HR Cover

Coming late 2014 — from Zero Books


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


• The untold story of the FBI's massive “Internal Security” investigation of the Revolutionary Union/Revolutionary Communist Party, drawing on thousands of pages of formerly secret documents.


• 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.





Cover photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post/Getty Images
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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—

TJ English, Author of The Savage City and Havana Nocturne


Based on impeccable research, Heavy Radicals explores the rise of the Revolutionary Communist Party in the late 1960s and 1970s. Militant Maoists, dedicated to revolutionary class struggle, the RCP was one of many organizations that fought to carry on the 60s struggle for radical change in the United States well after SDS and other more well known groups imploded David Farber, Author of The Age of Great Dreams: America in the 1960s




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 — has acknowledged, in any meaningful way (Max Elbaum’s work and a few less than mainstream publications aside), 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:

Photo courtesy Reading/Simpson 


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.

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.


Informant report submitted to the FBI on the RU’s Leibel Bergman, November 1973.



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 For an advance look check out the articles below.

• 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