ORLANDO, Fl. – Florida gubernatorial candidate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum served as the director of a radical youth training organization whose 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.”
All of that extremist rhetoric and more was posted on the official “issues” sections of the organization’s website while Gillum not only served as its active director, but while his picture, position and bio were brandished on the same site on the “staff” page.
The organization in question is Young People For, or YP4, one of two youth training groups that Gillum directed and oversaw while he worked at the George Soros-financed People for the American Way, or PFAW, as field organizer in 2002 and then Director of Youth Leadership Programs from 2005 until January 13, 2017. He departed PFAW just ahead of his gubernatorial run.
A Breitbart News investigation found that even while he was a Tallahassee city commissioner and later the city’s mayor, Gillum was heavily involved in the controversial YP4 youth leadership program as youth director, announcing multiple hires and headlining fundraising and group events.
During the current gubernatorial race, Gillum has faced controversy over his refusal to disavow Dream Defenders, an anti-patriotic, anti-capitalism, anti-military, anti-police organization that has engaged in activist efforts to promote the boycott of Israel and with which Gillum has been associated. Republican challenger Ron DeSantis has repeatedly called for Gillum to distance himself from Dream Defenders.
Now it has emerged that Philip Agnew, the co-founder of Dream Defenders, is a 2005 graduate of Gillum’s former YP4 group.
PFAW was founded in 1981 by Hollywood producer and liberal activist Norman Lear.
In his position of youth leadership director at PFAW, 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 which describes itself as “the first national program singularly-focused on providing a network of support to young progressive state and local elected officials.”
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 while he was 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 group’s website.
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 accuses 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 implies 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 Gillum’s website called for no less than the “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.”
Gillum’s group 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 calls 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 calls 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 says the 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 accuses “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.” Breitbart News reported two weeks ago that Gillum’s Dream Defenders allies did just that, compiling 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.
Gillum could not stay at PFAW since the organization cannot legally be involved in partisan politics. But when he depoarted 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.
Editor’s note: This article deleted a reference to “Umi Selah” as a co-founder of Dream Defenders since “Umi Selah” is the same person as Dream Defenders’ Phillip Agnew, already mentioned in the piece.
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.