In the past day or so there has been some discussion of Barack Obama's involvement with the Democratic Socialists of America and the New Party and a concerted effort to conceal this information. http://politicallydrunk.blogspot.com/2008/10/web-archives-confirm-barack-obama-was.html.
To start with the DSA and the New Party cannot be discussed in the same way as the Weather Underground. These are not terrorist entities. The Democratic Socialists of America have been a tendency within the Democratic Party since the early 1970s during the halycon days of Michael Harrington, author of The Other America. In the late '90s, the DSA helped to establish the New Party. It operated in areas where there were electoral fusion laws. In other words, electors could cast a ballot for the New Party which would count as a vote for the Democratic candidate as they did with Obama when he was first elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996.
This is hardly surprising given many New Party supporters were also members of ACORN. While the New Party faded in the late 1990's it would spawn the Working Families Party (WFP) in its place. Indeed, when I interviewed for a position with ACORN in January 2000 they shared an office building in Brooklyn with the WFP albeit on a different floor. Part of the ACORN interview consisted of attending an organizing meeting of the WFP which was supporting Hillary Clinton's bid for the U.S. Senate.
In fairness, New York's Conservative Party does much the same thing with Republican candidates in city and state elections. Rudy Giuliani got elected as New York City's mayor in 1997 in part because of the support of people who voted for the now defunct Liberal Party of New York.
I don't care that Barack Obama was a member of the New Party or the Democratic Socialists of America. Frankly, I would have been shocked if he wasn't a member. But what does trouble me is that his campaign would go to the trouble to state otherwise contrary to all evidence that has now been put forward. Hey, I'm up front. I tell people I used to be with the NDP and that I once worked for ACORN. People can take it for what it is and let the chips fall where they may.
So what does Obama have to hide? Is he uncomfortable with the word socialist? Is he ashamed of his past affiliations? Or are the DSA/New Party simply organizations he knew of in the neighborhood?