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Chris Queen

Top 7 Facts From Obama’s Background That Prove He’s a Socialist

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Posted on January 23 2011 8:02 am
Chris Queen hails from Covington, GA. Check out his blog, Random Thoughts From The Revolution, and follow him on Twitter.

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7. The Socialist Conferences


In the early eighties a young, fresh-faced Barry Obama arrived in New York to study at Columbia College (now Columbia University). He immediately began to immerse himself in all that New York has to offer: nightlife, culture, history, and socialism. That’s right, socialism. Though Obama was already identifying himself as a hard leftist before he arrived in the Big Apple, he truly began to solidify his socialism during his years there, attending at least one high-profile socialist conference.

Obama briefly skims over his conference attendance in Dreams From My Father, as Kurtz notes:

How do we know Obama was there? He tells us so himself, in Dreams, although if you blink you’ll miss it. Speaking of his New York days, Obama says:

“Political discussions, the kind that at Occidental had 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.”

In the course of a sentence, Obama’s attendance at socialist conferences is transformed from something intense and consequential into just another urban diversion.

It’s quite fascinating that Obama sees fit to mention these conferences so quickly in his book. It’s also remarkable that his New York acquaintances don’t turn up at all in his 2008 campaign, as Kurtz notes.

The conferences in question were presented by the Democratic Socialists of America, self-described as the largest socialist organization in the country. Though there’s no specific mention or evidence of Obama attending any of these conferences, Kurtz has found Obama’s name on the organization’s conference mailing lists from that time frame. Kurtz also draws a conclusion that since the 1983 conference, timed with the anniversary of the death of Karl Marx, was practically a who’s-who of the American far Left, Obama would no doubt have been there.

At these conferences, Obama is certain to have had exposure to some scholars and philosophers who would influence his life in extremely consequential ways. The conferences featured speakers like Frances Fox Piven, whose strategy for collapsing capitalism made her a darling of the Left, and James Cone, who devised the notion of Black Liberation Theology.

The conferences also featured workshops like “Poverty In America,” “Social Issues,” “Black Theology and Marxist Thought,” “Race and Class in Marxism,” and “The Case For Transitional Reform.” (Yep, the conferences sure sound like a great way to spend time in New York.) Many of these workshops centered around the concepts of Alinskyite community organizing and working from within the system to push the political direction of the country toward the Left, to socialism.

Obama writes in Dreams From My Father that he decided to become a community organizer while in New York. Kurtz points out the fact that:

Every aspect of Obama’s treatment of his career choice in Dreams From My Father was an active theme at the 1983 Cooper Union Socialist Scholars Conference.

We may never know specifically what Obama did at or thought about these conferences, but it is abundantly clear that he was influenced by them. And that influence helps us understand even more the socialism behind Obama’s policy and career.

Next: What community organizing really is…

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