For 50 years, People’s Action Institute and our affiliates have fought for reforms that recognize poor and working people’s dignity and make material and political improvements to millions of lives. Our victories include the Community Reinvestment Act, Superfund, the Affordable Care Act and the MAT Act. Our focus is now on expanding and deepening community organizing so we can build lasting power across the country. We must invest in our most precious resources: the capacity and leadership of our people and their ability to truly connect to one another.
The Antidote to Authoritarianism
Our reports highlight research and findings that advance our efforts toward social justice, promoting grassroots initiatives for building a more equitable future.
Conversations Transforming America
In an era redefined by hyperpolarization, misinformation, and the rise of authoritarian forces, we speak to the urgency of connecting people through conversation, building social cohesion, and equipping organizers with the tools to win fights for a more just, inclusive society. By leading us to practice compassion, deep listening, and democratic values at a mass interpersonal level, our work supports the monumental cultural, social, and political shifts required to meet this moment.
2022 Annual Report
How can we build a multiracial and pluralistic democracy with an inclusive economy to defeat the rise of authoritarianism? This question is front and center for People’s Action Institute and our allies. As experienced organizers dedicated to building power among those long denied it, we know firsthand that transformation happens from the ground up.
The Antidote to Authoritarianism
Through in-depth conversations with 27 of the most experienced and thoughtful leaders who build power among the multiracial poor and working class, we explore current challenges and chart the path towards a shared solution.
Medicaid is vital, improving health and financial stability, reducing disparities, and creating jobs. However, enrollment and renewal processes need improvement. The pandemic highlighted the importance of continuous coverage, but it ended in 2022, potentially causing disenrollments. Administrative barriers and the end of federal funds may result in 15 million people losing coverage. A survey from September 2022 to February 2023 examines recipient experiences and challenges.
2022: The Year of Victory!
The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act was signed into law by President Biden on December 29, 2022. This is a huge victory for the People’s Action Overdose Crisis Cohort member leaders who organized their neighbors, made phone calls and hosted meetings to secure this victory.
Behind the Curtain
We uncover how corporate America wants to make inequity a permanent part of American life. We zero in on who is spending big to stop progressive policies in key sectors: taxes, drug pricing, healthcare, housing, the environment, and immigration. We name the corporate bad actors and show how their efforts undermine our democracy as well as our economy.
How China Threat Narratives Feed Anti-Asian Racism and How to Fight Back
This report analyzes reasons for current trends and suggests potential counternarrative strategies. While the Chinese government and businesses have criticisms, it’s vital to differentiate legitimate concerns from threat inflation and counteract narratives promoting racism.
How to Counter the Politics of Scapegoating
Narratives that portray China as an exaggerated threat to the welfare and the way of life of people in the US and use China as a scapegoat for social and economic problems in the US are particularly alarming. Justice is Global is responding to this dangerous trend with strategies to counter the rush toward confrontation with China.
2020: The Year of Imagining a World with No Overdose Deaths
Throughout 2020, the Overdose Crisis Cohort served as an important space for groups to come together, learn from each other, and gain a deeper understanding of the landscape to end the Overdose Crisis. The two primary ways that the cohort acted together was through developing and participating in a messaging research project and acting in concert on International Overdose Awareness Day
How to Defeat Trump and Heal America
People’s Action has completed the first-ever deep canvassing political persuasion experiment this month and the results are groundbreaking. We partnered with the New Conversation Initiative to help design the deep canvass persuasion strategy and researchers David Broockman Josh Kalla to conduct an evaluation of the program.
Relief, Recovery and Reimagination
Since the 2016 election, political news often speculates about rural communities, their residents, views, and voting patterns. There’s a prevailing belief that today’s political polarization created a permanent urban-rural divide. Many politicians dismiss rural votes. We believe it doesn’t have to be this way.
A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy
The intersecting crises of income and wealth inequality and climate change, driven by systemic white supremacy and gender inequality, has exposed the frailty of the U.S. economy and democracy. This document was prepared during the COVID-19 pandemic, which exacerbated these existing crises and underlying conditions. Transforming our economy is not just about swapping out elected leaders. We need a shift in popular consciousness.
Building a Bigger We
Following the 2016 election, People’s Action member organizations initiated a collective strategy to bolster their presence in rural and small-town communities. They conducted extensive deep listening in ten target states, engaging in nearly 10,000 conversations and collaborating with Catalist on voting trend research. Additionally, they established 25 organizing chapters in rural areas, conducting over 392,000 door-knocks and 115,226 conversations with rural voters during the 2018 midterm elections.
Over the past century, successful movements for political and economic progress relied on urban-rural coalitions. However, recent divisions in American politics threaten this unity. This report outlines a path to rebuild a diverse “great majority” across rural, suburban, and urban areas, creating a progressive populist movement. Strengthening voter engagement in rural areas is key. People’s Action and allies engaged 392,000 rural voters, electing progressives, and the report provides insights and case studies for future elections.
The Promise of a Progressive Populist Movement
People’s Action member organizations and our allies are launching an ambitious Rural and Small-Town Organizing Strategy in 72 counties in ten states across the Heartland, Rust Belt, Northeast and South. These conversations give us insight into what these community members are facing and what moves them to action, but this is not fully representative of the communities we surveyed and the respondents are, in general, older, whiter and poorer than the population of these counties as a whole.
Prosperity, Not Poverty
This report highlights a disparity between living wages and the minimum wage in all U.S. states. Despite job growth post-Great Recession, most are low-wage jobs, exacerbating income inequality. Discrimination limits high-wage job access for women, people of color, and the LGBTQI community, worsening wealth gaps. A robust public infrastructure plan can address these disparities if appropriately executed.
Waiting for the Payoff
Despite education being heralded as an income gap solution, rising college costs and stagnant wages have strained finances. The People’s Action Institute shows that state and federal minimum wages don’t meet true living costs. In most states, the living wage surpasses $15/hr, with student debt pushing it further. Student debt impacts minority groups disproportionately, with low starting wages and underlying discrimination exacerbating repayment struggles.
Caught In The Debt Trap
This report shares personal experiences of those affected by payday and car-title loans, illustrating the debt cycle’s challenges. Like many in the U.S., they advocate for strict regulation of such loans due to their firsthand struggles.
Our podcasts highlight research and findings that advance our efforts toward social justice, promoting grassroots initiatives for building a more equitable future.
To See Each Other
A series that complicates the narrative about rural Americans in our most misunderstood, and often abandoned, communities. Host George Goehl – a leading grassroots organizer – travels to Michigan, Iowa, New Jersey, North Carolina and Indiana to reveal how small town folks are working together in fights for everything from clean water and racial justice to immigrant rights and climate change.
The Next Move
George Goehl digs in with some of the nation’s best organizers to answer a simple – and sometimes complicated – question: What is organizing? Getting the answer right matters, especially right now. So George talks with eight master organizers about their path, defining moments in their development, and what we most need to teach and practice as organizers.