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The PJ Tatler

by
Michelle Horstman

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May 11, 2012 - 12:23 pm
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In fact, George accomplished quite a bit, using the Cloward and Piven tactics of the day. He started the National Welfare Rights Organization, which later inspired the founding of ACORN:

Under the influence of two Columbia University School of Social Work professors, Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Wiley sought to promote racial justice by providing economic opportunities for the poor. In June 1966, he organized several demonstrations that led to the formation of the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO).

Steven Malanga wrote more about this in a 2006 Wall Street Journal piece:

Acorn’s roots are in the National Welfare Rights Organization, whose leader, George Wiley, believed he could use poor, unwed mothers to foment a revolution. The NWRO agitated for unlimited welfare benefits for those mothers and persuaded many urban politicians to loosen welfare eligibility requirements. This led to a more-than doubling of the welfare roles and strained local budgets. Wiley hoped to persuade the federal government to come to the rescue with massive aid. Instead NWRO’s strategy prompted a backlash against “welfare mothers” and politicians in free-spending cities like New York.

When Wiley’s welfare strategy reached a dead end he moved on to other ventures, including sending some of his troops to form a new community organization in Arkansas, infused with the same radicalism. It was a brilliant stroke: By the early ’70s billions of dollars in federal and state aid was streaming to these local groups, spurred by Republicans in Washington who reasoned that it was better to fund nonprofits than create giant federal bureaucracies to run burgeoning antipoverty programs. Little did the GOP understand that the money would finance a nationwide network of organizations that for decades have mobilized urban residents against the party’s candidates and agenda.

Clearly, Maya has a family heritage of radical revolution as well as her own vast amount of experience with the strongest progressive political machines of today. What better choice for instruction (or should we say “destruction”) could the Democratic Party ask for?

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