Introduction to the Issue: The War on the Poor

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As we publish this issue of the University of the Poor Journal, the destructive conditions the poor across the globe are facing continue to intensify. From the U.S.-sponsored Israeli genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza to the 800 people dying every day from poverty in the U.S. to the record temperatures in India caused by climate change, our class has no choice but to organize and fight for fundamental transformation.

In Haiti, Sudan and so many countries across the world, death and starvation of the working class are the only answers capitalism has. The economic crisis of global capitalism is driving tens of millions of people further into poverty. As a result, the military representatives of global capital are called out to attack and repress those fighting for the basic necessities of life.

It is clear that the U.S. state apparatus is the main enemy of the class of the poor and dispossessed in every corner of the world. The global unity of our class is the foundation for the defeat of the U.S. state and global capitalism.

In the Summer 2024 issue, “How We Are Ruled” by Bruce E. Parry, demonstrates how the organization of the US state apparatus controls the poor in the United States. This analysis is further explored in the article, “Somebody’s Hurting Our People” by Tim W. Shenk, Robert Ascherman and S. Ani Mukherji with a specific focus on New York City as a key node for global capital. The articles on the autoworkers strike for a national contract by Sheilah Garland-Olaniran and the New York City retirees fight for healthcare by Nijmie Zakkiyyah Dzurinko show how militant, organized struggle across lines of division can block the attacks on workers – whether they are currently employed or not.

The article on the Chicago electoral struggles by Levi Todd and Jonathan Nagy describes the importance of organizing a base within the struggle to elect progressive candidates. The article on the movement to end poverty in China by the UPoor Think Tank’s China Task Force reveals what is possible when the government and the people are dedicated and serious about fighting poverty. As we wrap up Pride month, Moses H.M. and West McNeill explore the necessity of a working class conception of trans liberation.

In addition to the articles in this issue – which are accompanied by Spanish translations, audio recordings in English and Spanish, and shareable graphics, we want to lift up the ongoing work of our network in speaking and acting in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Online and offline, across platforms and networks, this is a period of action as well as reflection. The Kairos Center offers a collection of cultural resources, including Songs in the Key of Resistance and the profound work of the Freedom Church of the Poor in waging a “battle for the Bible” as a key weapon in the path to power for the poor and dispossessed in the U.S. today. 

-Lenny Brody and Nijmie Zakkiyyah Dzurinko

For the University of the Poor Journal Editorial Committee 

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