Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"The Right's Conspiracy Theory Attack on Frances Fox Piven"

Here. Piven is an academic, whose writings are often published in The Nation, who wrote a paper advocating for welfare recipients to organize themselves and who was involved with the formation of ACORN, if this article can be believed, muah ha ha ha. The right has spun some sort of insane conspiracy theory around her and is now marketing excerpts of an interview done under false pretenses as being the latest proof of this horrible plot.

"In their 6,327-word Nation article, Cloward (a professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work at the time ) and Piven (an anti-poverty researcher and activist who joined the Columbia faculty later that year), proposed organizing the poor to demand welfare benefits in order to pressure the federal government to expand the nation's social safety net and establish a guaranteed national income. To put their strategy into practice, Cloward and Piven worked with George Wiley to create the National Welfare Rights Organization, which at its peak in the late 1960s had affiliates in 60 cities and had some success increasing participation in the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children program by organizing protests at welfare offices and pressuring politicians and welfare administrators to change the rules.

Because it focused exclusively on welfare recipients, however, NWRO's narrow constituency base guaranteed that it would remain a marginal force in the nation's politics. In 1970, NWRO organizer Wade Rathke moved to Arkansas to start ACORN, which he hoped would build a broader multi-racial movement for economic justice. In its early days, Cloward (who died in 2001) and Piven served as unofficial advisers to the group. ACORN eventually grew into the nation's largest community organizing group, with chapters in 103 cities in 37 states.


Beck first mentioned the so-called "Cloward-Piven Strategy" in March 2009, three months after he began his nightly Fox News show, and 32 times since. On September 18, he used his trademark chalkboard to connect Cloward and Piven to Woodrow Wilson, Che Guevara, Bill Ayers, ACORN, the SEIU, the Apollo Alliance, the Tides Foundation, George Soros, Van Jones, Valerie Jarrett, and Obama -- some of the right's favorite villains.

Beck, like his right-wing colleagues, view Cloward and Piven as dangerous radicals masquerading as reformers. Earlier this month, Beck claimed that SDS, the 1960s radical student group, believed the road to change was "Let's blow things up," but Cloward and Piven counseled, "No, no, no, let's try to just collapse the system."

Last Thursday, Beck said that Obama's health care proposal followed the Cloward-Piven strategy to "melt the system down and have it collapse into a new system." "

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