Land reform, ACORN-style: squatting campaigns they admitted were illegal
I've considered writing a satire about Barack Obama proposing "land reform", aka "agrarian reform" (see, for instance, this). As it turns out, ACORN - a group with which he's been linked in one form or other for several years - was working on something similar, although they were serious. It would be interesting to know whether BHO was involved in any way with those efforts.
From this 1997 recruiting email from Madeline Talbott, ACORN's Chicago-based National Field Director:
We are moving families without housing into abandoned houses without families, a process known as squatting. The fight to make this legal and to get financial assistance to the squatters is on the cutting edge of the kind of struggles we will be involved with over the next few years.
See this for a long description, and in fact, ACORN even has a section about that effort on their site. From their description of the Reagan Years (acorn.org/index.php?id=2752):
Turning adversity into opportunity, ACORN launched a campaign to obtain affordable housing. Long before it became fashionable to be concerned about the homeless, ACORN was fighting for homes for low- and moderate-income people. Noting that economic upheaval had forced many people to default on mortgages, ACORN sought to place needy people in the resulting vacant homes. This required the forceful and illegal (though logical and moral) seizing of the properties - squatting... Squatting did not occur under cover of darkness. It was well publicized. This was a part of the political dimension of squatting. First, local officials had to agree not to evict or prosecute squatters. Second, ACORN attempted to legalize the act. Then, local officials were asked to subsidize the costs of squatting in an effort to improve the quality of life of the squatters and their neighbors...
Obviously, some people are going to be vehemently for things like this, others are going to be vehemently against, and most are probably going to be largely against. I realize that abandoned houses are a major problems in some urban areas, but at the time ACORN doesn't exactly appear to have gone out of their way to think of the people who owned the properties and who presumably, you know, paid money for them. If those owners had basically just washed their hands of the properties and the cities took legal steps to purchase them or other non-trivial means to acquire the properties that would be one thing. However, this sounds more than a bit like something that would happen in Venezuela. It would be interesting to find out whether Barack Obama was involved in these efforts in any way.
UPDATE: There are some interesting documents described here; if anyone is in Chicago perhaps they could go take a look.