ORLANDO, Fla. — When he oversaw a radical youth training outfit, Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum gave the Israel boycott-promoting and anti-police Dream Defenders organization a “Movement Building Partner Award.”
On Wednesday, Breitbart News documented that, until last year, Gillum worked at the George Soros-financed People for the American Way, where he served as Director of Youth Leadership Programs from 2005 until January 13, 2017, and oversaw a radical training outfit calling itself Young People For or YP4.
The YP4 organization said its mission was to challenge U.S. “predatory capitalism,” abolish the prison system, fight a “spiritual resistance” battle against “Christian hegemony,” redefine the meaning of “borders” while aiding “undocumented” aliens, and enact the “collective liberation” of “communities of color” amid what it described as the scourge of “white supremacy.”
Gillum’s group accused the U.S. of being a “colonialist” power perpetrating “structural violence” and “continued genocide.” It claimed conservatives in the U.S. judicial system were “justifying white supremacist policing practices.”
That extremist rhetoric and more was posted on the official “issues” sections of the YP4 website while Gillum not only served as its active director, but while his picture, position and bio were brandished on its “staff” page.
Breitbart News reported that Philip Agnew, the co-founder of Dream Defenders, is a 2005 graduate of Gillum’s former YP4 group.
At a January 17, 2014 YP4 summit, Gillum’s YP4 gave Agnew the Norman Lear Award, named after the producer and activist who founded People for the American Way.
It has emerged that at that same 2014 summit, Gillum’s YP4 gave the Dream Defenders organization the “Movement Building Partner Award.”
“This award is given to a progressive partner organization that has shown dedication and support to YP4 and has an outstanding commitment to social justice and the progressive movement at large,” according to YP4 literature.
Dream Defenders has taken center stage in the gubernatorial race here in Florida over Gillum’s continued refusal to disavow the group, which has engaged in activism to promote the boycott of Israel, and espouses anti-patriotic, anti-capitalism, anti-military and anti-police ideology, and with which Gillum has already been associated.
Republican challenger Ron DeSantis has repeatedly called for Gillum to distance himself from Dream Defenders, making another such call earlier this week.
During a recent debate, Gillum claimed that he had “no idea” what DeSantis was referring to when he brought up a Dream Defenders pledge Gillum reportedly signed that supports a “radical manifesto.”
“The fact is, Andrew signed a pledge with the Dream Defenders pledging his support, this radical manifesto,” DeSantis said at the televised debate.
“I have no idea what pledge he is talking about,” Gillum replied.
Last week, 38 elected Florida Sheriffs called on Gillum to “immediately and unequivocally withdraw” his support for a radical organization’s “Freedom Pledge” that contains anti-police rhetoric.
In June 2018, Gillum signed a Dream Defenders pledge containing specific language stating, “I pledge my support to the Freedom Papers.” The organization’s “Freedom Papers,” in turn, exclaim that “police and prisons have no place in ‘justice.’”
The Dream Defenders “Freedom Papers” also advocate textbook socialist principals such as claiming that “by virtue of being born each of us has the absolute right to adequate food, shelter, clothing, water, healthcare, effective public transportation, dignified work, living wages.”
Dream Defenders’ website refers to the entire State of Israel as the “site of a continued settler colonial project,” and laments U.S. military aid to the Jewish state. A large section of the site promotes the group’s anti-Israel activism. Dream Defenders previously organized a flash mob in Israel to officially endorse the BDS movement against the Jewish state.
Breitbart News reported two weeks ago that Gillum’s Dream Defenders allies compiled an education tool for U.S. teachers about “liberation” movements that glorifies the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a deadly terrorist organization.
A simple perusal of the Dream Defenders website finds the organization so feverishly championed by Gillum evidences the group’s open radicalism. The organization calls for an “end” to “disaster capitalism” and rants against Independence Day.
Much of that extremist rhetoric mirrors the phraseology posted on the official “issues” sections of Gillum’s YP4 website while Gillum served as its active director.
As youth leadership director at PFAW from 2005 until last year, Gillum was in charge of both YP4, the organization’s youth training program, and the organization’s Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, which he founded and describes itself as “the first national program singularly-focused on providing a network of support to young progressive state and local elected officials.”
Even while he was a Tallahassee city commissioner and later the city’s mayor, Gillum was heavily involved in the YP4 youth leadership program as youth director, announcing multiple hires and headlining fundraising and group events.
At a PFAW dinner in 2011, Gillum said that even though he served as vice-mayor of Tallahassee at the time, his “best job” was actually his position as the organization’s youth director, where, he explained, he led YP4. He said his job there was to counter “the radical right,” singling out Ann Coulter and Karl Rove as individuals who needed to be opposed.
A review of an archived version of YP4’s website from December 2016, while Gillum was still overseeing the group and listed on the “staff” page, finds a site bursting with extremist rhetoric. Much of the same language still exists on the current version of the site.
The “Economic Justice” section of Gillum’s group’s website demanded that activists challenge what it described as U.S. “predatory capitalism” and instead work toward socialist-style economic ideals.
That section, which is part of the mission of YP4, stated:
We know that voracious predatory capitalism is a threat to the safety, well-being, and survival of our communities and our planet. As wages stagnate and intergenerational wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, pathways to opportunity are becoming less and less accessible to the rest of us. At YP4, we are uniquely aware of the importance of challenging our system of predatory capitalism and working towards a set of institutional arrangements which allow us all to access the necessities of life — from housing, food, sustenance, and healthcare.
In that spirit, we are committed to supporting the work of organized labor, cooperative economists, and those organizing against politics of austerity, both in the US and abroad. We believe in leveraging the power of our network to support Fellows engaged in this work — from those doing worker organizing to those providing direct services to under-resourced communities and researching tax justice issues.
One “issues” section of the website accused the U.S. government of being a colonialist power which must be held to account for perpetrating “structural violence” and “continued genocide.”
Gillum’s YP4 said it “operates daily with the understanding that the lands upon which our movements organize — and upon which our own offices are situated — have been ripped from the hands of their historical inhabitants through the sustained, continued genocide of Native and indigenous peoples.”
“By stripping Native Tribes of their sovereignty, divesting resources from indigenous communities, and consigning Native peoples to the dustbins of history, the U.S. government and agents of imperialism continue to perpetuate the structural violence which began hundreds of years ago,” continued the site. “YP4 believes strongly that we as an organization have an obligation to name our complicity in colonialism, support Native activists in their necessary work, and hold communities of colonizers accountable to our actions.”
The organization implied illegal activism is acceptable: “As freedom fighters committed to lasting, meaningful change, we know that, while legal change cannot be the sole path to liberation, it is certainly a tool for agents of social justice seeking to reduce the harm of repressive legislation and winning long-withheld constitutional rights.”
The “Racial Justice” section of the group’s website called for no less than “the liberation of communities of color in this country and around the world,” and deployed socialist rhetoric demanding “collective liberation” amid the “obligation to state clearly that white supremacy kills.”
Gillum’s group exclaimed on its website that “white supremacy” manifests in “colonialism, imperialism, slavery, and voracious predatory capitalism.”
It called on activists to emulate the work of Dream Defenders, which, it said, fights “a prison industrial complex that disproportionately affects people of color.”
The “Community Safety, Police Brutality, and Prison Abolition” section called for what the title implies — an end to the U.S. prison system. Gillum’s group said it was working toward “ending the carceral State and challenging the presupposition that our communities are made safer when our fellow human beings are locked in cages.”
YP4 rhetoric warned of “police forces procur[ing] increasingly militarized arsenals, and prosecutors shield[ing] police officers who’ve murdered members of the neighborhoods they purport to serve.”
The “Spiritual Resistance” mission section called for the “birthing” of a “movement for transformative justice” working to “push back against Christian hegemony which alienates and belittles other spiritual traditions.”
The “Immigration” page said Gillum’s group believes global events should cause “critical conversations around the ways our movements conceptualize and articulate issues of empire, national identity, and the construct of borders.” In the U.S., Gillum’s group said it works to “support young undocumented people, efforts to expand and protect immigrants’ access to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), as well as campaigns to halt the deportations of undocumented peoples and families.”
The “Legal and Judicial Activism” mission page accused “conservative legal opposition” in the U.S. of “suppressing the vote, expanding the role of money in politics, reinforcing patriarchal and heteronormative policies” and “justifying white supremacist policing practices.”
The “Education” section of the YP4 website advocated “alternatives to formal education” with the “raising” of “political consciousness throughout liberation movements.”
Gillum could not stay at PFAW since the organization cannot legally be involved in partisan politics. But when he departed PFAW he didn’t go very far. He instead joined P&P Communications, a leadership consulting firm in Tallahassee founded by Sharon Lettman-Hicks, who served as Executive Vice President at the PFAW Foundation and reportedly recruited Gillum in 2002 to the PFAW. “We recruited him because of his advocacy and tenacity as a student leader,” she said.
PFAW has been aiding Gillum’s mayoral campaign, and described how it helped him win the democratic primary earlier this year:
Gillum is endorsed by PFAW’s Next Up Victory Fund, a program that helps young progressives win state and local elections. In the closing weeks of the primary, PFAW sent on-the-ground organizers to Florida to push people to the polls in support of Gillum. The group also launched a series of social media advertisements promoting his campaign.
Gillum, Lettman-Hicks and Dream Defenders’ Agnew each are graduates of an Oakland, California-based training school for progressive revolutionaries that has spawned a list of activists who have gone on to become the who’s who of the far-left leadership world, with many taking senior positions at organizations financed by Soros.
In scores of cases, graduates of the Rockwood Leadership Institute founded or directed notorious Soros-financed activist groups, such as Black Lives Matter, Media Matters for America, MoveOn.org and the Tides Foundation, one of the nation’s largest funders of progressive groups. Soros’s own Open Society Foundations sent top staff to Rockwood for training. Notorious radicals Van Jones and Linda Sarsour are among the many famous names listed as alums.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.