Frances Fox Piven, ACORN, and Right Wing Conspiracy Theory

I had meant to post about this eye-opening American Prospect article by Peter Dreier, about why ACORN and the sociologist Frances Fox Piven have played such an outsized role in right wing conspiracy theory, but it now appears in an expanded edition in the Huffington Post (click here).

Piven laid the groundwork for ACORN in the 1960s when she argued for and participated in efforts to organize poor people to use their franchise to expand the social welfare system. Republican conspiracy theorists have been intent on connecting the dots between ACORN and the former community organizer Obama. If they can show that ACORN used fraudulent methods to deliver Obama’s majority, and that their ultimate plan was to subvert and destroy the American system rather than to realize America’s promise, then they can reject his election without seeming to reject the principle of democracy itself.

They’ve won this battle–ACORN is dissolving–but I suspect they’re going to have to find a plausible substitute for it soon. Unless they achieve massive electoral victories next fall and can plausibly claim a mandate, the Republicans are going to look more and more like what they’ve really been since the early days of the “Southern strategy”–the party of state’s rights, vote suppression, and minority rule. In the meantime, they’ll continue to protest that Health Care Reform was rammed down the people’s throats against their will.

PS Or not. As Hume’s Ghost points out, Glenn Beck is unabashedly anti-Democratic, as he says the Founders were (click here). In Beck’s telling, “Progressives, Marxists, really led by the Communists at the turn of the 1900s, they knew democracy was the way to get people to vote for dictators.”

One thought on “Frances Fox Piven, ACORN, and Right Wing Conspiracy Theory

  1. Right. “Publius” does speak ill of “democracy” in The Federalist Papers, but they are using the term almost as a synonym for the tyranny of the majority, a concept of democracy that no one holds.

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