Last Saturday 7.11.20 long-time and new members of PPF Joined in our July, Monthly Political Education session from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. Normally the session is held on the first Saturday of the month, but it was postponed this month due to July 4th.
This session focused on the systemic connections between endless racist police violence, including the police murder of George Floyd which triggered recent unprecedented, global mass outrage that was taken to the streets in small towns and big cities everywhere, and the many other less visible forms of state violence that serves the interests of the wealthy by attacking poor and disposed people and denying us our human rights.
Maddy opened with a welcome and introduction followed by a summary of recent actions and lessons of the Johnstown HRC in their work over the past month organizing and participating in local mass actions against the police murder of George Floyd.
There were forces in place in Johnstown who organized to co-opt and cancel the mass marches and direct people toward voting and joining the Police Advisory Committee as a means of pacifying the angry mood of the many hundreds of people who ‘took to the streets’ in protest marches. Our relationships with more militant thinking forces in the community who understand the diversions attempted by the local status quo are who our HRC sees building deeper connections with as we work in preparation for continued crisis.
Saturday’s session moved next to reading excerpts from a letter by Rev. Dr. William Barber, II: A Pastoral Letter To The Nation, addressing police brutality, pandemic and poverty. Small group breakout discussions reflected on it in relationship to the idea that “police murders of black people are the most visible expressions of state violence against the poor”
A second reading focused on protesters, organizing and bringing together the diversity of 300 black, Latino and white people by mostly young organizers in the small, working class town of Siler City North Carolina – population 8,200. The explosive conditions of economic struggle there are highlighted in a 6.9.20 article by Ben Watkins.
Nijmie identified political lessons based on years of experience and noted that the struggle we are in is a big project – a revolutionary project; transforming the whole system is needed.
We must be examining our work and learning the lessons from it as we assess the terrain and understand the forces at play fighting to shape this moment in people’s consciousness. (See Nijmie Dzurinko – Put People First! PA Internal Facebook Group – Admin June 9 for the full statement: Why We Must Build the Nonviolent Medicaid Army.)
In Saturday’s session, lots of valuable contributions were expressed by participants in the breakout groups and open discussions, from Rica, Gabrielle, Harrison, Ty, Dan, Andy, Larry N, Kyle, Jacob and others – thank you all for helping to formulate our collective understanding of both the challenges of this moment and the organizing needed to fight for our class.
PPF-PA Political Education and Leadership Development team will continue the critically important work of political education with monthly scheduled sessions to inform the work of our members statewide. This monthly political education project has evolved to include the work, lessons and collective participation of sister organizations in other states.