30 January 2011

Beck's Campaign Against Francis Fox Piven (3)

"I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income." - Martin Luther King, Jr. Where Do We Go From Here? (1967).
"It is our purpose to advance a strategy which affords the basis for a convergence of civil rights organizations, militant anti-poverty groups and the poor. If this strategy were implemented, a political crisis would result that could lead to legislation for a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty." - Francis Fox Piven and Richard Cloward The Nation (1966).
In The Guardian today there is yet another story on Glenn Beck's ongoing campaign against Francis Fox Piven. I found it funny that Piven arranged to meet the correspondent from the paper at a NYC restaurant called "Havana Central."

One thing that strikes me about Beck is his ignorance about history. You can find a link to the 1966 essay by Piven (and her husband, the late Richard Cloward) that so exercises Beck here at The Nation. That is where I lifted the statement above - from the first paragraph of the essay. My point today is just to say that Piven and Cloward were advocating a strategy to implement a policy that, as I noted here a year ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. also endorsed. And since Beck has announced his aim to reinvigorate Dr. King's message, how is it that he objects to Piven and Cloward? What better way to end poverty does Beck envision than the one King came to embrace? Beck instead ought to be embracing Piven as an ally in that cause. Maybe that is why he has afforded her all the publicity that trails in the wake of his diatribes.
P.S.: You might find this portrait of Piven and this more recent Op-Ed from The Los Angeles Times - both by Barabara Ehrenreich - interesting.

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Blogger Beth E. said...

Hi Jim,

Of course this is just Beck ginning up yet another flaming talking point. His whole MO is organized around twisting a half-assed interpretation of something somebody he decides he doesn't like, and then trying to render them into an equally half-assed straw man. Only those who like to drink his particular brand of KoolAid actually buy this crap--but unfortunately, that number is much higher than it ought to be.

Regarding the MLK campaign--I think ole Glenn is only interested here in the "I have a dream" King, the one that's been most thoroughly mythologized/digested into the 'safe' zone of American political discourse. If, on the other hand, we were to focus on the "Why I oppose the war in Vietnam" King, especially with starkly direct parallels to our current engagements in Afghanistan and elsewhere, I don't think GB would be quite so on board....

Thanks for upholding, at least, the absurdity of this latest anti-Piven campaign!

30 January, 2011 13:41  
Blogger Stan B. said...

Jim, you're thinking logically again- that's never gonna get anyone anywhere with these guys.

I just hope that if tragedy (god forbid) does befall Ms. Piven, the source will be finally dealt with- now you can accuse me of the same.

30 January, 2011 13:48  
Blogger Cyranos DeMet said...

Are you seriously telling me that in a country so broke it can't even pay wages to the bureaucrats it has someone thinks they want to try and set up a guaranteed national income? If so someone very badly needs to get real. That is pipe dreaming on the grandest of scales, pipe dreams of the sort where we don't mention what the pipe was loaded with, not in public anyhow.

I notice both quotes are from the mid-1960's, predating by some three decades the fall of the Soviet Union to total economic collapse brought on by the flaws inherent to communism. I can't believe anyone is still beating such a dead horse. It is not going to get up and walk, there's not even a full skeleton left, much less any muscle. A guaranteed income is a foundation idea of communism (by way of the state being responsible for everyone having a job, ergo the state equally responsible for everyone having an income equal to whatever is declared the minimum legal wage for full time work regardless of the true value of the effort applied), a theory at this point tried and well tried, net result a theory proven a successful survival tactic only on the smaller scales that becomes an utter disaster when implemented as a strategic template on a large scale. It doesn't balance, it doesn't run, it self destructs against the most fundamental elements of human nature.

Dr. King was a fine and courageous human being, a great activist in the cause of civil rights, but as an economist he'd have made a fine plumber. Are you trying to destroy the man's legacy by exposing his ignorance and naiveté in matters economic by quoting him into an environment fifty very revealing years deeper into history? Such is the actions I would expect out of white supremacist with enough brain power to actually be a danger to society. Just who is manipulating whom here? Whoever this Beck fellow is he may be smarter than you give him credit for.

30 January, 2011 17:49  
Blogger Stan B. said...

Cyranos- let's get real! How much more did the US invest in education, health programs, infrastructure, any public asset that so desperately needed it when we had the surplus?

31 January, 2011 10:38  
Blogger Cyranos DeMet said...

Stan, I am very real. You will never, ever hear me defend the cultural choices made by the United States across the last 40 years. In fact, I often point at those choices, the ones you make a fine list of, as circumstantial evidence validating the emergence of a new and rather brutal power player onto the global political scene. I have dubbed them "The Bushites" in honor of the first American president to be so totally co-opted and corrupted as to wage wars to the demand of his campaign sponsors. These people, the Bushite, are those for whom the most fundamental associations of loyalty have shifted away from an allegiance to a land or a people, their fundamental loyalty is given to their corporations and the alliances clear to be seen among those corporations. They are a primitive group, pre magna carta, pre bill of rights, feudal and proven violent in a dozen clearly engineered brush wars. They own the dog whose tail is known to wag him.

At this point the nations, ours, theirs, any mature nation, must recognize that its' defense must now incorporate the wisdom to see through cultural plots initiated on the oriental time scale of decades rather than days, plots launched by the Bushite who learned the oriental style cultural warfare from the Japanese, first to show the world the power of alliances between the corporate entities. It is pitiful, really. The military of the United States can throw biblical fire and brimstone on fifteen seconds notice in defense of the land, and do that while they're warming up the serious stuff, and yet no one contested a cultural assault so blatant it was named "the keeper of the little minds," aka… Nintendo.

31 January, 2011 12:33  

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