A little know agent of influence in Obama’s beginnings in Chicago in the mid 90’s
Alice Palmer is a Chicago based academic, socialist activist and former friend, employer and political ally of Barack Obama. She employed Obama, as her Chief of Staff, during her failed run for Congress in the mid 1990s. She introduced Obama to people of influence in Chicago, before he “took over” her Illinois State Senate seat.
It was Alice Palmer who took Obama to the famous meeting in the Hyde Park home of former Weather Underground terrorist leaders Bill Ayers, and Bernardine Dohrn, where Obama launched his political career.
Alice Palmer and her husband Buzz Palmer established the Black Press Institute in Chicago circa 1982. In a 1986 interview with the Communist Party USA paper People’s Daily World, Alice Palmer explained BPI’s role in influencing decision makers such as the Congressional Black Caucus. The organization was an outlet for communist propaganda.
Its publication carried articles such as “Socialism is the Only Way Forward” and “Is Black Bourgeoise Ideology Enough?”
In 1983 Alice Palmer traveled to Czechoslovakia to the Soviet front World Peace Council‘s Prague Assembly.
At the time, Alice Palmer was a an Executive Board member of the Communist Party USA-dominated U.S. Peace Council.
Of the 48 U.S. Peace Council officers in 1983-1985, at least ten; Sara Staggs, Rob Prince,Michael Myerson, Frank Chapman, Otis Cunningham, James Jackson, Atiba Mbiwan, Pauline Rosen, Jose Soler and Denise Young were known Communist Party USA members.
A further eight, were involved in the 1990s, in a Communist Party splinter group Committees of Correspondence. They were Gus Newport, Mark Solomon, Linda Coronado, Barbara Lee, Kevin Lynch, Anne Mitchell, Arlene Prigoff and Alice Palmer herself.
The trip was organized by International Organization of Journalists executive Don Rojas, the American educated former press secretary to Grenada’s late communist leader Maurice Bishop, in conjunction with the Black Press Institute, the National Alliance of Black Journalists and the National Newspaper Publishers Association-the US’s largest organization of owners of black newspapers.
- The trip was extraordinary because we were able to sit down with our counterparts and with the seats of power in three major capitals-Prague, Berlin and Moscow. We visited with foreign ministers, we talked with the editors of the major newspapers in these three cities…
- It was a very unusual trip because we were given access…Every effort was made to give us as much as we asked for…We came back feeling that we could speak very well about the interest of the socialist countries in promoting peace.
In Czechoslovakia, Alice Palmer and other delegates officials at the Czech Foreign Ministry, including Dr. Vladimir Polachek, head of the Department of Basic Political Questions and Dr.Rudolf Jabubik, Deputy head of the 6th Territorial Department (including the US).
In March 1986 Alice Palmer covered the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Congress in Moscow for the Black Press Institute.
Palmer, as editor of the Black Press Review was elected International Organization of Journalists vice president for North America at the organization’s 10th Congress, October 20-23 1986, in Prague Czechoslovakia. She also traveled to the Soviet Union and Bulgaria during the same trip.
The IOJ was a Soviet front operation, based in Prague until its expulsion by the Czech government in 1995.
Giocondo What is the IOJ’s approach to the question of fairness in the media? How does it relate to the concept of “objective journalism” which is stressed here in the US?
Palmer The IOJ believes that there must be fairness in media, which is called for in a proposal for a New Information Order, which the IOJ supports. Fairness is not an abstraction, because journalists are not abstractions; we live in a world, we live in our particular societies, and therefore are caught up in whatever the dynamics of the situation are. This concept of “Objective journalism” that is taught in journalism schools…is not possible…What we are striving for is fairness and balance of information.
During her time as International Organization of Journalists vice president, Alice Palmer worked with highest levels of the Soviet propaganda machine-with the Soviet journal Izvestia, with Romesh Chandra and the World Peace Council and IOJ leaders such as Kaarle Nordenstreng and Jiri Kubka.
Alice Palmer was effectively, a Soviet “Agent of Influence”.
In the mid-1990s, state senator Palmer attended a number of political meetings at the Chicago-area home of her friends and ideological allies, former Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn. At those gatherings, Palmer developed a friendly relationship with another attendee, a young aspiring politician named Barack Obama.
As late as 1994, Palmer was known to be working closely with members of the Committees of Correspondence, a Communist Party USA splinter group.
In 1995, Palmer decided to pursue an opportunity to run for a higher political office when Mel Reynolds, the congressman from Illinois’ 2nd District, resigned from the House of Representatives amid scandal.
As Palmer prepared to leave the state senate, she hand-picked Barack Obama as the person she most wanted to fill her newly vacated senate seat. Toward that end, she introduced Obama to party elders and donors as her preferred successor, and helped him gather the signatures required for getting his name placed on the ballot.
But in November 1995, Jesse Jackson, Jr. defeated Palmer in a special election for Reynolds’ empty congressional seat. At that point, Palmer filed to retain the Democratic nomination for the state senate seat she had encouraged Obama to pursue; that seat would be up for grabs in the November 1996 elections. She asked Obama to politely withdraw from the race and offered to help him find an alternative position elsewhere.