This post continues the series of chapter summations of Radical-In-Chief by Stanley Kurtz. Today we cover the first third of Chapter 6. The bad economy that Obama inherited occurred in large part as a result of the excessive sub-prime lending that ACORN and Obama worked together to promote in the President’s community organizing days. His influence was small to be sure, nevertheless he fought for the policies that led to the crisis and not against them.
ACORN was well known for its aggressive voter registration activities, however the organization’s assault on the banking industry was never as well publicized. ACORN charged banks with a social obligation to lend money to low income mortgage applicants without regard to the high credit risks. By confronting banks publicly for failure to conform to ACORN’s demands, they succeeded in coercing some banks to lower their lending standards. Citibank was a prime example.
But targeting banks publicly was just the first half of a two part strategy outlined in a paper written by Peter Dreier called “The Case for Transitional Reform”. Drier argued for establishing quasi socialist institutions in the heart of capitalist society; then influencing these institutions to inject “unimaginable strains into the capitalist system, strains that precipitate an economic and/or political crisis” which would lead to a “revolution of rising entitlements” that “cannot be abandoned without undermining the legitimacy of the capitalist class”. Dreier continued, “The process leads to expansion of state activity and budgets, and to fiscal crisis in the public sector” which will open the door to socialism as the solution.
Applying that strategy, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC), led by Michael Harrington, captured about one quarter of the seats on the Democratic Party’s platform committee. And in 1980 ACORN succeeded in getting the provisions of their “People’s Platform” incorporated into the national platform of the Democratic Party. Harrington’s approach was to establish socialism in the United States through the political process rather than by militant revolution. His plan was working. The DSOC and ACORN formed an alliance to shape a program for growing socialism within Democratic Party.
Chicago ACORN. The US Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued an investigative report on ACORN in February 2010. The report found “There is no real separation between ACORN and its affiliates. ACORN is a single corrupt corporate enterprise composed of a series of holding companies and subsidiaries that are financially and operationally dependent on the main corporation.”