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For all the derision of the Tea Party movement’s “extreme,” “fringe” politics, few are quite so concerned with the progressive Left’s flagrant canoodling with Communists, socialists and black liberation theologists, which was on full display at ONWT. It has been widely reported that the Communist Party USA endorsed the ONWT rally, but so did the Democratic Socialists of America, the International Socialist Organization, the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, and many other, less conspicuous, radical groups. Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), Pax Christi, the American Friends Service Committee, Code Pink (founded by Castro-acolyte Medea Benjamin), Sojourners, and the Campaign for Peace and Democracy were all endorsers of the event, among countless others.
ONWT was headquartered out of USAction, a spin-off of the group Citizen Action, which was founded by activist Heather Booth, the vice-president of USAction. Booth, who is serving as a “senior advisor” for ONWT, has a storied history as a radical activist, with connections to such groups as ACORN, Moveon.org, the AFL-CIO and others. Her husband, Paul Booth, was co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society. Other ONWT activity was coordinated out of SEIU headquarters in New York City — the union closest to President Obama and whose leadership openly espouses Marxist tenets.
At least three other the key organizers of ONWT are associated with various radical organizations and causes. ONWT’s steering committee liaison is Rosalyn Pelles, formerly of the AFL-CIO. Pelles was involved in the black liberation movement and was a signatory of the 1998 proposal for the formation of a Black Radical Congress, which called for a revival of militancy among African-Americans. ONWT “director of peace,” Michael McPhearson, is an endorser of the same Black Radical Congress and is the former executive director of Veterans for Peace, a group that supported the Marxist Sandinista militia of Nicaragua. Leah Daughtry, ONWT’s national campaign manager, is the daughter of Herbert Daughtry, a pastor and advocate of black liberation theology. Leah Daughtry, now a minister herself, is likewise known for her adherence to the philosophy. She was also chief of staff Democratic National Committee former chairmen Howard Dean and Terry McAuliffe.
Yet, ONWT is not at all obligated to apologize for it’s “extreme,” “fringe” elements. All of ONWT’s radical constituencies were welcomed additions to the event and were prominently displayed on both its website and at the march. In a similar manner, there is relatively little criticism of ONWT’s artificiality. Not that parties on the Left or Right enjoy any kind of holy grassroots authenticity, but the orchestrated nature of ONWT has not received anywhere near the level of scrutiny as has been directed at the Tea Party. Neither is there objection to its well-heeled benefactors — somebody must be paying for the “blogmobile,” after all.
All things considered, two lessons from ONWT are clear: in the first place, rallying the troops on the brink of a bleak election season really isn’t so difficult if the money and machinery are powerful enough. This is certainly not a problem for the Left, which is why no conservative anywhere can afford to rest complacently in the next several week preceding the election. On a more hopeful note, it seems there’s no comparison between the organic nature of the Tea Party movement and the spurious, manufactured left-wing populism witnessed over the weekend. Yet it’s one thing to bus your union members into D.C. to wave a prefab sign for the cameras; its quite another to ensure they will actually make it to a voting booth. And with any luck, that will be the difference in November.
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