Defining Barack Obama: Part Two – Communist Mentor in his Teen Years
Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune
Washington, D.C. 17 September (Asiantribune.com): The most popular saying is that ‘one is judged by the company one keeps’, but let us put this ‘association’ part in a much broader perspective.
Right-wing and/or conservative commentators in the United States often reiterate that the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama “has a huge guilty association problem of his own making and that it has been ignored by the electorate.”
The Online encyclopedia Wikipedia defines “guilt by association” as “[a]n association fallacy is an inductive formal fallacy of the type hasty generalization or red herring which asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association.”
A key word in that definition is “irrelevant.”
In this Part Two installment of presenting facts about Senator Obama’s Communist Mentor in his Teen Years, endeavor is not to denounce or be critical of his association with people since his birth to date but to enlighten the readers that there was a greater possibility of his developed beliefs and mind-set in his formative years because of those associations may have had an impact in shaping his thinking and actions during his time in the U.S. Senate and as a candidate for U.S. presidency from a major political party.
This analysis does not project his associations “irrelevant” but endeavors to make those associations and, due to those associations, the mind-set Obama has conditioned “relevant” to define his candidacy for the greater benefit of the Asian Region and millions of Asian expatriates domiciled in the United States. After all, the nations in the Asian Region need to know what is in stock for them if Mr. Obama becomes the next president of the United States on January 20 next year.
Most recently this writer asked a prominent Sri Lankan Buddhist prelate in Sacramento, California Most Venerable Madawala Seelawimala, a professor at the University of California, Davis, if a person was exposed to certain beliefs in his formative years whether those beliefs form part of his character in later years to which the erudite monk replied that not all but most beliefs would influence to stay within the person and facilitate to create a mind-set.
Did Barack Obama’s close association with a communist activist in his formative years affect his thinking as growing adult and later years? The readers may find answers to this in later installments in this series.
In February this year, one of the latest revelations about Senator Obama was published by Cliff Kincaid, an investigative journalist with Accuracy in Media a watchdog group.
Kincaid’s article, “Obama’s Communist Mentor” described the close relationship that Barack Obama developed with Frank Marshall Davis while Obama lived in Hawaii from 1971-1979.
Davis was a member of the Communist Party of the United States and has had given Obama advice on career choices. In Obama’s first book Dreams From My Father, he writes about “Frank and his old Black Power dashiki self.”
Trevor Loudon, a New Zealand-based libertarian activist, researcher and blogger, noted evidence that “Frank” was Frank Marshall Davis in a posting as far back as March of 2007.
Professor Gerald Horne, a contributing editor to the Communist Party journal Political Affairs, described Davis as having influenced Obama’s sense of identity and career moves. According to Horne, Obama retraced the steps of Davis by eventually moving to Chicago.
Davis was a known communist. The 1951 report of the Commission on Subversive Activities to the Legislature of the Territory of Hawaii identified him as a member of the US Communist Party. Further, anti-communist congressional committees, including the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), accused Davis of involvement in several communist-front organizations.
The Asian Tribune used the title Defining Barack Obama because the American electorate has the right to know who their candidates are and that the main stream media has not helped to define Mr. Obama, who came to national prominence since his ‘keynote address’ at the 2004 Democratic Party Convention which nominated Senator John Kerry, in failing to present hitherto unknown facts to define this candidate in proper perspective. On the other hand, as an Online Daily which values the rapport between the United States and the Asian Region it is to the advantage of the nations in the Asian Region to have a proper understanding of a candidate who is likely to occupy the White House from January 20 for four years or may be for eight.
Frank Marshall Davis, according to Cliff Kincaid, was not a “journalist” in any real sense of the term. He was a propagandist and racial agitator for the Communist Party of the United States.
In his books, Obama admits attending “socialist conferences” and coming into contact with Marxist literature. But he ridiculed the charge of being a “hard-core academic Marxist,” which was made by his 2004 U.S. Senate opponent, Republican Alan Keyes.
Nevertheless, Davis Mandel in his book Obama: From Promise to Power describes Obama as “left-leaning.”
In the summer/fall 2003 issue of African American Review, James A. Miller of George Washington University reviews a book by John Edgar Tidwell, a professor at the University of Kansas, about Frank Marshall Davis’ career, and notes, “In Davis’ case, his political commitments led him to join the American Communist Party during the middle of World War Two even though he never publicly admitted his Party membership.” According to Cliff Kincaid, who first disclosed Barack Obama’s rapport with Davis, Tidwell is an expert on the life and writings of Davis.
The question posed by Kincaid was ‘Is it possible that Obama did not know who Davis was when he wrote his book, Dreams From My Father, first published in 1995?’
The answer lies here:
Professor Gerald Horne, a contributing editor of the Communist Party journal Political Affairs, talked about it during a speech in March 2007 at a reception of the Communist Party USA archives at the Tamiment Library at New York University. The remarks are posted online under the headline, “Rethinking the History and the Future of the Communist Party.”
Horne, a history professor at the University of Houston, noted that Davis, who moved to Honolulu from Kansas in 1948 “at the suggestion of his good friend Paul Robeson,” came into contact with Barack Obama and his family and became young man’s mentor, influencing Obama’s sense of identity and career moves. Robeson, a member of the Communist Party was a well known black poet and actor who fell out of grace with all U.S. administrations and their intelligence agencies.
As Horne described it, Davis “befriended” a “Euro-American family” that had “migrated to Honolulu from Kansas and a young woman from this family eventually had a child with a young student from Kenya East Africa who goes by the name Barack Obama, who retracted the steps of Davis eventually, decamped to Chicago.”
Cliff Kincaid reveals “It was in Chicago that Obama became a ‘community organizer’ and came into contact with more far-left political forces, including Democratic Socialists of America, which maintains close ties to European socialist groups and parties through the Socialist International (SI), and two former members of the Students for Democratic Society (SDS), William Ayers and Carl Davidson.”
The SDS laid siege to college campuses across the United States in the 1960s, mostly in order to protest the Vietnam War, and spawned the terrorist Weather Underground organization. Ayers was a member of the terrorist group and turned himself in to authorities in 1981. He is now a college professor and served with Obama on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a charitable organization focused on welfare reform and affordable housing. Davidson is now a figure in the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, an offshoot of the CPUSA, and helped organize the 2002 rally where Obama came out against the Iraq War.
Mr. Ayers was a founder of the Weather Underground; he and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, were indicted in 1970 on conspiracy charges that were dropped in 1974 because of prosecutorial misconduct.
Both hosted Mr. Obama at their Chicago home in 1995 when Mr. Obama was running for office, though that was not considered a vital moment in his political career.
In April, Senator Obama said Mr. Ayers was “not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis” and called “somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old.”
Dr. Kathryn Takara, a professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa confirms Davis is the “Frank” in Obama’s book and describes Davis brought “an acute sense of race relations and class struggle throughout America and the world” and that he openly discussed subjects such as American imperialism, colonialism and exploitation. She described him as a “socialist realist” who attacked the work of the (US) House Un-American Activities Committee.
In a statement issued on 15 July 2008 the Communist Party of USA made this comment:
“A broad multiclass, multiracial movement is converging around Obama’s “Hope, change and unity” campaign because they see in it the thrilling opportunity to end 30 years of ultra-right rule and move our nation forward with a broadly progressive agenda.
“The struggle to defeat the ultra-right and turn our country on a positive path will not end with Obama’s election. But that step will shift the ground for successful struggles going forward.
”One thing is clear. None of the people’s struggles — from peace to universal health care to an economy that puts Main Street before Wall Street — will advance if McCain wins in November.”
The Republican candidate for U.S. president John McCain has been identified as a ‘war monger’ who will give no allowance to terrorism. Republican Party which is based on conservative ideology often put human rights and civil liberties in the back burner when dealing with terrorism. It was McCain’s political party when in majority in the House and Senate suspended Habeas Corpus to help Bush administration deal with ‘enemy combatants’.
In contrast, Democratic Party to which Barack Obama belongs has throughout its political existence considered human rights, individual liberties and strict rule of law as main policy planks of the ideology the party is guided, liberalism. This liberalism has a touch of socialism, equal opportunity and rights of minorities.
Asian Tribune, in presenting this series Defining Barack Obama, endeavors to use these yard sticks to introduce this undefined U.S. presidential candidate to the Asian Region and to the millions of Asian expatriates living in the United States to help them understand what shape an Obama Administration will take vis-à-vis the Asian Region.
Next: Obama’s International Socialist Connections
Also Read: http://www.asiantribune.com/?q=node/13201”> Defining Barack Obama: Part One: Liberalism and Conservatism in U.S. Politics