Cloward-Piven Strategy: A resource page

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Summary: This page contains curated articles, reports and videos that discuss the Cloward-Piven Strategy, that I hope will be useful to self-learners and activists.


Preface

I first heard the term “The Cloward-Piven Strategy” about 10 years ago.  It was during a phone call with Andrew Breitbart, with whom I’d been talking about collaborating on something to help expose an insidious facet of runaway government favoritism, and showering taxpayer money on the winners, in an unlimited number of realms.

Given what he knew were my interests — in applying my creative skills on projects to advance freedom, individual rights, property rights, and limited constitutional government, etc. — Andrew was shocked to discover that I’d never heard of the Cloward-Piven Strategy.

Once I learned about it, I understood Andrew’s shock: The Cloward-Piven Strategy is, essentially, one blueprint for the war that was declared by socialist subversives, to deconstruct America as a free, prosperous, capitalist society, and turn it into a totalitarian socialist dictatorship.

Discover The Networks describes it as follows:

“The ‘Cloward-Piven Strategy’ seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse. […]

“Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system. The authors also asserted that: (a) the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the country; (b) poor people would rise in revolt; and (c) only then would “the rest of society” accept their demands.”

What we in 2021 America are now seeing, I am convinced, is the end result of fifty-plus years of “The Cloward-Piven Strategy” being implemented at all levels of our government, for one primary reason: because assuming there were efforts to expose it, and what it would do to America, they failed on an epic scale.

Most people I encounter, both in activism, and life in general, are like I was, having never heard of “The Cloward-Piven Strategy.”

I created this page of resources for two reasons:

(1) I think most people would be horrified to discover the nature and intent of the Cloward-Piven Strategy

(2) I am all about creating carefully-curated bodies of reliable information about a specific topic; examples are often linked to my infographics; see examples here


Resources: The Cloward-Piven Strategy


Cloward-Piven Strategy, Discover The Networks. Excerpt:

First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and his wife Frances Fox Piven — both longtime members of the Democratic Socialists of America, where Piven today is an honorary chair — the “Cloward-Piven Strategy” seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the black district of Watts in Los Angeles — which erupted after police used batons to subdue a black man suspected of drunk driving — Cloward and Piven published an article titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty” in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called “crisis strategy” or “Cloward-Piven Strategy,” as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.

In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when “the rest of society is afraid of them,” Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system. The authors also asserted that: (a) the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the country; (b) poor people would rise in revolt; and (c) only then would “the rest of society” accept their demands.


President Cloward, Vice President Piven, by Brian C. Joondeph, American Thinker, March 16, 2021. Excerpt:

Cloward-Piven is a political strategy of calculated chaos first described in 1966, by two Columbia University sociologists, Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. Their theory was published appropriately in the far left The Nation, the oldest continuously published news magazine in the country. Cloward-Piven’s goal was the creation of chaos so that: “A political crisis would result that could lead to legislation for a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.”


2014: Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy describes the border crisis as another manifestation of the Cloward-Piven Strategy


Cloward-Piven Government, by James Simpson, American Thinker, November 23, 2009. Excerpt:

It is time to cast aside all remaining doubt. President Obama is not trying to lead America forward to recovery, prosperity and strength. Quite the opposite, in fact.

In September of last year, American Thinker published my article, Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis. Part of a series, it connected then-presidential candidate Barack Obama to individuals and organizations practicing a malevolent strategy for destroying our economy and our system of government.


The Cloward-Piven strategy, by Robert Chandler, The Washington Times, October 15, 2008. Excerpt:

There is plenty blame to go around for the financial crash. Yet, there is a distinct odor of the shadowy Cloward-Piven strategy as the taproot of abusive practices that triggered the crisis. The strategy’s goal is to bring about the fall of capitalism by overloading and undermining government bureaucracy.

Its supporting tactics include flooding government with impossible demands until it slowly cranks to a stop; overloading electoral systems with successive tidal waves of new voters, many of them bogus; shaking down banks, politicians in Congress, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for affirmative-action borrowing; and, now, pulling down the national financial system by demanding exotic, subprime mortgages for low-income Americans with little hope of repaying their loans. These toxic mortgages are an important source of the foul smell engulfing the entire financial bailout.

Developed in the mid-1960s by two Columbia University sociologists, Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, much of their strategy was drawn from Saul Alinsky, Chicago’s notorious revolutionary Marxist community organizer. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) succeeded the National Welfare Rights Organization in the execution of the Cloward-Piven grand tactics of using the poor as cannon fodder to tear down the capitalist system. It was low-income, mostly black and Hispanic people, who were used by ACORN guerrillas to take subprime toxic mortgages.


Other resources

The Cloward-Piven Strategy at Study.com; Get a 7-day free trial here.

Video: Frances Fox Piven: What Just Happened? The Resistance After the Midterms, School of Visual Arts (NYC), June 18, 2019.

1981: Video of Dr. Thomas Sowell confronting Frances Fox Piven over her allegation that black Americans were demanding special treatment, benefits, etc.

 


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