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Who Were Barack Obama’s Marxist Professors?

Larry T. Caldwell, the president's foreign policy mentor at Occidental, argued the same policy of "reconciling" with the USSR that the administration applies today with the Muslim Brotherhood.

by
Charles C. Johnson

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September 17, 2012 - 12:50 pm
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Barack Obama has admitted in his 1995 book Dreams From My Father that he has had “Marxist professors,” so it’s worth asking: what did his professors believe?

Obama, in Dreams, writes that at Occidental he chose his “friends carefully. The politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors.” (p. 100) Obama told the Los Angeles Times that Occidental was a “wonderful, small liberal arts college” with professors who were “diverse and inspiring.” “I ended up making lifelong friendships [at Occidental], and those two first years really helped me grow up.”

So where are the Marxist, inspiring professors? And where are the “lifelong friendships”?  There was Alan Egan, who taught Obama foreign policy with Larry T. Caldwell. Egan was an Argentinian-born Marxist who attacked “Friedmanite” economic policy. (Anthony Russo, “Egan Gives a Native’s View of Argentine Politics,” The Occidental).

Caldwell taught antipathy to Reagan’s anti-Soviet policies, calling them “myopic” and warning that the policy of confronting the Soviet Union was “bankrupt, devoid, and bound to fail.” In his view, America should just reconcile itself to the fact that the Soviet Union was a “global superpower” and cut a deal. “The facts are there, once Americans realize they are a global superpower, there will be an increase in the number of agreements,” Caldwell said. (Anne Ball, “Caldwell charts decline of American-Soviet relations,” The Occidental, May 1, 1981). Perhaps Caldwell’s position came from his anti-Americanism, which was cultivated after the death of JFK, RFK and King:

“We [children of the sixties] felt the JFK assassination … [sic] blew the changes for our generation to take hold of the world and change things. I know that’s tremendously idealistic bullshit,  but that’s the way my generation felt. The lesson that I learned from Vietnam and all those other experiences was ‘never again to have unmitigated loyalty to my country.” (Gretchen Lux, “Caldwell shares his ‘last’ views,” The Occidental, May 8, 1981).

There was also Lawrence Goldyn, a homosexual activist and Obama professor. “[Goldyn] was a wonderful guy,” Obama told The Advocate in 2009. “He was the first openly gay professor that I had ever come in contact with, or openly gay person of authority that I had come in contact with. And he was just a terrific guy. He wasn’t proselytizing all the time, but just his comfort in his own skin and the friendship we developed helped to educate me on a number of these issues.” But there was no examination about what those issues might actually be. Goldyn was a constant professional activist on campus, who picketed the visit of Phyllis Schlafly, whom he said “represents fascism in this country.” (“Schlafly’s Speech Meets Opposition,” The Occidental, February 13, 1981). Goldyn, by his own admission, “talked about sexual politics in all of [his] courses.” Indeed, in 1980, Goldyn hosted “an evening of gay politics and history.” When Occidental declined to grant him a tenure-track position, Goldyn blamed his homosexuality:

“My not being rehired is a real, I think, clear statement, and will be interpreted, whether accurately or not by a lot of people who say ‘you are better off staying in the closet.’” (Susan Keselenko, “Lawrence Goldyn: Reflections on an abrupt Occidental experience,” The Occidental, May 29, 1981).

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