The Cloward Piven Model

The essay written by professors Piven and Cloward entitled The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty was the theory to force change through chaos, was among the most provocative of the 1960s era by Frances Fox Piven, Richard A. Cloward. A few brief passages from the essay;

How can the poor be organized to press for relief from poverty? How can a broad-based movement be developed and the current disarray of activist forces be halted? These questions confront, and confound, activists today. It is our purpose to advance a strategy which affords the basis for a convergence of civil rights organizations, militant anti-poverty groups and the poor. If this strategy were implemented, a political crisis would result that could lead to legislation for a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.

The strategy is based on the fact that a vast discrepancy exists between the benefits to which people are entitled under public welfare programs and the sums which they actually receive. This gulf is not recognized in a society that is wholly and self-righteously oriented toward getting people off the welfare rolls. It is widely known, for example, that nearly 8 million persons (half of them white) now subsist on welfare, but it is not generally known that for every person on the rolls at least one more probably meets existing criteria of eligibility but is not obtaining assistance.

A series of welfare drives in large cities would, we believe, impel action on a new federal program to distribute income, eliminating the present public welfare system and alleviating the abject poverty which it perpetrates. Widespread campaigns to register the eligible poor for welfare aid, and to help existing recipients obtain their full benefits, would produce bureaucratic disruption in welfare agencies and fiscal disruption in local and state governments. These disruptions would generate severe political strains, and deepen existing divisions among elements in the big-city Democratic coalition: the remaining white middle class, the white working-class ethnic groups and the growing minority poor. 

To avoid a further weakening of that historic coalition, a national Democratic administration would be con-strained to advance a federal solution to poverty that would override local welfare failures, local class and racial conflicts and local revenue dilemmas. By the internal disruption of local bureaucratic practices, by the furor over public welfare poverty, and by the collapse of current financing arrangements, powerful forces can be generated for major economic reforms at the national level.


Explanation @zurichtimes;

This Model for Social Change and Chaos has been the cornerstone of the Obama and perhaps soon to be Hillary Administration. They were both students of Saul Alinsky and his book Rules for Radicals is an explanation of how their minds work and what their real goals are.

These are foundational works for understand the enemy and more importantly the mind of the enemy. As the saying goes, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. If you cannot understand your enemy how are you going to engage with him/her. Some words of wisdom from the General and Master Strategist Sun Tzu put;

If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

The counter argument to this strategy was that is demonized welfare for the poor, but said little about the corporate welfare and what the implications on handing out billions to corporations produce. As an example, their
guaranteed annual income proposal sounds reasonable in theory a way to end poverty, but how to incentizce independence without creating a permanently dependent low-income class?

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