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Obama Affinity to Marxists Dates Back to College Days

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Barack Obama shrugs off charges of socialism, but noted in his own memoir that he carefully chose Marxist professors as friends in college.

Barack Obama laughs off charges of socialism. Joe Biden scoffs at references to Marxism. Both men shrug off accusations of liberalism.

But Obama himself acknowledges that he was drawn to socialists and even Marxists as a college student. He continued to associate with Marxists later in life, even choosing to launch his political career in the living room of a self-described Marxist, William Ayers, in 1995, when Obama was 34.

By Bill Sammon

.Obama’s affinity for Marxists began when he attended Occidental College in Los Angeles.

To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully,” the Democratic presidential candidate wrote in his memoir, Dreams From My Father. “The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists.”

Obama’s interest in leftist politics continued after he transferred to Columbia University in New York. He lived on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, venturing to the East Village for what he called “the socialist conferences I sometimes attended at Cooper Union.”

After graduating from Columbia in 1983, Obama spent a year working for a consulting firm and then went to work for what he described as “a Ralph Nader offshoot” in Harlem.

In search of some inspiration, I went to hear Kwame Toure, formerly Stokely Carmichael of Black Panther fame, speak at Columbia,” Obama wrote in “Dreams,” which he published in 1995. “At the entrance to the auditorium, two women, one black, one Asian, were selling Marxist literature.”

Obama supporters point out that plenty of Americans flirt with radical ideologies in college, only to join the political mainstream later in life. But Obama, who made a point of noting how “carefully” he chose his friends in college, also chose to launch his political career in the Chicago living room of Ayers, a domestic terrorist who in 2002 proclaimed: “I am a Marxist.”

German philosopher Karl Marx, author of "The Communist Manifesto," advocated redistributing wealth in order to achieve a classless society.

Obama has been widely criticized for choosing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, an anti-American firebrand, as his pastor. Wright is a purveyor of black liberation theology, which analysts say is based in part on Marxist ideas.

Few political observers go so far as to accuse Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, of being a Marxist. But Republican John McCain has been accusing Obama of espousing socialism ever since the Democrat told an Ohio plumber named Joe earlier this month that he wanted to “spread the wealth around.”

Obama’s running mate, Biden, recently contradicted his boss, saying: “He is not spreading the wealth around.” The remark came as Biden was answering a question from a TV anchor who asked: “How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?”

“Are you joking? Is this a joke? Or is that a real question?” an incredulous Biden shot back. “It’s a ridiculous comparison.”

But the debate intensified Monday with the surfacing of a 2001 radio interview in which Obama lamented the Supreme Court’s inability to enact “redistribution of wealth” — a key tenet of socialism. On Tuesday, McCain said Obama aspires to become “Redistributionist-in-Chief.”

Obama has managed to cultivate the image of a political moderate in spite of his consistently liberal voting record. In 2006, he published a second memoir, “The Audacity of Hope,” that leaves little doubt about his adherence to the left.

The arguments of liberals are more often grounded in reason and fact,” Obama wrote in “Audacity.” “Much of what I absorbed from the sixties was filtered through my mother, who to the end of her life would proudly proclaim herself an unreconstructed liberal.”

A more accurate Obama logo

A more accurate Obama logo

National Journal magazine ranked Obama as the most liberal member of the Senate. The publication is far from conservative, employing such journalists as Linda Douglass, who resigned in May to become Obama’s traveling press secretary.





Bill Sammon is the Washington deputy managing editor for FOX News Channel.

3 Responses

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  1. So tell me, what has capitalism done for you lately?


    Tuesday, November 4, 2008 at 10:46:44 AM

  2. ‘Taking “Austrian” economics in its political application to mean private ownership of the means of production and respect for individual rights, including property rights, the answer is (and this should be understood as only a partial list):

    Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and more recently, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

    In these countries, thanks to the substantial application of the free-market principles of Austrian economics (and before that, Classical economics), saving and capital accumulation were tremendously encouraged along with scientific and technological progress. On this foundation the productivity of labor rapidly increased, resulting in more abundant supplies of food, clothing, and housing per capita, and improved sanitation and hygiene. As a result infant mortality radically declined, life expectancy greatly increased, the average person became able to afford to work fewer hours, child labor was progressively eliminated, and for the first time in human history, it became possible for the average person to have access to books, music, art, and education.’

    Before “capitalism”, Daniel, even your right to post in a blog, was non-existent. Human’s work and create best unfettered. Without the dream of advancement, as we saw in the 20th Century experiments with Communism and other “isms” there was scientific and intellectual stagnation.

    In short, our very life today is due to capitalism. That includes the greatest of universities, and the technology many seem to take for granted. Even the poorest of the poor in this country (and other capitalist countries) live and eat better than other nations.


    Tuesday, November 4, 2008 at 11:25:38 AM

  3. Capitalism has little or nothing to do with free political expression, it’s simply an economic model. You confuse industrialization with capitalism, and though we use both, they are not interchangeable concepts. Industrialization (and geographical luck of the draw) is why we have abundant food production, capitalism just determines what values will be used to measure and prioritize the distribution of industrial production.

    Capitalism sounds good in theory, but in practice it’s often in conflict with human values like family, love and compassion, and quality of life, just to name some examples. It measures success and progress only in terms of dollar values. I believe when most people talk about socialism or socialized economics, they mean an economic system that makes room for and encourages human values over material trappings. Certainly no socialist I know has any fondness for, say, Stalin, nor would they even call the USSR socialist, but rather a severe form of feudal capitalism wherein there is a clear class division.

    If you’ve read Adam Smith, this is the basis of his entire theory: that we all want wealth and that wealth is the key to happiness, therefore we should look to maximize wealth. This is clearly not true, but even so, Smith had a very utopian vision, and his form of capitalism sounds quite nice. I’d love to know what his system is like.

    Instead we practice a vicious bastardization of Smith’s ideas wherein there is no free market, except for the capitalists, while the people are generally prevented, misled, or discouraged from making rational decisions and public funds go to subsidize private ventures, often at the expense of the public’s best interests (Wal-Mart tax “incentives” for example). Advertisements are appeals to emotion, hence the use of “branding” and music. There is no reason why I should buy a Honda enumerated in the ad, but I am told to “hold on tight to my dreams” as though perhaps they should contain small Japanese cars.

    And if my very life today is due to capitalism then I definitely want off this ride. I have no health insurance, pay almost all of my income for an education, and now there won’t be anybody hiring when I obtain my Master’s degree in May. In my case, self-betterment appears to lead only to continued financial hardship. But at least I have technology that everyone takes for granted …


    Friday, February 6, 2009 at 2:43:52 PM

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