Last Updated:November 24 @ 07:08 pm

Salvato: The Dominoes of Cloward-Piven

By Frank Salvato

In 1966, two Columbia University sociologists, Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, collaborated on a theory to end poverty in the United States. This theory, today, is referred to as the “Cloward-Piven Strategy.” People who are familiar with the likes of Saul Alinsky and William Ayers are familiar with the strategy, as are the full complement of the Progressive Movement. In a nutshell, the underlying principle of the Cloward-Piven Strategy is to so overload the entitlement system – to add so many to the entitlement rolls, that the country’s economic system collapses, unleashing chaos and violence in the streets, thus affecting radical Leftist political change in government. Up until recently this theory has been just that, a theory, and a theory that anarchists and Progressives have salivated over for their want of execution. But today, we are seeing the fruits of the Cloward-Piven Strategy played out to success in Greece and several other financial destitute countries in Europe.

To briefly summarize the Cloward-Piven Strategy, I turn to Richard Poe who wrote an article of the same name, which is featured at

Mr. Poe observes that Mr. Cloward and Ms. Piven sought (and “seeks,” in the case of Ms. Piven) to facilitate the fall of Capitalism by “overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.” Mr. Poe explained that Cloward and Piven saw the so-called “ruling class” as using entitlements to “weaken the poor”; to make the poor dependent on government, thus “dousing the fires of rebellion,” following the “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” theory.

In a 1970 New York Times interview, Cloward is quoted as saying that poor people can only advance when “the rest of society is afraid of them.” He then theorized that activists should refrain from demanding that government provide more for the poverty stricken and, instead, should strive to pack as many people on the welfare (read: entitlement) rolls as possible, creating a demand that could not be met, facilitating the destruction of the welfare system and massive financial crisis. As a byproduct, rebellion would be ignited amongst the people; chaos would rule the streets and governments would be damaged beyond repair, many falling to history making it possible for new radicals to assume the roles of oligarchs, ushering in new systems of government and the dismantling of the Capitalist system in particular.

Both Cloward and Piven understood that it would take pushing the American citizenry to the point of anarchy, to the point of the populace affecting violent chaos in the streets, for there to emerge an opportunity to damage our Republican form of government and our Capitalist system to the point where people would accept radical political as well as economic change. Cloward and Piven, using the philosophy of Saul Alinsky (who, by-the-by, was their inspiration in fomenting their “strategy”), knew that they would have to achieve chaos, so as to introduce the Progressive political ideology – the ideology of Democratic Socialism – to the masses as a saving grace.

In an article titled, The United States of America Is Not a Democracy, in introduction to a spectacular presentationthat puts into plain words our misinterpreted political spectrum of “Left v. Right,” I explain how the Progressive Movement seeks to achieve chaos to smooth the progress of governmental transition:

“Those who possess nefarious and/or ideological agendas for our nation often refer to our system of government as a Democracy, knowing full well that Democracy is a transitional state between a Republican form of government and an Oligarchic form of government; a vehicle for transition to first, majority rule, which, in light of the corruptible and narcissistic frailty of human virtue, eventually leads to the establishment of an Oligarchy – or, rule by an elitist class – and the trampling of the rights of those in the minority. The implementation of this transition is facilitated by a distracted, agitated and uninformed citizenry and a people who exist constitutionally illiterate...

“...those who promote the misnomer that the United States is a Democracy infer direct governmental control by the people, thus usurping the established governmental system. In most cases, this cultivates a false sense of entitlement and in some cases promotes anarchical behavior among factions of the citizenry.”

Getting back to The Cloward-Piven Strategy, chaos and how the violent protests in Greece and Spain relate directly to us here in the United States...

It is easy to see how our expanding entitlements and our population’s expanding dependency on government, combined with the purposeful engagement in reckless fiscal policy, plays directly into the demise of the country by accelerating the poison of the Cloward-Piven Strategy.

A recent PJ Tatler column at offers this observation:

“Voters in both France and Greece, two countries ruinously addicted to government entitlements, rejected the ‘austerity’ model of debt-reduction and instead doubled down on unsustainable spending sprees. France elected Socialist Francois Hollande as president, and in his acceptance speech he promised to increase government benefits and amp up ‘stimulus’ spending programs – the exact things that got France into a metaphorical debtors’ prison in the first place. But exactly as Cloward and Piven had surmised, once you get 50+% of the population hooked on ‘free’ government money, there’s no turning back – they will vote for socialists every time. The election of Hollande is the culmination of Cloward-Piven; the strategy worked, but in the wrong country...

“The message is clear: Once enough voters are on the dole, regardless of your party’s ideology or what label it has, you will win elections if you promise to keep the free money flowing. This was Cloward-Piven’s point, and they turned out to be frighteningly correct.”

I will take this a step further.

As we watched the so-called Arab spring play out, we saw that international labor unions – international labor unions, the likes of the SEIU – had boots on the ground, honing their organizational skills, as violent chaos reigned supreme. In Greece, as in Spain, France, Italy and every other European locale wrestling with financial insolvency, labor unions – international labor unions – were on the frontlines of the protests, antagonizing the anarchists and fomenting discontent amongst the masses. In each locale the tactic was the same: Get the masses irate enough to demand, “Give me what I deserve,” even if they don’t deserve it; even if they haven’t earned it. To those provoking the anger it makes no difference if there is nothing to give; that these governments are in such massive debt that there is a very real possibility that they will all fail, one domino after another.

(Note: I would suggest that the citizens of Wisconsin, Ohio and every other State combating the mathematically impossible demands of narcissistically enraged labor union tools realize this reality better than most as it is happening in these States as least in the beginning stages.)

It cannot be denied that those in power today in Washington are incredibly reluctant to embrace the sweeping reforms needed to make our bloated entitlement system viable. In fact, as the actuaries at Social Security and Medicare sound the alarm about impending insolvency should drastic reform not be implemented, the tax and spend Progressives in Washington are adding to the entitlements rolls, even as a natural spike is about to occur with the retirement of the Baby Boomers. Today, as our unfunded liabilities stand at $118 trillion, the House Minority Leader has the unmitigated gall to say of the expanding unemployment rolls, “It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name.”

Today, as the SEIU provides the anarchists of the Occupy Movement with office space at the SEIU affiliated Institute for Policy Studies office building at 16th and L Street NW, in Washington, DC, we need – we need – to ask ourselves:

▪ Do Progressive international labor unions mean to re-create the political change realized in Europe; in Greece; in France, here in the United States?

▪ Do the Progressive international labor unions mean to create the anarchy, the violent chaos in the streets, needed to affect the “fundamental transformation of the United States of America”?

▪ And are Progressives who exist in elected federal office purposefully exploiting their power to engage the efforts of the Progressives in the international labor unions to accelerate the metastasis of Cloward-Piven?

These answers are essential and they need to be answered using a mentality sequestered from the inanity and self-effacing mandate of political correctness; an instituted dogma originated by the Progressive Movement.

If Greece, and the whole of the Eurozone, was the ideological Petri dish for whether Cloward-Piven would actually work, the results are in and they are not good. They are not good for freedom, liberty or Capitalism, the only “ism” that has every elevated people out of poverty. If the overthrow of governments achieved in the Arab Spring and the financial assassinations of governments achieved in the Eurozone are the affects of a successfully implemented Cloward-Piven Strategy at the hands of the Progressive Movement, the results are frighteningly disastrous for you and me.


Frank Salvato is the Executive Director for Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at

VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
Rate this post:
Rating: 10.0/10 (38 votes cast)
Salvato: The Dominoes of Cloward-Piven, 10.0 out of 10 based on 38 ratings

Don't leave yet! Add a comment below or check out these other great stories:


  1. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    May 11, 2012 @ 8:43 am

    Today, we are seeing the fruits of the Cloward-Piven Strategy played out to success not only in Greece but in Occupy Wall Street America which Obama and his party of Socialist conquest so approves of. Obama’s whole presidency has been one hard step on the accelerator of economic destruction to the American Capitalist system he and his father so distained, which stands in his way to work his will upon the people, the very Capitalist system which we true Americans so love and cherish and turn to in times of crisis to sustain us in our jobs, our families and our concept of American exceptionalism that Obama attacks at every opportunity.

    Obama’s concept of environmentalism for example was NEVER about clean air, but the overloading of the American economic might of America with handcuffs and taxes which only serve to emasculate our economy and redistribute wealth from Capitalist America into the hands of the socialist Czar Dictators whom Obama and his Socialist Democrat party seek to put into power over us.

    How idiotic and naive can the American people be when in the name of the imagined welfare of the manipulated majority, they allow the minority of a hand full of socialists to work their destructive enslavement of pandering progressive dependency upon the will and minds of a once intelligent free and independent people through the drugs offered of entitlement? Carl Marx stated that Religion was the opiate of the masses and their new religion of secular socialism where the socialist God-government is the source of our blessing has drugged our senses beyond the pale. Capitalist Groucho Marx called it better when he said he would rather have a bottle in front of me that frontal lobotomy which is all that our socialist President has offered, starting with his Obamacare debilitating mindless program which lobotomizes the brain, weakens the American body in one more dependency of entitlement, and accelerates the domino fall of American prosperity. Our president has studied Alinsky well whose ghost resides now in Washington D.C. to continually haunt America in fear. All they have to offer is fear itself for their non-productive Socialist palliatives sure are NOT getting the job done.

    VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
    Rate this comment:
    Rating: 5.0/5 (18 votes cast)
    • anangrygrammaComment by anangrygramma
      May 11, 2012 @ 11:52 am

      How idiotic and naive can the American people be? How idiotic and naive has our Congress been in allowing this evil to continue running our country into the ground for fear of being called racist? Gutless cowards who by their inaction, have allowed the destroying of our once great nation.
      One man, one term, yet the tentacles will take years to unravel, if ever it can be accomplished!

      VN:F [1.9.6_1107]
      Rate this comment:
      Rating: 4.9/5 (13 votes cast)

Leave a Comment

  • "It might have been well written but I found it depressing. To spat on an adult and maybe close..." Comment by proudoftheusa
    Posted in Who Created These Campus Whiners?
  • "Right! I heard that too. Nothing gets past Rush. His laser like focus on Leftist Nefariests is awesome. It's no..." Comment by stuckinillinois
    Posted in Who Created These Campus Whiners?
  • "An excellent article. I have noticed over the past several years when I would read resumes and conduct interviews,..." Comment by Goldminer
    Posted in Who Created These Campus Whiners?

Network-wide options by YD - Freelance Wordpress Developer