Kamala Harris’s Socialist Ties

Part 1: Red diaper baby
March 12, 2019 Updated: March 12, 2019

Commentary

Democratic presidential primary front-runner Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) recently told reporters at a campaign stop in New Hampshire that she is “not a democratic socialist.”

The next question should have been obvious: “Well, then, what kind of socialist are you?”

Harris has been surrounded by socialists and communists her entire life—beginning with her staunchly Marxist father. Harris is the older child of two 1960s Berkeley radicals: Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher from the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India, and Donald J. Harris, an economist from Jamaica.

Gopalan and Donald Harris were very active during the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protests of the era, often taking baby Kamala to protests in a stroller, according to a recent article in San Jose daily newspaper The Mercury News on the Harris family.

The couple separated after Donald Harris took a professorship at the University of Madison–Wisconsin. Gopalan filed for divorce in 1971 and won custody of her two daughters in 1973.

Kamala and her younger sister, Maya—now her presidential campaign chair—regularly visited their father during school holidays.

In 1972, Donald Harris left the University of Madison–Wisconsin to begin a visiting professorship of economics at Stanford University.

On Nov. 3, 1976, an article published in the Stanford Daily newspaper claimed that more than 250 students were clamoring for more Marxist perspectives.

Shortly thereafter, a letter was published in the Stanford Daily on Nov. 12, 1976, signed by the Stanford branch of the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE), with signatures from members Bill Dittenhofer, Ari Cohen, Eric Berg, David O’Connor, Arthur Slepian, Sandy Thompson, and Tracy Mott:

“The program in Marxian economics would be much weaker than it is today if had it not been for massive student efforts in the form of petitions, open meetings …

“[It] was only after a divisive one and a one-half year struggle that the opposing elements in the department gave into student pressure and conceded to ‘the appointment of Prof. Donald Harris. Thus the presence of Marxian economists here simply indicates the success of the student struggle. … The recent addition of course offerings in Marxian economics is again a direct result of student pressure, not departmental benevolence.”

After an 18-month campaign by the union, Harris was offered and accepted a permanent professorship.

The URPE (which last year celebrated its 50th anniversary) began in 1968 as a spinoff of the radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). URPE has overlapped considerably with America’s largest Marxist organization, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), since its founding in 1982. One of professor Donald Harris’s Stanford supporters and URPE letter signatories, Mott, is now a professor at the University of Denver, where he works with local DSA activists.

During the summer and fall of 2006, the DSA’s Political Action Committee helped DSA activists around the country host house parties to raise funds that helped Bernie Sanders become the “sole socialist in the U.S. Senate.”

According to DSA magazine Democratic Left: “Boulder, Colorado, guests braved a downpour to attend the party at the home of Leslie Lomas and hear a talk about giving money by economics professor and socialist Tracy Mott.”

According to The Mercury News: “Several of his former students said it wasn’t accurate to describe him [Donald Harris] as Marxist, although ‘he might have been a lot more sympathetic to Marx than a lot of other economists were at the time,’ said Tracy Mott.”

Mott was being disingenuous. Several Stanford Daily articles at the time described Donald Harris as “Marxist,” and Mott and his friends made it very clear that Harris was hired specifically for his radical ideology.

Donald Harris wrote papers such as “The Black Ghetto as Colony: A Theoretical Critique” ‎(1972) and “Capitalist Exploitation and Black Labor: Some Conceptual Issues” (1978).

Harris’s Marxism was never questioned or denied at any stage of his career.

URPE also was very close to the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), once the largest and most influential of the far-left think tanks in Washington. Since its founding in 1963, the IPS has consistently followed a pro-Marxist line on foreign policy, defense, and economic issues.

To put its policy recommendations into action, the IPS “built networks of contacts among congressional legislators and their staffs, academics, government officials, and the national media,” according to the book “The War Called Peace: The Soviet Peace Offensive.”

The IPS also was on very close terms with representatives of communist Cuba and the former Soviet Union.

In 1978, in an article in National Review, Brian Crozier, director of the London-based Institute for the Study of Conflict, described IPS as the “perfect intellectual front for Soviet activities which would be resisted if they were to originate openly from the KGB.”

In the 1988 book “Winning America: Ideas and Leadership for the 1990s,” edited by IPS leaders Marcus Raskin and Chester Hartman, the IPS and DSA affiliate Sean Gervasi recommended a slate of radical colleagues as potential appointees in a hoped-for new Democratic administration after the 1988 election.

Gervasi’s wish list including the following:

• Barry Bluestone—SDS founder, DSA affiliate, URPE member. Served as a member of the senior policy staff of former Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.).

• Gar Alperovitz—IPS, DSA, Brookings Institute.

• Robert Browne—SDS, IPS.

• Jeff Faux—DSA affiliate. Faux has worked as an economist with the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity and the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, and Labor.

Carol O’Cleireacain—DSA member, Brookings Institute. In 2014, she became Detroit deputy mayor for economic policy, planning, and strategy.

• Howard Wachtel—IPS, URPE member.

• Art MacEwan—URPE member, DSA affiliate.

And, of course, Donald Harris, Marxist professor and Kamala Harris’s father.

Republican George H.W. Bush won the 1988 election, so professor Harris stayed on at Stanford until his retirement.

Ironically, Kamala Harris’s most formidable opponent in the Democratic primary so far is Bernie Sanders, a favorite of professor Harris’s old URPE and DSA colleagues.

When Sanders drops out of a very crowded Democratic primary, will his supporters cross over to support Kamala Harris?

I believe they will. In fact, I believe it has already been decided.

Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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