The founders of a radical group that teaches tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation were among the main speakers at a union convention at which one leader called for opposing “right-wing threats to dismantle the Middle Class.”
Heather Booth, director of a Saul Alinsky-style community organizing group, the Midwest Academy, was among the main speakers at the “2011 State Battles Summit,” held this week at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Booth’s husband, Paul, also was a speaker at the union summit. Paul Booth is a co-founder of Midwest Academy.
The four-day summit, which ended yesterday, was organized by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, with participation from the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest union.
“We stand with you as you have stood with us,” Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, told AFSCME activists during the final day of the summit.
Henderson noted that the civil rights movement exists partly “because of the efforts of the labor movement,” and he noted the two now stand together as a coalition to “oppose right-wing threats to dismantle the middle class.”
An official schedule for the event, obtained by WND, declared: “Our union is under unprecedented attack in every state. Extremist politicians want to weaken us as we head into 2012. Their tactics include budget cuts, layoffs, privatization and the denial of our very collective bargaining rights.”
Continued the flyer: “New challenges require new energy and new thinking. We encourage union activists to attend this conference and bring their creative ideas on how to overcome the challenges ahead.”
Heather Booth participated in a panel entitled, “Our Message, Alliances and Best Practices.”
Midwest co-founder Paul Booth delivered the opening remarks for the union conference.
Another speaker at the union event was John Podesta, who co-chaired President Obama’s transition team.
Podesta is president of the Center for American Progress, which is heavily influential in advising the White House. The Center is funded by philanthropist George Soros
Mideast revolutions coming to U.S.?
Citizen Action of Wisconsin, an arm of Booth’s Midwest Academy, is part of the Moving Wisconsin Forward movement, one of the main organizers of the major Wisconsin protests this past February, as WND first reported.
Those protests were in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal for most state workers to pay 12 percent of their health care premiums and 5.8 percent of their salary toward their own pensions.
Walker’s proposal reportedly would save $300 million in the next two years for a state that faces a financial crisis amid a $3.6 billion deficit.
WND reported at the time speakers at those rallies likened the Wisconsin protests to the ongoing revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa while calling for similar uprisings in the U.S.
Just this week, Democrat strategist James Carville warned the country’s economic woes could lead to “civil unrest.”
“People, you know, if it continues, we’re going to start to see civil unrest in this country. I hate to say that, but I think it’s imminently possible,” he said in an interview with “Imus in the Morning” on 77-WABC Radio.
Obama links, ‘Redistribution of wealth and power’
Obama himself once funded Midwest Academy. He has been closely tied to Heather Booth.
Booth has stated building a ”progressive majority” would help for ”a fair distribution of wealth and power and opportunity.”
She founded Midwest in the 1970s with her husband, Paul, a founder and the former national secretary of Students for a Democratic Society, the radical 1960s anti-war movement from which William Ayers’ domestic Weather Underground terrorist organization splintered.
The Woods Fund, a nonprofit on which Obama served as paid director from 1999 to December 2002, provided capital to the Midwest Academy. WND was first to report Obama sat on the Woods Fund board alongside Ayers.
In 1999, Booth’s Midwest Academy received $75,000 from the Woods Fund. In 2002, with Obama still serving on the Woods Fund, Midwest received another $23,500 for its Young Organizers Development Program.
Midwest describes itself as “one of the nation’s oldest and best-known schools for community organizations, citizen organizations and individuals committed to progressive social change.”
It later morphed into a national organizing institute for an emerging network of organizations known as Citizen Action.
Discover the Networks describes Midwest as “teach[ing] tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation.”
WND first reported the executive director of an activist organization that taught Alinsky’s tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation was part of the team that developed volunteers for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Jackie Kendall, executive director of the Midwest Academy, was on the team that developed and delivered the first Camp Obama training for volunteers aiding Obama’s campaign through the 2008 Iowa Caucuses.
Camp Obama was a two-to-four day intensive course run in conjunction with Obama’s campaign aimed at training volunteers to become activists to help Obama win the presidential election.
Also, in 1998, Obama participated on a panel discussion praising Alinsky alongside Heather Booth, herself a dedicated disciple of Alinsky.
The panel discussion following the opening performance in Chicago of the play “The Love Song of Saul Alinsky,” a work described by the Chicago Sun-Times as “bringing to life one of America’s greatest community organizers.”
Obama participated in the discussion alongside other Alinskyites, including political analyst Aaron Freeman, Don Turner of the Chicago Federation of Labor and Northwestern University history professor Charles Paine.
“Alinsky had so much fire burning within,” stated local actor Gary Houston, who portrayed Alinsky in the play. “There was a lot of complexity to him. Yet he was a really cool character.”
‘Communist fellow traveler’
Former 1960s radical and FrontPageMagazine Editor David Horowitz describes Alinsky as the “communist/Marxist fellow-traveler who helped establish the dual political tactics of confrontation and infiltration that characterized the 1960s and have remained central to all subsequent revolutionary movements in the United States.”
Horowitz writes in his 2009 pamphlet “Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution. The Alinsky Model”: “The strategy of working within the system until you can accumulate enough power to destroy it was what ’60s radicals called ‘boring from within.’ … Like termites, they set about to eat away at the foundations of the building in expectation that one day they could cause it to collapse.”
In a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe, Alinsky’s son praised Obama for stirring up the masses at the 2008 Democratic National Convention “Saul Alinsky style,” saying, “Obama learned his lesson well.”
The letter, signed L. David Alinsky, closed with, “I am proud to see that my father’s model for organizing is being applied successfully.”
With research by Brenda J. Elliott
Media wishing to interview Aaron Klein, please contact WND.