By Eddie Griffin
Monday, March 29, 2010
I am still befuddled as to why the Star-Telegram would call me and ask if I ever worked with the local chapter of ACORN. Then today I discovered this article in the paper, “ACORN offices in Dallas-Fort Worth appear closed”. The author, Anna M. Tinsley, could find to trace of the organization, and only one person formerly affiliated with it.
Former Fort Worth Councilman Jim Lane said that ACORN workers were very knowledgeable and forceful about the issues they were working on, and “they were very effective with what they did,” he said. “They frustrated me sometimes because they didn't take time sometimes to listen and really understand what the problems were… We certainly listened to them,” he said. “I always thought they operated in good faith.”
Sometimes leaders of community-based organizations do not listen. And nobody, it seems, listens to Eddie Griffin.
In October 2008, during the presidential campaign, I forewarned that ACORN was a target for political subversion.
"Which Witch is Which in this Witch Hunt? Texas Senator goes after Grassroots Community Organizing Group ACORN" (October 15, 2008)
"ACTION ALERT! Defend Community Organizers" (October 16, 2008)
"Republicans Scapegoat ACORN: An Attack on All Community Organizers" (October 17, 2008)
"Where is John Cornyn’s Allegations against ACORN Now?" (October 31, 2008)
ACORN had forgotten the lesson of how Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society was subverted under Donald Rumsfeld during the Nixon administration, through the United States Office of Economic Opportunity. During the time of the Black Panther Party’s Ten Point Program, the nascent black political party upstart instituted a feeding program for school children and senior citizens, community schools, and free health clinics.
Thousands upon thousands of poor and hungry children were fed free breakfasts every day by the Party under this program. The program was so successful that J. Edgar Hoover called it the greatest threat to national security. There were police raids on Black Panther kitchens and food destroyed, and raids on clinics, while at the same time the Nixon administration was setting up its own free breakfast programs, under Rumsfeld. The objective was to discredit the work of the party and force dependency upon the U.S. government new welfare programs.
The government began giving grants to community based organizations. During the 1980s, they began investigating these organizations for mismanagement of federal funds. Usually, these organizations were poor bookkeepers, and some program organizers were convicted as welfare pimps.
Obviously, ACORN must have thought itself above the fray and entrapment. But what they were unable to see was that any federal grant money that went to help the poor and underserved would be interpreted as indirect partisan support for the Democratic Party. ACORN was primarily known for mass voter registration in the poor and minority communities.
By Purpose & Numbers
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is a collection of community-based organizations in the United States that advocates for low- and moderate-income families by working on neighborhood safety, voter registration, health care, affordable housing, and other social issues. ACORN had over 400,000 members and more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in over 100 cities across the U.S.
ACORN's priorities have included: better housing and wages for the poor, more community development investment from banks and governments, better public schools, and other social justice issues. ACORN pursued these goals through demonstration, negotiation, lobbying for legislation, and voter participation. ACORN comprised a number of legally distinct non-profit entities including a nationwide umbrella organization established as a 501(c)(4) that performed lobbying; local chapters established as 501(c)(3) nonpartisan charities; and the ACORN Housing Corporation.
The first attack on ACORN came during absentee voting. ACORN volunteers helped senior citizens register to vote. They claimed that the volunteers were signing senior citizens ballots and telling them how to vote. Some community activists were caught up in the false accusations.
Then they claimed that ACORN volunteers were registering Mickey Mouse and dead people. For $8 an hour, some ACORN volunteers tried to pad their salaries with phony numbers. Thus, they were labeled a criminal enterprise- for $8 an hour.
Then they claimed voter fraud and asked the Bush administration to send in the FBI. They found nothing.
Then they sent in phony actors to induce a fabricated criminal conspiracy. It was video taped.
Young people and people with short memories may not remember. But Eddie Griffin has documented his skillful subversion.
On February 20, 2006, John McCain accepts the honors and acclamation of the Service Employees International Union, People for the American Way, UNITE HERE -- and ACORN.
“What is special about America is in this room,” he said. (See YouTube video)
On the night of October 15, 2008, Judas stabs ACORN in the back and John Cornyn cuts ACORN throat. Just as I predicted, John McCain would betray ACORN on national TV.
The attack on ACORN in 2008 was a direct attack of presidential candidate Barack Obama, once a community organizer in Chicago, and closely allied with ACORN.
It is believed, in some circles, that the elimination of ACORN would be the demise of the Democratic Party in local elections, not having to contend with the “poverty vote”.
This the way that Eddie Griffin saw it, as it materialized from the 1960s until now. Local ACORN leaders never consulted me for advice.