Cloward-Piven strategy - fundamentally transforming America

by Fred Elbel

What is the Cloward-Piven strategy?

The Cloward-Piven strategy was developed in 1966 by Americans Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven - both sociologists and political activists. The Cloward-Piven strategy focused on overloading the United States public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis, which would ultimately lead to replacing the welfare system with a national system of "a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty".

An ancillary consequence of the strategy includes shoring up of the Democrat Party, which at the time was splintered by pluralistic interests. Another side effect would be relieving local and state governments of public welfare burdens, since the burden would be shifted to the federal government - in other words, in a manifestation of socialism. Taxpayers, of course, would cover the cost in either case.

Cloward and Piven focused primarily on redistribution of income, stating that full enrollment in welfare programs:

"would produce bureaucratic disruption in welfare agencies and fiscal disruption in local and state governments" that would: "...deepen existing divisions among elements in the big-city Democratic coalition: the remaining white middle class, the working-class ethnic groups and the growing minority poor. To avoid a further weakening of that historic coalition, a national Democratic administration would be constrained to advance a federal solution to poverty that would override local welfare failures, local class and racial conflicts and local revenue dilemmas."...

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.

Near-term effects of the Cloward-Piven strategy

In a new 2010 introduction to the original article, Frances Fox Piven wrote in The Nation:

Our objective was not, as later critics of the Glenn Beck variety later charged, to propose a strategy to bring down American capitalism. We were not so ambitious. But we did think that the minority poor and their allies might create sufficient disturbance to force reforms in the American income support programs. And we were not entirely wrong.

Political commentator James McWhorter wrote in his 2006 book Winning the Race that the rise in the welfare state after the 1960s could be attributed to the Cloward Piven strategy. He reported that the strategy unfortunately "created generations of black people for whom working for a living is an abstraction."

Whether or not the above point is wholly true, the strategy has effected change, as noted by Piven.

Long-term effects of the Cloward-Piven strategy

The strategy, while originally intended to bring about a socialistic guaranteed national income, remains a viable way to transform an entire nation. Indeed, many of the changes we see in America today are consistent within the framework of the Cloward-Piven strategy. A few examples are provided below:

1965 Immigration Act

The 1965 Immigration Act marked the turning point when American immigration was no longer managed for the American interest. In his article The Collapse of America - A Plan Decades in the Making, David Risselada states:

In my article "Amnesty and the Immigration Act of 1965", I discussed the origins of the immigration crisis we are now facing and how it was nothing but a plot to secure more voters for the Democrat Party. This was based on the ideas of Marxism and the teachings of Antonio Gramsci, who taught that America's culture would have to be changed incrementally from within. The immigration act of 1965 was signed into law by Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson. This is the same president who promised Americas black communities free welfare for their votes...

At the time America's immigration laws were based on a quota system, meaning that immigrants from any part of the world were allowed in based on the number of existing immigrants already in country from that part of the world. This was done in an effort to maintain national identity and ensure that people with useful skills and a desire to assimilate into our culture would be the ones to immigrate here. This meant that most of the people who were immigrating here were of European ancestry and just as is the case today, people referred to this as a racist system...

It should be noted that this act resulted in ever-increasing numbers of foreigners - both legal and illegal - entering America who would become dependent on America's generous taxpayer-paid welfare system.

2008 financial crisis

From the article: Chandler: The Cloward-Piven strategy, The Washington Times, October 15, 2008.

There is plenty blame to go around for the financial crash. Yet, there is a distinct odor of the shadowy Cloward-Piven strategy as the taproot of abusive practices that triggered the crisis. The strategy’s goal is to bring about the fall of capitalism by overloading and undermining government bureaucracy.

Its supporting tactics include flooding government with impossible demands until it slowly cranks to a stop; overloading electoral systems with successive tidal waves of new voters, many of them bogus; shaking down banks, politicians in Congress, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for affirmative-action borrowing; and, now, pulling down the national financial system by demanding exotic, subprime mortgages for low-income Americans with little hope of repaying their loans. These toxic mortgages are an important source of the foul smell engulfing the entire financial bailout...

Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center explained that "community organizers help to undermine America’s economy by pushing the banking system into a sink-hole of bad loans."...

2014 Border crisis - Unaccompanied Alien Children

In Summer 2014, a massive influx of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) inundated our southern border.  Barak Obama's immigration actions (or lack thereof) seemed to be an efficacious implementation of the Cloward-Piven strategy. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. warned that "Carried by this tsunami of illegals are the invisible “travelers” our politicians don’t like to mention: diseases the U.S. had controlled or virtually eradicated: tuberculosis (TB), Chagas disease, dengue fever, hepatitis, malaria, measles, plus more."

Obama invited these minors into the US. He has virtually gutted America's immigration enforcement system, and has taken even more outrageous executive actions. Of course, both political parties are culpable, as there is an active bipartisan amnesty exponent in Congress.

The 2014 border crisis was a manufactured crisis of the first order, which in the short term backfired. Virginia voters immediately fired House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), predominantly because he signed on to the Republican amnesty plan and expressed intent to work with Obama on a "Kids Act"  for Dreamers. But the long-term damage remains. 

2015 Syrian refugees - importing terrorism

After the November 2015 Paris Islamic terrorist attacks, Obama recommitted to bring Syrian "refugees" into the United States. This was notwithstanding the facts that a sizeable proportion are not from Syria, a majority are young men of military age, and that the U.S. government has no way to vet those coming in as "refugees".

Such refugees would become an additional burden on American taxpayers and could indeed comprise a very real terrorist threat.

Read more - see Syrian refugees and national security the Refugee Resettlement racket.

The end result - fundamentally transforming America

In the 2014 article, Why the White House Wants Amnesty, Ben Shapiro writes:

Cloward-Piven’s goal was to create impetus for government to guarantee a universal living. The modern Democrat Party is significantly less interested in guaranteed benefits than for an economic leveling. The motivating factor of the left is not caring for the poor but tearing down the wealthy...

And so the Democrats will move to bankrupt the system. No welfare state can survive with open borders. That is a truism. And yet that’s exactly what Democrats are now promoting: open borders with a full welfare state. Why? Not because Democrats believe that the homegrown poor in America will be better off with more people joining them on the dole; they won’t. Rather, Democrats love the size and scope of the state and despise the rival the state faces in individual success. A growing welfare base requires higher taxation, more degradation of individual success. That is the goal...

The Cloward-Piven strategy remains an active instrument of change in America. Ultimately, it is the tool by which multicultural elites aim to "fundamentally transform America."



The Collapse of America - A Plan Decades in the Making, David Risselada, Freedom Outpost, July 16, 2014. (This article contains a many additional references.)

The Cloward–Piven strategy, Richard Chandler, The Washington Times, October 15, 2008.

The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty, Richard Cloward and Frances Piven, The Nation, March 8, 2010 (original 1966 article with updated introduction).

The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty, Richard Cloward and Frances Piven, Common Dreams, March 24, 2010 (original 1966 article from The Nation).

Bad News for Liberals May Be Good News for a Liberal Magazine, Jeremy W. Peters, The New York Times, November 7, 2010.

John McWhorter: How Welfare Went Wrong NPR, John McWhorter, August 9, 2006.

Chandler: The Cloward-Piven strategy, Robert Chandler, The Washington Times, October 15, 2008.

Cloward-Piven at the border, John Hayward, Human Events, June 10, 2014.

Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) - Illegal alien kiddie colonists invited by Obama administration, CAIRCO, August 21, 2014.

Deadly diseases crossing border with illegals, Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D., World Net Daily, June 20, 2014.

Colorado won't block Syrian refugees, November 17, 2015.

Syrian refugees and national security.

The Refugee Resettlement racket.