I would suggest that it was the Gamaliel Foundation that made President Obama what he is today. The Gamaliel Foundation brought the Alinsky community organizing method and Barack Obama to Chicago, taught him all he needs to organize a movement, and sent the future President to Harvard law.
When you read through this overview of the group and its key players, look at the parallels between the group’s past and present, with the president’s past and present. This is a group that believes in collectivism, social justice, “shared affluence, and blaming dissent on racism, and frighteningly they see using religion as a political movement, which explains the tape of people praying to Obama:
The stated mission of the Gamaliel Foundation (GF) is “to be a powerful network of grassroots, interfaith, interracial, multi-issue organizations working together to create a more just and more democratic society.” Predicated on the notion that America is a land rife with injustice, GF agitates for social change by supporting the efforts of a network of organizations (the Gamaliel Network) whose goal is to allow for individuals to “effectively participate” in the political, environmental, social and economic arenas. GF offers, for its network affiliates, programs to teach techniques and methodologies for bringing about social change; ongoing consultations; and organizer recruitment campaigns. (source)
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The Gamaliel Foundation is an organizing institute that brings together communities of people living out our faith and values to bring about justice and collectively transform our society. We hold that all people are part of a sacred community, intended by God to realize their own dignity, worth, power and voice.We affirm equal opportunity for all and abhor all forms of injustice flowing from racism, poverty, and intolerance. As people with faith in a good and just God, we proclaim the values of shared abundance, sacred community, unrelenting hope, equal opportunity and justice.Segregation and racism are primary and driving forces inside American politics, culture and society. Racism fuels the current injustice and the current political reality we experience every day. Racism is masked and concealed inside a system of spatial segregation. Racism ultimately says that not only am I not my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, but that they are not my brothers and my sisters. (source)
We have a vision for our country that is based on radical hope, inclusive community, and shared abundance for all. We believe that we are called to participate in the democratic process, in shaping a future that works for all of us. The transformation of the soul of our country, our democracy, is both a political project and a spiritual project. It requires a body of people willing to live, to act, and to project a new way of being. Our faith is a path to a new way of being: spiritually and politically.
The Gamaliel Foundation brings our faith and values to our collective work. We seek to educate and train ourselves and our community. We affirm sacred community, equal opportunity for all, shared abundance, and good stewardship. We commit to the following Faith and Democracy platform:
Healthcare ReformOur current health care system reinforces social division in this nation between those who have and those who have not. The Gamaliel Foundation asserts its faith values of sacred community and equal opportunity for all. Each person has an equal right to quality health care. More than 47 million people in the United States have no health insurance, many millions more are inadequately insured, soaring costs threaten personal, corporate, and social economies, and uneven access to quality health care creates yet another harsh dividing line in our society. The Gamaliel Foundation will engage in strategic statewide and national campaigns to achieve universal access to affordable, quality health care for all residents of the United States.Comprehensive Immigration ReformCurrent immigration policies represent a force promoting division and fear. They leave millions of workers in the shadows, vulnerable to abuse because they lack legal documentation, and unable to fully participate in a country they have helped to build. We will work for a comprehensive approach that provides work permits and a path to citizenship for those here and contributing, expanded family and worker visas, and smart enforcement.Opportunity HousingWe believe that every family deserves to live in an “opportunity community,” defined as a community that includes both good jobs and good schools. We will work for fair share housing: where all communities within a metropolitan area shall include their fair share of the region’s low income and affordable housing. Gamaliel opposes segregation of housing by class and race and policies by local governments to establish barriers to low income and affordable housing that create or exacerbate segregation.TransportationTransportation is at the very center of opportunity for jobs, maintaining our health and connecting our communities. When transportation serves as a barrier to employment opportunities or access to the services offered by the community, something is unacceptably wrong and it is imperative that people of faith respond. We will work for transportation systems that provide equal access for all members of the community, as well as sustain and support the whole creation.Jobs and Economic DevelopmentWork, at its best, is not a burden but a glad and collaborative response to the One who created us. It should reflect God’s creative and redemptive purposes by providing not only a means of subsistence but also a way to honor human dignity and allow all too equally participate in community life. Gamaliel will work to get thousands of living wage construction jobs for low-income people, minorities, women and ex-offenders through alliances with minority contractors, unions and training providers and securing workforce development agreements with state transportation departments and other public entities. (source)
President elect Barack Obama has throughout his political career made repeated references to his time as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago. It is important that we all understand the connection between Barack and Gamaliel. In l980 Mary Gonzales and I created the United Neighborhood Organization of Chicago.
In l982 we decided that we needed some expertise from someone who had done faith based community organizing. A person who had worked as such an organizer in Illinois and in Pennsylvania approached me about joining our organizing team. His name was Jerry Kellman. Jerry helped Mary and myself become better organizers. While he was working for us, he connected with a group called the Calumet Community Religious Conference (CCRC) operating on the South Side in the South Suburbs of Chicago, and in Indiana. CCRC had been formed in response to the massive shut down of major industry and the resulting job loss and all of the concomitant social tragedies.
Jerry and I reached an understanding that we would support his work in the South Suburbs so that he could become director of his own project. It was Jerry Kellman who put an ad in the New York Times about an organizing position in the Chicago area. Barack responded; Jerry interviewed him and offered him a position. Barack accepted. Almost at this very time, Jerry propositioned an old friend of his to return to Chicago from Texas and work with him in this new organizing venture. His friend was Mike Kruglik. Mike and Jerry were the first mentors of Barack in organizing.
CCRC, which spanned communities in Northwest Indiana, the South Suburbs and parts of the City of Chicago proved to be unwieldy. Jerry and I decided to split it into three parts. Barack would work to found a new independent project in the South side of Chicago, Mike Kruglik would be the director of the South Suburban Action Conference and Jerry Kellman would develop organizing in Northwest Indiana. At that point Jerry asked me to become Barack’s consultant.
And at this time we were just creating the Gamaliel Foundation. I met with Barack on a regular basis as he incorporated the Developing Communities Project, as he moved the organization into action and as he developed the leadership structure for the organization. He would write beautiful and brilliant weekly reports about his work and the people he was engaging.(Source)
- Greg Galluzzo Exec Dir, Former Jesuit Priest :When executive director Greg Galluzzo came on board in 1986, he charged the foundation with training new leaders in the style of Saul Alinsky, the famed father of community organizing who emerged a leader in the tough stockyard neighborhoods of Chicago. While Alinsky had worked on a neighborhood scale, empowering residents and workers to demand social reforms such as better housing, safer working conditions and lower crime, the Foundation has broadened its organizational emphasis to a regional scale lately even tackling policy issues that are national in breadth. (Source)
Galluzzo was interview by New Republic’s Ryan Lizza and showed him the training manual he uses with new organizers. Galluzzo told Lizza that many new trainees have an aversion to Saul Alinsky’s gritty approach because they come to organizing as idealists rather than realists. Galluzzo, along with fellow trainer Mike Kruglik, schooled Obama in Alinsky tactics. The Developing Communities Project, Obama’s first employer in Chicago, was part of the Gamaliel network of organizations. (Source)
- Mike Kruglik–Not long after Obama arrived, he sat down for a cup of coffee in Hyde Park with a fellow organizer named Mike Kruglik. Obama’s work focused on helping poor blacks on Chicago’s South Side fight the city for things like job banks and asbestos removal. His teachers were schooled in a style of organizing devised by Saul Alinsky, the radical University of Chicagotrained social scientist. At the heart of the Alinsky method is the concept of “agitation”–making someone angry enough about the rotten state of his life that he agrees to take action to change it; or, as Alinsky himself described the job, to “rub raw the sores of discontent.”On this particular evening, Kruglik was debriefing Obama about his work when a panhandler approached. Instead of ignoring the man, Obama confronted him. “Now, young man, is that really what you want be about?” Obama demanded. “I mean, come on, don’t you want to be better than that? Let’s get yourself together.”
Kruglik remembers this episode as an example of why, in ten years of training organizers, Obama was the best student he ever had. He was a natural, the undisputed master of agitation, who could engage a room full of recruiting targets in a rapid-fire Socratic dialogue, nudging them to admit that they were not living up to their own standards. As with the panhandler, he could be aggressive and confrontational. With probing, sometimes personal questions, he would pinpoint the source of pain in their lives, tearing down their egos just enough before dangling a carrot of hope that they could make things better.
- Anne E. Smith President: Smith is the woman leading the Prayers in the video. Smith, in 1985 became the first black female to win a statewide election in Illinois when she was voted onto the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Smith is also on the board of BPI, Business and Professional Leaders for the Public Interest. As a public interest law and policy center, BPI works to create solutions to the Chicago region’s most compelling social justice challenges. A tenacious and versatile advocate for the public interest, we work to increase affordable housing, public housing and improve Chicago’s public schools. BPI’s staff of lawyers and policy specialists uses legal and policy research, advocacy, organizing, litigation and collaboration with non-profit, business, community and governmental organizations to accomplish its mission.(Source)
- Mary Gonzalez, West Coast Director, Mary began organizing professionally in 1980. Prior to that she was a highly recognized leader in a community organization in Chicago that won many significant campaigns for the immigrant residents of the community.
Prior to assuming her role in California, she was the founding director of the Metropolitan Alliance of Congregations, a regional organization in the Chicago area that has successfully brought together a diversity of faith communities representing many races, income levels and cultures. MAC has led powerful campaigns that are building the political will to end inequity in how public and private resources are distributed in the Chicago metropolitan area.
Mary is a National Staff member of the Gamaliel Foundation and one of its primary trainers. She trains at all the Gamaliel Foundation training events and often travels to Gamaliel affiliated organizations to train. She is Mexican-American, a Chicago native, a resident of the Pilsen community in Chicago, and is the Wife of Greg Galluzzo.(Source)
- John McKnight Member of the Board, McKnight also 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.”
In his 1995 memoir, Obama said he wanted to go to Harvard Law School to “learn power’s currency in all its intricacy,” with the goal of “making large-scale change” as a national politician. But he needed to get there first. So Obama approached McKnight to write a letter of recommendation, which he did. (source)
- Jerry Kellerman-“Barack had been very inspired by the civil-rights movement,” Jerry Kellman, the organizer who hired Obama, told me recently. “I felt that he wanted to work in the civil-rights movement, but he was ten years too late, and this was the closest he could find to it at the time.” Obama, in his memoir, put it more simply when he said he went to Chicago to “organize black folks.”
Kellman, a New Yorker who had gotten into organizing in the 1960s, was trying to help laid-off factory workers on the far South Side of Chicago. He led a group, the Calumet Community Religious Conference, that had been created by several local Catholic churches. The Calumet region — basically the farthest southern reaches of Chicago plus the suburbs in northern Indiana — was an industrial area that had been hard hit by the closings of Wisconsin Steel and other industries. Kellman and the churches hoped to get some of those jobs back.
But there was a problem in the Chicago part of the equation. The area involved, around the Altgeld Gardens housing project and the neighborhood of Roseland, was nearly 100 percent black. Kellman was white, as were others who worked for CCRC. “The people didn’t open up to him like they would to somebody who was black and really understood what was going on in their lives,” Yvonne Lloyd, one of the key “leaders” — that is, local residents who worked closely with Obama — told me. “Black people are very leery when you come into their community and they don’t know you.” Lloyd and another leader, Loretta Augustine-Herron, insisted that Kellman hire a black organizer for a new spinoff from CCRC to be called the Developing Communities Project, which would focus solely on the Chicago part of the area.
So Kellman set out to find a black organizer. He ran an ad in some trade publications, and Obama responded. But at first Kellman wasn’t sure Obama was right for the job. “My wife was Japanese-American,” Kellman recalled. “I showed her the résumé, with the background in Hawaii. The name’s Obama, so I asked, ‘Could this be Japanese?’ She said, ‘Sure, it could be.’” It was only when Kellman talked to Obama on the phone, and Obama “expressed interest in something African-American culturally,” that a relieved Kellman offered Obama the job.(source)