Carl Davidson is an American Marxist who serves as a national steering committee member of United for Peace and Justice, an organization chaired by the pro-Castro socialist Leslie Cagan. Davidson also co-chairs the group Chicagoans Against War & Injustice, which has formed alliances with such organizations as the League of Women Voters, Rainbow/PUSH, Citizen Action, People for the American Way, the Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Aiming ultimately to transform the United States into a socialist nation, Davidson advocates the mobilization of “new grassroots majorities required for progressive, systemic change.”
As a college student in the 1960s, Davidson was a national secretary of Students of a Democratic Society and a national leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement. Davidson and Tom Hayden take credit for having launched in 1969 the “Venceremos Brigades,” which covertly transported hundreds of young Americans to Cuba to help harvest sugar cane and interact with Havana’s communist revolutionary leadership. (The Brigades were organized by Fidel Castro's Cuban intelligence agency, which trained "brigadistas" in guerrilla warfare techniques, including the use of arms and explosives.)
In 1988 Davidson founded Networking for Democracy (NFD), an initiative that teaches computer skills and radical politics to Chicago-area teenagers. The NFD program encourages students to engage in “mass action” aimed at “tearing down the old structures of race and class privilege” in the U.S. “and around the world.”
In 1992 Davidson became a leader of the newly formed Committees of Correspondence, a Marxist coalition of former Maoists, Trotskyists, and members of the Communist Party USA. The organization has since changed its name to the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, where Davidson remains a prominent figure.
In the mid-1990s Davidson was a major player in the Chicago branch of the New Party, a Marxist political coalition whose objective was to endorse and elect leftist public officials. Most of its members hailed from the Committees of Correspondenc, the Democratic Socialists of America, and the militant leftist organization ACORN. Davidson first met Barack Obama through the New Party, which endorsed the latter in his run for the Illinois state senate in 1996. Obama had actively sought this endorsement, and he used a number of New Party volunteers as campaign workers.
Davidson quickly became one of Obama’s most ardent supporters. He helped organize a large 2002 rally where Obama first established himself as an eloquent anti-war spokesman.
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