Glenn Beck took a trip down memory lane Friday recalling the moment at which he finally “got” ACORN.
He showed footage from June when I was his in-studio guest. I had just mentioned that AmeriCorps, which was about to receive billions of dollars in federal funding, had previously been ensnared in an ACORN scandal.
Although it’s not obvious from the brief clip shown, that fact may have helped Beck understand the vastness of ACORN, its institutional support within the Obama administration, and the political culture that gave rise to it. To see the video clip, click on the image above.
ACORN, he reminded viewers, grew out of the radical left-wing welfare rights movement inÂ the tumultuous 1960s.
Founder Wade Rathke, who was charged with inciting violence in 1970 after a welfare rally he organized turned into a riot, had worked as a draft resistance organizer for the radical group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). SDS splintered over tactics, and one faction, the Weather Underground, was led by President Obamaâ€™s friend Bill Ayers.
Rathke was also an organizer for the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), a group whose members physically occupied welfare offices, intimidating social workers and insisting that they be given every government welfare dollar that the law â€œentitledâ€ them to. That group followed what has since been called the Cloward-Piven Strategy, named after sociologists Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward.
They defined a model of political and economic subversion that called upon activists to pack the welfare rolls to spread dependency, bankrupt the government, and cause uprisings against the capitalist system. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani blames the Cloward-Piven Strategy for pushing his city close to bankruptcy in 1975.