by Matthew Vadum
I reported on the emergence of the “new” ACORN groups in my new book, Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers. Although ACORN filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy last Election Day, its state chapters have been quietly restructuring under assumed names. Mortgage bubble generator ACORN Housing changed its name to Affordable Housing Centers of America while ACORN’s vote fraud factory Project Vote continues operating out of ACORN’s old Washington, D.C. office.
The subversive plan hatched by Stephen Lerner, an international board member of the radical Service Employees International Union, aims to destroy the nation’s financial system. Lerner is influential in leftist organizing circles and has reportedly visited the Obama White House at least four times.
After Greeks rioted over austerity measures, the stock market fell, Lerner observed. “The folks that control this country care about one thing: how the stock market does; how the bond market does; and what their bonus is.”
Lerner said a strategy was needed that addressed the following questions: “How do we bring down the stock market, how do we bring down their bonuses, how do we interfere with their ability … to be rich?” It is important “to politically isolate them, economically isolate them and disrupt them,” he said.
JPMorgan Chase is the first target of SEIU and its longtime allies at ACORN. Other Saul Alinsky-inspired pressure groups nationwide are participating in the effort, including the Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), National People’s Action (NPA), PICO National Network, and Alliance for a Just Society, according to ChaseHomeFinanceSux.com.
Amusingly, the latter website highlights an article called “Jamie Dimon is Running ‘A House of Ill Repute.’” As Big Government readers are aware, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles captured ACORN workers on undercover videos giving helpful advice on establishing a house of ill repute, an old-fashioned expression for a brothel.
Earlier this year Lerner said that after consulting his allies he decided that JPMorgan Chase would be “a really good company to hate.” If leftists really believe capitalism is in a “transformative stage,” they “need to confront this in a serious way and develop a real ability to put a boot in the wheel.” Said Lerner
Lerner said banks that don’t pay their “fair share” in taxes or refuse to slash interest rates and partially forgive mortgage principal are being targeted. He also called for state and local governments to stop doing business with banks that refuse to become de facto relief agencies by redistributing their own wealth to homeowners who made dumb investment decisions.
ACORN’s newly renamed chapters in New York (New York Communities for Change), California (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), Missouri (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment), and Washington state (Organization United for Reform) make no secret about their participation in the scheme.
NYCC claims JPMorgan Chase’s foreclosures policies are unfair. The group takes credit for the town of Hempstead in Nassau County, N.Y., “closing the Chase Account and moving $12.5 millions in tax payer dollars out of the pockets of the greedy Wall Street Bankers who caused the finanical [sic] crisis!” NYCC is pressuring other municipalities in the state, including Albany, to do the same. The group claims “NYCC members in almost 40 cities, villages and counties have emailed their elected officials to demand the local government stop doing business with Chase.”
Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) boasts that 22 activists were arrested protesting foreclosures outside a Chase office in Los Angeles. “These banks are terrorists,” said Peggy Mears. “They terrorize us by threatening to take our homes.”
In South L.A., ACCE and SEIU held a mock trial outside a Chase office. ACCE organizer Evelyn Gutierrez said her group targeted Chase because it lent money to poor people, which is exactly what ACORN pressured it to do in recent decades.
ACCE wants the bank to “forgive” all the principal borrowed, said JPMorgan Chase spokesman Gary Kischner. “We’ve done over one million loan modifications and we’ve had outreach events like the one we did at the Convention Center in January.”
Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), led by veteran ACORN organizer Jeff Ordower, jumped on the anti-Chase bandwagon last year, leading an assault on a Chase office in the suburbs of St. Louis.
Organization United for Reform (OUR) led a protest outside the Chase branch in Marysville, Washington. OUR demanded that Chase give part of a $1.4 billion tax refund to the local school district. Chase spokesman Darcy Donahoe-Wilmot pointed out that the bank already gave more than $11.4 million to nonprofits in the state last year.
It should be noted that SEIU’s Lerner isn’t the first to advocate using in-your-face tactics. George Goehl explained how to murder the American Dream at the “America’s Future Now!” conference last summer in Washington, D.C.
“The banking crisis is the next big thing,” said Goehl, executive director of Chicago-based National People’s Action. “The banking crisis is the way to build a big economic justice movement in this country.”
The crisis presents “a once in a lifetime opportunity as progressives to engage millions of Americans in a big conversation around serious economic restructuring,” he said, “not around eking out some victories around the margins, not about making life a little less worse for people, but about big time transformative change.”
“People are ready to move to the streets, some because they’re angry, some because they want justice right now, and some because they’re tired of hearing about the tea party coming out.”
SEIU and ACORN heeded Goehl’s call.
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