Guilty by association


Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism is one of the US’s most significant Marxist-Leninist parties.

The organization was born in 1992 out of a major split in the Communist Party USA, incorporating Trotskyites, former Maoists, socialists and anarchists to form an entirely new party.

The party has strong ties to Cuba , Vietnam, Venezuela and the communist parties of France and the former East Germany.

Committees of Correspondence, was and is strong in Chicago. I have written here how two leading CoC members have worked closely with Barack Obama.

Committees of Correspondence leader Manning Marable wrote in British Trotskyist journal Socialist Review in December 2008;

What makes Obama different is that he has also been a community organiser. He has read left literature, including my works, and he understands what socialism is. A lot of the people working with him are, indeed, socialists with backgrounds in the Communist Party or as independent Marxists. There are a lot of people like that in Chicago who have worked with him for years…

He was almost certainly referring to his Chicago CoC comrades.

I have in my possession a Chicago Committees of Correspondence “Membership, Subscription and mailing list” dated October 14, 1994.


Of the nearly 400 names on the list, many have been identified as CoC members from other sources.

The list does not prove CoC membership per se, but it does indicate some degree of contact with the organization.

What struck me as significant were the names of several people who have promoted, or impacted on the political career of Barack Obama.

They include;

Carl Davidson Now one of four Co-leaders of the Committees of Correspondence. Davidson worked with Obama in the radical New Party in the 1990s. He later helped organize the famous 2002 peace rally in Chicago’s Federal Plaza where Obama first became famous as an opponent of the Iraq War.

Danny Davis An Illinois Democratic Congressman and a member of Democratic Socialists of America with proven ties to the Communist Party and CoC.

Davis has been a long time Obama friend and political ally who campaigned with Obama in the New Party in 1995/96.

Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers Former leaders of the terrorist Weather Undeground. The couple hosted Obma’s first known political gathering in their home in 1995.

Bill Ayers’ ties to Obama run deep;

The two men were involved in efforts to reform the city’s education system. They appeared together on academic panels, including one organized by Michelle Obama to discuss the juvenile justice system, an area of mutual concern. Mr. Ayers’s book on the subject won a rave review in The Chicago Tribune by Mr. Obama, who called it “a searing and timely account.”
Mr. Obama further expanded his list of allies by joining the boards of two well-known charities: the Woods Fund and the Joyce Foundation.
These memberships have allowed him to help direct tens of millions of dollars in grants over the years to groups that championed the environment, campaign finance reform, gun control and other causes supported by the liberal network he was cultivating. Mr. Brazier’s group, the Woodlawn Organization, received money, for instance, as did antipoverty groups with ties to organized labor like Chicago Acorn, whose endorsement Mr. Obama sought and won in his State Senate race.

Earl Durham A former member of the Communist Party national committee. Professor Durham later went into education reform in the 1970s and in the 1990s founded the organization Community Organizing and Family Issues.

Barack Obama served on the organization’s sponsoring committee in 1994/95

Marilyn Katz Now a prominent Chicago public reations professional and Democratic Party activist, Katz has a background in Students for a Democratic Society and the socialist New American Movement.

Katz, with Carl Davidson helped organize Obama’s appearance at the 2002 Chicago anti Iraq War rally.

Marilyn Katz has worked closely with Barack Obama since meeting him through his position at Miner, Barnhill & Galland in the 1990s.

It was through the law firm that Mr. Obama met Marilyn Katz, who gave him entry into another activist network: the foot soldiers of the white student and black power movements that helped define Chicago in the 1960s.

“For better or worse, this is Chicago,” said Ms. Katz, who has held fund-raisers for Mr. Obama at her home. “Everyone is connected to everyone.””

Katz was a major fundraiser and a delegate at the Democratic Party convention for Obama. She was also an endorser of the Progressives for Obama website.

Fred Klonsky A former Students for a Democratic Society activist, brother of Mike Klonsky and endorser of the Progressives for Obama website.

Mike Klonsky Is a former leader of Students for a Democratic Society and the pro China Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist).

Mike Klonsky is a long time friends with Bill Ayers and was involved with some of the educational project which Ayers and Obama worked together on.

Until June 2008 Mike Klonsky ran a Blog on Barack Obama’s campaign website.

It was pulled at very short notice after adverse publicity began surfacing on the blogosphere.

Alice Palmer A long time Communist Party sympathiser, Alice Palmer has travelled extensively in the old Soviet Bloc and was a leader of the soviet front International Organization of Journalists.

Obama was Alice Palmer’s chief of staff when she ran for congress in the mid 1990s. She was the main sponsor of Obama’s early political career until he took her old Illinois State Senate seat in 1996.

It was Alice Palmer who introduced Barack Obama to the meeting in the home of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

Lou Pardo Also a member of Democratic Socialists of America. Pardo worked with Obama on voter registration in 1992. In the mid 1990s Pardo was active, with Obama in the Chicago New Party.

Dan Swinney A Chicago labor unionist and endorser of the Progressives for Obama website.


Kevin Tyson A former member of the Communist Party. Kevin Tyson has been a long time activist and co-parishioner with Obama in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ.

Mildred Williamson A Chicago health professional, former Communist Party member and Committees of Correspondence leader.

An endorser of the Progressives for Obama website.

Is it significant that all these people, several of them previously unconnected, all supported Barack Obama’s career?

Were they working, at least some of the time, in concert, to promote their mutual friend? Or are the Committees of Correspondence connections merely coincidental?

What do you think?

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