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Left-wing organizing kingpin: Tea partiers out-organized Occupy Wall Street
The Daily Caller ^ | 11/24/2011 | Michael Volpe

Posted on 11/25/2011 3:40:30 AM PST by markomalley

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) founder and Service Employees International Union organizer Wade Rathke acknowledged that the tea party movement has been more effective than Occupy Wall Street in influencing American politics.

Rathke was unequivocal about the Occupy movement, telling The DC that “in no way has it had the political impact that the tea party movement has.” Yet because Occupy organizing is “still in its embryonic stages” while tea partiers have been organizing for more than two years, he cautions that “comparing the tea party movement to OWS is apples and oranges.”

While watching ACORN implode in the United States, Rathke has thrived in his new role as community organizer to the world by remaking ACORN International, known as Community Organization International in the U.S., into a worldwide community organization with near-global reach and power. And former ACORN board members say Rathke’s remarkable global turnaround is proof that most observers completely missed ACORN’s bigger picture and its broader goals.

Rathke generally had positive things to say about both the tea party and Occupy movements. “They are substantially mobilizing individuals around a set of principles,” he added. “It’s fascinating that they’re both appealing to many of the same people.”

That’s a point on which Matthew Vadum, a conservative investigative reporter whose book-length deconstruction of ACORN hit stores in May, disagrees. His book opens with the provocative question, “How many dead Republicans does it take to satisfy the bloodlust of ACORN founder Wade Rathke?” referring to his contention that ACORN leaders planned “to kill delegates and police” at the 2008 Republican national Convention in Minnesota, before a turncoat helped law-enforcement dismantle the plot.

Vadum sees a world of difference between right-wing tea partiers and left-wing occupiers. “The only point upon which both agree is their hate of bailouts,” he told The DC. “But that’s it. Zuccotti Park is a small park … The tea party attracted thousands and tens of thousands to their rallies; OWS attracts tens and maybe hundreds. When the tea party rally was over, the tea party left. OWS refuses to leave.”

Rathke said scenes of tea party activists shouting down politicians at town hall events reflected poorly on their movement. But he also acknowledged that scenes of public defecation, drug use, fighting and other violence also left an indelible impression.

“You never let anger get in the way of your tactical position. Anger is a tactic. When you don’t control the anger, you don’t control the tactic … Out of control anger leads to some of the things you mentioned.”

Rathke offered this piece of advice to occupiers and tea partiers alike: “Make sure that the issues you represent are laid out clearly to the public.”

That’s advice the Occupy powers-that-be may want to take to heart. A Gallup poll released Tuesday morning showed that 56 percent of Americans are generally indifferent to OWS protesters and their activities.

T.V. Reed, a Washington State University professor and author of a book on the culture of progressive social movements, told USA Today that Americans find it difficult to understand the Occupy movement since it lacks a cadre of leaders who can consistently articulate their objectives.

Rathke said he was closely following the Occupy movement, and is sympathetic to many of its ideals, but dismissed the idea that he had a hand in making it go.

“Some people think I’m organizing the OWS movement,” he told The DC, “but we know better than that.”

While Rathke hasn’t been tied directly to the occupiers, his former organization has. A Fox News investigation in October found that New York Communities for Change, basically New York’s ACORN contingent operating under a new name, hired around 100 ACORN workers from other cities and paid some as much as $100 per day to attend and support Occupy Wall Street protests.

New York Communities for Change is run by John and Steve Kest, brothers who served as two of Rathke’s chief ACORN deputies. Rathke says he has nothing to do with any ACORN campaigns or day-to-day operations now.

Name changes in the ACORN universe are common now, since its brand is now so toxic. Rathke himself conveniently changed ACORN International — domestically, at least — to Community Organizations International.

ACORN isn’t nearly as well known internationally, and certainly not in the countries where Rathke is gaining a foothold. It’s not very likely the average poor person living in a Nairobi slum has any idea that ACORN has been implicated in criminal activity in the United States.

ACORN’s board ousted Rathke in May of 2008, shortly after learning that his brother had embezzled almost $1 million from ACORN’s financial consulting arm nearly a decade earlier. The money was paid back, but Rathke’s goose was cooked.

Rather than retreating quietly into the world of left-wing philanthropy and union organizing that forms the rest of his professional identity — the Tides Foundation and SEIU’s New Orleans local, both of which he founded — he has quietly built a growing worldwide community organization. Its potential seems nearly limitless.

ACORN International already has a presence in twelve countries across five continents. Rathke is just as likely to be tooling around his native New Orleans as camped out in the slums of Nairobi, roaming the streets of Mumbai, or making the rounds in Dominican villages.

Rathke’s resurgence, say multiple critics, is proof American conservatives won the domestic ACORN battle but lost the global war.

“We tried valiantly to tell people three years ago,” former ACORN board member Marcel Reid told The DC about Rathke. “People should have focused on his organizing efforts inside and outside the U.S.” Instead, says Reid, most observers limited themselves to dissecting a host of voter-fraud allegations.

“People let him get away,” Reid said, “and now that man has taken over the world.”

In the fall of 2008, Reid and seven other ACORN directors became whistleblowers against corruption by obtaining a court order forcing their organization to open its financial books to its board members. The rest of the board pushed back with delays and postponements, and eventually removed all eight from their positions.

They formed a counter-insurgency of sorts, the “ACORN 8,” to caution politicians, labor organizers, and members of the media that ACORN’s size, the scope of its activities, its chameleon-like nature, and its almost certain involvement in criminal activity made working with the organization a risky proposition.

That caution extends to ACORN’s global expansion.

“We see all of this as extension of what ACORN and Wade Rathke always intended,” ACORN 8 spokesman Michael McCray told TheDC. “ACORN International was created long before Wade was removed from the [ACORN] board.”

When ACORN fired Rathke, he retained control of ACORN International, at the time just a rag tag bunch of disparate organizing groups sprinkled throughout the world. But three years later, with Rathke’s organizing focus directed toward his global federation, that group’s growth is no less than astonishing.

Rathke is no longer focused on organizing low-income urban Americans and registering them to vote. Instead, he’s pressuring foreign governments to better fund education in Africa’s slums, pressing for microfinance reforms in the Third World, and organizing Indians to respond when big retailers set up shop in neighborhoods accustomed to conducting commerce with street merchants.

He’s deeply involved in international remittance, the process by which expatriates send money back to their home countries. Community Organizations International operates in many countries with weak banking laws, crooked governments, and little oversight. This, say his critics, is a recipe for graft and corruption.

“Of course we should worry about that,” said Reid. She was part of the original three-person investigative committee that unearthed what she called widespread commingling of funds among now-famous ACORN affiliates like Project Vote and ACORN Housing Corporation. It’s those financial crimes that she says Rathke and those around him are likely to repeat.

With its global reach and in-your-face tactics, the Occupy movement has grown largely by using the same tactics that made Rathke successful, Reid told The DC. Comparing the ACORN founder to Saul Alinsky and his “Rules for Radicals” tactics, she added that “the tea party practiced Alinskyism of organizing while OWS is practicing Wadeism.”

Both McCray and Reid said they participated in campaigns where hundreds of volunteers camped out front of the homes of corporate CEOs who were unwilling to play ball with ACORN. Hundreds of ACORN activists, they recalled, were sent to home addresses to intimidate ACORN targets.

During their time with ACORN, they said, the community-organizing giant redefined and perfected many of Alinsky’s tactics — with a far more aggressive edge.

ACORN’s downfall coincided roughly with Rathke’s reinvention, and it began with guerilla tactics of a different sort, practiced by conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe. His series of 2009 videos showing ACORN employees and volunteers attempting to facilitate prostitution and human-smuggling proposals from walk-in members of urban communities — in fact, O’Keefe himself and his cohort Hannah Giles. Shortly thereafter, Congress froze ACORN’s federal funding. The IRS and the U.S. Census Bureau later terminated their ACORN contracts.

McCray, who was booted from ACORN’s board months earlier, tipped his hat to the young agitator. “There’s no better practicer of Alinsky tactics than James O’Keefe,” he told The DC.

TOPICS: Extended News; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: acorn; coi; occupy; ows; rathke; seiu; teaparty; waderathke

1 posted on 11/25/2011 3:40:34 AM PST by markomalley
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To: markomalley

We also managed not to crap on cop cars!

2 posted on 11/25/2011 3:44:24 AM PST by VanDeKoik (1 million in stimulus dollars paid for this tagline!)
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To: markomalley

The OWSers are a bunch of spoiled and selfish brats crying, “gimme, gimme, gimme more!” Tea partiers on the other hand are American patriots who want to rescue the country from fiscal and moral catastrophe.

There is no equivalence between the two groups of protesters.

3 posted on 11/25/2011 3:45:45 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: markomalley

OWS is no different to the Democrat party. OWS don’t hold Democrats accountable to things they say they’re against. They should support voting out Pelso/Reid who support bail out for the banks

4 posted on 11/25/2011 3:47:46 AM PST by 4rcane
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To: markomalley

That’s pretty sad for ows a big crowd of grumpy people can out-organize them.

Oh wait, the Koch brothers came up with the whole thing. Man, they must have some great spreadsheets. teapartymgtteam.xls, teapartymsnbc.xls, you know. /do i need the sarc ?

5 posted on 11/25/2011 3:54:29 AM PST by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves.)
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To: markomalley

The press refuses to see the OBVIOUS difference in OWS and the Tea Party. Both movements want to see a vast “redistribution of wealth” in the U.S. They just go about it in totally opposite ways.
-OWS wants to take your hard-earned money and give it to someone who doesn’t have “enough” money. You get nothing in return, not even a thank you!
-Tea Partiers want you to “give” your money to job-creating, tax-paying merchants. It is still “redistribution of wealth”, but you actually receive something of value in return.

6 posted on 11/25/2011 3:54:55 AM PST by REPANDPROUDOFIT (General, Sir, it is perfectly ok to call me "Ma'am"!)
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To: markomalley

The leftist organizers had a harder job. Their folks are just less organizable.

7 posted on 11/25/2011 4:16:06 AM PST by Salman
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The press refuse to see it, but more and more Americans are putting 2+2 together!

8 posted on 11/25/2011 4:18:29 AM PST by marygam ((Hurry November 2012, we might not make it))
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To: markomalley

It’s not the organization, it’s the message.
One is right, one is wrong.

9 posted on 11/25/2011 4:44:34 AM PST by Fireone (Heating the tar and readying the feathers.)
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To: 4rcane

“It’s fascinating that they’re both appealing to many of the same people.”

Biggest lie evah

10 posted on 11/25/2011 4:59:36 AM PST by W1somoveon
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To: markomalley

Apples and oranges?

How about Ecstasy and Aspirin?

Perhaps casual and prolonged use of the former has done much to cause some of the OWS crowd to exhibit itself in such negative ways while the latter can be administered to a child to help reduce fever or to an adult to relieve various aches and pains or sometimes as a life-saver for people with heart conditions.

When I know what Ecstasy can do, while not from personal experience, I think it may be a common thread associated to their mentality, attitude and behavior.

No, I’m not a doctor but my instincts tell me that this recreational drug is very harmful and that in the Occupy movement, we can see the see the negative effects of its communal use as a kind of tribal sacrement.


How is it used?

Taken in pill form, users sometimes take Ecstasy at “raves,” clubs and other parties to keep on dancing and for mood enhancement.

What are its short-term effects?

Users report that Ecstasy produces intensely pleasurable effects — including an enhanced sense of self-confidence and energy. Effects include feelings of peacefulness, acceptance and empathy. Users say they experience feelings of closeness with others and a desire to touch others. Other effects can include involuntary teeth clenching, a loss of inhibitions, transfixion on sights and sounds, nausea, blurred vision, chills and/or sweating. Increases in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as seizures, are also possible. The stimulant effects of the drug enable users to dance for extended periods, which when combined with the hot crowded conditions usually found at raves, can lead to severe dehydration and hyperthermia or dramatic increases in body temperature. This can lead to muscle breakdown and kidney, liver and cardiovascular failure. Cardiovascular failure has been reported in some of the Ecstasy-related fatalities. After-effects can include sleep problems, anxiety and depression.

What are its long-term effects?

Repeated use of Ecstasy ultimately may damage the cells that produce serotonin, which has an important role in the regulation of mood, appetite, pain, learning and memory. There already is research suggesting Ecstasy use can disrupt or interfere with memory.

And then there is LSD bu that’s another story altogether...Or is it?

11 posted on 11/25/2011 5:15:25 AM PST by equaviator ( "There's a (datum) plane on the horizon coming in...see it?")
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To: goldstategop

Just look at the picture on the Drudge Report. That individual has out of control rage. That is the face of the OWS. It’s the one that could be attached to the whole movement.
That clown does not want a job, and will never have a career. That clown is a parasite on society.

12 posted on 11/25/2011 5:24:25 AM PST by reefdiver ("Let His day's be few And another takes His office")
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To: markomalley

Stick a fork in it. OWS is done.

13 posted on 11/25/2011 5:26:22 AM PST by quegley (Pitchforks and torches! Tar and feathers! Time to take the country back!)
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To: markomalley

OWS was Van Jones led, SEIU organized astroturf. The TEA Party is a REAL grassroots movement. Big difference.

14 posted on 11/25/2011 5:37:10 AM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: markomalley
Somebody needs to post the pictures comparing the afterwards of the two Tea Party rallies in Washington, DC and after the Inauguration events back in early 2009 at the same location. That is the difference between the Tea Party and the Occupy movement.
15 posted on 11/25/2011 6:24:42 AM PST by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's economic cure)
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To: Timber Rattler

OWS was Van Jones led, SEIU organized astroturf. The TEA Party is a REAL grassroots movement. Big difference.

Perfectly stated!!!

16 posted on 11/25/2011 6:40:16 AM PST by StraightDave (.)
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To: markomalley
Let's carefully note the major differences between the Tea Party and the OWS morons:

1. Rapes occurred at OWS sites.
2. Murder has occurred at OWS sites.
3. Drug dealing, primarily meth and pot has occurred at ows sites.
4. Robbery / muggings have been rampant.
5. Public defaction is well documented.
6. Public masturbation has been well documented at OWS sites.
7. Group Sex / Orgies have been in the news at OWS sites.
8. OWS members have committed acts of vandalism, breaking store and bank windows.
9. OWS folks have defacted on police cars.
10. OWS folks have attacked police.

These are just the "top ten" that I could remember seeing in the newspapers off the top of my head. There has not been a single instance of anything REMOTELY resembling any of the above by any Tea Party member.

In fact, the two TEA PARTY rallies I went to left the parks they were held in CLEANER after the crowd left than before. Everyone took their own empty cups, cans, etc.. with then and picked up litter along the way OUT of the park.

Zuccotti Park in NYC had to be raided, people forcibly removed, and SANITIZED due to the 'health conditions' these unhygenic OWS morons had created there. There's even a disease named after them called Zuccotti Lung.

Again, can't say that about anything related to the TEA PARTY movement.

17 posted on 11/25/2011 6:50:45 AM PST by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: markomalley

True enough, but it has more to do with the message, not the organizing skills. Theirs is astro-turf, often bought and paid for with union money; Tea Parties, on the other hand, are true grass-roots. People can tell the difference, or at least most people can—newsie might miss the point.

18 posted on 11/25/2011 8:07:34 AM PST by MizSterious (Apparently, there's no honor when it comes to someone else's retirement funds.)
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