Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Equal Rights Congress – Resolutions of the Founding Convention

First Published: Equal Rights Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 1, March 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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1. Any local organization can become a member of the Equal Rights Congress if they agree with the aims and principles outlined in the preamble of the Equal Rights Congress (ERC), and if they actively try to build a local ERC Council of united action to support and defend the equal rights of people in the local area as well as nationally. This membership will be restricted to local grass-root organization’ that actively joins in the struggle for equal rights.
2. Organizations that join the ERC will retain their autonomy. However, every organization must belong to a local council.
3. Equal Rights Councils are delegate councils that will coordinate activity between the various organizations represented, such as fundraisers, forums, demonstrations and other mutual support.
4. In every city or rural area where there is an organization, that organization should:
a. write to the national office which will in turn inform them if there is an existing council formed in that area. The national office will also inform them on any other relevant information.
b. In the event there is no functioning council in the area, the organization has the right to form a council and recruit as many organizations as possible that agree with the ERC aims and principles.
5. All organizations pay a yearly $25.00 membership fee to the national office.


1. The Equal Rights Congress calls for the outlawing of the KKK, the Nazi Party, the Posse Comitatus and all other terrorist, pro-fascist gangs which commit acts of violence against minorities and progressive peoples and their communities.
2. The Equal Rights Congress encourages the formation of People’s Defense Groups to combat the attacks of these terrorist, pro-fascist gangs and offers its active support and assistance to these defense groups.


WHEREAS the education systems in this country are not educating our children and this is being reflected most clearly in the education of minority children, working class children and children with limited English or non-English speaking ability:
WHEREAS we find our school systems improperly funded, segregated, and overcrowded producing students with little or no skills:
WHEREAS parents, teachers, and community people have been virtually cut off from any input into the policy making aspects of their children’s and the community’s education:
WHEREAS our children (working class children) have been cut off from their cultural heritage and their class history:
WHEREAS higher education is a right, not a privilege, that is being denied poor people in many areas of this country as a means of maintaining the status quo:

1. We support desegregated schools and busing as a means to that end, including metropolitan busing.
2. We demand quality bilingual education for every child and that bi-lingual education be integrated into the overall curriculum and not be used to further segregate.
3. That textbooks be revised to include the cultural history of all groups in the U.S. and working class history.
4. That I.Q. tests and personality tests as they exist now not be used to track children. They do not take into consideration cultural differences.
5. That behavior modifying drugs and techniques be stopped.
6. Free breakfast and lunch programs be implemented for all children in public schools.
7. That cuts in extra-curricular activities be stopped.
8. That local, state, and national P.T.A.s, other parent organizations, and community groups have definite input into all school decisions, including the budget.
9. That students’ rights be protected.
10. That no student be graduated until they have minimum skills in reading and writing.
11. That unity be maintained between parents, teachers, and school service workers.
12. That schools be nationalized and that our national priorities be rearranged by cutting the military budget and removing the tax burden from individual property owners and placing greatest burdens on the corporations.
13. That cuts in loans and grants to the poor be stopped, that more funds be allotted from grant programs to encourage higher education.


1. We want something written up about Congress getting rid of Section 8. It is not fulfilling the need for low Income families; it is helping private landlords’ profits by use of public monies, causing rent increases for working class people.
2. Denounce any attempt to demolish present public housing without replacement on a one-to-one basis.
3. All efforts in future work such as construction maintanance management etc. should be done through the use of employing residents of public housing when and wherever feasible.


The ERC should take up the fight for the expansion, not the destruction, of public housing. This struggle must be linked to the resistance against but–backs in welfare, food stamps, health care, education, Social Security and Workers Compensation.

We propose the formation of rent strikes and tenant unions in public housing across the country. From this quantitative and geographic base in each city, it is possible to link up with private housing and welfare struggles.

The housing demands of the ERC should be:


Be it resolved:
1. The national Equal Rights Congress be a central clearing house for the gathering of information concerning local cases of police brutality. Said clearing house shall:
a. gather and disseminate information to local councils;
b. expose, challenge and examine local cases through its national newspaper;
c. where possible the National Congress shall assist local Councils in obtaining necessary support services.
2. The Equal Rights Congress in each city fight to establish an effective police review board elected by the community which they represent and be responsible to investigate all charges of police abuse.
3. The Equal Rights Council in each city recommend that any police officer suspected of a crime be:
a. suspended without pay immediately;
b. immediately charged with the appropriate crime;
c. tried publicly with a jury within a two-month period.


Our demands are:
1. Equal salaries and benefits for working women.
2. No discrimination in credit or loans.
3. No discrimination in jobs.
4. No forced sterilization. Women have the right to make their own decisions regarding their health.
5. Guaranteed childcare provided free by the government; adequate and quality child health care for working women.


We want to better the living conditions of working people everywhere. But we recognize that it is only by the greater exploitation of our brothers and sisters in the South and Southwest, and in Asia, Africa and Latin America that gains made by workers in the northern states have been possible. We don’t want gains at the expense of our working brothers and sisters. Therefore, to raise the living standards of all workers, the Equal Rights Congress resolves to fight for the following demands:
A. Unionization. Call for vast nation-wide drive to organize the unorganized; industry-wide contract expirations; defend the right to strike; democratic election of union officials at all levels; abolish so-called “right-to-work” laws.
B. Runaway Shops. Equal pay for equal work on a national and international basis.
C. Unemployment. A job for every worker; cut the defense budget – war is no solution; end forced overtime; stop speed-ups.
D. Health and Safety. Expand and thoroughly implement OSHA regulations.
E. Welfare. Full benefits for laid-off and striking workers; expanded pensions for retired workers; equalize and expand welfare and unemployment benefits.
F. Equality. Equal democratic rights for all workers regardless of nationality, color, sex, religion or economic status; stop deportations.


The Equal Rights Congress resolves and demands the following:
1. That PBB and all other chemicals that are detrimental to the health of the people be banned from the market.
2. It is clear that federal, state and local governmental agencies have failed to follow the present rules and regulations regarding eliminating dangerous toxic substances from our food. We demand that these agencies begin the immediate implementation of all these regulations.
3. The USA is one of the strongest technological societies in the world. It is therefore, our concern that this technical knowledge be used in the interest of people throughout the world. Scientific research must be used to stop ravaging the air, land, water and life by dangerous chemicals.
4. Wherever there is contaminated food, such as PBB in meat products, and food chains refuse to remove them from the market, the ERC will organize a nationwide boycott.
5. Rather than having governmental review boards being made out of industrial interests; citizens review boards must be established to oversee and initiate all necessary research and refutations pertaining to the quality of food. This citizen review board would make public all reports and findings. These citizens review boards would make public all reports and findings. These boards would be subject to recall if it is found that they represent the interests of private industry rather than the consumers as a whole.
6. In the particular cases of PBB, we demand that the farmers whose livestock were contaminated be reimbursed by the manufacturers of PBB and that consumers who have been contaminated also be provided with adequate medical care to eliminate the contamination and its effects.


Be it resolved:
1. That the ERC work with groups of youth labeled as gangs, organize these youth to protect our communities against drugs, crime, and attacks from fascist right-wing hate groups.
2. That ERC demand federal funds to train, educate and employ youth to build schools, housing, recreational, facilities and other things our communities need. For without decent paying productive jobs our youth cannot become constructive and productive.
3. That ERC form a youth committee to carry out these proposals.
4. That ERC demand the elimination of drugs from the market, except as necessary for medicinal purposes as proposed by the Geneva Convention.


1. We propose that a national committee on cultural activities be founded in the ERC. The function of this committee is to maintain contact between the different cultural groups and to help provide unity among the nationalities and the national minorities. This unity will be manifested in a national day of respect for the culture of the different nationalities that make up the U.S. This unity is a first step of organizing the cultural apparatus of the ERC. This national day of respect will consist of multi–national cultural events held in each local community on the same day next summer (1977).
2. The main responsibilities of the cultural work of the ERC are in the following two areas: 1)Education and 2) the promotion of working class as an alternative to the manipulated culture of today.


1. Education should be conducted on the various aspects of culture keeping in mind its particular history and its forward motion, which corresponds to changing conditions.
2. Culture should be used to expose the control of the media.
3. Progressive culture workers need to be conscientious to create a high quality of art, properly presented (on time and at a decent price) and properly explained with written material).

Alternative to Manipulated Culture

1. The promotion of local cultural events to reach and expose local issues.


The Equal Rights Congress resolves to:
1. Demand productive permanent and meaningful jobs for all who are able and willing to work.
2. Stop cutbacks in grants and restore services.
3. Stop repressive welfare legislation and practices such as excessive redetermination, support interviews and mandatory social security numbers.
4. Oppose right to work laws.
5. Oppose forced work programs such as WIN.
6. No denial of welfare benefits to households with members on strike or students.
7. Demand welfare and unemployment benefits for all needy within U.S. borders, including non-citizens.
8. Demand open borders.
9. Raise welfare and unemployment benefits to a decent standard of living and equalize them across the country.
10. Demand adequate bilingual services within public assistance agencies.
11. Support Welfare Rights groups, unemployment councils and other advocacy groups.


1. The United States has by treaty guaranteed the rights of all Indian people to a small fraction of the land they rightly claim.
2. By negotiating rights of passage, mutual defense agreements, and terms of peace with the various Indian tribes through the treaty method, the U.S. government formally recognized the sovereign status of the Indian tribes, and
3. Although the Supreme Court of the United States and the U.S. Constitution declares that treaties entered into with the sovereign nations are the supreme law of the land and should not be violated, the United States government has throughout its history taken every step to extinguish the claims of the Indian peoples to their land, their language,, their culture and even their rights to raise their own children, and
4. As a result of the repression and subjugation practiced by the United States government, the Indian people as a whole rank the lowest on every scale of measurement of the quality of national life, and
5. By the same token, the land grant struggles being waged by the Mexican-American people of the Southwest are based on the same type of flagrant violations of the rights guaranteed to the Mexicans in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and
6. Violations of provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo by means of force, intimidations and land fraud have divorced Mexican-American people for land and the enforcement of treaty rights have been waged independently of each other and often in contradiction to each other, much to the delight of the land robbers and the multinational corporations who exploit the work of all, the increasing number of people who are being forced off of the land, and
7. The Equal Rights Congress of 1976 was formed specifically to bring together decisive groups of organizations for the purpose of establishing unity of action based on the recognition that the workers and the various national minority peoples of U.S. imperialism, and
8. On the other hand, the various organizations and representatives at the ERC have chosen to participate in the formations of an organization that would give national support and recognition to the struggles being waged by the organizations at the local level,

10. Now therefore be it resolved that:
1. The Equal Rights Congress of 1976 hereby recognizes and wholeheartedly supports the rights of the Indian people to self–determination, and
2. The ERC wholeheartedly supports the struggles of the Indian people in seeking to enforce the rights guaranteed to the various Indian people in seeking to under existing treaties, and
3. In the event some of the treaty provisions and land claims of the Indian tribes cannot be enforced, the ERC demands that the Indian tribes receive full and adequate compensation in return for the land and rights that they have been deprived of.
4. The ERC, because of the disgraceful treatment and almost total disregard of the Indian people by the U.S. government, demands that the Federal Government immediately initiate programs, to raise the Indians standard of living at least comparable to that enjoyed by the average American, and
5. Be it further resolved, that the ERC support the valid claims of the Mexican-American people in the Southwest to the various land grants, and, under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, provided however should any inconsistencies develop between the land claim of the Indian tribes under the existing treaties and the claim to the land grant under the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo then the claim of the India tribes will be given priority, and
6. The ERC demands that the U. government abide by the Constitution of the U.S. and the various decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in recognizing that treaties entered into with the U.S. and with the various Indian tribes and with other nations are the supreme law of the land, and the provisions contained. However those treaties are as valid today as they were two hundred years ago.
7. Lastly, the ERC fully supports and will actively participate in the efforts of the Indian people and the Mexican-American people of the Southwest to petition the U.N. for assistance in forcing the U.S. government to recognize and enforce all existing treaty obligations.