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Socialist Scholars Conference

Each year from 1983 to 2004, the City University of New York’s (CUNY) chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) sponsored the Socialist Scholars Conference (SSC) at Cooper Union, a privately funded college for the advancement of science and art. SSC events featured the elite of socialist academia as well as union activists, political revolutionaries, reformers, and opponents of “corporate greed.” According to the libertarian writer Trevor Loudon, guest speakers at these conferences included “members of the Communist Party USA and its offshoot, the Committees of Correspondence, as well as Maoists, Trotsyists, black radicals, gay activists and radical feminists.”

In his 1995 autobiography Dreams From My Father, Obama reveals that during his student years at New York’s Columbia University he “went to socialist conferences at Cooper Union and African cultural fairs in Brooklyn.” The socialist conferences he cites were those of the SSC. As Trevor London observes, “Obama speaks of ‘conferences’ plural, indicating [that] his attendance was not the result of accident or youthful curiosity.”

To view a comprehensive profile and some supplemental resources about the Socialist Scholars Conference, click here.

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