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Andrew Gillum Truly IS in Bed with the Dream Defenders

October 24, 2018 - 9:30am
Posted on Facebook: Andrew Gillum with Phillip Agnew and Keon Hardemon
Posted on Facebook: Andrew Gillum with Phillip Agnew and Keon Hardemon

It was a telling moment during the recent gubernatorial debate when Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum was challenged for having a more-than-cordial relationship with radical activist group the Dream Defenders. 

“Andrew signed a pledge with the Dream Defenders,” Gillum's opponent Ron DeSantis stated in Tampa Sunday night, “pledging to support this radical manifesto.”

Some Floridians might not understand the Dream Defenders' "manifesto" or the extent of Gillum's interest in it.

This is a radical organization that demands an end to “disaster capitalism,” espouses socialist-style principals, rants against Independence Day and is active in the movement to boycott Israel while promoting anti-Israel conspiracies.

And Gillum and the Dream Defenders have had a long, close relationship which, frankly, has been largely unexplored in the mainstream media. 

The Defenders' agenda is so markedly anti-police and socialist in nature that last week the Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association, the union for Broward deputies -- traditionally as blue as their uniforms -- came out in support of Republican DeSantis.

Jeff Bell, president of the union, explained why.

"When you look at Mr. Gillum's track record, and with his association with groups such as the Dream Defenders, which is an anti-law enforcement, anti-government radical group, which calls for Andrew Gillum to sign a pledge, which he did, to promise if he is elected governor of the state of Florida to divert money away from law enforcement and away from prisons in the state of Florida ... Now, taking away money from law enforcement does not protect the citizens of Florida," Bell said. "It weakens the ability of law enforcement to actually protect the innocents."

During the debate Sunday night, Gillum offered up a wan denial, and then a deflection. The Tallahassee mayor said he had "no idea" what pledge DeSantis was talking about. "The only thing I said is that, as governor, I will not see private prisons operating here in the state of Florida.” 

Gillum was visibly uncomfortable, pivoting instantly to race -- even though it's a subject he said earlier in the campaign "should never" be an issue. He said DeSantis “used to moderate a xenophobic, racist FaceBook page” and reminded CNN viewers the former congressman had attended what was described as a “racially-charged conference” or an “alt-right event.” Apparently the conference was racially charged and alt-right because it was hosted by David Horowitz, deemed racially provocative. 

Never mind that DeSantis had made not a single racially charged comment at this conference, nor were there any examples of controversial talks. And never mind that the event was attended by politicians, prominent African Americans and orthodox-Jewish pundits.

Gillum's pivot was an attempt to label DeSantis a racist to deflect from his Dream Defenders connection.

However, despite his debate denial, Gillum is in a very well-established relationship with Dream Defenders. Talk of "the pledge" references something that took place during this summer's Democratic primary. In June the four candidates were in South Florida for a debate when the Dream Defenders announced that all four had signed its “Freedom Pledge.” 

The Pledge includes numerous alarming elements that show Floridians should indeed question Gillum a little more closely on his priorities: 

“I will fight for a Florida that will divest from prisons, detention centers, guns, and police,” reads the Pledge, “and invests in the basic needs and safety of its people, especially its children.” 

(Of note, at the top of the Pledge is a well-circulated photo of the interior of a passenger van that has been retrofitted with rows of child restraint seats. Once dubbed by leftists as Trump’s “prison buses for children,” it later was revealed these were commissioned in 2016 by the Obama Administration.)

In similar fashion to the signed Pledge, a member of Dream Defenders took the stage at the Primary debate and asked all the candidates to promise not to accept money from private prisons. And they promised.

During his turn, Gillum stated that private prisons should be illegal in the state. He expounded on his Pledge, noting a time when members of Dream Defenders had occupied floor space in the Capitol, staging a sit-in protest. Gillum boasted that he had snuck food in for the protesters every night, and that he was proud “to stand up for you, and stand beside you,” during that time. (See the YouTube clip on this page, or click here.)  This is the group to which he tried to feign ignorance of pledging on Sunday. 

Because the Dream Defenders are an avowed far left organization with numerous socialist-leaning platforms -- and know it -- the group apparently has tried to buffer the candidate from its public perception. More than a week before the debate a communications director from Dream Defenders, Nailah Summers, tried to explain to Politico that Gillum is not responsible for all of their viewpoints. “Our ideology is different from what we asked of politicians," Summers said. "We know they’d never share the same ideals because we’re leftists, so we just asked that they prioritize different things in the Pledge.

This is a convenient new standard in signing your name to a proposal. Somehow down the road, when it becomes apparent that certain contents of a document could be deemed controversial, then those elements can simply be said to not apply. Even though you have declared yourself as the undersigned, those dicey parts conveniently just don’t count.

Except Gillum’s connection with Dream Defenders does not begin months ago. That protest he mentioned, as he lauded the members and proudly joined? That was following the Trayvon Martin shooting while he was a city commissioner. In 2014 Dream Defenders shut down a police parade staged in Tallahassee, and the group touts that then Mayor Gillum ensured they were not to be arrested. That same year he penned a lengthy article praising the founder of the organization, Phillip Agnew, which is not all that surprising. The two knew each other as student activists as far back as 2003 while attending Florida A&M. 

Little wonder the organization would lend its formal support to Gillum. While many supporters and the press strive to distance Gillum from the “socialist” label, Dream Defenders is proud of that very stance. “We are a socialist ...organization.” The group declares its vision for Florida as “a people-centered state replaces our current profit-centered one.”

The group reports Gillum will “fight corporate establishment politics and advance an agenda that puts people and environment before profit.” They envision a future where “his governorship would completely change the terrain on which our movement is fighting and the makeup of the Democratic party itself."

Dream Defenders has a lengthy manifesto in which it declares its mission statement for the state, entitled "The Freedom Papers." Among the many calls for freedom under various headings are plenty of revealing declarations. "Police and prisons have no place in justice" is one, which seems in line with Gillum's denied Pledge. There is also a call to bring an end to the prison and police system and to reinvest the money spent on those into social programs. 

Considering the stretches made to connect DeSantis to others, all in order to paint him as a racial extremist, Gillum’s long-term and avowed connection to a left wing extremist group is all the more concrete. He has praised the members, has worked with them, and has deep personal ties with their leadership. This is not a one-off event from charges have to be extrapolated. Gillum has over a decade of connections with this group; it is not tangential, it is intimate.

The boast from Dream Defenders about Andrew Gillum is both exuberant, and revealing: 

“This is not only one of the most progressive platforms that a Florida gubernatorial candidate has ever run on, but it is also one of the most progressive platforms we have seen from any gubernatorial candidate in the country.”

Those are the words not of a partisan hit job from a political opponent, but of a group praising a man who has warmly embraced them, and their agenda. Although there is a desire to soften these extreme plans there is no other way to spin years of mutual admiration.

Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.


If Gillum wins today I want to officially change name of the state of Florida to Califlorida

Haven't we all learned anything over the past two years? Why "debate" what Gillum will do or not do? All dems elected now after Trump will do whatever their leaders dictate once they get into office. Lying, etc. has always been acceptable tactics in politics on both sides of the aisle. But, the Dems have more success using the "ends justify the means" playbook than Republicans have. We just aren't good at fooling the people. This is so much bigger than electing a governor, senator or congressman. Wake up. All voters must vote out all dems if they love their state and their country. We can get back to normal arguments over political issues once these Soros/Steyer types stop funding our elections, in effect, buying the office. Trump derangement syndrome is being feed to us by the far left. I feel sorry for the good, honest, common sense dems right now. They must disavow all of this nonsense coming out of their really dangerous leaders right now. If Gillum wins this election, you are going to see the stock market tank and your pensions and 401ks drop. We cannot let this happen no matter what you think of Trump, DeSantis and Rick Scott. Look at it as the less of two evils if that helps those of you who dislike Trump. We are on a roll in Florida which benefits ALL of us. I know that is a hard concept to get your head around for those of you who gave up "ALL" for "me - my label" a long time ago. Try to think "ALL" this midterm election and help us with your vote for Republicans. You can switch back later on when sanity is reinstituted in our political discourse.

Socialism belongs in the trash heap of history. It doesn't work and runs the risk of creating dictators and finally communism. History is littered with the trash of socialism and the cemeteries filled with it's victims.

It all started when the GOP elected Trump. election starts in the community, any group of people can organize and win election. If the republicans voters really cared about the country, there is no way they should have voted Trump. They chose destruction now they will face the music. Be ready to see all types of radicals context elections and win, because they don't have regards any more for elected offices. It all started with the disdain many GOP bigots had for president Obama, so they chose Trump, now watch the country go in chaos, the end US lose their power

Andy Killum is like the mini me of Bathhouse Barry Obama. Lie,play the race card and complain your getting the short end of the stick. This guy is a total lightweight that will do serious damage to this state. On the bright side if this commie gets in the political entertainment will be off the hook watching this fool get trashed on a daily basis.

I'll be supporting DeSantis in Nov. Thank you Brad for a great expose of Gillum's anti law and order positions and connections. Great job! My neighbors will appreciate this inforamtion before they vote.

give them all the next post there Willy boy...

This is a stretch to say the least. Gillum clarified his positions and the extent to which he supports the "Dream Defenders". I can't imagine why you all stay unemployed. How do you explain, or does DeSantis explain these facts, which he will not comment on, DeSantis spoke at a minority and Muslim-bashing event last year alongside David Horowitz, Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon. Those fools are in a word, "scary". DeSantis called New York candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is a Puerto Rican woman, "whatever she is." Even if you don't support her position, she deserves the same respect he does. DeSantis defended a supporter who said "bring back the hanging tree." Now that guy was talking about a child murderer, but as a candidate, you should espouse to support the rule of law, not mob rule. DeSantis was moderator of a Facebook group that was a haven for racist memes and was run by lunatics. This site was so racist, they could not even publish what was being spread on it. He claimed it was a simple mistake. DeSantis proudly associated himself with Sebastian Gorka, who has ties to a Hungarian far-right group that collaborated with the Nazis, and was forced out of the White House for extremist views as Trump's advisor. DeSantis has consistently supported Trump's comments on immigrant-bashing, supporting Trump's insane comments, and ratcheting up deportations and accusing Latino immigrants of bringing "Lawlessness" to America, even though the rates of crime for immigrants are lower than the general population. Then DeSantis made the infamous "monkey this up" comment that his supporters claim was an "accident." This is long a racially coded term to describe prominent black people by hate groups. In Idaho, a neo-Nazi group is now making racist, pro-DeSantis robocalls in an offensive black "minstrel" voice with jungle music playing in the background. DeSantis has yet to denounce the group. After being confronted, DeSantis had to block a former Miami lawmaker from co-chairing one of his fundraisers because said lawmaker, ex-State Rep. Ralph Arza, in 2006 was accused of calling a man a "black piece of shit," leaving threatening messages on a colleague's cell phone and at one point calling that same colleague "my nig$#." DeSantis in October 2017 spoke at a conference held by ACT! for America, a violently anti-Muslim organization classified as a hate-group. Politico reported that a prominent DeSantis donor who once got the candidate to speak at Mar-a-Lago once called Barack Obama a "MUSLIM NIG@#%" online. DeSantis's wife, Casey, appeared at a Broward County event alongside a Barack Obama "birther" who also has ties to an anti-Muslim extremist group. The conspiracy-theorist, Trevor Loudon, is also an administrator in the same racist Facebook group that DeSantis was caught running. The filth spewed by this group could not even be reprinted in the press. I guess this about sums it up, although there is so much more, but these were only "accidents", right?...and now you have the rest of the story from an Independent voter...

We can nit-pik back and forth all day about the unsavory things DeSantis and Gillum have in their closets (you can do that with just about any politician), but at the end of the day you have to vote your interests. I'm not voting for Gillum because I don't want to turn beautiful Florida into a city like far-left San Francisco. His socialist, far-left politics aren't my cup of tea.

Excellent post!

You're an independent voter like I'm a mezzo soprano.

already voted for 2 Repubs, just not Trump the Chump's whipping boy DeRacist, nor anyone else that supports that reality TV phony...

Boom! mic drop...

At the debate Gillum lies about knowing he signed the pledge in June. I linked to DD declaring he did so. He’s on tape praising and backing the group. I linked to his op-Ed praising the founder, who he has known 15 years. These are facts, presented above.

where's the pledge?

I linked to it in the piece.

That pledge was only to stop funding private prisons, nothing else, not all that other crap you are spewing... No wonder you are unemployed...

I actually quoted from the pledge where they call for defunding police forces. The other items I was “spewing” were quotes from the very same group, one Gillum has energetically supported for over a decade.

EXACTLY! NO "for profit" prisons and NO "for profit" charter schools! A couple of things that many people agree with! Republican "privatization" has run amok and often becomes little more than a grand opportunity for graft and corruption. The group referenced here is little more than a group of young African-Americans looking for alternatives to the rampant imprisonment of minorities.

There should be more for-profit schools. Competition is good and it gives minorities in bad neighborhoods a chance to go to better schools. If the charter school isn't up to snuff, it goes under. Vouchers are great too.

I know this logic will escape you but if the minorities wouldn't break the law in the first place, they wouldn't get locked up! Don't do the crime if you can't do the time!

“many people” are not calling to defund our police forces. That was in the pledge he signed. This is more than a group of youngsters. They are avowed socialists, and an anti-Israel group. Gillum has embraced them for over a decade.

Well, Trump and DeSantis are in bed with the white nationalists and the anti-immigrant groups ... and Trump is "in love" with dictators Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, and King Salman. So, Slager, it's just more of the same-old-same-old battle between The Fascists and The Socialists! No big deal.

Teddy, the perennial far left troll. Spewing garbage again.

Pffftt! However, I will agree that the people I was "spewing" about are "garbage". Dictatorial ultranationalists. Fascists. Garbage. (And, to strangers like you, Ms. Greenbarg, my first name is 'Mister'!) Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle.

You are suppose to publish the news. It’s in your title. How did you not clearly label this an op-ed??? Sloppy.

It is a column. Facts, links, and plenty of direct quotes are provided. What are you disputing specifically?

More scare tactics from the running scared Repubs. If there is a support for people over profit margins, and elimination of private prisons, I'll sign up too... All the rest is party rhetoric and BS. You can either choose radical left or radical right. I see it more in terms of choosing balance or one party rule. Gillum will never get his radical left agenda through Congress, but DeSantis could, and that is scary. The problem with DeSantis' one party rule is it is dangerously, radically right, to the point of no platform on healthcare, which could lead to the elimination of coverage for pre-existing conditions. He voted to strip Medicare and Social Security and raise the age of retirement to 70. The racially insensitive groups he has associated with does not make DeSantis a racist, but to even allow those folks to give you money or your time legitimizes them, and that is scary. I am perfectly comfortable with Gillum's explanation that he supports the Dream Defenders platform in terms of private prison abuse, police brutality, and a one state solution in Israel won't work and should be stopped. He has not advocated for anymore, nor any less than that, and I, and many others support those equality positions hole heartedly as well... As for your signed pledges for Dream Defender destruction. Until you produce those signed pledges for all that, it is just more scare tactics, just like the feigned FBI investigation, that they have already told his attorney, he is not the focus of...

At least you are clear on where you stand, Brad - who would have guessed. I might suggest that you go outside for a deep breath of fresh air and some Florida sunshine. Florida needs pragmatic , problem solving, leadership - now more than ever. Andrew Guillam will provide it.

You have a problem with facts, I guess. And you don’t have a problem with Gillum lying boldly in the debate. Seems clear where you stand


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