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August 05, 2010

The Long March Through Institutions: Holder's Lawsuits Now Directing Defendants To Pay Big Money To ACORN-Type Groups (Who Sow The Seeds Of The Next Lawsuit, Of Course)

I'm kind of getting into a Beck groove right now. I'm getting it.

Not completely. But some. I can't say these guys are following the revolutionary socialist playbook but they sure aren't making any moves inconsistent with it, either.

The other day JustKarl reminded his readers of "the long march through the institutions."

For Karl Marx, a capitalist society’s economic recessions and practical contradictions would provoke the working class to revolution in deposing capitalism — and then to restructuring the existing institutions (economic, political, social) per rational, socialist models; thus, beginning the transition to a communist society....

To understand this, Gramsci posits a strategic distinction, between a War of Position and a War of Manoeuvre. The war of position is intellectual, a culture war in which the anti-capitalist politicians (communist leaders sponsors, socialist scholars, and ideological subversives) seek to have the dominant voice in the mass media, other mass organisations, and the schools (and actively conduct ideological subversion). Once achieved, this position will be used to increase class consciousness, teach revolutionary theory and analysis, and to inspire revolutionary organisation. On winning the intellectual war of position, communist leaders would then have the necessary political power and popular support to begin the war of manoeuvre — the armed insurrection against capitalism.

The phrase "the long march through the institutions" is today commonly used in Marxist speech to refer to a war of position, alluding to the Long March of the Chinese Red Army in the 1930s.

And the institutions of capitalism are now being compelled to directly subsidize the institutions of socialism, which will in turn be back in another couple of years for a fresh bite at the apple.

In the past, when the Civil Rights Division filed suit against, say, a bank or a landlord, alleging discrimination in lending or rentals, the cases were often settled by the defendant paying a fine to the U.S. Treasury and agreeing to put aside a sum of money to compensate the alleged discrimination victims.

There was then a search for those victims -- people who were actually denied a loan or an apartment -- who stood to be compensated. After everyone who could be found was paid, there was often money left over. That money was returned to the defendant.

Now, Attorney General Eric Holder and Civil Rights Division chief Thomas Perez have a new plan. Any unspent money will not go back to the defendant but will instead go to a "qualified organization" approved by the Justice Department. And if there is not enough unspent money -- that will be determined by the Department -- then the defendant might be required to come up with more money to give to the "qualified organization."

The arrangement was used in a recently-settled case, United States v. AIG Federal Savings Bank and Wilmington Finance. [U]nder the terms of a March 19, 2010 consent decree, AIG agreed to pay $6.1 million to "aggrieved persons who may have suffered as a result of the alleged violations."

That is standard procedure in such cases. But then AIG also agreed, in the words of the consent decree, to "provide a minimum of $1,000,000 to qualified organization(s) to provide credit counseling, financial literacy, and other related educational programs targeted at African-American borrowers." The money would come from unspent funds in the victim-compensation fund. But if it turned out that, after paying off the victims, there was less than $1 million left in the victim-compensation fund, AIG agreed to "replenish the settlement fund so that it contains $1,000,000 for distribution for those educational purposes."

...

The Department followed a similar procedure in another case, United States v. Sterling....

The defendants did not admit any wrongdoing, and there was no factual finding of wrongdoing. Nevertheless, in a November 3, 2009 consent decree, the defendants agreed to pay $2.625 million to compensate alleged victims. On top of that, the consent decree stipulated that if there weren't enough alleged victims on which to spend the $2.625 million, then what's left "shall be distributed...to a qualified organization(s) mutually agreed upon by the United States and defendants...for the purpose of conducting fair housing enforcement or educational activities in Los Angeles County."

Hinojosa says that in the Sterling case, $40,000 will be split between the victim fund administrator and a group called the Southern California Housing Rights Center. According to the Center's website, its goal is to promote "freedom of residence" through the use of "education, advocacy and litigation." Thus, money used to settle a lawsuit over alleged discrimination might well go to fund yet another lawsuit over alleged discrimination.

Nice.


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posted by Ace at 11:32 AM

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