The Washington Post: Friday, February 18, 2011
MADISON, WIS. – President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin’s broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition on Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits and planning similar protests in other state capitals.
Obama accused Scott Walker, the state’s new Republican governor, of unleashing an “assault” on unions in pushing emergency legislation that would change future collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees, including teachers.
The president’s political machine worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to get thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals.
The emphasis is ours. The President did not just favor on side; he joined the fight. “Wisconsin” is not an external threat. It’s a legitimate domestic dispute within a sovereign state. The federal government has no business taking sides. If the President has any role at all it is to bring calm, to mediate. But Obama comes to agitate. It’s a crisis not to waste.
To this day, and to the discredit of all media the art of community organizing is not well known. Look at WaPo’s third paragraph again. “political machine worked…close coordination…with union officials…get [organize] protesters to gather…plan similar demonstrations.” This is not the work of resolving disputes. It’s the work of feeding disputes. It’s the prime function of a community organizer.
Barack comes home.
“Hello! Michelle! I’m home. Where are you? I have something exciting to tell you.”
“I’m right here, in the den, honey.”
“Ahh, Michelle. What an exciting day I had. This Wisconsin thing. It’s like the good old days, only on a grander scale. Easier, too. We didn’t even have to create an issue. This one just fell in our laps, Michelle.”
“Peter was right, Barack.”
Now who would Peter be in this imaginary tale? Barack would know. It’s Peter Dreier, the author of “Socialist Incubators” (community organizatations) and of “The Case for Transitional Reform” (advancing socialism through the electoral system). Dreier convened a panel on community organizations at the Socialist Scholars Conference held at Cooper Union hall in honor of the 100th year of Karl Marx’s death. Obama attended that conference and went into community organizing immediately thereafter.
We quote from Stanley Kurtz’ book “Radical-In-Chief”:
Dreier’s overall strategy was to first establish quasi-socialist institutions at the heart of capitalist society – ACORN’s role in the banking system very much fit the bill. In the short run, these de facto socialist groups would push society toward gradual “democratic” change. In the long run, perhaps, they’d serve as the vanguard of a revolution.
The second part of Dreier’s strategy was to inject “unmanageable strains into the capitalist system, strains that precipitate an economic and/or political crisis,” by which Dreier meant a “revolution of rising entitlements” that “cannot be abandoned without undermining the legitimacy of the capitalist class.” In the short run, Dreier said, “the process leads to expansion of state activity and budgets, and… to fiscal crisis in the public sector. In the long run, it may give socialist norms an opportunity for extension or at least visibility.”
Peter Dreier was a professor of urban affairs at Occidental College when Obama attended Occidental. Peter served on Barack’s urban policy task force during the 2008 campaign. Barack knew exactly who Peter was when Michelle said “Peter was right.”