Predicated on the notion that America is a land rife with injustice, the Gamaliel Foundation (GF) trains activists in techniques and methodologies for effectively bringing about social change. The Foundation models itself on the principles of Saul Alinsky, who authored the books Reveille for Radicals (1946), The Professional Radical (1970), and Rules for Radicals (1971).
GF takes a strong stand against current homeland security measures and immigration restrictions. In September of 2003, for example, GF's Director of Civil Rights for Immigrants described the Patriot Act as an "attack on immigrants." Moreover, GF seeks to persuade the U.S. government to "legalize and provide rights to tax-paying [illegal] immigrants in this country.” "We support any immigration legislation," adds GF, "that secures the civil rights of all immigrants; leads to the legalization of undocumented persons; provides for full labor protection and labor rights of immigrants; ends the inhumane detention and warehousing of asylum seekers; ends deportation for minor offenses; encourages family unity; provides security of our borders; includes humane border enforcement policies; [and] protects the civil liberties of all people."
This video posted at Atlas shows leaders of the Chicago-based Gamaliel Foundation. They held a rally shortly after President Obama's election and "prayed" to him.
"Hear our cry, Obama. Deliver us, Obama," the organizers prayed ............
Notes from their Gamaliel White Meeting:
So, I saw the June 2, 2009 meeting with Deputy Assistant to President Cecilia Muñoz as an opportunity to do this. It made sense to have Rev. John Welch of Pennsylvania and head of the African American Leadership Commission, Jesusa Rodriguez from South Bend, Indiana, Angela Jones from Virginia, Ana Garcia Ashley, co-director of the Gamaliel Foundation, Marty Sánchez of Pilsen Neighbors in Chicago, Dr. Ann Smith, president of the Gamaliel Foundation and myself, Rev. Rudolph T. Juárez, Secretary of the Gamaliel Board and from Iowa, to be at the table.
A meeting at this level was a first for me. Because of security clearance at the White House, we all had to submit our social security numbers ahead of time and present a valid I.D., the actual day of our meeting. What a surprise when Dr. Smith discovered that she had misplaced her I.D. and didn’t have it with her. So, once at the White House gate, we had to wait until Ana Garcia Ashley used her best negotiating skills to get Dr. Smith admitted to the White House. It was fun teasing Ann about being “undocumented.”
Once we were on the White House grounds, the guard at the West Wing
opened the door for us to come into the waiting room. There we sat “tweeting” and looking at oil paintings of the American landscape, historical figures and presidential papers, not quite believing we were actually in the White House. To truly appreciate the magnitude of the occasion, even Ana Garcia Ashley stopped talking for awhile!
So, when the time came for our meeting, we walked up three flights of a staircase that had pictures of President Obama and Administration officials on its walls. One of the first things I noticed about the White House personnel was their youthfulness and diversity. There were Anglos, African- Americans, Asians and Latinos on staff. And, I couldn’t help but wonder if this could have been said of previous administrations.
Once in her office, we began our meeting with Ms. Muñoz with a prayer in Spanish and introduced ourselves and who and what we represented. She explained to us that as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, it was the function of her office to act as a doorway out and in to constituencies with a stake in good government.
As we shared the Gamaliel concerns on Education, Health Care, Immigration Reform, Worker Justice and Transportation, she gave us the names of Administration officials for us to contact and work with. She shared that President Obama was particularly respectful of organizers and organizing – for obvious reasons! And, she emphasized how important it is for us to work together in helping to bring about the many changes we need in the country.
When the meeting ended, we were happy to get a group photo of the group with Ms. Muñoz. And, while I was pleased to know that Gamaliel has allies in the White House. And, as exciting as that is, as Ms. Muñoz said, it still takes 218 votes in the House of Representatives and 60 votes in the Senate to get legislation passed.
This is a lot of food for thought.
So, as we strolled down the front driveway getting ready to leave, I could hardly believe that I had actually been to the White House for such a positive and informative meeting. But I also couldn’t help think: friends in the White House or not - we still need to exercise our “pedestrian democracy”.
And, if we are to move Education, Health Care, Immigration Reform, Worker Justice and Transportation forward – it will take working on issues, organizing people for justice, attending a meeting, speaking the truth to power, and marching in solidarity. Because, whether it be in Postville or Washington D.C., when we do this, as Dr. Smith said, we are engaged in “doing the peoples’ work.”
How deep are the White House connections. Senior Obama adviser, number two at the White House: .....................
More on Gamaliel from Kurtz:
The connections are numerous. Gregory Galluzzo, Gamaliel’s co-founder and executive director, served as a trainer and mentor during Obama’s mid-1980s organizing days in Chicago. The Developing Communities Project, which first hired Obama, is part of the Gamaliel network. Obama became a consultant and eventually a trainer of community organizers for Gamaliel. (He also served as a trainer for ACORN.) And he has kept up his ties with Gamaliel during his time in the U.S. .
Before outlining Gamaliel’s techniques of political stealth, we need to identify the views that they are camouflaging. These can be found in Dennis Jacobsen’s book Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing. Jacobsen is the pastor of Incarnation Lutheran Church in Milwaukee and director of the Gamaliel National Clergy Caucus. Jacobsen’s book, which is part of the first-year reading list for new Gamaliel organizers, lays out the underlying theology of Gamaliel’s activities. While Jacobsen’s book was published in 2001, it is based on presentations Jacobsen has been making at Gamaliel’s clergy-training center since 1992 and clearly has Galluzzo’s endorsement. So while we cannot be sure that Obama has read or taught Doing Justice, the book certainly embodies a political perspective to which Obama’s more than 20 years of friendship with Galluzzo, and his stint as a Gamaliel instructor, would surely have exposed him.
These, then, are the beliefs at the spiritual heart of the Gamaliel Foundation’s community-organizing efforts. They show clear echoes of Jeremiah Wright’s and James Cone’s black-liberation theology, and it’s evident that Obama has an affinity for organizations that embody this point of view. But a question arises. Gamaliel’s goal is to build church-based coalitions capable of wielding power on behalf of the poor. These congregation-based organizations are supposed to counterbalance and undercut America’s oppressive power structures. Yet if most American Christians are deluded servants of a sinful and oppressive system, how can they be molded into a majority coalition for change? Given the privatistic, insular, and individualistic character of American culture, theological frankness might backfire and drive away potential allies, exactly as happened with Reverend Wright. Thus arises the need for stealth.
As we have noted, when Obama worked for Gamaliel, he was paid by the Woods Foundation, which supported the radical group. Obama would later serve on the Woods Foundation board with terrorist and socialism advocate William Ayers. McKnight schooled young Obama in the gospel according to Alinsky. He apparently saw much promise in the budding politician, a way to advance Alinsky's radical socialist agenda into the highest levels in government.
Obama had been ready to be radicalized. A revealing profile in 1995 in the Chicago Reader, a far-left free weekly, tells of how the young Obama had fully rejected "the unrealistic politics of integrationist assimilation." According to the profile, Obama said he was "tired of seeing the moral fervor of black folks whipped up - at the speaker's rostrum and from the pulpit - and then allowed to dissipate because there's no agenda, no concrete program for change."At Harvard, Obama took advanced training courses at the Industrial Areas Foundation, a group founded by Alinsky and associated with Gamaliel. He certainly didn't spend much time working on the Harvard Law Review. Obama contributed not one signed word to the HLR or any other legal publication. As Matthew Franck has pointed out in National Review Online, "A search of the HeinOnline database of law journals turns up exactly nothing credited to Obama in any law review anywhere at any time."
UPDATE: More from the Gamaliel page (thanks to Laura for all the Gamaliel research)
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The following Videos are now available:
|Opening Worship Preacher - Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.|
|Featured Speaker - Mr. Jim Wallis|
|Banquet Speaker - Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr|
|Sending Speaker - Mr. Wade Rathke|
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