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the CLOWARD-PIVEN STRATEGY
leftist strategy for gaining control of society
[COMMENT: The more we know about Obama, the more
horrible is the prospect of his Presidency. The evidence from both his
past and present tells of a dishonest manipulator, who is bent on control
through deceit. He knows nothing at all of candor, honesty, or clarity.
And the American people elected him! That is the most horrible part
-- that We, the People, could buy such a bill of goods.
Thanks be to God he may be on his way out -- if the
Alan Keyes case led by Orley Taitz has anything
to do with it. And others in the wings.
America waits with bated breath while Washington struggles to
bring the U.S. economy back from the brink of disaster. But many of
those same politicians caused the crisis, and if left to their own
devices will do so again.
Despite the mass media news blackout, a series of books, talk
radio and the blogosphere have managed to expose Barack Obama’s
connections to his radical mentors —Weather Underground bombers William
Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis,
and others. David Horowitz and his Discover the Networks.org have also
contributed a wealth of information and have noted Obama’s radical
connections since the beginning.
Yet no one, to my knowledge, has connected all the dots between
Barack Obama and the radical left. When seen together, the influences on
Obama’s life comprise a Who’s Who
of the radical leftist movement, and it becomes painfully apparent that
not only is Obama a willing participant in that movement, he has spent
most of his adult life deeply immersed in it.
But even this doesn’t fully describe the extreme nature of
Obama. He can be tied directly to a malevolent overarching strategy that
has motivated many, if not all, of the most destructive radical leftist
organizations in the United States since the 1960s.
The Cloward-Piven Strategy
of Orchestrated Crisis
In earlier writings, I have noted the liberal record of
unmitigated legislative disasters, the latest of which is now being
played out in the financial markets before our eyes. Before the 1994
Republican takeover, Democrats had 60 years of virtually unbroken power
in Congress—with substantial majorities most of the time. Can a group of
smart people, studying issue after issue for years on end, with
virtually unlimited resources at their command, not come up with a
single policy that works? Why are they chronically incapable? Why?
two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unfathomable idiots,
who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of
contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions
and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit.
I submit to you they understand the consequences. For many it is
simply a practical matter of eliciting votes from a targeted
constituency at taxpayer expense; we lose a little, they gain a lot, and
the politician keeps his job. But for others, the goal is more
malevolent—the failure is deliberate.
Don’t laugh. This method not only has its proponents, it has a
name: the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It describes their agenda, their
tactics, and long-term strategy.
The Strategy was first elucidated in the May 2, 1966 issue of
magazine by a pair of radical socialist Columbia University professors,
Richard Andrew Cloward and Francis Fox Piven.
David Horowitz summarizes it as:
The strategy of
forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The “Cloward-Piven
Straegy” seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism with a flood of impossible
demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.
Cloward and Piven were inspired by radical organizer (and
Hillary Clinton advisor) Saul Alinsky:
“Make the enemy
live up to their (sic) own book of rules,” Alinsky wrote in his 1989 book
Rules for Radicals.
When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every
Judeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal
social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The systems 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. (Courtesy
Discover the Networks.org)
magazine rounds out the picture:
Their strategy to create political, financial and social chaos
that would result in revolution blended Alinsky’s concepts with their
more aggressive efforts at bringing about a change in U.S. government.
To achieve their revolutionary change, Cloward and Piven sought to use a
cadre of aggressive organizers assisted by friendly news media to force
a re-distribution of the nation’s wealth.
In their Nation
article, Cloward and Piven were specific about the kind of “crisis” they
were trying to create:
By crisis, we mean a publicly visible disruption in some
institutional sphere. Crises can occur spontaneously (e.g., riots) or as
the intended result of tactics of demonstration and protest which either
generate institutional disruption or bring unrecognized disruption to
No matter where the strategy is implemented, it shares the
1 – The offensive organizes previously unorganized groups
eligible for government benefits, but not currently receiving all they
2 – The offensive seeks to identify new beneficiaries and/or
create new benefits.
3 – The overarching aim is always to impose new stresses on
target systems, with the ultimate goal of forcing their collapse.
Capitalizing on the racial unrest of the 1960s, Cloward and
Piven saw the welfare system as their first target. They enlisted black
activist George Wiley, who created the National Welfare Reform
Organization (NWRO) to implement the strategy. Wiley hired militant foot
soldiers to storm welfare offices across the country, violently
demanding their “rights”. According to a City
Journal article by
Sol Stern, welfare rolls increased from 4.3 million to 10.8 million by
the mid-1970s as a result, and in New York City, where the strategy has
been particularly successful, “one person was on the welfare rolls… for
every two workers in the city’s private economy.”
According to another City Journal
article titled “Compassion Gone Mad”:
The movement’s impact on New York City was jolting: welfare
caseloads, already climbing 12 percent a year in the early Sixties, rose
by 50 percent during Lindsay’s first two years; spending doubled… the
city had 150,000 welfare cases in 1960; a decade later it had 1.5
The vast expansion of welfare in New York City that came of the
NWRO’s Cloward-Piven tactics sent the city into bankruptcy in 1975. Rudy
Giuliani cited Cloward and Piven by name as being responsible for “an
effort at economic sabotage.” He also credited Cloward-Piven with
changing the cultural attitude toward welfare from that of a temporary
expedient to a lifetime entitlement, an attitude which in-and-of-itself
has caused perhaps the greatest damage of all.
Cloward and Piven looked at this strategy as a gold mine of
opportunity. Within the newly organized groups, each offensive would
find a pool of foot soldier recruits willing to advance its radical
agenda toward welfare reform at little or no pay, and expand its base of
reliable voters—legal or otherwise.
The radicals’ threatening tactics would also
accrue an intimidating reputation, providing a wealth of opportunities
for extorting monetary and other concessions from the target
organizations. In the meantime, successful offensives would create an
every-increasing drag of society. As they gleefully observed:
Moreover, this kind of mass influence is cumulative because
benefits are continuous. Once eligibility for basic food and rent grants
is established, the drain on local resources persists indefinitely.
The next time you drive through one of the many blighted
neighborhoods in our cities; or read of the astronomical crime, drug
addiction and out-of-wedlock birth rates; or consider the failed
schools, strapped police and fire resources of every major city,
remember Cloward and Piven’s thrill that “the drain on local resources
ACORN, the new tip of the Cloward-Piven spear
In 1970, one of George Wiley’s protégés, Wade Rathke—like Bill
Ayers, a member of the radical Students for a Democratic Society
(SDS)—was sent to found the Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform
Now. While NWRO had made a good start, it alone couldn’t accomplish the
Cloward-Piven goals. Rathke’s group broadened the offensive to include a
wide array of low-income “rights”.
Shortly thereafter they changed “Arkansas” to
“Association of”, and ACORN went nationwide.
Today ACORN is involved in a wide array of activities, including
housing, voting rights, illegal immigration and other issues. According
to ACORN’s website: “ACORN is the nation’s largest grassroots community
organization of low- and moderate-income people, with over 400,000
members families organized into more than 1,299 neighborhood chapters in
110 cities across the country.”
It is perhaps the largest radical group in the
U.S., and has been cited for widespread criminal activity on many
On voting rights, ACORN and its voter mobilization subsidiary,
Project Vote, have been involved nationwide in efforts to grant felons
the vote, and lobbied heavily for the Motor Voter Act of 1993, a law
allowing people to register at motor vehicle departments, schools,
libraries and other public places. That law had been sought by Cloward
and Piven since the early 1980s, and they were present, standing behind
President Clinton at the signing ceremony.
ACORN’s voter rights tactics follow the Cloward-Piven Strategy:
1 – Register as many Democrat voters as possible, legal or
otherwise; and help them vote—multiple times, if possible.
2 – Overwhelm the system with fraudulent registrations, using
multiple entries of the same name, names of the deceased, random names
from the phone book, even contrived names.
3 – Make the system difficult to police by lobbying for minimal
In this effort, ACORN set up registration site all over the
country and has been frequently cited for turning in fraudulent
registrations, as well as destroying Republican applications. In the
2004-2006 election cycles alone, ACORN was accused of widespread fraud
in 12 states. It may have swung the election for one state governor.
ACORN’s website brags: “Since 2004, ACORN has helped more than
1.7 million low- and moderate-income and minority citizens apply to
register to vote.” Project Vote boasts 4 million. I wonder how many of
them are dead? For the 2008 cycle, ACORN and Project Vote pulled out all
the stops, giving a furious nationwide effort.
Barack Obama ran ACORN’s Project Vote in Chicago and his highly
successful voter registration drive was credited with getting the
disgraced former Senator Carol Mosley-Braun elected.
reiterates Cloward and Piven’s aspirations for ACORN’s voter
By advocating massive, no-hold-barred voter registration
campaigns, they [Cloward and Piven] sought a Democratic administration
in Washington, DC that would re-distribute the nation’s wealth and lead
to a totalitarian socialist state.
As I have written elsewhere, the radical left’s offensive to
promote illegal immigration is “Cloward-Piven on steroids”. ACORN is at
the forefront of this movement as well, and was a leading organization
among a broad coalition of radical groups, including [George] Soros’
Open Society Institute, the Service Employees’ International Union
(ACORN founder Wade Rathke also runs an SEIU chapter), and others that
became the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. CCIR
fortunately failed to gain passage for the 2007 illegal immigrant
amnesty bill, but its goals have not changed.
The burden of illegal immigration on our already over-stressed
welfare system has been widely documented. Some towns in California have
even been taken over by illegal immigrant drug cartels. The disease,
crime and overcrowding brought by illegal immigrants place a heavy
burden on every segment of society and every level of government,
threatening to split this country apart at the seams. In the meantime,
radical leftist efforts to grant illegal immigrants citizenship
guarantee a huge pool of new Democrat voters. With little border
control, terrorists can also filter in.
Obama aided ACORN as their lead attorney in a successful suit he
brought against the Illinois state government to implement the Motor
Voter law there. The law had been resisted by Republican governor Jim
Edgars, who feared the law was an opening to widespread vote fraud.
His fears were warranted as the Motor Voter law has since been
cited as a major opportunity for vote fraud, especially for illegal
immigrants, even terrorists. According to the Wall
“After 9/11, the Justice department found that eight of the 19 hijackers
were registered to vote…”
ACORN’s dual offensives on voting and illegal immigration are
handy complements. Both swell voter rolls with reliable Democrats while
assaulting the country ACORN seeks to destroy with overwhelming new
Now we have the mortgage crisis, which has sent a shock wave
through Wall Street and panicked world financial markets like no other
since the stock market crash of 1929. But this is a problem created in
Washington long ago. It originated with the Community Reinvestment Act
(CRA), signed into law in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter. The CRA was
Carter’s answer to a grassroots activist movement started in Chicago,
and forced banks to make loans to low-income, high-risk customers. PhD
economist and former Texas Senator Phil Gramm has called it “a vast
extortion scheme against the nation’s banks.”
ACORN actively sought to expand loans to low-income groups,
using the CRA as a whip. Economist Stan Liebowitz wrote in the
New York Post:
In the 1980s, groups such as the activists at ACORN began
pushing charges of “redlining”—claims that banks discriminated against
minorities in mortgage lending.
In 1989, sympathetic members of Congress got the
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act amended to force banks to collect racial
data on mortgage applicants; this allowed various studies to be ginned
up that seemed to validate the original accusation.
In fact, minority mortgage applications were rejected more
frequently than other applications—yet the overwhelming reason wasn’t
racial discrimination, but simply that minorities tend to have weaker
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. Obama represented ACORN in the Buycks-Roberson
v. Citibank Fed. Sav. Bank
1994 suit against redlining. 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 mortgage loans more aggressively. As the
New York Post
article describes it:
strengthening of the Community Reinvestment Act required banks to find ways
to provide mortgages to their poorer communities. It also let community
activists intervene at yearly bank reviews, shaking the banks down for large
pots of money.
Banks that got poor
reviews were punished; some saw their merger plans frustrated; others faced
direct legal challenges by the Justice Department.
Flexible lending programs expanded even though they had higher
default rates than loans with traditional standards. On the Web, you can
still find CRA loans available via ACORN with “100 percent financing… no
credit scores… undocumented income… even if you don’t report it on your
tax returns.” Credit counseling is required, of course.
Ironically, an enthusiastic Fannie Mae Foundation report singled
out one paragon of nondiscriminatory lending, which worked with
community activists and followed the “most flexible underwriting
criteria permitted.” That lender’s $1 billion commitment to low-income
loans in 1992 had grown to $80 billion by 1999, and $600 billion by
early 2003. The lender they were speaking of was Countrywide, which
specialized in subprime lending and had a working relationship with
ACORN. Investors’ Business Daily
The revision also allowed for the first time the securitization
of CRA-regulated loans containing subprime mortgages. The changes came
as radical “housing rights” groups led by ACORN lobbied for such loans.
ACORN at the time was represented by a young public-interest lawyer in
Chicago by the name of Barack Obama.
Since these loans were underwritten by government-sponsored
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the implicit government guarantee of those
loans absolved lenders, mortgage bundlers and investors of any concern
over the obvious risk. As Bloomberg reported: “It is a classic case of
socializing the risk while privatizing the profit.”
And if you think Washington’s policy makers cared about ACORN’s
negative influence, think again. Before this whole mess came down a
Democrat-sponsored bill on the table would have created an “Affordable
Housing Trust Fund”, granting ACORN access to approximately $500 million
in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac revenues with little or no oversight.
Even now, unbelievably—on the brink of national
disaster—Democrats have insisted ACORN benefit from bailout
negotiations! Senator Lindsay Graham reported on Sept. 25, 2008, in an
interview with Greta Van Susteren of Fox’s On the
Democrats wanted 20 percent of the bailout money to go to ACORN!
This entire fiasco represents perhaps the pinnacle of ACORN’s
efforts to advance the Cloward-Piven Strategy, and is a stark
demonstration of the power they wield in Washington.
Obama has spent a large portion of his professional life working
for ACORN or its subsidiaries, representing ACORN as a lawyer on some of
its most critical issues, and training ACORN leaders. Stanley Kurtz’s
excellent National Review
article, “Inside Obama’s Acorn” describes Obama’s ACORN connection in
detail. But I can’t improve on Obama’s own words:
“I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my
entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project
Vote’s voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the
middle of it, and we appreciate your work.” —Barack Obama speech to
ACORN, Nov. 2007 (courtesy Newsmax)
In another excellent article on Obama’s ACORN connection,
asks a nagging question:
It would be telling to know if Obama, during his years at
Columbia, had occasion to meet Cloward and study the Cloward-Piven
I ask you: Is it possible ACORN would train Obama to take
leadership positions within ACORN without telling him what he was
training for? Is it possible ACORN would put Obama in leadership
positions without clueing him in to what his purpose was? Is it possible
that this most radical of organizations would put someone in charge of
training its trainers, without him knowing what it was he was training
As a community activist for ACORN; as a leadership trainer for
ACORN’s Project Vote; as an attorney representing ACORN’s successful
efforts to impose Motor Voter regulations in Illinois; as ACORN’s
representative in lobbying for the expansion of high risk housing loans
through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that led to the current crisis; as a
recipient of their assistance in his political campaigns—both with money
and campaign workers—it is doubtful he was unaware of ACORN’s true
goals. It is doubtful he was unaware of the Cloward-Piven Strategy.
Fast-forward to 2005 when an obsequious, servile and scraping
David Mudd, CEO of Fannie Mae, spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus
swearing-in ceremony for newly elected Illinois Senator Barack Obama,
Mudd called the Congressional Black caucus “our family” and “the
conscience of Fannie Mae”.
In 2005, Republicans sought to reign in Fannie and Freddie.
Senator John McCain was at the forefront of that effort. But it failed,
due to an intense lobbying effort put forward by Fannie and Freddie.
In his few years as a U.S. Senator, Obama has received campaign
contributions of $126,349 from Fannie and Freddie, second only to the
$165,400 received by Senator Chris Dodd (Chair of the senate Banking
Committee), who has been getting donations from them since 1988. What
makes Obama so special?
His closest advisors are a dirty laundry list of individuals at
the heart of the financial crisis: former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson;
former Fannie Mae CEO and former Clinton budget director Frank Raines;
and billionaire failed Superior Bank of Chicago Board Chair Penny
Johnson had to step down as advisor on Obama’s VP search after
this gem came out:
An Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) report
from September 2004 found that during Johnson’s tenure as CEO, Fannie
Mae had improperly deferred $200 million in expenses. This enabled top
executives, including Johnson and his successor, Frank Raines, to
receive substantial bonuses in 1998. A 2006 OFHEO report found that
Fannie Mae had substantially under-reported Johnson’s compensation.
Originally reported as $6 to 7 million, Johnson actually received
approximately $21 million.
Obama denies ties to Raines, but the Washington Post calls him a
member of “Obama’s political circle”. Raines and Johnson were fined $3
million by the Office of Federal Housing Oversight for their
manipulation of Fannie books. The fine is small change, however, in
comparison to the $50 million Raines was able to obtain in improper
bonuses as a result of juggling the books.
More significantly, Penny Pritzker, the finance chairperson of
Obama’s presidential campaign, helped develop the complicated investment
bundling of subprime securities at the heart of the meltdown. She did so
in her position as shareholder and board chair of Superior Bank. The
Bank failed in 2001, one of the largest in recent history, wiping out
$50 million in uninsured life savings of approximately 1,400 customers.
She was named in a RICO class action lawsuit, but doesn’t seem to have
come out of it too badly.
As a young attorney in the 1990s Barack Obama represented ACORN
in Washington in their successful efforts to expand Community
Reinvestment Act (CRA) authority. In addition to making it easier for
ACORN groups to force banks into making risky loans, this also paved the
way for banks like Superior to package mortgages as investments, and for
government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac to underwrite
them. These changes created the conditions that ultimately led to the
current financial crisis.
Did they not know this would occur? Were these smart people, led
by a Harvard graduate, unaware of the Econ 101 concept of moral hazards
that would result from the government making implicit guarantees to
underwrite private-sector financial risk? They should have known that
freeing the high-risk mortgage market of risk, calamity was sure to
ensue. I think they did.
Barack Obama, the Cloward-Piven candidate, no matter how he
describes himself, has been a radial activist for most of his political
career. That activism has been in support or organizations and
initiatives that at their heart seek to tear the pillars of this nation
asunder in order to replace them with their demented socialist vision.
Their influence has spread so far and so wide that despite their blatant
culpability in the current financial crisis, they are able to manipulate
Capitol Hill politicians to cut them into $140 billion of the bailout
God grant those few responsible yet remaining is Washington, DC
the strength to prevent this massive fraud from occurring. God grant
them the courage to stand up in the face of this Marxist tidal wave.
© 2008 James Simpson; printed in the January 2009
Whistleblower magazine, published by
James Simpson is a former White House staff economist and budget
analyst. Hi writings have been published in
American Thinker, the
Washington Times, FrontPage
Soldier of Fortune and others.
His blog is Truth and Consequences
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Date Posted - 07/16/2009 - Date
Last Edited -