• Text smaller
  • Text bigger

Marilyn Katz

NEW YORK – A longtime radical associate of President Obama has proposed the creation of a massive grassroots organization to petition for a “progressive” agenda, including on health care and the environment.

Marilyn Katz, an extremist activist in Chicago with close ties to Weather Underground terrorist group founder William Ayers, urged the formation of a “national grassroots vehicle” that would not only articulate a “progressive agenda” and interact with congressional leaders, “but also be broad and creative enough in their thinking to involve the ordinary, everyday people who found both meaning and community in 2008.”

Katz, who sat on the finance committee of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, was writing at In These Times, a Chicago-based socialist journal that boasts an editorial board including Ayers and his wife, co-founder of the Weather Underground, Benardine Dohrn.

“We must build the national grassroots vehicle that Obama for America and Organizing for America could have been,” writes Katz. “This organization must be broad enough in scope to develop and promote a progressive agenda, and it should allow all types of involvement – whether online or in person, occasional or constant.”

Continues Katz: “The core of the new organization could be a web of activists in every state – not just blue states and not only Democratic Party members – enfolding the thousands of Americans engaged each day on issues of neighborhood, health and climate—the stuff that life is made of.

“Crucially, the organization’s members would not only articulate a progressive agenda and interact with congressional leaders on the ground but also be broad and creative enough in their thinking to involve the ordinary, everyday people who found both meaning and community in 2008. I believe these people yearn for this today, if for no reason other than to once again feel the sense of ‘Yes we can!’ that only comes from the transformative power of collective action.”

In her article, Katz lamented how Organizing for America, which morphed from Obama’s 2008 campaign website, failed to get enough voters to turn out for the recent midterm elections.

She wrote that a “sense of anomie and disconnection” has replaced the euphoria of 2008, prompting a need for a new grassroots group.

Marxists, socialists helped launch Obama?

A Discover the Networks profile details how Katz, who has known Ayers since he was 17, provided “security” for the Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS, the infamous anti-war group from which Ayers’ Weathermen later splintered.

During the infamous Days of Rage riots by the SDS in October 1969, Katz introduced protesters to a new weapon to deploy against the police: a cluster of nails sharpened at both ends and fastened in the center. Police later reported being hit by golf balls with nails through them, as well as by excrement. Katz would insist years later that her “guerrilla nails” were merely “a defensive weapon” to prevent “possible bad behavior by the police.”

Katz served on the finance committee of Obama’s presidential campaign.

Obama initially met Katz through his first job at a law firm run by Judd Miner. The New York Times reported Katz “gave [Obama] entry into another activist network: the foot soldiers of the white student and black power movements that helped define Chicago in the 1960s.”

After Obama became president, Katz reportedly tried to convince Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to appoint Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s top adviser, to Obama’s open U.S. Senate seat. The New York Times describes Katz as “a friend” of Jarrett’s who encouraged her to step out of Obama’s shadow and “be the sun.”

Katz was a principal organizer of a 2002 anti-war rally at Chicago’s Federal Plaza which was widely credited with propelling Obama to the national stage.

That event, meant to protest the impending invasion of Iraq, was coordinated on behalf of a small group, Chicagoans Against War & Injustice, run by Katz together with Marxist Carl Davidson and local radical Bettylu Saltzman.

Davidson is a notorious far-left activist and former radical national leader in the anti-Vietnam movement. He served as national secretary for the SDS.

Davidson was a founder of the New Party, a controversial 1990s political party that 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.

WND previously reported newspaper evidence showing Obama was a member of the New Party.

Davidson recalled in a WND interview that Obama participated in the New Party. He affirmed that Obama’s views overlapped with those of his party.

Katz worked closely with Davidson, founding Chicagoans Against the War in Iraq. The two also co-authored a 2004 article, “From Protest to Politics,” urging radicals to support Democrat John Kerry for president. One year later, they collaborated on a book, “Stopping War, Seeking Justice: Essays in a Time of Empire.”

Saltzman, meanwhile, reportedly first met Obama when he was in charge of Project VOTE’s registration drive for the 1992 election.

With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott


  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.