Excerpt from New Party publication (Courtesy New Zeal blog)
JERUSALEM – The law firm at which Sen. Barack Obama served as counsel led a legal charge to overturn state bans on allowing politicians to run as members of more than one party.
A primary benefactor of the case – which the firm took to the Supreme Court – was the radical leftist New Party, which has close ties to the Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland law firm, where Obama was employed until 2004.
The information comes amid evidence that emerged last week showing Obama belonged to the New Party, which sought to elect members to public office with the aim of moving the Democratic Party far leftward to ultimately form a new political party with a socialist agenda.
In 1997, Davis, Miner and Barnhill’s Madison, Wisc.-based partner Sarah Siskind reportedly went to the Supreme Court to lead the main fight to allow electoral “fusion,” which enabled candidates to run on two tickets simultaneously, attracting voters from both parties. The New Party relied on fusion and went defunct in 1998, one year after Siskind lost the Supreme Court case.
Siskind is the wife of Joel Rogers, a socialist activist and University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor who was the co-founder and national chair of the New Party. Siskind, who worked with Obama at the firm and later donated to Obama’s presidential campaign, was also a key attorney representing the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which maintained a close alliance with the New Party.
The New Party, formed by members of the Democratic Socialists for America and leaders of an offshoot of the Communist Party USA, was an electoral alliance whose aim was to help elect politicians to office who espouse its policies. Among New Party members was linguist and radical activist Noam Chomsky.
Several blogs, including Powerline, previously documented that while running for the Illinois state Senate in 1996 as a Democrat, Obama actively sought and received the endorsement of the socialist-oriented New Party, with some blogs claiming Obama was a member of the controversial party.
Barack Obama pictured in New Party publication (Courtesy New Zeal blog)
Obama’s “Fight the Smears” website claimed the presidential candidate was never a member of the New Party.
But the New Zeal blog dug up print copies of the New Party News, the party’s official newspaper, which show Obama posing with New Party leaders, list him as a New Party member and include quotes from him.
The party’s Spring 1996 newspaper boasted: “New Party members won three other primaries this Spring in Chicago: Barack Obama (State Senate), Michael Chandler (Democratic Party Committee) and Patricia Martin (Cook County Judiciary). The paper quoted Obama saying “these victories prove that small ‘d’ democracy can work.”
The newspaper lists other politicians it endorsed who were not members, but it specifies Obama as a New Party member.
New Ground, the newsletter of Chicago’s Democratic Socialists for America, reported in its July/August 1996 edition that Obama attended a New Party membership meeting April 11, 1996, in which he expressed his gratitude for the group’s support and “encouraged NPers (New Party members) to join in his task forces on Voter Education and Voter Registration.”
Becoming a New Party member requires some effort on behalf of the politician. Candidates must be approved by the party’s political committee and, once approved, must sign a contract mandating they will have a “visible and active relationship” with the party.
Following the initial reports of Obama’s purported membership in the New Party, Obama associate and former Chicago New Party activist Carl Davidson posted a statement on several blogs claiming his former party was not socialist, but he admitted it worked with ACORN.
“[The New Party] was a pragmatic party of ‘small d democracy’ mainly promoting economic reforms like the living wage and testing the fusion tactic, common in many countries but only operational in New York in the U.S. The main trend within it was ACORN, an Alinskyist outfit, which is hardly Marxist,” wrote Davidson.
But the socialist goals of the New Party were enumerated on its old website.
Among the New Party’s stated objectives were “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.”
The New Party stated it also sought “the democratization of our banking and financial system – including popular election of those charged with public stewardship of our banking system, worker-owner control over their pension assets, community-controlled alternative financial institutions.”
Many of the New Party’s founding members were Democratic Socialists for America leaders and members of Committees of Correspondence, a breakaway of the Communist Party USA. Obama attended several DSA events and meetings, including a DSA-sponsored town hall meeting Feb. 25, 1996, entitled “Employment and Survival in Urban America.” He sought and received an endorsement from the DSA.
According to DSA documents, the New Party worked with ACORN to promote its candidates. ACORN, convicted in massive, nationwide voter fraud cases, has been a point of controversy for Obama over the presidential candidate’s ties to the group.
In 1995, the DSA’s New Ground newsletter stated, “In Chicago, the New Party’s biggest asset and biggest liability is ACORN.
“Like most organizations, ACORN is a mixed bag. On one hand, in Chicago, ACORN is a group that attempts to organize some of the most depressed communities in the city. Chicago organizers for ACORN and organizers for SEIU Local 880 have been given modest monthly recruitment quotas for new New Party members. On the other hand, like most groups that depend on canvassing for fundraising, it’s easy enough to find burned out and disgruntled former employees. And ACORN has not had the reputation for being interested in coalition politics – until recently and, happily, not just within the New Party.”
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