Talk:Cloward–Piven strategy

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I created this article because it is needed. It helps people understand the U.S. political scene. Syntacticus (talk) 08:20, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Deletion of article discussionEdit

It is a needed article. I say it should stay. Syntacticus (talk) 03:30, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

For anyone who cares here is a link to the deletion discussion: [[1]]. I have removed the deletion tag in according with WP policy and have explained same at the linked page. Syntacticus (talk) 05:18, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

You apparently didn't read the text of the tag before deleting it. The closing admin will take care of it when the Afd is over. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:29, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

I read the tag, as I already told you. It contained boilerplate. Maybe you, as an admin with great experience knew what it meant but I didn't. I didn't know there were three (or more) different routes to deletion. It was not obvious what the right course of action was. Syntacticus (talk) 02:41, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

All tags contain boilerplate. That doesn't mean their text is invalid - just the opposite. It means the text is so non-controversial that it's used over and over again. To be told repeatedly to read the tag, and then to say you didn't understand the process because you didn't read the tag, well, it's hard to see how to help when help is ignored. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:36, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

I can't imagine deleting this topic. Modify the title if needed, but keep. (talk) 12:29, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

This article needs to remain. I understand some people like to call it "conspiracy theory", because some Pundits/TalkingHeads like to make connections to this strategy but the fact still remains that the strategy did exist and was in fact published in a major publication back in 1966. [1] The two authors were PHD's who educated and influenced young people for over four decades and helped bring about major legislation and political action. So in that context a published work by the couple is relevant. And it's especially relevant since it has been referenced by so many other sources in recent history regardless of the opinion some people have of those sources. I might point out that to this day in 2019, many people still say Wikipedia is not a "reliable" source. So do we want to make that true by simply removing history because we don't like what some people think about? Immto (talk) 16:15, 26 November 2019 (UTC)

@Immto: You should post this at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Cloward–Piven_strategy, not here. – Arms & Hearts (talk) 16:36, 26 November 2019 (UTC)

@Arms & Hearts: my post is under the talk area of the link you provided. Is that correct? It seems correct to me. Do you mean my comment should appear directly under the main area. I added it there, is that how you mean?

@Immto: Yes, it's in the right place. – Arms & Hearts (talk) 21:17, 26 November 2019 (UTC)


I removed the Criticism subhead because the info under it wasn't criticism. If someone has valid criticisms of the Strategy from acceptable sources they should insert them. Syntacticus (talk) 02:43, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

You don't think "Great Society programs 'had created a vast army of full-time liberal activists whose salaries are paid from the taxes of conservative working people." is a criticism? The word liberal uttered by a conservatives' conservative is almost always pejorative.  Frank  |  talk  03:03, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

OK. I had been thinking in the context of the article that criticism would mean people saying the concept itself is BS, as they did in the AfD discussion at [[2]]. (You participated in this discussion.) If you want, I don't have a problem with you putting it back in. I guess I haven't moved beyond the AfD discussion. Syntacticus (talk) 08:35, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

The 1966 articleEdit

Is now in my possession. In the process of editing in what they wrote and argued for in that article.Bali ultimate (talk) 16:41, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Just cut this out: ."[2] as it seems to have nothing to do with the '66 article in question.Bali ultimate (talk) 16:59, 24 December 2008 (UTC)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Robert Pear (1984-04-15). "Drive to Sign Up Poor for Voting Meets Resistance". New York Times. {{cite news}}: |access-date= requires |url= (help)


Cut the following out. It might be appropriate to one or both of the bio articles on these people; seems to have nothing to do with this strategy tied to their '66 article. "In 1982, they proposed that social service workers be used to register people to vote, with the thought that implementation of such a proposal might lead to a "class-based realignment of American politics".[1] They later founded Human SERVE, an organization that supported passage of the National Voter Registration Act in 1993.[2] " This also appears irrelevant, or perhaps part of some strained synth effort? It might belong in the piven article. "In 1970, reporting on the state of welfare in New York City, the New York Times quoted Cloward as saying that poor people ordinarily only have influence through disruption, "and then only when society is afraid of them."[3]"Bali ultimate (talk) 17:31, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

I think the "when society is afraid of them" quotation is very helpful in terms of understanding the Strategy. Syntacticus (talk) 00:07, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

It's just synth (or original research, or whatever). It's not tied in any way to this "Strategy" except in the imagination of a reader or editor. I'm glad i went and got the article to figure out what was going on here, though.Bali ultimate (talk) 06:53, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
I continue to think it's relevant but don't feel strongly enough about it to continue arguing. Syntacticus (talk) 05:46, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

I think that to treat this Wikipedia article as if it only refers to a single paper published in 1966 is a mistake. This "strategy" clearly evolved over time, which is why I added further references from 1970 and the 1980s.  Frank  |  talk  06:00, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

There are two things frank: There is an article that cloward and piven wrote and which contains what they actually argued for. There is the only scholarly work on this issue found yet (quoted in the article) that characterizes the original article as it's described here. And then there are various right-wing claims around a coinage created on the political right which they called the "Cloward Piven Strategy" (Cloward and Piven coined no such name; nor can a scholarly source or a reliable third party source be found that uses it) that surrounds what they imagine to have been the real, secret intent of Cloward and Piven back in 1966. Then the problem becomes is there any scholarship or reliable news sources that give credence to this notion that Cloward and Piven secretly meant something else? Not that i can find, I even went to a library (though, i must admit, not a very large one).Bali ultimate (talk) 17:59, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Both Cloward and Piven wrote on this subject more than once; the 1966 paper was the beginning, not the end. Whether or not they named it a "strategy" is not so much the point. We can rename this article if a more appropriate name is agreed. However, at least one of the other references - which you summarily removed - do refer to a "strategy". There is scholarly work - in books, magazine articles, and newspaper articles - which addresses what Cloward and Piven have jointly proposed in the past. That each is notable enough for an article in his/her own right is not the point; this refers to their joint work, which is documented in reliable sources. I think that at least some of the removed content belongs in this article because it both supports the existence of the topic and expands on readers' knowledge of it.  Frank  |  talk  23:32, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm listening frank: Which source? What did it say? Was it a reliable source? How would you like to see this framed -- as it was previously written, it was a bunch of synth and original research and, well, I certainly didn't think i was throwing out a baby with the bathwater.Bali ultimate (talk) 01:26, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

OK, Frank. I'm just getting a little burnt out on this article. You will have to argue with Bali. Syntacticus (talk) 06:09, 30 December 2008 (UTC) Interesting discussion above regarding the use of the term "Cloward-Piven Strategy". It is easy for me to accept that the intent of the authors of this "strategy" were benign in the sense that they wished to end poverty. In the intervening years, as the liberal and conservative viewpoints have evolved into more of a mutually exclusive pair of positions, the "Strategy" has started to imply, to some observers, the deliberate disruption of the American economy from within, in order to precipitate a fundamental change in the way the American government works. This would be a different purpose than what was conceived by Cloward and Piven. Things can be re-purposed. For example, I have used a hammer, out in the garden, as an improvised digging tool to transplant small plants. It is entirely possible that there are some political interests which purport to deliberately use the Cloward Piven Strategy for a different purpose. JohnFornaro 05-30-13. (talk) 14:27, 30 May 2013 (UTC)


  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference NYT was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Sanford Schram (2002). Praxis for the Poor: Piven and Cloward and the Future of Social Science in Social Welfare. NYU Press. p. 49. ISBN 0814798187.
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference NYTWelfare was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

Conspiracy theoryEdit

I've rv some of it as from non-reliable source, but could someone with access to the sources in the criticism section check exactly what they say? What's left still sounds a little close to the anti-capitalist conspiracy rubbish (the article was full of this before the afd) than say a sociology encyclopedia might be. Or does it acctually discuss the conspiracy theory that this was turned into? If so that should go in. Misarxist 16:34, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Political analysis as to the goals of a movement or a strategy is not necessarily conspiracy theorizing. Although you appear sincere, your scare brackets do not contribute to this discussion. We have been through this all before. Syntacticus (talk) 07:21, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

The entire article here is rather suspect. Some partisans advocate for something. Their opponents coin a neologism (the title of this article) for what they are doing. Partisans fight it out after that. This is all very marginal material. It may be notable because some people write about what the initial proponents decades ago were up to. But it has become a darling of some fringe partisans now, not sure it is a real issue. Wikidemon (talk) 09:11, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Don't disagree with that summary. But Syntacticus, please address the issue I highlighted, or wait till someone else does, and then remove the tag. The issue is it seems unlikely that the first of the two footnoted sources, a sociology encyclopedia, would back up the claim the "goal was to bring about the demise of the capitalist system", which in all seriousness is a little off the deep end. I've read enough of the online sources to know that what Cloward and Piven propose bears very little resemblance to this overthrow of capitalism stuff, which was all comes from partisan sources. The tag will stay until this problem is adressed, and as Wikidemon states, there is further need for cleanup/clarification.--Misarxist (talk) 09:32, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
The tag is gone. The quotation from Howard Phillips answers your question. The reader will decide what he or she believes is right. This is not a fringe issue, Wikidemon, and you are really testing the good faith assumption with this observation which only a radical leftist would make. Syntacticus (talk) 02:44, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Removal of External LinkEdit

I think the external link might not be entirely in line with Wikipedia guidelines, specifically WP:ELNO guidelines relating to external links. It is certainly not neutral, being an attack piece on Obama, specifically, and only tangentially related to the subject material; I have never seen these theories argued in any mainstream source, and it appears to be from an online publication that might not be reliable. Indeed, I could not find any external links (on a cursory Google search) that did not use the phrase "Cloward-Piven" in a way that would notable, or even WP:FRINGE. I've removed the link, but would be happy to further discuss it; I'll keep an eye on this page in case there's serious disagreement. Cheers, (talk) 23:48, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Bankrupting NYCEdit

"Cloward-Piven strategy, was demonstrated in 1975, when new prospective welfare recipients flooded New York City with payment demands, bankrupting the government."[3] Guiliani also blamed the Cloward Piven strategy of welfare advocates for bankrupting the city.[4] Kauffner (talk) 05:49, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

An Op-Ed by Chandler can be used as a source for his opinion, and "Discover the Networks" isn't a reliable source for anything. As for Giuliani blaming Cloward & Piven for bankrupting the city; no, not according to that piece where it only says he did try to blame them for the state of welfare in New York 25 years later. Another opinion. Do you have an actual reliable source that indicates NYC was bankrupted by this "strategy?" Xenophrenic (talk) 06:54, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Its getting to the point that when I Google and come to the WP entry I just go right to the sources that WP claims are not reliable and read those...Way too much bias here on many subjects ! Mk (talk) 21:39, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, you know what Colbert observed about such things: "...a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in 'reality'. And reality has a well-known liberal bias." But if you prefer to get your info from sources that are known to be unreliable, knock yourself out. Wikipedia is here for the rest of us. Xenophrenic (talk) 22:10, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

NYC and short term loansEdit

This was recently added:

More reasonable observers credit the city's bankruptcy to the mismanagement caused by politics, encouraging "frequently maturing short-term debt that left officials constantly scrambling to pay off loans"[5]

Obviously NYC's problem was politics, but that doesn't really explain anything. The short-term loans were an emergency measure to stave off bankrupty -- even the NYT article referred to doesn't present it as "the" cause. Arson and crime were chasing jobs and revenue out of the city, even as budget cutting proposals were opposed by the unions. There was a major strike every year, and even the police had a strike in 1971. Kauffner (talk) 16:30, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Actually, the short-term loans were bond-based, and did indeed constitute the biggest theat of legal bankruptcy if NYC couldn't pay up when they matured. The loans were not to stave off bankruptcy, as you suggest, but to cover basic city services operation costs. The steps actually taken to "stave off bankruptcy" included doubling subway fees; instituting registration fees at city colleges; trimming more than 60,000 city jobs, and talking the unions into backing the city's debt with their pension funds. As for the "cause" of the city's financial crisis, the two most widely acknowledged reasons are: generous contracts to New York unions, and fiscal mismanagement of the cost of city services. An interesting note, welfare and social service costs to the city were less than 2% of the budget during 1975, far less than during the prosperous late 70s and early 80s, yet there are a few partisan hacks still trying to attribute all the world's ills to such things. Xenophrenic (talk) 22:56, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Huh =Edit

"then both sociologists and political activists"

WT-Heck - did they convert from sociologisism to Prebyterianism ? Such biased one-sided nonsense. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:43, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

You might be confusing Sociology with Scientology. Sociology is the science, Scientology is the religion. --Sabin4232 (talk) 06:07, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Recent edits; April, 2009Edit

There appears to be some confusion as to the topic covered by this Wikipedia article. Is the article about the strategies outlined by Cloward and Piven? Or is it about the mischaracerization of that strategy by Horowitz? I have undid some edits to the lede section that appear to violate WP:LEAD and WP:UNDUE. Some of the content and refs could and should be used in the body of the article, but the article should still remain primarily about the strategy -- not portrayal by critics. Xenophrenic (talk) 20:56, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

In order to use the term "Cloward–Piven strategy" at all, you have to find a WP:RS that uses it. Otherwise it's a WP:NEOLOGISM and WP:OR.
What is the WP:RS that uses the term "Cloward–Piven strategy"? --Nbauman (talk) 00:35, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not using the term, so I need not find anything -- it already exists as a title to a Wikipedia article. The title is definitely a neologism, with or without a reliable source. However, being a neologism does not preclude it from having a Wikipedia article about it, and does not preclude it from being the title of such an article (see the link to the guideline you provided). Looking back to the very first edits to create this article, it was cited to "Discover the Networks" -- not a reliable source. Looking at its most recent version, it still lacks reliable sourcing -- with none of the reliable sources actually using that specific name for the "crisis strategy" discussed by C&P. You've made a decent case for deleting the article, and putting a summary of this page - with a link to the actual copy of the article, on the authors' pages; and a redirect from this page.
The more recent Nation source could be used as a reliable source that mentions "Cloward-Piven strategy" - but even that author doesn't sound 100% sure of the origin of the name. A third option would be to rename this article to the actual name of the original article that appeared in the Nation 1966 ... and redirect this page name to it. Thoughts? Xenophrenic (talk) 07:17, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think you can create an article referring to the "Cloward–Piven strategy" without a WP:RS that refers to it.
What specifically in the WP:NEOLOGISM or WP:OR links are you referring to that says otherwise?
All material in Wikipedia articles must be attributable to a reliable published source to show that it is not original research, but in practice not everything need actually be attributed. This policy requires that anything challenged or likely to be challenged, including all quotations, be attributed to a reliable source in the form of an inline citation, and that the source directly support the material in question.
That's all material. "All" includes the article heading. --Nbauman (talk) 14:58, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I do not plan to create any articles without a WP:RS, so the question is moot. I am also aware of what WP:V says ... but I fail to see what point you are trying to make. Please recall that I reverted your edit because it inappropriately inserted content about & by Horowitz into the very first sentences of the WP:LEAD, instead of content about Cloward & Piven's welfare reform strategy. While the content may be useable, the placement violates policy. You do know the "Cloward-Piven strategy" phrase was used pre-Horowitz, right? Xenophrenic (talk) 18:51, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
It's not moot. All material in Wikipedia must be attributed to a WP:RS. You are deleting properly sourced material with a WP:RS. You are deleting the only WP:RS in the article that is not sourced to a critic of Cloward and Piven, and the only WP:RS that gives the contemporary meaning of the phrase. This is a term that Horowitz popularized, according to many WP:RS. You are deleting properly-sourced information. --Nbauman (talk) 23:05, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to repeat a sentence above that you seemed to skip right over: "While the content may be useable, the placement violates policy." Please let me know if there is any trouble understanding that. Regards, Xenophrenic (talk) 07:54, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Mentions in current events?Edit

Would it be possible to include a neutral POV paragraph on how the Cloward-Pliven Strategy has been alluded to in recent years, notably via Glenn Beck? Apologies if this question has already been thrashed out in previous editions of this article. The Sanity Inspector (talk) 21:13, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Recent conspiracy theory?Edit

I've been doing some searching, and I'm not finding any references to this term that don't originate within the last couple of years with conservative pundits. If this is the case, this article is seriously misleading. Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 19:39, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Right, I realized the same when editing the Piven article. The earliest (2005) reference I could find is [6], and here's an article with background:: [7] Rostz (talk) 21:20, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
OK. This is making more sense. So David Horowitz coined the term, according to The Nation. I'm trying to find a better source, but it could possibly be put in, attributed to that paper. The whole article rests on some pretty flimsy sources already, at this point; they all seem to be opinion pieces or not actually about the subject. Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 22:58, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I believe the Nation piece should be cited in the article, carefully, along the lines of "The Nation replied to these assertions that..." as it is probably only WP:RS for its own viewpoint here and not for absolute truth. By the way, you've probably seen that an editor posted on WP:BLPN that we have to be careful not to harm Ms. Piven more by including references to conspiracy theories. I replied that the article as it stands presents the Cloward-Piven Strategy as if it were a commonly accepted term like Keynesian Economics, rather than an invention of the wild-eyed. Jonathanwallace (talk) 23:18, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Hmm... so far, using the NYT article and The Nation, it seems like it might be possible to state that it is a conservative term, and not an actual liberal strategy. [8] The NYT article specifically say "what he[Beck] termed the Cloward-Piven Strategy". I'm still not ready to actually make changes, but it's less foggy. I think I will add a banner to the top, though, warning that it's neutrality is in question. Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 23:44, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Hello all. I'm new to posting on Wiki, so apologies for not quite understanding or necesarily following some of the protocols. But here goes:

Interesting discussion above regarding the use of the term "Cloward-Piven Strategy". It is easy for me to accept that the intent of the authors of this "strategy" were benign in the sense that they wished to end poverty, and suggested a strategy to do exactly and only that. In the intervening years, as the liberal and conservative viewpoints have evolved into more of a mutually exclusive pair of positions, the "Strategy" has started to imply, to some observers, the deliberate disruption of the American economy from within, in order to precipitate a fundamental change in the way the American government works. This would be a different purpose than what was conceived by Cloward and Piven.

Things can be re-purposed. For example, I have used a hammer, out in the garden, as an improvised digging tool to transplant small plants. It is entirely possible that there are some political interests which purport to deliberately use the Cloward Piven Strategy for a different purpose.

Recent postings by Ann Barnhardt, who was a financial advisor and seems, to me at least, to speak sensibly about the larger issues of the nation's finances, has been suggesting that she believes that the recent explosion in government debt is evidence of a deliberate strategy to disrupt the American economy. She atributes nefarious purposes behind this possible disruption, having to do with her religious principles, but the point that I am focused on is that "strategies" can be repurposed. Other current observers have made similar comments about the Cloward Piven Strategy.

So, should the article say something about this latest development regarding the repurposing of the Cloward Piven Strategy?

JohnFornaro 05-30-13. (talk) 14:46, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

I don't understand most of what you wrote, but I think you're mistaken in your view that the original proposed strategy was entirely benign. To quote from the original article, the authors wanted to "produce bureaucratic disruption in welfare agencies and fiscal disruption in local and state governments" and "deepen existing divisions". Korny O'Near (talk) 17:13, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Misused source, I believeEdit

Anyone have access to the New York Times archives? If so, can they check this source? I seriously doubt the quote attributed to Howard Phillips had anything to do with the article here. The original article was written almost 20 years before the quote, in 1984, and the next reference to it in any media is almost 20 years later. My guess is that someone thought it advanced the argument they wanted to make, but I doubt it had anything to do with this topic. Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 20:58, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Its here but behind a paywall. Anyone who has delivery of the paper should be able to get to it, though. Jonathanwallace (talk) 21:07, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
While we are on the topic, the Chandler quote blaming Cloward and Piven for the bankruptcy of New York City is way out there in the ozone, and the riposte that most people think there are other causes doesn't really restore WP:NPOV. Its as if we included an assertion, "Joe Botz is a slavering baby-eater" and then balanced it with "Most people think Joe Botz does not eat babies." I can't confirm that Chandler is a retired admiral or worked for the CIA, nor does he appear to be WP:RS for New York City financial issues. I already removed a wikilink to the unrelated bio of an international hunger specialist of the same name. I am inclined either to delete Chandler as not a reliable or notable source, or move the content to a new "Conspiracy Theories" section. Jonathanwallace (talk) 23:33, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Also note there has been a lot of discussion at WP:RSN as to whether, and for what, Washintoin Times is a reliable source. The consensus seems to be it has to be used extremely carefully given ownership by Unification Church, assertions of bias and lack of fact-checking, etc. Jonathanwallace (talk) 23:52, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
It's an opinion piece, as well. So far, the only sources that seem to be reliable and relevant are Cloward & Piven's work and the recent NYT article. The others are either partisan opinion pieces or not actually about this supposed strategy, as far as I can tell. I'm starting to think I might just need to gut this article back to the actual sources, unless someone beats me to it. I'm also increasingly of the opinion that the article, once fixed, will not be appropriately named, as, if it should exist at all, it should be under the title of their original article: "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty" Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 06:46, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
The rename is an excellent idea, with a mention that the article's core idea has been called "The Cloward-Piven Strategy" by certain commentators, and a redirect from that title to the article. I think that would eliminate all neutrality problems at one fell swoop.Jonathanwallace (talk) 13:25, 27 January 2011 (UTC)


I'm not clear on what the perceived lack of neutral point of view refers to. Is there some dispute as to what Cloward and Piven were advancing when they first conceived their activism? (They espoused a decidedly partisan point of view; if the article reflects that point of view, well...isn't that what it should do?)  Frank  |  talk  13:43, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Yes, the article needs to give details of what they advised, and it does. The NPOV issue is that they never named it the Cloward Piven Strategy, nor do mainstream sources use that term (except in commenting on conspiracy theories). Almost unmentioned in the article is the fact that for about a decade, some right wing commentators (most notably Glenn Beck) have urged a Cloward Piven-ACORN-Obama (and even Nation Magazine/CIA) nexis that they claim led to the current financial crisis. This fringe viewpoint is only hinted at in the article, for example in its citation of a Washington Times editorial blaming Cloward and Piven for the 1970's New York City financial crisis. The discussion above is focusing on two ideas:

1. that the article more clearly needs to state the use of "Cloward Piven Strategy" to support conspiracy theories described by Glenn Beck and on sites like 2. That since "Cloward Piven Strategy" is a term invented and almost exclusively used by conspiracy theorists, it is not neutral to call this article by that name; it should be renamed to the actual name of the 1966 essay, with a redirect from "Cloward Piven Strategy".Jonathanwallace (talk) 14:02, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Whether Cloward and Piven named it such is not the point; in fact, since its notability seems to come from it being trumpeted and co-opted by another political stripe, it seems silly to rename it. And it was certainly at least once notably referred to as such in 1970. I went through the deletion discussion two years ago; I am confident there are more such references though I can't lay hands on them immediately. Nevertheless - even if the "right" is making more of this than was made in its heyday...if that's what makes it notable, then so be it.
Still and all - a tag has been placed disputing the neutrality of the article, and that's what I'm questioning.  Frank  |  talk  17:58, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
There also appears to be some synthesis of sources in the reception and criticism section, as a couple of the sources used do not appear to be about Cloward and Piven's article at all. We've currently got three active discussions regarding the original research, the naming of the article, and the conspiracy theory aspect. Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 15:19, 27 January 2011 (UTC)


We need to centralise discussion about the article's title, so I'm starting a new section. Dougweller (talk) 14:35, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Good idea. I was also thinking of taking this to the Editors' Assistance Requests Noticeboard in anticipation of edit warring that may result from a move. Here is my statement of the problem: "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty" is a formerly obscure 1966 essay in the Nation Magazine which would not be notable enough to have its own article here but for its use by right wing pundits to support the idea that there is a left wing strategy to bring down the government through application for welfare benefits, subprime mortgages, etc. The name "The Cloward-Piven strategy" is never used in the essay and seems to be a neologism coined about ten years ago by right wing commentators and conspiracy theorists. As it stands, the article is named for a conspiracy theory but about an essay. It should either be rewritten to be about the conspiracy theory or retitled "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty" with a redirect from "Cloward-Piven Strategy'. Jonathanwallace (talk) 14:53, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
1970 is a lot longer than 10 years ago, and the New York Times is not generally thought of as a "right wing commentator", although to be fair it is reporting that the strategy "has come to be known" and isn't necessarily naming it such by itself.  Frank  |  talk  18:02, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
And here are a number of book references, all before 2000, many contemporary to the paper, and at least one from 1964, two years before the paper was published. (That is not to say the paper didn't codify something they were already espousing.) It seems clear that whether the "right" has co-opted the term or not, it was in use pretty much contemporaneously to the paper being published.  Frank  |  talk  18:11, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
You are correct and clearly I should have done a Google book search before opening my mouth. In fact, one of the books you turned up is by Piven and Cloward. So that in my mind obviates the need for a a rename/redirect, though I still think the article needs expansion and a section on usage of the concept recently by Glenn Beck et al. Jonathanwallace (talk) 18:23, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
That may well be more appropriate, although (alas), it may also generate more edit-warring than a rename might have. But I think it's the correct answer to the situation. If in fact there is some "conspiracy theory" or similar co-opting, and if such is notable and sourcable, it seems this article is the place to put it.  Frank  |  talk  19:18, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Good to see there are some better sources there. I should have checked Google books as well. Still, I'm debating whether the move/redirect still might be a good idea. It would help maintain the focus on the actual article, where it belongs, rather than the current conspiracy theories around it. Perhaps a poll to gauge consensus would be good.
The Google Books results do show some interesting features of the term, in that no results show up for nearly 30 years; in addition, the early results are of a completely different character than the recent ones. Not sure any reliable sources made similar observations, but I couldn't help noticing that. Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 19:29, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Very few people are going to search under the actual name of the article. Since one of the sources Frank found is Piven and Cloward calling it the "Cloward-Piven strategy", I would forget the move and just concentrate on filling out the article. Jonathanwallace (talk) 23:25, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
It's interesting to see that every one of these references concern the failure or abandonment of the strategy for various reasons. Judging by these references, it clearly lost whatever attraction it had for the left, and was all but forgotten until the concept became useful as an indictment agaist black coommunity organizing politicos and was revived solely by the extremists of the right. These references dismiss the concept as "quaint" way back in 1977; the most recent reference is from 1993, and that's from a book of sociological history. These references make it crystal clear that social policy critics were pulling this thing out of a hat when they re-popularized a term that was, for all intents and puposes, dead for at least twenty years. And the article needs to reflect that. Bustter (talk) 22:20, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Made the changesEdit

I made the changes we discussed above by adding a new section keyed to Glenn Beck's mentions of Cloward Piven and the Nation's response.

I also deleted a New York Times 1970 reference which said only that the Times discussed Cloward Piven without providing any further information; provided actual quotes from the referenced Weir and McWhorter sources; moved the Chandler quote about Cloward Piven causing the NYC bankruptcy to a para listing conspiracist accusations against Cloward Piven in the new section.Jonathanwallace (talk) 14:42, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

How about some more context?Edit

The section outlining the strategy seems to lack appropriate context. The article quotes only the section about redistribution of income. This is appropriate since this is the most controversial part of the article. But couldn't we include the entire paragraph for context? Or at least an in-text link to the article itself instead of burying it in the citations? The entire paragraph reads:

"The ultimate objective of this strategy--to wipe out poverty by establishing a guaranteed annual income--will be questioned by some. Because the ideal of individual social and economic mobility has deep roots, even activists seem reluctant to call for national programs to eliminate poverty by the outright redistribution of income. Instead, programs are demanded to enable people to become economically competitive. But such programs are of no use to millions of today's poor. For example, one-third of the 35 million poor Americans are in families headed by females; these heads of family cannot be aided appreciably by job retraining, higher minimum wages, accelerated rates of economic growth, or employment in public works projects. Nor can the 5 million aged who are poor, nor those whose poverty results from the ill health of the wage earner. Programs to enhance individual mobility will chiefly benefit the very young, if not the as yet unborn. Individual mobility is no answer to the question of how to abolish the massive problem of poverty now."

As it reads now, the article makes it clear Cloward-Piven advocates for redistribution of income, but provides no context as to why. It seems to support the recent Glenn Beck-esque assertions that Cloward-Piven was some kind of massive Marxist conspiracy to destroy the government. In reading the article in The Nation, one should realize that the idea was to force the government to directly lift people out of poverty (via direct annual payments) in lieu of using techniques to enhance economic mobility. This article should reflect that, but clearly doesn't. Wikilost (talk) 21:56, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

Glenn Beck should be given much greater prominenceEdit

There's no evidence that this article was well-known at all, or was widely perceived as setting out any "strategy" with any meaningful real-world consequences, until Glenn Beck somewhat arbitrarily chose to pluck it out of obscurity. Glenn Beack should be prominently mentioned in the lead paragraph. AnonMoos (talk) 14:07, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

I disagree. This topic has been discussed in reliable sources for well over four decades. To highlight Beck's recent criticism would be recentism and would give undue weight to extreme opposition to Cloward and Piven's work. Cullen328 (talk) 14:25, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Nevertheless, it would currently be an obscure article in The Nation magazine archives, along with many hundreds of others, if not for Beck's recent single-handed efforts. Is there any evidence at all that it was known as "The Cloward–Piven strategy" before Beck? If it takes its title from Beck, it's only fair that it Beck be mentioned before the last section at the end of the article... AnonMoos (talk) 14:49, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
You exaggerate the "obscurity" of the article and the resulting debate in the 43 years before Beck latched onto it. I remember frequent discussions of the Cloward-Piven strategy in the mid to late 1970s, well over ten years after the original article was published. The authors were prominent activists in progressive political circles. Their ideas were well-known among those who debated poverty and welfare in the United States in that era. I venture to say that before Beck ever heard of it, the article was more notable than 99% of the articles ever published by The Nation, and that magazine has published many significant articles for many years. Cullen328 (talk) 15:04, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
As for use of the term "Cloward-Piven strategy" before Beck, the New York Times used the term in an article called "Now it's welfare lib: Welfare has come to be looked upon as a right and not a hidden shame or a gratuity" published September 27, 1970 here. Cullen328 (talk) 15:10, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus used the term in 1984 here. Cullen328 (talk) 15:12, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Full agreement with Cullen328 on weight and recentism; indeed, I suspect that a few years from now Beck's references will deserve to be removed from this article due to lack of long-term notability. Rostz (talk) 22:45, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
These book references are, every one, about flaws in the Cloward-Piven strategy, and the reasons for its failure. The last of these is from 1993, and it is from a history book. I think it's quite clear from these sources alone that the Cloward–Piven strategy was dead as a door-nail when the conspiracists revived it as a club to beat "community organizers" with. And yes, Beck certainly deserves much credit for the fact that anyone in the 21st Century recalls the phrase at all. Bustter (talk) 22:34, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Reworded "left-wing" to "liberal". Twice. Best believe "far right" (US context) is routinely edited as "conservative" on en.wikipedia. - (talk) 15:08, 8 November 2012 (UTC) Sorry, above should've been "new section". - (talk) 15:09, 8 November 2012 (UTC)