In the 20th century, Columbia University had produced or hosted some interesting people and organizations.
In an older blog, I wrote about The Frankfurt School which, in 1934 had to relocate from Frankfurt, Germany to Columbia University in New York City, due to the rise of Nazism and Hitler.
The Frankfurt School was formed by a group of Jewish academicians who were followers of Marx. They refashioned Marx’ theories of revolution and married it to the psychological practices of Freud. They stayed at Columbia until the early 1950’s and all but Herbert Marcuse, returned to Europe. He stayed and taught political theory at Columbia, Harvard and Brandeis Universities until 1965. He finished his teaching career at UC San Diego. A self avowed Marxist, he was a popular speaker at student descendent gatherings in the 1960’s and is well known as the father of the New Left.
Add to the list of the illustrious from Columbia, Richard Cloward and Frances Piven. Anyone who listens to Glenn Beck has heard of these two sociologists who developed the Cloward-Piven Strategy, a way to collapse capitalism by overloading the system (government bureaucracy) and pushing it into economic collapse. This was called the “crisis strategy” (remember Rahm’s great line- never let a good crisis go to waste?) and charged that the wealthy were using welfare to oppress the poor. Cloward and Priven said that activists should work to create chaos and overload the welfare system by increasing its rolls. This would cause a political and financial collapse and then the poor would rise up in revolt.
By showing the inadequacy of the welfare state – which could never withstand the onslaught of numbers who inundated it’s offices – many activists looked to Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals as a “primer.”
“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 great con was this: disguise the movement with the false front of helping the poor, enlist them as the front line soldiers (or useful idiots) to overwhelm the system with demands that the government could in no way meet which would then throw the system (government) into crisis. Once the government crashed (financially and politically) it was fertile ground for revolution and socialist takeover.
It worked in New York City.
“By the 1970’s, one person was on the welfare rolls… for every two working in the city’s private economy. The city declared bankruptcy in 1975 and nearly took the entire state with it.” The Cloward-Priven theory had been proven. Although virtually unknown to most Americans, Rudy Giuliani knew who and what they were and called them out by name. In a speech in 1997 he said “This wasn’t an accident. 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 on welfare.”
Returning to Chicago in 1992 after law school, Barack Obama, 30, headed Project Vote! raising Black voter turnout from an all-time low to an all-time high for the November election. How? By training 700 deputy registrars, recruiting Black PR firms and radio stations to spread the slogan, “It’s a power thing,” raising funds from unions, and raising the spirits of Black people devastated by the death of Mayor Harold Washington, who, as one observer noted, were “eager to have a say again, to feel they counted.” “I think it’s fair to say we reinvigorated a slumbering constituency,” said Obama. (San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper. 2/29/2009)
But where it gets most interesting and relative to today is how ACORN and Project Vote developed from and used the strategies of Cloward-Piven. ACORN and it’s secondary organization, Project Vote campaigned for the Motor-Voter law, which Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993. The Motor-Voter law, again, overwhelmed the system by massive registration drives which resulted in voter fraud (again, how many states have begun indicting ACORN?), intimidation (the Black Panthers in PA) and charges of racism.
“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 World countries.”
As evidenced by the photo above, in 1992, Barack Obama was an organizer for Project Vote.