Have We Entered America’s Third Era of Reconstruction?

The first two have much to teach us about the possibilities and dangers that abound today.

Tom Dispatch
By Liz Theoharis
June 22, 2021

West Virginia, a state first established in defiance of slavery, has recently become ground zero in the fight for voting rights. In an early June op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin vowed to maintain the Senate filibuster, while opposing the For the People Act, a bill to expand voting rights. Last week, after mounting pressure and a leaked Zoom recording with billionaire donors, he showed potential willingness to move on the filibuster and proposed a “compromise” on voting rights.

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Mother’s Day Tears: The Fierce Prophetic Vision of Poor Women

Women like Claire McClinton, Johnnie Tillmon, and Julia Ward Howe have allowed us glimpses of what a country that served and empowered all women looks like.

Tom Dispatch
By Liz Theoharis
May 13, 2021

One hundred and fifty years ago, in the bloody wake of the Civil War, the abolitionist Julia Ward Howe issued a “Mother’s Day Proclamation.” The world, she wrote, could no longer bear such terrible violence and death. She called on women across the country to “rise up through the ashes and devastation” and come together in the cause of peace. Forty years later, her daughter Anna Jarvis created Mother’s Day.

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Why Debt Relief Matters

Biden can’t fight inequality without debt cancellation.

By Liz Theoharis and Astra Taylor
April 6, 2021

As a devastating pandemic raged, America’s billionaires amassed an additional $1.3 trillion in wealth over the last yearwhile millions of regular people lost their jobs, health insurance, and homes. The most vulnerable among us have been hardest hit and are, research shows, the least able to recover.

The passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is a welcome development. President Joe Biden, one headline proclaimed, has “launched the second war on poverty.” That’s certainly what this country needs.

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MLK Was Right About America’s ‘Spiritual Death’

Pro-austerity and anti-poor economic policies, along with over-militarization, have kept America in a death spiral for the past half-century.

Tom Dispatch
By Liz Theoharis
April 5, 2021

Fifty-four years ago, standing at the pulpit of Riverside Church in New York City, Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his now-famous “Beyond Vietnam” sermon. For the first time in public, he expressed in vehement terms his opposition to the American war in Vietnam. He saw clearly that a foreign policy defined by aggression hurt the poor and dispossessed across the planet.

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VP Harris, Maybe You Were Elected for Such a Time as This

The Byrd rule is not in the Constitution. It’s not what you swore to uphold.

The Nation
By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
March 2, 2021

In the biblical story of Queen Esther, a daughter of the exiled Hebrew people rose to power in the society of her day. When the survival of her people became a political issue before the King, Queen Esther’s Uncle Mordecai wrote on behalf of their marginalized community to suggest that God may have placed her in the position she was in for such a time as this. Queen Esther rose to the challenge and risked her position to save her people.

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Food Lines in the ‘Land of Plenty’

A biblical look at the crisis of poverty today.

by Liz Theoharis
March 2021 Cover Story

Since I began to help organize a movement to end poverty, people have said to me that our goals are too ambitious—that demands for human rights and human dignity are both politically inconceivable and impossibly expensive. They quote the Bible, arguing that since Jesus said, “the poor will be with you always,” it can’t be God’s will for everyone to share in the abundance of our world.

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Whose Rights Matter in Pandemic America?

Not Those of Poor Americans, That’s For Sure

Tom Dispatch
by Liz Theoharis
February 16, 2021

In June 1990, future South African President Nelson Mandela addressed a joint session of Congress only months after being released from 27 years in a South African apartheid prison. He reminded the political leadership of the United States that “to deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. To impose on them a wretched life of hunger and deprivation is to dehumanise them.”

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The Earth Does Not Belong to Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s True Legacy

Tom Dispatch
by Liz Theoharis
January 17, 2021

2020 will go down as the deadliest year in American history, significantly due to the devastation delivered by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, count in nearly two trillion dollars in damage from climate events (many caused by, or heightened by, intensifying global warming), a surge of incidents of police violence inflicted on Black and Native peoples, and millions more Americans joining the ranks of the poor even as small numbers of billionaires soared ever further into the financial heavens. And it’s already obvious that 2021 is likely to prove another harrowing year.

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Erin Schaff/The New York Times

What Biden and Harris Owe the Poor

They must reject the politics of austerity and fulfill their commitment to policies that address human needs.

By William J. Barber II and Liz Theoharis
The New York Times
Dec. 25, 2020

Before he was elected in November, Joe Biden promised that his “theory of change” for reforming the economy would be “ending poverty.” He pledged to champion a $15 minimum wage, affordable health care for all and federal action to address systemic racism. In the midst of an economic crisis, a pandemic and an uprising for racial justice, low-income Americans — Black, white, brown, Asian and Native — voted to overwhelm a reactionary base that President Trump had stoked with lies and fear.

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