Radical/Progressive Queer News and Commentary
from Memphis, Tennessee
Sunday, September 20, 2009
In Defense of ACORN
ACORN (Association of Communities Organized for Reform Now) has been under attack from the right for some time, but because of some recent slip ups, is really under the gun from the corporate right who oppose the organizations opposition to corporate power and defense of the working poor. Republicans have distorted or fabricated scandals surrounding a few ACORN workers and tried to tie Barack Obama to the progressive group.
ACORN is a 40 year old organization of low-income, poor and working class families and communities who have organized against "red-lining" by insurance companies in poor, minority neighborhoods, pushed for raising the minimum wage, stop foreclosures, etc. It is largely run by low income people, and the "organizers" are usually part-time, seasonal, and paid very little.
I worked as an organizer for ACORN in Little Rock while in graduate school one summer. It was tough work, I couldn't take it and quit after only a few weeks. But I saw a dedicated group of low-income people fighting to improve their lives and their communities.
The first attacks against ACORN were fabricated by the Republicans to attack Obama during the election. They falsely claimed that ACORN was guilty of "voter fraud." It was not. A few ACORN workers engaged in "voter registration fraud" by filling in false names on voter registration forms. ACORN found discovered these cases in their own investigations and turned the information over to the FBI and the election commission. ACORN never engaged in "voter fraud"--since none of these cases involved votes cast in an election.
ACORN is under attack because of its anti-corporate, pro-labor, anti-poverty history of activism and organizing. The right-wing media has manipulated the story and the "mainstream media" in an effort to take the focus of public attention off of the corporate crimes and Wall Street scandals, and focus it on the poor and racial minorities, part of the larger right-wing racist attacks on Obama. ACORN is being used by the racist RIGHT to stir up racist anger against Obama and progressive policies.