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Obama and wealthy Pakistani roommate Mohammed Hasan Chandoo
John Drew writes today in the American Thinker…
But before I get to that, Dr. Drew was a guest on my radio program a year ago, and said this about meeting and getting to know Obama while at Occidental:
“Obama was into Frantz Fanon, a french revolutionary who believed in violent resolution, and wrote a book “Wretched of the Earth.” Obama was definitely a Marxist-Leninist then in that he believed that the union members and the working class would revolt and overthrow the capitalist system. And that you needed to have this intellectual elite vanguard leading that movement and educating the working class so it could take over the government.”
Drew added that what he found particularly chilling was Obama’s charisma. He said one of the themes of charismatic leaders is the sincerity of their beliefs. He said, “They don’t put you in charge of a country if you don’t really believe in that core ideology, so I think it was Obama’s sincerity that won him the trust of Alice Palmer (former Illinois state senator) and Bill Ayers. And it’s winning him the trust of Andy Stern.
Here’s what Dr. Drew wrote in today’s American Thinker. It squares with what he told us during our interview.
When I first saw Obama, I remember I was standing on the porch of Boss’s parents’ impressive home as a sleek, expensive luxury car pulled up the driveway. Two young men emerged from the vehicle. They were well-dressed and looked like they were born to wealth and privilege. I was a little surprised to learn they were Boss’s friends from Occidental College until she articulated the underlying0 political connection. “They’re on our side,” she said.
The taller of the two was Obama, then only 19, who towered over his five-foot-five companion, Mohammed Hasan Chandoo – a wealthy, 21 year old Pakistani student. Chandoo had a full dark black, neatly trimmed moustache, and was dressed in expensive clothes. Nevertheless, Obama was the more handsome of the two. At six foot two, Obama carried himself with the dignity and poise of a model. The diminutive Chandoo, in contrast, came across as more of a practical, businessman type. Obama displayed a visible deference to Chandoo when they were standing together at the vehicle.
Chandoo was vaguely familiar to me as a participant in the earlier anti-apartheid rallies on the Occidental College campus. In David Remnick’s book, The Bridge, Chandoo’s bona fides as a committed Marxist were well-known to those close to him. Chandoo’s girlfriend at the time, Margot Mifflin, told Remnick that “[I]n college, Hasan was a socialist, a Marxist, which is funny since he is from a wealthy family.” (See, Remnick, David, The Bridge, Alfred A, Knopf, 2010, page 104.) Young Obama, on the other hand, was completely new to me.
“This is Barack Obama,” Boss said.
[ snip ]
My first meeting with young Barack Obama raised strong feelings and left me with a positive first impression. At the time, I felt I’d persuaded a young man anticipating a Marxist-Leninist revolution to appreciate the more practical alternative of conventional politics as a channel for his socialist views.
I met Obama in December of 1980, a couple of days after Christmas, in Portola Valley — a small town near Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. I was a 23 year old second-year graduate student in Cornell’s Government Department, and had flown to California to visit a 21 year old girlfriend, Caroline Boss. Boss was a senior at Occidental College, where she had taken a class in the fall of 1980 with political theorist Roger Boesche. She met and befriended Obama in that class.
Inside the house, Mrs. Boss prepared snacks for everyone. All four of the students lit up after-dinner cigarettes in the dining room of the Boss’s home. Caroline Boss sat at the head of the table to my left. Obama sat directly across from me. Chandoo sat on the other side of the table on Obama’s left. Naturally, our conversation gravitated towards the coming revolution. I expected that my undergraduate friends would be interested in hearing my latest take on contemporary Marxist thought. I was in for quite a bit of a shock.
My graduate studies that fall had tempered my earlier Marxism with a more realistic perspective. I thought a revolution was not in the cards anymore. There was no inevitability, in my mind, to the old idea that the proletariat would rise up and overthrow the ruling classes. Now, the idea that we could entirely eliminate the profit motive from an advanced industrialized economy seemed like a childhood fantasy. The future, I now thought, would belong to nations with mixed economic systems — like those in Europe — where there was government planning of the economy combined with a greater effort to produce a more equitable distribution of wealth. It made more sense to me to focus on elections rather than on preparing for a coming revolution.
Boss and Obama, however, had a starkly different view. They believed that the economic stresses of the Carter years meant revolution was still imminent. The election of Reagan was simply a minor set-back in terms of the coming revolution. As I recall, Obama repeatedly used the phrase “When the revolution comes….” In my mind, I remember thinking that Obama was blindly sticking to the simple Marxist theory that had characterized my own views while I was an undergraduate at Occidental College. “There’s going to be a revolution,” Obama said, “we need to be organized and grow the movement.” In Obama’s view, our role must be to educate others so that we might usher in more quickly this inevitable revolution.
I know this may be implausible to some readers, but I distinctly remember Obama surprising me by bringing up Frantz Fanon and colonialism. He impressed me with his knowledge of these two topics, topics which were not among my strong points — or of overwhelming concern to me. Boss and Obama seemed to think their ideological purity was a persuasive argument in predicting that a coming revolution would end capitalism. While I felt I was doing them a favor by providing them with the latest research, I saw I was in danger of being cast as a reactionary who did not grasp the nuances of international Marxist theory.
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