Why Is Glenn Beck Obsessively Targeting Progressive Visionary Frances Fox Piven?
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AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Beck has also blamed the financial crisis on Frances Fox Piven and claims she’s part of a leftist conspiracy that dates back to Woodrow Wilson.
GLENN BECK: Let me introduce you to the people who you would say are fundamentally responsible for the unsustainability and possible collapse of our economic system. There are really two people, I’ve been telling you for a while. There they are: Cloward and Piven, Richard Cloward, Frances Fox Piven. They are authors of the Cloward-Piven strategy. Something else to remember is that this isn’t some conspiracy theory that we’re tossing out here. They wrote about collapsing the economy and how they plan to do it in an article they co-authored in the 1960s, "Mobilizing the Poor: How It Could be Done?" six months later published in The Nation under the title "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty."
Well, what is this strategy, and who’s involved? Well, do you remember on this program over the summer the tree? Watch this. The roots of the tree of radicalism and revolution. It’s Saul Alinsky. It’s Woodrow Wilson. That’s how it’s all made legitimate. It’s progressive. Here are the roots. Here’s SDS. This is for that democratic society. Cloward and Piven come in and say, "Wait a minute. Hang on just a second. What we should do is collapse the system on its own weight." Cloward and Piven. They’re using the same tactics—fear and intimidation—of SDS. Cloward, Piven: overwhelm the system. And look who the President has: Wade Rathke, right up the tree, Dale, right up the tree, Bill Ayers, right up the tree, Jeff Jones, right up the tree!
AMY GOODMAN: To respond to Glenn Beck’s attacks, we’re joined here in the studio by Frances Fox Piven herself. Richard Cloward was her late husband. Frances Fox Piven is a professor of political science and sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She’s the author, most recently, of Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Professor Piven.
FRANCES FOX PIVEN: Glad to talk to you again, Amy and Juan. Glad to be here.
AMY GOODMAN: This has been going on for, what? More than a year now, this targeting.
FRANCES FOX PIVEN: Well, a couple of years, but I think it started before I was aware of it. I don’t actually listen to Glenn Beck. And I only became aware of it when I was interviewed by a couple of people pretending to be students and working on a term paper. I let them come to my home, and they interviewed me.
AMY GOODMAN: Who did they say they were?
FRANCES FOX PIVEN: Students at Western State Michigan University. They said they had been assigned Challenging Authority, and that to do their term paper, they wanted to do a video, which, you know, I’m sort of used to. Students are always looking for ways to do a term paper without reading anything. So, I had been in an automobile accident, so I asked them to come to my home, if they wanted to. I said they could have an hour. And a couple of days later, the clips from the interview were up on the Andy Breitbart blog, a right-wing blog. So then a friend of mine googled this person, the lead person, and he was a right-wing operative in Michigan running a little organization devoted to attacking the teachers’ union in Michigan.
AMY GOODMAN: Who had been in your home.