By Matthew Rothschild on January 20, 2011

Frances Fox Piven is a distinguished professor of political science and sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

At 78, she has taught several generations of students about how and why poor people don’t get a fair shake in the United States and how to increase their organizational power and encourage voter registration.

Such scholarship, evidently, is too much for Glenn Beck, who several months ago started to wage a nasty campaign against her.

He’s falsely accused her of being “an enemy of the Constitution” and an advocate of “violent revolution” and has listed her as one of the nine most dangerous people in the world.

Since he started to air these attacks, Piven has begun receiving death threats.

“I got e-mails that said, ‘Die You Cunt,’ and ‘May cancer find you soon,’ ” she tells The Progressive. “And people are posting my address on the Internet with their messages that are really crude and ugly and violent.”

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, several death threats against her have been posted on Beck’s website.

Here are a few:

“Be very careful what you ask for honey…A few well placed marksmen with high powered rifles…”

“Maybe they should burst through the front door of the arrogant elitist and slit the cow’s throat.”

“Somebody tell Frances I have 5,000 rounds ready.”

“We should blow up Piven’s office and home.”

“Let’s go string her up.”

“Snap her little chicken neck. This pinko filth needs a long dirt nap.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights just sent a letter to Roger Ailes, president of Fox News, urging him “to intervene and bring a stop to …the reckless endangering of the safety of Professor Piven.”

The letter, signed by executive director Vincent Warren and legal director William Quigley, concludes: “Professor Piven’s life could be at stake.”

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his other "McCarthyism Watch" pieces by clicking here.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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