[COMM-ORG] How Health Reform Happened; Why ACORN Fell; Attack on Frances Piven

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Wed Mar 24 20:44:59 CDT 2010

How Health Reform Happened; Why ACORN Fell; Attack on Frances Piven
From: "Peter Dreier" <dreier at oxy.edu>

Friends and Colleagues:
Lessons from the Health Care Wars: There will be many books, 
dissertations, articles, and kitchen table conservations about how 
America reached today's landmark health care reform legislation.  The 
forthcoming May issue of The American Prospect has several articles 
about grassroots organizing in the Obama era, including mine, "Lessons 
from the Health Care Wars," focusing on the inside-outside strategy (and 
occasional tension) between the grassroots movement for reform (led by 
HCAN) and the Democrats in the White House and Congress that led to this 
historic moment. The May issue isn't on the magazine's website yet, but 
you can read my article here: 
Why ACORN Fell: ACORN, until recently the nation's largest community 
organizing group, just announced that it is closing up shop, following a 
relentless and misleading attack by Republicans and the right-wing echo 
chamber, exacerbated by one-sided coverage in the mainstream media. In 
an article, "Why ACORN Fell," in the Huffington Post today, John Atlas 
and I examine how it happened and, in particular, the role played by the 
New York Times in ACORN's demise. (We also point out that ACORN's legacy 
will continue through many state-level groups with ties to ACORN and in 
the many ACORN organizers who, over the years, have played key roles in 
a wide variety of progressive organizations and causes).  Here's the 
(I also recommend John's new book, Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, 
America's Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group. You 
can order it from the publisher, Vanderbilt University Press.  
The Right's Conspiracy Theory Attack on Frances Fox Piven: If you 
believe Glenn Beck, the Tea Party lunatics, Rush Limbaugh, and their 
ilk, ACORN is part of a vast left-wing conspiracy and sociologist 
Frances Fox Piven is the Marxist Machiavelli whose 1966 article in The 
Nation (written with Richard Cloward) still serves as the blueprint for 
a radical takeover of American society, including Barack Obama's 
"socialist" administration. This growing attack on Piven, an eminent 
scholar and activist, was a centerpiece of Joseph Farah's keynote speech 
at the recent Tea Party convention in Nashville. And it has been 
escalated by yet another right-wing "gotcha" journalist, Kyle Olson, who 
interviewed Piven under false pretenses and posted bits of that 
interview on the conservative BigGovernment website. My expose' of 
Olson's "gotcha"  interview with Piven, and my analysis of the Right's 
paranoid conspiracy theory about the "Cloward-Piven strategy" can be 
found in an article posted today on the American Prospect website: 
A longer version is posted on today's Huffington Post:  
Peter Dreier
Peter Dreier
Dr. E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics
Chair, Urban & Environmental Policy Program
Occidental College
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Phone: (323) 259-2913
FAX: (323) 259-2734
Website: http://employees.oxy.edu/dreier
"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great 
moral crises maintain their neutrality" - Dante

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