John Podesta, the Center for American Progress, and the Communist-friendly Modern Progressive Movement
by Cliff Kincaid
The SOROS Files
Center for American Progress (CAP) CEO and President John Podesta, who served as President Clinton’s chief of staff, is a major “progressive Catholic” and member of the ACORN advisory council, and serves as a professor at Georgetown University. Melody Barnes, Obama’s Director of the Domestic Policy Council, was the executive vice president for policy at CAP.
A major recipient of funds from the Soros-funded Open Society Institute (OSI), CAP issued a report on “Islamophobia,” a term suggesting a sickness or mental condition. Indeed, as the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was approaching, the CAP report on “Fear Inc.” purported to examine a conservative network of people and groups guilty of “Islamophobia” toward Muslims. The report seemed deliberately designed to take the attention away from events in the U.S. that were in progress to commemorate the deaths of almost 3,000 Americans killed by radical Muslims on 9/11.
On cue, another Soros-funded group, Media Matters, ran with excerpts from the report, emphasizing the “role played by right-wing media” such as Fox News in supposedly fanning the flames of “Islamophobia.” But CAP has its own propaganda network, which includes foreign propaganda channels Al-Jazeera and Iranian Press TV. They heavily publicized the CAP report.
In contrast to Fox, a private American network, Al-Jazeera and Press TV are foreign-funded.
The CAP report made much of the claim that seven conservative-oriented foundations gave $42.6 million to “Islamophobia think tanks” between 2001 and 2009. But CAP’s income in one year alone, according to Guide Star, which monitors public policy groups, was $38,600,935. The latest annual income of the Center for American Progress Action Fund was reported as $8,966,943.
So this means that CAP’s money surpassed the think tanks it attacks in the report by about $5 million in one year alone.
This newsworthy fact, which went unnoticed in media coverage of the “Fear Inc.” report, demonstrates how Soros-funded groups now dominate the public policy debate and try to silence voices which disagree with them. CAP plays a key role in this strategy.
Targeting American Catholics
Podesta’s “Catholic” affiliation was undoubtedly a factor in the decision by the OSI to give CAP $150,000 in 2005 for a “Faith and Public Life Resource Center.” Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, a former Senior Fellow at CAP, was the moderator of a May 10, 2006, CAP event on “How Catholic Progressives View the Role of Faith in Governance.” He has noted that Obama’s work as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago “was funded partly” by the “Catholic Church campaign for human development…” – the CCHD.
Obama was himself trained by top Alinskyian organizers, named for Marxist organizer Saul Alinsky, who said:
“To effect constructive changes in the life of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood (Alinsky’s first organization in Chicago). These two elemental social institutions are, First, The Catholic Church and, second, organized Labor”
One of these organizers was the ex-Jesuit, Greg Galuzzo, lead organizer for Gamaliel. The Developing Communities Project operated under the Gamaliel Foundation, a network of Alinskyian organizations that also received CCHD grants. Gamaliel, which has also received Soros OSI grants, calls Obama a former Gamaliel organizer and boasts of connections to top White House officials such as Obama friend Valerie Jarrett.
The Developing Communities Project, which hired Obama as lead organizer, was an offshoot of the Calumet Community Religious Conference of Alinsky-trained Jerry Kellman. The network of community organizations Alinsky founded, known as the Industrial Areas Foundation, also received CCHD grants.
The grants are being used, however, not just to seize power, but to change the minds of traditional Catholics. Indeed, this is a necessary prerequisite for taking power.
Alinskyian training sessions in the religious context are designed not to develop or cultivate a personal relationship with Christ and promote traditional values and cultural institutions but to engage in Marxist political activity and radical change. Analyst Stephanie Block puts it this way: “Their worldview is marred by visions of class struggle and perpetual revolution. They are systematically trained to renounce moral truth in favor of consensus-based ‘values.’”
What has happened over the years, some of these experts say, is that Catholics trained in Alinskyian thought have become confused about moral issues and problems. They think, for example, that opposition to the death penalty is on the same moral plane as opposition to abortion, even though Catholic moral teaching has never precluded capital punishment. They believe that fighting “global warming” is as important as saving the lives of unborn children or preventing the killing of the elderly. They are trained to fight for abortion and homosexual “rights” in violation of traditional Catholic Church teaching.
Soros is putting significant resources into several official and unofficial Catholic organizations. For example, our analysis finds that Soros money has gone into the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), an organization established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops back in 1988.
Yet, the Soros-funded Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on September 13, 2011, formally urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to investigate the Vatican for alleged crimes against humanity because of child sex crimes committed by Catholic priests.
Soros is trying to buy off or put the squeeze on the Catholic Church because he sees it as a global competitor for power. An atheist committed to the “right to die,” he opposes its emphasis on the right to life from conception to natural death and fears that its global power could undermine his vision of the “open society.”
The Podesta Brothers
In regard to the Middle East, CAP foreign policy expert Brian Katulis had argued that the U.S. ought to pull the plug on the Hosni Mubarak government in Egypt and deal with the pro-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood. This was the policy adopted by the Obama Administration. The International Crisis Group (ICG), which is in the top 20 organizations funded by OIS, issued a 2008 report urging Egyptian government acceptance of the Muslim Brotherhood. One key ICG member is Robert Malley, a former adviser to Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. Malley resigned after it was exposed he had communicated with Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood off-shoot. His father, Simon Malley, was an important figure in the Egyptian Communist Party.
Writing on the website of CAP, journalist Pratap Chatterjee hjad noted that Tony Podesta, “the brother of a former White House chief of staff,” joined with Toby Moffett, a former Democratic Congressman, and Bob Livingston, a former Republican Congressman, to create a lobbying organization, the PLM Group, to represent Egypt in Washington.
He wrote, “The Livingston Group made the largest number of contacts with the U.S. government for the Egyptians to make sure that this money continued to flow, but they were not the only ones. Tony Podesta, the brother of a former White House chief of staff, and Toby Moffett, a former Democratic Congressman, joined forces with Livingston to create the PLM Group to represent Egypt in Washington, according to foreign-agent records at the Justice Department.”
The reference to that “former White House chief of staff” was meant to suggest that Tony Podesta has real clout and influence, especially in Democratic Party circles. But who is that “former White House chief of staff?” And why wasn’t he named?
What Chatterjee did not want to openly acknowledge, for obvious reasons, is that this unnamed brother of lobbyist Tony Podesta was none other than John Podesta, his boss at the Center for American Progress.
The Stephen Spinner Controversy
ABC News was the first to report that Steven J. Spinner, a high-tech consultant and energy investor who raised at least $500,000 for then-candidate Barack Obama, became one of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s key loan program advisors while his wife’s law firm represented a number of companies that had applied for “alternative energy” loans. ABC news said, “Recovery Act records show Allison Spinner’s law firm, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, received $2.4 million in federal funds for legal fees related to the $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee to Solyndra, a solar company whose financial meltdown has prompted multiple investigations.”
The network quoted Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman, as saying that Spinner was someone who had “no role” in evaluating loan applications or selecting recipients. However, “Spinner described his job differently,” ABC news added, noting that “He wrote in an online bio for the Center for American Progress, the left-leaning think tank he joined after leaving the administration, that he ‘helped oversee the more than $100 billion of loan guarantee and direct lending authority’ for the department’s green-energy loan program.”
It was this federal loan guarantee program that backed a now-bankrupt Silicon Valley solar energy company called Solyndra,
In one of the latest developments, the Washington Post reported on October 7 that records provided by a government source “show that an Energy Department stimulus adviser, Steve Spinner, pushed for Solyndra’s loan despite having recused himself because his wife’s law firm did work for the company….One participant in the Solyndra effort, according to the e-mails, was Spinner. He pressed for OMB officials to speed up review of the Solyndra loan, writing at one point: “Any word from OMB? I have the OVP [Office of the Vice President] and WH [White House] breathing down my neck on this.”
The paper emphasized, “Despite an ethics agreement under which he said he would recuse himself from Solyndra’s loan application, correspondence shows that Spinner defended the company, worked to get the president or vice president to visit its factory, and pushed for a final decision on approving the company’s loan.”
Near the end of the article it is noted, “Spinner is now a fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank.”
Spinner’s bio at CAP described him as a “Senior Fellow” who was “focusing on energy policy.” The bio went on:
In September 2010, Mr. Spinner concluded his appointment as the loan programs advisor in the Office of the Secretary in the U.S. Department of Energy focused on implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Appointed on April 29, 2009, Mr. Spinner helped oversee the more than $100 billion of loan guarantee and direct lending authority for the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program, or LGP, and the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing, or ATVM, loan program.
Sean Higgins of Investor’s Business Daily reported:
In a July 13 post on its in-house blog ThinkProgress titled “The Loan Arranger: Time to Rescue Clean Energy Funding,” the George Soros-backed nonprofit [CAP] urged Congress to continue funding the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program.
The post appears to coincide with a time period when Solyndra’s executives were trying to reassure the administration and Democratic supporters. Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Diana DeGette, D-Colo., top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, both said last week that they had met with Solyndra executives over the summer and were told that all was well with the company.
The executives are scheduled to testify before Congress at the end of the week.
The ThinkProgress post was attributed to Richard Caperton and Steve Spinner. Caperton was identified as a senior policy analyst for the center and Spinner as a senior fellow there.
What the post didn’t say was that prior to joining CAP, Spinner was a former top Obama administration Energy Department official whose job included overseeing the loan guarantee program, though that information is available elsewhere on the center’s website.1
Van Jones worked at CAP before going to the White House, where he served briefly as Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar.”
In another “green jobs” venture involving CAP, the New York Times reported that a company called Nevada Geothermal Power, like Solyndra, was “struggling with debt after encountering problems at its only operating plant.” The Times reported that, “The amount of money the federal government has at stake with Nevada Geothermal — a loan guarantee of $79 million plus at least $66 million in grants — is much smaller than the $528 million investment in Solyndra.”
What was fascinating was that the paper ran a photograph (below) of participants in the “National Clean Energy Summit 4.0” with the caption, “Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, has promoted several geothermal projects in his state.” In the photograph but not named was John Podesta of CAP.
The website of the event reported that CAP was one of the official hosts of the event. It was described as follows:
The Center for American Progress is dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action. Building on the achievements of progressive pioneers such as Teddy Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, our work addresses 21st-century challenges such as energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care.We develop new policy ideas, critique the policy that stems from conservative values, and challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter and shape the national debate. Founded in 2003 to provide long-term leadership and support to the progressive movement, CAP is headed by John D. Podesta and based in Washington, D.C. CAP opened a Los Angeles office in 2007.2
But the “progressive” movement is far more than Martin Luther King and Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican president. The use of Teddy Roosevelt was a transparent attempt to make the event look bipartisan.
In fact, King’s reputation has been badly damaged by revelations in Caroline Kennedy’s book, Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, The book makes it abundantly clear that Jack and Bobby Kennedy, as well as Jackie, saw through the public façade of the Reverend King and knew him to be a proven liar about his communist connections and a scoundrel in terms of his personal life. Jackie called King a “phony” in the taped conversations that form the basis of the book.
The Kennedy brothers, both anti-communist Democrats, were alarmed by King’s communist associations.
However, as we saw with Van Jones, who was rehired by the CAP after he left the Obama Administration under fire for his communist views, it is today fashionable in left-wing or “progressive” circles to be a socialist and even communist revolutionary. This wasn’t always the case.
Jones resigned his White House job after the scrutiny into his Marxist background and membership in STORM (Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement) was threatening to implicate Obama and Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett in his hiring. Obama favored Jarrett for the U.S. Senate seat he vacated after his election to the presidency.
The open collaboration with Jones by CAP represents a sharp break with the anti-communist liberals, once a major force in the progressive movement and the Democratic Party, who had rejected any ties or associations with supporters of totalitarianism and communist dictatorships.
During the 1980s, for example, the AFL-CIO and its affiliates, including the American Institute for Free Labor Development, actively fought the communists, especially in Latin America. This stance was dropped after John Sweeney, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, became president of the AFL-CIO in 1995.
CAP’s so-called “Campus Progress” affiliate has continued this break with the anti-communist liberal tradition by running a very sympathetic interview in 2008 with Weather Underground terrorist Mark Rudd. The Weather Underground was a Cuban-trained Communist gang, led by Obama associates William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, that waged violence and murder in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. The group killed Police Sergeant Brian V. McDonnell on February 16, 1970.
In analyzing the more recent history of socialism, a good place to start is Henry Wallace’s Third Party movement in 1948, the Progressive Party. Wallace was not an insignificant figure, having been vice president in Franklin Roosevelt’s third term.
In his report, “From Henry Wallace to William Ayers—the Communist and Progressive Movements,” Herbert Romerstein points out that while Wallace wasn’t a communist, the party was under Communist Party USA (CPUSA) control. “The Communists even reassigned some of their members from Soviet espionage to run the Progressive Party,” he says. The CPUSA was funded by Moscow and was so obedient to the Soviet line that it backed the Hitler–Stalin pact.
Romerstein notes that Earl Browder, who headed the Communist Party in the 1930s until 1945, had boasted in 1960 about the success of the communists under his leadership. Browder had said:
“Entering the 1930’s as a small ultra-left sect of some 7,000 members, remnant of the fratricidal factional struggle of the 1920’s that had wiped out the old ‘left wing’ of American socialism, the CP rose to become a national political influence far beyond its numbers (at its height it never exceeded 100,000 members), on a scale never before reached by a socialist movement claiming the Marxist tradition. It became a practical power in organized labour, its influence became strong in some state organizations of the Democratic Party (even dominant in a few for some years), and even some Republicans solicited its support. It guided the anti-Hitler movement of the American League for Peace and Democracy that united a cross-section of some five million organized Americans (a list of its sponsors and speakers would include almost a majority of Roosevelt’s Cabinet, the most prominent intellectuals, judges of all grades up to State Supreme Courts, church leaders, labour leaders, etc.). Right-wing intellectuals complained that it exercised an effective veto in almost all publishing houses against their books, and it is at least certain that those right-wingers had extreme difficulty getting published.”
In this context, a far more questionable treatment of the socialist or “progressive” movement can be found in a lengthy report issued by the Center for American Progress entitled “The Progressive Intellectual Tradition in America.”
Curiously, it ignores Henry Wallace and his communist-dominated Progressive Party.
A Curious Omission
We asked John Halpin, who wrote much of the CAP report and also co-authored The Power of Progress with John Podesta, CAP president, about this omission. He replied:
Henry Wallace received fewer votes than Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond in 1948 and carried no states. Nearly all progressive and liberal support went to Harry Truman. Wallace was a decent man and his work on agriculture and his stands on ending segregation and fighting for racial equality were admirable. However, because of his foreign policy stands and his naive approach to Communist influence in the party, most of the major progressive and liberal voices of the time—including Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kenneth Galbraith, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Reinhold Niebuhr—gathered within Americans for Democratic Action, an explicitly anti-Communist, pro-civil rights organization. Long term, Wallace’s 1948 campaign had no real impact on progressives.
But while the Dixiecrats faded from the scene, the “progressives” did not. This is a critical point.
Noted historian and author David Pietrusza confirms this, saying:
Following their humiliating 1948 defeat, Wallace’s Progressives refused to surrender. They instead embarked upon a ‘Long March’ that led to their ideological heirs’ capture of the modern Democratic Party. A key milestone in their re-birth was 1968. That year, Democrats turned against Truman-JFK-LBJ Cold War policies. That same year, former Progressive Party national convention delegate Senator George McGovern emerged as the heir to the martyred Robert Kennedy. Four years later, McGovern captured the Democratic nomination and re-wrote party national convention rules to cement the transformation of his party’s leftward drift. The Obama victory of 2008, and the personnel and policies of his administration, largely translate into a victory for Henry Wallace’s ideological heirs, not for Truman’s. The Truman-style Democrat is largely extinct.
Halpin’s reference to Wallace’s “naive approach to Communist influence in the party” suggests recognition that communism was and is a danger and that Wallace was not sufficiently alert to this problem. But is this the case with the modern-day progressive movement? CAP’s employment of Van Jones—and rehiring, after details about his communist background had emerged—suggests it is not.
The non-communists like Wallace who tolerated communists became known as “fellow travelers” or dupes. The Communists used such people to influence non-communist Americans in the trade union movement and the Democratic Party.
Romerstein notes, “Two secret Communist Party members became Democratic members of the United States Congress. They were John Bernard from Minnesota and Hugh DeLacy from Washington State. A ‘friend of the Party’ was Vito Marcantonio, who was elected to Congress first as a Republican, then as a Democrat, and finally as a candidate of the Communist Party controlled American Labor Party in New York.”
DeLacy’s memorial service was attended by Rep. Leon Panetta, who became the director of the CIA and then Defense Secretary under Obama. He had paid tribute to DeLacy and his wife as “lifelong activists for social justice.”
Bringing the history of socialism and communism up to the present time, Romerstein has explained how the “New Left” of the 1960s and 70s included Communists involved in such groups as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and its terrorist offspring, the Weather Underground. Later, some of these Marxists would emerge in the group called “Progressives for Obama,” which included Carl Davidson, formerly of SDS, and Barbara Ehrenreich and Cornel West of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), whose Chicago branch had backed Obama from the start.
Van Jones worked closely with the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS), a Communist Party spin-off group. Several members of his STORM group traveled to Cuba in 1999 as part of the notorious Venceremos Brigade, organized with the active involvement of the Weather Underground.
Karen Nussbaum, a top official of the AFL-CIO, participated in one of those trips to Cuba. But when asked her about it, after she made presentations at the 2009 and 2011 Campaign for America’s Future conference, the leading “progressive” organization in the U.S, she refused and then called the controversy “not relevant.”
The Vietnam Betrayal
As documented by several Congressional committees, the Communists also manipulated or controlled the major anti-Vietnam War organizations, using liberals, “progressives” and socialists as fellow travelers.
This was critical because the Communists could not win the war on the battlefield. In addition to media figures such as Walter Cronkite, who turned the enemy’s defeat in the 1968 Tet Offensive into a victory for the communists, Hanoi was depending on the anti-war protests to force a U.S. military withdrawal.
The strategy worked.
As leftist Danny Schechter wrote, in the introduction to North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap’s book How We Won the War, “Throughout the war, the Vietnamese cultivated the active political support of peoples and governments throughout the world… Politically, the Vietnamese always believed in the importance of the anti-war movement…They encouraged it as best they could, knowing that creating a climate of opinion hostile to the war would be one important way of ending it. In the end, their victory was accelerated by Congress’ refusal to vote more aid. That refusal was a response to a climate of public opinion which the anti-war movement helped to forge.”
Perhaps the most significant example of the support for the North Vietnamese was displayed by Tom Hayden, who was caught with a June 4, 1968, letter to “Dear Col. Lao,” a North Vietnamese official, which ended, “Good fortune! Victory!” Hayden, once married to “Hanoi Jane” Fonda, would later emerge as a member of “Progressives for Obama.”
Meanwhile, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the communists reorganized, with many of them establishing the CCDS. Not as widely known, however, is the fact that a secret member of this group was Barbara Lee, who would become a member of the U.S. Congress, leader of the congressional Progressive Caucus and leader of the Congressional Black Caucus. She would be honored in 2009 as a “progressive” champion by the Campaign for America’s Future.
Van Jones spoke to a 2006 CCDS fundraiser. Another figure active in the CCDS was Harry Hay, the former Communist Party member who founded the modern gay rights movement.
How Progressives Staged a Takeover of the Democratic Party.
The history of the Progressive Party, which ran FDR’s former vice president Henry Wallace as its presidential candidate in 1948, helps bring the subject up to date and explains the current direction of the Democratic Party.
The Progressive Party was controlled by the Communist Party but efforts to work through the democratic process did not die out with its election defeat in 1948. Communists and “progressives” then targeted the Democratic Party for a takeover from within.
A semi-official history, in the form of the book, Gideon’s Army, was written by Curtis MacDougall, a professor of journalism at Northwestern University who also wrote Interpretative Reporting, a standard text in journalism schools for more than 50 years. MacDougall, who wrote critically (even in his journalism textbook) about efforts to expose communist influence in the U.S. Government, was himself a Progressive Party activist and candidate.
Not surprisingly, MacDougall’s influence was felt not only on generations of journalists, but on his own son, A. Kent McDougall, who was acknowledged in the 1972 edition of Interpretative Reporting as then being with the New York office of the Wall Street Journal and lending “valuable assistance” in its preparation. Kent came out openly as a Marxist after working at the Journal, where he said he inserted positive stories about Marxist economists and “the left-wing journalist I.F. Stone.” Stone, it turned out, was a Soviet agent of influence.
MacDougall’s 319-page FBI file, released to this journalist, revealed that he had a close association with the Chicago Star, a newspaper controlled by the Communist Party, and many different CPUSA front organizations. But the Star connection deserves special comment. The executive editor of the Chicago Star was none other than Frank Marshall Davis, a Communist Party member who would later become President Barack Obama’s childhood mentor in Hawaii and was active in the Hawaii Democratic Party.
In 1948, notes historian David Pietrusza, Davis’s Chicago-based paper, the Chicago Star, wholeheartedly backed Henry Wallace. That summer, he adds, the Progressive Party “apparatus” converted the paper into the Illinois Standard, thus enabling Davis to relocate to Hawaii on the advice of fellow Progressive Party activist Paul Robeson. Robeson, it turned out, was a secret member of the Communist Party.
It is significant that MacDougall’s history of the Progressive Party, Gideon’s Army, was published by Italian-born American Communist Carl Marzani, who served a prison term for perjury in falsely denying, while employed by the State Department, that he was a Communist Party member. His publishing house, Marzani and Munsell, was subsidized by the Soviet KGB.
However, the history of the “progressive tradition” issued by the Center for American Progress (CAP) ignores all of this. It claims:
With the rise of the contemporary progressive movement and the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, there is extensive public interest in better understanding the origins, values, and intellectual strands of progressivism.
Who were the original progressive thinkers and activists? Where did their ideas come from and what motivated their beliefs and actions? What were their main goals for society and government?
The new Progressive Tradition Series from the Center for American Progress traces the development of progressivism as a social and political tradition stretching from the late 19th century reform efforts to the current day.
Unfortunately, this series ignores the role of the Progressive Party of 1948 and the Communist Party influence in it.
The book, The Power of Progress, written by CAP President John Podesta (with John Halpin), is a bit more open and honest. It does mention the communist influence in the Progressive Party, noting the “perceived tolerance of communists within the 1948 Progressive Party” and quoting leading liberals such as Arthur Schlesinger as saying that “the political tolerance of an illiberal creed like communism, coupled with progressives’ earlier isolationism, could not hold during a time of ideological struggle with a spreading Soviet empire.”
But the use of the word “perceived” is interesting.
It is important to note that Podesta apparently does not regard communism as an “illiberal creed.” After all, Podesta strongly defended communist Van Jones, before and after he was fired by the White House.
Podesta’s book goes on to say that “The practical application of many of these fiercely anti-communist positions quickly became problematic for many progressives” because of the loyalty reviews ordered by President Truman and “the overt Red-baiting of Joe McCarthy and [FBI Director J. Edgar] Hoover…” The loyalty reviews were designed to make sure that government employees were loyal Americans and not sympathetic to communism.
Why the use of the term “fiercely” anti-communist? Can one be too strongly opposed to an ideology that has resulted in 100 million deaths?
Also notice how Democratic President Harry Truman has become a villain in the Podesta narrative, sharing equal billing with the “Red-baiting” Senator McCarthy and the FBI director. Such a formulation displays the ideological shift in the Democratic Party.
This is more evidence of how modern “progressives” have broken with the anti-communist liberal tradition.
This attitude explains not only why Obama-friendly progressives associate openly with characters such as Van Jones but why the Obama Administration is virtually silent on the human rights violations and the pro-terrorist foreign policy of the Marxist Hugo Chavez regime in Venezuela..
Podesta notes in matter-of-fact language that “President Truman adopted a strong stance against communist expansion, first with the Truman Doctrine, which offered economic and military support to Greece and Turkey in repelling Soviet ambitions, and shortly thereafter with the Marshall Plan, which provided $13 billion to help rebuild the economies of Europe and prevent the rise of communism still in ruin from the war.”
But Podesta writes critically when he says that the “hard line of liberal thinking”—that, is, liberal anti-communism—took the form of “Vowing never to bend to communist aggression anywhere in the world” and President Johnson’s escalation of the war in Vietnam.
Podesta writes this as if he had been willing to consign Vietnam to the communist camp from the beginning. Not only that, but he writes that the liberal anti-communists “firmly rejected the belief that there could be any acceptance of domestic communism within the larger liberal project.”
This, then, is quite explicit and revealing. Judging by Podesta’s embrace of communist Van Jones, it is clear that he — and CAP –currently accept communists as being part of “the larger liberal project.”
This helps explain why a CAP history of the progressive tradition would ignore the lasting influence of Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party and how communists continue to work and operate in the “progressive” movement and even influence their hero, President Obama.
Far beyond mere tolerance, however, the communists ran Henry Wallace as the Progressive Party candidate for President in the1948 presidential election. A 1948 Communist Party election manifesto declared that “…in 1948 we Communists join with millions of other Americans to support the Progressive ticket to help win the peace. The Communist Party will enter its own candidates only in those districts where the people are offered no progressive alternatives to the twin parties of Wall Street.”
“In reality, many Communist Party operatives were in control of the Progressive Party. Before it was even formed the Communist Party merged two of its front organizations, the National Citizens Political Action Committee (NC-PAC) and the Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts and Sciences, to form the Progressive Citizens of America (PCA), which became the organizing tool for the Wallace campaign.”
Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s 1981 thesis at Princeton University was titled “To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933.” However, she wrote that “In our own times, a coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States.” This appears to be a comment on modern-day America, at least as it was in 1981.
Kagan’s verdict, of course, depends on how you define “socialist.” The modern socialist movement calls itself “progressive.”
Kagan’s thesis is well-researched and interesting, but only to a point. Professor Harvey Klehr told me:
I scanned through Kagan’s undergraduate thesis. It is very well-written and well-organized, a very impressive piece of undergraduate writing. It is also pretty sound academically. She considers a variety of answers to the question that has perplexed lots of scholars like myself—and radicals—why no successful radical movement in America? Looking at the fate of the SP [Socialist Party] in NY is an interesting take on the problem and I thought her account was reasonably convincing. She seems to have used appropriate sources—although the footnotes were not attached to the version you sent, so I can’t tell exactly which ones she consulted. But it sounds as if she was pretty thorough.
Although it is not pervasive, I sensed a lurking sympathy for the ‘left-wing’ of the SP, as representing a more militant and pure opposition to the depredations of the manufacturers and the inequities of the system. She acknowledges, however, the faults and flaws of both factions and makes clear that the Communists’ own disastrous policies helped destroy the radical movement in the ILGWU [International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union]. The conclusion bemoans the lack of unity that destroyed this radical movement and hints that that is one of the major factors in the failure of American radicalism. Not surprising coming from a 21-year-old college student.
So, I would give her a pretty good grade for an impressive piece of scholarship for an undergrad. And, I don’t see anything here like a ‘red flag’ in regard to her present situation.
Clearly, the “red flag” is not a 1981 college paper but why she was being pushed for a seat on the Supreme Court in 2010. The alleged “failure of American radicalism,” perhaps appropriate for a paper that covers 1900-1933 and written in 1981, is not so apparent these days.
Consider that, after his resignation from his White House job, Podesta declared that Van Jones “is an exceptional and inspired leader who has fought to bring economic and environmental justice to communities across our country.” When Jason Mattera staged an ambush interview and confronted Podesta about hiring Jones, Podesta replied, “Van Jones is trying to make this country a better place.”
If Podesta, who ran Obama’s transition team with Valerie Jarrett, is serious about these comments, then the “progressive” movement has become something that represents a sharp break with the liberal anti-communist tradition. It is no wonder that CAP doesn’t want the public to understand how communists once dominated the “progressive” movement and still manipulate it to this day.
The Progressive-Communist Alliance
More evidence of the change in direction can be seen in the fact that various communist and socialist groups were photographed and filmed during the October 2, 2010, “One Nation Working Together” rally in Washington, D.C. The Communist Party USA, a group that served as a subversive pawn of Moscow for decades, was officially invited to be part of it.
The CPUSA was an official “endorsing organization” and was given space to set up a literature table by the rally organizers. Indeed, a two-page official list of “One Nation March” organizations shows that it was given a highly coveted “reserved space.”
Paul Kengor, author of the blockbuster book, Dupes, called this fact remarkable. He commented, “It’s remarkable because historically, communist involvement at these rallies has been meticulously concealed, hidden from progressives, with the communists using the progressives as props — as dupes. That the two sides…happily accepted one another, proudly uniting, shows how far to the left progressives have moved, not to mention their unflagging confidence under the ascendancy of Obama-Pelosi-Reid.”
The officially-sanctioned groups also included the AFL-CIO and several left-wing labor unions; United for Peace and Justice, founded by veteran Marxist activist Leslie Cagan; Code Pink; the ANSWER Coalition, a front of the Party for Socialism and Liberation; the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism; Green for All, the group once associated with former White House official Van Jones; Democratic Socialists of America, which helped give Barack Obama his start in Illinois state politics; and the NAACP.
The progressives in the AFL-CIO and other unions which sponsored the October 2 rally in the nation’s capital were excused by the major media for giving special status to a political party that has always elevated the interests of world revolution ahead of the United States.
Nobody can claim ignorance about the CPUSA at this late date in its history. But top CPUSA officials Jarvis Tyner and Sam Webb were there at the “One Nation Working Together” rally.
Interestingly, an on-line publication that noted the involvement of Tyner and his colleagues was The Root, which is published by The Washington Post. Cord Jefferson, a staff writer for The Root, quoted Tyner as saying, “This is the real deal here. We don’t agree with Obama on everything, but the future of our country is associated with moving the country away from the last 30 years, and he’s part of that. He said the people ought to get involved and make the change that they want, and I think that’s a good thing for the country.”
America’s Survival, Inc. had pressed the Obama-Biden Transition Team about its secret meetings with pro-U.N. and pro-world government groups. The transition co-chair was John Podesta. The other was Valerie Jarrett.
On December 6,2008, Don Kraus of Citizens for Global Solutions had reported on his blog that he had just participated in two back-to-back Obama transition team meetings with Eric Schwartz. Schwartz, had been the executive director of the U.S. Connect Fund and represents several liberal and leftist foundations, including and most notably the Open Society Institute of George Soros. He left the Connect U.S. Fund to take up the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration in the Obama Administration.
Kraus reported, “Eric is in charge of the US/UN transition team and also handles multilateral issues for the National Security Policy team, which is why the transition asked him to meet with us.” Eric Schwartz was listed on the website of the Obama-Biden Transition Project as being involved with “USUN” – that is, United States/ United Nations issues.
Kraus reported, “The first meeting was with a delegation from the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping (PEP) and the next was with members of the Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court. (WICC is a coordinating group of the Washington based organizations committed to ICC). Citizens for Global Solutions play a lead role in both of these coalitions.”
These new policies included placing “more [U.N.] blue helmets on U.S. troops” and forcing the U.S. to join the U.N.’s International Criminal Court (ICC).
In a memo released on December 5, 2008, Podesta had announced a policy of transparency regarding official meetings with outside organizations. This was called giving the public a “Seat at the Table.” The www.change.gov website declared: “Co-chair Podesta’s memo to the Transition staff is a bold move towards opening the doors and ensuring access to government processes.”
The Podesta memo said that information to be posted on the website would include “All policy documents and written policy recommendations from official meetings with outside organizations” and “the date and organizations represented at official meetings in the Transition headquarters or agency offices, with any documents presented as noted above.”
But ASI could find nothing about the meetings described by Kraus on the “Seat at the Table” section of the change.gov website.
John Podesta, the Center for American Progress, and the Communist-friendly Modern Progressive Movement | The Soros Files http://sorosfiles.com/soros/2011/10/john-podesta-the-center-for-american-progress-and-the-communist-friendly-modern-progressive-movement.html#ixzz4QYZQNl3A