A new television advertisement slated to run across Florida spotlights what could be a significant campaign issue for that state’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum.
The ad, released by the Republican Governors Association (RGA), documents Gillum’s close relationship with Dream Defenders, a radical organization that demands an end to capitalism, rants against Independence Day and officially endorses the extremist Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel.
The voiceover in the ad, which can be viewed above, states that Dream Defenders “got” Gillum “through the primary” and that Gillum’s ties to the group prove he is “just too radical.”
The ad opens with a video of Gillum himself giving a “shout out” to Dream Defenders. In the full video, which is not in the ad, Gillum was taped at a June debate saying that he is “pleased and proud” to have snuck food to Dream Defenders activists during a 30-day sleep-in protest at the Florida State Capital, referring to a 2013 month-long anti-gun protest in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting. “I hope you keep at it,” Gillum said of Dream Defenders activism during a June event.
The ad voiceover continues:
Andrew Gillum got through the primary thanks to a radical group called the Dream Defenders. These radicals argued for a “border free tomorrow,” that police in prisons have no place in justice. Gillum’s backers say the United States is the biggest bully in the history of the planet. Their co-founder says Andrew Gillum is part of the movement. And if he’s governor, they will move a radical platform. Andrew Gillum. He’s just too radical.
“Andrew Gillum’s unwavering support for the radical Dream Defenders proves that he is too extreme to be governor,” said Jon Thompson, communications director for the RGA. “These radicals not only support the abolishment of borders, prisons, and police, but also call the United States ‘the biggest bully in the history of the planet.’ Gillum’s extreme platform is too radical for Florida.”
Dream Defenders’ Co-Founder Phillip Agnew recently described a long and close working and personal relationship with Gillum and said he considers Gillum to be “part of the movement.”
Dream Defenders Action Fund, the electoral and c4 nonprofit arm of Dream Defenders, was part of a progressive coalition that reportedly committed $3.5 million to help Gillum win the Democratic primary against Gwen Graham.
Gillum and Dream Defenders’ Agnew are so familiar with each other that while he was a city commissioner in Tallahassee, Gillum himself penned a glowing profile promoting Agnew and the activist’s work founding Dream Defenders titled, “We need more Phillip Agnews.”
Seven years later, in response to the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, Agnew built on his past social justice experiences and connections to form the Dream Defenders, which helped bring national attention to the Martin case. From Governor Scott’s office, the Dream Defenders pushed for a repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and a special legislative session on racial profiling and the school-to-prison pipeline, among other demands. Following 31 days in the Capitol and a commitment from Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford to hold a hearing on the state’s Stand Your Ground law, Agnew announced that the Dream Defenders would leave to refocus on civic engagement in their communities to amplify the need for reform. Dream Defenders, which continues to be led by young people of color, now has chapters on nine college campuses in Florida and continues to highlight racial and social economic justice issues.
Gillum, who would go on to become Tallahassee mayor, gushed in the March 2014 profile: “We must learn from the successes of young leaders like the Dream Defenders and recruit, train, and connect thousands more local organizers and activists, particularly in underrepresented communities and regions of the country.”
As Breitbart News reported, a simple perusal of the website of Dream Defenders, the organization so feverishly championed by Gillum, evidences the open radicalism of the group. The organization calls for an “end” to “disaster capitalism,” rants against Independence Day and spreads malicious falsehoods about Israel.
The main page boasts that Dream Defenders is “building a powerful, deep, local, organization and movement for freedom and liberation in Florida.”
Dream Defenders touts a mission statement in the form of “Freedom Papers” stressing “police and prisons have no place in ‘justice,’” while calling for an “absolute right” to fully-funded free public education.
The “Freedom Papers” 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.”
A section on its website about July 4th urges supporters to “acknowledge that the independence being commemorated has not been won for the people of this land.”
Independence Day in America should be utilized “to illuminate the ‘immeasurable distances’ between U.S. citizens and the harm committed in our name around the world,” the organization advocates. “What to the prisoner is the fourth of July?” Dream Defenders asks. “The indigenous people who were here before white settlers?
The anti-patriotic posting goes on to call for an end to “disaster capitalism” and the total abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency while lamenting U.S. military aid to Israel:
The only future for us to survive within is one of demilitarization, and an end to disaster capitalism, where money and weapons no longer get to criss cross borders with ease while black and brown children are held captive as collateral damage.
Why is there enough money to bomb Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, but not enough to support the self determination of migrants and refugees fleeing the very violence the U.S. has inflicted? Why is there enough money to sign contracts with private prison corporations like CoreCivic and GEO Group for hundreds of millions of dollars, but not enough money to rebuild Puerto Rico? Why are there billions of dollars allocated to Israel’s military to kill unarmed protestors but not the same investment to clean Flint’s water supply? The consequences of normalizing the immense violence perpetuated under the banner of U.S. exceptionalism ripple far and wide. We are all harmed by the racist misallocation of resources in America towards never ending extraction and destruction. We mourn for all of the lives lost this year serving the war machines.
In the U.S. thousands have rallied around the country demanding ICE be abolished and children be reunited with their families.
“The consequences of normalizing the immense violence perpetuated under the banner of U.S. exceptionalism ripple far and wide,” decries the organization. “We are all harmed by the racist misallocation of resources in America towards never ending extraction and destruction. We mourn for all of the lives lost this year serving the war machines.”
Breitbart News reported earlier this week that Dream Defender organized a flash mob in Israel to officially endorse the BDS movement against Israel.
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.