Frances Fox Piven attacked by Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck by Gage Skidmore 2

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Union writer endangered by assault.
Roger Ailes: It’s your responsibility to stop Glenn Beck’s dangerous attacks on Frances Fox Piven.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a public interest law firm, issued a written appeal to Beck’s boss — Fox News chairman Roger Ailes — to put a stop to the increasing threats against Piven incited by Beck tirades. The letter, asked Ailes to distinguish between First Amendment rights, of which they are “vigorous defenders” and an “intentional repetition of provocative, incendiary, emotional misinformation and falsehoods [that place Piven] in actual physical danger of a violent response.”

“Somebody tell Frances I have 5,000 rounds ready and I will give my life to take our freedom back”

”…one shot, one kill. The people have to stand up for what’s right. A few well placed marksman with high powered rifles… then there would not be any more violence.” 

”we should blow up Piven’s office and home”

These are just a few of the many comments and threats posted on Glenn Beck’s website in the last few weeks in response to Beck’s repeated attacks on Frances Fox Piven — a distinguished professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Graduate Center of City University of New York and former president of the American Sociological Association.

Piven — who is 78 — is known for her advocacy work fighting for the rights of the poor and for encouraging voter registration in poor communities.

But numerous times over the past year, Beck has falsely accused her of advocating for violence, called her an “enemy of the constitution” and has compared her to the heavily armed Hutaree militia broken up by the FBI for threats to violently overthrow the government.

The result — threats on Piven’s life — is exactly what we know to expect from Beck’s irresponsible, personal attacks. The only thing we do not know is whether the threats will turn into assassination.

Beck’s campaign of repeated falsehoods has clearly put Piven’s life in real, physical danger. Beck has once again crossed a line of deceit and common decency. Regardless of one’s views about the legality of the situation, this is a moral challenge that can only be dealt with by Beck’s employers.

Beck takes some of the threatening comments posted on his website seriously enough to delete them. Now FOX President Roger Ailes must take them seriously as well, and act responsibly to stop Beck’s reckless endangering of Frances Fox Piven.

Tell FOX News President Roger Ailes: Stop Beck’s dangerous attacks on Frances Fox Piven.

Sign the petition.  Here.

Write to the officers of your discipline’s association and ask them to issue a statement condemning Beck’s attacks on Professor Piven. The American Sociological Association quickly rose to Prof. Piven’s defense and issues this statement:  Political scientists, historians, planners, economists, law professors, religious studies professors, and others can ask their associations to  issue a similar statements.

Write an op-ed column for your local newspapers or a blogsite you read regularly, about some aspect of this issue.

You can get basic information about Beck’s crusade against Piven from the following:

•                My Huffington Post article

•                Media Matters for America’s piece documenting  Glenn Beck’s consistent and inflammatory attacks on Piven.

•                Barbara Ehrenreich’s op-ed column in today’s Los Angeles Times:,0,1548860.story

•                New York Times article on Beck’s attacks on Piven:

•                Video of Beck mocking the New York Times and Piven:

•                Article in The Nation about Beck’s attacks on Piven:

Some of Frances Fox Piven’s writing:

•                Labor Parties in Postindustrial Societies (Oxford University Press, 1992, ISBN 978-0-19-520927-3)

•                The War at Home: The Domestic Costs of Bush’s Militarism (New Press, 2004, ISBN 978-1-59558-092-4)

•                Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006, ISBN 978-0-7425-6316-2)

With Richard Cloward:

▪                Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare (Pantheon, 1971, 2nd ed: Vintage, 1993, ISBN 978-0-679-74516-7)

▪                Poor People’s Movements: Why they Succeed, How they Fail (Pantheon, 1977, ISBN 978-0-394-72697-7)

▪                New Class War: Reagan’s Attack on the Welfare State and Its Consequences (Pantheon, 1982, ISBN 978-0-394-70647-4)

▪                Why Americans Don’t Vote (Pantheon, 1988, ISBN 978-0-394-55396-2)

▪                The Breaking of the American Social Compact (New Press, 1997, ISBN 978-1-56584-476-6)

▪                Why Americans Still Don’t Vote: And Why Politicians Want it That Way (Beacon, 2000, ISBN 978-0-8070-0449-4)

All content in this post was written by Peter Dreier.

Piven is an active union member and author in Professional Staff Congress AFT, the CUNY Union.  She is also an Honorary Chair of Democratic Socialists of America.

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