Millions More

October 2005


This past Saturday (October 15th) marked the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man March, and the first mass demonstration in Washington D.C. of the Millions More Movement. It is quite a feat to get more than a million people into the nation's capital to agitate for political action, almost without a single mention in the national press.

The Millions More Movement was launched by a broad coalition of community leaders to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the historic Million Man March. Key issues for the Millions More Movement include:

The primary objective of the demonstration is to create lasting relationships between participating individuals, faith-based organizations and community institutions. And it must have been very well organized, because they managed to hold the event without violence or the mass arrests that have marred similar nationally organized events during the Bush presidency. This is a good thing.

Unfortunately, it also resulted in practically zero press coverage in the national mainstream press. CNN, for example, ran a single AP story about the event, punctuated with pictures of the event in 1995 that this march commemorated. Their story gently avoided actually saying how many people were present, but suggested that the Millions More March was much smaller than the Million Man March.

Because of the involvement of the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the event became labeled a "black" event, hence a non-event with respect to the corporate media in the US. In contrast, the press release from the organizers characterized the purpose of the event in different terms.

"The nation's poor and disenfranchised will gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 15th to help launch a movement long overdue. The Millions More Movement will focus on mobilizing men, women and youth into an effective national movement with the goal of transforming American society and eliminating poverty and injustice."

It is tragic that the prevailing opinion of the mainstream press is that poverty is a black problem, when the ancestors of the majority of the nation's poor, disenfranchised and powerless hail from many continents, not just Africa. This is a bias in the media that is also a containment strategy. So long as poverty is assumed to be a black problem in America, there will be substantial barriers to solidarity among all the poor people of the nation.

Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized this fact and tried, in the last years of his life to bring together all people in a common cause for equal justice, equal education, equal health care and equal prosperity without a means test. The fact that he was beginning to succeed in getting people to see the reality and scope of the real problems facing the nation and the world, rather than the causes created to polarize and confuse people, was doubtless an instrumental factor in his assassination.

The Republican Party was founded in the cause of ridding the nation of the evil of slavery. It was founded not on economic principles, but upon moral values that prohibited the exploitation of people because of the accident of the race they were born into. In the last half century, we have seen a different Republican Party that wages war upon the needy because of the accident of the economic circumstance they were born into. And the Democrats only champion a paler shade of injustice.

We need to reach into our common heritage and find those principles of fairness, equality, and responsibility that we were all taught in school were the founding principles of this nation. Having found them, we need to make them live again in what we do, what we say, what we buy, and who we elect.

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