All-Peoples Congress

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The All-Peoples Congress was H.Qed at 19 West 21st Street. N.Y., N.Y. 10010.

History

On August 29, 1983-The newly-formed National Coordinating Board of the All-Peoples Congress adopted plans in a meeting in New York, to bring thousands of delegates to Detroit's Cobo Hall in mid-October "for a popular representative body that will launch National Days of Resistance to overturn the Reagan program of budget cuts, increased military spending, racism, and sexism."

Over 130 people representing 70 organizations and 22 states met at the Sloan House YMCA and adopted a coordinating structure for the All-Peoples Congress that will guarantee the fullest participation of those most victimized by the reactionary Reagan program.

Many diverse constituencies joined forces in this grassroots effort. Present at today's meeting were groups representing welfare recipients, trade unionists, veterans, seniors, the disabled, women, lesbians and gay men, and the undocumented, as well as anti-draft, anti-war, and anti-nuclear activists, and organizers from Black, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Native, and Asian community groups. There were also representatives of Haitian, Salvadorean, and Palestinian refugees living in North America.

"There's more poor people than rich people,' Nelle Cuellar of the National Conference on Black Aging told the organizing meeting. "Nobody can stand up to the people if we get united."

Virginia Bowers of the Illinois Welfare Rights Coalition reminded the gathering that "by October first, people wil be cut off food stamps and a lot more. They'll be ready to come to Detroit for the All-Peoples Congress."

Larry Holmes of the Peoples Anti-War Mobilzation, which organized a demonstration of 100,000 at the Pentagon May 3rd, urged that "the Congress shouldn't just be a talkathon. It should mandate mass action on a national level that can bring out huge numbers of people in National Days of Resistance to overturn the Reagan program."

Trade unionists from locals of the United Automobile Workers, AFSCME, the United Steelworkers of America, and other labor groups who have endorsed the Congress pledged to publicize it at upcoming Labor Day marches and at the September 19 Solidarity Day called by the AFL-CIO. Lynda Clendenning, President of Local 1072 and Vice President of Maryland State Employees Council 92 AFSCME of

Washington, D.C., described how trade unions in her area that have rallied to the support of the PATCO strikers are also organizing for the All-Peoples Congress. Committing her organization to actively build for the Congress, Vicki Freeman-Roberts of Philadelphia Welfare Rights, one of the largest organizations of welfare recipients in the country, told the meeting, "We've got nothing to lose by fighting, because we've got nothing in the first place."[1]

Peggy Barnett of the American Indian Movement lined the increasing economic attacks against poor people to the vast increase in the military budget. "Our people can't take a steady diet of bullets and neutron bombs," she said.

The two sessions of the board meeting were chaired by Gwendolyn Rogers-Weindling of Dykes Against Racism Everywhere and Sahu Barron of Afro-Americans for Justice and Peace in EI Salvador.

Imaginative ideas on local organizing and fund-raising were discussed, and preliminary suggestions made on the agenda and format of the Congress itself, as well as concrete action proposals for the National Days of Resistance. A structural proposal was adopted establishing eight organizing regions covering the Midwest, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, South East, South Central, Southwest, North Rocky Mountain, and Western states.

The first National Coordinating Board meeting of the All-Peoples Congress wound up its work by electing an Interim Steering Committee, made up of 25 organizations in 8 cities, to carry forward its decisions.

National Coordinating Board

National Advisory Board

Individual Identified as APC Members From Various Sources

References

  1. All-Peoples Congress press release, 1983
  2. All-Peoples Congress press release, 1983
  3. All-Peoples Congress press release, 1983