Tuesday, April 5, 2016


The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined in 1966 by American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven that called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a national system of "a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty". (Wiki)
In their 1966 article, titled "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty" in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation , Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a sip of sustenance, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when "the rest of society is afraid of them," Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. So the welfare system acted as "an opiate of the people," sedating them and their anger. An increase in the demands upon the current welfare system would collapse it and force the government into a national guaranteed income. They wrote, "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."
Social policy through fear.

So the idea is to show the current system impossibly ineffective and replace it with a new one, presumably effective. There seems to be confidence in the government's ability to build a good new system despite its failure to build the old one. (In fairness, the failure to build the first welfare system apparently is the result of the insincerity of "the ruling class" who wants only to calm the poor, not help them. Apparently this "ruling class" will not be involved in the new system.) And this new system, which will not collapse, would be initiated by loading the current system which is so bad it inevitably will collapse.

Some--especially Glenn Beck--have expanded this "strategy" in to a more aggressive and purposeful "conspiracy." It is interesting to watch the ebb and flow. The Cloward–Piven people are confident in the ability of the government to create a new system despite its original failure; they also admit to the "strategy" but deny the "conspiracy." Beck and his supporters cannot actually prove the "conspiracy" but, I suppose, when you can't see a clandestine operation, that's the beginning of proof it is there.

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