Person

William J. Barber II

William J. Barber II is the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Greensboro, NC and a noted left-of-center political activist. [1] Barber is founder and president of Repairers of the Breach and sits as co-chair of the left-wing Poor People’s Campaign.[2] Barber was chair of the North Carolina NAACP from 2006 to 2017 and sits on the board of the national NAACP.[3]

Barber rose to national prominence in 2013 as the leader of the “Moral Mondays” movement that opposed then-North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) and the Republican-controlled state legislature’s policies. Barber has received awards from left-of-center groups including the Puffin Foundation, Roosevelt Institute, and the MacArthur Foundation.[4] In 2016, Barber was a speaker at the Democratic National Convention.[5]

Moral Mondays

In 2013, Barber, the president of the North Carolina NAACP at the time, became the leader of the “Moral Mondays” protests in North Carolina.[6] The movement opposed Republican policies of school vouchers, voter identification requirements, and refusing to expand Medicaid.[7] Moral Mondays protesters also opposed a pro-life bill that required doctors to be present for surgical abortions, required abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, and prevented government funding from being used for elective abortions.[8] [9] Barber frequently advocated for a strategy of civil disobedience in which protestors sought to get arrested, and the Moral Mondays protests resulted in over 900 arrests.[10]

Repairers of the Breach

Barber founded Repairers of the Breach in 2015 and to advance his policy agenda.[11] Barber has used Repairers of the Breach’s blog to publish opinion pieces on a wide range of topics. Barber has argued that immigration raids at people’s homes and workplaces are a constitutional violation and that illegal immigrants should not be deported.[12] Barber also opposed the proposed inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census.[13]

Barber wrote a piece for the Repairers of the Breach blog celebrating the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Raise the Wage Act in 2019, which aimed to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.[14] Barber noted his early support for increasing the minimum wage as a backer of the union-supported Fight for $15 and thanked Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, for her work on the issue.[15]

Barber has also promoted environmentalist stances as part of his work with the organization. Through Repairers of the Breach, Barber has opposed the operation of a copper mine in Arizona,[16] proposed government intervention to prevent global warming,[17] and joined Jane Fonda’s “Fire Drill Friday” civil disobedience movement.[18] In 2020, former Vice President Al Gore released a joint statement with Barber opposing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which was posted on Repairers of the Breach’s website.[19]

Poor People’s Campaign

Barber is the co-chair and president of the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC), a left-wing advocacy group. As part of his work with PPC, Barber interviewed self-proclaimed democratic socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the run-up to the 2020 Democratic Presidential primary in North Carolina.[20] PPC pushes for the mass expansion of government welfare programs such as Medicaid, SNAP, and Section 8 housing.[21] Further, PPC supports spending $4.5 trillion to transition the United States to 100% environmentalist energy, nationalizing all power companies, and nationalizing large portions of health care.[22] To pay for these demands, PPC supports cutting the military budget by $350 billion and increasing taxes by $880 billion per year.[23] PPC partners include the far-left and radical-left groups Democratic Socialists of America, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, Code Pink, and the Sunrise Movement.[24]

PPC put itself at the center of the Georgia Senate runoff elections held January 5, 2021 which determined which party would control the U.S. Senate. Barber and the national arm of PPC spearheaded a get-out-the-vote effort targeting 1 million typically Democratic voters.[25] While Barber claimed the work to be “nonpartisan,” he publicly criticized U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler (R—GA) and praised her Democratic opponent, U.S. Senator-elect Raphael Warnock.[26]

Left-Wing Politics

Barber has been critical of moderate members of the Democratic party. Following the 2020 Presidential election, Barber said moderate Democrats should not call government-controlled health care proposals “socialist” and that the party should support single-payer government-run health care.[27]

Barber co-wrote an opinion piece in the left-wing U.K. publication the Guardian with Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the left-wing Institute for Policy Studies. The piece argued that the military budget is “ripe for slashing” and that the United States should spend trillions to implement the Green New Deal and government-controlled health care.[28]

In 2018, Barber came out against the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Barber cited Kavanaugh’s rulings against EPA regulations, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s unconstitutional setup, and labor unions as evidence against his nomination.[29] Barber also opposed President Donald Trump appointing anyone to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court following her death.[30]

Support from Democratic Politicians

Barber has seen support from some of America’s most far-left politicians. Far-left U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) shared Barber’s interview with left-of-center magazine The Atlantic and repeated his call not to return to “normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic, but rather embrace left-wing policies.[31] Another far-left U.S. Representative, Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), thanked Barber for his “visionary leadership” on left-wing economic policies.[32] Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said “Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II is right” that southern states should expand their government welfare systems in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.[33]

References

  1. “Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.” Repairers of the Breach. Accessed December 13, 2020. https://www.breachrepairers.org/williambarber. ^
  2. “Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.” Repairers of the Breach. Accessed December 13, 2020. https://www.breachrepairers.org/williambarber. ^
  3. “Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.” Repairers of the Breach. Accessed December 13, 2020. https://www.breachrepairers.org/williambarber. ^
  4. “Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.” Repairers of the Breach. Accessed December 13, 2020. https://www.breachrepairers.org/williambarber. ^
  5. “Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.” Repairers of the Breach. Accessed December 13, 2020. https://www.breachrepairers.org/williambarber. ^
  6. Binker, Mark. “Protests to expand despite objections from Republican leaders.” WRAL. June 7, 2013. https://www.wral.com/protests-to-expand-despite-objections-from-republican-leaders/12529526/. ^
  7. Binker, Mark. “Protests to expand despite objections from Republican leaders.” WRAL. June 7, 2013. https://www.wral.com/protests-to-expand-despite-objections-from-republican-leaders/12529526/. ^
  8. AP. “N.C. House approves abortion legislation.” USA Today. July 11, 2013. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/11/abortions-nc/2510783/. ^
  9. Brumfield, Ben. “N.C. House passes restrictive abortion bill.” CNN. July 11, 2013. https://www.cnn.com/2013/07/11/politics/north-carolina-abortion/index.html. ^
  10. Illing, Sean. “‘Racism May Target Black People, but It Damns a Democracy and It Damns Humanity.’” Vox, August 18, 2020. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/8/18/21327358/william-barber-poor-peoples-campaign-moral-mondays. ^
  11. “About Us.” Repairers of the Breach. Accessed December 11, 2020. https://www.breachrepairers.org/about. ^
  12. Barber II, William J. “America is Cursing Itself By Mistreating Our Latino Brothers & Sisters.” Repairers of the Breach. May 7, 2019. https://www.breachrepairers.org/blogs/america-is-cursing-itself-by-mistreating-our-latino-brothers-amp-sisters. ^
  13. Barber II, William J. “The Census Means More than Just Counting Bodies.” Repairers of the Breach. May 31, 2019. https://www.breachrepairers.org/blogs/the-census-means-more-than-just-counting-bodies. ^
  14. Barber II, William J. “The Fight for $15 Isn’t About Money, It’s About Living.” Medium, July 19, 2019. https://medium.com/brepairers/the-fight-for-15-isnt-about-money-it-s-about-living-b7042ede646b. ^
  15. Barber, William J. “The Fight for $15 Isn’t About Money, It’s About Living.” Medium, July 19, 2019. https://medium.com/brepairers/the-fight-for-15-isnt-about-money-it-s-about-living-b7042ede646b. ^
  16. Barber II, William J. ‘Why is No One Talking About the Land Battle in Oak Flat, AZ?” Repairers of the Breach. April 2, 2019. https://www.breachrepairers.org/blogs/why-is-no-one-talking-about-the-land-battle-in-oak-flat-az. ^
  17. Barber II, William J. “Don’t Pretend Like Climate Change Doesn’t Exist. It’s Here!” Repairers of the Breach. November 30, 2018. https://www.breachrepairers.org/blogs/dont-pretend-like-climate-change-doesnt-exists-its-here. ^
  18. “Together Moral Movement, to Join Actress and Activist Jane Fonda for “Fire Drill Friday.” Repairers of the Breach. December 12, 2019. https://www.breachrepairers.org/press-releases/together-moral-movement-to-join-actress-and-activist-jane-fonda-for-fire-drill-friday. ^
  19. “Joint statement by Bishop William Barber II and Former Vice President Al Gore on the decision to cancel the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.” Repairers of the Breach. July 5, 2020. https://www.breachrepairers.org/press-releases/joint-statement-by-bishop-william-barber-ii-and-former-vice-president-al-gore-on-the-decision-to-cancel-the-atlantic-coast-pipeline-project. ^
  20. Rev. Dr. William J. Barber. Twitter Post. February 26, 2020. 6:52 PM. https://twitter.com/revdrbarber/status/1232815618136559616?lang=en. ^
  21. “A Moral Policy Agenda to Heal and Transform America: The Poor People’s Campaign Jubilee Platform.” Poor People’s Campaign. July 2020. https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/PPC-Policy-Platform_8-28.pdf ^
  22. “A Moral Policy Agenda to Heal and Transform America: The Poor People’s Campaign Jubilee Platform.” Poor People’s Campaign. July 2020. https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/PPC-Policy-Platform_8-28.pdf ^
  23. “A Moral Policy Agenda to Heal and Transform America: The Poor People’s Campaign Jubilee Platform.” Poor People’s Campaign. July 2020. https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/PPC-Policy-Platform_8-28.pdf ^
  24. Mobilizing Partners. Poor People’s Campaign. Accessed December 13, 2020. https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/june2020/mobilizing-partners/. ^
  25. “Georgia Senate: Poor People’s Campaign puts its power in GOTV efforts with voter protection, outreach.” Poor People’s Campaign. December 13, 2020. https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/about/press/georgia-senate-poor-peoples-campaign-puts-its-power-in-gotv-efforts-with-voter-protection-outreach/. ^
  26. Graves-Fitzsimmons, Guthrie. “Georgia Senate race reminds Republicans they don’t have a lock on ‘God talk’.” KCTV. November 23, 2020. https://www.kctv5.com/georgia-senate-race-reminds-republicans-they-dont-have-a-lock-on-god-talk/article_4b39d1f9-642f-5920-ada8-bf7d26a62071.html. ^
  27. Rev. Dr. William J. Barber. Twitter Post. November 6, 2020. 3:14 PM. https://twitter.com/RevDrBarber/status/1324807474654912515. ^
  28. Barber, Willam and Phyllis Bennis. “If America can find $716bn for the military, it can fund the Green New Deal.” The Guardian. March 6, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/06/progressive-agenda-us-military-funding. ^
  29. “It’s Just Wrong and Immoral to Appoint a SCOTUS Nominee Who Will Deny Justice to the Sick and Poor.” Repairers of the Breach. July 26, 2018. https://www.breachrepairers.org/blogs/its-just-wrong-and-immoral-to-appoint-a-scotus-nominee-who-will-deny-justice-to-the-sick-and-poor. ^
  30. Barber II, William J. “Rise Up and Vote.” Repairers of the Breach. September 29, 2020. https://www.breachrepairers.org/blogs/rise-up-and-vote. ^
  31. Ilhan Omar. Facebook Post. December 2, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/IlhanMN/posts/we-cant-go-back-to-the-normal-that-left-millions-without-healthcare-shackled-wit/3367590103349592/. ^
  32. Ayanna Pressley. Twitter Post. June 17, 2019. 9:12 AM. https://twitter.com/AyannaPressley/status/1140608109343334400. ^
  33. Elizabeth Warren. Facebook Post. April 22, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethWarren/posts/rev-dr-william-j-barber-ii-is-right-wherever-it-goes-this-pandemic-will-highligh/10157477411288687/. ^
  See an error? Let us know!