The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is a grassroots political organization that grew out of George Wiley‘s National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), whose members in the late 1960s and early 1970s invaded welfare offices across the U.S. — often violently — bullying social workers and loudly demanding every penny to which the law “entitled” them. In the late Sixties, ACORN co-founder Wade Rathke was an NWRO organizer and a protegé of Wiley. Rathke also organized a draft-resistance campaign for the militant group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) during the same period.
In 1970 Rathke – along with the aforementioned Wiley (who was best known for his effective use of the so-called “Cloward-Piven strategy“) and Gary Delgado (a lead organizer for Wiley’s NWRO) — formed a new entity called Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). The group’s name was later changed to Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, but the acronym ACORN remained. Instead of focusing only on welfare recipients, ACORN’s mandate now included all issues touching low-income and working-class people. Foundation Watch editor Matthew Vadum explains specifically what ACORN has done ever since its inception:
“ACORN … organizes crude protests against businesspeople and public officials. Opposed to the profit motive and capitalism in general, it pushes for more government control over citizens and the economy. ACORN supports gun control, a government monopoly in healthcare and an open door immigration policy. It supports a big raise in the federal minimum wage and so-called ‘living-wage’ laws enacted by states and cities. ACORN wants more funding for urban public schools, and wants federal and state laws enacted guaranteeing paid sick leave for all full-time workers. The group claims to fight for affordable housing and it rails against foreclosures and so-called ‘predatory’ lending, even though it demands that banks make loans [to underqualified borrowers] destined to default.”
Manhattan Institute scholar Sol Stern writes that ACORN, professing its dedication to “the poor and powerless,” in fact “promotes a 1960s-bred agenda of anti-capitalism, central planning, victimology, and government handouts to the poor.” ACORN, Stern elaborates, organizes people “to push for ever more government control of the economy” and to pursue “the ultra-Left’s familiar anti-capitalist redistributionism.” This agenda is made plain in ACORN’s own “People’s Platform,” which says: “We are the majority, forged from all the minorities. We will continue our fight … until we have shared the wealth …”
For the entire ACORN profile, click here.