President Barack Obama sparked more controversy after awarding the U.S. government’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, to divisive labor activist Dolores Huerta, a fellow “community organizer,” collectivist, radical feminist, as well as the honorary chair of Democratic Socialists of America. DSA, which openly calls for "restructuring society," even more "massive redistribution of income" and increased central planning on its website, is the largest socialist organization in the nation and Socialist International’s main U.S. affiliate.
Outraged critics slammed Obama’s decision to award the prestigious medal to such a controversial figure, calling it an embarrassment and disgrace to the nation. Huerta, of course, has evoked passionate nationwide criticism for absurd statements like the oft-cited “Republicans hate Latinos,” which helped provoke a nationwide outcry against tax-funded so-called “Mexican-American studies” programs. She regularly attacks the United States for allegedly stealing land from Mexico, too.
The self-described “born-again feminist” has also drawn fire for working with and praising socialist Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chavez, famous for jailing critics and political opponents, stealing property, waging war on press freedom, rigging elections, and establishing collective farms. Somehow, the infamous despot has managed to drive the formerly wealthy oil-rich economy into the ground so thoroughly — mostly through nationalization and wealth-redistribution schemes — that even water and electricity are now rationed.
Incredibly, however, speaking to students in 2006 about Chavez’s dictatorial rule, Huerta publicly wondered “why can’t we do that here in the United States?” And now, she plans to organize the “grassroots” this summer in an effort to re-elect Obama, she told reporters, claiming in an interview with the Desert Sun that her presidential award was also “a recognition of the importance of community organizing.”
Critics, meanwhile, lambasted Huerta and her past. “She is less the civil rights leader imagined by the mainstream media and more a champion of vulgar redistributionism,” explained author and investigative reporter Matthew Vadum in a piece about the award for FrontPage magazine. “As the saying goes, if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Community organizers like Huerta don’t teach anyone how to fish: they teach activists how to steal their neighbors’ fish. This is what Huerta and her ilk call social justice.”
However, despite the avalanche of criticism, analysts also noted that the controversial selection was revealing about the true character and goals of the President himself, who acknowledged during the ceremony that he “stole” the “Yes We Can” campaign slogan from the radical-socialist community organizer. “Dolores was very gracious when I told her I had stolen her slogan, ‘Sí, se puede' — Yes, we can,” Obama said at the ceremony.
The President also pointed out that he had read about Huerta and the United Farmworkers Union she founded with Cesar Chavez when starting his own questionable career as a so-called community organizer. “Dolores helped lead a worldwide grape boycott that forced growers to agree to some of the country's first farm worker contracts,” the President noted. “Ever since, she has fought to give more people a seat at the table.”
Presidential praise aside, however, Huerta’s controversial record has attracted fierce condemnation. Most famous for her efforts to organize farm workers, the 82-year-old activist has been arrested more than 20 times. But her activism now goes far beyond fomenting labor unrest. Citing a supposed Catholic upbringing and her commitment to what some big-government promoting Christians refer to as “social justice,” Huerta explained that extracting wealth from those who earned it is now at the top of her agenda. (Pope Pius XI [1922-1939] stated: "No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.")
Feminism, homosexual activism, and other causes occupy much of her time as well.
“The great social justice changes in our country have happened when people came together, organized, and took direct action,” she said at the White House ceremony. “The civil rights movement, the labor movement, the women’s movement, and the equality movement for our LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] brothers and sisters are all manifestations of these rights.”
And as California — the primary focus of her early activism — teeters on the edge of financial oblivion, Huerta is proud of her accomplishments, she told the Newsweek-affiliated website The Daily Beast, which labeled her a "hero." Among her proudest successes, she cited Spanish-language ballots, welfare for immigrants, toilets in farm fields, and the 1986 “Immigration Reform and Control Act” giving amnesty to more than one million illegal immigrants.
One of her top issues today is using the coercive power of government to force taxpayers to finance even more state-run child-care programs, which she believes would benefit society by liberating more women from having to raise their children. “The years of raising my kids was probably the hardest time for me,” she explained. “We need to fight for more child care so women can be civically engaged and not have to give up a career to have children.”
Her controversial attitude toward the importance of motherhood happens to be one of the many reasons critics lambasted the decision to offer her the award. “It doesn’t seem to matter to the Obama administration that Huerta is no role model,” added FrontPage magazine’s Vadum in his scathing piece about the news. “Like leftist radicals Karl Marx and Jean-Jacques Rousseau she virtually abandoned her children in order to foment unrest as a union organizer.”
Securing amnesty for the more than 12 million illegal immigrants in America is also on Huerta’s priority list. “We have given people the right of residency, and citizenship. It’s not any different from any other group that has come to America before,” she was quoted as saying. “With more than 50 million of us, the presidential election might well be determined by the Latino vote.” Huerta also regularly uses the anti-U.S. sovereignty slogan “we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”
Some analysts suggested Obama may have offered the controversial agitator the award for political purposes, hoping to curry favor with Latino voters consistently mischaracterized by collectivists as a monolithic voting bloc primarily interested in issues of ethnicity and immigration. “It’s no surprise that Obama honored Huerta considering Obama’s economic tendencies,” noted Breitbart's William Bigelow in an article about the award. “Considering that polls are showing Obama’s support slipping slightly among Latinos, so it was a twofer for him; honoring a political ally, and appealing to the Latino vote."
Other commentators offered different potential explanations for the possibly politically damaging move. “Maybe Mr. Obama figures that anyone worried about socialism isn't going to vote for him anyway, or maybe he doesn't think he is going to get reelected, so he wants to get these medals out this year rather than waiting until after the election when he has more flexibility,” speculated editor Ira Stoll of The Future of Capitalism, a liberty-minded website focusing on free market-related news.
Huerta was hardly the only controversial recipient of the award this year. Others included musician Bob Dylan, who once suggested with a straight face in a TV interview that he sold his soul to achieve success, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, famous for claiming that “the price” — 500,000 dead Iraqi children — was “worth it” to punish dictator Saddam Hussein. Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who served as the vice president of Socialist International, will be receiving his medal next month.
Obama does not simply hand out awards to socialists, though. His “climate czar,” Carol Browner, for example, was a high-ranking figure in Socialist International as well. And Former “green-jobs czar” Van Jones, meanwhile, was a self-described Marxist active in promoting Maoism.
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Photo: Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers and founding board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation, smiles during a symposium April 1, 2000, in Baltimore, Md.: AP Images