Tag Archives: Behind the Scenes

Is Barack Obama a socialist? What is his connection to socialism?

Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?
Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?

Here is an interview with Stanley Kurtz of National Review regarding his new book exploring the real Barack Obama and his past interest in socialism.  (H/T Muddling Towards Maturity)

The answers to this interview are too awesome to quote here. So I will quote some of the questions, and you should click through and read the WHOLE THING.

Questions:

LOPEZ: Why was the 1983 Socialist Scholars Conference “so formative an influence on Obama’s political career”?

LOPEZ: What actual evidence do you have that Obama attended the annual Socialist Scholars Conferences in New York between 1983 and 1985?

LOPEZ: What is socialism? What is socialism to Barack Obama? How has that changed since 1983? How has it stayed the same?

LOPEZ: How important is black liberation theology to understanding Barack Obama? And where does Jeremiah Wright fit in here?

LOPEZ: Was Bill Ayers his mentor or not?

LOPEZ: How important is ACORN to understanding Barack Obama and the Democratic party today? Is ACORN still a factor?

LOPEZ: Barack Obama wrote in Dreams from My Father: “Political discussions, the kind that at Occidental had once seemed so intense and purposeful, came to take on the flavor of the socialist conferences I sometimes attended at Cooper Union or the African cultural fairs that took place in Harlem and Brooklyn during the summers — a few of the many diversions New York had to offer, like going to a foreign film or ice-skating at Rockefeller Center.” You read a lot into “diversions.” How? Why? Is he really that smart?

LOPEZ: So is Saul Alinsky really, truly important to understanding our president?

LOPEZ: What does the Midwest Academy have to do with the milestone health-care legislation the president signed this March?

LOPEZ: Do you have insights into what exactly Barack Obama makes of the abortion debate and where that fits into a full picture of him? Despite a radicalism there, he’s been stealth about it, somewhat consistently, in his national career.

OK, here is an excerpt from the interview.

LOPEZ: What actual evidence do you have that Obama attended the annual Socialist Scholars Conferences in New York between 1983 and 1985?

KURTZ: Obama tells us himself in Dreams from My Father that he attended socialist conferences at the Cooper Union. Detailed evidence from socialist archives shows that there was only one socialist conference at the Cooper Union, and that was the Socialist Scholars Conference of 1983. Obama’s name also appears on a list of pre-registrants for the 1984 Socialist Scholars Conference. There is less evidence that he attended the Socialist Scholars Conference of 1985, although I think it’s likely that he did. Not only did Obama attend the previous two conferences, evidence indicates that in 1985 he was studying the writings of Harry Boyte, an important theorist of community organizing who spoke at the 1985 conference. Boyte, by the way, advised Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. I carefully dissect the evidence for Obama’s conference attendance in the book.

LOPEZ: What is socialism? What is socialism to Barack Obama? How has that changed since 1983? How has it stayed the same?

KURTZ: These are the big questions. In the 1980s, the failure of Sixties and Seventies radicalism and the ascent of Ronald Reagan forced America’s socialists to take another tack. They de-emphasized strategies of nationalization and focused instead on local organizing as the way to move the country toward socialism. Now, instead of nationalizing a company, the idea was to get community organizers onto boards of directors, or to force banks to run loans through groups like ACORN. This was socialism “from below,” and it is the strategy that captivated Obama.

Obama’s socialist community-organizing colleagues followed French Marxist theorist André Gorz. Gorz advocated a strategy he called “non-reformist reforms,” proposing a series of seemingly minor tweaks to the system that were in fact designed to undermine capitalism and usher in socialism over time. This led Obama’s socialist mentors to devise an early version of the “public option,” although at the time they applied the idea to the energy sector, not health care. The socialism of Obama’s mentors was incremental and intentionally disguised. In the book, I argue that Obama follows many of his socialist mentors’ ideas to this day.

OK, here is ONE MORE answer at the end of the interview.

LOPEZ: If there’s one thing you could drive home to Americans about the president, what would it be?

KURTZ: He hasn’t been telling us the truth about his political convictions.

We need to start to understand Democrats by looking at their voting records, the policies they push, their positions, their past affiliations, and their life experiences. You don’t know anything about Barack Obama until you read books like these that go beyond the mainstream media puff pieces and Comedy Central slapstick interviews. You need to delve into who the man really is and what he intends to do to this country. The prosperity, liberty and security of your children depends on your diligence today. Inform yourself and persuade others.

And don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, and then buy the Stanley Kurtz book and the David Freddoso book. Then read them.