The shared politics of Obama and Ayers

This is the fifth in a series of posts which discuss the relationship between Barack Obama, Bill Ayers, and our national economy.To read the first entry, click here.

In this entry we will see that Barack Obama has been closely tied to socialist groups throughout his political career. We will also see that several of Obama’s key supporters also had contact with Bill Ayers.

When Obama decided to run for the Illinois state senate in 1996, he sought the support of the New Party. The party endorsed him, and claimed him as a member.

The New Party had a socialist platform:

Full employment, a shorter work week, and a guaranteed minimum income for all adults; a universal “social wage” to include such basic benefits as health care, child care, vacation time, and lifelong access to education and training; a systematic phase-in of comparable worth and like programs to ensure gender equity.A progressive tax system based on the ability to pay.

(The New Party is still active, though its effectiveness has been curtailed by a Supreme Court decision which banned fusion voting.)

Obama was also endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America There was considerable overlap of membership between the New Party and the DSA.

One of the leaders of the New Party in Chicago was Carl Davidson. Davidson was a member of Students for a Democratic Society (but not the Weather Underground) with Bill Ayers, and has been an active communist since:

As a college student in the 1960s, Davidson was a national secretary of Students of a Democratic Society and a national leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement. He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Penn State University and later found employment as a philosophy instructor at the University of Nebraska, also in the 1960s.Davidson and Tom Hayden take credit for having launched in 1969 the “Venceremos Brigades,” which covertly transported hundreds of young Americans to Cuba to help harvest sugar cane and interact with Havana’s communist revolutionary leadership. (The Brigades were organized by Fidel Castro’s Cuban intelligence agency, which trained “brigadistas” in guerrilla warfare techniques, including the use of arms and explosives.)Many years later, Davidson would reflect on his SDS days when he, along with Dave Dellinger and Tom Hayden, had taken advantage of an opportunity to converse at length with President Castro. Said Davidson: “He [Castro] is a remarkable man, with a photographic memory, wide knowledge and keen insights…. We should all wish Fidel and Cuba well, and double our voices against the blockcade.”In 1988 Davidson founded Networking for Democracy (NFD), an initiative that teaches computer skills and radical politics to Chicago-area teenagers. The NFD program encourages students to engage in “mass action” aimed at “tearing down the old structures of race and class privilege” in the U.S. “and around the world.”In 1992 Davidson became a leader of the newly formed Committees of Correspondence, a Marxist coalition of former Maoists, Trotskyists, and Communist Party USA members. The organization has since changed its name to the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, where Davidson remains a prominent figure.

Davidson has been a strong supporter of Obama since 1996.

New Party candidate Danny K Davis was elected to Congress in the same year that Obama ran for state senate. Davis was also a member of the DSA:

According to Chicago DSA’s New Ground of September 1994:”Over 500 delegates and observers (including 140 from Chicago) attended the founding convention of the Committees of Correspondence (CoC) held here in Chicago in July. Speakers…included Charles Nqukula, General Secretary of the South African Communist Party; Dulce Maria Pereira, a senatorial candidate of the Workers Party of Brazil; Angela Davis of CoC; and Andre Brie of the Party of Democratic Socialism of Germany (a revamp of the old East German Communist Party) Other guests during the Convention included Cook County Commissioner Danny Davis, Alderman Helen Schiller and Rick Munoz, a representative of the Green Left Weekly of Australia, and a representative of the Cuban Interest Section.” The Chicago Communist Party has for many years held an annual fund raising banquet for its paper, the Peoples Weekly World (formerly the Peoples “Daily” World). According to the PDW of July 28th 1990, Chicago alderman Danny K Davis attended that years banquet on July 15th. Davis applauded those at the banquet, who, he said, are always in the midst of struggle. PDW readers, he said, are “steadfast in the fight fòr justice.”. According to the Peoples Weekly World of October 3rd 1998, congressman Danny K Davis interrupted his campaign work for Senate candidate Carol Mosely Braun to present an award at the Chicago annual Peoples Weekly World banquet. Obama incidentally helped get the CPUSA/CoC/DSA connected Moseley Braun elected in 1992 and inherited her former Senate seat in 2004. Danny K Davis remains one of Obama’s most loyal supporters.

In 2006, Bernadine Dohrn, Ayers’ wife and former Weather Underground leader, was a founding board member of [Movement for a Democratic Society](http://www.movementforademocraticsociety.org/


Another MDS board member was Mike Klonsky, also a member of SDS. In an earlier entry, we saw that Klonsky is a close associate of Bill Ayers. Since his days in the SDS, Klonsky has been a leader in communist political parties_(USA)). Until June of 2008, Klonsky kept a blog on Obama’s campaign web site. Its theme was, “A discussion of education, politics and teaching for social justice”.

In 2007, the MDS held a conference. Davidson, Klonsky and Ayers were all present. Ayers gave a talk, which was videotaped, in which he makes some comments about Obama’s campaign for president. You will find documentation of this meeting, and the video of Ayers, on this page.


It is clear from the evidence that Obama and Ayers have similar political views.

Several of Obama’s long-time supporters have had life-long friendships with Bill Ayers. With such common interests, common friends, and repeated professional contacts, it would be remarkable indeed if Obama was not personally familiar with Ayers. It is not at all hard to imagine that they would have exchanged ideas on a regular basis.