In a disturbing speech given on March 19 at the Left Forum, which took place at Pace University in New York City, by prominent union leader Steven Lerner (SEIU, photo left) to a select group of other prominent labor, progressive and community leaders, Lerner proposes committing “economic terrorism.”
Economic terrorism has been defined by the Geneva Center for Security Policy as “varied, coordinated and sophisticated or massive destabilizing actions in order to disrupt the economic and financial stability of a state a group of states or a society for ideological or religious motives.”
As recently as last Friday, someone was convicted of the crime of attempting to commit economic terrorism by the Department of Justice. Sixty-seven year old Bernard von NotHaus was convincted for making, possessing, and selling his own coins. Charged with “conspiracy against the United States,” NotHaus faces prison sentence for up to 15 years.
Anne Tompkins of the DOJ prosecuted the case and said that NotHaus was guilty of “attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism.” She added, “While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country.”
With that in mind, one must ask where the DOJ stands on the plots put forth by Steven Lerner this weekend at the Left Forum.
The Left Forum is one of the largest annual left wing conferences. Notable progressives like Frances Fox Piven were present at the conference, where Piven’s philosophy of destabilization is not only celebrated but touted as the foundation of all other notions discussed at the forum.
For example, one of the panelists said of Piven’s philosophy:
“We were talking about why unions are so invested because of their pension plans and why ungovernability, as Frances Fox Piven and Cloward taught us, you know, poor people’s movements are successful when they create conditions of ungovernability and then you win victories.”
In other words, destabilization is the goal.
Enter Steven Lerner.
Steven Lerner worked for SEIU but may have left when Stern did, though that cannot be confirmed because SEIU refuses to confirm any information. The Glenn Beck program made a number of attempts to confirm the information with SEIU, ranging from phone calls to emails, but SEIU will not verify if Lerner is or is not there.
This weekend, Lerner was introduced as Director of SEIU’s Banking and Finance Campaign, thereby making it a fair assumption that he may still be working for the organization. Lerner has been intricate to the various endeavors of the SEIU. He was the person on the Wall Street Reform campaign for the SEIU; he is the one responsible for the protests on lawns of people’s homes, most notably the lawn of the Bank of America executive. He also spearheaded the Justice for Janitors campaign, where protestors entered the busiest intersections in cities nationwide and dumped trash to interrupt traffic.
In other words, Lerner is no novice to underhanded union thuggery tactics.
Likewise, Lerner is a blogger for President Obama’s preferred publication, the Huffington Post. Wade Rathke, a titan of the progressive movement, refers to Lerner as “Brother Lerner.”
To boot, Lerner has had at least four confirmed visits to the White House, and one confirmed visit to the United States Treasury, in December 2010.
This is a man with connections.
At the Left Forum this past weekend, Lerner began by laying the foundation of his plot to commit economic terrorism, as defined by the Geneva Center. It begins by admitting the unions’ limitations:
Unions are almost dead. We cannot survive doing what we do, but the simple fact of the matter is community organizations are almost dead also and so I think if you think about what we need to do, it may give us some direction, which is essentially what the folks that are in charge-you know the big banks and everything-what they want is stability. There are actually extraordinary things we could do right now to start to destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement.
Again, destabilization is the ultimate goal. Here’s how Lerner begins to outline the proper steps towards destabilization:
For example, 10 percent of homeowners going back to where you started, a quarter of the people who own a home are underwater, right, their home they are paying more for it when it’s worth 10 percent of those people are in strategic default, meaning they are refusing to pay but they are staying in their home. That’s totally spontaneous, right? They figured out, ‘it takes a year to kick me out of my home because foreclosure is backed up. I’m going to say I won’t pay.’ It’s a good business decision. If you could double that number you would you could put banks at the edge of insolvency again.
What would happen if we could organize homeowners in mass to do a mortgage strike? Just say if we get half a million people to agree, we’ll agree we won’t pay our mortgages. It would literally cause a new financial crisis for the banks, not for us, we would be doing quite well because we wouldn’t be paying.
On Tuesday’s episode of the Glenn Beck program, Beck explained, “Using a mass mortgage strike, and he also goes into student loans, he hopes to create a new financial crisis. Think of this. The whole reason that we did TARP (aside: Is there anyone here who thinks it was a great idea to do TARP?) was to bring us back from the brink. And here he is a man who’s been to the White House and is planning on detailing a plan to bring our financial institutions back to the brink.”
As noted by Beck, if the plotters actually succeeded in their ploys, all of the TARP funds will have been wasted.
Staging a mass mortgage strike is only the beginning, however. Lerner goes on:
The folks that control this country care about one thing-how the stock market does, how the bond market does and what their bonuses is. So I think we need to have a very simple strategy. How do we bring down the stock market, how do we bring down their bonuses, how do we interfere with their ability to be rich and that means we have to politically isolate them, economically isolate them and disrupt them?
Unfortunately, Lerner refuses to divulge too much information, in fear that there may be police agents in the crowd:
I don’t want to give details because I don’t know which police agents are in the room.
Beck responded to this. “He’s not going to give a lot of details because he’s afraid there might be police in the audience. There wasn’t,” He added with a smirk, “But we might have been there.”
Naturally, an underground movement such as the one Lerner is attempting to foster requires a good scapegoat. Don’t worry. They have that covered as well:
A bunch of us around the country think about who would be a really good company to hate? We decided that would be JP Morgan Chase based here in New York, and so we’re going to roll out over the next couple of months…we’re looking at is in first week of May can we get enough people together-we’re starting now-to really have a week of action in New York.
In addition to the disturbing nature of the goals of these community organizers is the knowledge that President Obama has been a leading advocate for the SEIU.
During campaign season, Obama said of the organization,“I’ve spent my entire adult life working with SEIU. I’m not a newcomer to this.”
Acknowledging the President’s alliance with the group, Beck asks, “Is it reasonable, America, to believe that Obama doesn’t know Steven Lerner? He is one of most influential-he is praised by everyone and has been around since the mid 1990s.”
Though the plan to bring about economic destruction is apparently underway, according to Lerner, there is an opportunity to halt it in its tracks.
Beck notes, “Lerner was also clear that this could not have the hallmark of the Unions. It could not be known as a union deal. It has to be grassroots.”
According to Lerner:
Labor can’t lead, but we are a critical part of it; we do have money, we have millions of members who are furious. But I don’t think this kind of movement can happen unless actually community groups and other activists take this lead, and that’s a big reversal of how a lot of these coalitions even thought about it. And so unions helping community groups or community groups helping us narrowly. If we really believe that we are in a transformative stage of what’s happening in capitalism, then we need to confront this in a serious way and develop a real ability to put a boot in the wheel; then we have to think not about labor and community alliances, we have to think about how together we are building something that really has the capacity to disrupt how the system operates.
It seems then logical to believe that if the movement is exposed as a “union deal,” it may be stopped, particularly since the average union member is moderate and does not seek to witness the destruction of the American economy.
In California, for example, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) manages pension and health benefits for more than a million California public employees, and does so by investing the pension funds in the stock market. If the stock market were to crash at the hands of Lerner and his cohorts, the average union member would suffer.
For this reason, Beck appealed to the average moderate union member at the end of Tuesday’s program:
This evil must be rooted out from the inside. You must stand in your own union-a union that is silent or stands next to these unions is part of the problem. Fumigate the halls of your union offices because if you don’t rat these people out, we all lose.
Since this video footage has been uncovered, the Department of Justice, JP Morgan Chase, and the White House have all been alerted to Lerner’s plot. Not one of those entities had a comment on the subject.
Given the DOJ’s history of failing to prosecute clear-cut cases of criminality, coupled with its intrusiveness in cases that are seemingly out of its realm of jurisdiction, one may not feel optimistic that the Justice Department will be launching an investigation into this matter anytime soon.
Related article: Former SEIU Union Official Exposes Plot to Collapse U.S. Economy