Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Who Is Frances Fox Piven and Why Do Phyllis Schlafley and Glenn Beck Want Her Beheaded?

This story has "Righteous Assassination" written all over it!

Although her name's certainly not Alice, Francis Fox Piven  seems to have fallen down a rabbit hole and has found herself deep in  Right WingNutLand, with Phyllis Schlafley, the Queen of Draconian Hearts calling "Off with her head!!" 

The frumious mess all started out with Glenn Beck (must it always start with him?). He started to link Ms. Piven to the nastiest things imaginable: social justice and the lot. He named so very many nasty things that Ms. Piven has gotten tons of ... death threats. 

Seriously. Death threats. For which he steadfastly refuses to apologize for. And the threats can be quite easily be linked to him because they've always increased every time he's mentioned her on his program. They are a barometer of hate, if you will. 

So who is Frances Fox Pivon and why do Glenn Beck and (by extension) Phyllis Schlafley want her off the planet?

Frances Fox Piven was born (1932) in Calgary, Alberta Canada of Russian immigrant parents who, when she was one year old, moved to the U.S. and became a naturalized citizen in 1952. She received her B.A. in city planning, her M.A. and Ph.D. all from the University of Chicago. 
She married Richard Cloward and the two collaborated on a small article for
The Nation magazine in 1966. It was titled: "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty" It advocated encouraging the country's poor to take full advantage of all welfare programs, in order to "weigh" the system down, thereby forcing reforms to the system and lead to a guaranteed annual income. Although the Nation was, at the time, a very small publication, the article gained ground in sociological circles and the strategy came to be known as the "Cloward-Piven strategy." 
Her career as a sociologist and political scientist was highlighted by efforts such as founding Human SERVE (Service Employees Registration and Voter Education). And her writings on poverty (with Cloward) such as Regulating the Poor, Why Americans Don't Vote,  and Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America. 
In 2006-07, she served as President of the American Sociological Association.
Her awards include: (from wikipedia)

When most people see Frances Fox Piven's curriculum vitae, they are astonished that they've never heard of her. Which may also be the reason Glenn Beck smells treachery and treason: Piven must be a kind of secretive socialist-anarchist. Look at her career and wards once more. Now think of what associations Beck has latched on to:

Russian immigrants  (Commie-pinko Russkies!)
University of Chicago (a veritable hotbed of leftist - horrors! - intellectuals!)
An article in The Nation (incendiary, at  the very least!)
A TIDES FOUNDATION award! (they love her leftist little heart!)
(What a good thing patriot Beck discovered her when he did!)

The latest news in this horrendous contract out on Piven is her denunciation by none other than America's Rethuglican Sweetheart, Phyllis Schlafley. View the short video below and see just how, in a minute's time, Schlafley can render the coup de gras on Piven. The irony in Schlafly's speech is that she too created controversey - but at the other end of the political spectrum: In 2008, Washington University (St. Louis) produced a slate of honorary doctorates to be bestowed during commencement. The appearance of Ms. Schlafley on that slate caused a degree of consternation:

Students and professors contributed to the award controversey:
Fourteen university law professors wrote in a complaint letter that Schlafly's career demonstrated "anti-intellectualism in pursuit of a political agenda."
In other words, they thought Phyllis was too radically Right Wing (as well as stupid) to receive an award.

Both Schlafley and Beck now claim that Piven turned Obama into a socialist. A McCarthy-ite witch hunt can't be very far away. In the meantime, Piven still receives death threats every time Beck mentions her.* And he cavalierly eschews any thoughts of righteous assassination. Byron Williams may be in jail ...

but there are more where he came from. 

*I wonder if the threats are sent through the mail or if they're via email. If they're sent via snail mail, there may be some money to be made in this sad story - buy stock in Crayola!

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