Meet Marilyn Katz–More guilt by Association or Just another Obama Radical supporter? She Organized the 2002 rally where Obama first announced his anti-war positions and she is on the Obama Campaign’s finance committee:
In July 1996, the New York Times reported that Marilyn Katz, a former aide to Mayor Harold Washington and now a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)’s bid for the presidential nomination, “oversaw security for Students for a Democratic Society, a radical group at the eye of the Chicago protests” during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. “She was there.”
Katz is a loyal foot soldier in a notable effort by the city and the Democratic National Committee to counterspin 1968 so vigorously that it almost becomes a source of civic pride, the gist apparently being: Then we gave you broken heads; now we bring the Bulls and Jim Belushi. Chicago ’96, the host committee, has assembled a cadre of ex-radicals like Katz who are eager to share good news. Mayor Daley has held a huggy “reconciliation” with the former Chicago Seven member Tom Hayden. Even the police are taking sensitivity classes. What about those grainy shots of students getting clubbed in Lincoln Park? Consider ’em spun. “It’s time to replace that footage,” says Julie Thompson, a spokeswoman for Chicago ’96. “Our story is now.”
October 2, 2002, when Barack Obama delivered his then little-noticed but now-famous speech at a Chicago antiwar rally. On the event’s fifth anniversary, activist Marilyn Katz, one of the rally’s organizers, and now a member of Sen. Obama’s national finance committee, posted the following on the blog of Chicagoans Against the War & Injustice (CAWI), which she had “put together”, relying upon “some of her old contacts she met organizing anti-war demonstrations for Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s.”
The rally in Chicago on October 2nd, 2002 was not organized by a politician or a recognized political force. Quite the contrary. It was organized by a loose group of friends—veterans of the women’s movement, the student movement, the civil rights movement, who alarmed by the prospect of what they considered an unwise and unfounded march to war and aware, yet seeing no one—from politicians to pundits to the press daring to speak out against a seemingly all-powerful republican juggernaut,—and fearing that if they did not speak out the war, the very room for disagreement with the White House on any issue would vanish, took it upon themselves to reclaim the public space for dissent.
Meeting in a living room in Chicago just ten days earlier, we chose to act agreeing that on October 2nd, 2002, we would assemble in Chicago’s Federal Plaza to stand against the war. With a gut feeling that other Americans also thought the invasion of Iraq was foolhardy, if not immoral and absurd, but with no assurance than anyone would come to a demonstration we agreed that “If we were five, we would be five.” “If we were without any elected officials, we would be an involved citizenry. But we would take a stand.”
But we were not alone. In fact nearly 3,000 people assembled in Federal Plaza on that day responding to the flurry of emails (a new organizing technology for us) that seemingly liberated people from their sense of isolation and offered them the opportunity of collective action – of community. Black, Latino, White, veterans of the peace and women’s movements, the 60s, high school and college youth, community activist—a mosaic of the City. Long time leaders like Jesse Jackson, Juan Andrade and Julie Hamos and a new voice…. not yet known to the crowd, to the media or to the nation…. the voice of State Senator Barack Obama.”
Katz and former SDS president Carl Davidson, “two perennially engaged ’60s veterans and ex-SDS members”, Jeff Epton wrote December 15, 2003, in In These Times, were “key organizers” of the October 2, 2002, anti-war demonstration. Originating as Chicagoans Against War with Iraq (CAWI), by December 2003 CAWI had morphed into Chicagoans Against War and Injustice. Davidson explained, “as the war transformed from invasion to occupation, CAWI activists managed to avoid splits over sectarian and strategic differences, and committed to stay together and move from ‘protest to politics’.”
In 2005, Katz and Davidson co-authored Stopping War, Seeking Justice. Davidson is “now a figure in the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, an offshoot of the old Moscow-controlled CPUSA,” Cliff Kincaid wrote February 18, 2008, for Accuracy in Media.
Katz appears to paint her SDS activities in a less colorful manner than the events of 1968 relate. In the April 18, 2008, Chicago Sun-Times, Katz said she had “met Ayers when he was 17 and they were members of Students for a Democratic Society, a peaceful group from which the Weather Underground splintered.” (emphasis added)
Now the head of MK Communications and a registered lobbyist with the City of Chicago, Katz has personally contributed $1,000 to Obama for America, Obama’s presidential campaign fund. Katz, and Allan J. Katz, a shareholder and chairman of the Policy Practice Group at Akerman Senterfitt of Tallahassee, Florida, as well as a Member of the Florida Democratic Committee and Democratic National Committee, and a Tallahassee City Commissioner, are joint bundlers committed to raising a minimum of $200,000 for Obama’s campaign. Source Rezkowatch
Recognize a name here among the beneficiaries of taxpayer dollars?
As Chicago (and Illinois, for that matter) reels from a fiscal crisis resulting in a cutback of services and layoffs of thousands, Mayor Daley spends many millions on public relations and image building.
One of the beneficiaries is Marilyn Katz. Where have I heard that name before? She is a bundler for Barack Obama, a person with a radical past (head of security for the Students for a Democratic Society-SDS-fromm which Bill Ayers’ militant Weathermen group splintered).
She was also the prinicpal organizer of the now famous 2002 antiwar rally in which Barack Obama spoke against the Iraq War. And she serves on his finance committee as well as hosting fundraisers for him and donating thousands of dollars to the cause.
She traveled to the Democratic convention, serving as a member of the credentials committee. She has links to Bill Ayers . She makes herself readily available to provide spin to downplay the Ayers-Obama relationship (see today’s superb Chicago Tribune article by the intrepid columnist John Kass):One friend of Obama and Ayers is former ’60s radical Marilyn Katz, now an Obama fundraiser, strategist and public relations maven. She’s often a go-to quote for reporters to knock down the Ayers-Obama story.
“What Bill Ayers and [former Black Panther, now U.S. Rep.] Bobby Rush . . . did 40 years ago has nothing to do with [the presidential campaign],” Katz was quoted as saying in the Chicago Sun-Times in April. “[Ayers] has a national reputation. He lectures at Harvard [University] and Vassar [College].”
What that story and many other pro-Obama articles gloss over is that during the violent protests of the 1968 Democratic National Convention here, Katz was the security chief for the radical Students for a Democratic Society. She once advocated throwing studded nails in front of police cars, back in the SDS days when the group was alleged to have thrown cellophane bags full of human excrement at cops and cans of urine and golf balls impaled with nails.
How things change.
Under this Daley, her firm, MK Communications, has many city deals, and one involves public relations for the Chicago Police Department‘s community policing program. From nails to contracts, the Chicago Way. Apparently, irony was not a ’60s thing.
Now, as Daley prepares to lay off more than 1,000 city workers, he’s given Katz and other public relations firms five-year contracts that could pay them as much as $5 million each for consulting, advertising and promotion.
Getting in good with Daley hasn’t been bad for business. She also lists as her clients Daley’s Chicago Housing Authority, Daley’s City Colleges, Daley’s city Law Department, and Daley’s Departments of Aviation, Environment, Housing, Human Services, Planning and Development, Public Health, Public Works, Streets and Sanitation, Intergovernmental Affairs, Special Events—the list goes on.Fired workers-the little people? Services being shut down? Infrastructure crumbling? School kids ripped off?
Ahh..who cares..as long as the public realtions machine and image building can flourish in the hands of people who make it their job to create illusions and delusions?