Sunday, July 18, 2010

William Tabb on Frances Piven and Glenn Beck

Professor Sharad Karkhanis had sent me an article that Professor William Tabb of Queens College wrote in the Clarion, the newsletter of the CUNY faculty union, concerning Professor Frances Piven.  The article attacks Glenn Beck and the Tea Party movement in a move to defend Professor Piven.  The gist of Beck's argument was apparently that Frances Piven had argued in favor of overwhelming the welfare rolls, forcing the City of New York to change its policies, and Beck claims this and several other of Piven's activities such as fighting for voter registration in the 1960s and supporting increased access to mortgages in the 1970s are part of an agenda. Of course, the claim that a professor is responsible for the banking crisis or American decline is absurd. 

If Tabb's description of Beck's claims is accurate it is an illustration of how the conservative media is little different from the liberal media.  The two are a hydra-headed Progressive media.  In particular, the banking crisis of 2008 was induced by Federal Reserve Bank policies and does not differ from a long line of other central bank-induced financial collapses that began with the South Sea Bubble in the early 18th century that followed the establishment of the Bank of England in the late 17th century.  Because the conservative and liberal media is Wall Street owned, and universities are part of the government-Wall Street complex that relies on Wall Street financing, university professors have as much at stake as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to pretend that the issue is the other party, not the central bank. 

Dear Editor:

Professor William Tabb makes several worthy points in his article about Frances Piven ("Tea Party Targets CUNY Prof" May 2010) but falls prey to over-generalization and opponent-baiting that parallels Glenn Beck's.  First, Professor Tabb identifies the "Tea Party" with Mr. Beck, which is an over-generalization.  I attend Tea Party meetings and have never watched a single episode of Glenn Beck's TV show.

Second, Professor Tabb uses Beck as a red herring. An equivalent strategy would be to identify President Obama with Jeremiah Wright and then refute Wright's speeches, congratulating oneself for having disproven Obama's ideas. Tabb's article might have been more useful had he provided arguments against Hayek, but I doubt that will happen.  

Third, Professor Tabb falls into the beggar-thy-partisan-opponent trap of Rush Limbaugh.  In his eagerness to blame George Bush for the financial crisis Professor Tabb overlooks the association of financial bubbles with the establishment of central banks that starts with the Bank of England and the South Sea Bubble, continues through the First Bank of the United States and the bubble in its own stock in the 1790s, on through the bubble of the 1920s and the Great Depression, and the "nifty fifty" bubble of the 1960s followed by the stagflation of the 1970s.  Both left and right, Democrat and Republican, George Bush and Barack Obama,  have a longstanding addiction to the Federalist, Whig and Progressive vice of central banking and monetary expansion. In fact, Wall Street contributed to Obama two to one over McCain.  Obama rewarded the Street handsomely. The aftermath of the Bush-Obama orgy of subsidy to Wall Street, which we will witness in the coming years as a perenially slow economy and a stagnant real hourly wage, is not a partisan phenomenon but rather a product of Progressivism to which both parties turned between 1890 and 1935. 

I personally applaud Professor Piven for aiming to bring down the welfare system.  It was Progressivism and the New Deal that created the racially divided, economically deprived and morally depraved inner cities of the 1960s and 1970s.  A free America without a welfare system would be a much better place. Likely Professors Piven and Tabb disagree with me on that score, and I wonder if there there has ever been anyone at the CUNY Graduate Center who does not.  


Mitchell Langbert
Brooklyn College
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, July 18, 2010 5:57 PM
Subject: Frances Piven blamed for economic crisis
Tea Party targets CUNY profFrances Piven blamed for economic crisis.academia under attackClarion | May 2010 opinion 9By WILLIAM TABBQueens CollegeFrances Fox Piven, distinguished
Professor of political science
and sociology is one of the most
honored faculty members at
the CUNY Graduate Center.
She is past president of the American Sociological
Association and vice president
of the American Political Science Association
– and according to Glenn Beck,
she is also author of a master plan that
engineered the current economic crisis
and seeks to destroy America. Beck has
developed this thesis on at least 30 episodes
of his Fox News TV program.
Put “Cloward-Piven strategy” into a
search engine and you will find 30,000 entries
full of vitriol and slander. According to
Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the “Tea Party”
far right, Piven and Richard Cloward developed
a plan in the 1960s that has guided
the left ever since, and which has finally

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