When Barack Obama announced that “Forward” would be a campaign slogan for 2012, some pundits on the Right criticized the choice as an oversight by the President because it once was a popular term used in radical Socialist circles, particularly in Europe. Early in the 20th century, Karl Marx and Friedrick Engels published their works in a bi-monthly magazine called Vorwärts which is German for the word Forward. When written with an explanation mark, it means come on, let’s go! Vorwärts was more than a just a magazine; it was a rallying call used by Europe’s revolutionary Socialists.
The naivety of some Conservatives amazes me. Obama has proven to be very adept at communicating openly with his far Left followers without the Right even realizing it. Adopting the word Forward is just another case in point. The slogan rings a bell for radical socialists. Everyone else hears nothing but a new slogan.
Hope and Change also conveyed different images to different groups. So did “complete transformation”. Democrats, centrists, and even some conservatives interpreted Hope and Change in the context of Obama’s promises that he would bring unprecedented openness in government, a reduction of bi-partisan bickering, prompt return of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, closing of the Guantanamo prison camp and a stable recovery from the mortgage crisis.
But the radical Left saw a very different message. They knew what community organizing was. They saw the close association with Ayers and Dohrn and the farewell promise to ACORN that their concerns would be the first thing he would address as President. They saw Obama’s commitment to socialist based Black Liberation Theology. When political expediency forced him to renege on his vow never to turn his back on Rev. Wright, the preacher assured his parishioners that Barack hadn’t changed; his distancing of himself was just something he had to do in order to become President. It is in this context that the socialist Left puts meaning to the words Hope and Change. Early on, the Right wasn’t exactly sure what the pledge “to completely transform America” meant either, but his other audience did.
The consensus among socialist scholars is that America with its extensive prosperous middle class cannot be turned into a socialist society relying solely on the democratic process. Obama’s answer is Yes We Can. The Right wonders, can what? The radical Left knows exactly what.