By WILLIAM MAYER
"Radical in Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism," Stanley Kurtz, pp. 485, © 2010, Stanley Kurtz, Simon & Schuster, Threshold Division.
August 20, 2012 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Since the election of Barack Obama, there have been an untold number of books written regarding him, his presidency, Mr. Obama's background, his erstwhile Marxist, black-separatist spiritual advisor, the estimable Rev. Jeremiah Wright. These and other issues has been dealt with until the inevitable sensory overload kicked in.
Taken as a whole, the author's of these tomes represent the diversity of the American polity, with very few [Edward Klein's, "The Amateur," for example] having attempted to play it down the center, presenting a case as ideologically neutral as one can reasonably expect from a political reporter dealing with controversial subject matter.
Among these few "objective" works, Mr. Kurtz' book sets a standard of scholarship and fairness which remains unchallenged. If you wish to deconstruct the president, this is your wrecking ball.
Though published originally at the end of 2010, now, with the November 6 presidential election only a few months away it seems an appropriate time to examine this book in light of the current political climate and with another two years of Mr. Obama's policies in place.
Warning, Kurtz' book is not an easy read.
From the opening page onward the author's academic almost clinical approach is evident. In our view this only adds to its power. Kurtz's sense of fairness and avoidance of immoderate language itself is commendable. The author is neither a conservative attack dog nor is he a SorosBot regurgitating Media Matters' childish talking points.
Of course anyone familiar with Stanley Kurtz' impressive body of work, knows this soft spoken but forceful delivery is his style.
Given the subject matter and the charges being weighed, this approach is entirely appropriate. We are talking about extremely important questions surrounding the sitting president of the United States here. In this context the office itself is a hallowed institution and deserving of respect, though admittedly many of its occupants have come short of honorable service.
Importantly, "Radical," serves a dual purpose.
Though its primary task is divining this president's genuine - rather than feigned, imagined or projected - ideology, in a far more expansive way, the book serves as a history of the "New Left," from its 60s roots to the present, the product being entirely fascinating, even for students steeped in these matters.
If, previous to reading this work, you were unfamiliar with the origins of modern neo-Marxism, you will be filled to overflowing by the time you are done.
Given the complexity of Mr. Kurtz' case it might be best to concentrate on the historical flow of the new radical's now 60 year record, with Mr. Obama's participation [which was considerable] inserted as need be by way of illustration and then summed up in the concluding section.
As a starting point, we must begin with the SDS, the Students for a Democratic Society, which made its media splash, issuing a manifesto of sorts, a foundational critique of American society, called the Port Huron Statement. It is believed that the document was primarily authored by Tom Hayden, whose radical credentials are without doubt.
Read the , Port Huron Statement here.
Formed in 1962 and comprised almost entirely of young college intellectual types, the group was always a confederation of sorts, an uneasy union between every iteration of leftism imaginable - doctrinaire Marxists-Leninists, Trotskyites, Maoists, Fabian socialists, anarchists, etc. All of these parties were entwined in an internal, never ending, self-critical dialectical debate so arcane that it was entirely incomprehensible to outsiders.
If you are not of an age or were disinclined at the time to personally witness any of the almost metaphysical sparring which took place during a typical [usually hours long] session, then this retelling will help enlighten this stretch of time when the impossible really did seem entirely reasonable to more than a few.
There can be no denial that the new left's cultural impact was immense. Its byproduct - the anti-war movement - rocked the establishment in an unprecedented manner, motivating tens of millions of primarily idealistic young people to take to the streets and "man the barricades."
Yet despite this degree of influence, the coalition itself was inherently a fragile thing.
Unsurprisingly, by the end of the 1960s the central organization, the SDS, was in tatters, facing a nasty internal war among irreconcilable combatants. Since the group was so diverse within its limited universe, there were rancorous confrontations between the more traditionalist European type welfare state socialists and murderous Gestapo extremists, the Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
The movement, as Mr. Kurtz notes, split essentially upon two lines of demarcation, one, the which he labels the gradualists, had been forced by reality to accept the uncomfortable truth that America was by no means ready for a self-sustaining violent revolution. The more doctrinaire hard-edged wing, far smaller, was unwilling to compromise on core principles. That level of frustration led to them leaving the main body.
Calling themselves the Weathermen [later the Weather Underground] this coterie of violent revolutionaries declared war on the U.S., carrying out a crude bombing campaign which did succeed in killing a number of people, some in law enforcement, and many of their own in accidental explosions during bomb making. In large part these reckless factions had no political impact on the U.S., though they were quite successful in producing widespread revulsion among average American citizens.
Though Kurtz does not mention it, the Weathermen's bomb making skills were honed during visits to Cuba where they received instruction from Soviet agents.
It was SDS' gradualists who in the end succeeded and wildly so, rapidly taking over and dominating the Democrat party by 1972 and - building on the methodology [Rules for Radicals - A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals] laid out by Saul Alinsky, learned how to use "community organizing" as a tool which they hoped would slowly transform the face of America into their ideal of a socialist utopia.
The left's impact here has also been enormous.
You might call it going legit - the late Hunter Thompson's line, "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro," seems illustrative of this mentality - and nothing to these folks was weirder than adopting a thin veneer of respectability while working for radical social change just beneath the surface.
Former SDS member Wade Rathke was a prime example of this calculated "moderation," creating both ACORN and a local of the SEIU, the Service and Institutional Union Workers Union.
Others such as Paul Boothe and his wife Heather were also important players, "On Labor Day 1969, a group that included past SDS national secretary Paul Boothe, his activist wife Heather Boothe, onetime SDS field secretary Steve Max and radical community organizer Harry Boyte published a pamphlet titled "Socialism and the Coming Decade." [p. 130]
This was a grandiose plan that contained the shards of what became the left's socialist organizing model.
After much sound and fury [some of which Kurtz writes was comedic in its naiveté] the realization had become obvious, that socialism had to be blended with a far less threatening "community organizing" facade in order to facilitate the desired goal of collectivizing America.
Employing this strategy had many benefits. It gave these new organizing entities a certain degree of legitimacy meaning that gave them the ability to tap into an ongoing revenue stream empowering them to affect political policy, first at the local level and importantly, it gave them the clout to be able to strong arm corporate America through bully boy tactics just short of overt violence.
As Kurtz notes, "The key to radical social change, Alinsky thought, was to turn the wrath of America's middle class against the large corporations." [p. 139]
One can clearly see this strategy on display in Obama's purposeful stoking of class and ethnic warfare.
But who would train the organizers?
"In the winter of 1973, the then twenty seven year old Heather Boothe founded the Midwest Academy as a training institute for community organizers. Steve Max was the other key trainer, while Paul Boothe, Bob and Day Creamer and a small number of other associates served on the board of directors." [p. 144]
The, "Midwest Academy [was] arguably the most influential institutional force in community organizing, from the seventies through the nineties." [p. 13]
Of note, Obama's tendrils extend long and deep here, providing a glimpse of his core ideology...Bob Creamer is recognized as the "theoretician" behind the Affordable Health Care Act, Obamacare, which was drafted by him while he was cooling his heels in the slammer upon a conviction for bank fraud and tax evasion. Despite this felonious past, as Kurtz observes, Creamer was involved in a major way with the "Camp Obama's" training program during the 2008 election.
The Midwest Academy and similar groups created a dense network of immense complexity in which money was obtained through numerous channels: Alinsky type blackmail operations, key grants from sometimes formerly conservative foundations [which the left had targeted and then taken over], government grants and, surprising to some, funding by empty headed church organizations, witness the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops', Campaign for Human Development which lavishly funded extreme leftist groups, the majority of which took radical exception to the Church's stance on life issues supporting unlimited, government supported abortion on demand.
The Chicago Catholic parish had always been a key ally [especially among young European left leaning priests] of Saul Alinsky's early work. Without this support, financial and otherwise by Chicago's Catholic Church, it is doubtful that Alinsky could have succeeded - a fact he admitted in later interviews.
The money so obtained was laundered through the myriad of phony front groups until it had been sufficiently cleansed to conceal the fingerprints. No longer radioactive, this largesse could then be distributed according to the wishes of those controlling the process behind the scene - the neo-Marxist left.
Of the institutional funders, the Woods Fund, the Annenberg Chicago Challenge [CAC] and the Wiebolt Foundation were central.
Both Bill Ayers and Barack Obama were involved with and manipulated the Woods Fund which, "Helps Obama increase funding to favored groups such as ACORN and Midwest Academy." [p. 276]
Obama and Ayers also joined forces on the Annenberg Challenge. Ayers co-founded the group then helped, "select Obama as board chairman." [p. 276]
Ayers and Obama cross pollinated various favored groups, all of which existed for the purpose of community organizing while at the same time helping to advance and underwrite Obama's political ambitions.
Kurtz' carefully documents ACORN's role in gaming a piece of federal legislation, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 [authored in response to a financial crisis] which was intended to make banks be more considerate of the "communities they served." [p. 212].
ACORN saw huge potential in this legislation leading them to redouble their agitation efforts, charging that the banks were engaged in "red lining" minority neighborhoods and therefore denying them loans.
Though, as Kurtz mentions ACORN didn't win legal challenges during this period of time, it did empower them to exert control in the same manner that organized crime has traditionally wielded influence through the extortion mechanism known as "protection money."
Methodologies were thus in place to take advantage of the next financial crisis [with manipulation of crises also an Obama administration tactic] which occurred in 1989. "Through an intense lobbying effort...to inert three key provisions into the S&L bailout of 1989...changes to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act required extensive collection of data by race, creating a raft of opportunities for claims of discrimination under the Community Reinvestment Act." ]p. 212]
This led to the creation of subprime lending, which should sound familiar. The Clinton administration pursued expanding this program with a vengeance.
So the upshot of this is that Alinsky's plan to turn the middle class against the corporations has taken form, witness the current occupant of the Oval Office.
Ok, now what about Obama, aside from the above references.
This is the short story.
Obama was a Marxist in college, he immersed himself in the politics and theories of the hard left and attended at least one and probably several Socialist Scholars' Conferences.
It was probably at these sessions that the young Barack was probably introduced to the idea of using organizing as a Trojan horse.
He decided to become a community organizer after a period of intense study and thought, fully accepting the gradualist's belief that through this bottom up social agitation, America could eventually be socialized.
Obama was closely involved at every level of the Midwest Academy movement, ACORN and numerous other Chicago based extremist organizations. He was also affiliated with Chicago's New Party, a clearly socialist political entity.
For example, let's briefly examine Obama and ACORN.
1. Obama represented ACORN in a case involving Illinois motor voter legislation
2. While active in the Woods Fund and the Annenberg challenge, Obama worked closely with Bill Ayers to fund various ACORN projects.
3. Obama's channeling of funding to ACORN also helped push the organizations' assault on banks, Woods Fund documents reveal that Obama was aware of what ACORN was up to. [all of the above, graph on p. 196]
4. On numerous occasions Obama served as a trainer not only for ACORN projects but also for operations run out of the Midwest Academy.
5. Obama was deeply involved in Project Vote. As a matter of fact he was the Illinois director of Project Vote, which was being run primarily through Wade Rathke's [the founder of ACORN] SEIU local 880. Rathke called the shots.
In investigating ACORN's criminal enterprise, Congressman Darrell Issa's staff issued a report that suggested that there were zero degrees of separation between ACORN and its various affiliates, one of which was SEIU 880.
ACORN and SEIU's local 880 shared the same staff and office space and both answered to Rathke. [p. 224]
Therefore Obama's claim that his only dealing with ACORN was representing them in the above referenced lawsuit, is a lie. He was up to his neck in ACORN and had a hand in much of what was going on in Chicago's socialist activist network including ACORN.
His involvement was considerable.
One of the key tenets of this new organizing methodology is stealth, never reveal your true ideology, that is political suicide. This accounts for Obama's refusal to release anything about his later college years, his conscious effort to cover his tracks while in the Illinois legislature and his administration's efforts to silence those raising questions about this period in his career.
Kurtz' documentation on all of this is stunningly laid out, including probably close to if not more than 1,000 footnotes and references. He used original source documents in his investigation from some of these organizations whose early papers have been preserved in various historical archives.
In short Kurtz has the goods.
Kurtz at the beginning of his book is entirely open minded as to the question of just how far left Obama might be or if he was just extremely liberal.
Upon reading this book, most readers will be forced to admit that there is only one conclusion regarding Obama's ideology, he is at least a socialist.
Some more intrepid perhaps, upon this presentation of this new information will define him as a closet neo-Marxist.
The use of that term is not hyperbolic. It reflects a judgment based on observing how the president operates and has operated over the last 30 years.
Classically, Marx put forth a complex proposition, at once a critique of capitalism as well as a deterministic theory of history. Marxism predicts that capitalism contained the seeds of its own destruction and that the state would pass through various stages of development, eventually withering away to be replaced by a dictatorship of the proletariat - the oppressed working class.
Mr. Obama does indeed seem to believe in the absurd [and thoroughly discredited] key Marxist notion of the labor theory of value, that corporations use workers sweat equity and steal the profit for themselves. This is evident in his rhetoric, condemning profit making entities, suggesting that the extra value, the profit, rightly belongs to "the workers," not the capitalist which made the entire enterprise possible by risking his capital.
He also seems to believe in the inevitability of socialism becoming the dominant economic force.
The president's entire career of social activism was organized around that belief.
Consequently, Mr. Obama's first term seems entirely consistent with this ideology.
Rather than allow General Motors to be reorganized under normal bankruptcy procedures, Mr. Obama pursued a brokered deal, bilking the bondholders who according the law are always first in line when it comes to bankruptcy. He then essentially gave the company to the United Auto Workers Union, which was allowed to simply discharge debt while obtain massive funding [still unpaid] by Team Obama.
Though this is not technically an act of nationalization, it has the same effect. The automaker is totally under control of the federal government, which is dictates all manner of policies including the building of green automobiles [and at times even advertising campaigns] that are prohibitively expensive and which no one wants.
GM's stock value has decreased by 1/3 during this time and it still owes 50B to the treasury.
In healthcare, the record is so clear that it need not be regurgitated here. Every major sector of the health care field was strong armed and forced into concessions which otherwise would never have been made.
Because of the way Obama exerted his power, these companies genuinely feared their government.
The way in which the legislation was rammed through a Democrat controlled House and Senate, with deals hatched behind locked doors is instructive. Remember, you had to pass the bill to read and understand it.
The bill gives unprecedented powers to HHS, who can, as it deems appropriate simply issue new rules and regulations which massively affect the industry.
Thousands of pages of these edicts, drafted by unelected bureaucrats, already have rolled off the government printing presses.
So what is one to conclude?
Our take on this is clear, this president is a neo-Marxist at heart.
But what does the ever so fair Mr. Kurtz conclude?
The last sentence of this book reads, "In sum, the fears of Obama's harshest critics are justified. The president of the United States is a socialist."
© 2012 PipeLineNews.org, William Mayer. All rights reserved.