I’m A Thug!

The right-wing response to the community organizer backlash against the Republicans is in full swing. One such effort really made my day.

This is how Investors Business Daily (IBD) characterized National People’s Action, a national organizing network that counts SUN as a dues-paying member:

“National People’s Action, or NPA, a particularly thuggish group of Alinskyite agitators who sing the following ditty when picketing the homes of business and government leaders: “Who’s on your hit list, NPA? Who’s on your hit list of today? Take no prisoner, take no names. Kick ’em in the ass when they play their games.”

N.P.A. is also the group that is responsible for the creation and passage of the Community Reinvestment Act, federal legislation requiring banks covered by FDIC loan insurance to make loans in neighborhoods from which they receive deposits.

What really made my day was how Investors Business Daily tried to discredit organizers and organizations of N.P.A’s ilk:

Some community organizers are well-meaning and harmless. But not the ones Obama threw in with. They intimidate and agitate for more government home loans, more government job programs, a ban on police profiling, more benefits for illegal aliens, felon voting rights, minimum wage hikes, “environmental justice” and so on.

Again, thank you for making my day IBD–spin doctors for the running dog capitalist oligarchs!

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3 thoughts on “I’m A Thug!

  1. It’s only community organizing that is going to power the progressive movement, but decisions by ACORN management over the last couple years have allowed the right wing to tarnish a whole sector.

    The right wing deserves to be bashed over this, but progressives need to attack the problem: ACORN needs to be reformed from the inside.

    A new group is trying to do that. If you’re interested, please help out: SpeakingTruth2Power.org/acorn

    The movement needs help. What a lot of people don’t know, and what IBD wont say, is that ACORN ORGANIZERS NEED HELP.

    Like

  2. Harris Callahan

    (Saul Alinsky work)–In a Sea of Foreclosures, an Island of Calm

    By JIM DWYER NYTimes

    Published: September 26, 2008

    …The congregations that banded together to build the Nehemiah houses — the South Bronx Churches and the East Brooklyn Congregations — did not align themselves with either political party, but employed tactics developed by Saul Alinsky, who is thought to have been the father of modern community organizing.

    They made specific, persistent demands; at times, they were criticized for following the playbook of Mr. Alinsky, who described himself as a radical.

    In New York, at least, Nehemiah gave the city 3,900 homes in neighborhoods that had been mostly rubble. The people paid their bills. They changed the city. Radical indeed.

    Read rest of NYTimes below.
    ===

    Just about eight years ago, Patricia Worthy signed the papers for the first mortgage of her life, getting the customary dizzy spell as she looked at the line that listed, all in one place, 360 monthly payments of principal and interest.

    She signed. So did 690 other families in her development, in the New Lots section of Brooklyn. All of them were buying homes for the first time; all were people of modest or moderate means. They were moving into a neighborhood that had been a forsaken stretch of abandoned buildings.

    Those 691 families all took on their responsibilities at the dawn of a new era of debt, one that was not only deregulated but also seemingly deranged. Since then, across the country, the rate of defaults has soared.

    Not, however, in Ms. Worthy’s development.

    “In my area, we have not had one foreclosure,” Ms. Worthy said this week.

    Her home was one of the 3,900 built under the Nehemiah housing program, which began nearly three decades ago, when acres of the Bronx and Brooklyn had fallen to ruin. Land was vacant. A group of churches and community organizers, and a developer named I. D. Robbins, came up with the idea to mass-produce single-family homes on these lots and sell them at low prices. They named their plan after a prophet of the Old Testament who rebuilt Jerusalem.

    In the 27 years since the program started, fewer than 10 of the 3,900 households have defaulted on mortgages, a rate that is close to zero, said Michael Gecan, a senior organizer with the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, one of the forces behind the program.

    “We demanded down payments,” Mr. Gecan said, “and we resisted government attempts to have us waive down payments. Over the last six or eight years people kept suggesting various programs with zero down. We kept saying, ‘That’s ridiculous — that’s how you get into mass foreclosures.’ ”

    Through the 1990s and until the last few months, the banner of universal homeownership was flown high by Democrats and Republicans. Behind this virtuous cause was a jungle of counterintuitive arrangements, like loans with no down payment or income verification. These practices make sense only under a system in which the most valuable aspect of the loan papers themselves is that they can be bundled together and sold without any scrutiny of their actual worth. The result was a system of agreed-upon hallucinations.

    With the collapse of these delusions, the Democrats have pointed to the uncaging of the financial industry by its Republican champions, like Phil Gramm, the former senator from Texas who was chairman of the Senate banking committee. Others have said that the problem arose because of the social piety of Democrats pushing for loans to uncreditworthy minority applicants.

    Yet the people in the Nehemiah program, nearly all members of minority groups, have a superb record of meeting their obligations. Mr. Gecan says that’s because from the very beginning of the program, the developers insisted that the buyers have a real financial stake in the houses. Another factor, Ms. Worthy said, was that the Nehemiah buyers, who were helped by two church groups, looked at what they were getting into. They were not vulnerable to the predatory lending scams that accelerated over the last decade.

    “People were educated on what they could afford,” Ms. Worthy said. “We weren’t asked to sign blank documents. We weren’t asked to say that we made $5,000 a month as opposed to the $1,000 that we might have actually made.”

    The rules Nehemiah applied to its buyers were precisely those that most lenders used to do business until recent years. In fact, that orthodoxy forced the Nehemiah developers to turn to alternative sources for capital. The financing came from a revolving fund set up by a coalition of churches and the Community Preservation Corporation, and with mortgages guaranteed by the State of New York. The city also provided an interest-free loan.

    The congregations that banded together to build the Nehemiah houses — the South Bronx Churches and the East Brooklyn Congregations — did not align themselves with either political party, but employed tactics developed by Saul Alinsky, who is thought to have been the father of modern community organizing. They made specific, persistent demands; at times, they were criticized for following the playbook of Mr. Alinsky, who described himself as a radical.

    In New York, at least, Nehemiah gave the city 3,900 homes in neighborhoods that had been mostly rubble. The people paid their bills. They changed the city. Radical indeed.===

    Like

    1. Susan

      I’m sure they didn’t follow Alinsky’s motto: “The most effective means are WHATEVER will achieve the desired results.”

      It sounds like they put together a plan that was based on not only good business sense but also respect for the home buyer.

      That’s the problem with the government trying to help, they seem to want to take away a person’s right to earn what they have and be vested in it and instead go straight to the old “it’s your right to have this whether you can afford it or not and whether you really want it bad enough to take responsibility for it or not and we are going to make sure you get it!”

      It is disgraceful that the government forced the banks to make people loans that they couldn’t afford -when they could have just as easily set up a program based on the rules of the Nehemiah Housing Program.

      Why doesn’t the Federal Government understand how important it is to a person’s happiness and sense of fullfillment to given a hand and not a hand-out????

      Like

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