This is the latest in a weekly series of exclusive interviews with Dr. Paul Kengor, professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania, who has just released a major book revealing how communists, from Moscow to New York to Chicago, have long manipulated America’s liberals/progressives. Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century, is based on an unprecedented volume of declassified materials from Soviet archives, FBI files, and more. Big Peace’s Peter Schweizer calls it the “21st century equivalent” to Whittaker Chambers’ classic Witness.
Big Peace: Professor Kengor, last week we took our first look at “Progressives for Obama,” a group formed during the 2008 campaign. You finished with a statement related to the election last Tuesday. You said this was an election that Progressives for Obama would take on the chin, after having duped the electorate in 2008.
Kengor: Yes, I quoted Mark Rudd, a “Progressive for Obama” who had been a leader of SDS in the ‘60s and a founder of the Weather Underground, along with Obama friends, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. Rudd’s take on the 2008 election was dead on. He wrote: “Obama is a very strategic thinker. He knew precisely what it would take to get elected and didn’t blow it…. But he also knew that what he said had to basically play to the center to not … scare centrist and cross-over voters away.”
To me, Rudd seemed to say that Obama duped “centrist” and “cross-over” voters. Indeed, Obama got those votes, and then governed in a decidedly non-centrist way. Alas, the voting public, which somehow in November 2008 couldn’t see this coming, finally caught on. And Obama, because he’s not a moderate at all, didn’t change course even slightly. Bill Clinton would’ve adjusted. Obama, however, went over the cliff with the flag flying. And so, last Tuesday: the corrective. Obama should have listened to Mark Rudd.
Big Peace: You also noted that Obama was the first Democratic presidential nominee far enough to the left for Rudd, Tom Hayden, Jane Fonda, and the other ‘60s communists.
Kengor: Think about that. These folks always detested mainstream Democrats. Rudd, who literally shut down Columbia University in the spring of 1968, wrote that the likes of JFK and even RFK were “trying to destroy our movement.” They didn’t like traditional Democrats. That’s why they targeted the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. I have a full chapter on that in Dupes. We now know the extensive involvement of communists in organizing that fiasco. Bear in mind, they didn’t target the Republicans’ convention.
I plead with liberals to please understand: The communists were not your friends! They saw you as useful idiots. Please quit defending them!
Unfortunately, as the great James Burnham, himself an ex-communist, famously put it, “for the left, the preferred enemy is always to the right.” It’s the anti-communists that liberals despise, not the communists who make fools of them.
Big Peace: For the record, Columbia University was a hot-bed.
Kengor: We should do an entire interview just on Columbia. As I say in the book, Columbia was wrong and Reagan was right—and that’s the blessed lesson of the 20th century. And isn’t it fitting that Barack Obama got to Columbia just as Ronald Reagan was promising to dispatch the USSR to the ash-heap of history?
Big Peace: Let’s get back to “Progressives for Obama,” which comprise a full chapter in your book. In the last interview, you noted certain members—Mark Rudd, Tom Hayden, Jane Fonda.
Kengor: Yes, and I’d like to reiterate something regarding Jane Fonda. I’m surprised I’ve gotten no reaction to this. According to several post-Cold War and serious biographical accounts, Fonda’s trip was arranged—precisely how much, I’m not sure—by Wilfred Burchett, who has been identified as a Soviet agent. These accounts claim Burchett also helped script Fonda’s talks in Vietnam. That’s quite remarkable. Someone with access to Fonda needs to ask her about this.
Big Peace: This might mean that “Hanoi Jane’s” infamous escapade was worse than imagined.
Kengor: Yes, previously, she was accused of everything from disloyalty to treason. Liberals claimed she simply wanted peace. Of course, she couldn’t have chosen a more hideous form of protest.
But think about what this new information suggests—that she was actually manipulated by a Soviet agent. This would fundamentally change our understanding of what happened.
Big Peace: Give us a couple of other Progressives for Obama with current relevance.
Kengor: Well, as noted, spearheading Progressives for Obama was the man who spearheaded SDS: Tom Hayden. Hayden was one of the four “initiators” of Progressives for Obama, along with Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Jr., and Danny Glover. Beyond initiators, the group featured 94 “signers,” including Rudd, Fonda, Carl Davidson, Thorne Dreyer, Daniel Ellsberg, and more.
Glover mixing with bad company
As usual, Columbia was represented, if not through Rudd then through current faculty like Todd Gitlin, a former SDS president who today is a Columbia professor. Other SDS-ers among Progressives for Obama are Bob Pardun, who was SDS education secretary, and Paul Buhle, who has recently sought to revive SDS.
Still more SDS-ers, some who became Weathermen, were not formal signers for Progressives for Obama but signed online petitions backing Obama: Jeff Jones, among others. Others who testified before the House Committees (run by Democrats) in the 1960s, like Michael Klonsky, were represented by their relations, Anne Lowry Klonsky and Fred Klonsky.
Notably, the vast majority of these folks now pervade the field of education. They followed John Dewey’s model, established at Columbia in the early 1900s.
Big Peace: Tell us about Michael Klonsky.
Kengor: Klonsky had been an SDS national secretary. He and Bernardine Dohrn were close. Rudd described Klonsky as a onetime Stalinist, too far to the left even for Rudd. Klonsky became head of the New Communist Movement in the United States. He became a Maoist, and followed the Maoist path all the way to Red China, where he became one of the first Western visitors.
Big Peace: When Klonsky returned to the United States, he went into education.
Kengor: Naturally. He got a PhD in education. He landed in Chicago, where he worked closely with Bill Ayers. Klonsky and Ayers have been described as joint “pioneers in small school development.” These “small schools” projects were funded to the tune of $2 million in grants, underwritten by the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, where Barack Obama was chairman, and by the Joyce Foundation and Woods Fund, where Obama also happened to serve the boards.
Big Peace: You say that Klonsky and Ayers write about “social justice” in their education work.
Kengor: Correct. They’ve been quite successful in packaging their wares under the rubric of “social justice,” a handy cliché for their socialism. The language has worked beautifully in enlisting gullible Christians—especially at liberal Catholic and Protestant colleges—whom the communists have always viewed as simple-minded morons, as total suckers.
Big Peace: And both of them have a connection not only to Obama but to Obama’s secretary of education?
Kengor: Klonsky and Ayers have co-authored articles on education. In one, they rave about Arne Duncan, who they describe as “the brightest and most dedicated schools leader Chicago has had in memory.” Today, Arne Duncan is President Obama’s secretary of education.
By the way, not only did Obama approve multi-million grants to fund Klonsky’s “social justice” educational work, but even hosted a “social justice” blog for Klonsky at the official Obama ’08 campaign website.
Don’t tell me these associations don’t matter. People who say that are fools, who, in their heart, know better.
Big Peace: Speaking of which, you say that Klonsky, like Rudd and Hayden and Fonda, “was surely astounded that the American public in 2008 finally agreed with him on a presidential candidate.”
Kengor: Oh, yes. Forty years earlier, in 1968, Klonsky said the motto at SDS was to “Vote in the Streets,” rather than the ballot box. The ballot box had been futile, given that the Democratic Party was led by Harry Truman and Jack Kennedy, not Harry Reid and Obama and Nancy Pelosi.
By the way, this sudden support for the Democratic Party’s president—Obama—isn’t the result of a move to the center by the ‘60s radicals. “My own support for Obama is not a reflection of a radically changed attitude toward the Democratic Party,” Klonsky told author Dan Flynn. What has changed is their tactics.
This time, in 2008, the Democratic Party, with Obama as its beloved leader, moved toward Klonsky, Rudd, Hayden, and Fonda.
Big Peace: Those “progressives” finally found a kindred soul not in the Democratic Party but in the party’s nominee—Barack Obama.
Kengor: Yes, the old comrades were most grateful to traditional Democrats and especially to our nation’s thoughtful “moderates” and “independents” for finally electing someone they support.
It’s really breathtaking what Americans did in November 2008. They were truly oblivious—complete, utter, unprecedented, unadulterated, 100% dupes. I will never, ever, ever, trust the American electorate again. Even with the corrective last Thursday, my faith in the American voter is gone forever.
Big Peace: There are still more “progressives” for Obama that you cover in the book. Let’s look at some of those names next week.
Kengor: Sure. Or, once again, if you can’t wait, hurry up and buy the book!