David M. Axelrod was born February 22, 1955, to Myril Bennett Axelrod (who worked for PM, a leftist New York newspaper whose ranks were penetrated by communists seeking to advance the Stalinist line) and Joseph Axelrod (a psychologist who committed suicide in 1974). David would later describe his parents as “your classic New York leftist Democrats.” He grew up in Manhattan and, from an early age, engaged passionately in politics. At age ten, he canvassed for New York mayoral candidate John Lindsay (a Democrat); when he was thirteen, he sold campaign buttons and bumper stickers promoting Robert Kennedy for President.
Axelrod graduated from New York's Stuyvesant High School in June 1972 and enrolled, that fall, at the University of Chicago, where he majored in political science and wrote for the student newspaper. In late 1973 or early 1974, he secured a job as a political columnist for the Hyde Park Herald, a local weekly newspaper. His work at the Herald caught the attention of two particularly noteworthy individuals, David Canter and Don Rose:
David Canter (1923-2004) was the son of Harry Jacob Canter, a lifelong communist who: served as secretary of the Boston Communist Party; ran for governor of Massachusetts on the Communist Party ticket in 1930; earned a special invitation to Joseph Stalin's USSR in 1932; worked in Moscow as an official translator of Lenin's writings; and later taught at the Abraham Lincoln School, an infamous Chicago-based front that indoctrinated students in the teachings of Marx and Lenin. Like his father, David Canter was also a lifelong communist. He was educated in Stalin's Soviet Union from 1932-37, before returning with his family to the United States. He later became an attorney and developed ties to the National Lawyers Guild. In the Guide to Subversive Organizations and Publications, an exhaustive Congressional analysis compiled between 1955 and 1968, Canter's name appeared 25 times. On July 12, 1962, Canter was subpoenaed to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), where he was questioned about the agendas of Translation World Publishers, the pro-Soviet, Soviet-subsidized publishing house he had co-created with LeRoy Wolins, a well-known communist. Canter refused to answer any HUAC questions about his past or present membership in the Communist Party USA (CPUSA).
Canter's associate, Don Rose (who is still alive), was never proven to be a CPUSA member. He was, however, a member of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, an organization replete with communists and Sixties radicals. He also belonged to the Alliance to End Repression (a suspected Communist Party front), and he did some press work for the Students for a Democratic Society. In the 1960s, Rose and Canter collaborated to establish a far-left, pro-communist community newspaper called Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices, which echoed CPUSA propaganda.
David Axelrod - Discover the Networks