Rev. Jesse Jackson on Welfare & Poverty

Civil Rights Activist


Voice of the poor, the disenchanted, & the disillusioned

Old-school definitions of leadership seldom deviated from a model that looked out for the disadvantaged first. "Jackson is the voice of the poor, the disenchanted, the disillusioned," Shirley Chisholm once said of Jackson's campaign, "and that is exactly what I was." Indeed, Jackson was probably at his best when acting in that capacity, instead of, say, negotiating diversity agreements with Wall Street. His speech at the 1988 convention contains, for me, one of the finest examples of Jacksonian eloquence: "Every one of these funny labels they put on you, those of you who are watching this broadcast tonight in the projects, on the corners, I understand. Call you outcast, low down, you can't make it, you're nothing, you're from nobody, subclass, underclass; when you see Jesse Jackson, when my name goes in nomination, your name goes in nomination."
Source: What Obama Means, by Jabari Asim, p.207 , Jan 20, 2009

We spend more on corporate welfare than on AFDC

Let us focus on welfare and Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Let us stop AFDC because it costs $17 billion a year. But what about the other AFDC-Aid for Dependent Corporations-the $230 billion that is spent on them? It is easy to pick on vulnerable women and children, but what about the corporations? Corporate welfare exceeds the support given to poor mothers many times over because poor mothers do not make campaign contributions and do not even vote because their spirits are broken.
Source: United We Stand America Conference, p.130 , Aug 12, 1995

Poor are not lazy; they do our dirty work

Contrary to media stereotypes, most poor people are not on welfare. They are mostly children. They work the hardest and the longest on the nastiest jobs. They cut up our chicken. They sweep our streets.

They are not lazy; they raise other people’s children. They work in the hospitals, they mop the floors, and they change the beds. They empty our bedpans, and yet when they get sick, they cannot afford to lie in the bed they make up every day.

Why are they in this trap? Their wages have been falling every year for over 20 years. Their conditions grow worse. Their neighborhoods are terrorized by crime. Their young cannot find work. Those who escape face extra obstacles to find loans to buy a home.

Washington has abandoned them. You must not.

Source: United We Stand America Conference, p.134 , Aug 12, 1995

Deal forcefully with “permanent disaster areas” in cities

In 1969, Jackson was asked what he would do as mayor of a major U.S. city:
I would declare poor communities in a state of emergency and deal with the unemployment rate, the mortality rate, and the T.B. rate. I would set up medicine tents and embarrass the governments into opening up their food storehouses. I would enlarge all the city departments that feed and heal people. The welfare of the people would be attended to before any new golf courses or stadiums were built. I would call the National Guard to deal with injustices that make the ghetto a permanent disaster area. There’s no reason the Army couldn’t come down the street looking for slum landlords. The Army would force unions to let minorities in. And those who did not pick up the garbage would themselves be picked up. An Army like that wouldn’t have any trouble getting volunteer soldiers because it would be engaged in a relevant war.
Source: The Search for Common Ground, by Charles Henry, p.137 , Jul 2, 1991

Other candidates on Welfare & Poverty: Rev. Jesse Jackson on other issues:
Former Presidents/Veeps:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
V.P.Dick Cheney
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
V.P.Al Gore
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower (R,1953-1961)
Harry_S_TrumanHarry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

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Page last updated: Oct 28, 2021