Occupy Wall Street’s ACORN Rent-A-Mobs
By Matthew Vadum
Evidence suggests that ACORN, the Left’s premiere astro-turfing organization, has been paying people to participate in the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Astro-turfing campaigns can generate big money, and ACORN’s lucrative protest-for-profit program is nothing new. As I note in my book, Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers, ACORN has acquired great expertise in manufacturing so-called grassroots protests.
Left-wing loan sharks Herb and Marion Sandler, the founders of World Savings Bank, gave ACORN affiliates close to $11 million to manufacture mobs to protest their competition in subprime mortgage lending. The United Federation of Teachers paid ACORN $500,000 to create a spontaneous uprising against charter schools in Manhattan.
The sleazy, SEIU-funded Working Families Party, a front group for ACORN, placed a want ad on the Craig’s List website dated Sept. 26. The ad indicates that WFP was recruiting activists to carry out “direct action,” leftist argot for a variety of activities aimed at forcing sociopolitical change. The line between direct action and violent terrorism can become blurry. Extreme forms of direct action can lead to bodily injury and sometimes death. The labor movement is no stranger to assault and killings. Left-wing activists David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin participated in an attack on an armored car that left two police officers and a security guard dead. Two anarchists tried to disrupt the 2008 GOP convention with Molotov cocktails. The eco-terrorist Sea Shepherd Conservation Society admits both to attacking whaling ships with acid and sinking them.
WFP’s ad is titled, “FIGHT TO HOLD WALLSTREET ACCOUNTABLE NOW! MAKE A DIFFERENCE GET PAID!” It states:
The WFP is seeking immediate hires.
You must be an energetic communicator, with a passion for social and economic justice.
Only outgoing, articulate dedicated, determined candidates will be considered for the positions.
For those candidates that qualify WFP offers substantial paid-training provided by senior leadership, on varied issues such as: advocacy, public speaking, mobilizing, fundraising, networking and organizing. We invest in passionate people with excellent communication skills and a full benefits package is offered to those candidates that qualify. In addition, there is opportunity for advancement and travel to our satellite chapters and out of state affiliates.
This is not a policy job! Through direct action you will be shaping NY state politics for the next 20 years.” [emphasis added]As previously reported, WFP has been involved in organizing the Occupy Wall Street protests since the beginning.
As radical journalist Laura Flanders reported, WFP organizer Nelini Stamp has “been here since day one and she is part of the organizing team and the outreach team that has managed to bridge the distance between that first day and this day and between the grassroots folks here and the labor movement.” Stamp said the protests are aimed at “trying to change the capitalist system” and bringing “revolutionary changes to the states.”
WFP organizer Matthew Cain also acknowledged the party’s involvement Oct. 5 and helpfully provided a photograph of party staffers bearing a blue and white WFP banner during a march in lower Manhattan. Across from Foley Square,
several WFP field staff were standing on the steps. For some of the staffers, it was their first time at the square, but for many others they had already spent nights sleeping in the park. Even those who have been there for two weeks or more have not seen their spirits diminished – they’re every bit as committed as they were when they first showed up.Of course WFP executive director Dan Cantor, a longtime ACORN operative, is pleased with Occupy Wall Street so far. Cantor told supporters in an email that “the spirit of Wisconsin and Tahrir Square is alive and well in New York City.”
Nowadays WFP goes to great lengths to try to convince onlookers that it is separate from ACORN, the disgraced Saul Alinsky-inspired activist group. The shell corporation that ran the 370-plus affiliate strong ACORN network filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last November, but its state chapters changed their names and continue to operate. The vote-manufacturing nonprofit Project Vote, which used to employ Barack Obama as an organizer, is still in business. So is ACORN Housing, which changed its name to Affordable Housing Centers for America.
But the Working Families Party is ACORN. The minor political party shares an office address with ACORN a mile away from the Brooklyn Bridge. Among the party’s co-founders are ACORN’s former national chief organizer, Bertha Lewis. Her former right-hand man, Democratic National Committee executive director Patrick Gaspard, formerly an SEIU 1199 official and Obama White House political director, also goes way back with the party.
WFP’s confusing, ACORN-like organizational structure has been known to frustrate even the most dedicated investigators, allowing the party to keep some distance from ACORN.
Through the party’s multiple arms WFP enjoys the “benefits of a political party (legitimacy in voters’ minds, ballot line), a non-profit (tax-exemptions, uncapped donation limits and tax deductions) and a for-profit (no disclosure requirements, ability to collect fees backed by taxpayer-supported matching funds from candidates),” notes Edward-Isaac Dovere of New York’s City Hall News.
The party has sister WFP-branded parties in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, South Carolina, and Vermont. Like ACORN, WFP advocates more government spending, higher taxes, universal government-run healthcare, campaign finance restrictions, free universal higher education, rent control, same-sex marriage, an immigration amnesty for illegal aliens, and “greening” the economy by creating heavily subsidized union jobs in the energy sector.
Meanwhile, new front groups created by ACORN are also deeply involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement. They include New York Communities for Change, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Action United (Pennsylvania), Organize Now (Florida), and New England United for Justice (Massachusetts).
The protests, which have spread to several large U.S. cities, are part of what ACORN’s neo-communist founder Wade Rathke calls an “anti-banking jihad.” ACORN allies are also involved in the protests, which aim to destabilize the nation’s financial system. SEIU board member Stephen Lerner said he wants to “bring down the stock market” through a campaign of disruption. He said last week that SEIU plans to terrorize bank executives at their homes.
With paid professional assistance from ACORN, Lerner’s work has become that much easier.
* * * * *
Americans need to know that ACORN is restructuring in time to help re-elect President Obama in 2012. Obama used to work for ACORN and represented the group in court as its lawyer. These radical leftists who use the brutal, in-your-face, pressure tactics of Saul Alinsky want to destroy America as we know it and will use any means to do it.
Buy my book Subversion Inc. at Amazon and in Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million bookstores. Visit the Subversion Inc. Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.