Even more convincing evidence linking the ACORN network to Occupy Wall Street has emerged. The protests, which have spread to dozens of other large U.S. cities, are part of what ACORN’s neo-communist founder Wade Rathke calls an “anti-banking jihad.”
After I reported a month ago that ACORN front group New York Communities for Change (NYCC) was raising money for Occupy Wall Street, NYCC is in turmoil.
FoxNews.com is reporting that NYCC executive director Jon Kest, a longtime ACORN activist and brother of former ACORN executive director Steve Kest, is in panic mode. “They’re doing serious damage control right now,” said a source inside NYCC.
Instead of responding to allegations, NYCC is spending its time demonizing Fox News. According to NYCC board member Jean Sassine the group is blameless:
New York Communities for Change participates in protests, direct action, social activism and campaigns that promote social and economic justice. We see FOX as the enemy to those efforts. For the record, this is consistent with Fox attacks on Van Jones, Shirley Sherrod, George Soros, Citizen Action, Planned Parenthood and all those who stand for social justice. Once again, FOX entertainment poses as FOX News. Once again, FOX makes a series of false, unsubstantiated claims and accusations which have no basis in fact. Once again, through a series of sources FOX structures a story which is nothing but a series of lies.
Lying in order to misdirect its adversaries has long been ACORN’s public relations strategy. All throughout the pimp and prostitute video saga in 2009 ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis told blatant falsehoods about the unethical behavior of ACORN employees. The leaders of ACORN and its successor groups know they can lie and cover up because the mainstream media will never call them to account.
Meanwhile, Kest has threatened and fired employees, destroyed documents, ordered staffers not to speak to the media, and is installing surveillance cameras and recording devices at its headquarters in Brooklyn.
NYCC’s draconian crackdown on its own workers has a precedent: ACORN had a lousy employee relations track record too. It habitually stiffed workers, told workers to commit voter registration fraud, busted attempts to unionize the group, asked to be exempted from paying the minimum wage, and sent women to canvass alone at night in bad neighborhoods, as I documented in my new book, Subversion Inc.
NYCC officials “reminded us that we can get fired, sued, arrested for talking to the press,” said an NYCC insider.
At an emergency meeting NYCC organizing director Jonathan Westin played semantic games. According to a source:
It was pretty funny. Jonathan told staff they don’t pay for protesters, but the people in the meeting who work there objected and said, “Wait, you pay us to go to the protests every day?” Then Jonathan said “No, but that’s your job,” and staffers were like, “Yeah, our job is to protest,” and Westin said, “No your job is to fight for economic and social justice. We just send you to protest.” Staff said, “Yes, you pay us to carry signs.” Then Jonathan says, “That’s your job.” It went on like that back and forth for a while.
As I previously reported, the Working Families Party, another ACORN front group, is participating in the protests by raising money and paying for rent-a-mobs in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.
The ACORN-linked United Federation of Teachers has donated meeting and storage space at its headquarters for the occupiers. The labor union has long had ties to ACORN. It paid ACORN $500,000 to manufacture an uprising against New York charter schools.
Outside New York City, other ACORN front groups across America are involved in occupations.
Longtime ACORN organizer Jeff Ordower, now of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), gave his blessing to Occupy St. Louis. “People are fed up,” Ordower told local media. Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLÉ) participated in Occupy Albuquerque, N.M. “It’s nice to see democracy at its best,” said OLÉ president Mary Lee Ortega.
Action United (Pennsylvania), Organize Now (Florida), Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, and New England United for Justice (Massachusetts) are also involved in various occupations.
The ACORN successor group Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) helped to organize Occupy Los Angeles and has organizers stoking the flames on the front lines of the ongoing rioting in Oakland.
Wade Rathke gushed over the increasingly violent protests in Oakland, the home turf of Van Jones and former congressman Ron Dellums (D-Calif.). “Oakland is the right battleground for Occupy, so let the fight be engaged there on this issue where the support base is potentially among the largest one can imagine for this movement,” he blogged.
California often sets national trends. Radical organizers are counting on that fact.
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