The University of the Poor
University of the Poor
organization led by knowledge
organización guiada por el conocimiento
The mission of the University of the Poor is to unite and develop leaders committed to the unity of the poor and dispossessed across color lines and other lines of division so as to build a broad-based and powerful movement to end poverty. Within this activity the University of the Poor strives to lay the basic foundation for a network of revolutionaries.
La misión de la Universidad de los Pobres es unir y desarrollar líderes comprometidos con la unidad de los pobres y desposeídos a través de líneas de color y otras líneas de división para construir un movimiento amplio y poderoso para acabar con la pobreza. Dentro de esta actividad, la Universidad de los Pobres se esfuerza por sentar las bases de una red de revolucionarios.
Organizing in the pandemic and growing depression
So as we strive to meet this moment – even in the midst of our own fear and loss, anger and urgency – we must meet it on these terms. How are we strengthening, defending, caring for and protecting our leaders? How are we demanding more from leaders, especially new leaders, and getting them new experiences, responsibilities, successes and failures to learn from? How are we explaining and narrating this crisis, using it to teach our leaders (and equip them to teach) about the failures of the current economic and social system, the shared interests of the poor and dispossessed globally, and the need to take and wield political power together to transform society? How are we deepening their ability to build and lead mass organizations of the poor, especially in the context of widespread confusion, fear, and anger? How are we further uniting our leaders, building deep connections between them, and increasing their understanding of the whole situation and of our shared tasks, and not just their own organization, campaign, or front of struggle? How are we feeding their discipline, their enthusiasm, their ability to feel deeper and see farther?
As a contribution to our ability to study the rapidly-developing economic, social, and political dimensions of this crisis, we’re gathering the best analysis we can find from around the web to make available to our network. Below are some recent links – see the full list here.
Coronavirus putting world on track for new Great Depression, says WTO | The Guardian
The Normal Economy Is Never Coming Back | Adam Tooze
Political context and organizing
What does this pandemic mean for poor people in Vermont? | Vermont Workers Center
The tech ‘solutions’ for coronavirus take the surveillance state to the next level | Evgeny Morozov
“A private for-profit healthcare system is completely incapable of handling this crisis” | Rompeviento TV (In Spanish/En Español)
Demands and policies
International People’s Assembly | In light of the global pandemic, focus attention on the people
Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival | Poverty amidst pandemic: A moral response to COVID-19
Put People First! PA | Governor Wolf: Protect our working class residents!
“Poor People’s Wall Street Tour”
Film screening and discussion with The People’s Forum
Beyond Mutual Aid: Toward the Poor Organizing the Poor
“In the early months of the Great Depression, Herbert Hoover was fond of saying that “prosperity is just around the corner.” At the same time, millions were losing their jobs, facing utility shut offs and evictions, moving into tent encampments and shantytowns, and standing in bread lines that stretched for hours. In 1929 there was no public social safety net or welfare programs, not even as we know them in their fractured form today. Instead, the state’s response was to attend to Wall Street and direct the poor and newly-dispossessed toward a patchwork and intolerant system of private relief agencies and religious aid organizations. Denying the government had any larger responsibility for its people, Hoover would later explain that “the basis of successful relief in national distress is to mobilize…agencies of relief help in the community. This has been the American way.”… Excerpt from “Beyond Mutual Aid: Toward the Poor Organizing the Poor,” by Noam Sandweiss-Back
Our Purpose | Nuestro Proposito
The first and indispensable step in the uniting the most exploited, excluded and oppressed is the identification, education, and uniting of its newly emerging leaders, teachers, and organizers. The University of the Poor is currently focused on three main areas of study: history, political economy and the mental terrain, or ideology.
The University of the Poor seeks to put key groups and leaders in relationship to one another to facilitate deep and rigorous study and research, develop materials for learning and teaching and serve as a central depository for resources and analysis.
We aim to produce curriculum in order to develop a cadre of leaders with a common analytical framework, who see themselves as leaders not just of particular struggles, communities, or sectors but also of our class as a whole.
We aim to apply those analytical tools to research and in-depth study of the problems we face. This work cannot be disconnected from the everyday struggle and organizing of the poor, but instead must support and be fueled by that work.
El primer paso indispensable para unir a los más explotados, excluidos y oprimidos es la identificación, educación y unión de sus nuevos líderes, maestros y organizadores. La Universidad de los Pobres se centra actualmente en tres áreas principales de estudio: la historia, la economía política y el terreno mental o ideología.
La Universidad de los Pobres busca poner en contacto a grupos y líderes clave para facilitar el estudio e investigación profundos y rigurosos, desarrollar materiales para el aprendizaje y la enseñanza y servir como depósito central de recursos y análisis.
Nuestro objetivo es producir un plan de estudios para desarrollar un cuadro de líderes con un marco analítico común, que se vean a sí mismos como líderes no solo de luchas, comunidades o sectores particulares, sino también de nuestra clase en general.
Nuestro objetivo es aplicar esas herramientas analíticas a la investigación y el estudio en profundidad de los problemas que enfrentamos. Este trabajo no puede desconectarse de la lucha cotidiana y la organización de los pobres, sino que debe apoyar y ser alimentado por ese trabajo.
— Lee Mas
“One speaks of generals without an army, but in reality it is easier to form an army than to form generals. So much is this true that an already existing army is destroyed if it loses its generals, while the existence of a united group of generals who agree among themselves and have common aims soon creates an army even where none exists.”
“Se habla de generales sin ejército, pero en realidad es más fácil formar un ejército que formar generales. Es tanto así, que un ejército ya existente sería destruido si pierden a sus generales, mientras que la existencia de un grupo de generales, acordes entre sí, con fines comunes, no tarda en formar un ejército aún donde no existe”
— Antonio Gramsci