06 June, 2008

Barack Obama and Socialism/Marxism

Recently, someone called me deluded for having the temerity to suggest that Barack Obama (D-IL) has Marxist/socialistic views.

Actually, he said that I claimed he was a Marxist (which I didn't) and that delusion was putting it mildly. Unfortunately, I took the bait offered and then did call Obama a Marxist.

I'll go back now to saying that he has Marxist/socialistic views and agenda.

And I'll spend the rest of this very long post backing that up. I'm going to talk about a lot of things here, and I really should break it up into several posts, but I'm not going to.

Let's start by looking at some of his history:

  1. Obama says that the well-known Marxist, Frank Marshall Davis was a “decisive influence” on him. This is in his book and and has been documented by the Communist Party USA.
  2. Obama says, "All of my life, I carried a single image of my father, one that I .. tried to take as my own." But what do we know about his father? We know that he supported:
    1. 100% taxation
    2. communal farms / the elimination of private farming
    3. the nationalization of businesses owned by “Europeans” and “Asians”.
    4. “active” measures to bring about a classless society
  3. Obama cites as one of his mentors and friends, the now infamous Bill Ayers, well known Marxist and terrorist.
  4. Obama's (until recent) church of twenty years is the Trinity United Church of Chicago. The Trinity United Church openly teaches Black Liberation Theology. Thousands have articles have been written documenting the ties between Black Liberation Theology and Marxism. It literally has its origins there.
  5. When running for state senate in 1996, Barack Obama obtained the endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America. In case you don’t know who they are, I’ll quote from their website: “The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. DSA’s members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly socialist presence in American communities and politics.” (I have originally stated that he sought this endorsement--I was confusing them with the New Party--see below). It's not as if this group just automatically supports Illinois Democrats. They only supported 4 that year.
  6. When running for state senate in 1996, Barack Obama sought and obtained the endorsement of the New Party. There are conflicting statements as to whether or not this was Barack Obama's first political party. If you don't know who the New Party is, that's because they are now defunct. But, like a phoenix, they have risen from the ashes as ACORN.

Ok, that's all guilt by association, but it makes it quite plain that many of the people in Obama's inner circle, the people that inspired Obama, and the people that have supported Obama, are Marxist or at least have Marxist leanings.

Let's look at some of Obama's statements:

  1. Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.
    1. This is despite the empirical evidence and even statements by members of his own party, that raising the capital gains tax reduces government revenue. He doesn't care how much the government brings in as long as taxes are "fair".
  2. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion
    1. Compare to “Religion is the opiate of the masses”, Karl Marx, 1843
  3. Each of you will have the chance to make your own discovery in the years to come. And I say “chance” because you won’t have to take it. There’s no community service requirement in the real world; no one forcing you to care. You can take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should by. You can choose to narrow your concerns and live your life in a way that tries to keep your story separate from America’s.

    But I hope you don’t. Not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate, though you do have that obligation. Not because you have a debt to all those who helped you get here, though you do have that debt.

    It’s because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role you’ll play in writing the next great chapter in America’s story.
    1. Those are pretty words, and somehow uplifting in the “it takes a village” meme of uplifting, but the translation is simple. “Put away your childish thoughts of the American Dream. Serve the larger community. Share with the larger community.” Community is a big word in socialism.
  4. Oh crap, I've lost the link, but I've read that there are at least 15 complimentary references to Che Guevara on Obama's own website. Certainly Che is no friend to capitalism (or freedom), but without a link, I suggest you decide on your own the worthiness of this statement.

Ok, there's no smoking gun statement there. You have to read between the lines. What? You are expecting him to just come out and say "I am a Marxist and I want to turn the country into a socialist state"?

First of all, I don't think he thinks of himself as a Marxist/socialist (and I've tried very hard myself not to call him that, but instead to say that has a Marxist/socialist agenda). And second, even if he did, that's clearly not the way to get elected. :)

Ok, let's now look at his "Blueprint for Change", or as I like to call it, his "Blueprint for Socialism".

Before I begin in depth, here's the Webster definition of socialism:

1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

The last definition there is interesting. Let's see what Webster has to say about capitalism:

: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

and communism:

1 a: a theory advocating elimination of private property b: a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed

2capitalized a: a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics b: a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production c: a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably d: communist systems collectively

Also, under socialism Webster defines state socialism as:

: an economic system with limited socialist characteristics that is effected by gradual state action and typically includes public ownership of major industries and remedial measures to benefit the working class

and Marxism is defined this way:

: the political, economic, and social principles and policies advocated by Marx; especially : a theory and practice of socialism including the labor theory of value, dialectical materialism, the class struggle, and dictatorship of the proletariat until the establishment of a classless society

Hmmm, there's a lot of big words there, dialectical materialism means:

: the Marxist theory that maintains the material basis of a reality constantly changing in a dialectical process and the priority of matter over mind — compare historical materialism

And dialectical is:

: of, relating to, or in accordance with dialectic <dialectical method> b: practicing, devoted to, or employing dialectic <a dialectical philosopher>

which is no help, what's dialectic?

: the Hegelian process of change in which a concept or its realization passes over into and is preserved and fulfilled by its opposite; also : the critical investigation of this process b (1)usually plural but singular or plural in construction : development through the stages of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis in accordance with the laws of dialectical materialism (2): the investigation of this process (3): the theoretical application of this process especially in the social sciences

And what about proletariat?

1: the laboring class; especially : the class of industrial workers who lack their own means of production and hence sell their labor to live

2: the lowest social or economic class of a community

Ok, so basically, Marxism is a socialism which grants more and more power to the working class in order to achieve a classless society, and does this through the policies advocated by Marx, and socialism is an economic system that does not have private or corporate goods, does not have investments determined by private decision and does not have prices, production and distribution of goods determined by the free market. It also does have goods owned in common and available to all as needed, and included public ownership of major industries and remedial measures to benefit the working class.

And, as a reminder, the 10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto.

  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
  2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
  3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
  4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
  5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
  6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
  7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
  8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
  9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
  10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c., &c.[4]

Or, to sum up, as Marx himself did: "A sympathy for the working class or proletariat and a belief that the ultimate interests of workers best match those of humanity in general."

Where does Obama's Blueprint stack up?

  1. Abolition of private ownership of land
    I don't see anything on this, so I think Karl would give Obama a thumbs down. However, Obama has remained completely silent on the Kelo decision by the SCOTUS, and has in fact, praised the Justices on the majority side of this opinion. He's also made use of "eminent domain" in the web to take over a MySpace site devoted to him.
  2. A heavily progressive income tax:

    Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they need. Obama will create a new “Making Work Pay” tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. The “Making Work Pay” tax credit will completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans.

    Obama will reform the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by making it refundable and allowing low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit for their child care expenses.

    Obama supports increasing the maximum amount of earnings covered by Social Security.

    Obama will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year.

    Obama is committed to repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

    Obama will cut income taxes by $1,000 for working families to offset the payroll tax they pay

    I'd say Obama gets a big thumbs up from Karl Marx on his tax positions. Notice especially there's a lot of of the phrases "working families" and "wealthiest Americans". Creating class envy is a first step in working towards a classless society. And I think Marx would accept "working families" in place of his "proletariat".
  3. Abolition of all rights to inheritance.
    Well, I don't see anything in his "Blueprint for Change" about this, but I also don't see anything about reducing or eliminating the inheritance tax. Karl would want Obama to go father here, but you can definitely say that Obama's not moving any farther away from Marxism on this one.

  4. Confiscation of property of emigrants and rebels
    Obama gets a big thumbs down from Karl.

  5. National Bank
    We're already there. Nothing more for Obama to do here.

  6. Centralization of communication and transport

    Obama will encourage the deployment of the most modern communications infrastructure

    Obama believes we can get broadband to every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund

    Obama supports the basic principle that network providers should not be allowed to charge fees to privilege the content or applications of some web sites and Internet applications over others

    Barack Obama will ensure that rural Americans have access to a modern communications infrastructure

    Obama will double the federal Jobs Access and Reverse Commute program to ensure that additional federal public transportation dollars flow to the highest-need communities

    Karl would be proud. Note that there are a lot of subtleties here. When a politician uses phrases like "will encourage", "should not be allowed", "will prevent", "will ensure", and he's talking about businesses, he's talking about more government control over business, which is exactly the opposite of letting the free market decide things and is precisely in line with moving towards a socialistic environment.
  7. Extension of state-owned factories and improvement of the soil in accordance with a common plan

    Barack Obama will prevent companies from abusing their monopoly power through unjustified price increases

    Obama is a strong supporter of a packer ban. When meatpackers own livestock they can manipulate prices and discriminate against independent farmers.

    Barack Obama will work for tougher regulations on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to prevent air and water pollution

    Obama will develop domestic incentives that reward forest owners, farmers, and ranchers when they plant trees, restore grasslands, or undertake farming practices that capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

    Obama supports implementation of a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Obama’s cap-and-trade system will require all pollution credits to be auctioned

    Obama will create a Global Energy Forum that includes all G-8 members plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa –the largest energy consuming nations from both the developed and developing world. The forum would focus exclusively on global energy and environmental issues.

    The UNFCCC process is the main international forum dedicated to addressing the climate problem and an Obama administration will
    work constructively within it.

    Obama will increase incentives for farmers and private landowners to conduct sustainable agriculture and protect wetlands, grasslands, and forests.

    Once again, the tendency here is away from the free market, and definitely moves towards improvement of the soil through a common plan. If Karl were alive today he'd be up on his feet for Obama by now.
  8. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

    Obama will strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions. He will fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Obama will ensure that his labor appointees support workers’ rights and will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers.

    Obama will ensure our farm programs help family farmers, not giant corporations.

    Obama will fight for farm programs that provide family farmers with stability and predictability.

    Obama supports guaranteeing workers seven paid sick days per year.

    Encourage Young People to Become Farmers: Obama will establish a new program to identify and train the next generation of farmers. He will also provide tax incentives to make it easier for new farmers to afford their first farm. He also will establish a small business and micro-enterprise initiative for rural America.

    There's not much that's big here, but let's face it, industrial armies have long been the goal of the Democratic party. Obama may not bring much new to the table here, but he doesn't move any farther way from Marx either.
  9. Gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country. To be honest, I'm not sure what this means, and I'm not sure that Marx would write it quite this way if he were writing today (remember all of his stuff was done before the industrial revolution) however:

    Obama will invest in rural small businesses and fight to expand high-speed Internet access. He will improve rural schools and attract more doctors to rural areas

    Barack Obama will ensure that rural Americans have access to a modern communications infrastructure. He will modernize an FCC program that supports rural phone service so that it promotes affordable broadband coverage across rural America as well.

    Rural health care providers often get less money from Medicare and Medicaid for the very same procedure performed in urban areas. Obama will work to ensure a more equitable Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement structure. He will attract providers to rural America by creating a loan forgiveness program for doctors and nurses who work in underserved rural areas. He supports increasing rural access to care by promoting health information technologies like telemedicine.

    Obama will create a Rural Revitalization Program to attract and retain young people to rural America. Obama will increase research and educational funding for Land Grant colleges.

    Obama will invest in the core infrastructure, roads, bridges, locks, dams, water systems and essential air service that rural communities need.

    I think it's safe to say that Karl would still be pleased. If we go back to our definition of socialism, we see a lot of goods being made available to all as needed.
  10. Free education for all children in public schools.

    Obama will expand the YouthBuild program, which gives disadvantaged young people the chance to complete their high school education, learn valuable skills and build affordable housing in their communities. He will grow the program so that 50,000 low-income young people a year a chance to learn construction job skills and complete high school.

    Obama believes that the goal of No Child Left Behind was the right one, but that it was written and implemented poorly and it has demoralized our educators and broken its promise to our children. Obama will fund No Child Left Behind and improve its assessments and accountability systems.

    Obama will create a new American Opportunity Tax Credit that will make tuition at the nation’s community colleges completely free

    Obama will address the dropout crisis by passing his legislation to provide funding to school districts to invest in intervention strategies in middle school

    Obama will double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve one million more children.

    Obama’s “STEP UP” plan addresses the achievement gap by supporting summer learning opportunities for disadvantaged children through partnerships between local schools and community organizations.

    Obama supports outreach programs like GEAR UP, TRIO and Upward Bound to encourage more young people from low-income families to consider and prepare for college.

    There's little doubt that if Karl were alive now, he'd be standing up and cheering for Obama.

And here's some more pieces that I think obviously qualify as socialist in nature, but I can't find a place in the 10 planks where they easily fit.

Obama will make available a new national health plan so all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, can buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress.

The Obama Plan will have the Following Features:

      Guaranteed Eligibility: No American will be turned away FROM ANY INSURANCE PLAN because of illness or pre-existing conditions.

      Comprehensive Benefits: The benefit package will be similar to that offered through Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the plan members of Congress have. The plan will cover all essential medical services, including preventive, maternity and mental health care.

      Affordable Premiums, Co-Pays and Deductibles.

      Subsidies: Individuals and families who do not qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP but still need financial assistance will receive an income-related federal subsidy to buy into the new public plan or purchase a private health care plan.

The Obama plan will create a National Health Insurance Exchange to help individuals who wish to purchase a private insurance plan. The Exchange will act as a watchdog group and help reform the private insurance market by creating rules and standards for participating insurance plans to ensure fairness and to make individual coverage more affordable and accessible.

Employers that do not offer or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees will be required to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of the national plan.

Obama will require that all children have health care coverage.

Obama will set a goal that all middle and high
school students do 50 hours of community service a year. He will develop national guidelines for service-learning and will give schools better tools both to develop programs and to document student experience.

Obama will establish a new American Opportunity Tax Credit that worth $4,000 a year in exchange for 100 hours of public service a year.

Obama will ensure that at least 25 percent of College Work-Study funds are used to support public service opportunities instead of jobs in dining halls and libraries.

And, as one last reminder, our earlier definitions of Marxism and socialism:

Marxism is a socialism which grants more and more power to the working class in order to achieve a classless society, and does this through the policies advocated by Marx, and socialism is an economic system that does not have private or corporate goods, does not have investments determined by private decision and does not have prices, production and distribution of goods determined by the free market. It also does have goods owned in common and available to all as needed, and included public ownership of major industries and remedial measures to benefit the working class.

All the quoted pieces above are from his PLAN sections of the Blueprint. There are even more examples of his socialistic views in his RECORD sections.

I highly suggest you read the entire document.

Your Honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution rests.


  1. That was excellent! Great work!

  2. Nice work, but you could STILL be deluded.

    Just not about this, is all.

  3. Ok, I'll buy that I may still be deluded about many things.

    Congratulations on finishing reading the longest blog post ever. I wasn't sure that anyone would bother.

  4. Very good post.Great analysis of Oamassiah's Lefitst agenda. He will definitelybringour country closer to Marxism than that of McCain. We areon the path of being like Eurabia in a Socialist Democracy.

  5. Thats was a very very good post. I enjoyed it immensely. I don't really like either candidates but I believe I might still vote for Obama. I despise socialism but I don't believe all of it is bad. Some of Obamas ideas are pretty good I think. I absolutely do not agree with the people in his inner circle and I have to keep an eye on him on making sure he doesn't cross the socialist line to much.

  6. Well, I would say that you can't "flirt with socialism", but McCain has plenty of socialistic ideas as well.

    At least he's not for nationalized health care though.

  7. Where in God's name do you get this stuff. I'm a conservative Republican who started his politics as a kid campaigning for Barry Goldwater. But in looking at this just in a cursory fashion three quarters of it is either factually incorrect or interpreted incorrectly. Liberals portray us as ignorant and that pisses me off to no end. But when I read drivel like this, it makes even me believe them. Why even bring up the commie garbage anymore. It's completely irrelevant and out of date...not to mention your analysis being essentially incorrect. I'm likely not to vote this year because I don't like either of the candidates and I'm not sure which one would do more damage to the country...Obama with his inexperience (that's his weakness not being a "communist"...if he has an economic weakness it's that he would let corporate America continue to run essentially unregulated...at least that's what his big business backers say). McCain's judgment particularly on foreign affairs is so awful, so anti-conservative I can't stand it. Maybe I'll move to Russia or China, the world's true 21st Century capitalists.

  8. If you have specific complaints, I'll be happy to address them. But your vague attacks don't really help much.

    I freely admit that there may be problems in my analysis, but I think most of it stands up.

    As for where I get it, that's kind of a silly question, don't you think, given the sheer number of hyperlinks in the post?

  9. About the abolition of private property ownership...couldn't the argument be made that Obama doesn't have to work towards that ideal anymore because there is no such thing as private property ownership in the U.S. now? I was thinking about it, and thought about two things:

    1: Eminent Domain. The government can take your land at any point in time by deciding that it's for the public good, whether it's for pipelines, highways, privately-owned hospitals, or even new businesses.

    2: Property Taxes. You always pay property taxes. They never stop. If you ever DO stop paying property taxes, your land is confiscated and sold.

    I mean, is it just me, or do we no longer own land, only rent it from the government...unless they need it, then they reclaim it. If I'm wrong, please tell me, because this thought is extraordinarily distressing to me.

  10. That's a good argument. Pay attention to this blog. I will have more to say about property rights in the coming days. However, to give you a bit of a hint about it, there are degrees here.

    Certainly if you're a broad supporter of eminent domain, you're going to be weak on property rights. If you approve of higher property taxes, you're going to be weak on property rights.

    Conversely, if you are against eminent domain and for making property taxes as low as possible, then you're strong on property rights.

  11. This was excellent. Ive been looking at all of Obama's comments and could see how they were very socialistic, but never had a complete, concise version to direct to other people as you have provided here.

  12. Speaking about Barack the Socialist: