People's Action and People's Action Institute were established in 2016 as a merger of three national networks of community organizing groups, National People's Action, the Alliance for a Just Society and USAction, as well as of organizations like the Campaign for America's Future and the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.

People's Action
Merger ofNational People's Action, Alliance for a Just Society, USAction, Campaign for America's Future, Center for Health, Environment and Justice, Institute for America's Future
TypePolitical network
Legal status501(c)4
PurposeProgressive political advocacy
HeadquartersChicago, IL
Region served
United States
Community activists and organizers
Executive Director
George Goehl
Formerly called
National People's Action


The organization has four issue campaigns:

  • People & Planet First: Transitioning to a renewable energy economy and creation of green jobs in low-income communities.[1]
  • Health Care for All: Expanding health care coverage through Medicare for All, lowering prescription drug prices, and combating the overdose crisis by holding prescription drug manufacturers accountable.[2]
  • Housing Justice: Advocating for a "Homes Guarantee" through legislation ensuring every person in the U.S. has safe, accessible, sustainable, and permanently affordable housing.[3]
  • Free College for All: Utilizes direct action, electoral work, and narrative building and storytelling to push elected officials to fully fund higher education and make free education accessible to all students.[4]

2020 Presidential ElectionEdit

People's Presidential ForumsEdit

During the fall of 2019 the organization and state affiliates held "People's Presidential Forums" in Iowa and Nevada where Presidential candidates were asked questions from local activists related to national campaigns and local issues.[5] The Iowa forum, attended by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, former housing secretary Julián Castro, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was described by The Nation as "the most grassroots-focused, poignant, and revealing forum so far in the campaign season."[6]

Candidate QuestionnaireEdit

Prior to the People's Presidential Forums, candidates were sent surveys asking for their stances on specific issues along with questions about their broader worldview including the question, "Why are people poor?"[7] The survey was answered by Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Sanders, and Warren with Biden noted as having failed to respond. [8]


On December 19, People's Action announced their endorsement of Bernie Sanders for President, but noted that Warren and Castro would be strong second choices.[9] Sanders released a video on Twitter thanking them for their endorsement and calling them, "one of the great grassroots organizations in this country."[10]

National People's ActionEdit

National People's Action was a federation of 29 grassroots organizations in 18 states working together for racial and economic justice. Headquartered in Chicago, the organization was founded in 1972 by Austin neighborhood activist Gale Cincotta and professional organizer Shel Trapp.[11]


Founded in 1972 by Cincotta and Trapp, the organization pushed for federal housing legislation including the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, and the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990.[11] For many years, Cincotta and Trapp offered training to the group's affiliates through their National Training and Information Center. The organization continued after the retirement of Trapp and the death of Cincotta in 2001, but refocused its efforts on organizing, issue campaigning, and direct action, de-emphasizing the training programs once offered through NTIC.

Emira Palacios

George Goehl has been the executive director since 2008.[12] [13]


The organization conducted a series of "Showdown" events starting in October 2009. The events, dubbed "Showdown In America", "called for the end of corporate lobbying and too-big-to-fail financial institutions".[14] According to the group, it existed as a network to create a society in which "racial and economic justice are realized in all aspects of society, resulting in more equity in work, housing, health, education, finance, and other systems central to people's well-being". The organization pushed for stricter regulations on lending and financial institutions, including increased taxes.[15]

The organization has been part of the Democracy Initiative, a coalition including labor unions and environmentalist groups working to reverse what they saw as the takeover of American democracy by individual billionaires in collaboration with right-wing politicians.[16]

In August 2018, People's Action sponsored 50 community cookouts across the country to emphasize the value of families.[17]


The organization was notable for aggressive tactics, especially protests against the residences of their opponents. Nina Easton of Fortune magazine wrote in her column about one such protest, at the home of her neighbor, a lawyer for Bank of America. In association with the Service Employees International Union, demonstrators trespassed on the executive's property, protesting while only his son was home, Easton said. Easton characterized the demonstration as "the politics of personal intimidation".[18]


  1. ^ "People & Planet First | People's Action". Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  2. ^ "Health Care for All | People's Action". Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  3. ^ "Homes Guarantee | We will end the housing crisis". Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  4. ^ "Student Action - Fighting for racial, economic, gender, and environmental justice". Student Action. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  5. ^ "People-Led Presidential Candidates Forums Set In Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and Nevada". People's Action. 2019-05-15. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  6. ^ Nichols, John (2019-09-23). "2020's Most In-Depth, People-Powered Forum Just Happened in Iowa". ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  7. ^ "Why are people poor? | 2020 Presidential Questionnaire". People's Action 2020. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  8. ^ "JUST RELEASED: 2020 Presidential Questionnaire Results". People's Action 2020. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  9. ^ "People's Action Endorses Bernie Sanders for President". People's Action. 2019-12-19. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  10. ^ Sanders, Bernie (2019-12-19). "I am so proud and excited to have the endorsement of @PplsAction because they understand what I understand: at the end of the day, the only way we make real change in this country is through grassroots". @berniesanders. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  11. ^ a b Martin, Douglas (2001-08-17). "Gale Cincotta, 72, Opponent Of Biased Banking Policies". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  12. ^ Sasha Abramsky (December 3, 2012). "George Goehl and the Fight Against Corporate Power". The Nation. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
  13. ^ kleuqr7348o7uo2ihdklufdyh2o
  14. ^ Peck, Sara (2010-05-14). "National People's Action, Unions Stage 'Showdown on K Street,' Push Financial Reform". In These Times. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
  15. ^ Sarah Anderson (April 23, 2013). "Inside-outside Strategy on Wall Street Tax". The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  16. ^ Andy Kroll (January 9, 2013). "Revealed: The Massive New Liberal Plan to Remake American Politics". Mother Jones. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  17. ^ Poo, Ai-Jen (20 August 2018). "How These Small Red-State Towns Are Teaming Up to Support Immigrant Families". Marie Claire.
  18. ^ Nina Easton (May 19, 2010). "What's really behind SEIU's Bank of America protests?". Fortune. Retrieved December 4, 2014.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit