"From his youth on Chicago’s westside to his becoming a national figure, this play covers the life story of Saul Alinsky, a man who would forever change the shape of the country," read a press release summarizing the show. "The Love Song of Saul Alinsky serves to remind us of what is truly important in this world and why we should fight to hang on it."
Obama was not only an attendee, but he also took the stage and collaborated in a panel discussion that followed the show. In a recent article published in the Chicago Reader, Michael Miner ridiculed conservative interest about the play, as well as the flagrant suspicions regarding a connection between Obama and Alinsky. In his article, Miner described the poster that advertised the play and the post-show discussion panel:
Let's take a look at this poster.
It's red — and that right there, like the darkening water that swirls down Janet Leigh's drain [in Psycho’s famous shower scene], is plenty suggestive. It touts a play called The Love Song of Saul Alinsky, Alinsky being the notorious community organizer from Chicago who wrote books with titles like Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals. On it, fists are raised — meaning insurrection is in the air.
And down at the very bottom, crawling across the poster in small print, it mentions the panel discussions that will follow the Sunday performances. The panelists are that era's usual "progressive" suspects: Leon Despres, Monsignor Jack Egan, Studs Terkel . . .
And state senator Barack Obama.
Miner railed against conservatives for using Obama’s attendance and involvement in the panel discussion as an indication of radical ideological sentiment.
But according to Breitbart, the play "truly is a love song to Alinsky," as the first few minutes involve the Chicagoan community organizer playing the biblical Moses talking to God. The play exalts Alinsky for stealing food from restaurants while encouraging others to do the same: "I saw it as a practical use of social ecology: you had members of the intellectual community, the hope of the future, eating regularly for six months, staying alive till they could make their contributions to society." Breitbart added:
In an introspective moment, Alinsky rips America: "My country… ‘tis of whatthehell / And justice up a tree… How much can you sell / What’s in it for me." He grins about manipulating the Christian community to back his programs. He talks in glowing terms about engaging in Chicago politics with former Mayor Kelly. He rips the McCarthy committee, mocking, "Everyone was there, when you think back — Cotton Mather, Hester Prynn, Anne Hutchinson, Tom Paine, Tom Jefferson … Brandeis, Holmes… Gene Debs and the socialists… Huey Long… Imperial Wizards of all stripes… Father Coughlin and his money machine… Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd… and a kicking chorus of sterilized reactionaries singing O Come, All Ye Faithful…"
And Alinsky talks about being the first occupier — shutting down the O’Hare Airport by occupying all the toilet stalls, using chewing gum to "tie up the city, stop all traffic, and the shopping, in the Loop, and let everyone at City Hall know attention must be paid, and maybe we should talk about it." As Alinsky says, "Students of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your juicy fruit."
Oddly, the show concludes with Alinsky proclaiming that he would rather go to Hell than Heaven: "More comfortable there. You see, all my life I’ve been with the Have-Nots: here you’re a Have-Not if you’re short of money, there you’re a Have-Not if you’re short of virtue. I’d be asking more questions, organizing them. They’re my kind of people — Hell would be Heaven for me."
One of the more contentious aspects of the controversy concerns the members who took part in the post-show panel discussion — which Obama allegedly took a part in — as the group included:
- Leon Despres: Despres was a close confidant of Alinsky for decades, and together founded the concept of "community organizing." He was closely related to the Communist Party front and worked with Soviet spy Lee Pressman to support workers in a riot at Republican Steel in Chicago. Additionally, Despres and his wife provided Leon Trotsky — the Russian Marxist revolutionary and founder of the Red Army — with a suitcase of "clothing" in 1937.
- Quentin Young: For more than two decades, Young was an active member of the Communist Party front organization. A close acquaintance and physician to Obama, Young is known to have helped shape the President’s stance on healthcare policy.
- Roberta Lynch: Lynch was a chief member of Democratic Socialists of America and a leader of the Marxist New American Movement, a radical socialist and feminist organization that was founded on a neo-Leninist orientation.
- Timuel Black: Black allegedly joined the Communist Party and had a prominent influence in the Socialist Party during the 1950s. He also was a contributing editor to the Hyde Park/Kenwood Voices, a publication managed by Communist Party member David Canter. Furthermore, Black disclosed that he had been friends with domestic terrorists Bernardine Dohrn and William Ayers, "going back to 1968, since long before I knew Barack."
The conservative media mogul died last week at the age of 43. Only weeks before, he told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference that he had obtained damning videos of Obama’s Harvard days that he planned to release sometime before the 2012 election. At the conference, he declared, "We are going to vet him from his college days to show you why racial division and class warfare are central to what hope and change was sold in 2008."
Stephen Bannon, an adviser to Breitbart and member of his board of directors, announced last Thursday that Breitbart’s company will release the tapes within seven to 10 days — which means, they should be streaming the web any day now.