National Welfare Rights Union (NWRU)

National Welfare Rights Union (NWRU)


* Reincarnation of the National Welfare Rights Organization
* Seeks to end poverty in the U.S. my means of massive socialist programs

The National Welfare Rights Union (NWRU) describes itself as “an organization of, by, and for the poor in the United States and beyond.” Its aim is to build “a social movement committed to ending poverty” and promoting “unity among low-income, public assistance recipients and the unemployed.”

A reincarnation of the National Welfare Rights Organization (defunct since 1975), NWRU was founded on June 30, 1987. This was the 21st anniversary of the day commonly regarded as the welfare-rights movement’s “birthday” in 1966, when major demonstrations had taken place simultaneously in 16 U.S. cities. Today, NWRU has numerous chapters across the United States and maintains affiliations with other anti-poverty groups abroad.

On August 31, 2008, NWRU published its “Eight Position Points to Dismantle Poverty in the U.S.,” which included the following:

(1) A Guaranteed Annual Income: “All residents of the U.S. will be eligible for a guaranteed annual income to protect them from falling below the poverty level.”

(2) Universal Health Care with a Single-Payee: “All residents will be eligible for a single-payee health care system funded by the federal government. We oppose private insurance that profits off of the medical conditions of low-income, uninsured people.”

(3) Nationalization of Child Care: “All children should be eligible for free, quality child care. We also support a living wage for child care providers.”

(4) Nationalization of Education, Including the Headstart Program: “All residents will be entitled to education from birth to death. The Headstart Program must be preserved, funding must be increased, and eligibility should be expanded.”

(5) Nationalization of Utilities: “All utilities including electricity, natural gas, heating fuels, water, alternative energy, and communications should be properties of the public domain and not subject to privatization. All forms of communication, such as telephones and Internet access, should be included.”

(6) Nationalization of Housing: “Everyone has a right to a home. It is the duty of the government to provide affordable housing for all residents, and [to] provide periodic maintenance and upgrades.”

(7) Nationalization of Public Mass Transit: “All forms of mass, rapid transit should be fully accessible (including to those with physical disabilities) and affordable to all residents in communities across the country.”

(8) Troop Withdrawal from Iraq, Afghanistan, and No New Deployments: “The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have depleted the American economy with no end in sight. Poor people have disproportionately suffered from the last eight years of these costly deployments physically, emotionally, and financially.”

As of January 2011, one of NWRU’s co-presidents was Marian Kramer, an activist who in 1968-69 helped organize the Revolutionary Union Movement in Detroit’s automobile plants. In 1998 Kramer endorsed a proposal to form a Black Radical Congress, which called for “a new militancy” among African Americans who “hate what capitalism has done to our community.”

NWRU’s other other co-president as of January 2011, Cheri Honkala, has told welfare recipients that they should feel “ashamed” of America’s mistreatment of the poor; she also is an admirer of Fidel Castro.

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