The People’s Agenda
On July 29, 2018 We the People of the State of Michigan convened in Idlewild, MI from all corners of the state: from Calumet to Flint, from Detroit to Grand Rapids. In coming together, we reject the narrative of scarcity--that giving resources to one community in Michigan takes resources away from another--and embrace a narrative of abundance. We reject narratives that pit us against one another and divide us. We believe that we are most powerful when we work together. We believe in empowering communities to determine their own futures and to tell their own stories. We recognize our shared interests, our shared challenges, and our shared destiny. We demand a government that works in the interests of the 99% rather than the 1%.
Here is our vision.
A Michigan where people have dignity.
Where our neighbors...
...have their basic needs met
This means that every resident of the state of Michigan will have access to clean water, clean air, good food, and affordable housing.
...have access to high quality public education
This means our children have access to high quality public education and will feel safe and respected in their schools. Our public education system will be adequately and equitably funded and we end the profit motive. Michiganders will have access to free or affordable college and vocational programs that lead to meaningful jobs and futures.
...have real economic opportunity
This means that jobs pay a living wage, our state guarantees a sustainable minimum wage, the right to unionize is upheld, childcare is affordable, parental leave is sufficient to meet needs, and workers have access to earned paid sick time. In the long term, we will have a guaranteed universal income so that people can focus on the work that inspires and energizes them, as well as an end to deep disparities of wealth and access.
...have reliable and equitable housing, transportation, energy and internet
This means that there will be access to affordable housing, and that development does not displace existing communities. We will have desegregation without gentrification. We will have adequate funding for infrastructure and an investment in accessible public transportation, as well as access to affordable car insurance. We will have renewable energy, where our people are not forced into choosing between heating our homes or feeding our families. All Michiganders will have affordable and accessible broadband internet access, as well as access to resources that make learning and communication easier and more efficient.
A Michigan that is safe & sustainable.
Where our neighbors…
...have inalienable rights to health care:
This means we will have a simple, affordable single-payer healthcare system. We will have ready access to specialized care for all individual and family needs, including care for mental health, substance abuse, reproductive health, neonatal and maternity needs. We will eradicate health disparities along racial and gender lines.
...are free from persecution and fear of violence:
This means an end to over-policing and police brutality in communities of color and poor communities. This means that there is no Muslim Ban and that our undocumented neighbors need not fear that their families will be torn apart by Customs and Border Patrol and ICE. This means taking an active stand against xenophobia, Islamophobia, and anti-Black racism of any kind as it appears in daily life, particularly when perpetuated by elected officials. This means that women and LGBTQ folks have rights to their bodily autonomy and dignity. This means an end to the prison industrial complex and mass incarceration and a shift to restorative and transformative justice as guiding philosophies.
...have access to clean water, air, and land.
This means we have access to clean and affordable water, where families do not worry about their water being poisoned by lead or chemicals dumped into the land and waterways by polluters. People will be guaranteed affordable, safe, and clean drinking water. This means our Great Lakes will receive full protection from threats of harm. We will have access to clean air that is not poisoned by pollution and incinerators. Low-income communities and communities of color will not be disproportionately impacted by industrial polluters, and our state will be increasingly powered by renewable energy sources to counter the impacts of climate change.
A Michigan that protects our democracy.
Where our neighbors...
...have the right to representative democratic processes:
This means our local and state governments will listen to their constituents, and communities will be controlled by the people who live in them and share their experiences. We will absolutely reject emergency management laws, gerrymandering, and any efforts made to restrict voting access. We will limit the corporate influence over our political system. Anyone will have access to run for public office, and will not be restricted by race, religion, gender, gender-identity, sexual orientation, party affiliation, and access to wealth and other resources.
...are not an afterthought to corporate and wealthy interests:
This means that billionaires don’t get our tax dollars for stadiums while our schools lack adequate funding. Elected leaders will be responsive to all, not just the powerful few. Our rigged tax system will be overhauled, asking corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes, so that we have sufficient revenue to ensure that our people live with dignity in safe and sustainable communities.
A Michigan that acknowledges our history.
Where our neighbors...
...recognize the need for reparations of many types.
This means systematic historical education for Michigan residents that recognizes Indigenous genocide, slavery, sharecropping, Jim Crow segregation, redlining, mass incarceration, and more. We will recognize the impact of white flight on many of our urban centers. We will also recognize the policies that actively hurt our communities today, such as the Flint water crisis and the Detroit water shut offs, and how those relate to historic practices that intentionally target low-income communities, Indigenous communities and communities of color. In the long term, governments across our State, as well as our State itself, will support policies of reparations where we invest in repairing communities that have been harmed.
...recognize that our communities share a linked fate.
For too long, our communities have been pitted against one another, but we know that our communities share a common fate. This means we will work to build strong and lasting relationships across communities, engage our communities in deliberate, earnest and thoughtful political education and organizing. We will continually fight to ensure Michigan is a place where our people live with dignity and our communities can thrive.
...lift up the work that has been done by people and movements in the past.
This means we will acknowledge the rich history of people in our communities who have come together to build powerful movements across our state that demanded dignity. We will recognize that we are building upon a legacy of movements past to forge a new path for the Michigan that our communities deserve.
The People’s Agenda is a living document. We believe that this work requires growth and that it will be necessary to continue evolving this document as we learn together with the people of Michigan.