The radical left is about to crank things up. Militant action is on their agenda.
I just attended a panel discussion at the American Sociological Association conference to see what they were up to. It doesn't sound pretty.
The panel included top left wing rabble rousers. Steve Kest, executive director of ACORN, was there. As well as an up and coming rabble rouser, George Goehl of the National People's Action Network. Also on the panel Gabe Gonzales of the Center for Community Change and Matt Hammer of the People Acting in Community Together-San Francisco.
Each participant was given five minutes for an opening statement followed by discussion and audience participation.
Goehl was the first to speak. He called for challenging people on the streets. "We need to put feet on the ground," he said. He then said that big ideas need to be promoted. What is his big idea? To my amazement, he said the Federal Reserve should be the target.
Goehl's organization is the group that recently protested in front of Bernanke's house.
Don't take his anti-Federal Reserve stance as an anti-big government stance, though. He is a big supporter of government nationalized healthcare, intervention to stop mortgage foreclosures and governmet heavy handed control interest rates. He is protesting the Fed becasue he wants more representation "by the people" at the Fed. His people, of course
On another point, he said his organization has friends in the White House and in HUD.
When it was ACORN Executive Director Kest's turn to speak, he also said that more militant actions are going to occur. He went even more radical than Goel, he specifically referred to people soon who will refuse to leave their houses upon foreclosure and community organization members who will stand alongside those who refuse to leave the foreclosed homes. He said that HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan was on ACORN's side and that they can discuss countermeasures with the HUD Secretary that he can use against Treasury Secretary Geithner and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. He said they are not discussing their more militant plans with Donovan so that he has "deniability."
Kest said that if the Employee Free Choice Act passes it will not only be a great recruiting tool for unions but also for ACORN. He said more and more they hope to do joint programs with unions.
Glenn Beck's attacks on ACORN seem to be making an impact. Kest said, twice, that Beck's attack were a big problem. "I don't know how to deal with him. The best we can do is have Rachel Madow cover us once a month."
Kest reported that he has organizations in 100 cities, that he has 100 paid organizers and over 1,000 community groups that are part of ACORN. He said total membership is 500,000 people. He said that pre-the election, ACORN had 13,000 people out on the street registering voters.
He said, "Rham Emanuel told our friends that he needs ACORN to pressure against the Treasury."
Overall, from Kest and Goehl, the message was that more militant acts were coming.
Gonzales talked about the new poor that were being created by the recession. After asking the audience what the French word for poor was, he called those impacted by a lower standard of living the "noveaux pauvre." He said that they were available for recruitment into their organizations, if done properly.
Hammer gave some detailed organizing specifics including how his organization goes into churches and other organizations looking for natural leaders that have followers.
In a private conversation, I asked Goehl what he thought of Ron Paul's bill to audit the Fed. Without hesitating he said, "I think it's great". Goehl seems to be influenced by William Grieder. He told me they are planning a mass rally in Chicago for October where they hope to "shut down the financial system."
As a result of Goehl's protest in front of Bernanke's house, Bernanke agreed to send top Fed officials to meet with community members in 9 cities. The meetings are going on now. Goehl told me, "We know just how much to push. We cause them a lot of problems, but not so much that they won't show up at the next meeting." Goehl told me that once this round of meetings is over, he is going to sit down with Bernanke for their next demands.
Goehl said that he expects that in two years some action they do will "piss off a lot people" and that National People's Action will have the same problems that ACORN is having, i.e., identified as a very radical movement. I think Goehl is shooting for that kind of notoriety. His organization is running "war games," he said, in anticipation of eventual ACORN type problems. The impression I got is that he is sharp enough and determined enough that he will become a major, if not the major player on the radical left, in time.