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Frances Fox Piven: Obama Has Done Good things "Under the Radar"

Submitted by on October 29, 2010 – 6:43 am EST7 Comments

Frances Fox Piven is a prominent U.S. sociologist, writer and socialist activist and is an honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Fox Piven was a DSAer since the organization’s founding in 1982. By 1985 she was listed as a member of the Feminist Commission of the organization.

In 1994 she was listed amongst over 100 activists who were builders of Barack Obama’s New Party. Piven is also listed as an endorser of Progressives for Obama.

But much earlier, at the Second Annual Socialist Scholars Conference , held September 9-11, 1966 at the Hotel Commodore, New York, the husband/wife team, Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven unveiled their strategy to bring about the agenda they so longed for. This strategy is now known as the Cloward-Piven Strategy. In a nutshell, the strategy is designed to crash the U.S. economy and bring on socialist revolution by deliberately overloading state welfare rolls to the point of bankruptcy. You can read an in-depth discussion of this anti-American strategy in my June 2011 post, here.

As I pointed out in September this year, Piven has advocated the use of violence as a political tool as late as November, 2004 when she spoke at the University of Wisconsin, stating: “Unless you have good reason for breaking the window [i.e. using violence], probably you shouldn’t do that. Unless it’s you know, a big part of your strategy.”

On September 20, 2010, she spoke alongside Tariq Ali at the booklaunch for his new book entitled “The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad”. Ali is a board member of Movement for a Democratic Society which has close ties with the newly revived Students for a Democratic Society. The organization seeks to create a more egalitarian society in both the political and economic spheres. The booklaunch was organized and hosted by the Brecht Forum.

A short excerpt from Piven’s comments at the book launch is below.

Full video from the event is at the C-Span website, however copied below is a key excerpt of the transcript of Piven’s comments at the event:

“Obama has done some good things as president. Most of us don’t notice those things because he has done them under the radar. They don’t get public attention. He’s used executive orders for example, to fund the enforcement of workplace safety inspections by the Labor Department, or to fund environmental protection enforcement. His stimulus bill… you know, and the sort of cloud of emergency. The stimulus bill was in fact redistributive. It took, for example, the TANF program which was the program that sort of symbolized the elimination of welfare in the United States, and it gave 5 billion dollars to TANF on condition that the states spend money on TANF; let people get welfare, and of course it put money in food stamps and unemployment insurance as well. He has made appointments. Usually below the radar screen to the Federal bureaucracy, that the Bush Administration decimated. I mean they’re a bunch of hacks, in the Justice Department, in the voting rights division, wherever you looked, they put in their cronies. And the Obama Administration, concerned as they are with merit education and so forth, they began to restaff Federal bureaucracy. That’s good, compared to what was.” (31:45 – 33:50 minutes)

A little later on she comments,

“The Obama Administration has done some good things compared to the administrations that we’ve had for a very long time.” (35:50 – 36:10 minutes)

Obama has an ally in the form of the radical, violence-advocating Frances Fox Piven. She made it clear at the September 20 event that she believes Obama has done many good things, but that many of these things have been done “under the radar”. Without skipping a beat, acknowledges that the stimulus bill was redistributive.

Most noteworthy however, is her ominous comment that the President “has made appointments; usually below the radar screen to the Federal bureaucracy”. Piven takes heart at what she refers to as the Obama Administration’s restaffing of Federal bureaucracy. Perhaps Piven is referring to Socialist heroes elected to the Federal bureaucracy such as former STORM leader Van Jones, Netroots Nation-linked Cass Sunstein, and former Congressional Progressive Caucus member, Hilda Solis.

No wonder she’s happy.

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