Is President Obama a socialist? According to actual socialists, the answer is an emphatic “no.”
For conservative bloggers and some at Tea Party rallies who call Obama a “socialist,” the abundance of socialist signs and propaganda at the liberal “One Nation Working Together” rally in Washington last month is just more evidence that Obama and his followers are actually socialists.
But this is simply wrong according to the socialists The Daily Caller talked to at the rally.
A large contingent of proud socialists was organizing around the International Socialist Organization (ISO) booth far from the action at the Lincoln Memorial. Looking hipsterific, they could have been kids at some dingy, rock venue.
When approached, though, they weren’t exactly friendly. The girl behind the booth in the leather jacket and faux-hawk even gave TheDC the stinkeye. ISO member David May, however, finally broke the group’s silence when asked if Obama was a socialist. May’s reply was a clear, “No.”
In fact, Obama was doing “quite well to help along big business,” he said.
“Obama has taken over the leadership of the American empire, which is a capitalist nation,” he explained. “And he’s the head of the Democratic Party, which is the world’s, America’s, second-most-enthusiastic capitalist party.”
May said neither he, nor any of his young comrades, had any faith that Obama would ever enact socialist reforms.
Neither did Carl Davidson. Formerly of the New Party, Davidson is currently of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. He’s apparently pretty famous for knowing the president.
“If you Google ‘Marxist Mentor + Obama’ you’ll get a million hits about me,” he said.
“I know Obama well. I worked on his first campaign,” said Davidson. “He’s not even close to being a socialist…The socialism he gets attacked for is so much demagoguery.”
Then there was the table of the Party of Socialism and Liberation.
“No, we would say [Obama’s] not really a socialist at all…just another Democratic politician in many ways,” said volunteer Sunil Freeman. “You can look at other socialists systems and see how radically different they are.”
“Cuba would be one example; China to some extent. Systems where there’s universal health care … So that’s just one simple example of a different social order,” she said.
“I think the right–wing politicians use the word ‘socialists’ as sort of a demonizing term to score political points,” Freeman continued. “But just because you call someone a socialists, doesn’t mean they are a socialist.”
It seems real socialists want the good life found in Cuba and China, which might explain why raging conservatives decry actual socialism.
Betty Maloney of the Radical Women thought it was ridiculous to suggest that Obama was a socialist.
Maloney said Obama has backtracked on his promises. She said he didn’t “call out the troops” to get health care passed the way it should have, and he’s allowed the FBI to conduct marijuana raids in California as well as raids on peace activist in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Asked if she thought Obama might push socialist reforms, the socialist feminist looked as if she’d just told that women are inferior to men.
“No, not in the least,” she said.
“The other things is, this country and these capitalists — they really needed a black president in order to keep people in line.”
‘The Capitalists’ needed a black president to keep people in line?
“Yeah. You know, so the masses wouldn’t arise,” she explained.
This answer seemed so odd that TheDC asked another interviewee later in the day if a black president was chosen by ‘The Capitalists’ to control the masses.
The answer wasn’t “No.”
Another booth had an impressive banner strung well-above regulation height. After an interview, the man behind the booth refused to give his name. It seemed the discussion had spooked him. Or perhaps he actually knew the Socialist Agenda and when, exactly, the revolution would occur.
But the man said almost the same exact thing as the other socialists TheDC talked to at the rally: Obama is not, has never been, and will never be, a socialist.
Yes, there were huge, hand-made banners declaring the joys of socialism at the rally because socialists like making banners. They also had complicated critiques of the American political system. Davidson said Obama was a “liberal Keynesian, if anything.” A member of the Workers International League said he defined Stalin as a “Proletarian Bonapartist.”
But one thing they were clear on was that they did not consider Obama a socialist. As the “One Nation” rally wrapped up, an ISO organizer grabbed a bullhorn and told the 20-odd supporters milling around, “Obama’s not a Socialist! We are! We are!”
That’s the socialists’ general message: Obama is dedicated to helping big business and hasn’t enacted the leftwing policies that ‘The People’ put him in power to do. Of course, they had worse things to say about the Tea Party and the right, whom they accuse of turning “socialism” into a dirty word.
TheDC would like to thank Keith Cottingham for assisting with this piece.