Barbara Lee

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Barbara Lee


Barbara Jean Lee is a pro-socialist Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 9th district of California.

Early life

Born 1946, in El Paso, Texas, Barbara Lee her spent teenage years in San Fernando, CA.


Mills College, B.A., 1973; University of California at Berkeley, M.A. social work degree, 1975.

Black Panthers

Lee's radicalism dates at least to the early 1970s when she was a confidential aide to Black Panther Party "Minister of Defense" Huey Newton.[1]

Political influences

Lee was inspired to a political career while a campaign worker for Shirley Chisholm's 1972 presidential campaign. Chisholm was the first black woman to enter Congress. Chisholm had a long history of Communist Party USA front affiliation, but entered Congress through the Democratic Party in New York's 11th district.[2]

Lee was elected to Congress in 1998 in California’s 9th district after the retirement of her former boss Rep. Ron Dellums;

Both Dellums and Lee were encouraged to enter politics by longtime Berkeley Councilwoman and Communist Party USA supporter, Maudelle Shirek. Another key influence on Lee was Bay Area doctor and publisher Carlton Goodlett, also a long time Communist Party supporter.

Still another was Bay Area radical and Committees of Correspondence member Yvonne Scarlett-Golden.

In 2006 Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) released the following statement in response to the news that Daytona Beach Mayor and long-time San Francisco resident, Yvonne Scarlett-Golden had died of cancer at the age of 80;

“Yvonne Scarlett-Golden was a friend to me and an inspiration to many. As the first African-American Mayor of Daytona Beach, she knew about breaking down barriers, and the fact that she came to politics after a full career as a teacher and school administrator is a testament to her determination to serve.
“I first met Yvonne when she was the principal of Alamo Park High School in San Francisco in the 1970’s. I remember very well attending peace conferences with Yvonne, the late Alameda County Supervisor John George, former Berkeley City Councilmember Maudelle Shirek, and the late Carlton Goodlett, publisher of the Sun Reporter Newspaper, all of whose lives were totally committed to peace and justice. Yvonne was never afraid of controversy, and she was outspoken for what she believed in. We will miss her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”


Lee is the most senior Democratic woman on the House International Relations Committee. Standing on principle amid post-9/11 hysteria, she was the only member of Congress to vote against the resolution broadly authorizing President Bush’s use of force.

Lee has sponsored legislation disavowing the preemptive war doctrine and led bipartisan efforts to end the genocide in Darfur. She has been a leader in the global battle against HIV/AIDS, and for civil rights and civil liberties. She formally objected in Congress to certifying Ohio's electoral votes after the 2004 election

Cuba trip

In 1977, Barbara Lee and Ron Dellums were part of a delegation to Cuba, which met with Fidel Castro to discuss health problems.[3]

1980s U.S. Peace Council Executive Board

Barbara Lee was an Executive Board member of the Communist Party USA dominated U.S. Peace Council[4] 1983-1985-Oakland California.

The Grenada connection

Lee provided counterintelligence support to the Marxist-Leninist regime in Grenada in 1980, tipping off the Cuban-backed government to a possible anti-communist spy in the office of premier Maurice Bishop.

At the time, she was a member the staff of Rep. Ronald V. Dellums (D-CA), whom she succeeded in Congress. US military forces liberated Grenada in October 1983, which President Ronald Reagan ordered.

Lee opposed the US-led ouster of Grenadian General Hudson Austin, who had murdered Maurice Bishop, his former ally, in a coup just days before.

Regime documents that US troops captured, now stored at the National Archives, show Lee's involvement with the Grenadan and Cuban governments.

When Lee received an envelope containing anti-regime material that had been mailed from Bishop's office, she immediately warned Bishop's ambassador to the Organization of American States, Dessima Williams-who sent Lee's counterintelligence tip back home to Bishop and musing about suspects. The memorandum read,

"On May 14, 1980, Barbara Lee called to say she had received a piece of anti-PRG [People's Revolutionary Government] propaganda stamped from the Prime Minister's Office, post-marked in Grenada. We collected it May 15, and it is herewith attached.
"Some obvious questions are: -
"What concerns us is: How is is possible for such vicious anti-government propaganda to be mailed and stamped from the Prime Minister's Office to a friendly Congressional Office?
"Barbara says that all those U.S. persons who went to Grenada for The First Anniversary [of the revolution] have been receiving G.I.S. News Releases regularly. Should this be so? To her knowledge, no one else except she has received this particular piece of anti-PRG material.
"Please advise us at an early time if this was a known or unknown error; if a conspiracy and/or sabotage, and how to handle it.

"Neither 'Shampoo' Norbert Douglas our Security Officer at the Mission here, nor I have a clue on this. Only speculations:

"1. Stanley Cyrus?
"2. A spy inside the Ministry?
"3. Is Roberta Salper involved? (see materials on her attached).
"Please advise."

Influence on behalf of the regime

Lee and Dellums' chief of staff, Carlottia Scott, had been trying to promote the regime for a few years before finally getting Dellums to become personally involved in discrediting the Reagan Administration's assessment that a large Cuban-built airstrip at Point Salines was designed to handle heavy Soviet military aircraft.

Dellums was then Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Military Construction. He used that post to claim jurisdiction, and held his own "investigation" of the airstrip. Through the subcommittee, he concluded in a report that the airstrip was for civilian purposes only - mainly tourism - and was not for the Soviet bloc military.

Lee and Scott wrote the report in collaboration with the regime - and sent it back to Bishop for his editing and approval before making the document public as a congressional report.

Scott was rumored to have been romantically involved with Bishop. Her personal letters, captured in Bishop's office after the US liberation, included one that begins, "My darling comrade leader."

In a typewritten letter to Bishop on US House of Representatives letterhead, dated April 28, 1982, Scott describes how she and Lee involved Dellums in promoting the Grenadan regime.

Addressed to Bishop as "My Dearest, Just a brief note to let you know that I still love you madly," Scott wrote:

"I really need to talk to you face to face to share some thoughts that Ron [Dellums] has. I don't know if you realized it or not but Ron has become truly committed to Grenada and has some very positive political thinking to share with you. He feels that he can best be of assistance in a counseling manner and hopes to be able to discuss these thoughts in the near future. He just has to get all to [sic] his thoughts in order as to how your interests can best be served. Ron, as a political thinker, is the best around and Fidel will verify that in no uncertain terms. When matched against the best of them, Ron always comes out ahead (even with Fidel). He is so far ahead of his time that it scares me at times but I have learned to deal with it over the years.
"When we left Grenada and arrived in Barbados, we met with what I would call a very ugly American, Ludlow Flowers, the Deputy Ambassador to B'dos from the U.S. In the most awesome exchange of dialogue, Ron battled this ass to the bitter end on U.S. policy toward Grenada. You would have been proud."

Scott described what she, Dellums and Lee were doing to run influence operations in Congress on behalf of the Cuban-backed government: "We are now in the process of pulling together the report for the Armed Services Committee, preparing testimony for the Inter-American Affairs Committee Hearings on Grenada, and in the process of trying to come up with a strategy to bring the U.S. and Grenada to the negotiating table."

She told Bishop about the report they were authoring about the Cuban-built airstrip at Point Salines:

"We hope that this report will serve as a basis for a clear understanding and direct counter to the [Reagan] Administgration's policy based on their militarist lines of thinking. If the issue can be turned around soon, then we hope that all this insane rhetoric will be stopped by the U.S."

That would take some strategizing with Bishop. Scott continued,

"However, the specifics need to be mapped out very carefully. This is only part of what Ron needs to discuss with you in as much as this has to be a team effort. (smile) Ron also has some very clear ideas on the best procedure that should be followed on your end if you agree to proceed in such a manner. Oh well, I won't bore you with all this until we are able to sit down and really discuss it. It is really very hard to put into a coherent statement at this time. As you are well aware I act on emotion a lot of the time and I am very excited about the role that Ron is willing to play after trying to get him to Grenada for so long. I know now that all our efforts have not been in vain."

Dellums' chief of staff then told Bishop that she, the congressman, and Barbara Lee met together in Havana after visiting Grenada:

"Ron had a long talk with Barb and me when we got to Havana and cried when he realized that we had been shouldering Grenada alone all this time. Like I said, he's really hooked on you and Grenada and doesn't want anything to happen to building the Revo and making it strong. He really admires you as a person and even more so as a leader with courage and foresignt, principle and integrity. Believe me, he doesn't make that kind of statement often about anyone. The only other person that I know of that he expresses such admiration for is Fidel. (I've known and worked with Ron for many years and the last time I heard him say something like that was in 1977 after a meeting with Fidel)."

Scott then told Bishop about a courier who would bring Dellums' materials for the hearings to Grenada, and wrote of the report on the Point Salines airstrip:

"Well sweet, I must run. Am doing this as quickly as possible. Just found out that Kojo (Chris) is leaving in a few minutes for the airport. I just wanted you to know that we need to talk and soon. Am sending copies of Ron hearings with him. You will be receiving a formal letter of appreciation for the wonderful trip from Ron soon, (As soon as I get around to writing it. (SMILE) but I have to finish this report first.) For the . . . I really need Selwyn's speech to use in this report. Peggy said he had the tape and it had not been transcribed yet. Please see if he has found it yet. It could be very important. Evfen if we don't use it for the report we could use it for the testimony for the hearings on Grenada in May.
"Love you madly and hope to be able to prove it one of these days. Call me soon . . . ."

Scott signed her initials, then hand-wrote a postscript: "P.S. This is confidential rap as you well know. Let me know when you or one of the comrades will be taking a trip somewhere in this hemisphere so we can talk. Notice I said this hemisphere. So we can plan to meet and talk. Call me."[5]

Committees of Correspondence

In 1991/92, the Communist Party USA split, with many members leaving to form a new Marxist-Lenist organization, the Committees of Correspondence.

At the Committees of Correspondence founding conference, Berkeley California, July 17-19, 1992, Barbara Lee was a candidate[6]for the CoC National Coordinating Committee, while a Democratic California State Assembly person[7].

CoC National Coordinating Committee

The following are listed in order of votes they received as members of the Committees of Correspondence National Coordinating Committee, elected at the Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s held at Berkeley California July 17-19.:[8]

Barbara Lee Greeting to Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, March 1998

In the March 21, 1998 edition of the People's Weekly World PWW, page 16, "Lincoln vets honor Robeson", "Greetings to the crowd of more than 1,000 were presented by State Senator Barbara Lee, who is a candidate for Congress to succeed the retiring Rond Dellums. Lee condemned the current blockade against Cuba as 'wrong' and called for its removal, to be replaced by a 'normalizing' of relations with Cuba."

"The Cuban people," said Lee, "should be allowed to determine their own course of action in accordance with self-determination." Lee also attacked California Gov. Pete Wilson for his opposition to affirmative action and for his denial of prenatal medical care to thousands of California's non-citizen immigrants."

"Making Trouble"

Democratic Left Issue 1998, page 6

Making Trouble- Building a Radical Youth Movement' was held April 17-19, 1998 Berkeley, California.

"Making Trouble" is a conference for young radicals from all over California to meet, form coalitions, and get informed. We will focus on the Prison Industrial Complex and the contemporary Labor Movement, but there will also be workshops on Environmental Justice, the Unz initiative, Art and Revolution, Immigration, Third World Organizing, Economic Globalization, Affirmative Action, Reproductive Rights, and much more.

Keynote Speaker: Barbara Ehrenreich

Invited speakers included;[9]

Progressive Caucus SOTU Address

On Thursday, January 27 2000, from 3:30pm to 5:00pm in 2253 of RHOB, the Congressional Progressive Caucus held its 3rd Annual Congressional Progressive Caucus' State of the Union Address. This event was also sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies' Progressive Challenge coalition whose Fairness Agenda for America is endorsed by 200 public interest groups nationally.

Caucus Chair Rep. Peter DeFazio(D-OR) stated "The Progressive Caucus Alternative State of the Union will provide a much needed reality check to politicians who would rather ignore the priorities of Americans left out of the economic boom -- priorities like access to quality health care and education, repairing crumbling schools, addressing the growing gap between the rich and poor, and creating a sustainable global economy that works for everyone, not just the corporate architects."

Anticipated speakers included: Peter DeFazio (D-OR), House Minority Whip David Bonior (D-MI), Earl Hilliard (D-AL);Dennis Kucinich (D-OH); Cynthia McKinney (D-GA);. Major Owens (D-NY)Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Tammy Baldwin (D-WI);. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY);Barbara Lee (D-CA); Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); and Lynn Woolsey(D-CA). John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies also made some remarks regarding public interest groups support of a progressive agenda.[10]

The Congressional Progressive Caucus, Chaired by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), consists of over a quarter of the House Democrats, one Independent and Senator Paul Wellstone. The Caucus will be releasing position papers on Health Care and Income Inequality, with reports on the Alternative Federal Budget, Social Security, Minimum Wage, Education and the Global Economy.

DSA connection

Support from Democratic Socialists of America

San Francisco Bay Area Democratic Socialists of America supported[11]Barbara Lee's sole dissenting vote in Congress after the 9/11 attacks.

The DSA national convention passed a resolution condemning the September 11 attacks, supporting in principle the selective use of multilateral armed force, and calling for a halt to the bombing. Its text, along with previous statements by DSA on the war, will presumably be available at the national web site soon. The Sacramento local and the anti-racism commission issued a prior statement, also available as an MS Word document. The East Bay local will be working for the re-election of Barbara Lee, the sole member of Congress to oppose a resolution granting sweeping, vaguely specified war powers to our illegitimate President.

DSA supported Vaccines Compensation Bill

Democratic Socialists of America backed Dennis Kucinich nationally with his 2002 HR2459 Vaccines Compensation bill.

Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee both co-sponsored Kucinich's Kill

According to the minutes of a January 5, 2002 SF DSA Steering Committee meeting;[12]

According to a (fundraising) call from DSA, supporting HR2459 is a national DSA project. The idea is to contact representatives about co-sponsoring the bill, which comes from Dennis Kucinich and is supported by the progressive caucus. Everyone said they would contact their rep (neither Pelosi nor Lantos has signed on; Woolsey and Lee are co-sponsors).
This led to the question of the best way to contact Congress post anthrax scare. The feeling was regular mail might not get through, and probably a phone call would have the greatest impact. e-mail is another option.

DSA staffer?

One time Democratic Socialists of America member Nancy Skinner was a Field Manager for Barbara Lee's 2002 Congressional campaign.[13]

Paul Wellstone tribute

As the 2004 Democratic National Convention was poised to open in Boston , Jobs with Justice, , hosted a living tribute to the late Senator Paul Wellstone on July 25. Hundreds filled the historic Old West Church to tackle the question, “What must the Democratic Party do to live up to the progressive vision of Paul Wellstone?”

“Paul had the courage to stand the pain that comes with standing for something and not fall for anything,” said United Steelworkers of America union International President Leo Gerard. “That’s what the Democratic Party needs right now. He gave people a reason to fight, to hope.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), another panel member, called for “Wellstone Democratic Clubs” to mobilize neighborhoods into the political process to re-order national resources.

Many in the audience were students at Camp Wellstone, a workshop conducted in Boston for prospective candidates and campaign workers conducted by Wellstone’s campaign manager, Jeff Blodgett, also on the panel.

Rep. Major Owens (D-N.Y.) pointed out that too many liberals, including himself, voted for “welfare reform” in 1996. He praised Wellstone as the lone voice defending welfare at the time.

Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner quickly jumped in, igniting the audience with a clarion call for popular direct action to ensure accountability from a Kerry administration. “We need Kerry there and we need to be there to purge the cancer (of the Bush administration) from the soul of the body politic,” he said.

When Horace Small, the moderator, pooh-poohed the importance of trade in this election, Jim Hightower, author and radio personality, nearly jumped out of his seat.

“Tell that to Texas farmers who are losing their farms or workers who have lost their jobs to NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement),” Hightower said. “Who the hell elected the WTO (World Trade Organization)? Right now, in Washington, there are too many 5-watt bulbs sitting in 100-watt sockets. The people are revolting – in the best sense. I think we are going to get George.”

Confessing to once being a Republican, columnist Arianna Huffington reminded the assembly of all the dirty tricks and disgusting tactics that are on the horizon as November nears. Saying that “Mobilization is the key,” she proposed reaching out to the 50 percent of the eligible electorate that stayed home in 2000. “If we are able to just energize 10 percent of those voters, we win.”

The program included the presentation of awards to two attorneys, Julie Patino and Nadine Cohen, both of whom have fought difficult battles to protect affirmative action and voting rights of Massachusetts residents and immigrants. Other panelists included Al Franken, media personality, noted Columbia professor Frances Fox Piven and Anna Burger, vice president of the Service Employees International Union.[14]

Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

An event "Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr" was held on April 4, 2004, at the infamously leftist Riverside Church in New York City.[15]

In bold letters, under a picture of Dr. King, was the following:


"Welcome Congresswoman Barbara Lee the first Congressional vote vs. Bush's war"

Apparently the speakers were:

Sponsored by:


1998 Cuba delegation

In December 1998, newly elected Rep Barbara Lee hosted an 11 member, five day mission to Cuba. Delegates included Oakland City Council members Ignacio De La Fuente, Henry Chang and Jane Brunner, who all paid their own way. On her return Lee intended to submit a written report to President Bill Clinton and Congress on the delegations findings. In October that year lee had been one of 17 Members of Congress who sent a letter to Clinton calling for a bi-partisan commission to review US-Cuba policy. [16]

1999 trip

On February 18 1999, six members of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus visited Cuba to evaluate the U.S.-imposed embargo. Among the visitors: Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee of California, Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas, Julia Carson of Indiana and others.[17][18]

Staffer's 2004 trip to Cuba

In May 2004, Julie Nickson from the office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee spent four days in Havana, Cuba, for the purpose of "fact finding". The trip cost $1,393.16 and was paid for by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation.[19]

Another Cuba trip

Barbara Lee with Raul Castro

In early April 2009, Rep. Barbara Lee led a congressional delegation to Havana for a 4-1/2 hour meeting with Raul Castro, telling reporters, "All of us are convinced that President Castro would like normal relations and would see normalization, ending the embargo, as beneficial to both countries." Reuters reported that Lee's delegation "avoided specifics" with Castro "but were struck by his humor, impressed by his involvement in Third World causes and firm in their belief that he wants to end U.S.-Cuba enmity."

The meeting between Castro, Lee, and five other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, took place in secret without the customary presence of a US State Department official. No reporters attended, and according to the New York Times, Cuban television, which covered the visit, offered no details of what was said.

Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Melvin Luther Watt (D-CA), and Barbara Lee. "Also participating were Patrice Willougby, executive assistant to the Congressional Black Caucus, and Eulada Watt, wife of Congressman Mel Watt,".

Bobby Rush said he found Raul Castro "to be just the opposite of how he's being portrayed in the media." AP quotes Rush as saying, "I think what really surprised me, but also endeared to him was his keen sense of humor, his sense of history and his basic human qualities." At times, Rush said, the lawmakers and Castro chatted "like old family members."

Lee says she wanted to influence President Barack Obama prior to the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Trinadad and Tobago.

Prior to the trip, Lee told her hometown Oakland Tribune newspaper that the US had to open up to Cuba, but did not demand that the Cuban government open up; she blasted US policy as "based on antiquated Cold War-era thinking." She could have used those words to describe her own views.[20]

Supporting medical training in Cuba

Teresa Glover, a 27-year-old medical student, told me during a recent visit to her medical school. "Nobody in my family has ever had the chance to be a doctor." Glover's mother is a teacher, and her father a dispatcher for the New York subway system. Her background is a mix of African American, Barbadian, and Cherokee. She graduated from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. "I wanted to be a doctor, but I wasn't sure how to get into medicine. I had decent grades, but I didn't have any money, and even applying to medical school cost a lot."

In her third year, Glover is negotiating the classic passage from the laboratory to the clinic. . She is enrolled at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM, which is its Spanish acronym) in Havana - a school sponsored by the Cuban government and dedicated to training doctors to treat the poor of the Western hemisphere and Africa. Twenty-seven countries and 60 ethnic groups are represented among ELAM's 8000 students.

In 2004, there were 88 U.S. students at ELAM, 85 percent of them members of minority groups and 73 percent of them women. Recruitment and screening are handled by the Interreligous Foundation for Community Organization , a New York-based interfaith organization.

The Bush administration's restrictions on travel to Cuba have been a thorn in the side of the program from the beginning. Since the Cuban government pays the students' room, board, tuition, and a stipend, the ban was not initially applied to them. But the administration's further attempts to curtail Cuban travel threatened the students and sent their families scrambling for political help. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) led a campaign of protest, and 27 members of Congress signed a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell asking that the ELAM students be exempted from the ban. In August, the administration relented and granted the students permission to remain in Cuba.[21]

Fidel Castro on Barbara Lee

On April 7, 2009, Fidel Castro wrote in Granma of his first meeting with Barbara Lee;[22]

She first traveled to Cuba accompanying the then black Congressman Ronald Dellums. She was his assistant and afterwards occupied his seat when he retired. On that occasion I had the honor of meeting her and admiring her combative spirit and capacity for struggle.

HR 3000

On September 3, 2003 Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced H.R. 3000, the United States Universal Health Service Act, which would provide health coverage for all Americans. H.R. 3000 would establish a United States Health Service (USHS), which would eliminate profit issues from health care because it would be owned and controlled by the public and administered primarily at the local level.

The decentralized system would provide high quality comprehensive care for all, regardless of one’s ability to pay. Lee’s bill would make high-quality preventive, acute and long term care available to everyone regardless of demographics, employment status, or previous health status. Over forty million individuals in America have no health insurance. Despite numerous debates and discussions, Congress has failed to provide a viable solution to this national crisis.

Access to health care directly impacts the welfare of individuals in many poor and minority communities. Of the uninsured, 56% are low income, and although minorities make up approximately 34% of the population, they comprise over half of the nation’s uninsured.

“The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide universal health care,” said Lee. “We must become a health care provider, not a denier of this fundamental right.”[23]

According to the Communist Party USA's People's World, initial supporters of HR 3000 were Julia Carson, (D-Ind.), Donna Christensen (D-Va.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Major Owens (D-N.Y.), Donald Payne (D-N.J.), and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).

The World went on to say;[24]

We will not win the United States Health Service without a massive, prolonged struggle by working people against the corporate defenders of the current for-profit health care industry.

Health Care Access resolution

John Conyers promoted House Concurrent Resolution 99 (H. Con Res. 99) Directing Congress to enact legislation by October 2004 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES April 4, 2001.

Sponsors:John Conyers (for himself), Jan Schakowsky, John Tierney, Barbara Lee, Donna Christensen, David Bonior, Dennis Kucinich, Earl Hilliard, Maurice Hinchey, Jerry Nadler, Donald Payne Chaka Fattah, Peter DeFazio, John Lewis Tammy Baldwin, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Cynthia McKinney, Jim Langevin, George Miller Alcee Hastings, Patsy Mink, John Olver , Bennie Thompson, Pete Stark, Julia Carson, and Mike Capuano submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce;[25]

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that the Congress shall enact legislation by October 2004 to guarantee that every person in the United States, regardless of income, age, or employment or health status, has access to health care..

Supporting Sandre Swanson

In 2006, Barbara Lee was one of many prominent Northern California leftists to serve on State Assembly hopeful Sandre Swanson's Honorary Campaign Committee.[26]

Communist Party connections

People's Weekly World Banquet 1997

Elected officials attending the 1997 Bay area People's Weekly World banquet, at His Lordships, Berkeley Marina, included State Senator Barbara Lee Assemblywoman Liz Figueroa, Alemada County Board of Supervisors president Keith Carson and Berkeley vice mayor and City Council member Maudelle Shirek.

Honored were Brian McWilliams, Santa Cruz County Central Labor Council, Amy Dean, South Bay Labor Council, Wilson Riles, Jr. regional director AFSC and Art Rodriguez of the National Labor Community Coalition for Public Works Jobs.[27]

Endorsed Communist Party 1999 PWW fund raiser

Peoples Weekly World, September 11, 1999

In September 1999, Rep. Barbara Lee co-sponsored a Communist Party USA fund raising event in Berkeley. Rep. Lynn Woolsey co-sponsored the same event. [28]

PWW 2001 banquet

Keynote speaker Eliseo Medina, Service Employees Union International executive vice president, received a standing ovation at the People’s Weekly World banquet in Berkeley Nov. 18 2001, when he sharply criticized Republicans for killing an economic stimulus program that would have benefited working families.

Instead, Medina said, they substituted measures that are actually “aid to our favorite dependent corporations.”

In addition to Medina, the banquet honored the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE), the Middle East Children’s Alliance, and Sacramento Activists for Democratic Trade. The event raised $11,000 for the 2001 Fund Drive.

Honorees received certificates of Congressional recognition by the office of Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), in whose district the event took place. Lee’s greeting was presented by her aide, Saundra Andrews.

“At this time of crisis, when world peace hangs in the balance and the rights of immigrants are under attack,” Lee’s statement said, “it is more important than ever that our community come together to honor the work and legacy of those who struggle to advance the cause of peace and justice for working people everywhere.”[29]

2002 PWW banquet

In a spirited tribute, the Northern California People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo banquet Oct. 13 honored “the heroes and heroines of the struggle against corporate greed,” and called for a big turnout against Republican “Bush-clones” in the Nov. 5 election. The banquet raised $8,000 for the PWW fund drive.

In her opening, Berkeley Vice Mayor Maudelle Shirek spoke of the growing movements in solidarity with West Coast port workers and against war. “So there is hope,” she said, “and a new movement that we must help nurture and grow.”

That movement includes the bloc in Congress that voted against the Bush war resolution, and those who supported Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-Calif.) peace resolution.

The banquet honored the Coalition for Workers Rights , Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Locals 2 and 2850, Sacramento Living Wage Campaign and Father Bill O’Donnell, known as “labor’s priest.” Each received certificates from Rep. Lee, in whose district the event took place, and from Wilma Chan, majority leader in the California Assembly, as well as from PWW/Nuestro Mundo. Elliott Kenin and the “Spirit of ’29” traditional jazz band and singer/songwriter Anthony J. Smith added to the upbeat spirit.[30]

2003 PWW banquet

Youth groups and unions on the front line for youth and workers’ rights were honored at the 2003 Northern California People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo banquet on Sunday, Nov. 9.

Following the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s victorious contract struggle in 2002, Longshore Local 10 President Henry Graham said the local and its brother locals are now focused on ensuring the giant shipping transnationals comply with the pact. The contract secured vital health and pension coverage, Graham said, but the union’s biggest challenge is employers’ constant efforts to cut the workforce, with clerks’ jobs under special pressure because of new technology.

Based on a survey last year of 1,000 students at three Oakland high schools, student organizers from Kids First "are pressing for real student council powers concerning school safety and security, teacher quality, classes and extracurricular activities". “We also believe helping youth take more ownership of issues affecting their daily lives is an important step to help lower the dropout rate,” Kids First Membership Coordinator Germaine Ashley told the PWW. Kids First formed eight years ago in the midst of the struggle to win more services for Oakland’s multiracial youth population.

Asian Youth Promoting Advocacy and Leadership "is campaigning for repeal of a 1996 federal law that says non-citizens can be deported for an offense with a prison sentence of a year or more'. AYPAL said this breaks up families, punishes people twice, and sends people who grew up in the U.S. to a culture they may no longer know. AYPAL, which comprises six youth social justice organizations in the Cambodian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian and Mien, Korean, Filipino and Pacific Islander communities, also works with prominent area artists to develop quality youth cultural performances.

Youth of Oakland United, the youth organization of PUEBLO (People United for a Better Oakland) was 'campaigning to win more jobs for both youth and adults". YOU’s video, “There Goes the ‘Hood,’” dramatized Mayor Jerry Brown’s plans to gentrify Oakland, while YOU organized against two of his favorite recent projects – a proposed anti-loitering law ostensibly against drugs, but actually targeting youth of color, and a $70 million anti-violence measure with most funds going to police instead of preventive programs.

Each honoree received a special congressional certificate from Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, in whose district the banquet was held. Berkeley Vice Mayor Maudelle Shirek extended a welcome to all the honorees and guests.[31]

2004 PWW banquet

The mood was both joyous and determined as Northern California supporters of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo gathered Oct. 8 2004 in Oakland, to celebrate their favorite newspaper and to rededicate themselves to the banquet’s theme — “Beat back Bush!”

The full-house, rainbow crowd honored leaders and organizations from the labor, antiwar, Cuba and Haiti solidarity movements and enjoyed a rich cultural program. Honorees received certificates of appreciation from area Congresswoman Barbara Lee and from Friends of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo.[32]

2006 PWWw event

Barbara Lee was involved[33]in a function organized for the Communist Party USA paper Peoples Weekly World, in Oakland California December 3 2006-as was Communist Party member Jacqueline Cabasso.

Dec. 3 was a day the People’s Weekly World can be proud of. Still celebrating the results of the Nov. 7 elections, readers held banquets and dinners in various places across the country, attracting elected officials, leaders of people’s movements and rank-and-file fighters for justice and democracy...
A highlight of the Northern California banquet in Oakland was hearing former Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney, now an energetic 95. He told the multigenerational, multiracial audience about the years-long struggle to integrate Major League Baseball, leading up to Jackie Robinson’s first appearance with the Brooklyn Dodgers in April 1947...
Other honored guests included anti-nuclear-weapons leader Jackie Cabasso, the Blue Diamond Workers Organizing Committee and two Sacramento-based immigrant rights coalitions. All received certificates from U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee as well as from Friends of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo.

Communist Party support

A 2002 report by Joelle Fishman, Chair, Political Action Committee, Communist Party USA to the party's National Board, called for communist support for two California Congressional candidates-Michael Honda and Barbara Lee[34].

The priority labor campaigns deserve our support. In addition our work will take us beyond these races to election districts where we have organization and where there are strong pro-labor candidates, African American, Mexican American and Latino candidates such as Rep. Mike Honda and Rep. Barbara Lee.
Every district should consider where we can make a qualitative difference. What are the election campaigns where there is a labor or people's candidate, where we can participate in coalition to build a movement in that election district, and in the process build our Party.

Department of Peace

Speaking to a crowd of 200 peace activists March 11, in Oakland California, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) took the occasion to condemn the Bush administration’s plans to target seven nations with nuclear weapons.

“To think that the nuclear option is on the table as a viable strategy is terrifying,” said Lee. “We must keep peace out there as an option.”

Kucinich declared, “We have a crisis in the country – a crisis in the the lack of belief in the power of peace. The Bush plan,” he said, “challenges America morally. It raises the question of what America stands for.” Both statements were warmly applauded by the audience gathered to hear about a proposed Cabinet-level Peace Office initiated by Lee and Kucinich.

They were joined in their stand by Communist Party USA affiliated activist Jackie Cabasso, spokesperson for the Peoples Non-Violent Response Coalition, organizer of the event, who said, “The U.S. position needs to be condemned today, immediately! We need a Department of Peace, but we need some interim measures in the meantime.” The PNVRC was formed in the wake of the events of Sept. 11 to promote non-violence as the answer to terrorism.

The bill (HR-2459) that would set up the Department of Peace was introduced in Congress on July 11, 2001 by Kucinich; at that point there were 61 co-sponsors, including Lee.

The bill would order the federal government to set up a $3 billion a year agency with a Secretary of Peace who would be a member of the President’s Cabinet, and seven assistant secretaries. The mission of the Department would include: hold peace as an organizing principle; endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights; develop policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, non-violent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution of conflict, and structured mediation of conflict.

A national “Peace Day” would be declared as an occasion to urge all citizens to create peace.

The forum was moderated by leftist Oakland City Councilmember Nancy Nadel. Oakland teacher Jessica Wright, also spoke of the need to involve young people in peace work.[35]

"Revolutionary mole" letter

Frank Chapman is a long time Communist Party USA supporter. In the early 1980s he chaired a party front National Alliance Against Racist and Political Oppression. In the mid '80s he served on the board of another communist front, the U.S. Peace Council, alongside two future Barack Obama colleagues and supporters Alice Palmer and Representative Lee.

Just after Obama won the pivotal Iowa primary Chapman wrote a letter to the January 12, 2008 edition of the CPUSA's Peoples Weekly World;[36]

Now, beyond all the optimism I was capable of mustering, Mr. Obama won Iowa! He won in a political arena 95 percent white. It was a resounding defeat for the manipulations of the ultra-right and their right-liberal fellow travelers. Also it was a hard lesson for liberals who underestimated the political fury of the masses in these troubled times.
Obama’s victory was more than a progressive move; it was a dialectical leap ushering in a qualitatively new era of struggle. Marx once compared revolutionary struggle with the work of the mole, who sometimes burrows so far beneath the ground that he leaves no trace of his movement on the surface. This is the old revolutionary “mole,” not only showing his traces on the surface but also breaking through.
The old pattern of politics as usual has been broken. It may not have happened as we expected it to happen but what matters is that it happened. The message is clear: we can and must defeat the ultra-right, by uniting the broadest possible coalition that will represent an overwhelming majority of the people in a new political dynamic. We must quickly shed yesterday’s political perspective and get in step with the march of events.

Endorsing Barack Obama

Barbara Lee endorsing Barack Obama

While most California Democrats initially supported Hillary Clinton, in December 2008, California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, became the first California Democrat to endorse Barack Obama.

Lee wrote in the December 10 2008 Huffington Post[37];

I wanted to share some exciting news with you, as today I announced my endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.
Like so many Americans, I first heard Senator Obama when he delivered his electrifying speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Deep down, I knew I'd witnessed history in the making.
Barack Obama represents a bridge to the future. He embodies the hope and new direction that our country so desperately needs. As I've watched Senator Obama campaign for the presidency, I am convinced that he is a real agent of change; a man who can lead our nation in a new and positive direction.
This century cries for social, environmental, diplomatic, global, and neighborhood solutions to the misery that confronts far too many people in our own country and around the globe. I share Senator Obama's vision and active commitment to building a society based on activism, progressive values and a keen sense that we must act now and outside of the usual bounds of partisanship and expediency.
I know that a President Obama would find a prompt and effective way to end the occupation of Iraq and that he would strengthen U.S. diplomacy and international development as an instrument of national policy to prevent crises that lead to war and conflagration.
I know that a President Obama would place education, health care, poverty, economic security, criminal justice reform, climate change and all of the important domestic issues at the top of his agenda.
And, I know that a President Obama would make the eradication of HIV/AIDS at home and abroad a top priority.
I founded One Voice PAC as an organization dedicated to helping elect truly progressive candidates who will challenge the status quo. To that end, I am honored to endorse Senator Obama's candidacy and I hope you will join me in helping him secure the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

Progressive Democrats of America

Barbara Lee serves on the Advisory Board[38] of Progressive Democrats of America.

Congressional Progressive Caucus

As of February 20 2009 Barbara Lee was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[39]

Lee is a former co-chair of the organization.[40]

Ant Iraq War

An early and outspoken opponent of the Iraq War, the congresswoman repeatedly proposed legislation seeking early U.S. troop withdrawal. In 2007, she successfully blocked funds from being used to establish permanent military bases in Iraq. Her 2008 amendment requiring that any U.S. agreement to defend Iraq be expressly authorized by Congress or be included in a Senate approved treaty was stripped from a defense bill under the threat of a veto by President Bush.[41]

Calling on Israeli Govt. to lift Gaza Travel Ban

On Dec. 22, 2009, thirty-three U.S. Representatives wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling on her to request that the Israeli Government end the ban on student travel from Gaza to the West Bank. Barbara Lee was one of the signatories of the letter.[42] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Supported Lifting the Gaza Blockade

On Jan. 27, 2010, U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison and Jim McDermott led 52 other members of Congress in signing a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, calling for him to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. Barbara Lee was one of the signatories of the letter. [43] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

America's Future Now!

4685876289 397fd0972b zLee.jpg

Barbara Lee was one of the 148 speakers who addressed the 2010 America's Future Now Conference.[44]

21st Century Democrats

On July 28, 2010, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congressman Elijah Cummings and former "Green Jobs Czar", Van Jones spoke about the future of American politics at the kick-off event for 21st Century Democrats' 2010 Youth Leadership Speaker Series. The event was sponsored by Representative John Lewis and Senator Tom Harkin.[45] 21st Century Democrats is led by one-time DSAer, Jim Scheibel.

Committee to Stop FBI Repression delegation

In mid November 2010, a delegation from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression ( returned home from several days of bringing the "issue of the FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas of people doing international solidarity work and anti-war organizing to the U.S. Capitol". Three supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!, Deb Konechne of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Anh Pham, who is facing a reactivation of her subpoena and Joe Iosbaker, whose home was raided, spent two days meeting with U.S. Representatives on the issue. The delegation asked each Congressperson to sponsor a “Dear Colleague” letter condemning the raids and grand jury subpoenas. In the two days, the delegation met with either the Congressional Representative’s staff or the Representative themselves from the following 16 offices: Tammy Baldwin (WI), John Conyers (MI), Danny Davis (IL), Keith Ellison (MN), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Luis Gutierrez (IL), Mike Honda (CA), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL), Dennis Kucinich (OH), Barbara Lee (CA), Jim McDermott (WA), Jim McGovern (MA), Bobby Rush (IL), Linda Sanchez (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Maxine Waters (CA). The "meetings were positive, with all the offices expressing genuine concern about the situation. In some cases, because of the outpouring of calls from around the country, the U.S. Representatives were aware that the delegation was in Washington D.C. and the offices made time on their schedules to meet with the delegation. This reinforces the continuing importance of the solidarity work taking place around the country."

Rep. Conyers (MI), chair of the Judiciary Committee, directed the Counsel of the Judiciary Committee to meet with the delegation. Also, Rep. Ellison (MN) and his Congressional staff met directly with the delegation for a significant amount of time. rep. Ellison sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, expressing concern over the situation and is continuing to work on options to support his constituents affected. The delegation also received face-to-face meetings with Rep Gutierrez and Rep Davis from Chicago. Rep. Grijalva’s (AZ) office set up a meeting between the delegation and the Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the Congress of which rep. Grijalva is the chair. In addition, the office of Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Maxine Waters (CA) gave the delegation significant time and attention.

“It was clear that progressive Representatives of the Congress are very concerned about the FBI investigation. Overall, they were very thankful for our visit and for the information and analysis given to them The level of awareness about the raids and grand jury was varied, from little to full awareness, but the delegation certainly changed that. After the two days, our presence and purpose definitely created a stir in the halls of Congress. “The fact that we were able to interact with 16 legislative aides or Congress people themselves, during an extremely busy time of restructuring leadership in the Congress, exemplifies the attention this matter is receiving”, stated Joe Iosbaker.[46]

CPC San Francisco Jobs forum

After weeks of Republican attacks on President Obama in rural Iowa, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Barbara Lee on Tuesday August 17, 2011, took to the pulpit of an African American church in Oakland to hear directly from voters and defend the president and Democrats on the most critical issue of the 2012 presidential race - jobs.

"It is a time in our country when the American people know ... that serious job creation must take place," said Pelosi, speaking to reporters before addressing a supportive crowd of hundreds at the Acts Full Gospel Church in East Oakland, one of California's staunchest Democratic strongholds.

"It is a sad time. ... There is no magic formula," Pelosi said. "But we know there are things we can do differently."

She called on both parties and the dozen members of the recently appointed bipartisan congressional deficit "Super Committee" to work together to solve the jobs problem.

"We are a civilized nation, we are not the law of the jungle," she told the often-vocal group gathered in the church's cavernous hall. "We are a civilized community. ... We have to take this to a higher ground."

The event, headlined "Speak Out for Good Jobs Now," aimed to take testimony from Americans on their concerns regarding the economy from an audience overwhelmingly made up of African Americans and labor union loyalists - the heart of the party base and among those hit hardest by the recession.

Dozens filed up to mikes to tell their stories of unemployment. The session, organized by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was at times raucous, with some heckling or angrily chanting that it is time to "tax the rich."

Barbara Lee, who leads the Congressional Black Caucus, charged that Republicans, on the 224th day of their leadership in the House, had failed to produce a jobs bill or to deliver any solid proposals.

But both Pelosi and Lee, accompanied by Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose and Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, also aimed to draw sharp contrasts between Republican and Democratic agendas on jobs.

One participant in Tuesday's forum, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All, an Oakland nonprofit that works for green jobs, said clean energy has the potential to alleviate poverty by bringing high-quality jobs to urban communities. 'The green economy'

"What's most exciting about the green economy is that it offers the possibility to have manufacturing again, to actually create things ... in both the private and the public sector," she said. "And the greatest growth sector right now is clean energy."

Ellis-Lamkins drew applause when she said that, too often, the focus of politicians is "about who is in the back of the room yelling the loudest."

"What the folks in Washington, D.C., would have us do is fight each other," she said. "I want to make sure the story of tonight is that people of color need jobs ... solutions and jobs."[47]

SEIU donations

Lee is one of the top recipients of SEIU PAC funds, according to OpenSecrets, having received $59,999 in total from the Political Action Committee.[48]

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Barbara Lee in her successful House of Representatives run as candidate for California.[49]


Planned Parenthood

Lee received $1000 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008.

EMILY's List

Lee has been supported by EMILY's List during her campaigning.

Africa Action involvement

The following are members of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Policy Studies partner organization Africa Action as at Feb. 3, 2009[50]



The following have worked as staff members for Barbara Lee:[52]

External links


  1.] Congresswoman Barbara Lee: Still stuck in the Cold War, political Warfare, Michael Waller, accessed August 20, 2010
  2. Shirley Chisholm's 1972 Presidential Campaign, University of Illinois, Chicago, February 2005
  3. PWW, December 5, 1998, page 8 "Dialogue Delegation to Cuba", by Herb Kaye
  4. USPC conference brochure Yale University November 8-10, 1985
  5.] Congresswoman Barbara Lee: Still stuck in the Cold War, political Warfare, Michael Waller, accessed August 20, 2010
  6. CoC official ballot paper
  7. CoC official ballot paper
  8. Proceedings of the Committees of Correspondence Conference: Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the '90s booklet, printed by CoC in NY, Sept. 1992 (Price: $4)
  9. Dem. Left Issue 1998, page 6
  10. Common Dreams, Progressive Groups And Congressional Caucus To Present Their Third Annual Alternative State Of The Union Address, JANUARY 26, 2000
  12. Minutes of Jan 5, 2002 SF DSA Steering Committee
  13. official 2008 campain biography
  14. Wellstone legacy: Stand up and fight, July 31 2004
  15. People's Weekly World, PWW, March 27 - April 2, 2004, p. 2
  16. PWW, December 5, 1998, page 8 "Dialogue Delegation to Cuba", by Herb Kaye
  17. [ Cuba travel USA website, accessed dec. 13, 2010]
  18. Reflections of Fidel, The seven Congress members who are visiting us, Havana. April 7, 2009
  19. American Radio Works website: Trips sponsored by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation
  20.] Congresswoman Barbara Lee: Still stuck in the Cold War, political Warfare, Michael Waller, accessed August 20, 2010
  21. Fitzhugh Mullan, M.DAffirmative Action, Cuban Style, New England Journal of Medicine Volume 351:2680-2682 December 23, 2004 Number 26
  22. Reflections of Fidel, The seven Congress members who are visiting us, Havana. April 7, 2009
  23., Lee press release, September 3, 2003]
  24. Rep. Lee introduces universal health care bill, by: David Lawrence October 9 2003
  25. Dem. Left, Summer 2002
  26. Sandre Swanson website, Endorsements, accessed July 28, 2011
  27. PWW, Dec.6 1997 page 2
  28. Peoples Weekly World, September 11, 1999
  29. N. Calif. PWW banquet raises $ 11,000, by: Evelina Alarcon, December 7 2001
  30. , N. Calif. PWW call: Unity against Bush clones, by: Marilyn Bechtel October 25 2002
  31. PWW, Raising spirits and funds from coast to coast. by: Special to the World December 19 2003
  32. [, PWN. Calif. PWW banquet says: Beat back Bush!by: Special to the World October 15 2004]
  35. Peoples world, Reps. Lee, Kucinich call for Peace Dept. March 15 2002
  36. People's World, January 12, 2008
  39. Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
  40. official congressional bio, accessed July 30, 2011
  41. official congressional bio, accessed July 30, 2011
  42. John Dingell's House website: Letter to Hillary Clinton, Dec. 22, 2009
  43. The Minnesota Independent: Ellison, McCollum and Oberstar urge Obama to lift Gaza blockade, Jan. 26, 2010 (accessed on March 14, 2011)
  44. Our Future website: Take Back America 2010 Speakers (accessed on July 12, 2010)
  45. 21st Century Democrats: 2010 Youth Leadership Speaker Series (accessed on Feb. 9, 2011)
  46. Report on Congressional Delegation From the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, U.S. Peace Council website, posted Nov. 20, 2010
  47. [, SF Chronicle, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee push for jobs at forum, Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer San Francisco Chronicle August 16, 2011]
  48. SEIU PAC fund recipients
  49. CLW website: Meet Our Candidates
  52. Legistorm: Barbara Lee (accessed on Nov. 18, 2010)