How a Broken U.S. Southern Border Facilitates (Forced) Socialism the Cloward and Piven Way

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila


Are you frustrated over the crisis at our southern border even though the Democrats, particularly the radical-left, self-described Democrat Socialists, insist there is no real crisis? Indeed at least one DS insists we go as far as to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency tending to safety and security matters there.

Meanwhile, such services continue to be under-funded and overwhelmed and anybody wanting to fix the situation with good-old American ingenuity and initiative is not welcomed and/or accused of being racist/xenophobic/Hitler’s henchmen, and other such emotionally-grabbing, and I would add thought-and-solution-stopping, accusations.

Doesn’t make sense, right?

So why such an obvious power struggle between the problem deniers and the problem solvers?

I think it has to do with problem generators who understand that crises are highly effective when it comes to instigating change.

As Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff under President Barack Obama Rahm Emanuel famously put it, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that,” he continued,  “[is] it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

By extension, arguably, if all else fails, create the crisis.

One way would be to both invite chaos in and then open wide the doors of entry–especially if the change you want is a “fundamental transformation” of America from a representative republic to a socialist state, after almost 250 years of the former.

Indeed, chaos and crises might actually be necessary as the twin-engines of freedom and capitalist productivity (that funds welfare, incidentally, ironically) powering the super-power known as the United States of America continue to stand in the way of autocratic domination known variously as socialism, communism, fascism, Marxism, and various other “isms” marked by a power-centric ruling class and a forced-conformity underclass stripped of its freedoms.

That is to say, a takeover of power by whatever ways–and means–the autocrats can  get away with in order to wrest power from the underclass so that a few can prosper on the backs of the all the rest.

As history reveals happens.

Time and again.

When such a radical “transformation” takes root and destroys.

The Cloward and Piven Way

Consider one strategy of such crisis-driven-chaos to force change as described by two individuals who are not in the real news  just now as much as they were about, say, ten years ago:  .

Perhaps it’s time for a reminder.

Consider what Cloward and Piven wrote in an article reprinted on the website The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty.”  The original, published in the Monday, May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation, promoted their revolutionary (both figurative and literal) plan “to force change through chaos“.

And  it’s not just about the specific cause they wrote about then, i.e., ending the legitimate problems with the welfare system in the 1960s, it is also about a way of promoting the use of those real problems to push a larger and ongoing agenda: redistribution of wealth and the maintenance of a political party who would benefit by the power to do so.

It sounds good, though, at first glance.

Indeed, who can argue with their introductory point even crafted as it is in accusatory language (side note: the better to sow seeds of discontent):

In order to generate a crisis, the poor must obtain benefits which they have forfeited. Until now, they have been inhibited from asserting claims by self-protective devices within the welfare system: its capacity to limit information, to intimidate applicants, to demoralize recipients, and arbitrarily to deny lawful claims.

Even though the language is laced with division-inciting accusation, it nevertheless serves to rally both sincere and cynical alike to the cause of wealth redistribution aided and abetted by chaos caused by crisis.

Wealth redistribution? the casual reader might exclaim. I thought this was just about a way to fix the broken welfare system back then?

Cloward and Piven explain:

It is our purpose to advance a strategy which affords the basis for a convergence of civil rights organizations, militant anti-poverty groups and the poor. If this strategy were implemented, a political crisis would result that could lead to legislation for a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.

In other words, by rallying isolated, unorganized or loosely organized groups to a common cause, it is all the easier to both precipitate and solidify the community around chaos in order to galvanize a united front to force such a big transformation.

Based on their article, I believe the Cloward and Piven strategy might be outlined thus, and note the continued and intensified accusatory–and militant–language along with how to, one might say, “advertise the strategy for maximum effect.” I have bolded some telling words and terms:

I. Advertise  available government/welfare benefits already existing.

Ignorance of welfare rights can be attacked through a massive educational campaign Brochures describing benefits in simple, clear language, and urging people to seek their full entitlements, should be distributed door to door in tenements and public housing projects, and deposited in stores, schools, churches and civic centers. Advertisements should be placed in newspapers; spot announcements should be made on radio. Leaders of social, religious, fraternal and political groups in the slums should also be enlisted to recruit the eligible to the rolls. The fact that the campaign is intended to inform people of their legal rights under a government program, that it is a civic education drive, will lend it legitimacy.


II. Advocate

But information alone will not suffice. Organizers will have to become advocates in order to deal effectively with improper rejections and terminations.


III. Adjudicate

The advocate’s task is to appraise the circumstances of each case, to argue its merits before welfare, to threaten legal action if satisfaction is not given. In some cases, it will be necessary to contest decisions by requesting a “fair hearing” before the appropriate state supervisory agency; it may occasionally be necessary to sue for redress in the courts. Hearings and court actions will require lawyers, many of whom, in cities like New York, can be recruited on a voluntary basis, especially under the banner of a movement to end poverty by a strategy of asserting legal rights. However, most cases will not require an expert knowledge of law, but only of welfare regulations; the rules can be learned by laymen, including welfare recipients themselves (who can help to man “information and advocacy” centers). To aid workers in these centers, handbooks should be prepared describing welfare rights and the tactics to employ in claiming them.

IV. Agitate

Advocacy must be supplemented by organized demonstrations to create a climate of militancy that will overcome the invidious and immobilizing attitudes which many potential recipients hold toward being “on welfare.” In such a climate, many more poor people are likely to become their own advocates and will not need to rely on aid from organizers.

V. Advance Arguments for a New Federal Income Distribution Program

The ultimate objective of this strategy–to wipe out poverty by establishing a guaranteed annual income–will be questioned by some. Because the ideal of individual social and economic mobility has deep roots, even activists seem reluctant to call for national programs to eliminate poverty by the outright redistribution of income. Instead, programs are demanded to enable people to become economically competitive. But such programs are of no use to millions of today’s poor.

The above point also explains in part why many advocates of such a wealth-distribution plan are easily recruited especially among the young and impressionable, perhaps not yet schooled in the real (and tragic, for all its implied idealism and altruism) history of such socialistic and related income-redistribution ideologies.

Especially if they have been carefully schooled in the Cloward and Piven plan which emphasizes that “economically [read: capitalist-driven] competitive plans […] are of no use.”

Read: Period. No use at all. None.

So we have a crisis here, people!, some might sincerely believe. And compassion requires action! Now! By all means–educational, organizational, and political! Not to mention by threatening legal action and “demonstrations to create a climate of militancy”!

And, lastly, the Cloward and Piven plan requires, again, community organizers, health and welfare advocates, lawyers, politicians, demonstrators, and so on, to accomplish the following.

VI. Advertise, 2.0

As the crisis develops, it will be important to use the mass media to inform the broader liberal community about the inefficiencies and injustices of welfare…

It’s easy to see how accusing the young and other impressionables that if they dare dispute the need of a plan of wealth distribution, especially to solve the most poignant and distressing of all human conditions, poverty, especially among children, they are, then what is continuously advertised: racists! xenophobes! etc.

It is easy, then, to convince the impressionables, as genuinely compassionate as they may be, to succumb to the black-and-white thinking that because capitalism/competitive solutions ARE OF NO USE, as declared over and over again by complicit media, the opposite, then, MUST BE TRUE: socialistic re-distribution of wealth IS of use.

Furthermore, by use of the twin emotional and rhetorical powers, it is easy to come to a seemingly  “logical” conclusion that there can’t be any way that a compassionate blend of negotiation, competition, with limited and appropriate local, state, and/or federal oversight would be possible to solve the problem.

And the country divides further and further apart.

Debate degrades to screaming and throwing things at people who think differently, to riots if an opponent is merely asked to come and speak, to even disputing First Amendment Free Speech and Freedom of Assembly rights.

Chaos intensifies…

Fast-forwarding to today but still using “the plight of the children” and the poor (these, from other countries) as a potent, emotion-grabbing political mechanism, this is also a very compelling argument to open those  border doors wide.

(Ironically, however, given real news and logic, it is by doing just that that millions of children, particularly girls and women, are abused on the treacherous route north and many others become victims of the sex-trafficking and drug wars facilitated by our broken border crisis.)

But wait! Some Might Still Argue…

Isn’t it the so-called problem solvers, the Republicans, Independents, and Libertarians, who are crying “crisis” for THEIR own agenda? Isn’t it the Socialist Democrats, aided and abetted by mass media, who are NOT claiming crisis? Indeed, isn’t it SDs who are encouraging us to relax, continuously repeating there’s real no problem at the border, maybe just some humanitarian issues?…

(Side note: it’s called projection and deflection, the better to deceive us by.)

And the broken border remains broken putting millions at risk, both U.S. citizens and citizens from abroad who are informed as to how to enter illegally then how to use our greatly-expanded welfare system and compromised legal system to stay here.

And to the bigger picture, the (forced) socialism that would result from creating such a big crisis (and arguably growing every day it is not appropriately addressed) it would take federalizing the problem and fixing it once for all by a redistribution of wealth.

Am I just being cynical and anti-Socialist Democrat?

Consider the summary words of Cloward and Piven, in the language of 1966:

And those seeking new ways to engage the Negro politically should remember that public resources have always been the fuel for low-income urban political organization. If organizers can deliver millions of dollars in cash benefits to the ghetto masses, it seems reasonable to expect that the masses will deliver their loyalties to their benefactors. At least, they have always done so in the past.

“Benefactors” as in those who now openly promote socialism, as in, Socialist Democrats and others of like mind.

What Now?

This reminder of what in my view is one of the ideological drivers of a redistribution of wealth system, aka socialism, promoted by Cloward and Piven, may not ease your frustration much but perhaps it will answer the logic question: WHY isn’t anything being done?

It will also help, I believe, bring all of our focus and energy back to reality, i.e., real news and real solutions** that are worth continuing to work toward, indeed, essential to solve the causes of the real safety and humanitarian crises on our southern border for both the citizens of the United States, native and naturalized, and the illegal immigrants being exploited by cons and convicts, both figurative and literal, real and potential, political and ideological.

In the meantime there are efforts to support, research, and tend to, not to mention an election coming up next year, arguably one of the most important elections of our lifetime.


*Copyright notice on website: “Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.”

**UPDATE: Consider the following “trial run” of a solution. Let’s pray it works, modified/negotiated as needed, as it benefits the U.S., Mexico, true asylum-seekers, and prospective and legal immigrants: “How to get Mexico to pay attention to our border incursions…” By Silvio Canto, Jr. (American Thinker, 6/8/2019).


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