- Cass Sunstein summoned to Capitol Hill
- STATE DEBT BURDENS
- CBS STUDY ON COLLEGE STUDENTS
For more on Frances Fox Piven, including the Stanley Kurtz article, click here.
· NY Times article on FFP
· CCR Letter to Fox
· Fox’s Response to CCR
· Quote from FFP’s The Nation article “Mobilizing the Jobless”
· Greece violence from protests (most violent day was May 5)
· UK violence from protests (most violent day was Dec 9)
Spotlight From Glenn Beck Brings a CUNY Professor Threats
On his daily radio and television shows, Glenn Beck <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/glenn_beck/index.html?inline=nyt-per> has elevated once-obscure conservative thinkers onto best-seller lists. Recently, he has elevated a 78-year-old liberal academic to celebrity of a different sort, in a way that some say is endangering her life.
Frances Fox Piven, a City University of New York <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/city_university_of_new_york/index.html?inline=nyt-org> professor, has been a primary character in Mr. Beck’s warnings about a progressive take-down of America. Ms. Piven, Mr. Beck says, is responsible for a plan to “intentionally collapse our economic system.”
Her name has become a kind of shorthand for “enemy” on Mr. Beck’s Fox News Channel program, which is watched by more than 2 million people, and on one of his Web sites, The Blaze <http://www.theblaze.com/stories/frances-fox-piven-rings-in-the-new-year-by-calling-for-violent-revolution/> . This week, Mr. Beck suggested on television that she was an enemy of the Constitution.
Never mind that Ms. Piven’s radical plan to help poor people was published 45 years ago, when Mr. Beck was a toddler. Anonymous visitors to his Web site have called for her death, and some, she said, have contacted her directly via e-mail.
In response, a liberal nonprofit group, the Center for Constitutional Rights, wrote to the chairman of Fox News, Roger Ailes <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/a/roger_e_ailes/index.html?inline=nyt-per> , on Thursday to ask him to put a stop to Mr. Beck’s “false accusations” about Ms. Piven.
“Mr. Beck is putting Professor Piven in actual physical danger of a violent response,” the group wrote.
Fox News disagrees. Joel Cheatwood, a senior vice president, said Friday that Mr. Beck would not be ordered to stop talking about Ms. Piven on television. He said Mr. Beck had quoted her accurately and had never threatened her.
“ ‘The Glenn Beck Program,’ probably above and beyond any on television, has denounced violence repeatedly,” Mr. Cheatwood said.
He said he had no knowledge of the threats against Ms. Piven, and noted that The Blaze was operated independently of Fox News.
Ms. Piven said in an interview that she had informed local law enforcement authorities of the anonymous electronic threats. But she added, “I don’t want to give anybody the satisfaction of thinking they’ve got me trembling.”
The interest in Ms. Piven is rooted in an article she wrote with her husband, Richard Cloward, in 1966. The article, “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty,” proposed that if people overwhelmed the welfare rolls, fiscal and political stress on the system could force reform and give rise to changes like a guaranteed income. By drawing attention to the topic, the proposal “had a big impact” even though it was not enacted, Ms. Piven said. “A lot of people got the money that they desperately needed to survive,” she said.
In Mr. Beck’s telling on a Fox broadcast on Jan. 5, 2010, Ms. Piven and Mr. Cloward (who died in 2001) planned “to overwhelm the system and bring about the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with impossible demands and bring on economic collapse.” Mr. Beck observed that the number of welfare recipients soared in the years after the article, and said the article was like “economic sabotage.”
He linked what he termed the Cloward-Piven Strategy to President Obama <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/o/barack_obama/index.html?inline=nyt-per> ’s statement late in the 2008 presidential campaign that “we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”
Mr. Beck has invoked Ms. Piven dozens of times since. Conservative Web sites, like the ones operated by Andrew Breitbart <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/andrew_breitbart/index.html?inline=nyt-per> , have also spent time dissecting her articles and speeches.
Ms. Piven came under additional scrutiny when she wrote in the liberal magazine The Nation this month that unemployed people should be staging mass protests.
Her assertions that “an effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece,” and that “protesters need targets, preferably local and accessible ones,” led Mr. Beck to ask on Fox this week, “Is that not inciting violence? Is that not asking for violence?” Videos of fires in Greece played behind him.
“That is not a call for violence,” Ms. Piven said Friday of the references to riots. “There is a kind of rhetorical trick that is always used to denounce movements of ordinary people, and that is to imply that the massing of people itself is violent.”
That, she said, is what Mr. Beck is doing, trying to frighten his viewers.
The Nation, which has featured Ms. Piven’s columns for decades, quoted some of the threats against her in an editorial this week that condemned the “concerted campaign” against her.
One such threat, published as an anonymous comment on The Blaze, read, “Somebody tell Frances I have 5000 roundas ready and I’ll give My life to take Our freedom back.” (The spelling and capitalizing have not been changed.)
That comment and others that were direct threats were later deleted, but other comments remain that charge her with treasonous behavior.
Mr. Beck generally does not have guests on his hourlong Fox program, and Ms. Piven has not been invited to defend herself on the program. Neither Mr. Beck nor any of his producers have ever contacted her, she said.
The Center for Constitutional Rights said it took exception to the sheer quantity of negative attention to Ms. Piven.
“We are vigorous defenders of the First Amendment,” the center said in its letter to Fox. “However, there comes a point when constant intentional repetition of provocative, incendiary, emotional misinformation and falsehoods about a person can put that person in actual physical danger of a violent response.” Mr. Beck is at that point, they said.
Ms. Piven, for her part, said she was amazed that she was still being brought up on Mr. Beck’s show as recently as Wednesday.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of people who are just boiling with anger and hate,” she said.
CCR Appeals to Fox News President for Help in Silencing Glenn Beck Misinformation Campaign Against Progressive Professor
CCR Letter to Fox
Mobilizing the Jobless, Frances Fox Piven
The Nation, 12/22/10
· “Local protests have to accumulate and spread -- and become more disruptive -- to create serious 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 in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protests that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees.”
Greek Protests over Austerity Measures
February 25, 2010
(Associated Press, February 25, 2010)
· 50,000 Greek workers took to the streets and a few protesters threw rocks and red paint in clashes with police during the widest strike yet against the government's austerity plan aimed at easing the country's debt crisis
· As the march ended, riot police clashed and fired tear gas at scores of anarchist youths. Groups of youths vandalized banks and storefronts, hurling rocks, red paint and plastic bottles near parliament. Three people were arrested.
March 11, 2010
(Associated Press, March 11, 2010)
· 13 policemen injured, 16 people detained, 9 arrested
· Athens: 20,000 protesters
The northern city of Thessaloniki: 14,000 demonstrators
May 5, 2010
(Associated Press, May 5, 2010)
· 3 killed, 15 civilians and 29 police were injured.
· 14 arrested: Twelve people were arrested in Athens and another two in Thessaloniki
· One of the women killed was pregnant
· But among the demonstrators were subgroups of protesters who numbered in the hundreds — mostly young and many clad in black, wearing hoods or masks and carrying helmets, wooden bats or hammers — and whom the police and other demonstrators identified broadly as anarchists. They led efforts to storm the Parliament building, chanting “thieves, thieves,” and hurling rocks and gasoline bombs. Some chased the ceremonial guards from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the building. The police responded with tear gas canisters that spread a choking pall over the crowd.
· Firefighters worked to evacuate them, but the police said a man and two women stranded on the second floor died from smoke inhalation. Colleagues sobbed in the street.
· The deaths were the first during a Greek protest since 1991, when five people died in Patras, in southwestern Greece, and in Athens during protests against a government education bill.
· bodies were found inside the Marfin Bank in Athens. The Greek prime minister said it was a "murderous act". The protest became violent, with petrol bombs thrown at police, who responded with pepper spray and tear gas.
· A police spokesman said the three victims - two women and a man - were among 20 people working in the Marfin bank branch on Stadiou Avenue in central Athens when the petrol bomb was thrown.
· Riot police forced them back, but right next to parliament, other groups set buildings on fire - including a department of the finance ministry in charge of the the austerity programme, as well as an office of the Athens prefecture.
· Prime Minister George Papandreou told MPs in parliament: "Nobody has the right to violence and particularly violence that leads to murder. Violence breeds violence."
June 29, 2010
(Associated Press, June 29, 2010)
· Protests in Athens: Seven policemen were injured in the clashes, and 13 demonstrators were detained, six of whom were arrested
· 10,000 people took part in a demonstration organized by the country's two main labor unions and fringe left-wing groups. An earlier separate march by some 6,000 members of the Communist Party-backed PAME union ended peacefully.
· An estimated 7,000 people took part in two separate, peaceful protests in the northern city of Thessaloniki.
September 11, 2010
(Associated Press, September 11, 2010)
· No injuries or arrests
· Some 20,000 people gathered in three separate protests in the northern port city of Thessaloniki. They were accompanied by some 4,500 police on security duty.
· Police pre-emptively detained 20 people, including 13 from Spain, Italy, Britain and Portugal.
December 16, 2010
(Associated Press, December 16, 2010)
· Athens: 28 injured (including 23 police officers), 10 arrests
· Thessaloniki: 20 detained, 8 injured
· Former Finance Minister stoned and beaten by a mob in Athens
· 50,000 protest (Police said 23,000 people took part in the Athens march, and another 27,000 in other cities) Protesters fought running battles with riot police in central Athens, torching cars, hurling gasoline bombs and sending Christmas shoppers fleeing as tens of thousands took to the streets during a general strike against the government's latest austerity measures.
· Police repeatedly fired tear gas and flash grenades as the Wednesday riots some of the worst since Greece's debt crisis broke a year ago escalated outside parliament and spread to other parts of the city center.
British Student Protests over Tuition Fees
November 10, 2010
· 50,000 students marched through London against plans to triple university tuition fees. Violence erupted as a minority battled police and trashed a building containing the headquarters of the governing Conservative Party. Police said eight people, a mix of protesters and police officers, were taken to hospitals with minor injuries.
November 24, 2010:
· Students have been staging a day of action in protest across the UK against proposed increases in university tuition fees. Police said two officers were injured in London, including one with a broken arm. Thirty-two protesters were arrested for charges including violent disorder and criminal damage.
December 9, 2010
· A car containing Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall has been attacked amid violence after MPs voted to raise university tuition fees in England. A window was cracked and their car hit by paint, but the couple were unharmed.
· In angry scenes, protesters battled with police in Parliament Square. Hundreds were contained on Westminster Bridge for a time by officers.
· Police say 12 officers and 43 protesters have been injured, while 34 arrests were made
DESCRIPTIONS OF GREEK VIOLENCE
A distraught woman in her late fifties or early sixties arrived screaming “my child, my child”, in a vain search for news about a missing loved one who worked in the bank. It was not immediately known whether her son or daughter was a victim.
Later Andreas Vgenopoulos, the chairman of Marfin Investment Group, the parent company of the Marfin Egnatia bank, came solemn-faced to visit the normally busy Stadiou Street branch accompanied by bodyguards. A small number of protesters jeered and shouted insults while someone threw stones. Riot police intervened with more teargas.
A young woman who works in a bookstore across the road told me that a group of protesters had broken away from the main demonstration before smashing the bank’s windows and tossing petrol bombs inside. The three-storey neoclassical structure was soon engulfed in flames.
“Two women workers from the bank came out on to the second-floor balcony and were screaming for help,” she told me. “It was horrific. There was nothing we could do. The fire brigade came relatively quickly, as streets in the area had been closed off for the demonstration, but I hear that innocent working people have died. These people are thugs. They are murderers.”
FORMER GREEK MINISTER BEATEN
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) MP and former transport minister Costis Hatzidakis, who was attacked and beaten by protesters on Wednesday during an anti-austerity demonstration in downtown Athens, stressed in a written statement that the circle of hatred and violence must come to end
"I do not hate those who attacked me. However, all of us should realize that Greece cannot move forward with hatred and violence. We should give our best to overcome this major crisis," he stressed and thanked those who stood by him during and after the attack.
Masked youths threw petrol bombs, broke shop windows and shouted "Murderers" and "Burn the parliament", in a sign of swelling public anger at the government's plans for painful wage and pension cutbacks.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has announced an independent inquiry into the events which saw Alfie Meadows, a 20-year-old student from Middlesex University, undergo three hours of emergency surgery after he was beaten with a police baton and suffered bleeding on the brain. The Met said an internal review was ongoing into an operation that involved 2,800 individual officers and resulted in 33 arrests.
Elizabeth Meadows, 55, criticised the 'excessive violence' at last week's protest which left her son Alfie, 20, with blood on the brain.
She said Alfie was now out of hospital and recovering at home. Mrs Meadows said: 'Alfie has become the symbol of something that's wider than him. In a sense it is not about him. He's one person that was hurt in a tragic accident and he was probably hurt worse than many people but he's just one person.'
She continued: 'I really think it's a mistake to view protesting as some collective outbreak of madness. It happens when there's a great storm about something.'
Rocks, wooden banners, eggs, rotten fruit and shards of glass were thrown at police officers trying to beat back the crowd with metal batons and riot shields.
Inside the building, windows were kicked in, desks and chairs were overturned and the walls were daubed with anarchist graffiti.