Skip to comments.CLOWARD-PIVEN STRATEGY
Posted on 08/18/2009 5:38:13 PM PDT by DaveTesla
Strategy for forcing political change through orchestrated crisis
First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, the Cloward-Piven Strategy seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.
Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the black district of Watts in Los Angeles (which erupted after police had used batons to subdue a black man suspected of drunk driving), Cloward and Piven published an article titled "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty" in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called "crisis strategy" or "Cloward-Piven Strategy," as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.
In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when "the rest of society is afraid of them," Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would "the rest of society" accept their demands.
The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven's early promoters cited radical organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. "Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules," Alinsky wrote in his 1972 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system's failure to "live up" to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist "rule book" with a socialist one.
The authors noted that the number of Americans subsisting on welfare -- about 8 million, at the time -- probably represented less than half the number who were technically eligible for full benefits. They proposed a "massive drive to recruit the poor onto the welfare rolls." Cloward and Piven calculated that persuading even a fraction of potential welfare recipients to demand their entitlements would bankrupt the system. The result, they predicted, would be "a profound financial and political crisis" that would unleash "powerful forces for major economic reform at the national level."
Their article called for "cadres of aggressive organizers" to use "demonstrations to create a climate of militancy." Intimidated by threats of black violence, politicians would appeal to the federal government for help. Carefully orchestrated media campaigns, carried out by friendly, leftwing journalists, would float the idea of "a federal program of income redistribution," in the form of a guaranteed living income for all -- working and non-working people alike. Local officials would clutch at this idea like drowning men to a lifeline. They would apply pressure on Washington to implement it. With every major city erupting into chaos, Washington would have to act.
This was an example of what are commonly called Trojan Horse movements -- mass movements whose outward purpose seems to be providing material help to the downtrodden, but whose real objective is to draft poor people into service as revolutionary foot soldiers; to mobilize poor people en masse to overwhelm government agencies with a flood of demands beyond the capacity of those agencies to meet. The flood of demands was calculated to break the budget, jam the bureaucratic gears into gridlock, and bring the system crashing down. Fear, turmoil, violence and economic collapse would accompany such a breakdown -- providing perfect conditions for fostering radical change. That was the theory.
Cloward and Piven recruited a militant black organizer named George Wiley to lead their new movement. In the summer of 1967, Wiley founded the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO). His tactics closely followed the recommendations set out in Cloward and Piven's article. His followers invaded welfare offices across the United States -- often violently -- bullying social workers and loudly demanding every penny to which the law "entitled" them. By 1969, NWRO claimed a dues-paying membership of 22,500 families, with 523 chapters across the nation.
Regarding Wiley's tactics, The New York Times commented on September 27, 1970, "There have been sit-ins in legislative chambers, including a United States Senate committee hearing, mass demonstrations of several thousand welfare recipients, school boycotts, picket lines, mounted police, tear gas, arrests - and, on occasion, rock-throwing, smashed glass doors, overturned desks, scattered papers and ripped-out phones."These methods proved effective. "The flooding succeeded beyond Wiley's wildest dreams," writes Sol Stern in the City Journal. "From 1965 to 1974, the number of single-parent households on welfare soared from 4.3 million to 10.8 million, despite mostly flush economic times. By the early 1970s, one person was on the welfare rolls in New York City for every two working in the city's private economy."As a direct result of its massive welfare spending, New York City was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1975. The entire state of New York nearly went down with it. The Cloward-Piven strategy had proved its effectiveness.
The Cloward-Piven strategy depended on surprise. Once society recovered from the initial shock, the backlash began. New York's welfare crisis horrified America, giving rise to a reform movement which culminated in "the end of welfare as we know it" -- the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which imposed time limits on federal welfare, along with strict eligibility and work requirements. Both Cloward and Piven attended the White House signing of the bill as guests of President Clinton.
Most Americans to this day have never heard of Cloward and Piven. But New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attempted to expose them in the late 1990s. As his drive for welfare reform gained momentum, Giuliani accused the militant scholars by name, citing their 1966 manifesto as evidence that they had engaged in deliberate economic sabotage. "This wasn't an accident," Giuliani charged in a 1997 speech. "It wasn't an atmospheric thing, it wasn't supernatural. This is the result of policies and programs designed to have the maximum number of people get on welfare."
Cloward and Piven never again revealed their intentions as candidly as they had in their 1966 article. Even so, their activism in subsequent years continued to rely on the tactic of overloading the system. When the public caught on to their welfare scheme, Cloward and Piven simply moved on, applying pressure to other sectors of the bureaucracy, wherever they detected weakness.
In 1982, partisans of the Cloward-Piven strategy founded a new "voting rights movement," which purported to take up the unfinished work of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Like ACORN, the organization that spear-headed this campaign, the new "voting rights" movement was led by veterans of George Wiley's welfare rights crusade. Its flagship organizations were Project Vote and Human SERVE, both founded in 1982. Project Vote is an ACORN front group, launched by former NWRO organizer and ACORN co-founder Zach Polett. Human SERVE was founded by Richard A. Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, along with a former NWRO organizer named Hulbert James.
All three of these organizations -- ACORN, Project Vote and Human SERVE -- set to work lobbying energetically for the so-called Motor-Voter law, which Bill Clinton ultimately signed in 1993. The Motor-Voter bill is largely responsible for swamping the voter rolls with "dead wood" -- invalid registrations signed in the name of deceased, ineligible or non-existent people -- thus opening the door to the unprecedented levels of voter fraud and "voter disenfranchisement" claims that followed in subsequent elections.
The new "voting rights" coalition combines mass voter registration drives -- typically featuring high levels of fraud -- with systematic intimidation of election officials in the form of frivolous lawsuits, unfounded charges of "racism" and "disenfranchisement," and "direct action" (street protests, violent or otherwise). Just as they swamped America's welfare offices in the 1960s, Cloward-Piven devotees now seek to overwhelm the nation's understaffed and poorly policed electoral system. Their tactics set the stage for the Florida recount crisis of 2000, and have introduced a level of fear, tension and foreboding to U.S. elections heretofore encountered mainly in Third World countries.
Both the Living Wage and Voting Rights movements depend heavily on financial support from George Soros's Open Society Institute and his "Shadow Party," through whose support the Cloward-Piven strategy continues to provide a blueprint for some of the Left's most ambitious campaigns.
This strategy falls flat if the poor rise in a violent rebellion, especially against their more affluent neighbors. Do I need to explain why?
Doesn’t mean that they won’t try...
The practice, and the self-limiting nature of this 'strategy' is illustrated pretty well in this book, if I remember correctly. It's been a while. I owe it another read.
I guarantee that the revolt will be short lived if this gangsta thug shows up in my neighborhood. We won't be exchanging gang signs wuff him like the community agitator moron with the necktie above.
- H. L. Mencken
Soros should be taken down.
ACORN showed its colors again in 1991, by taking over the House Banking Committee room for two days to protest efforts to scale back the CRA. Most significant of all, ACORN was the driving force behind a 1995 regulatory revision pushed through by the Clinton Administration that greatly expanded the CRA and laid the groundwork for the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac borne financial crisis we now confront. Barack Obama was the attorney representing ACORN in this effort. With this new authority, ACORN used its subsidiary, ACORN Housing, to promote subprime loans more aggressively. Barack Obama represented ACORN in this effort.
I guess I'm just not enlightened. I have a hard time seeing how, if the strategy were successful, poverty would be ended by making everyone poor.
With the exception of those doing the redistributing.
They really are evil, aren't they?
Background data ping.
These measures, designed to crash the system and accelerate the bankruptcy, are products of the devious minds at the Appolo Alliance started by Van Jones, black nationalist, avowed communist, ex-prison inmate, and now green jobs czar in the Obama Whits House. Van JOnes was already moved from Apollo before the structure of cap&tax and the stimulus were sent to Congressiona democrats for writing bills. But Harry Reid thanked Apollo Alliance directly for their ‘work’ in fashioning the stimulus package which funded ACORN and other subsidiaries of the Apollo Alliance.
here is thir current location and name:
CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA’S FUTURE (CAF)
1825 K Street, NW
Progressive organization that supports increased taxes to pay for an ever-growing number of social welfare programs
Has received funding from George Soros
Working to revitalize a progressive agenda and to expose the conservative agenda that has made things worse, Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization that supports tax hikes, socialized medicine, and a dramatic expansion of social welfare programs.
CAF was co-founded in 1996 by: (a) Robert Borosage, who previously served as Director of the Institute for Policy Studies and founded the Progressive Majority Political Action Committee; and (b) Roger Hickey, who co-founded the Economic Policy Institute and was the Media Director for the National Center for Economic Alternatives. Borosage and Hickey also co-founded CAFs sister organization, Institute for America’s Future (IAF) in 1999.
CAF (in conjunction with IAF) focuses its efforts on the following major issues and projects:
(a) Healthcare for All: 47 million Americans remain uninsured and millions of families are plunged into bankruptcy when serious illness strikes. Everyone in America deserves high quality, affordable health insurance. That’s why [CAF] is launching a national effort to discuss and debate progressive solutions to the [challenge] of covering all Americans.
(b) Revitalizing Education: While criticizing the Bush Administration’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, CAF supports an across-the-board increase in federal funding for public education. Specifically, the organization calls for universal pre-school care [including] health and nutritional programs in addition to traditional academic development activities; the expansion of Head Start to all qualified applicants; immediate increases in federal school construction and maintenance funds; a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1; higher pay for new teachers and for skilled/experienced teachers working in disadvantaged areas; universal access to after-school programs [which] will require increased investment at the local, state and national level; and more grants and subsidized loans for higher education.
(c) Protecting Social Security: CAF seeks to educate the public about Social Security and the pitfalls of privatization.
(d) Accountable Congress: In 2005, CAF purchased television airtime to broadcast commercials demanding the removal of then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for ethics violations. The ads solicited donations of up to $2,500. Says CAF: Tom DeLay is finally gone, and we’re not stopping there. We’re turning our guns on DeLays successorswith the same unapologetic and sustained campaigns to expose their corruption and make them accountable to their constituents.
(e) Straight Talk: CAF produces both online and print media designed to serve up ammunition to progressives who have the opportunity to challenge the grip that the right has had on our imaginations and our policies over the past quarter century.
(f) Energy Independence: CAF helped create the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor, environmental, and social justice groups professing a commitment to the development of good jobs and energy independence. United by their belief that America is a chief source of worldwide environmental disruption, rising social inequity, and fundamentalist anger, Apollo Alliance’s endorsing organizations and partners include Greenpeace, the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation, the Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and ACORN. Apollo Alliance’s National Steering Committee and National Advisory Board members include, among others, Robert Borosage, Carl Pope of the Sierra Club, Julian Bond of the NAACP, Gerry Hudson of the Service Employees International Union, and U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. Apollo Alliance has also received strong support from the socialist Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, and from New York Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.
(g) Each year, CAF holds a Take Back America conference, which the organization describes as a catalyst for building the infrastructure to ensure that the voice of the progressive majority is heard. In 2005, prominent speakers at this conference included Howard Dean, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Edwards, Jesse Jackson, Arianna Huffington, and Bill Moyers. CAF credits Take Back America 2006 with helping to secure progressive wins in that year’s midterm congressional elections. Participants in the 2006 event included John Kerry, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Topping the agenda for CAFs Take Back America 2007 event were the issues of affordable education and health care for all; the right to join a union; and pushing for a vote to get U.S. troops out of the middle of the civil war in Iraq.
In the 2004 presidential election, CAF partnered with both the Democratic Party and a number of far-left special interest groups in a campaign to oppose tax cuts. The Democratic National Committee stated, The Democratic Party is partnering with MoveOn.org, People for the American Way, Campaign for America’s Future, and dozens of other groups representing millions of Americans to organize a massive public mobilization [J]oin us by calling and emailing your representatives in Congress to let them know that the majority of Americans oppose more irresponsible tax cuts ...
CAF also endorsed Invest in America, an anti-tax-cut statement supported by: ACORN; Alliance For Justice; the American Friends Service Committee; the Center for Community Change; the Center For Women’s Policy Studies; the Children’s Defense Fund; the Democratic Socialists of America; the Environmental Working Group; the League of United Latin American Citizens; the League of Women Voters; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy; the National Council of La Raza; the National Lawyers Guild; the National Organization for Women; the National Women’s Law Center; the Older Women’s League; Peace Action; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Planned Parenthood; Public Citizen; the Service Employees International Union; the United States Student Association; Veterans For Peace; and Women’s Action for New Directions.
CAFs co-founders (in addition to Borosage and Sweeney) and advisors include, among others: Peter Barnes of Redefining Progress/Working Assets; Ann Beaudry of People for the American Way; Mary Frances Berry, former Chairman of U.S. Civil Rights Commission; Susan Bianchi-Sand of the National Committee on Pay Equity; Julian Bond of the NAACP; Heather Booth, founder of the Midwest Academy; John Cavanagh of the Institute for Policy Studies; Jeff Cohen of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting; Mitchell Cohen, the co-editor of Dissent magazine; Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group; Barbara Ehrenreich, Honorary Chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America; Columbia School of Journalism professor Todd Gitlin; Heidi Hartmann, President of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research; longtime radical leftist Tom Hayden; Bullitt Foundation President Denis Hayes; former National Organization for Women President Patricia Ireland; Illinois congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.; Rev. Jesse Jackson; Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect; Harold Meyerson, Vice-Chairman of Democratic Socialists of America; former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich; Arlie Schardt, President of Environmental Media Services; Susan Shaer, Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions; Andrew Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union; John J. Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO; and Leslie R. Wolfe of the Center for Women Policy Studies. The late feminist icon Betty Friedan also served as an advisor to CAF.
A notable Senior Fellow for CAF is Rick Perlstein, a political commentator for the Village Voice.
CAF has received funding from George Soros, the Agnes Gund Foundation, the Arca Foundation, and the Rockefeller Family Fund.
In March 2008, CAF presented its Lifetime Leadership Award to Norman Lear, recognizing him for his work as both a groundbreaking television producer and an outspoken progressive activist and benefactor; for fighting the rising influence of the religious right in American politics; and for founding People for the American Way, an organization that has been a staunch critic of the right and a fierce defender of the principle that progressive Americans must have their faith and their patriotism acknowledged and respected. CAF also honored Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky for her advocacy in Congress.
At its March 2008 Take Back America conference in Washington, DC, CAF joined six fellow leftist organizations in announcing plans for the most expensive [$350 million] mobilization in history this election season an initiative that focused on voter registration, education, and get-out-the-vote drives. The other members of CAFs coalition included MoveOn.org, Rock the Vote, ACORN, the National Council of La Raza, the Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, and the AFL-CIO.
The perfidious socialists must be destroyed is America is to continue. Columbia University and the University of California at Berkley and Davis are encampments of enemies far more dangerous that that of Osama Bin Laden .
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