By Manifesto Joe
Frances Fox Piven is a lefty academic, a sociologist who advocates reforms of welfare in the U.S. that would eventually lead to a guaranteed annual income for all Americans. I've read one of the professor's books, and can't say that I agree with her entirely.
But now that TV-radio demagogue Glenn Beck has put her in his ludicrous right-wing crosshairs, I find that I must come to her defense. Because the 78-year-old professor urges a certain level of militancy among America's unemployed, in the form of mass protests, Beck has made her a verbal target, and some of the lunatics who hang on his toxic words appear to be cleaning and oiling their firearms.
Wikipedia summarizes the controversy thusly:
Conservative commentator Glenn Beck has repeatedly criticized Piven, labeling her references to the May 2010 Greek protests a call to violence. Beck stated that she is an enemy of the Constitution, and that the Cloward-Piven strategy would "intentionally collapse our economic system", which in turn has led to multiple death threats against her. Comparing Beck to 1930s fascist broadcaster Charles Coughlin, Piven has replied that her references to riots are "not a call for violence"; that her critics are using "a kind of rhetorical trick that is always used to denounce movements of ordinary people, and that is to imply that the massing of people itself is violent."
When somebody gets on Beck's shitlist, threats often follow. The Care2 Petition Site reported:
After Beck's outrageous remarks against Piven, threatening comments surfaced on his website, including:
"Somebody tell Frances I have 5,000 rounds ready and I will give my life to take our freedom back"
"we should blow up Piven's office and home"
The irony, of course, is that Piven now appears to be a target of potential violence, after Beck drew attention to her by accusing her of advocating violence.
It's not news that Beck is a reckless and dangerous demagogue. The development here is the obvious chilling effect that a braying jackass like him can have on any kind of opposition rhetoric. When an emotionally disturbed man with the power of a mass broadcaster can incite an army of right-wing goons to potential violence, that smells of de facto fascism.
By the way, I'm sure Care2 would be happy for you to sign their petition to Roger Ailes, president of the neo-fascist propaganda TV network also known as Fox News. Here's the link to the petition site.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.