06/26/10

The Cloward – Piven Strategy – Eyewitness Account of Its Unveiling at Socialist Scholars Conference

By: Trevor Loudon
KeyWiki Blog

Many commentators on the U.S. left have tried to minimize the significance and importance of the Cloward-Piven Strategy, made famous by writer James Simpson and TV personality Glenn Beck.

According to Simpson and Beck, Columbia University sociologists, husband and wife team Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, devised a strategy in the early 1960s, to crash the U.S. economy and bring on socialist revolution by deliberately overloading state welfare rolls to the point of bankruptcy.

Many on the left regard this hypotheses as gross exaggeration at best, deliberate misrepresentation at worst.

Richard A. Cloward

Cloward and Piven outlined their strategy at the Second Annual Socialist Scholars Conference, held September 9-11, 1966 at the Hotel Commodore, New York, in a panel entitled;

“Poverty and Powerlessness Organizing the Poor: Can it Be Done?”

Below is an eye witness report on this historic panel written by conservative journalist Alice Widener – a highly regarded authority on the U.S. left of the day. The report appeared in USA Magazine, September 16, 1966 page 28 and 29.

Read it and judge for yourself Cloward and Piven’s intentions. Emphasis added.

Dr. Cloward’s paper for the Socialist Scholars opened with a call for a systematic strategy of “irregular and disruptive tactics” among the poor, urging them to overburden city and state governments with their “demand,” as a means of forcing these governments to turn to the federal government for more and more funds.

Prof. Cloward said, “We need, to devote more attention to disrupting corporate power.” He described the poor as mere “supplicants” in the welfare state, and said they have most to gain “from a major upheaval in our society.” He said our welfare system is “lawless” and violates human and civil rights. He called for welfare recipients’ forcing city welfare departments to impose the labor union “check-off system” for welfare clients, by withholding 50 cents to a dollar for each client as dues to a fund for unionization of welfare clients to impose their demands for special benefits.

Prof. Cloward explained that each welfare client in New York City is entitled under existing law to special benefits for clothing, blankets, etc. He said that in 1965 city special benefits welfare payments amounted to “about $40 per client” and he called for each welfare client to demand $100 to $1,000 in such benefits.

He said there are now 550,00 welfare clients in the city, but that by 1967 there probably will be 60,000. The poor, said Dr. Cloward, could become a stake and powerful organization “in small portions of power” within the context “of a broader point.”

Dr. Cloward said he had consulted with legal experts and “we estimate that $200 million in special grants” could be obtained in New York City alone: Dr. Cloward said that ‘in Cleveland, on June 20, 1966, 30 to 35 welfare recipients were joined by others in a demonstration that included the Hough area.

In early August, he said, he himself had taken part in “a national conference to organize the welfare recipients movement: Dr. Cloward said he personally had taken part in Wednesday night meetings with welfare clients “week after week, month after month,” and that as a result, “Next Monday there will be a demonstration of welfare recipients at City Hall.”

Dr. Cloward read his paper to the Socialist Scholars Conference in the East Ballroom of the Hotel Commodore on Saturday afternoon, September 10. On Monday night, September 12, CBS and NBC TV newscasts showed the demonstration of screaming welfare recipients that took place right on Cloward schedule. They shouted demands for more “special benefits,” though the present city general welfare budget (including hospital services, etc.) is almost a billion dollars annually, the Mayor says the city is “broke,” and New Yorkers were hit this year with a city income tax in addition to state and federal taxes to pay for it all.

Prof. Cloward was right about the success of his Wednesday night meetings. Evidently his strategy of “disruptive tactics” will require costly police reinforcements at city welfare departments throughout our nation.

The prospects delighted Prof. William Ryan, formerly of Harvard now of Yale, who described himself to the audience as “a radical without portfolio.” He said, “I have been enchanted with the Cloward strategy of blowing a fuse in the welfare agencies, housing developments, and among unmarried mothers. I wonder what would happen if there was a really systematic overload.”

When a member of the audience went to the floor microphone during the question period to ask whether Dr. Cloward’s strategy is a substitute for “Socialist organization of the proletariat, the industrial factory workers.” Dr. Frances Piven of Columbia replied from the dais: “I really only want to make one point-the disruption of the system. Welfare rolls will begin to go up; welfare payments will begin to go up – the impact will be very, very sharp. The mounting welfare budget will increase taxes, force cities to turn to the federal government. We have to help people to make claims; for this they will organize and act.”

The 1966 Socialist Scholars Conference was organized by many of the leading radicals of the day including former and current Communist Party supporters Louis Menashe, James Becker, Philip Foner, Eugene Genovese, Paul Sweezy and James Weinstein – later a founder of the Marxist based Democratic Socialists of America, in which today Frances Fox Piven serves as an honorary chair.

One time Soviet Spy and Communist Party member Victor Perlo, also addressed the conference, as did the Party’s chief theoretician Herbert Aptheker.

No doubt all were impressed by Cloward and Piven’s cunning plan.

06/26/10

Spychief – Canadian Politics Compromised by Foreign Power

By: Trevor Loudon
KeyWiki Blog

Richard Fadden

Ottawa’s spymaster, Richard Fadden, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, risked his career by declaring in an interview with state-run television that cabinet ministers in two provinces and municipal politicians in British Columbia are “under the control of foreign governments.” Fadden did not specify the two provincial governments. However, B.C. and Alberta, Canada’s two westernmost provinces, have aggressively pursued trade relations with the People’s Republic of China. In his comments to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Fadden stated:

These politicians haven’t hidden their ties to foreign governments, and recently they’ve been shifting their policy decisions to reflect those relationships. I have discussed this with Canada’s Privy Council, how best to tell those provincial governments, that they may have been comprised. There is no evidence that any federal politicians have been infiltrated.

A number of countries take the view that if they can develop influence with people relatively early in their careers they’ll follow them through. Before you know it, a country’s providing them with money, some sort of covert guidance.

Fadden declined to name the elected officials or hostile countries involved, but when probed further whether the People’s Republic of China was complicit, the CSIS director acknowledged that recent media reports on the PRC’s economic espionage in Canada were not “entirely incorrect.” The CBC report added that “at least five countries, including China and Middle Eastern countries, are recruiting political prospects in universities.”

Hat Tip: Once Upon a Time in West

06/26/10

Young Communists to Gather in Chicago – Plan to Counter Rightwing

By: Trevor Loudon
KeyWiki Blog

The Young Communist League USA is getting ready to plan their role in the 2010 midterm elections and beyond.

YCLUSA leaders, 2010

On July 17-18, in the city of Chicago, the Communist Party and the Young Communist League will hold a two day conference followed by a four day school on young people today. It’s a chance to discuss and examine the main characteristics of today’s young generation, and what economic-social-political have influenced them most. What’s new and emerging? What adjustments does the party have to make in organizing among young people? Why do young people need their own organization?

This conference/school follows on the heels of the very successful convention of the CPUSA, where many young people participated, sharing their experiences, helping to craft party policy and to build the YCL.

Youth played an extraordinary role in the 2008 elections. The vast majority supported change over the rightwing dominated status quo. The Obama campaign/movement ignited a new spirit of youth activism and brought record numbers of youth to the polls. The desire for change and the spirit of activism among youth continues today with the worsening conditions of life brought on by the economic crisis.

The movement for jobs has to also focus on the November midterm elections. The extreme right is trying to reverse the results won in the 2008 election. They want a Republican rightwing majority in the U.S. House and Senate. They want to set the stage for a defeat of Obama in 2012.

The CPUSA/YCL conference and school will examine how both organizations can work to defeat this extremely dangerous rightwing counter offensive.

Discussion topics at the school will include political economy, objective assessment of the Obama administration, the political balance of forces, the socialist perspective and the U.S., building unity and organizing at the grassroots for jobs and equality.

Despite its comparatively small size, the Young Communist League has considerable influence in United for Peace and Justice, student governments, “community organizations and Barack Obama‘s organizing for America.

During Barack Obama‘s 2004 Senate run, Chicago YCLers were active in Youth for Obama, the League also threw all its resources behind Obama in 2008.