Politics & Policy

Mary Jo Kilroy, Socialist Revolutionary

Ohio candidate published socialist newspaper calling for revolution.

Given the strong prospects of Republican resurgence this year, the Left has taken to blaming their pending debacle on paranoia. Turn on Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow and you’ll hear snide jokes about how anyone who’s voting GOP this year has bought into a reds-under-the-beds narrative that every Democrat has socialist skeletons in his closet, mourns the demise of the Soviet Union, and wants to keep huge segments of the population dependent on government. This narrative, Democrats charge, is self-evidently ridiculous.

In the case of freshman Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy, of Ohio’s 15th District, every word of it is undeniably true.

There is already documentary evidence of Kilroy’s having had sympathies with socialist and radical left-wing groups in the past. In 2008, Kilroy’s opponent, Steve Stivers, criticized Kilroy for having been the editor of a socialist newspaper. Kilroy gave the limpest of defenses, offering only that she’d won an award for journalism for her work. Inexplicably, the line of inquiry was never followed up.

And as it turns out, Stivers didn’t give Kilroy enough credit. Not only was the freshman Democrat the editor of a socialist newspaper, she was also eventually its publisher, a frequent reporter and columnist for it, and a partner with none other than the head of the Democratic Socialists of Central Ohio, himself an unsuccessful candidate against then-representative John Kasich in 1992.

The paper in question is the Columbus Free Press, which was started in 1971 and continues to print today. Those seeking a sampling of the paper’s politics might have a gander at this excerpt from the late Nineties, shortly after Kilroy stepped down as publisher:

Capitalism is the enemy. . . . We need decent housing and food, good health care and child care, jobs, education, mass transit. Things we won’t get from capitalism because there’s no profit in serving the people. We need a new organization of society — socialism . . . and only through revolution will we get socialism. . . . In future issues the Free Press will develop and clarify the analysis and strategy necessary for socialist revolution.

Not single-payer health care, not more Head Start money: socialist revolution.

Kilroy’s association with the paper is undeniable. In a 1993 French documentary, Kilroy is shown discussing the necessity of left-wing action in the paper’s offices next to Bob Fitrakis, the aforementioned head of the Democratic Socialists of Central Ohio. By that time, the relationship was years long: Kilroy in fact began her career writing for the Free Press in 1987. She was an editor through 1990, at which point she suspended her association with the paper and entered politics, getting herself elected to the Columbus school board.

She’d later return to the newspaper as its publisher.

In fact, the issue announcing her return was something of a blockbuster, containing an editorial on a subject dear to the newspaper’s heart: Communism, and all the good it did for the world. An excerpt:

Capitalism has won. Communism has lost. We were right all along. They were wrong. Whatever the Soviets did between 1917 and 1991 was a bad mistake, and finally they have seen the error of their ways. All this self-congratulation ignores just a bit of history. . . . The Soviet protection of worker rights frightened Western leaders. . . . They were afraid that if they did not do something fast, they might go the way of the Russian tsar. The considerable sympathy for the Bolshevik Revolution among workers in Western Europe put pressure on Western governments to institute reform. . . . It was the Soviet Union that brought much of what is today considered progressive in government policy.

One suspects that the people of Ohio have a rather different idea of workers’ rights than did the Soviets, who murdered many millions like them.

As publisher, Kilroy was not shy about her politics, opining against school-choice programs and other commonsense reforms that did not conform to her far-left agenda. And the left-wingery grew to comic proportions when the paper devoted an entire issue to coverage of the annual awards given by the Democratic Socialists of Central Ohio. The list of awardees from 1994 can still be viewed at their website. It can also be viewed in a large, congratulatory advertisement in the February 1994 issue sponsored by Kilroy’s law firm, Handelman and Kilroy, congratulating all the winners of the socialists’ awards.

Kilroy left the paper when the nonprofit Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism took over publishing duties, but she continues her far-left associations, with Democratic Socialist operatives campaigning for her.

In this case, as in the cases of Van Jones and many others, the socialism charge is not paranoia: It’s all there in black and white.

– Mytheos Holt covers Ohio for National Review Onlines Battle 10.

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