voter registration, education and mobilization is an important tool for organizing and it is a tactic (the actual means used to gain our objective), not a strategy (an overall plan).
What does this mean for how we organize? It means we are intentionally moving away from Alinsky-style, ‘single issue organizing.’ While we add value to various campaigns that match the five pillars, we primarily do so as attendees and amplifiers. We do not endorse specific pieces of legislation, nor do we publicly endorse specific issue campaigns. Our goal in adding value to issue campaigns is to draw together disparate organizations into the campaign to help us realize the goals as stated above.
We must be careful not to let other organizations co-opt the IL Poor People’s Campaign. For instance, our members do not speak on behalf of the campaign unless directed to do so by the Statewide Committee’s leadership, or the national Campaign.
The IL PPC will work to stay on message, train ourselves for interactions with organizations, politicians, and the media, always keeping in mind the three goals. Additionally, citing Steps 7 & 8 of the Moral Fusion model (‘Intentionally diversify the movement with the goal of winning unlikely allies’ and ‘Build transformative, long term coalition relationships’) we must take great care not to get involved with turf battles between other activist organizations. As the Rev. Dr. William Barber noted at the Moral Congress, this will take real discipline.
We cannot disrespect each other, or tolerate personal attacks between people associated with the PPC. The forces allied against us are already invested in disrupting our cooperative spirit.
PPC partners obviously have different organizing interests and methods within their own groups. There will be points of significant disagreement. By adhering to the ‘Everybody In: Nobody Out’ value of the campaign, we will maintain mutual respect across our differences and disagreements, and prepare for the moments when different organizations exercise real power together in an effective, joyful, broad-based coalition.
The North Cook/Lake County Cluster already has important relationships with organizations like A Just Harvest, Family Promise Northshore, and Streetwise. These are examples of communities with which we must engage to meet the stated goals of our campaign. This means less single issue organizing, and more long term, relationship building and education within impacted communities. As we welcome more and more affected leaders, we will continue to register people for the campaign, take direction from the National PPC with regard to hearings, tours, and direct actions, and work on voter registration, education, and mobilization.