Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


Old comments migrated to Disqus, currently working outtechnical issues

Monday, January 24, 2011

Who Is Frances Fox Piven?

Stanley Kurtz has a brief history. This is the centerpiece:

Calls for the escalation and manipulation of violent rioting have long been central to Piven’s strategy. Her 1977 book with Cloward, Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail, detailed the rationale behind the infamous crisis strategy of a decade before. The core argument is that the poor and unemployed are so isolated from the levers of power in America that their greatest potential impact is to withhold “quiescence in civil life: they can riot.”

So how did a book as old as Star Wars make it to today's news?

Piven is now a professor of political science and sociology at the City University of New York. She has also written for The Nation, "the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States" - and a decidedly left-leaning one at that. An article from last month grabs Kurtz's attention:

In her December 2010 Nation column, Piven wrote: “Local protests have to accumulate and spread — and become more disruptive — to create pressures on national politicians. An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece. . . .” Given Piven’s strategic stance, it’s clear that she and The Nation are in fact calling for violence. Her denial of this lacks all credibility. Similarly, when The Nation’s editors defend Piven by referring to her support for “civil disobedience” and “street protest,” they are attempting to create the impression that Piven is a virtual disciple of Martin Luther King Jr., when in fact her longstanding strategy has little if anything to do with nonviolence.

In this post, Glenn Reynolds links this reminder of what the Greek riots looked like.

Glenn Beck is making an issue of the article, and leftists are telling him he's out of line. Excuse me? A lot of these folks are the same ones who went ballistic** over a visual aid with symbols that people unfamiliar with guns would mistake for crosshairs (note: Loughner was quite familiar with guns) - but a woman openly advocating rioting gets a pass?

(**I swear I didn't notice the irony until immediately after I typed that word.)

I wonder if anyone has asked retired University of Illinois at Chicago professor Bill Ayers what he thinks of all this.

Labels: , , ,

Site Meter