The struggle for economic justice has been waged within most civilizations for thousands of years. Economic injustice exists when a small group or groups of people exercise disproportionate influence in obtaining and expanding their control over the limited resources and wealth available in a society to the detriment of other groups or the remaining public at large.
The struggle for economic justice in the United States has posed a long and difficult journey for many people and groups within our nation. The founders of the United States were products of an aristocratic class. They established economic systems, including slavery, which cast many of the remaining people into a servant class. Ever since, women, People of Color, immigrants, poor whites, and other oppressed groups have been fighting to attain a living wage and a fair share of the “American Dream”.
As UUs, we follow the admonition of the great Brazilian popular educator Paolo Freire, who said, “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not be neutral”. We side with those who, due to their lack of economic and political power, are being oppressed.
Today, the United States is currently experiencing a period of the greatest income and wealth inequality since the Great Depression. Due to such U.S. Supreme Court imposed doctrines as “corporate personhood” and “money equals speech”, the wealthiest 1% are currently able to exercise a disproportionate influence in creating and expanding their wealth and power vis-a-vis everyone else. This is why, in 2013, the UUA General Assembly adopted a resolution of support for a proposed Move to Amend “We the People” constitutional amendment which would abolish those two undemocratic legal concepts.
Our UUCT Social Justice Team currently works with a number of organizations that advocate for low income people and workers who are receiving grossly insufficient wages. They include Alabama Arise, Greater Birmingham Ministries (GBM), Move to Amend-Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa Citizens Against Predatory Practices (T-CAPP), Tuscaloosa Economic Justice Coalition, and Work Together Alabama! Each of these organizations are confronting the economic injustices faced by many people in our community, state, and nation. Descriptions of our involvement with them are presented in the links associated with this topic.