Saturday, March 12, 2011

Leaders vs. Power Mongers Part II

Yesterday we identified the differences between a leader and a power monger. By this definition, a socialist is always a power monger, never a leader.

According to Stanley Kurtz, in Radical-in-Chief, understanding socialism requires more than understanding Marx’s theories of history and society; it also requires knowledge of his strategy and tactics. Starting with the basics, Marxism is an attempt to replace capitalism and the governmental systems that support capitalism. Instead of individuals making individual market choices, central planners—elite power wielders—make decisions, such as the price of goods, the choices of jobs, the products produced. (Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is a treatise on why central decision making doesn’t work. Thomas Sowell frequently covers this idea; this article is one of many: "How Smart Are We?")

Marx expected there to be a violent socialist revolution to overthrow capitalism, but lacking that, or awaiting that, he and his followers would carry on—by organizing. As Kurtz puts it, “The world’s most famous revolutionary was often willing to use democratic means to achieve his ultimate ends. Marx was prepared to compromise his long-term goals in pursuit of short-term gains, particularly when he thought this democratic maneuvering would position the community movement for more radical breakthroughs in the future. And Marx-the-democrat was sometimes less than fully open about his ultimate goals” (p. 8).

This stealth tactic becomes more detailed when you look at modern socialists, namely Saul Alinsky and Cloward and Piven (Piven is still alive and haranguing.) The method is to organize, or bring groups together, agitating them about what they “deserve” but don’t have—low-cost housing, higher pay, free health care, free/low-cost childcare, etc. In other words, a community organizer gathers the demanding needy, instills more demand and anger in them, and convinces them to act out to make their demands vocal. Organizers teach the demanding needy to polarize, accuse, and pin down the target (a bank, an elected official, a corporation) to manipulate them into the actions they demand.

Organizers preach socialist ideology to those who have bought into it and aren’t scared off by it, but socialist words are not spoken to the general crowd, the media, or the public at large. After all, the demanding needy don’t need to know that they’re being manipulated.

Organizers work at incremental changes that put in place win/win situations for themselves. For example, when they claimed racial bigotry to press banks to lower their lending standards, it didn’t matter whether the banks complied or not: if banks complied, their followers got loans they didn’t qualify for; if banks didn’t comply, organizers got more angry followers. Either goal or both was acceptable. And if the final result is failure of the banking industry that government “must” bail out, all the better—“Never let a crisis go to waste” (Rahm Emanuel in a moment of accidental candor).

By ramming through health care to remedy a supposed shortcoming of the market system, they put in place an expectation of health care as a right, an entitlement, that taxpayers are enslaved to pay for. If it is left in place, the disruption in the economy that it causes will give them more crisis opportunity to step in and control. If it is repealed, they have an opportunity to stir up to anger more demanding needy, to agitate for more “entitlements” in the future.

Would any non-socialist have voted for a community organizer if it were commonly known what such a person does?

Stealth organizing became the chosen method—as opposed to the open revolution favored by sixties radicals like Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground—by the late 1970s, and was the very method that caught the eye of a young Barack Obama in 1983, just before his graduation, when he said to himself, “That’s what I’ll do, I’ll organize black folks. At the grass roots. For change” (Obama’s Dreams from My Father, p. 133).

Here’s what we know, despite Obama’s hiding so much of his paper trail. Obama’s mentor in his youth was Frank Marshall Davis, a former Communist party member, who left the party because of its negative effects but didn’t leave the ideology. Obama was an avowed Marxist-socialist at Occidental College. When he went to Columbia University in New York to finish his undergraduate degree and work, he attended Socialist Scholars Conferences—at least the one in 1983 plus one or more others. The 1983 conference highlighted community organizing. He discussed community organizing methods with friends and started job searching in that field, eventually getting work in Chicago, before and after his Harvard Law studies.

At that 1983 conference Obama heard from James Cone, the mentor of controversial pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and also read his works. He chose Wright’s church, the most radical church espousing Black Liberation Theology in the country, because he agreed with Wright’s politics. And he was influenced by Wright during his time in the Illinois State Senate, just as an earlier state senator who was a congregant in Wright’s church.

As Kurtz points out, “Obama spent years in the company of some of the top stealth organizers in the country” (p. 83). The Midwest Academy was a training center for socialist community organizers [Obama took training and offered training there], where Obama connected with dozens of big name socialists, whom he continued relations with: Rahm Emanuel, Bob Creamer, Ken Rolling, Harry Boyte, Alice Palmer, Greg Galluzzo, Mary Gonzales, Heather Booth, and others. (Michelle Obama was in the thick of things as well.) They functioned together on various boards of socialist fronts, funneling money in and back and forth. Despite denials, Obama was deeply involved in ACORN, SEIU, and various front organizations. He and Ayers recommended each other for boards. Obama’s role on the Woods Foundation board was to funnel money to hard-left organizations through an allegedly non-partisan group, to keep donors averse to Alinskyite tactics more comfortable (see p. 282).

One of the unusual things about Obama during his 2008 campaign was the complete lack of close friends and associates that he could point to who would vouch for his character. The simple reason is that every close friend and associate—indeed every organization and association that Obama has had in his entire adulthood—is either a covert or overt socialist, and since he is a pragmatist (code word in socialist organizing for stealth socialist), he couldn’t reveal the connections. “From his teenage years under the mentorship of Frank Marshall Davis, to his socialist days at Occidental College, to his life-transforming encounters at New York’s Socialist Scholars Conferences, to his immersion in the stealthily socialist community organizer networks of Chicago, Barack Obama has lived in a thoroughly socialist world” (Kurtz, p. 387).

I can only skim the surface of evidence in this short piece. If you require documentation to convince you (or to convince your friends, perhaps the na├»ve ones who actually voted for Obama), please start with Kurtz’s book.

The important next point is, why does it matter? Rather than make this an overwhelmingly long Saturday blog post, I’ll save that summary for Part III, Monday’s post.

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