Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Paul Kengor, Ph.D., a bestselling author whose works include Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century; God and Ronald Reagan; God and George W. Bush; God and Hillary Clinton; and The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism. His articles regularly appear in publications ranging from USA TODAY to The New York Times, plus numerous academic journals.
A professor at Grove City College, Kengor is a frequent commentator on television and radio. He earned his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and his master’s from American University. He is the author of the new book, The Communist. Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.
FP: Paul Kengor, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
I would like to talk to you today about Frank Marshall Davis and his ties to, and influence on, Obama.
But first, I would like to begin with you telling us a bit about a gentleman named Spyridon Mitsotakis. You dedicate the book to him. Tell us why.
Kengor: That’s a great question that gets to the heart of how and why I did this book.
Spyridon is a remarkable young man. I met him when I was signing books at CPAC in February 2011. He had bought my previous book, Dupes, and seemed to know more about liberal/progressive dupes and the American communist movement than even I did. He was standing there at the front of the line asking me a new question every few seconds, clearly very precocious—and annoying the folks behind him in line, who told him to move on. I gave him my email address and promised I’d answer his questions in full via email. He said, “Yeah, right.” When he emailed me, I followed through on my promise. He finished our email exchanges by saying, “Hey, by the way, I’m a student at NYU, and we have the largest collection of archives of the American Communist Party. I’d love to help you with research. Let me know if you need anything.”
Well, my plan at that moment was to take my time writing a follow up to Dupes, and not at all to do a biography of Frank Marshall Davis. I figured I’d get to seek more information on Davis for the Dupes follow-up, as I had information on him in the original Dupes. So, I said to Spyridon: “I’m trying to find archives of the Chicago Star, the Party-line publication that Davis wrote for in the latter 1940s. I can’t find them anywhere, not even in Chicago. The Library of Congress claims to have them, but they’re not on the shelf. Can you help me?”
Within about three hours, Spyridon was emailing me PDFs of the Chicago Star. Within about three weeks, he had mailed me copies of every Davis column in the Star. I was blown away by what I read, particularly the haunting similarity to some of Obama’s statements. I soon realized that I, alone, was in possession of a treasure trove of information on Frank Marshall Davis. Spyridon kept digging and finding more and more, and then I realized I had to do this book. It wouldn’t have happened without Spyridon—thus the dedication. The kid could be a future Herb Romerstein.
FP: Wow, well, our thanks and appreciation goes out to Spyridon Mitsotakis — and we wish him bountiful energy and the enthusiasm in his search and battle for historical truth in the road ahead.
Ok, so who was Frank Marshall Davis?
Kengor: Frank Marshall Davis, Communist Party USA (CPUSA) number 47544, was a 20th century American who wrote pro-Soviet propaganda in newspaper columns and was a loyal Soviet patriot.
FP: What do you mean by “loyal Soviet patriot?”
Kengor: While it will shock naïve liberals who still don’t grasp the horrors of communism, readers of FrontPage will understand. Leftist Americans who took the extraordinary step of joining CPUSA swore a loyalty oath to the USSR—Stalin’s USSR in the case of Frank Marshall Davis. The oath stated: “I pledge myself to rally the masses to defend the Soviet Union, the land of victorious socialism. I pledge myself to remain at all times a vigilant and firm defender of the Leninist line of the Party, the only line that insures the triumph of Soviet Power in the United States.”
FP: When did Frank Marshall Davis join the Communist Party?
Kengor: Remarkably, he joined early in World War II, after the Hitler-Stalin Pact—a period when many Party members bolted the Party because they were outraged at Stalin signing that pact with Hitler. That pact, of course, precipitated the invasion of Poland and World War II. Jewish American communists in particular were aghast. The man in Moscow to whom they swore their unwavering allegiance had helped pave the way for the Holocaust.
FP: Surely Frank Marshall Davis knew about the pact. Did he ever explain myself?
Kengor: Actually, yes, he did. He made sure he addressed this in his memoirs, conceding that he had “felt betrayed” by Stalin. But he apparently got over the betrayal. “So the Russians were as hypocritical as the rest of the white world!” he yapped. No surprise, “since the Russians were white, what else could you really expect?”
In short, Davis’s discomfort over Stalin’s agreement with Hitler was not enough to keep him from joining the Party. He still drank from the chalice.
For the record, this wasn’t the only time that Davis helped accommodate Hitler. In 1940, he hooked up with one of the worst, most seditious communist fronts ever to operate in the United States: the American Peace Mobilization. That group, which in 1940 sought to keep America out of the war and from stopping Hitler because Hitler (at the time) was allied with Stalin, was organized by CPUSA and the Comintern in Chicago, which was where Davis was located. The communists who organized the “peace” mobilization sought out dupes from the Religious Left and other various “progressive” factions. They also directly recruited African Americans, claiming that the evil FDR was seeking to send black boys to their death to fight for evil Churchill and the British. This was the kind of vulgar propaganda that CPUSA regularly peddled. One of the African Americans that they targeted was Frank Marshall Davis. This was a powerful factor in bringing Davis into the Party as an eventual full member.
I must note that it was also through this group that Davis would work with Robert Taylor, who just happened to be the grandfather of Valerie Jarrett.
FP: That’s remarkable. Valerie Jarrett today is Obama’s right-hand woman in the White House.
Kengor: Yes, and it’s even more eerie than that. Frank Marshall Davis, Obama’s mentor, also worked with Vernon Jarrett in these circles. Vernon Jarrett was Valerie’s father-in-law. And it’s worse still. Davis, Obama’s mentor, also worked with Harry and David Canter, two other Chicago communists. The Canters mentored a young man named David Axelrod in Chicago in the 1970s. So, the troika that’s arguably running America today—Obama and Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod—all have common bonds in Chicago’s communist circles from the 1940s. Their mentors knew each other.
I know this is incredible, but it’s true. You couldn’t make this up. No one would believe it. We’re being governed by ghosts from Chicago’s Communist Party glory years.
FP: Are there other people that Frank Marshall Davis worked with in Chicago who have relevance today?
Kengor: Oh, yes, I could go on and on. At the Chicago Star, the communist newspaper for which he wrote and was the founding editor-in-chief (1946-48), Davis regularly shared the op-ed page with Senator Claude “Red” Pepper, who at that exact time was writing the bill to nationalize healthcare in the United States—which Davis himself advocated in his columns. By the way, Pepper’s chief of staff, who wrote that bill, was Charles Kramer, who we now know was working for the KGB under the codename “mole.”
Another Davis comrade at the Star was William Patterson, who actually mentored Frank Marshall Davis and was probably more important than any other figure in bringing Davis into the Party.
FP: William Patterson was a hardcore communist.
Kengor: Yes, and among his legacies is the Kremlin’s “People’s Friendship University,” which he helped plan in the 1960s. People’s Friendship University became better known as the “Patrice Lumumba Friendship University,” a Kremlin grooming school for third-world revolutionaries. This university, the third largest in the USSR, schooled some of the world’s leading terrorists. Distinguished alumni include Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose doctoral thesis became a book, The Other Side: The Secret Relations between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement. According to Abbas, “only a few hundred thousand Jews” were killed in the Holocaust, and those mostly through Nazi-Zionist collusion. Other proud alumni include Carlos the Jackal, Mohamed Boudia, and Henry Ruiz, Nicaraguan Sandinista commander and economic planner-in-chief.
Among this band of rogues, Mohamed Boudia was a top figure in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), one of the cores branches of the PLO. He was in charge of PFLP terrorist operations in Europe, placed there by the KGB, where he worked with Soviet-backed terror cells in East Berlin. There he also worked with the Black September Organization. Among Boudia’s most dastardly acts—which involved Mahmoud Abbas—was the brutal murder of Jewish Olympians in the 1972 Munich massacre.
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