First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University
sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, the "Cloward-Piven
Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government
bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis
and economic collapse.
Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the black district of
Watts in Los Angeles (which erupted after police had used batons to subdue a
black man suspected of drunk driving), Cloward and Piven published an article
titled "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty" in the May 2, 1966
issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented
30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called "crisis strategy" or "Cloward-Piven
Strategy," as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.
In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the
ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social
safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only
when "the rest of society is afraid of them," Cloward told The New York Times on
September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs,
wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the
welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and
financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt;
only then would "the rest of society" accept their demands.
The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the
inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven's early promoters cited radical
organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. "Make the enemy live up to their
(sic) own book of rules," Alinsky wrote in his 1972 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian
moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human
agencies inevitably fall short. The system's failure to "live up" to its rule
book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist
"rule book" with a socialist one.
The authors noted that the number of Americans subsisting
on welfare -- about 8 million, at the time -- probably represented less than
half the number who were technically eligible for full benefits. They proposed a
"massive drive to recruit the poor onto the welfare rolls." Cloward and Piven
calculated that persuading even a fraction of potential welfare recipients to
demand their entitlements would bankrupt the system. The result, they predicted,
would be "a profound financial and political crisis" that would unleash
"powerful forces … for major economic reform at the national level."
Their article called for "cadres of aggressive organizers"
to use "demonstrations to create a climate of militancy." Intimidated by threats
of black violence, politicians would appeal to the federal government for help. Carefully orchestrated media campaigns, carried out by friendly, leftwing
journalists, would float the idea of "a federal program of income
redistribution," in the form of a guaranteed living income for all -- working
and non-working people alike. Local officials would clutch at this idea like
drowning men to a lifeline. They would apply pressure on Washington to implement
it. With every major city erupting into chaos, Washington would have to act. This was an example of what are commonly called Trojan Horse movements -- mass
movements whose outward purpose seems to be providing material help to the
downtrodden, but whose real objective is to draft poor people into service as
revolutionary foot soldiers; to mobilize poor people en masse to overwhelm
government agencies with a flood of demands beyond the capacity of those
agencies to meet. The flood of demands was calculated to break the budget, jam
the bureaucratic gears into gridlock, and bring the system crashing down. Fear,
turmoil, violence and economic collapse would accompany such a breakdown --
providing perfect conditions for fostering radical change. That was the theory.
Cloward and Piven recruited a militant black organizer
named George Wiley to lead their new movement. In the summer of 1967, Wiley
founded the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO). His tactics closely
followed the recommendations set out in Cloward and Piven's article. His
followers invaded welfare offices across the United States -- often violently --
bullying social workers and loudly demanding every penny to which the law
"entitled" them. By 1969, NWRO claimed a dues-paying membership of 22,500
families, with 523 chapters across the nation.
Regarding Wiley's tactics, The New York Times commented on
September 27, 1970, "There have been sit-ins in legislative chambers, including
a United States Senate committee hearing, mass demonstrations of several
thousand welfare recipients, school boycotts, picket lines, mounted police, tear
gas, arrests -- and, on occasion, rock-throwing, smashed glass doors, overturned
desks, scattered papers and ripped-out phones. "These methods proved effective. "The flooding succeeded beyond Wiley's wildest dreams," writes Sol Stern in the
City Journal. "From 1965 to 1974, the number of single-parent households on
welfare soared from 4.3 million to 10.8 million, despite mostly flush economic
times. By the early 1970s, one person was on the welfare rolls in New York City
for every two working in the city's private economy." As a direct result of its
massive welfare spending, New York City was forced to declare bankruptcy in
1975. The entire state of New York nearly went down with it. The Cloward-Piven
strategy had proved its effectiveness.
The Cloward-Piven strategy depended on surprise. Once
society recovered from the initial shock, the backlash began. New York's welfare
crisis horrified America, giving rise to a reform movement which culminated in
"the end of welfare as we know it" -- the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work
Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which imposed time limits on federal welfare,
along with strict eligibility and work requirements. Both Cloward and Piven
attended the White House signing of the bill as guests of President Clinton.
Most Americans to this day have never heard of Cloward and
Piven. But New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attempted to expose them in the
late 1990s. As his drive for welfare reform gained momentum, Giuliani accused
the militant scholars by name, citing their 1966 manifesto as evidence that they
had engaged in deliberate economic sabotage. "This wasn't an accident," Giuliani
charged in a 1997 speech. "It wasn't an atmospheric thing, it wasn't
supernatural. This is the result of policies and programs designed to have the
maximum number of people get on welfare."
Cloward and Piven never again revealed their intentions as
candidly as they had in their 1966 article. Even so, their activism in
subsequent years continued to rely on the tactic of overloading the system. When
the public caught on to their welfare scheme, Cloward and Piven simply moved on,
applying pressure to other sectors of the bureaucracy, wherever they detected
In 1982, partisans of the Cloward-Piven strategy founded a
new "voting rights movement," which purported to take up the unfinished work of
the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Like ACORN, the organization that spear-headed
this campaign, the new "voting rights" movement was led by veterans of George
Wiley's welfare rights crusade. Its flagship organizations were Project Vote and
Human SERVE, both founded in 1982. Project Vote is an ACORN front group,
launched by former NWRO organizer and ACORN co-founder Zach Polett. Human SERVE
was founded by Richard A. Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, along with a former
NWRO organizer named Hulbert James.
All three of these organizations -- ACORN, Project Vote and
Human SERVE -- set to work lobbying energetically for the so-called Motor-Voter
law, which Bill Clinton ultimately signed in 1993. The Motor-Voter bill is
largely responsible for swamping the voter rolls with "dead wood" -- invalid
registrations signed in the name of deceased, ineligible or non-existent people
-- thus opening the door to the unprecedented levels of voter fraud and "voter
disenfranchisement" claims that followed in subsequent elections.
The new "voting rights" coalition combines mass voter
registration drives -- typically featuring high levels of fraud -- with
systematic intimidation of election officials in the form of frivolous lawsuits,
unfounded charges of "racism" and "disenfranchisement," and "direct action"
(street protests, violent or otherwise). Just as they swamped America's welfare
offices in the 1960s, Cloward-Piven devotees now seek to overwhelm the nation's
understaffed and poorly policed electoral system. Their tactics set the stage
for the Florida recount crisis of 2000, and have introduced a level of fear,
tension and foreboding to U.S. elections heretofore encountered mainly in Third
Both the Living Wage and Voting Rights movements depend
heavily on financial support from George Soros's Open Society Institute and his
"Shadow Party," through whose support the Cloward-Piven strategy continues to
provide a blueprint for some of the Left's most ambitious campaigns.
Barack Obama returns to Washington next week
(9/6/2009) in search of one thing
that can revive his health-care overhaul:
a sense of crisis.
Facing polls showing a drop in his
approval, diminished support from independents, factions within his
Democratic Party and a united Republican opposition, Obama must
recapture the sense of urgency that led to passage of the economic
rescue package in February, analysts said.
"At the moment,
except for the people without insurance, we’re not in a health-care
crisis," said Stephen Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown
University in Washington. "You do need a crisis to generate
movement in Congress and to help build a consensus."
"You do need
If you don't happen to have a real one -- invent
Remember what Rahm Emanuel
said last November -- "You never want a serious crisis to go to
waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you
think you could not do before."
Everything with these people is a
crisis -- and it's no accident.
This bunch are all proponents of
the Cloward-Piven Strategy of Manufactured Crisis.
in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew
Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, the "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to
hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy
with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and
Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the
black district of Watts in Los Angeles (which erupted after police had
used batons to subdue a black man suspected of drunk driving), Cloward
and Piven published an article titled "The Weight of the Poor: A
Strategy to End Poverty" in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation.
Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000
reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called "crisis strategy" or
"Cloward-Piven Strategy," as it came to be called. Many were eager
to put it into effect.
In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven
charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by
providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion.
Poor people can advance only when "the rest of society is afraid of
them," Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather
than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and
Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system;
the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial
crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt;
only then would "the rest of society" accept their demands.
key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the
welfare state. Cloward-Piven's early promoters cited radical organizer
Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. "Make the enemy live up to their
(sic) own book of rules," Alinsky wrote in his 1972 book Rules for
Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute,
every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the
liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The
system's failure to "live up" to its rule book can then be used to
discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist "rule book" with
a socialist one.
coincidence: Cloward and Piven were teaching their methodology at
Columbia in 1981 through 1983 -- it would be interesting to see Obama's
Columbia College records.
Unfortunately, the Obamamessiah doesn't
believe we peons are entitled to that information.
The Crisis Creators
The American electorate has watched in amazement for a year as Obama
has created unprecedented havoc and outrage throughout the nation.
And yet, the actual result of 2009's non-stop crises has been not
just the dramatic transfer of wealth and power away from citizens and
small businesses and into the hands of government, but also the
beginnings of a profound transformation of America's economic and
Is it possible that Obama is intentionally
creating crises for the purpose of converting America into a
full-fledged socialist state? To many, such a conclusion sounds
like an absurd conspiracy theory, but for those knowledgeable about the
modern history of the radical left, creating crises is simply how things
Indeed, in one of its most powerful issues ever, the
January 2010 edition of Whistleblower magazine -- titled "The
Crisis Creators" -- documents conclusively that the Obama
administration's primary modus operandi of governance is the
transformation of America through wreaking havoc. Following the
classic radical-left strategy of the
manufactured crisis, Obama and Congress are creating crises in every
area of life and policy.
They're wreaking havoc throughout
America's capitalist, free-enterprise system by taking over major
industries like banking, auto and healthcare. And by multiplying
the national debt so astronomically that the only mathematically
possible way to pay it off is with the printing press, which translates
directly into the "grand theft" of Americans' hard-earned wealth through
But it not just the economy. They're
wreaking havoc also on America's national security, prosecuting U.S.
soldiers for being too rough on terrorists, but rewarding confessed 9/11
mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with a civilian trial in New York City
and affording him all the powerful legal rights of an American citizen.
And by badmouthing and apologizing for America overseas and bowing
before Muslim kings, while scandalously snubbing leaders of America's
few remaining allies like the U.K. and Israel.
crises in the nation's energy policy by stubbornly adhering to the
controversial and now utterly discredited "global warming" theory and
pursuing economically catastrophic legislation like "cap and trade."
They're creating havoc in education by putting radical homosexual
activist Kevin Jennings, notorious for sexually corrupting children, in
charge of the safety of the nation's public schools.
area imaginable, as "The Crisis Creators" documents, Obama is busily
engaged in undermining and destroying the nation's key institutions --
or as Obama himself euphemistically put it a few days before being
elected president, "We are five days away from fundamentally
transforming the United States of America."
"For the last year,"
says Whistleblower Editor David Kupelian, "we've had it relentlessly
hammered into our heads that America will self-destruct economically if
we don't solve our cataclysmic healthcare crisis. But in reality,
there is no healthcare crisis. We have the best medical services
delivery system in world history. What about the poor and
uninsured? In America, you can be an
escaped-convict-illegal-alien-child-rapist, but if you get hurt and go
to a public hospital, you will by law be taken care of, completely and
totally, whether you can pay for it or not. That's not a broken
system; that's the most magnificent system in the world."
course, the government could easily create a simple safety net to help
the small percentage of Americans who don't have health insurance,"
added Kupelian. "But they've never been interested in that.
They're interested only in creating the illusion of a systemic and fatal
healthcare crisis as a means of forcing socialism down free Americans'
"And that's just one example. Manufacturing
crises to force 'change' is how the radical left has operated for
decades, and now that Obama, Pelosi and Reid are in power, fake crises
and their terrible 'solutions' dominate life in America."
Obama's Agenda: Overwhelm The System
Rahm Emanuel cynically said, "You never want a
crisis to go to waste." It is now becoming clear that the crisis
he was referring to is Barack Obama's presidency.
Obama is no
fool. He is not incompetent. To the contrary, he is
brilliant. He knows exactly what he's doing. He is purposely
overwhelming the U.S. economy to create systemic failure, economic
crisis and social chaos -- thereby destroying capitalism and our country
Wayne Allen Root
says Barack Obama is my college classmate (Columbia University,
class of '83). As Glenn Beck correctly predicted from day one,
Obama is following the plan of
Piven, two professors at Columbia University. They outlined a
plan to socialize America by overwhelming the system with government
spending and entitlement demands. Add up the clues below.
Taken individually they're alarming. Taken as a whole, it is a
brilliant, Machiavellian game plan to turn the United States into a
socialist/Marxist state with a permanent majority that desperately needs
government for survival ... and can be counted on to always vote for
bigger government. Why not? They have no responsibility to
pay for it.
-- Universal health care. The health care
bill had very little to do with health care. It had everything
to do with unionizing millions of hospital and health care workers,
as well as adding 15,000 to 20,000 new IRS agents (who will join
government employee unions). Obama doesn't care that giving
free health care to 30 million Americans will add trillions to the
national debt. What he does care about is that it cements the
dependence of those 30 million voters to Democrats and big
government. Who but a socialist revolutionary would pass this
reckless spending bill in the middle of a depression?
and trade. Like health care legislation having nothing to do
with health care, cap and trade has nothing to do with global
warming. It has everything to do with redistribution of
income, government control of the economy and a criminal payoff to
Obama's biggest contributors. Those powerful and wealthy
unions and contributors (like GE, which owns NBC, MSNBC and CNBC)
can then be counted on to support everything Obama wants. They
will kick-back hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions to
Obama and the Democratic Party to keep them in power. The
bonus is that all the new taxes on Americans with bigger cars,
bigger homes and businesses helps Obama "spread the wealth around."
-- Make Puerto Rico a state. Why? Who's asking for a
51st state? Who's asking for millions of new welfare
recipients and government entitlement addicts in the middle of a
depression? Certainly not American taxpayers. But this
has been Obama's plan all along. His goal is to add two new
Democrat senators, five Democrat congressman and a million loyal
Democratic voters who are dependent on big government.
Legalize 12 million illegal immigrants. Just giving these 12
million potential new citizens free health care alone could
overwhelm the system and bankrupt America. But it adds 12
million reliable new Democrat voters who can be counted on to
support big government. Add another few trillion dollars in
welfare, aid to dependent children, food stamps, free medical,
education, tax credits for the poor, and eventually Social Security.
-- Stimulus and bailouts. Where did all that money go?
It went to Democrat contributors, organizations (ACORN), and unions
-- including billions of dollars to save or create jobs of
government employees across the country. It went to save GM
and Chrysler so that their employees could keep paying union dues.
It went to AIG so that Goldman Sachs could be bailed out (after
giving Obama almost $1 million in contributions). A staggering
$125 billion went to teachers (thereby protecting their union dues).
All those public employees will vote loyally Democrat to protect
their bloated salaries and pensions that are bankrupting America.
The country goes broke, future generations face a bleak future, but
Obama, the Democrat Party, government, and the unions grow more
powerful. The ends justify the means.
-- Raise taxes on
small business owners, high-income earners, and job creators.
Put the entire burden on only the top 20 percent of taxpayers,
redistribute the income, punish success, and reward those who did
nothing to deserve it (except vote for Obama). Reagan wanted
to dramatically cut taxes in order to starve the government.
Obama wants to dramatically raise taxes to starve his political
With the acts outlined above, Obama and his regime
have created a vast and rapidly expanding constituency of voters
dependent on big government; a vast privileged class of public employees
who work for big government; and a government dedicated to destroying
capitalism and installing themselves as socialist rulers by overwhelming
Add it up and you've got the perfect Marxist scheme
-- all devised by my Columbia University college classmate, Barack Obama.
Cloward and Piven -- In Their Own Words
Obama's Columbia professors, 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?"
Read this 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 Widener's
USA Magazine, September 16, 1966 page 28 and 29.
Read it and
judge for yourself Cloward and Piven's intentions:
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 "demands" 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.
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 55,000
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
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"
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.
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
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."