The Spectacle Blog

ACORN International Changes Its Name. Why?

By on 6.22.09 | 9:21PM

ACORN may be about to embark on a huge rebranding effort in order to reinvent itself.

As I told the Washington Times, the revelation that disgraced ACORN founder Wade Rathke has renamed ACORN International, which is ACORN's international consultancy, is a sign that Rathke is trying to dissociate the ACORN affiliate from the oceans of bad ink ACORN has received in the U.S. over the last year.

There's no point in reinventing the wheel so to speak, so I'll just quote myself (which I confess feels a little weird).

"The brand is tarnished and he doesn't want to be associated with ACORN because of all the problems that he is, ironically, largely responsibly for," the Washington Times quoted me saying. "He just wants to keep up his community organizing without being burdened by the bad public relations."

The new name for the international affiliate is Community Organizations International. 

"This may indeed be the beginning of an ACORN network-wide rebranding, but a rotten ACORN by any other name still stinks," Newsmax quoted me saying.

Newsmax reported that I described ACORN International as "a nonprofit group that aspires to spread the gospel of [radical community organizer] Saul Alinsky across the globe."

Something about this rebranding-in-progress --if that's what it really is-- doesn't seem right, though.

As I noted earlier today, ACORN is suing whistleblower Anita MonCrief to shut her up. ACORN also sent a cease-and-desist letter to the reformers of the ACORN 8 in order to bully them into silence.

It doesn't make sense to use up legal resources on these activities if the ACORN network is preparing to change its name in an effort to improve its image. It could be the case that Rathke himself, who was forced out as chief organizer of ACORN last year after officials learned he covered up his brother's $1 million embezzlement for eight years, took the initiative all by himself. 

It could also be the case that ACORN is serious about protecting its property, including its ACORN trademark (as it claims in the lawsuit against MonCrief and the letter to ACORN 8) and told Rathke in no uncertain terms that he couldn't use it anymore.

Time will tell.

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