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June 17, 2010

ACORN's Kick-Ass Activism - New Book Reveals the Whole Story

Talking Points Memo
by Peter Dreier

That would be the "whole story" written by a sympathetic author, and reviewed by that author's "friend and occasional co-author."

Seeds of Change also recounts the "battle of Brooklyn" that pitted ACORN against one of the city's most politically-connected developers, Forest City, that planned to build a megaproject - including a new arena for an NBA basketball team, luxury housing, and high-rise offices - at Atlantic Yards. ACORN threatened to stop the project if developer Bruce Ratner didn't include a significant number of housing units affordable to poor and working class tenants. ACORN won that fight, but earned the emnity of the project's opponents, including some local residents, for whom Atlas shows great sympathy, leaving the reader to wonder who won and who lost.

"Pitted ACORN against one of the city's most politically-connected developers?" We need to check our dictionary again for the definition of "pitted against." We thought that implied an adversarial relationship.

As Atlas describes in this lively book, ACORN learned the art of playing the inside-outside game. Although it was best-known as a kick-ass activist group, it also formed alliances with sympathetic politicians and even some corporations willing to negotiate with ACORN to avoid being the target of protest.

That sounds more like the ACORN we know.

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NoLandGrab: "Kick-ass activism?" More like kiss-ass activism, which helps when it comes to needing a $1.5 million bailout. Or is it kiss asses?

Posted by eric at June 17, 2010 10:16 AM