ACORN International: Wade Rathke shakes down the whole wide world
By Michael Volpe (Organization Trends, October 2013, PDF here)
Summary: Community organizer Wade Rathke created ACORN and watched it grow to hundreds of affiliated groups around the country, until scandals forced the network into bankruptcy. Now he’s created ACORN International to bring his special style of community organizing around the globe, but often with the same old corporate American targets.
Although ACORN founder Wade Rathke disappeared from newspaper headlines when the group he created closed its doors in disgrace three years ago, he has kept busy ever since by trying to conquer the world. Rathke’s current nonprofit group, ACORN International, was created to allow ACORN to apply its corporate shakedown techniques against Western corporations as they expand into rapidly developing markets such as India. ACORN International agitates overseas, stirring up tenants and working against huge U.S. corporations such as Walmart. The group also fans the flames of discord in the microfinance and cross-border remittance industries.
Rathke is trying to spread the gospel of so-called social justice beyond America’s borders. Like a modern-day Karl Marx in exile, he is doing his best to redistribute wealth all around the globe, spreading socialism through shakedowns. He uses the ACORN brand, which isn’t yet tarnished abroad, in his international organizing campaigns, but the nonprofit hides behind a different moniker—Community Organizations International (COI)—here in the United States. ACORN International’s stated mission is “to build community organizations of low income families and to partner with grassroots organizations outside the United States.” A man who likes to operate in the shadows, Rathke has taken off on the next chapter of his career, even if no one has been paying attention.