Across America, the Poor Peoples' Campaign is building steam and refusing to be intimidated by crackdowns

We're into the fifth week of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival, a national uprising over the state of the richest nation in the world, where 140,000,000 people live at or below the poverty line (America is history's first rich poor country).

As the movement sweeps into 39 states, it has also resulted in over 2,000 arrests of movement activists, and the crackdown is ramping up.

At first, peaceful demonstrations and occupations of state houses were ignored — by police, by politicians, by the media. But as the protests grew in volume and frequency, statehouses started to bar their doors to protesters (for shame, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York and Alabama).

Police in Missouri targeted Michael Nigro, who has been covering the Campaign, for arrest — leaving the demonstrators, but busting the guy who was livestreaming.

The most egregious crackdown on the Poor People's Campaign's actions, however, also occurred last week in Washington, D.C., where nine people of faith, including Poor People's Campaign co-chair, the Rev. Liz Theoharis, were arrested while praying on the steps of the Supreme Court.

The group was protesting to draw attention to the Court's Husted v. Randolf Institute decision, which upholds voter suppression, one of the main battles of the Poor People's Campaign.

The nine were held in shackles for 27 hours, had their religious garments taken away, were ordered to surrender their passports as well as to stay away from the Supreme Court, and will be required to conduct weekly check-ins with a pretrial service program. It has not yet known if they will be tried by a jury.

Saturday, June 23, thousands of people from across the country are expected to flood Washington, D.C. "But [that's] not the end of the Poor People's Campaign," the Rev. Barber told me in North Carolina during an action last month. "June 23 is the launch of the movement."

The Poor People's Campaign

The 'Fight' Phase of the Poor People's Campaign Has Begun [Michael Nigro/Truthdig]

(via Naked Capitalism)

(Image: Truthdig)