Frances Fox Piven, A DEMOCRATIC VISION, Clyde Keller Art - Large 16x20 Inch Art Print - Glen Beck Protest Article, Dissent
Frances Fox Piven is a distinguished professor of political science and sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. As an educator, and author she has worked tirelessly for nearly four decades with issues concerning the poor and the disadvantaged. She is a member of the Democratic Party and has always worked within the mainstream of American politics.
Because of the recent and continuing barrage of death threats against Piven, I am offering my vintage 1976 portrait of her as someone I both admire and have followed since first meeting her in 1976. I met her withinin the framework of an event in part sponsored by the Democratic Party and in support for legislation that would have created full employment, an idea that still has merit in our current atmosphere of home foreclosures and job losses.
The "obsessive attacks" making the news are from TV commentator Glen Beck. For nearly two years (according to Piven) Beck has falsely accused her of being a Revolutionary, Socialist or Communist, essentially scaring his viewers into believing that she must be stopped. Beck uses inflammatory, violent rhetoric and imagery comparing her to Nazis and more. He strikes fear into his viewers warning that she is trying to "crash the system" - that she is undermining American Democracy. He ignores the fact that she has devoted her life to the principle that "Democracy rests on inclusive participation by an entire population" as she has stated many times.
These attacks on Piven were recently highlighted on the Democracy Now television program in which Piven was an invited guest. She made several comments about the numerous death threats she has received since Beck began attacking her. It was pointed out that while Beck was not directly advocating violence he was literally giving his listeners the "road map" to then act against her, possibly leading to her death. These unnerving threats are published in his blog entitled The Blaze. Beck has yet to remove any of the death threats made by these bloggers as of January 20, 2011.
In her final statement on the Democracy Now TV interview, Piven clarifies what she feels is the real threat that Beck's hate speech represents.
Piven states: "Democracy demands that people have some understanding of what's going on, of what there own interests are, of who their enemies are. And, moneyed propagandists have taken advantage of that to create a demonology in which it is the democratic left that is the source of all our troubles. This is the most frightening development rather than the kind of nutty death threats. It's a rather frightening development because it raises the question of whether a democracy can survive and re-emerge with any kind of health in the face of these enormous propaganda capacities (Rupert Murdoch & Company) and in that sense it is Murdoch not Beck who is the more important target."
The idea of indirectly empowering people to acts of violence by our leaders or pundits is extremely dangerous. It has led in the past to wholesale genocide with over 50 million deaths throughout the world since the end of WWII. Genocide begins within the framework of false hate speech and the sanctioning of violence made by leaders who have ordinary people do their killing for them.
At the time of this 1976 portrait, Piven (now 78 years old) was invited to participate in a conference where the issues of full employment (Humphrey Hawkins Bill) were under discussion. She along with Michael Harrington, author of THE OTHER AMERICA, spoke about the plight of the unemployed. In this portrait she is addressing many hundreds of people who came to listen to her and others.
A DEMOCRATIC VISION Copyright © 1976 Clyde Keller
Available at www.clydekeller.com