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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Red Reps 6 Larry Agran, Irvine California Councilor and One Time Socialist Presidential Hopeful

Red Reps 5 here

Barack Obama was not the first Democratic Socialists of America-affiliated candidate to run for President of the United States of America.

Larry Agran
That honor belongs to several-time Irvine California mayor and city councilor Larry Agram.

In 1992, Larry Agran, already a controversial figure in Southern California  unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party nomination for President. Agran was generally ignored by by the media during his candidacy, though he initially polled as well as more nationally known leftists such as Iowa's Tom Harkin and fellow Californian Jerry Brown.

Democratic Party officials excluded Agran from most debates on various grounds, even having him arrested when he interrupted to ask to participate.

Two years earlier Agran had been "outed" as a member of the U.S.'s largest Marxist organization Democratic Socialists of America, by the socialists  own publication, Democratic Left.

DSA's Democratic Left, Jan./Feb. 1990, page 7

Perhaps the Democrats, only three years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, weren't quite ready to have a Marxist on the their Presidential ticket ?

How times have changed.

Despite failing on the national stage, Larry Agran has had a big impact on the local scene.

As of 2010, Agran served as Mayor Pro Tem on the Irvine City Council. He is one of the most prominent Democrat politicians in Orange County, an area  famous for its conservatism, and undoubtedly one of the most powerful politicians in the county.

By the 1980s, Irvine was one of the fastest growing cities in California, a major center of aerospace, computer, and high-tech manufacturing - even deemed by  US News and World Report as  the "best place to live in America."

Larry Agran, a Harvard Law school educated San Fernando Valley native, moved to Irvine in 1975.

In 1978 Agran ran a very sophisticated (and successful) campaign for city council, backed by Tom Hayden's radical Campaign for Economic Democracy (C.E.D.).

About the same time, and not too far away, a young Barack Obama, was hanging around with the C.E.D. crowd at Occidental college, near Los Angeles.


In his early years on the council, Larry Agran, was minority of one. Portraying himself as a moderate environmentalist, he built up a following  by attacking the Irvine Company, which founded the planned city and owned about a third of its land.

Outside of Irvine, Agran founded the 1,000-member Local Elected Officials group, in 1983, to "promote local responses to non-local matters: world peace, apartheid, nuclear weapons, Central America..."

Agran's Bulletin of Municipal Foreign Policy carried articles like "Some tips for Building Nicaraguan Sister Cities" and "Think Globally, Sue Locally," as well as endorsements from the likes of D.S.A. member Noam Chomsky.

According to then conservative journalist, turned leftist Media Matters attack dog David Brock;
Under Agran's influence 900 resolutions passed around the country in favor of a nuclear weapons freeze; 118 laws banning nuclear weapons production in local jurisdictions, an effort that coincided with the failure of the freeze movement; refusals by 120 cities to cooperate in a civil defense program proposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which forced the scuttling of the plan; more than 100 policies prohibiting cities from links with firms doing business in South Africa; 1,300 sister-city arrangements between American cities and foreign cities, "especially so-called adversary cities," as Agran has phrased it; and 22 local declarations of "sanctuary" for Salvadoran refugees, a political movement designed to foster opposition to US policy in Central America.
Agran was quoted as saying that the ultimate aim of the movement is to "take back foreign policy from the federal government."

Agran spoke of the "illegal US wars in Vietnam and Grenada," advocated an immediate, unilateral ban on nuclear weapons testing, and described the US policy of support for the anti communist Nicaraguan resistance as "a policy that ultimately had as its objective the killing of Nicaraguan citizens and the violent overthrow of their popular revolution."

Agran even called called for the entire budget of President Reagan's "Strategic Defense Initiative" to be used to "help cities cope with growing traffic problems."

Yet despite all this, Agran was time and time re-elected in a county that gave Ronald Reagan and George Bush I, the highest votes in the U.S.

Agran was helped all along by a fawning press and the fact that he usually outspent his opponents by many fold.

As one local blogger put it;
It's become conventional wisdom that Agran--one of Orange County's most unethical, pompous and dictatorial public figures--wins because Irvine's residents are too busy to focus attention on local politics.
And that's the problem. Larry Agran and other leftist local politicians are able to have national impact, because many conservatives just do not see the importance of local races. Believe me - the socialists do.

Hopefully, enough Americans will wake up to correct that mistake.

Red Reps 7 here

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