As part of ongoing work to promote political clarity in PPF! PA, the Political Education and Leadership Development Team (PELD) and PPF members statewide participated in a January 2019 Winter Reading Group (WRG). The group read four chapters of the forthcoming Kairos Center book; A New and Unsettling Force, Vol. 2, Reigniting Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Poor People’s Campaign. Check the book out here online.                                    

The chapter essays are co-authored by leaders who draw from both scholarship and the lessons of existing struggles of the poor and dispossessed on many fronts of today’s conditions of crisis. “Together they reflect on economics, history, religion and social change, drawing from their diverse experiences and backgrounds”.

The following are reflections written by HRC members from Lancaster and Johnstown who took part in this year’s five insightful weekly readings and discussions.

I learned a lot from the readings insight with taking a hard look on the way charity is used as a way to cover up inequality. Like providing a band-aid for a broken leg. Peoples struggles are being treated like individual cases rather than failures of the system we live in. All the while making rich people using charity as spectacle to make them look like saviors and generous. This critique highlights four functions of charity; ideological, political, moral, and material.

Maddy, Johnstown HRC

 The winter reading group really opened my eyes to how throughout history the poor have been set up to fail. From the oppression of the empires years ago to today. The way systemic racism has been used to keep minority groups in poverty. How the system uses the working class and how charity is their way of dealing with our problems. Instead of fixing the root lying issues that cause poverty, the rich just work to divide the poor to keep them under foot and profit off the backs of the workers. It was a great group and I am looking forward to the next one.

Matt, Lancaster HRC

The winter reading was a clear explanation of the dynamics of class, revolution, how the ruling classes maintain control through things such a charity, and Dr. King’s beliefs. It brought me to a clearer understanding of where I stand in relation to the crises of the day, and educated me in Dr. King’s true viewpoints, as opposed to the revisionist history of King that is usually upheld. The working class must remain unified, and that is only through being politically educated, and understanding how we’re divided by the ruling classes manipulating us by hiding behind our spirituality, or cloaking their intentions through charity.

Mustapha, Johnstown HRC

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