History lesson: Congressional Progressive caucus was founded by socialist group. Official website initially hosted by Democratic Socialists of America

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By Aaron Klein

The Congressional Progressive Caucus was originally founded by a U.S. socialist group, with some Caucus members still evidencing a close working relationship with the group in question, the Democratic Socialists of America.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus, or CPC, was in the news today after Allen West said he’s “heard” that up to 80 House Democrats are Communist Party members.

“It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus,” West’s spokesman, Tim Edson, clarified.

“He stands by his words,” Edson said in statement about West’s remarks.. “But the words the media needs to pay attention to are the words of the members of the Progressive caucus. They speak for themselves. Call it what you may, but these House members are clearly not proponents of capitalism, free markets or individual economic freedom.”

Socialist founded, website hosted by socialists

The Congressional Progressive Caucus, or CPC, which boasts more than 80 members, was founded by the Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA.

In the January/February 1998 issue of Chicago DSA’s New Ground, Ron Baiman identified Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts as leaders of the Progressive Caucus in Congress which DSA “helped to organize.”[i]

Until November 2002, the website of the Progressive Caucus was hosted by the DSA. Following news reports that drew attention to the congressional website being hosted by the socialist organization, the list of CPC names was moved to the website of Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., an avowed socialist, and eventually to its own site.

The issue of the CPC being hosted on the DSA website rose again in June 2000 in connection with a heated dispute on the House floor between Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) and Democratic Representatives DeFazio and David R. Obey (Wis.) over the “merits of the F-22 fighter plane.”

When Cunningham stood to defend himself, he threw into his argument the fact the DSA website had a link to the CPC, which DeFazio then led.[2]

Back in 2000, the relationship between the CPC and DSA was an open secret.

In an August 10, 3000 letter to the editor published in The Kentucky Post, it was reported that then-Democratic Representative Ken Lucas had received campaign funds from Representatives Marcy Kaptur, John Lewis, George Miller, Nancy Pelosi, and Charles Rangel, “among others on the far-left.” The writer remarked that “those five names stand out because they are all members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus—a group closely aligned with the Democratic Socialists of America.”[3]

The CPC still had not moved to its own website on April 23, 2002. Balint Vazsonyi responded thusly in the Washington Times to the hypothetical question, “‘What?’ I hear you say. ‘Socialists in the Congress of the United States?’”[4]

Wrote Vazsony: “Dozens, dear reader, dozens. And they make no secret of it. Although of late it has been refurbished and the address altered, they have their own Web site. They call themselves members of the Progressive Caucus, until recently an arm of the Democratic Socialists of America, itself an arm of the Socialist International. The Progressive Caucus may be a separate entity now, but the details of its program, as advertised on the Web site, are indistinguishable from that of the Socialist International.

“To their credit, they make no secret of it. Only the rest of us prefer not to believe it.”

In a follow-up article in November 2002 Vazsonyi dug deeper into the continued presence of the CPC on the DSA website. He discussed the issue of constitutionality and the ramifications of the relationship:

He wrote: “The Socialist International carries the torch for Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, V.I. Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and Josef Stalin. Pay no attention to the desperate attempts by socialists to distance themselves from Stalin. For our purposes, it suffices to observe that every single tenet of the Socialist International is the exact opposite of the principles upon which America was founded, and which define the U.S. Constitution.”[5]

The CPC moved its website in late 2002.

‘Socialists active in Congress’

In October 2009, the DSA newsletter reported that 70 congressional Democrats are active members.

The group also claimed 11 socialists sit on the House Judiciary Committee.

The DSA makes clear its preference for working within the Democratic Party for the change it seeks.

“Many socialists have seen the Democratic Party, since at least the New Deal, as the key political arena in which to consolidate this coalition, because the Democratic Party held the allegiance of our natural allies,” the group states in the “Where we stand” section of its website.

“Through control of the government by the Democratic Party coalition, led by anti-corporate forces, a progressive program regulating the corporations, redistributing income, fostering economic growth and expanding social programs could be realized.”

In addition to a national program of “massive redistribution of income from corporations and the wealthy to wage earners and the poor and the public sector,” the DSA also calls for a breaking down the American-style notions of nationalism and national sovereignty.

“A program of global justice can unite opponents of transnational corporations across national boundaries around a common program to transform existing international institutions and invent new global organizations designed to ensure that wages, working conditions, environmental standards and social rights are ‘leveled up’ worldwide,” the group says on its website. “The basis of cooperation for fighting the transnationals must be forged across borders from its inception. Economic nationalism and other forms of chauvinism will doom any expanded anti-corporate agenda.”

It also states in the group’s mission statement: “A democratic socialist politics for the 21st century must promote an international solidarity dedicated to raising living standards across the globe, rather than ‘leveling down’ in the name of maximizing profits and economic efficiency. Equality, solidarity, and democracy can only be achieved through international political and social cooperation aimed at ensuring that economic institutions benefit all people. Democratic socialists are dedicated to building truly international social movements – of unionists, environmentalists, feminists, and people of color – that together can elevate global justice over brutalizing global competition.”

Communist anthem

While the DSA tries to paint distinctions between its brand of socialism and communism, before scrubbing its website, the site included a song list that included:

“The Internationale,” the worldwide anthem of Communism and socialism.

“Red Revolution” sung to the tune of “Red Robin,” with these lyrics: “When the Red Revolution brings its solution along, along, there’ll be no more lootin’ when we start shootin’ that Wall Street throng. …”

“Are You Sleeping, Bourgeoisie?” Lyrics included: “Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping? Bourgeoisie, Bourgeoisie. And when the revolution comes, We’ll kill you all with knives and guns, Bourgeoisie, Bourgeoisie.”

The DSA is a political action committee and bills itself as the heir to the defunct Socialist Party of America. It’s chief organizing objective is to work within the Democratic Party as the primary, but not sole, method of achieving public ownership of private property and the means of production.

“Stress our Democratic Party strategy and electoral work,” explains an internal organizing document obtained by WND. “The Democratic Party is something the public understands, and association with it takes the edge off. Stressing our Democratic Party work will establish some distance from the radical subculture and help integrate you to the milieu of the young liberals.”

Close working relationship

Demonstrating the close relationship between the DSA and the Progressive Caucus, in October 2010 WND reported the Democratic chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee was caught on tape meeting with DSA leaders to discuss how the group can cooperate to strengthen President Obama and advance their “one-world” plans.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., who has a long history with the DSA, was recorded promoting a “one-world” government while asking the socialist group to organize against the war in Afghanistan and in support of Obama’s policies.

Conyers was a special guest at a two-day convention in Detroit in March 1982 that resulted in the formation of DSA.

Conyers has spoken at numerous DSA events, including at the socialist group’s national dinner in 2008, where he was the keynote.

Conyers was one of 13 founders of Congressional Black Caucus, which long has promoted far-left causes. He is the most prominent lawmaker lobbying to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted murderer of a Philadelphia police officer. He has advocated on behalf of the Marxist Nicaraguan Sandinista dictatorship and has called for the U.S. to end its sanctions against Fidel Castro’s communist regime.

 

 


 [i] “A New DSA Campaign for Economic Justice: An Overview,” New Ground 50 (January/February 1997), http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng50.html#anchor465058.

[2] Juliet Eilperin, “In Session: Congress; In House Spat on F-22, Angry Rhetoric Flies,” The Washington Post, June 12, 2000, http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-518434.html.

[3] Letter to the Editor, “Bell the ‘Good Conservative’ Candidate,” The Kentucky Post (Covington, KY), August 10, 2000, http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-64056029.html.

[4] Balint Vazsonyi, “The riddle that isn’t,” The Washington Times, April 23, 2002, http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-85005454.html.

 [5] Balint Vazsonyi, “Putting Pelosi’s cards on the table,” The Washington Times, November 12, 2002, http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-94155620.html.

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