Aaron Leonard

HEAVY RADICALS:
The FBI’s Secret War on America’s Maoists
A talk and discussion with visuals by Aaron Leonard

The RCP [Revolutionary Communist Party], RSB [Revolutionary Student Brigade], and its front groups...represent a threat to the internal security of the United States of the first magnitude.
—FBI Internal Assessment, 1976

Between 1968 and 1978 the FBI conducted a far-reaching “Internal Security” investigation against the largest Maoist organization to arise in the United States out of the sixties, the Revolutionary Union—later named the Revolutionary Communist Party. As a result of research conducted by author and historian Aaron Leonard and Conor Gallagher, including systematic filings of Freedom of Information Act requests, we now know that this “investigation” included: office break- ins, poison-pen letters, “bad-jacketing” (claiming dedicated members were police agents), deportations, firings, setting organizations and individuals against one another through rumor and provocation, and informant penetration into the very top of the group’s leadership.

Highlights of the presentation include:
— The Bureau’s secret efforts to split SDS—including backing what would be the Weatherman faction against the old left, Progressive Labor Party faction.
— The super-secret “Ad Hoc Committee for a Marxist-Leninist Party,” a whole cloth construction of the FBI which claimed to be a “pro-Chinese entity within the old Communist Party USA,” which was in fact used to disrupt the CP and the Revolutionary Union.
— The missionary couple the Bureau used to penetrate the Revolutionary Union’s executive committee and their later testimony to Congress.
— The FBI informant who sat on the Revolutionary Union’s highest leading body and his successful effort to disrupt a merger between the RU and the Black Workers Congress and the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Worker Party, which had been the Young Lords Party.

Aaron Leonard is a writer and historian. He is a regular contributor to Truthout, Rabble.ca, the History News Network, PhysicsWorld, and Canadian Dimension magazine. His research interests focus on twentieth century US history, particularly Sixties history. He is also a veteran political activist who has participated and written on events ranging from protests by Iranian students aiming to depose the Shah in the late 1970s, the street actions in the wake of the torture of Abner Louima in 1996, to the wave of demonstrations surrounding the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. He has a B.A. in Social Science with a concentration in History, magna cum laude, from New York University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
For additional information Aaron at:
www.heavyradicals.com or leonaa01@nyu.edu

Date: 
Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 7:30pm