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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Obama File 79 Filling In the Gaps-More on Obama and Chicago Democratic Socialists of America

Obama File 78 here

Barack Obama's association with the marxists of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)is deep and enduring.

It probably started in the early 1980s (when DSA was founded)and it certainly continues today.

Obama makes an apparent reference to DSA in his 1995 autobiography "Dreams From My Father".

Discussing his time at New York's Columbia University, in the early 80s, Obama reveals that he "went to socialist conferences at Cooper Union and African cultural fairs in Brooklyn.”

For many years, from the early '80s until 2004, Cooper Union was the usual venue of the annual Socialist Scholars Conference (SSC)-almost certainly what Obama was referring to.

Since DSA's formation in 1982 its City University branch has sponsored and organised the Socialist Scholars Conference. SSC (now called Left Forum)regularly features DSA speakers such as Frances Fox Piven, Leo Panitch, Bogdan Denitch, Stanley Aronowitz, Stephen Eric Bronner, Cornel West, Bill Fletcher jnr, Noam Chomsky and Barbara Ehrenreich as well as guests fom the Communist Party, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy&Socialism and other militant groups.

Fast forward to early 1996. Obama addresses a DSA sponsored forum held at Chicago University in early 1996. Later that year Chicago DSA endorses Obama's Illinois State senate run.

Why the forteen year gap? Was there really a long break in Obama/DSA relations?

Apparently not. It seems that DSA made contact with Obama shortly after he returned to Chicago, from his studies at Harvard in 1992.

Chicago City Clerk Miguel Del Valle Miguel told the 2008 Democratic Party convention of his first meeting with Obama;

I first heard of Barack back in 1992. The year 1992 was a little like 2008. Then, as now, we needed to save the country from the misguided policies of a president named Bush. I was working with my old friend, Lou Pardo, a retired machinist, on an effort to register Latino voters in Chicago. One day, we were talking about how we could reach more voters and cover more ground, but we needed more resources. Lou told me we should go see Barack Obama, who was directing a voter-registration drive called Project Vote. So Lou met with Barack and, without missing a beat, Barack Obama helped us out. Barack Obama made sure that the thousands of Latinos in Chicago were registered to vote. He helped empower the Latino community and ensure that we were full participants in our democracy.

Lou Pardo is indeed a retired machinist, but he is also a socialist.

An article in Chicago DSA's New Ground November 1994 says;

Lou Pardo, a volunteer with Senator del Valle, DSA member and activist with the Midwest-Northeast Voter Registration Education Project, emphasized how important it was to support independent progressive democrats.

Pardo was honored by Chicago DSA, at their 1994 Debs-Thomas-Harrington awards dinner for his work on turning out the vote for leftist Democrats.

Your voter registration efforts have been recognized. In 1990, you were given the William C. Velasquez Volunteer of the Year Award at the 8th Annual U.S. Hispanic Leadership Conference. You have worked in the Midwest-Northeast Voter Registration Education Project in Senator Miguel del Valle's district. This project was a tremendous success, and on August 20, 1992, you were the recipient of an award by the Illinois State Democratic Convention for "historic efforts in registering thousands of new Illinois voters".

The DSA award was presented by then Illinois State Senator Miguel Del Valle.

In 2001 Miguel Del Valle was again guest speaker at Chicago DSA's Debs Dinner-indicating a more than passing relationship with the "Windy City" marxists.

The 2001 Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner was held Friday, May 4th at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza in Chicago. The honorees were Kim Bobo and Henry Bayer. The featured speaker was Miguel del Valle.

While both Illinois State Senators, Miguel Del Valle and Barack Obama worked closely together with Project Vote's radical partner organization ACORN.

According to the Chicago Defender February 13 2002

Joined by three state elected officials, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) leaders Tuesday called for the passage of energy assistance legislation they say will help the poor pay their heating bills.

During a press conference held outside of the James R. Thompson Center, Rep. Mary Flowers (D-21st), Sens. Barack Obama (D-13th) and Miguel del Valle (D-5th) along with ACORN member April Troope, urged legislators to approve Senate Bills 2240 and 2180 and House Bill 668.

The Flowers and del Valle bill (HR 668) calls on President Bush to release the $600 million in emergency Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) funds that are already appropriated by the U.S. government for heating crisis...

Senate Bill 2180 (del Valle's) increases eligibility for LIHEAP from about $26,000 for a family of four to about $37,000 (from 150 percent of the federal poverty level to 60 percent of the state median income).

Obama's bill, SB 2240, increases the state's allocation to LIHEAP by about $10 million...

"I recognize that we are in a budget crunch right now and allocating an additional $10 million may seem inappropriate at this time, but there is a rationale as to why we need to transfer this money," Obama said.

Obama was elected to the Illinois State senate in 1996, joining and gaining endorsement from the New Party-a radical coalition of DSA, ACORN and the Communist Party offshoot Committees of Correspondence (CoC) which aimed to leftist candidates through the Democratic Party machine.

Obama with New Party collegues including current Illinois Congressman and DSA member Danny K Davis-center

Obama was chief of staff to pro-communist Illinois State Senator Alice Palmer-who anointed him to take-over her State Senate seat while she ran for US Congress. After her Congressional bid failed, Palmer changed her mind and asked Obama to stand aside-he refused and got her knocked off the ballot by challenging the validity of her nomination signatures.

The New Party had initially courted Alice Palmer.

According to CoC leader and New Party activist Carl Davidson;

In the next two elections in the city -... the New Party has taken a slightly different approach. It organized a citywide candidates forum and invited a number of progressive candidates. Of those responding, two were of special interest, Alice Palmer and Willie Delgado. Alice Palmer is an Illinois state senator and Willie Delgado is an activist with an anti-Machine coalition of Latinos led by State Senator Miguel Del Valle.

Both of these campaigns have strong local organizations that run as Democrats but are consistently opposed by the regular Democrats. Both are rooted in working-class communities with a large percentage of labor and left activists in their organizational structures. Alice Palmer especially has a long history with the African American left. Lou Pardo, a labor leader and New Party activist, is a strategist and organizer for Delgado.

Both Palmer and Delgado attended the forum and were thoroughly questioned by 70 or so New Party members. At the close, both publicly signed a "contract" with the New Party... Two weeks later, the New Party formally endorsed them and is now mobilizing support.

Obama won the election unopposed and went on to the US Senate in 2004 and the Presidency.

Despite his rise to power, Obama hasn't forgotten his friends. When Miguel Del Valle won the Chicago County Clerk's job in 2006-the second most powerful job in the city-Obama was there in support.

From Del Valle's MySpace page

Senator Barack Obama endorses Miguel Del Valle:

"I am thrilled that Miguel del Valle is now our City Clerk and I can think of nobody better to serve out a full term than Miguel del Valle." US Senator Barack Obama.

I'm sure Chicago's socialists would agree.

Obama File 80 here


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