By: Trevor Loudon
In a move clearly signaling that planning for the 2012 Presidential election is underway, President Barack Obama’s “go to” man, Patrick Gaspard, is leaving the White House to serve as Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee.
Obama and Gaspard, 2010
In a January 20 email to the Democratic Party faithful, D.N.C. chairman Tim Kaine wrote of Gaspard:
Patrick Gaspard is a great person. He is a key Assistant to President Obama, having served as the Political Director of the White House for the last two years and before that as Political Director to President Obama’s campaign. He understands the importance of grassroots politics and team building. He is someone with whom I have worked closely and I look forward to working with him even more closely at the DNC.
Gaspard’s move also signals the almost complete acceptance of hard left and labor union influence in the upper reaches of the Democratic Party. In embracing Gaspard, the D.N.C. has surrendered its “commanding heights” to the Party’s almost completely dominant far left.
While never a proven member of any of the several radical and Marxist organizations operating within and around the Democratic Party, Gaspard has worked with several of the most influential.
He is undoubtedly a servant of the far left.
Patrick Gaspard was reportedly born in Kinshasa, Zaire, after his father, a political opponent of the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti, fled there.
Patrick Gaspard’s father moved with his wife from Haiti to “post-liberation” Zaire, when its pro-communist leader, Patrice Lumumba, appealed to French-speaking academics of African descent to teach in the impoverished nation.
Three years after Patrick Gaspard’s birth, the family moved to New York.
Like Barack Obama, Patrick Gaspard wrote poetry. Also like Obama, Patrick Gaspard grew up admiring third world leftists and revolutionaries. He idolized Aime Cesaire, a Member of the French Parliament for the Communist Party, who went on to found his own leftist party in his homeland, the French colony of Martinique.
Cesaire also mentored the anti-colonialist Marxist theorist Frantz Fanon, of whom Obama wrote admiringly in his autobiography, Dreams From My Fathers.
Patrick Gaspard got his start in politics in the mid-1980s, organizing demonstrations in New York City for “social justice” in Haiti.
He got his first taste of campaign work in the 1988 presidential campaign of Rev. Jesse Jackson – who, like Obama, was a product of the Chicago socialist/communist machine.
Patrick Gaspard went on to David Dinkins’ first New York mayoral race, as an intern in Dinkins’ office and then to City Hall, when Dinkins won the New York Mayoralty.
Dinkins was at the time, a member of the largest Marxist organization in the U.S., Democratic Socialists of America.
In 1997, outgoing Manhattan borough president Ruth Messinger, a Communist Party USA front activist and also a member of Democratic Socialists of America, enlisted Gaspard for her doomed mayoral campaign against Rudy Giuliani.
In 1999, Lopez loaned Gaspard out to help Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union to organize a march in protest of the police shooting death of Amadou Diallo, a Guinean immigrant.
Gaspard was allegedly a key organizer of the civil disorder that followed Diallo’s death.
The SEIU Local 1199 was one of the central organizers of the civil unrest that followed, and its president Dennis Rivera asked Gaspard to coordinate those efforts.
Dennis Rivera, later recruited Gaspard to the union – where he rose to the rank of union Executive Vice President.
It is important to note that Local 1199, isn’t just any labor union, it New York’s most powerful and socialist labor union.
Founded in 1932, the union was led by members of the far left from the start and was investigated in 1948 by the House Un-American Activities Committee for Communist “infiltration.”
At a March 2007 meeting to celebrate the Communist Party USA donation of its papers to New York’s Tamiment Library, Steve Kramer, executive vice president of Local 1199, spoke of the Communist Party’s role in building and maintaining his union.
Recounting 1199’s ”disastrous” 1984 strike and internal strife in which ”the union almost tore itself up,” Kramer said that but for the party’s efforts, “1199 would have been a small union.” Today, with nearly 300,000 members, it is the world’s largest union local.
When the Communist Party split in 1991, several Local 1199 officials joined the dissenting faction and took many comrades into the breakaway Committees of Correspondence.
Among those Local 1199 officials signing the Communist Party dissenter’s “An initiative to Unite and Renew the Party” document, which brought tensions to a crisis point, were Paul Friedman (Local 1199 Vice President), Rafael Pizarro (Local 1199 organizer), Geoffrey Jaques (associate editor 1199 News) and Marshall Garcia (Local 1199 executive Vice President).
Friedman, Pizarro, Jacques and Garcia all went on to support Committees of Correspondence.
Many other 1199ers also supported Committees of Correspondence, including Lenore Colbert (Local 1199 Vice President), Pat Harris (Local 1199 Vice President), David Kranz and Socorro Laguerra (Local 1199 rank and file), Pam Mills (Local 1199 Seattle), Bruce Richard (SEIU San Francisco, now a Local 1199 Vice President), Angela Doyle (Local 1199 Vice President) and Nelson Valdez (Local 1199 Vice President}.
Doyle, Valdez and Richard still hold senior positions with the union.
In addition, leading Committees of Correspondence member Mael Apollon is involved with the Local 1199 Child Care Fund.
Also of note is the late Merrilee Milstein, who was from 1972 to 1994, Vice President of the New England Local 1199. Milstein was a hard left activist in her own right and was married to Communist Party member Brian Steinberg.
Barack Obama was one of Demos’ first Trustees when it was established in 1999.
Gerry Hudson, now a vice president of SEIU, also got his start at Local 1199 in New York. Hudson is a member of Democratic Socialists of America and also serves on the board of the Apollo Alliance – founded by Obama’s former “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones.
Gaspard’s 1199 patron Dennis Rivera also has strong socialist and communist ties.
A one time New York State Democratic Party Vice Chairman, Rivera, in November 1989, addressed a Boston conference of the Communist Party USA front U.S. Peace Council, with future Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
At the October 1990 gathering of the Socialist International in New York, Dennis Rivera, “graciously welcomed the delegates on behalf of his 75,000 member union.”
Speakers at the Opening Plenary at the 1992 Tenth Annual Socialist Scholars Conference, “Whose New World Order?” included Bernie Sanders, Member of Congress, Vermont and Dennis Rivera, President, SEIU Local 1199 Health & Hospital Workers Union.
On June 24, 1993, New York City Democratic Socialists of America held its annual Debs-Thomas-Harrington awards dinner. Local 1199 president Dennis Rivera and DSA member Deborah Meier of the Central Park East Secondary School, received awards. In March 1998, Meier spoke alongside Barack Obama at the Memorial Service of Chicago DSA member Saul Mendelson. Featured speakers at the awards ceremony included New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger and DSA honorary chair Cornel West. U.S. Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), who was unable to attend because of Congressional commitments, sent greetings.
In 2003, Patrick Gaspard was granted leave from Local 1199 to work as the deputy national field director for the presidential campaign of Howard Dean. After Dean was eliminated from the race, Gaspard became national field director for George Soros’ political action group America Coming Together.
Clarke is now a member of the far left Congressional Progressive Caucus – which was founded in 1991, by Bernie Sanders and Democratic Socialists of America.
In 1995, Patrick Gaspard was an organizer for the New Jersey chapter of the New Party, a creation of ACORN, SEIU , D.S.A. and the Committees of Correspondence.
By 2001, Gaspard was a leading activist in the New Party offshoot, the New York Working Families Party – a DSA/ACORN/Committees of Correspondence/Communist Party collaboration.
In the course of their letter, Gaspard and Lewis describe their extensive joint involvement in Working Families Party activities. The letter is signed: “Bertha Lewis, ACORN, WFP; Patrick Gaspard, SEIU State Council, WFP.”
According to Democratic Socialists of America’s Democratic Left issue of Summer 2001:
Veterans of the left will remember that the 1968 Peace and Freedom Party and the 1980 Citizens Party arose at moments of greater left-wing strength and did not significantly alter the national electoral landscape. Nor has, unfortunately, the New Party, which many DSAers work with in states where “fusion” of third party and major party votes is possible (such as the DSA co-sponsored Working Families Party in N.Y. State).
The DSA youth wing’s 2004 “Life After Bush” Conference included:
A series of well-attended workshops detailed the nuts-and-bolts of electoral activism, lead by veteran campaigners from trade unions and the NY DSA-affiliated fusion Working Families Party.
Speakers at Life after Bush included:
- Cornel West – DSA, New Party founder, 2008 member of Barack Obama’s Black Advisory Council. A Progressives for Obama endorser.
- Frances Fox Piven – DSA, New Party founder, co-creator of the famous Cloward-Piven Strategy for wrecking the US economy. A Progressives for Obama endorser.
- Steve Max – DSA Director of Organizing and Training, Midwest Academy Chicago.
- Leslie Cagan – Committees of Correspondence, National Coordinator, United for Peace and Justice.
- Ian Williams – DSA, a correspondent for In These Times and The Nation.
- Bertha Lewis, Co-Chair, Working Families Party, Executive Director, New York ACORN.
DSA member, Jay Mazur, is also prominent in the Working Families Party and is also an endorser of the Progressives for Obama website.
Patrick Gaspard, was until recently listed on the advisory board of the WFP-aligned Center for Working Families, alongside:
- Bob Master – Working Families Party co-chair.
- Jon Kest – Working Families Party Secretary and New York ACORN head.
- Hector Figueroa – SEIU, a regular speaker at DSA’s Socialist Scholars Conferences – including the 2004 event where Van Jones also spoke.
- Andrea Batista Schlesinger – on the board of the Oakland based Applied Research Center, which is closely aligned with Van Jones’ Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
- Nathan Newman – former Committees of Correspondence National Coordinating Committee member, who recently wrote in the Daily Kos: “I knew Van (Jones) pretty well back in the early 90s when we were both involved in community organizing efforts, including involvement in a variety of left-leaning groups.“
Barack Obama, as a young man, admired third world revolutionaries like Frantz Fanon. He went into community organizing and the DSA/Committees of Correspondence-aligned Chicago left, before moving on to the White House.
Patrick Gaspard, as a young man, admired third world revolutionaries like Aime Cesaire. He went into radical organizing and mixed with the DSA/Committees of Correspondence-aligned New York left, before moving on to the White House.
Patrick Gaspard was “made” by the same socialist “mafia” who made Barack Obama.
Now these socialist “twin souls” face the struggle of their lives, the war for the White House 2012.
Obama cannot succeed in 2012 without complete control of the Democratic Party machine. He’ll surely be sleeping a little easier now, knowing that Patrick Gaspard is back over at the DNC.