Monday 28th September 2020

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Overwhelm And Conquer

September 7, 2020 Frontpage No Comments

By DEACON MIKE MANNO, JD

The maxim “divide and conquer” was used throughout antiquity and up to our present day by generals, kings, war lords, and politicians to achieve their goals, both near term as well as long term.
You can see it best, I think, in political rhetoric. And while both sides use the concept to some extent, the best examples come from the Progressive Left. We are all being divided into our little niche sub-groups, either to placate or to demonize.
Unfortunately, over time we have lost the sense of an overarching unity that transcends all of that, with each side playing to its own base of niche groups, railing against the other side’s groups in order to gain power.
That everybody knows.
But something else is happening these days which may not be as familiar to most folks. It’s a twist on the old divide and conquer theme which is being used today not just to win an election, to oust the hated Orange Man, but to turn the country into something that is antithetical to our founding, history, and heritage. It is “overwhelm and conquer.”
In 1966 two members of the Democratic Socialists of America, Columbia University sociologists Richard Cloward and his wife, Frances Fox Piven, articulated something known as the “Cloward-Piven Strategy,” which sought to quicken the fall of capitalism by overloading the government with a flood of impossible demands that would — it was hoped — push society into crisis and economic collapse.
Basing much of their theory on the work of the socialist community organizer Saul Alinsky, the pair argued, “Make the enemy [government] live up to its own book of rules.”
The pair started with the welfare system. They argued that it was being manipulated to weaken the poor who could only advance when “the rest of society is afraid of them.” The welfare program provided a safety net which calmed anxieties and placated the poor.
Activists should work to sabotage the welfare system, they urged, so it would collapse, sparking a rebellion among the poor to which the government must respond. The aim, of course, was, among other things, a guaranteed living wage and redistribution of wealth.
To effectuate their program they outlined their strategy at the 1966 Socialists Scholars Conference. The following year the National Welfare Rights Organization was founded which began to use the tactics Cloward and Piven had outlined in which poor and minorities were urged to seek all the benefits allowable under law. The idea was to overwhelm the system, using tactics like relaxing welfare rules, such as the elimination of work or job requirements, which would lead to economic collapse.
Organizers used sit-ins, mass demonstrations, school boycotts, picket lines, and riotous behaviors to gain legislative and court victories. Despite good economic times, welfare rolls jumped over 200 percent; in New York City alone for every two working persons, there was now one on welfare. Although the guaranteed living wage was not achieved, the tens of billions of dollars in welfare entitlements came close to sinking the economy, just as Cloward and Piven had predicted, and was partly responsible for the bankruptcy of New York City in 1975.
Piven later commented in a 2011 article for the Nation magazine: “Before people can mobilize for collective action, they have to develop a proud and angry identity and a set of claims that go with that identity. They have to go from being hurt and ashamed to being angry and indignant.”
After the attempt to scuttle the economy by trying to overload the welfare system, “Cloward and Piven moved to other areas, one of which was the voting system. They disapproved of the electoral system for the same reason they complained about the welfare system: It placated the marginalized, giving them the idea that their vote gave them a stake in the government which dissipated their anger.”
To that end, the pair concentrated on transforming the Democratic Party since Democrats claimed to represent the poor and those in the lower economic classes. In 1982 they presented their plan in the left-wing publication, Social Policy, which entailed the same roadmap they used to try to overwhelm the welfare system: flood the system with new voters to provoke a political backlash.
The backlash would force officials into using unfamiliar and cumbersome registration procedures, purging non-voters from the rolls, and other voter suppression devices that would create an anti-backlash against the establishment over voting rights. The result led to the transformed Democratic Party, now allied with the poor in their new “class struggle.” Groups like ACORN led on these issues, demanding such things as the 1993 Motor-Voter law which made it easier to register to vote but harder to determine the validity of the new registrations.
As John Fund wrote in his book, Stealing Elections: “Examiners were under orders not to ask anyone for identification or proof of citizenship. States had to permit mailing voter registrations, which allowed anyone to register without any personal contact with a registrar or election officials. Finally, states were limited in pruning ‘deadwood’ — people who had died, moved, or been convicted of crimes — from their rolls.”
Motor-Voter did swamp the voter rolls with millions of invalid registrations filed on behalf of sometimes dead or nonexistent persons, setting the stage for unprecedented levels of voter fraud and voter disenfranchisement claims, he reported.
Fund wrote that in 2010 then-Cong. Barney Frank (D., Mass.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) were even preparing to propose legislation whereby any person whose name was on any federal list would be automatically registered to vote without any identity verification at polling stations. The intent, of course, was to overwhelm the voting rolls to collapse the system as was tried with the welfare system.
It was all an outgrowth of the Cloward-Piven and Alinsky plans to destabilize the election system causing chaos to the benefit of the socialists.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the aid of “fellow travelers” buried in federal and state bureaucracies who would assist with grants, programs, and other goodies provided by the taxpayers.
Wayne Allyn Root, author, political commentator, and the Libertarian Party’s 2008 vice-presidential candidate, noted in 2010:
“Obama is following the plan of Cloward & Piven. . . . 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.”
Adding it up: Universal health care; cap and trade, statehood for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico; legalizing 12 million illegal immigrants; and raising taxes. “You’ve got the perfect Marxist scheme,” Root wrote.
Any echoes of this in today’s politics?
Of course not. If there were, CNN would be telling me about it.
(You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com and listen to him every Thursday at 10 a.m. CDT on Faith On Trial on IowaCatholicRadio.com.)

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