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Mobilizing the Jobless by Frances Fox Piven: Piven calls for a mass movement of the unemployed

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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 12:37 PM
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Mobilizing the Jobless by Frances Fox Piven: Piven calls for a mass movement of the unemployed


Mobilizing the Jobless
By Frances Fox Piven
Frances Fox Piven is on the faculty of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author, most recently, of Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America.
This article appeared in the January 10/17, 2011 edition of The Nation.

As 2011 begins, nearly 15 million people are officially unemployed in the United States and another 11.5 million have either settled for part-time work or simply given up the search for a job. To regain the 5 percent unemployment level of December 2007, about 300,000 jobs would have to be created each month for several years. There are no signs that this is likely to happen soon. And joblessness now hits people harder because it follows in the wake of decades of stagnating worker earnings, high consumer indebtedness, eviscerated retirement funds and rollbacks of the social safety net.

So where are the angry crowds, the demonstrations, sit-ins and unruly mobs? After all, the injustice is apparent. Working people are losing their homes and their pensions while robber-baron CEOs report renewed profits and windfall bonuses. Shouldn't the unemployed be on the march? Why aren't they demanding enhanced safety net protections and big initiatives to generate jobs?

Mass protests might change the president's posture if they succeeded in pressing him hard from his base, something that hasn't happened so far in this administration. But there are obstructions to mobilizing the unemployed that would have to be overcome.

A loose and spontaneous movement of this sort could emerge. It is made more likely because unemployment rates are especially high among younger workers. Protests by the unemployed led by young workers and by students, who face a future of joblessness, just might become large enough and disruptive enough to have an impact in Washington. There is no science that predicts eruption of protest movements. Who expected the angry street mobs in Athens or the protests by British students? Who indeed predicted the strike movement that began in the United States in 1934, or the civil rights demonstrations that spread across the South in the early 1960s? We should hope for another American social movement from the bottomand then join it.

Read the full article at:

http://www.thenation.com/article/157292/mobilizing-jobl...

The longer this social protest explosion is contained and delayed, the bigger it will be. BBI





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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 12:40 PM
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1. King called for essentially the same thing right after Memphis.
so I guess the increasing threats against her aren't "coincidence," either...
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 12:47 PM
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2. kick and Rec! n/t
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jkshaw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 12:58 PM
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3. I hope this woman is being given
major security. If she's harmed, Glenn Beck should be indicted and tried for incitement to murder or attempted murder. In fact, I'd like to see him indicted BEFORE she's harmed.
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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. I believe that is a very serious threat. I hope significant security measures are being taken.
Edited on Tue Jan-25-11 01:01 PM by Better Believe It
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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-11 12:59 PM
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4. Glenn Beck Targets Frances Fox Piven



Glenn Beck Targets Frances Fox Piven
By The Editors
The Nation
January 20, 2011

This fusillade was evidently set off by Piven's recent Nation editorial calling for a mass movement of the unemployed <"Mobilizing the Jobless," January 10/17>. But Beck has had Piven in his cross-hairs for some time. In the past few years he's featured Piven, along with her late husband, Richard Cloward, in at least twenty-eight broadcasts, all of which paint them as masterminds of an overarching left-wing plot called "the Cloward-Piven strategy," which supposedly engineered the financial crisis of 2008, healthcare reform, Obama's election and massive voter fraud, among other world-historical events (see Richard Kim, "The Mad Tea Party," April 12, 2010). Cloward and Piven, Beck once argued, are "fundamentally responsible for the unsustainability and possible collapse of our economic system." In his most recent diatribe against Piven (January 17) he repeatedly called her "the enemy of the Constitution." In Beck's telling, because Piven and her comrades on the left support civil disobedience in some circumstances, it is theynot the heavily armed militias of the radical rightwho threaten Americans' safety.

It's tempting not to dignify such ludicrous distortions with a response. But in brief: Piven, throughout her career as an activist and academic, has embodied the best of American democracy. It has been her life's work to amplify the voices of the disenfranchised through voter registration drives, grassroots organization and, when necessary, street protest. The way economic injustice warps and erodes our democracy has been a central preoccupation. But passive lament has never been her game. Recognizing the leverage that oppressed groups haveand working with them to use itis her special genius.

In July, (Byron) Williams, a convicted bank robber, put on a suit of body armor and got in a car with a 9-mm handgun, a shotgun and a .308 caliber rifle equipped with armor-piercing bullets and set off for San Francisco. His destination was the Tides Foundation, which had been mentioned at that point in at least twenty-nine episodes of the Glenn Beck show, sometimes along with Piven. His goal, as he later told police, was to kill "people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU" in order to "start a revolution." Williams's mother said that he had been watching TV news and was upset at "the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing-agenda items." Or, as Williams himself put it, "I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind." California Highway Patrol officers pulled Williams over for driving erratically and, after a firefight, subdued and arrested him before he could blow anyone else's mind away.

For a responsible journalist and a responsible media outlet, such an incident would have spurred a process of intense self-scrutiny. But this is Glenn Beck and Fox, and as is evident from the campaign against Piven, nothing of the sort occurred. In the hundreds of posts about Piven on The Blaze, there is not one admonition to tone down the violent rhetoric, not one clear instance in which an editor intervened to moderate the thread. In fact, commenters seem at liberty to egg one another on: one poster pointedly noted that Piven lives in New York City and teaches at CUNY; another then linked to a website that listed Piven's home address and phone number. "Why is this woman still alive?" asked capnjack. "Mainly because you haven't killed her, I imagine. See, someone that really cares and has the courage of their conviction must actually DO SOMETHING," responded Diamondback. And the calls for assassination are not limited to Piven. As Civilunrestnow put it in a post that perfectly captures the tenor of right-wing eliminationist fantasy, "I say bring it. 90 million legal gun owners with over 220 million legal firearms, MOST in the hands of people who claim to be center RIGHT. I think it's time to reduce the surplus population of leeches, lay abouts, left wing nut jobs, the main stream media, liberal politicians and MOST defense attorneys."

Read the full editorial at:

http://www.thenation.com/article/157900/glenn-beck-targ...





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