HR Cover

Coming February 27, 2015 — from Zero Books

"Leonard and Gallagher break new ground in revealing the extent to which law enforcement will go to infiltrate, destabilize and ultimately destroy domestic political organizations that espouse a philosophy counter to the status quo. To better understand the current state of domestic surveillance and political repression, from Occupy Wall Street to the Edward Snowden revelations, start with this little gem of a book
.—T.J. English, Author of of The Savage City and Havana Nocturne

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• The  first ever history of the largest Maoist organization to arise in the U.S. in the tumultuous 1960's-70s.

• Details on the top secret Leibel  “Bergman Investigation, ” supervised by “Deep Throat,”  W. Mark Felt, and overseen by Bureau Director, J. Edgar                      Cl(C   Hoover.

• FBI memos and personal papers outlining the Bureau’s links with the journalists Victor Riesel and Ed Montgomery. Riesel, a nationally syndicated columnist based in New York and Montgomery a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist based in San Francisco, were two of the Bureau’s most critical ‘friendly news sources,’ whose talents were dispatched against the RU/RCP.

• Never-before revealed information on the collapse of Students for Democratic Society; the internal political struggles and the FBI’s efforts to leverage political differences to further their schismatic aims.

• The secret report on a diverse grouping of Americans touring China in 1971—including top leaders of the Revolutionary Union, William Hinton, and a delegation from the Black Panther Party, headed by Huey Newton-—documenting the Chinese concern over the state of Maoism in the United States.


From the book: 
As for the Bureau, no study up to now has explored the enormity of the effort it leveled against the RU/RCP. Indeed no study outside of those of the FBI and the House Internal Security Committee—Max Elbaum’s work and a few less than mainstream publications aside— has acknowledged in any meaningful way the existence of the group at all. Here what has been in play is an operating principle in US society, one that refuses to acknowledge, not just the legitimacy of the communist ideology, but whenever possible its very existence as an organized entity within the US; failing that, such entities are cast as the most marginal (and ridiculous) expressions of fringe politics.


In order to get a truer picture, one has to go to the US secret police. In that regard the following exchange in the 1980 Felt-Miller trial, this between US attorney John Nields and the FBI’s David Ryan is highly instructive:

Q. You were in charge of the Leibel Bergman investigation?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. And just to give the jury an idea, would you indicate, if you took the Leibel Bergman files and piled them one on top of the other, all the pieces of paper in the files, how high would it stack.
A. I have no idea. I think that you probably could tell me better.
Q. About, four, five, six feet high. Something like that.

leibel and vicki and flowers

Leibel Bergman (an RU founder) with Chinese friends in the Peoples Republic the mid-sixties. Also in the picture is Vicki Garvin, longtime African- American activists and Bergman’s wife. Courtesy Miranda Bergman and Lincoln Bergman, for the Victoria Garvin estate.


Ryan did not answer the question, instead saying the “FBI never judges the validity of its investigation by the size of its files.” Such dissembling aside, as is clear from his testimony and the investigation done for this book, the effort was massive. Yet Bergman — one of the most significant radicals of the 60s/70s era — for all intent of purposes is absent from the history books.

*****

There were several people at the University of California interested in forming an organization to aid victims of United States aggression [in] Vietnam. We felt that this was the least we could do in terms of making protest against what our Government was doing to the people of Vietnam and in order to show the American people and people across the world that all Americans do not, that the American people do not back this Government’s vicious, criminal war in Vietnam.—Steve Hamilton (an RU founder), testimony in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, August 1966.



Picture 2 Hamilton

Oakland Seven 1968  From l-r, Steve Hamilton, Bob Mandel, Reese Elrich, Terry Cannon, Frank Bardacke, Mike Smith.
(Not pictured, Jeff Segal). Courtesy ©Baron Wollman


*****

A strike, when it is not a token tactical ploy in ‘labour management relations’, is in many ways like a miniature revolution. Struggle, instead of collaboration, is the order of the day. The old individualistic ways of solving, blunting, or avoiding contradictions and confrontations give way to collective ways of facing them and fighting.— Bob Avakian writing on the Standard Oil Strike in "The Movement," March 1969.


Picture 3 Avakian

Bob Avakian  (an RU founder) speaking at the “Conference for a United Front Against Fascism.” Oakland Auditorium July 19th, 1969. Courtesy of KPIX


****

Depending on which side of the divide you were on, Stanford between 1969 and 1971 was either a place of exhilarating protest or, in the words of its former President Richard Lyman, “Pretty much a descent into hell.”

Picture 4 Franklin

2/10/1971 Students protest invasion of Laos outside the Computation Center at Pine Hall. Associate professor of English H. Bruce Franklin (an RU founder) argues with a police captain. Credit: Jose Mercado / Stanford News Service


 For a further advance look, see the articles below:

•  The FBI and the Shattering of Students for Democratic Society
• The Bureau and the Journalist: Victor Riesel’s Secret Relationship with the FBI
• The FBI Informant File of Sheila Louise O'Connor

COPYRIGHT 2014 AARON LEONARD