N.S.A. Maps ‘Poor Peoples Program’


Fifth Estate # 6, March 20-April 1, 1966

The National Student Association’s Poor People’s Corporation Personnel Program is recruiting sales representatives to work in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, and managerial aides to work In cooperatives in Mississippi. Sales representatives will be Working in programs designed to increase the sales of the Poor People’s Corporation by establishing marketing agreements with retail stores and student stores on college ‘campuses, and by working to establish P.P.C. stores. They will be working on a commission basis, with a guaranteed income of $45/week, and an allowance for certain operating expenses.

Managerial aides will live in the communities in which the cooperatives are located. They will draw salary from the group profits just as the members of each cooperative do. Transportation to Mississippi will be provided. A training session in Jackson, Mississippi will be conducted in early April by Jesse Morris, the Secretary of the Corporation.

The Poor People’s Corporation is probably one of the most important economic innovations in the South at this time. It represents a significant avenue for the attainment of political integrity for poor people through the development of economic independence.

People are not free to act politically in their own interest when political actions can result in the loss of whatever small income they have. It is not uncommon for Negros who have registered to vote to lose their jobs. People who have been very active in civil rights at one time or another have been virtually unemployable. The production activities of the P.P.C. cooperatives represent an important step in demonstrating to poor people, and to the rest of the nation, that poor people are capable of earning a decent living and of establishing their economic and political integrity and independence.

Most of the people who are involved in production in the cooperatives have had little’ production or managerial experience. As a consequence, many of the workers are unfamiliar with conventional production, managerial, and bookkeeping techniques. Many of the cooperative members were either unemployed or working as domestics at $8 to $15 per week. Some had lost jobs because of civil rights or voting activities. Some of the cooperatives are now operating on a basis whereby the members work half of a day at the minimum wage of $1.25 and donate the other half day of work to the cooperative. Even this half-wage system produces a weekly income of $25, which represents a concrete improvement over What the workers might have earned in other jobs, if they were fortunate enough to have them.