Frances Fox Piven

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Frances Fox Piven (1932-) is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the City University of New York (CUNY). Honorary Chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, she is associated with American progressive radical politics, especially voting and welfare reform, and has been targeted on Fox News by commentator Glenn Beck.

Before CUNY, she held faculty positions at Boston University, Columbia University, New York University Law School, the Institute of Advanced Studies in Vienna, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Bologna. Professional recognition includes the President's Award of the American Public Health Association, and the American Sociological Association's Career Award for the Practice of Sociology, as well as their award for the Public Understanding of Sociology. She has been Vice-President of the American Political Science Association and president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.

Beck focused on a 1966 article in The Nation, “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty”, which she coauthored with her husband, Richard Cloward. At the time, both were on the faculty at Columbia University. The article discusses strategies to create a guaranteed annual income for the poor. [1] Beck has interpreted this as a plan for violent revolution. In an interview, she drew a parallel between Beck and Father Charles Coughlin, a right-wing radio broadcaster in the 1930s. "It is very dangerous. Father Coughlin founded a third political party. Glenn Beck has the Tea Party. We should be worried," she said.[2]


  1. Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward (2 May 1966), "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty", The Nation
  2. Paul Harris (30 January 2011), Frances Fox Piven defies death threats after taunts by anchorman Glenn Beck, Guardian (UK)