Poverty politics

For those who drive into downtown Boston for the workday – which is a commuting challenge even under normal conditions – the ride home Monday evening made most of them late for dinner. Which was kind of the point.

Protesters, ranging from students to union workers to retirees, took over the streets around Post Office Square on the edges of the Financial District to advocate for a hike in the minimum wage to $15 as well as other social justice issues associated with poverty. They sat down at the intersection of Congress and Federal streets, in the shadow of Bank of America, Fidelity, State Street, and TD Bank headquarters, beginning around 4:30 p.m.

“Don’t worry, people who don’t work for a living,” one lawyer who sat in his car during the protests wrote on social media. “I don’t want to get home after working for a living. Thank you for adding at least an hour onto my ride.”

Their point was to send the message that while the inconvenience of a cold supper may annoy some, millions go without dinner or eat unhealthy foods because they can’t afford anything else. The message, though, much like when protesters cemented themselves into barrels on the Southeast Expressway in support of Black Lives Matter and gummed up the morning commute, or in 2011 when the Occupy Wall Street movement that occupied the Rose Kennedy Greenway for weeks, probably didn’t move the needle much but then, who really was the target audience?

The protest was part of the nationwide Poor People’s Campaign, a renewal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s March in 1968 that was carried out after his assassination. The current protest is a six-week “educational”…

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