Soros-Backed Group Plans ‘Third Reconstruction’ Push

Group sets sights on Manchin in effort to abolish ICE, advance reparations and single-payer health care

Protesters hold up signs and listen to speakers during the Poor People's Campaign, a rally speaking out against social injustice and poverty, on the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
June 9, 2021

A left-wing advocacy group funded by George Soros and backed by 30 House Democrats is planning a yearlong campaign for a "Third Reconstruction" that includes abolishing ICE, expanding welfare for illegal immigrants, and removing criminal penalties for violent protesters.

The Poor People’s Campaign, which received a grant from the Soros-backed Open Society Foundations following the death of George Floyd as part of the organization’s $220 million "anti-racist" initiative, held a Day of Action on Monday to kick off its crusade. The group counts Democratic Reps. Cori Bush (D., Mo.), Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), and Jamie Raskin (D., Md.) as top supporters, with the "Third Reconstruction" described to the Washington Free Beacon by a senior GOP Senate aide as the "next Green New Deal."

Neither the Poor People's Campaign nor the Open Society Foundations returned requests for comment.

In a release announcing the grant, which reached the Poor People's Campaign through one of its "anchor organizations," the Open Society Foundations touted groups "fighting for an end to policing as we know it." Alex Soros, deputy chair of the Open Society Foundations, added, "This is the time for urgent and bold action to address racial injustice in America."

The "Third Reconstruction" includes a laundry list of far-left demands such as automatic voter registration, a single-payer health care system, a reparations commission, and "relief from student debt, housing debt, utilities debt, medical debt, and other household and personal debt that cannot be paid." Despite proposing that the dozen-plus programs, estimated to cost well into the trillions of dollars, be financed "using deficit spending," the "Third Reconstruction" calls for a 10 percent cut to the military budget. 

"With this resolution, we (1) acknowledge the deep harms we have suffered from systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the denial of health care, militarism and the false narrative of white supremacist nationalist extremism and (2) commit to heal and transform the nation by addressing these interlocking injustices, beginning with those most impacted, with moral and just laws and policies," the Poor People’s Campaign wrote on Facebook.

As part of their strategy to pressure Democrats into supporting the initiative, the Poor People’s Campaign will hold a march on Washington, D.C., in June 2022. In 2018, the group organized "40 Days of Action," which resulted in thousands of arrests. Protesters in dozens of states held sit-ins at government offices and blocked roads while demanding local legislators pass hikes to the minimum wage and expand welfare benefits.

On Monday, the group announced a protest against Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) over his decision not to support H.R. 1, a bill that radically overhauls how the nation conducts elections.

"They said it's time to march on his office," Poor People’s Campaign co-chair Rev. William Barber said. "It’s time for people of all differences to stand together against him—we call it ‘from the hollers in the mountains to the hood.'"

Manchin previously met with the group to discuss a federal $15 minimum wage, although he later opposed the proposal. Democrats, including Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.) and Barbara Lee (D., Calif.), claim the "Third Reconstruction" will "end poverty" and address the country’s income disparities allegedly caused by systemic racism. The language used by supporters of the "Third Reconstruction" follows much of the post-Civil War-era rhetoric from Democrats that has defined the early days of the Biden administration. The president’s recent failure to pass H.R. 1 came after his impassioned appeal to racial violence 100 years ago as evidence the country needs new voting rights today.

"For much too long, the history of what took place here was told in silence, cloaked in darkness. But just because history is silent, it doesn’t mean that it did not take place," President Joe Biden said on June 1, which marked the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre. "And while darkness can hide much, it can never erase what happened. That’s why we’re here: to shine a light, to make sure America knows the story in full."

Other Democrats, including Rep. Mondaire Jones of New York, who supports the "Third Reconstruction," called Manchin’s opposition to the bill an effort to "preserve Jim Crow." Biden himself has referred to GOP-led efforts to stop voter fraud as "Jim Crow in the 21st century."

Manchin did not respond to a request for comment.