The ACORN founder wants to use the Internet to overthrow the capitalist system.
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) founder Wade Rathke wants to use the Internet to overthrow the capitalist system.
He said so in his new book, Citizen Wealth: Winning the Campaign to Save Working Families, in which he serves up some community organizing war stories, and offers his thoughts on the future of organizing.
Rathke, a pioneer of the so-called welfare rights movement that aims to get Americans on welfare, devotes an entire chapter of his book to what he calls “The ‘Maximum Eligible Participation’ Solution.” It is a strategy for orchestrated crisis that savvy leftist groups across America are likely to embrace.
“[I]t is hard to believe that we cannot assemble the troops to mount a campaign for maximum eligible participation that harvests the opportunities and dollars already available if we could achieve full utilization of existing programs,” he writes.
Rathke acknowledges his support for the Cloward-Piven Strategy, an approach to radical social and political change articulated by Marxist university professors Richard A. Cloward and Frances Fox Piven in a 1966 Nation article, “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty.” The two academics called for “a massive drive to recruit the poor onto the welfare rolls” in an effort to overwhelm the system. [Italics in original.]
The strategy helped to bankrupt New York City in 1975. Years later, the Big Apple’s mayor, Rudy Giuliani, denounced the academic activists by name.
In the Nation article, Cloward and Piven made it clear that they were irritated that plenty of Americans legally eligible to receive forcibly redistributed wealth hadn’t bothered to ask for handouts. “The discrepancy is not an accident stemming from bureaucratic inefficiency; rather, it is an integral feature of the welfare system which, if challenged, would precipitate a profound financial and political crisis.”
In his book Rathke hails “Cloward and Piven’s exciting call to arms.” He notes that the activist group they created and that he organized for in the late 1960s, the now-defunct National Welfare Rights Organization, caused “a flood tide from its work that allowed many boats to rise, including the level of participation in government assistance programs.”
In a new interview with DailyKos blogger Robert Ellman, Rathke complains bitterly that Americans are not getting all the government benefits to which they are legally entitled. (The podcast is available here.)
With one question, Ellman unwittingly lays bare the anti-social, profoundly un-American entitlement mentality that so many on the far left possess. The blogger asks if the “lack of participation” in food stamps, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), all of which many eligible people are not claiming, is “a failure of government, political will, or a culture that demonizes poor people?”
The unctuous Rathke, whom some have called a cult leader, doesn’t miss an opportunity to compliment his interviewer. “Once again you’ve hit the trifecta,” he says. “It’s really all three of those things.”
Rathke quotes approvingly from a New York Times op-ed by his fellow progressive poverty pimp, Barbara Ehrenreich, in which he says she does
a devastating job of looking at the fact that we’re still criminalizing poor people, requiring fingerprints in states like Florida and Texas and California. For even simple welfare applications and food stamp applications, we are going out of our way, and she quotes chapters and verse from various professors, to make it almost easier to do anything in the world other than get benefits that people are legally entitled to.
Incidentally, ACORN knows all about food stamps. Even though people on welfare shouldn’t be trying to buy homes, ACORN cajoled banks into accepting food stamps as income on mortgage applications and then bragged about it.
Returning to the interview, soon Rathke’s comments bring to mind the Will Rogers quip, “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.” Laying out a strategy for orchestrated crisis for the Information Age, Rathke says:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?