From Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers, by Matthew Vadum (WND Books):
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is part political group, part crime syndicate, part terrorist organization. Much of the time it operates outside the legitimate political process, waging war against the framework of society. ACORN is in the business of subverting the American system, so what Americans saw on the undercover “pimp and pro” videos released in 2009 was just another day at the office at ACORN.
But the darkest side of ACORN has remained largely unexplored – until now.
ACORN, which until it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last year was America’s largest poor people’s group, was founded on political violence and intimidation.
ACORN grew out of another notorious group called the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO). NWRO was founded in 1966—the same year Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven’s seminal article “The Weight of the Poor” was published in the far-left Nation magazine. The so-called Cloward-Piven Strategy called for activists to double America’s welfare rolls in order to destabilize the American system of government. Placing impossible demands on states and localities would force them to ask Congress for a guaranteed annual income scheme and thereby set in motion the transformation of America into a socialist state.
NWRO grew out of the organizing efforts of Rules for Radicals author Saul Alinsky and other veteran radical agitators. Cloward and Piven also helped bring NWRO into the world. They acknowledge they “were intimately involved in the affairs of NWRO: we participated in discussions of strategy, in fund-raising efforts, and in demonstrations.”
In the late 1960s Wade Rathke signed on as an organizer for NWRO’s chapter in Springfield, Mass. A few months after arriving in Springfield, Rathke had built up a local empire of activism. He constructed an influential welfare rights organization consisting of 20 neighborhood groups with a combined membership of more than 2,000. The Springfield chapter of NWRO secured millions of dollars from the local welfare agency and encouraged hundreds of non-members to seek welfare benefits.
NWRO was also doing its best to swamp welfare departments nationwide. Between December 1960 and February 1969 the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) welfare program had grown 107 percent but in the 15-month period from February 1969 through October 1970 the program grew a staggering 55 percent as an extra 1.5 million families joined the rolls.
Rathke was arrested after he led an invasion of the Springfield welfare office with 250 or more women and students armed with signs reading “More for the poor, less for the war.” The welfare director refused to give in to the crowd’s demands for winter clothing, benefits to which they were not entitled.
That provoked two days of unrest in which millions of dollars of property was destroyed. The Soviet government used Rathke’s riot as anti-American propaganda, publishing an article about it in Pravda. Rathke’s experiences “reinforced his belief that one important resource for poor people was their ability to disrupt.” He realized that despite the failure of the action to achieve its objective, his followers felt empowered by violence directed against the system.
This empowerment by rioting became a staple of ACORN’s playbook.
Over time Rathke came to agree with Alinsky that single-issue organizations were doomed to fail. He felt a multi-pronged approach was needed to radically transform the nation. Rathke moved to Little Rock, Ark., and got down to work trying to turn the Natural State upside-down. ACORN was born with the irretrievably corrupt Rathke in place as its chief organizer, a position he was to hold for just shy of four decades.
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