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This same Jeremiah Wright served as a mentor to Barack Obama for two decades. So great was Obama’s regard for Wright, that Obama selected him not only to perform his wedding to Michelle Robinson in 1992, but also to baptize his two daughters later on. Perhaps Obama’s most significant show of support for Wright’s ministry was his donation of some $27,500 to Trinity Church during 2005-06. Another report indicates that from 2005-07, Obama gave a total of $53,770 to Trinity. People simply do not give such large sums of money to causes in which they do not thoroughly believe. Thus there is no reason in the world to suspect that Obama rejected any part of Wright’s message at any time between 1988 and early 2008. He disavowed Wright only when the latter’s bilious radicalism threatened to become a political liability to Obama’s ambition for the White House.
In the early to mid-1990s, Obama, now in his early thirties, worked with the (now defunct) community organization ACORN and its voter-mobilization arm, Project Vote. Manhattan Institute scholar Sol Stern explains that ACORN, professing a dedication to “the poor and powerless,” in fact promoted “a 1960s-bred agenda of anti-capitalism, central planning, victimology, and government handouts to the poor.” ACORN, Stern elaborates, organized people “to push for ever more government control of the economy” and to pursue “the ultra-Left’s familiar anti-capitalist redistributionism.” In 2010, former ACORN insider Anita MonCrief confirmed the organization’s unmistakably socialist orientation:
“As an ACORN insider my indoctrination as a socialist was a slow but steady progression from radical liberalism to embracing the stealth socialist methods that had made ACORN a powerful force in American electoral politics…. Inside ACORN offices across the country, young, idealistic liberals were being ingrained with the Saul Alinsky style of Organizing. Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals was never mentioned by name, but Alinsky’s tactics were used on employees and ACORN members. ACORN’s strategy of stealth socialism was aimed at gaining power through duplicity and somewhat assimilating into society…. I once asked Marcel Reid, former ACORN national board member and President of DC ACORN, how it was possible for ACORN to push its agenda and she replied, ‘We never use the word Socialism.’ ACORN’s appeal was to simply implement a Socialist agenda without ever saying the word.”
Smitten with Obama’s political and ideological makeup, ACORN in the early 1990s invited him to help train its staff in the tactics of community organizing. In 1995, Obama was one of a team of attorneys who sued, on ACORN’s behalf, for the implementation of a “Motor Voter” law in Illinois. Jim Edgar, the state’s Republican governor, opposed the law because he believed, quite correctly, that it could potentially breed widespread voter fraud. In a 2007 interview with ACORN representatives, then-presidential candidate Obama said enthusiastically: “You know you’ve got a friend in me. And I definitely welcome ACORN’s input…. Since I have been in the United States Senate I’ve been always a partner with ACORN as well…. I’ve been fighting with ACORN, alongside ACORN, on issues you care about my entire career.” Also during Obama’s presidential run, his campaign gave more than $800,000 to the ACORN front group Citizens’ Services, Inc., to fund voter-registration efforts. Obama’s relationship with ACORN remained rock-solid right up until the organization’s dissolution amid immense scandal (involving voter fraud, among other matters) in 2010.
It was in the mid-1990s that Obama first decided to try his hand at electoral politics, setting his sights initially on a state senate seat in Illinois. Remarkably, Obama launched his political career in the home of two well-connected Chicagoans, longtime activists who would help the fledgling politician make important contacts and enlarge his public profile. These two allies were the infamous Bill Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, lifelong Marxists who in the 1960s and ’70s had been revolutionary leaders of the Weather Underground Organization, a domestic terror group (described by Ayers as “an American Red Army”) that aspired to transform the U.S., by means of violence and even mass murder, into a Communist country. In 1974 Ayers and Dohrn co-authored a book that openly advocated “revolutionary war” as “the only path to the final defeat of imperialism and the building of socialism”; called for “a revolutionary communist party … to lead the struggle [to] seize power and build the new society”; and lauded socialism as the key to “the eradication of the social system based on profit.” Now, they were the key figures ushering Barack Obama into a political career.
Obama’s ties to Ayers and Dohrn were extensive and long-lasting. In 1995, Ayers appointed Obama as the first chairman of his newly created “school reform organization,” the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, whose stated educational objective was to “teach against oppression” as embodied in “America’s history of evil and racism, thereby forcing social transformation.” From 1999-2002, Obama served alongside Ayers on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which funded a host of left-wing groups and causes. The enduring nature of Obama’s friendly relationship with Ayers and Dohrn was evidenced by the fact that he attended a July Fourth barbecue at the couple’s home in 2005, even as the former terrorists continued to hold America—and capitalism—in utmost contempt.
Another key supporter of Obama’s 1996 entry into politics was Democratic state senator Alice Palmer of Illinois, who, as she prepared to run for Congress, hand-picked Obama as the person she hoped would fill her newly vacated state-senate seat. Toward that end, Palmer introduced Obama to party elders and donors as her preferred successor, and helped him gather the signatures required for getting his name placed on the ballot. Palmer’s background is highly noteworthy: A veteran of the Midwest Academy, she consistently supported the Soviet Union and spoke out against the United States during the Cold War. In the 1980s she served as an official of the U.S. Peace Council, which the FBI identified as a Communist front group. In 1986 she attended the 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and expressed a high regard for the USSR’s system of “central planning.” And she applauded the Soviets for “carrying out a policy to resolve the inequalities between nationalities, inequalities that they say were inherited from capitalist and czarist rule.”
During his state senate campaign in 1996, the 35-year-old Obama actively sought the endorsement of the so-called New Party, a socialist political coalition whose objective was to promote the election of left-wing public officials—most often Democrats. The New Party’s short-term goal was to gradually, incrementally move the Democratic Party leftward, thereby setting the stage for the eventual rise of a new socialist third party. As Stanley Kurtz puts it, the New Party “is best understood as an attempt to build a mass-based political front for a largely socialist party leadership.” New Party co-founder Joel Rogers once penned a piece in the Marxist journal New Left Review, wherein he made it clear that the organization was a socialist enterprise at its core. Not only was Obama successful in obtaining the New Party’s endorsement, but he also used a number of New Party volunteers as campaign workers, and by 1996 Obama himself had become a New Party member.
Yet another important Obama ally in 1996 was Carl Davidson, a major player in the Chicago branch of the New Party. Davidson is a lifelong Marxist who in the 1960s served as a national secretary of the Students for a Democratic Society. In 1969 Davidson helped launch the Venceremos Brigades, which covertly transported hundreds of young Americans to Cuba to help harvest sugar cane and learn guerrilla warfare techniques from the communist government of Fidel Castro. In 1988 Davidson founded Networking for Democracy, a program that encouraged American high-school students to engage in “mass action” aimed at “tearing down the old structures of race and class privilege” in the United States “and around the world.” And in 1992 Davidson became a leader of the newly formed Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, an outgrowth of the Communist Party USA.
Obama’s commitment to the redistribution of wealth—an unmistakable hallmark of socialism—is deep, longstanding, and well-documented. He articulated that commitment with particular clarity during a guest appearance on Chicago’s WBEZ public radio in 2001, when he was a 40-year-old Illinois state senator. In that radio interview, Obama lauded the ability of community organizations “to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change.” He lamented, however, that the Supreme Court had “never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society”; that the Court had not been able to “break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution,” a document that unfortunately “doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf”; and that he himself was “not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts,” even though he found it easy to “come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts.”
When Obama ran for president in 2008, he formed a Black Advisory Council that included Professor Cornel West—a longtime member of the Democratic Socialists of America, a former supporter of the now-defunct New Party, and an avid admirer of Jeremiah Wright. Identifying himself as a “progressive socialist,” West contends that “Marxist thought is an indispensable tradition for freedom fighters.” Viewing capitalism as the root cause of America’s “unbridled grasp at power, wealth and status,” West warns: “Free-market fundamentalism trivializes the concern for public interest. It puts fear and insecurity in the hearts of anxiety-ridden workers. It also makes money-driven, poll-obsessed elected officials deferential to corporate goals of profit—often at the cost of the common good.” When Obama appeared with Professor West at a Harlem, New York campaign fundraiser, West introduced him as “my brother and my companion and comrade.” Obama, in response, called West “a genius, a public intellectual, a preacher, [and] an oracle.”
Obama’s socialist orientation is further manifest in a number of his political appointments as President. For example:
- Obama named Van Jones, a longtime revolutionary communist who famously declared that “we [are] gonna change the whole [economic] system,” as his “green jobs czar” in 2009;
- he appointed Carol Browner, a former “commissioner” of the Socialist International, as his “environment czar”;
- he appointed John Holdren, who not only views capitalism as a system that is inherently destructive of the environment, but strongly favors the redistribution of wealth, both within the U.S. and across international borders, as his “science czar”;
- he named Hilda Solis, a former officer of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (the socialist wing of the House of Representatives), as his labor secretary;
- and he chose Anita Dunn, a woman who has cited Mao Zedong as one of her “favorite political philosophers,” to serve as White House communications director.
Also worth mentioning are Obama’s two closest political advisors. Valerie Jarrett, the daughter-in-law of a journalist with ties to the Communist Party, was largely responsible for persuading the communist Van Jones, whom she admired tremendously, to join the Obama Administration in 2009. And David Axelrod, the chief architect of Obama’s political campaigns, was mentored, as a young man, by the lifelong communist David Canter. Axelrod’s other mentor, Don Rose, was a member of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, an organization replete with communists and Sixties radicals. Rose also belonged to the Alliance to End Repression—a suspected Communist Party front—and he did some press work for the Students for a Democratic Society.
In May 2012, Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a civilian can receive, to the iconic union activist Dolores Huerta. A longtime member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Huerta had previously won a Eugene Debs Award, named after the man who founded the Socialist Party of America. On at least one occasion, she was a guest speaker at a gathering of the Socialist Scholars Conference. And she is an open admirer of Venezuela’s communist president, Hugo Chavez.
Last January, a Forbes magazine piece by Paul Roderick Gregory documented the striking similarities that exist between President Obama’s political agendas and those of the Party of European Socialists—particularly as regards the expansion of the welfare state; government-funded universal access to education and health care; a progressive taxation system designed to redistribute income and wealth on a massive scale; a belief that state control is necessary to rein in the “greed” that underlies market forces which benefit only “the privileged few”; a reliance on “international institutions” and “international consensus” as the basis of foreign-policy decisions; and environmental policies that favor “carbon taxes, higher energy prices, restricted drilling and refining, and subsidies of green technology … even at the expenses of higher conventional growth and jobs.” Concluded Gregory: “If the Party of European Socialists were to rate Obama, he would get a near-perfect score. The political views and programs that Obama is prepared to reveal to the public are consistent with those of European socialists. He is clearly a socialist in the European sense of the term.”
Stanley Kurtz, for his part, points out that Obama, from his teenage years to the present, “has lived in a thoroughly socialist world”; that Obama “never abandoned his early socialist convictions but instead discreetly retained them, on the model of his colleagues and mentors in the world of community organizing.” The final sentence of Kurtz’s book is its most powerful: “The president of the United States is a socialist.”
Though Obama—in the tradition of the Democratic Socialists of America, ACORN, and the Midwest Academy—has carefully avoided openly referring to himself as a socialist, he gives us a glimpse of his mindset every now and then, particularly when he is busy fomenting class envy, demonizing financial prosperity, and advocating wholesale wealth redistribution. Recall, for instance, when Obama famously told Joe Wurzelbacher (“Joe the Plumber”) that a tax increase on small businesses would be justified because “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody”; when he told an Illinois audience in April 2010, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money”; when he made any one of his innumerable disparaging references to “the top 1 percent,” the “millionaires and billionaires,” the “fat-cat bankers,” and the “corporate jet owners” who are “sitting pretty” as they live lavishly at the expense of “the bottom 90 percent”; when he flatly rejected “this brand of ‘you’re-on-your-own’ economics” in January 2012; when he condemned the “ever-widening chasm between the ultra-rich and everybody else”; when he advocated “a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared”; when he congratulated the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street radicals for “inspir[ing]” him, reminding him “what we are still fighting for,” and being “the reason why I ran for this office in the first place”; and most recently, when he claimed: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen”—a reference to the government-funded “roads and bridges” that presumably made it possible for the business to thrive. These quotes are both illuminating and instructive, but they represent merely the tip of Obama’s socialist iceberg.
Five days before the 2008 presidential election, Obama candidly articulated his intent to “fundamentally transform” the United States, echoing his previous pledges to “remake the world as it should be,” and to “change this country, brick by brick, block by block.” These ominous proclamations sit at the very heart of the socialist mindset, the grandiose quest to tear down the status quo and erect a new, utopian world upon the scattered rubble of its despised ruins.
In the final analysis, Americans are, and indeed should be, free to vote for a socialist president if that is what they want. But if they choose that road, they ought to at least be aware that that is in fact what they are doing—rather than be bamboozled into thinking they are merely supporting a “liberal,” a “progressive,” or a big-hearted advocate of “social justice.” Therefore let it be understood: A ballot cast for Barack Obama is a ballot cast for a man who is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, a lifelong, committed socialist.
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