Rudy Giuliani made headlines this week when he stated that President Obama had been “influenced by communists since an early age.” The comments garnered critical reaction ranging from those calling Giuliani wrong to those calling him a racist. However, his critics ignore a very real and plain truth: Marxism has been a major influence in modern American liberalism since the 1960s and has played a large role in the president’s life.
The self-proclaimed Encyclopedia of Marxism details how communists helped to establish the peace movements of the 1960s in Europe and the U.S., which led to heavy Marxist involvement against the war in Vietnam. It’s important to note that while it was never proven that foreign communist regimes were involved with the anti-war movement, it is undoubtedly true that Americans influenced by and espousing Marxism were at the front of the anti-war movement.
It was in that movement that men like Bill Ayers would gain prominence. Ayers cofounded the self-described communist revolutionary group the Weather Underground, which orchestrated a string of bombings of U.S. government buildings during the 1960s and 70s.
In 2008, the media scrutinized the relationship between Barack Obama and Bill Ayers. Ayers had been to several functions at Obama’s home, yet Obama maintained that the two were merely acquaintances, a claim that was pretty much verified and then dismissed. But the media missed the point. The point is that a communist terrorist was treated with such respect and reverence by the left that he nonchalantly passed through engagements attended by Democratic presidential candidates. And still, he continues to excuse his organization’s terrorism.
American colleges are full of Marxist professors; this is not contested. The University of Chicago, where Ayers teaches and Obama briefly taught law, is an obvious example. One need only look at the Democratic Socialists of America, whose members include educators, activists, and public officials, to see the prevalence of Marxist thought in American politics. Their website proclaims that“Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few.”
That sentiment sounds awfully familiar to this Obama statement: “My mom, my grandparents, the only thing they didn’t like is when they felt like folks at the top were taking advantage of their position and not following the same rules as everybody else and keeping other folks down. And we don’t want an economy in which some are being treated differently than others.” And also, like this one: “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”
The themes are simple: the free market produces unfair results because it pursues profit (the people at the top will keep the common people down) and state intervention must be used to run the economy “democratically,” so that the wealth can be “spread” and serve human needs. This is an idea espoused by the president and many of his early influences.
Giuliani cites the president’s influences as being Frank Marshall Davis, an American journalist and labor rights activist who worked with communists, and Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the “Goddamn America!” preacher from Chicago. Davis was undoubtedly a Marxist and a friend of Obama’s grandfather. Obama cites him as an early political influence of his in his book Dreams of My Father. Reverend Wright, who has praised socialism and damned America to his congregation, was Obama’s pastor with whom he had a close relationship.
Analyzing the president’s policies may overly complicate the matter. The easy question to ask is this: If Obama had to choose between a state-managed economy and a free market economy, which would he choose? The answer is clear to anyone who has been paying attention the last six years.
And after all the needless nitpicking over what is socialism and what is communism, the core remains the same: a belief that free people will make decisions that harm the collective, and therefore their economic decisions should be subject to government management. It is the antithesis of freedom, and an ideology that has caused millions to suffer and perish since its inception. Perhaps that’s why the left doesn’t want to broadcast their relationship with it. But calling a spade a spade shouldn’t be controversial.