“As the economic crisis has gotten steeper in the country, it is not surprising that people are opening their minds to other ideas. Words like socialism and communism have been so stigmatized by the educational system that many people are afraid of those words. However, many studies have shown Americans support the redistribution of wealth but if you mention the socialism word they won’t agree with it anymore.”
In modern day America, the specter of communism hangs over the bottom floor of a brick building on the West side of downtown New York City. It’s the Brecht Forum, which started out as the NY Marxist School in 1975. Here, communism is certainly no bogeyman and its poster-philosopher so to speak is revered. “I am a Marxist and I wanted to be around other Marxists and just to talk with other Marxists,” explained Dale. In the US that may sound a little taboo, even unpatriotic to the average Joe. But these days, amid rising poverty and inequality in the country more and more people are joining in the discussion. “I think people certainly since the financial crisis hit home and some people realized there are some systemic problems, we saw a huge influx of traffic,” said Max Uhlenback, development coordinator at the Brecht Forum.
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It’s attracting people opening their eyes to a different view. Here, whenever you look you can see a chapter of events not found in history books. Uhlenback gives the example of Haiti, referencing one of the posters on the wall. “People look at Haiti as oh this poor place why can’t they ever get it right but don’t realize Haiti was the first free black republic and has been punished because of it,” he recounted. Choose a door and behind it you may find any number of Leftist social movements left out of mainstream news. “Anti-apartheid carolers” as they called themselves were practicing for a holiday protest urging a boycott of Israel because of its policies towards Palestine.
For the record… Obama often attended the socialist lectures at Cooper Union in New York City during his time at Columbia University.