Pro-life activists not ashamed to use the tactics of the Left against them

By James O’Keefe

In February 2008, Lila Rose and I released our second undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood. We were able to donate money to the organization for the explicit purpose of reducing the number of black babies born in the United States – in line with the intentions of Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger.

We carefully chose a dozen or so “one party consent” states, where it is legal to audio record someone without their consent. Not a single Planned Parenthood employee we spoke to was disinterested in the prospect of a donation for our stated purposes. We asked that our donation to be earmarked for minority mothers only. Autumn Kersey, vice president of development for the Idaho division of Planned Parenthood, actually confessed she was “excited” about the donation. We received nationwide news coverage for our sting operation and put Planned Parenthood on the defensive because of its advocacy of black genocide.

While many pro-life organizations across the country continue focusing on development, this investigation was far more effective, as it managed to expose Planned Parenthood’s original intentions and raise awareness using telephones and a public university’s video editing program.

This kind of political technology needs to be further utilized by young conservative activists. When I was editor of The Rutgers Centurion, the conservative newspaper at Rutgers University in New Jersey, I convinced administrators to ban Lucky Charms cereal on the grounds it is offensive to Irish Americans. This was done to satirize political correctness on campuses, using what legendary leftist activist Saul Alinsky called the most effective political tactic of all – mockery. It was a win-win scenario: If they did not ban Lucky Charms, they would appear to be biased against Irish Americans. If they did, they would be branded as ridiculously sensitive, as was the case. Likewise, either Planned Parenthood accepts donations from racists, or they must reject the view of their founder, Sanger, as racist.

We framed the issue in a creative way. We did not tackle abortion conventionally but from the racism angle. Because leftists believe that racism is a cardinal sin, we used their rules against them.

Alinsky believed in doing whatever necessary to disrupt and annoy power structures, applying constant pressure and opposition. Applying some of his tactics from “Rules for Radicals,” we (a) never went outside our own experience, (b) went outside our opposition’s experience, (c) used enjoyable tactics and did not spend too long on any particular one and (d) made people believe we were a 1,000 member coordinated conspiracy when there are really only three of us. Many in the pro-life movement criticize using deceit in exposing the racism and absurdity in the abortion movement, but are willing to condemn Planned Parenthood for what we exposed utilizing those tactics.

Many students around the country have nodded in agreement with my theories on activism, but they fear doing what it takes to make them happen. The movement dies when it becomes boring and risk-averse. The hardest part about being a leader is getting people to focus on action in addition to philosophy. If you must spend time “convincing” anyone of anything, it is that they owe it to their philosophy to take action. In the pro-life movement it has been particularly difficult to find people to believe in these tactics, or have the courage to use them.

Leaders taking on power structures need to be raw, confident, fearless and impermeable. Lila received a letter threatening to prosecute the group for violating wiretapping laws, but it did not stop her from continuing the investigation. After the investigation aired nationally on Fox News, Planned Parenthood could no longer press charges, as Lila would appear the victim.

Activists should always be forward thinking and compound successes immediately. For example, pro-life activists across the country could easily replicate our racism project locally by demanding Planned Parenthood be banned from their respective community or campus. “Shut down Planned Parenthood because abortion is murder,” simply will not work. The demand should frame the issue in leftist terms, making it harder to say no. It could be something like “We strongly oppose racism at Springfield State. To honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, we demand that Planned Parenthood be disaffiliated from campus.” It will be very hard for a town or campus bureaucrat to say “no” to anything that claims to honor MLK Jr.

Most importantly, conservative activists need to be their own media, and use their independent media to obtain their goals. In our situation, You Tube decided to arbitrarily ban Part II of our investigation, which had received tens of thousands of views, because it violated the “Terms of Use.” To my knowledge there was nothing in our videos that constituted a violation. We were more likely targeted due to our message, considering that there are millions of other videos that break copyright laws or contain sexual or violent material that are ignored. It is crucial to maintain independent broadcasting capabilities in print and online to get the word out.

The media coverage gained from our investigations is fun but fleeting. Media is unfortunately thought to be an end, but it should be a means. The purpose of our investigation was not just to get on Fox News but to get Planned Parenthood banned from UCLA. If we are successful, this story will likely make the Los Angeles Times and Larry King Live. This would, in turn, encourage others and lead to results so significant across the country that the mainstream media will not be able to ignore them.

Through all of this, your purpose and goal must be clear. We are not doing this just for fun or to embarrass Planned Parenthood; we want to stop them from continuing their murderous activities once and for all.



oil field trash said...

I agree with using the left's methods against them. I do this on our local "journalist" blogs. Got one by pointing out LBJ massively expanded the Vietnam War. He was furious.

ed said...

My god, do you actually believe this?

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