Introduction and Contents
In spring 1972 the US intelligence community became aware
that Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) was conspiring with other antiwar
groups and elements of Democratic Presidential candidate George McGovern's
campaign to violently disrupt the Republican National Convention that August.
Attempting to pre-empt a violent
confrontation, the FBI served subpoenas on Scott Camil and 22 other VVAW
members. 8 of those subpoenaed were
indicted for conspiring to incite a riot, and became known as the "Gainesville
Eight". As government prosecutors were
preparing their case against the Gainesville Eight, the FBI's New York field
office distributed a special report on the VVAW, summarizing information the
FBI had collected on VVAW involvement in Communist activity, espionage, and
sabotage. This report, which appears in
a later section of the FBI's VVAW file and has not been covered sufficiently by
writers such as Gerald Nicosia who have focused on earlier sections of the
file, is reproduced here. Topics
April-June 1967 creation of the VVAW:role of members of the Communist Party, Socialist Workers Party,
and Communist front groups such as Veterans for Peace:Pages 1-6 (pdf pages 32-37)
1970 Operation RAW:list of
speakers and the fraudulent resume of Al Hubbard:Pages 6-7 (pdf pages 37-38)
1971 Winter Soldier Investigation:its support by Senator Mark Hatfield and financing by Jane Fonda
and other radical sources:Pages
7-8 (pdf pages 38-39)
1971 Operation Dewey Canyon III:its support by Senator George McGovern and Ramsey Clark, and the
People's Coalition for Peace and Justice and other left-wing groups; its
funding sources; and its role in the political rise of John Kerry:Pages 8-9 (pdf pages 39-40)
1971:the VVAW's increasing role
in the Communist wing of the antiwar movement and espionage and sabotage
activity, its future plans, and its present threat to national
security:Pages 9-12 (pdf pages
mentioning second financial contribution from CP member Corliss Lamont,
listing signatories to VVAW ad, and describing VVAW corporate
records:Pages 13-14 (pdf pages
A guide to groups and individuals mentioned in the report is
also included. The guide emphasizes
subjects' activity up to 1972, the date of the FBI report, and for the most
part does not consider post-1972 activity of groups and individuals mentioned,
except where it retrospectively sheds light on activity up to 1972.
Guide to some key abbreviations
FBI filing codes:
100- :The first one to three digits of an FBI file classify which type
of offense the investigation recorded in the file involves.
Examples of classifications are Kidnapping,
Extortion, Narcotics, etc. The 100-
prefix indicates the subject of the file involves Domestic Security.
IS-RA:Internal Security--Revolutionary Activity.
This indicates the file subject involves
violent revolutionary activity.
SAC:Special Agent in Charge.
The FBI agent in charge of a local FBI field office.
OO:Originating Office. This
indicates which FBI field office originated the document.
In this document, the originating office
indicated is New York:"OO: NEW YORK".
Some select key abbreviations related to Communist activity
used in the FBI document:
CP and CPUSA:Both these terms refer to the Communist Party of the United States of
DRV:Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
MCHR:Medical Committee for Human Rights.
PCPJ:People's Coalition for Peace and Justice.
SWP:The Socialist Workers Party.
USSF:United States Servicemen's Fund.
VFP:Veterans for Peace.
VVAW:Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
Guide to key groups (most significant groups listed first, others in
relative order of appearance)
Communist Party of the United States of America (aka CP,
America's main Communist party,
founded in 1921 when two earlier parties merged following orders from Soviet
dictator Vladimir Lenin. Under Soviet
direction, CPUSA both functioned as a public political party and supported
underground espionage and sabotage activity. During the Cold War CPUSA supported the American antiwar movement
through front groups that networked with the Soviets' main international
antiwar front, the World Peace Council (WPC).
After the issuing of Executive Order 10450 (EO 10450) in 1951, the
Department of Justice legally designated CPUSA as a subversive organization and
affiliation with CPUSA as a security risk, and federal employees were required
to sign a form stating that they were not affiliated with CPUSA or a list of
related groups. Department of Defense
Directive 1334. 1, issued in August 1969 and operant during the height of VVAW
activity, likewise forbid members of the military from wearing their uniforms
while attending functions of groups designated under EO 10450.
The CP interacted with the VVAW through
various front groups and infiltrated groups, including Veterans for Peace, the
New York Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee, the Citizens' Commission of
Inquiry into War Crimes in Indochina, the People's Coalition for Peace and
Justice, the World Assembly for the Peace and
Independence of the Peoples of Indochina, and the Miami Convention
Socialist Workers Party (SWP):
An offshoot of CPUSA formed in 1938 by Communists who had broken
away from the leadership of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin to follow Stalin's
rival Leon Trotsky. CPUSA sought to
neutralize Trotskyite opposition by infiltrating the SWP, and during certain
periods high-ranking SWP leaders were secretly Soviet agents.
After Fidel Castro's 1958 Communist
revolution in Cuba, the SWP supported Cuban operations in the United States and
became a high-priority target for FBI surveillance.
Like CPUSA, the SWP was designated as a subversive organization
under Executive Order 10450 and Department of Defense Directive 1334. 1,
prohibiting federal employees and servicemen from affiliating with the
SWP. The SWP interacted with the VVAW
primarily through its domination of the New Mobilization Committee to End the
War in Vietnam (New Mobe) faction that became the National Peace Action
Veterans for Peace aka Veterans for Peace in Vietnam
Veterans antiwar group founded
in Chicago in 1966 by Leroy Wolins, a CP member and leader of the New
Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.
Modeled on American Veterans for Peace (AVP), a CP front formed
in 1951 to protest the Korean War.
Headquartered in Chicago at 431 South Dearborn, Room 813, apparently
with another branch at 7127 South Chicago Avenue.
Wolins worked with New York CP, SWP, and VFP members, the New
York Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee, and Vietnam veteran Jan Barry Crumb
to attract Vietnam veterans to the antiwar movement through a May 30, 1967 VFP
Memorial Day demonstration. During this
demonstration Crumb recruited five veterans, who joined him to convene the
first meeting of the VVAW on June 1, 1967.
VFP continued to support the VVAW as it grew and expanded, and remained
particularly close to the VVAW in certain regional branches such as the Chicago
NOTE: There is also a present-day group called Veterans for Peace that
was formally founded in 1985.
Antiwar groups linked to VFP:
Ad Hoc Veterans Committee for
Memorial Day Peace Action:
by VFP to attract veterans to May 30, 1967 Memorial Day antiwar
demonstration. Secretary was CP member
Arthur Knight. Headquartered in New
York at 5 Beekman Street, a building shared by the New York Fifth Avenue Peace
Parade Committee and numerous other antiwar groups with CP links.
The VVAW gave 5 Beekman Street as its
address when it opened its first Post Office Box on June 4, 1967.
Chicago Peace Council:
A Chicago antiwar group organized in 1965 by
a coalition representing the CP, SWP, and other left-wing groups and headed by
Sylvia Kushner. Kushner was a CP member
as well as a leader of the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in
Vietnam, and she joined other antiwar leaders in meeting with representatives
of North Vietnam in Quebec, Canada on January 31, 1970, approximately a week
before Vancouver, Canada hosted a February 7-8 meeting of the World Peace
Council, the Soviets' main international antiwar front.
The Chicago Peace Council was headquartered
at 1608 West Madison Street, in a building owned by John Rossen, a CP member
who was a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigades (a Communist front that
fought in the Spanish Civil War) and had been an official in the Fair Play for
Cuba Committee (a pro-Castro group).
The Council's headquarters was shared by Students for a Democratic
Society and the Student Mobilization Committee, antiwar groups that travelled
with the CP and SWP.
New York Fifth Avenue Peace Parade
Committee (aka Fifth Avenue Vietnam Peace Parade Committee, FAVPPC, etc.):
A New York antiwar group founded in 1965 by
Norma Becker. Becker
belonged to the War Resisters League (WRL), a pacifist group that collaborated
with North Vietnam and the CP during the Vietnam War, and she travelled to
Montreal, Canada for the November 28-December 1, 1968 Hemispheric Conference to
End the Vietnam War in Montreal Canada, a Communist international front
conference. The FAVPPC operated
out of a building on 5 Beekman Street that hosted numerous antiwar groups
travelling with the CP, including the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the
Committee for Nonviolent Action, and the Catholic Peace Fellowship, and it was
described in a 1970 Congressional report as "dominated by communists".
The VVAW gave its address as 5 Beekman
Street when it opened its first Post Office Box, held early meetings in another
building used by the FAVPPC at 156 Fifth Avenue, and later moved into the
New Mobilization Committee to End
the War in Vietnam aka New Mobe:
National coordinating body for antiwar demonstrations formed in July
1969 out of a previous group, the National Mobilization Committee to End the
War in Vietnam (Mobe). Mobe leaders
formed the New Mobe following a May 1969 meeting in Stockholm with the Soviet
front group the World Peace Council, North Vietnam representative Nguyen Minh
Vy, and Vietcong representative Nguyen Thi Binh to plan antiwar demonstrations
for that fall. The New Mobe was
dominated by rivalry between a faction led by the CP and a faction led by the
SWP. By 1970 it had split into two
groups:the CP-dominated National
Coalition Against War, Racism and Repression (NCAWRR), led by Sidney Peck and
later renamed the People's Coalition for Peace and Justice (PCPJ) after January
1971; and the SWP-dominated National Peace Action Coalition (NPAC), led by
Jerry Gordon. At the request of North
Vietnamese ambassador Xuan Thuy, the PCPJ and NPAC cooperated in a tense
alliance to support the VVAW's April 1971 Dewey Canyon III demonstration and
the follow-up Mayday demonstration. In
1969 the VVAW's GI counterpart Serviceman's Link to the Peace Movement (LINK)
shared office space with the New Mobe and the Vietnam Moratorium Committee at
1029 Vermont Avenue NW in Washington, DC, and during preparations for Dewey
Canyon III in 1971 the VVAW shared office space in the same building with the
PCPJ and NPAC.
Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW):
Veterans-oriented antiwar group founded on
June 1, 1967. Inspired by VFP
participants in a New York April 1967 New York Fifth Avenue Peace Parade
Committee (FAVPPC) demonstration and founded with VFP support through a May
1967 VFP Memorial Day demonstration.
VVAW gained national publicity between 1970 and 1972 by organizing
veterans' antiwar marches, accusing US soldiers of war crimes, physically
taking over national monuments, and disrupting the 1972 Republican National
Convention. During this period the VVAW
worked with various CP, SWP, and Revolutionary Union (RU, a Maoist offshoot of
Students for a Democratic Society) fronts and sent delegations abroad to attend
Soviet front group events and meet North Vietnamese and Vietcong
representatives. Some VVAW chapters
also supported the Venceremos Brigade in organizing delegations to Cuba.
United Vets for Peace and Freedom in Philadelphia:
A veterans-oriented antiwar group formed in
Philadelphia at the same time VVAW was formed in New York.
Groups funding VVAW's Winter Soldier Investigation:
United States Servicemen's Fund (USSF):
GI-oriented antiwar group
formed in 1970 to recruit active servicemen to the antiwar movement and provide
financial and legal support to soldiers opposing the war.
USSF recruited GIs through a network of
coffeehouses located near military bases and through antiwar newspapers
distributed at military bases. Led by
Paul Lauter, who was active in the American Friends Service Committee, Students
for a Democratic Society, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and
Resist, Inc. Sponsors
and supporters of USSF included CP-linked Congresswoman Bella Abzug, Black
Panther-endorsed Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, antiwar professor Noam Chomsky,
CP-linked feminist Betty Friedan, Village Voice writer Nat Hentoff, and
several unions. USSF supported the
F. T. A. troupe associated with Jane Fonda.
Groups funding USSF:
Fund for Tomorrow, Inc.:
Left-wing charity founded as a spin-off of
the Rubin Foundation, a major financier of CP activity.
The Rubin Foundation was founded by Faberge
millionaire Samuel Rubin, a CP member and friend of Armand Hammer, who was the
Soviets' chief financial agent in the United States.
It became the chief financier of the Institute for Policy Studies
(IPS), a think tank linked to Soviet and Cuban agents used to coordinate
various left-wing groups in the US and abroad.
Rubin's daughter Cora Rubin Weiss (see entry) and her husband Peter
Weiss (see entry), a member of the CP-connected National Lawyers Guild (NLG)
and a leader of IPS as well as a lawyer for the VVAW, administered the Fund for
Stern Family Fund aka Stern Fund:
Left-wing charity founded
to distribute the fortune of the heirs of Sears, Roebuck & Company chairman
Julius Rosenwald, a financier of left-wing causes.
Rosenwald's own fortune was initially administered through the
Julius Rosenwald Fund, whose second director, Alfred K. Stern, fled to
Czechoslovakia in 1958 after being indicted on three counts of spying for the
Soviet Union. Later a separate Stern
Fund was established in 1936 by Julius' daughter Edith Rosenwald Stern (wife of
Alfred's brother Edgar Bloom Stern, a New Orleans businessman), and in turn her
son Philip Maurice Stern later endowed the Stern Family Fund upon his death in
1992. Under executive director David
Romeyn Hunter, the Stern Fund provided much of the initial endowment for the
Institute for Policy Studies, a Marxist think tank linked to Soviet and Cuban
Groups supporting VVAW's Operation Dewey Canyon III:
Medical Committee for Human Rights
Group set up in June 1964 to
provide medical care to civil rights workers participating in Freedom Summer, a
project organized by a coalition called the Mississippi Council of Federated
Organizations, which was led by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and
included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
MCHR was co-founded by Dr. H. Jack Geiger, who was also a cofounder of
CORE and of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), and later a president
of the Soviet front International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
People's Coalition for Peace and
group formed in February 1971 by former members of the New Mobilization
Committee to End the War in Vietnam (New Mobe) who advocated civil disobedience
rather than mass organized demonstrations.
PCPJ emerged from a previous New Mobe offshoot called the National
Coalition Against War, Racism and Repression (NCAWRR) that had been formed in
September 1970. After a contentious
January 1971 meeting between NCAWRR and its rival, the SWP-dominated New Mobe
offshoot the National Peace Action Coalition (NPAC), NCAWRR dissolved and its
members formed the PCPJ. Both NCAWRR
and PCPJ were led by Sidney Peck, a former CP member linked to the Soviet front
group the World Peace Council (WPC).
The PCPJ's coalition included the CP and various collaborating groups
such as the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the War Resisters League, and the
American Friends Service Committee. In
coordination with North Vietnamese ambassador Xuan Thuy, the PCPJ co-organized
the April-May 1971 Washington, DC demonstration that included the VVAW's Dewey
Canyon III rally and the PCPJ and May Day Tribe's Mayday riot.
The VVAW and PCPJ had offices across the
street from each other in New York at 155 and 156 Fifth Avenue respectively in
early 1971, and during the planning for the Dewey Canyon III/Mayday event the
PCPJ and VVAW shared office space on the 9th floor of 1029 Vermont Avenue NW in
Washington, DC, which was the same building the VVAW's GI counterpart
Serviceman's Link to the Peace Movement (LINK) had previously shared with the New
Mobe and Vietnam Moratorium Committee in 1969.
After Dewey Canyon III and Mayday the Washington DC branch of the VVAW
and the PCPJ continued to share office space, and the PCPJ and VVAW continued
to co-organize demonstrations into at least 1972.
PCPJ literature from this period listed
Hubbard on the PCPJ Coordinating Committee, where he sat alongside Jarvis
Tyner, the CP's 1972 Vice-Presidential candidate, and Gil Green, a high-ranking
member of the New York CP.
The PCPJ and the War Resisters League cosponsored an August 1971
trip to Hanoi by Joe Urgo, whom Hubbard was training to assist his leadership
of the VVAW. PCPJ leader Sidney Peck
travelled with VVAW leader Al Hubbard to France to attended the
February 11-13, 1972 World Assembly for the Peace and
Independence of the Peoples of Indochina (see entry), sponsored by the Soviet
fronts the World Peace Council (WPC) and the Stockholm Conference on Vietnam.
Mayday aka May Day Collective, May
Violent faction of the PCPJ
led by Rennie Davis during the Mayday riot in Washington, DC in May 1971.
The son of President Truman's Council of
Economic Advisers chief of staff John C. Davis, Davis had previously worked as
a national organizer for SDS and the National Mobilization Committee to End the
War in Vietnam, and in those capacities had travelled to North Vietnam in 1967
and 1969. He was convicted of inciting
a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and sentenced to
five years in jail in February 1970, but was released on bail pending an
appeal. Following South Vietnam's
US-supported April 1970 invasion of Cambodia, Davis and Arthur Waskow of the
Institute for Policy Studies began planning massive civil disobedience to shut
down Washington, DC. These civil
disobedience plans developed into the 1971 Mayday riot, scheduled to
immediately follow the VVAW's Dewey Canyon III and a follow-up week of NPAC-led
demonstrations and to force the US government to accept the terms of a
"People's Peace Treaty" dictated by North Vietnam.
During the planning for these events, the May Day Tribe occupied
the 10th floor of 1029 Vermont Avenue NW in Washington DC, the floor
above that shared by the PCPJ and VVAW.
Hundreds of VVAW members, including Al Hubbard, stayed in Washington
after Dewey Canyon III to participate in the Mayday riot.
Former members of the May Day Tribe also
participated in the VVAW's riot at the 1972 Republican National Convention.
World Assembly for Peace, aka
World Assembly for the Peace and Independence of the Peoples of Indochina:
International antiwar assembly held in
Versailles, France from February 11-13, 1972.
Sponsored by the World Peace Council (WPC), the Soviets' main
international antiwar front; and the Stockholm Conference on Vietnam (aka World
Conference on Vietnam), a similar KGB front set up by WPC chairman Romesh
Chandra, which in turn sponsored the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation's
International War Crimes Tribunal, the inspiration for the VVAW's Winter
Soldier Investigation. The
assembly's timing coincided with the WPC's World Peace Congress and a meeting
of another Soviet front, the World
Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) World Youth Congress.
Over 1200 delegates from 84 countries
attended the assembly, including delegates from North Vietnam.
US organizations sending delegates included
the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; the American Friends
Service Committee; Women Strike for Peace; the National Welfare Rights
Organization; Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam; the National Peace
Action Coalition; and the People's Coalition for Peace and Justice (PCPJ); and the VVAW. VVAW leader
Al Hubbard attended the World Assembly for Peace, travelling there with PCPJ
leader Sidney Peck, while his fellow New York VVAW associate Ed Damato attended
the World Peace Congress, and another New York VVAW
associate, Joe Urgo, attended the World Federation of Democratic Youth
Congress. After the assembly, Hubbard
and delegates from Laos and Cambodia discussed plans for a seven-man VVAW
delegation to visit Hanoi. Hubbard and
Urgo reported on their respective conferences to a VVAW National Steering
Committee meeting in Denver, Colorado on February 20, 1972, and follow-up
discussions on the planned delegation were held at a VVAW National Steering Committee
meeting in Houston, Texas on April 11, 1972.
Ad Hoc Military Build-up Committee (aka AHMBC, Ad Hoc Committee on U. S. Military Buildup in Indochina):
Espionage/propaganda operation set up in
April 1972 by the Boston VVAW's Intelligence Center under VVAW Regional
Coordinator Mike Roche to gather information on US military activity and
disseminate it to antiwar media. The
AHMBC grew out of VVAW participation in a similar Philadelphia-based operation
called the National Action/Research on the Military/Industrial
Complex (NARMIC), set up in September 1969 by the American Friends
Service Committee (AFSC) and run in collaboration
with the Soviet- and Cuban-linked Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the
pro-Castro IPS affiliate the North American Congress On Latin America (NACLA),
and other anti-defense and armament research organizations.
The AHMBC was composed of the Chicago Area
Military Project, a group which maintained contact with military bases all over
the world and was linked to Chicago VVAW leader Bart Savage; the GI Movement,
the active-duty counterpart to the veterans movement represented by the VVAW;
and the GI Press Service, an antiwar paper published by the Student
Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (Student Mobe) out of the same
address at 1029 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, DC shared by the New
Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam and the VVAW's GI counterpart
Serviceman's Link to the Peace Movement (LINK) in 1969.
Other groups working with VVAW:
La Raza Unida aka La Raza Unida
Party, Raza Unida Party (RUP), Southwest Council of La Raza (SWCLR), National
Council of La Raza (NCLR):
nationalist party founded in 1970. RUP
emerged from the Crusade for Justice (CFJ, aka La
Crusada Por Justicia), a Chicano organizing group founded in 1966 by
Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzalez. Gonzalez'
father had served in the army of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa.
After unsuccessfully attempting to pull the
Denver Democratic Party's welfare policies further left through its Neighborhood
Youth Corp (NYC), Gonzalez split with conventional politics over the course of
1966-1967 to start a Chicano-oriented branch of the civil rights movement,
joining the antiwar movement in the process and attracting FBI surveillance.
Inspired by the example of the Black Panther
Party, he formed the CFJ to promote Chicano nationalism and socio-political
participation. La Raza Unida emerged as
CPJ's political arm in Colorado, and similar parties formed in other
Southwestern states, leading to the formation of the Southwest Council of La
Raza (SWCLR) in 1968 and a national convention in 1972 wherein SWCLR became the
National Council of La Raza (NCLR).
During the 1968-1972 period Communist-linked organizer Cesar Chavez
became active in the La Raza Unida movement, and SWCLR began to receive funding
from some of the same left-wing sources funding Chavez, such as United Auto
Workers, the National Council of Churches, and the Ford Foundation.
At the time of Dewey Canyon III in spring
1971 the Colorado CFJ and La Raza Unida participated in antiwar events with the
Colorado Peace Coalition (CPC), a SWP-led coalition which included the Colorado
Black Panther Party (BPP):
Black political party that rejected the
civil rights movement's nonviolent tactics in favor of revolutionary
tactics. Founded in Oakland in 1966 by
Marxist-Leninists Huey Newton and Bobby Seale on the model of Stokely
Carmichael's Alabama-based Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO).
In the late 1950s Carmichael had attended
the Bronx High School of Science with a group of young Communists that included
the son of high-ranking CP member Eugene Dennis, and had joined a Marxist study
group and participated in CP-organized demonstrations against the House
Un-American Activities Committee. His
subsequent college career at Howard University brought him into contact with
the civil rights group the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC),
and while working for SNCC he was invited to a conference at the Institute for
Policy Studies (IPS), a Marxist think tank linked to Soviet and Cuban agents,
in 1964. The next year, while
organizing a SNCC black voter registration drive in Alabama, Carmichael founded
the first all-black political party, the LCFO, which chose for its party symbol
a black panther logo. A civil rights
worker returning from Alabama to Oakland brought news of the LCFO to Newton and
Seale, who requested permission to adopt the black panther as the name for a
new, Oakland-based black political party, originally founded in October 1966 as
the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, later shortened to simply the Black
Panther Party. By this time Carmichael
had become head of SNCC, and in May 1967 Newton recruited him to the BPP.
That summer Carmichael and his SNCC
associates Julius Lester and George Ware travelled to Cuba as delegates to the
July 31 through August 10 Organization of Latin American Solidarity (OLAS)
conference, a gathering of guerrilla movements from throughout Latin America,
where Carmichael saluted Che Guevara and expressed solidarity with the Cuban
revolution and the Vietcong. From Cuba,
Carmichael travelled to China, North Vietnam, and Guinea, where Communist
fellow traveller Shirley Du Bois had arranged for him to meet leaders of the
Soviet-supported Pan African Movement.
Following Carmichael's return to the US, SNCC merged with the BPP in
February 1968, the BPP appointed Carmichael its Honorary Prime Minister, and
the SNCC-BPP coalition joined a coalition of white radicals from Bob Avakian's
Peace and Freedom Party, which represented a Maoist faction of Students for a
Democratic Society (SDS). This
coalition soon splintered, with SNCC expelling Carmichael and the BPP and SDS
splitting into factions over partisan and tactical disputes.
Meanwhile some chapters of the BPP had
developed organized criminal associations with prostitution and drug rings,
which together with the BPP's violence and Communist ties led the FBI to
publicly identify the BPP as the "greatest threat to the internal security of
the country" in September 1968. The
next year, the BPP began to develop ties to the VVAW through charismatic black
VVAW recruit Al Hubbard, who advocated turning the VVAW into a "weather vets"
group, modeled on the terrorist Weathermen faction of SDS.
Hubbard took VVAW members to BPP meetings
with him, built a BPP chapter of the VVAW in Harlem, and coordinated the BPP's
Revolutionary People's Constitutional Convention (RPCC) with a VVAW
demonstration at Valley Forge in September 1970.
During 1970 white BPP associate Mark Lane also became involved in
the VVAW's Winter Soldier Investigation and brought his fellow BPP supporter
Jane Fonda into contact with the VVAW.
In 1971 Hubbard's VVAW associate Ed Damato began using the pretext of
donating clothes and medical supplies to smuggle guns collected from VVAW
regional chapters to the United Front, a black militant group in Cairo,
Illinois linked to a St. Louis gang called the Black Liberators.
National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO):
CP-supported welfare rights group founded in
1967 aligned with the antiwar movement.
NWRO was based on applying the theories of Columbia University's Marxist
sociologist couple Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, who drew inspiration
from CP-linked organizer Saul Alinsky (see entry for "United Farmworkers
Organizing Committee") and the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles.
In November 1965 Cloward and Piven advanced
a plan to deliberately overload the welfare systems of New York and other major
cities with more recipients than they could afford and thereby cause an
economic crisis to force a socialist political revolution on the national level
and federalize the governmental Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)
welfare program. Seeking an organizer
to implement their plan, Cloward and Piven recruited as Executive Director of
NWRO George Wiley, a former member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
who had become disillusioned with more conventional approaches to civil rights
and had founded a more militant civil rights and welfare rights group, the
Poverty Rights Action Center (PRAC), in 1964.
Assisting Wiley as Chair of NWRO was Johnnie
Tillmon, a single black mother with six children who had formed a welfare
rights group called Aid to Needy Children-Mothers Anonymous (ANC-Mothers
Anonymous) in Watts in 1963 and had subsequently been elected to the LA County
Welfare Rights Organization (CWRO).
Under Wiley and Tillmon's leadership, NWRO drew 90% of its membership
from black mothers receiving AFDC welfare, and accordingly it tended to form
united front joining the welfare movement, the civil rights movement, and the
feminist movement, and after 1969, the antiwar movement as well.
In New York City
the NWRO received political support from Welfare Commissioner Mitchell Ginsberg,
who doubled the number of welfare recipients on the city payroll between 1967
and 1973, which would bankrupt the city by 1975.
Following an internal conflict between Wiley and a faction of the
NWRO aligned with former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leader John
Lewis, Wiley began replacing NWRO leadership with all black males, and
appointed former CORE activist James Farmer as NWRO Associate Director.
In September 1970 Farmer and Southern
Christian Leadership Conference leader James Bevel led
a coalition of black civil rights groups called the Family of Man on a march to
the Black Panther Party-organized Revolutionary People's Constitutional
Convention (RPCC) in Philadelphia.
Through arrangements made by black VVAW
leader Al Hubbard, Farmer's Family of Man marchers joined marchers from the
VVAW's Operation RAW rally in nearby Valley Forge, where Bevel spoke.
Both an NWRO delegation and VVAW leader Al
Hubbard travelled to Versailles, France in February 1972 to attend the World
Assembly for the Peace and Independence of the Peoples of Indochina, sponsored
by the Soviet fronts the World Peace Council and the Stockholm Conference on
Vietnam. In 1973 CP members in the NWRO
clashed with fascist Lyndon LaRouche, who tried to form a similar group under
his own control, the National Unemployed and Welfare Rights Organization
(NUWRO), by sending thugs to physically disrupt NWRO meetings and attack CP
United Farmworkers Organizing Committee (UFWOC) aka
United Farmworkers Union AFL-CIO (UFW, after 1972):
Farmworkers union formed in 1966 from merger of the Filipino-led
Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) and the Chicano-led National
Farm Workers Association (NFWA) under the leadership of Cesar Chavez.
Chavez and other UFWOC leaders had learned
community organizing from the Community Service Organization (CSO), which had
been set up in Mexican American neighborhoods in California in the 1950s by
Fred Ross. Ross had worked with the
antiwar group the American Friends Service Committee during World War II before
learning organizing tactics from the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) under
Saul Alinsky, a social activist who had started his career in the 1930s
organizing for the CP-infiltrated Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).
While working for Alinsky's IAF in San Jose
Ross came into contact with socially-active priest Father Donald McDonnell, who
introduced him to Chavez in 1952. Ross
subsequently trained Chavez and other future leaders of NFWA and helped them
organize among Chicano grape pickers in California.
A joint strike by NFWA and AWOC started in September 1965
attracted financial support from the AFL-CIO and United Auto Workers
(UAW)--whose leader Walter Reuther was personal friends with Saul
Alinsky--along with political support from the civil rights groups the Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Congress of Racial Equality and
aspiring Democratic Presidential candidates Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy,
and Robert Kennedy. Meanwhile the FBI
began to investigate reports that some AWOC and NFWA leaders had Communist
backgrounds. Investigators soon
discovered that a grant application for the NFWA had been drawn up by Wendy
Pangburn Goepel, a California state employee linked to CP fronts, and that the
NFWA staff included photojournalist Harvey Richards of the CP publication People's
World, whose Los Angeles bureau editor Sam Kushner met with NFWA officials
in early October 1965. Investigators
also learned that the CP had been supporting AWOC since at least 1961, and
received a report that AWOC leader Larry Itliong--who became Chavez's Assistant
Director when AWOC and NFWA combined into UFWOC--had been barred from returning
to the Philippines for Communist activity.
UFWOC developed links to various left-wing groups linked to VVAW.
In 1969 Chavez's brother Andy Chavez
appeared at a coalition meeting with the Black Panther Party (BPP), which had
formed a Chicano organization, the Brown Berets; both the BPP and Brown Berets
participated in the September 1970 Revolutionary People's Constitutional
Convention (RPCC) in Philadelphia, which coincided with a VVAW demonstration at
Valley Forge. In 1972 Cesar Chavez
participated in the first national convention of the National Council of La
Raza (NCLR), which had participated in VVAW events the previous year.
Angela Davis Defense Committee aka
National United Committee to Free Angela Davis, etc.:
Committee formed in 1970 by CP members Franklin Alexander and
Fania Davis Jordan to provide legal support for Jordan's sister Angela
Davis. Davis, a Black Panther Party
(BPP) and CP member, had been charged with conspiracy, kidnapping, and homicide
due to her alleged participation in an escape attempt from the Marin County
Hall of Justice. Alexander was the
brother of Charlene Mitchell, the CP's Presidential candidate for 1968, and
chaired an all-black section of the Los Angeles CP called the Che-Lumumba
Club. Fania Davis Jordan had worked
with the San Diego BPP and had travelled to Cuba with a pro-Castro front group called the Venceremos Brigade. After evading
law enforcement authorities for two months, Davis was captured, tried, and
cleared of all charges in 1972. She
then went on a tour of the Soviet Union.
Billy Dean Smith Defense Committee
aka Billy Dean Smith Defense Fund:
CP front set up with publicity from Angela Davis (see entry) to support former
Black Panther Billy Dean Smith, a black GI who was accused of murdering two
officers and injuring a third in a fragging incident in March, 1971.
Smith's trial was held at Fort Ord Army Base
near Monterey, California, which became a center for protests by supporters who
claimed he was a victim of racial discrimination.
Smith joined the VVAW, and the VVAW raised funds for his defense
and organized a rally in his support at Fort Ord on July 4, 1972.
Smith was acquitted and discharged, and he
and Davis then went on a tour of the Soviet Union.
National Lawyers Guild (NLG):
Legal guild founded as liberal alternative
to the American Bar Association in 1937.
Founders included Senator Frank Walsh, a former lawyer for the anarchist
group the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW); Morris Ernst, co-general
counsel of the CP front the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from 1929 to
1954, who secretly became an FBI informant on CP activity; Jerome Frank, who
helped CP sympathizers Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter staff the Roosevelt
administration's Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) with a group of
left-wing lawyers that included future Soviet agent Alger Hiss;
John Abt, a Frank appointment to the AAA who became an
early leader of the same Soviet spy ring Hiss joined as well as the general
counsel to the CP, the CP-infiltrated Congress of Industrial Organizations
(CIO)'s First Vice President Sidney Hillman, and 1948 Presidential candidate
Henry Wallace; Lee Pressman, another Frank AAA appointment who became a Soviet
agent and the general counsel to the CIO; New York State Senator Albert Wald,
member of the American Arbitration Association and son-in-law of Kuhn Loeb
Central Relief Committee treasurer Harry Fischel; and Victor Rabinowitz,
a labor lawyer who joined the CP during World War II.
Rabinowitz's law firm Rabinowitz, Boudin (now Rabinowitz, Boudin,
Standard, Krinsky, & Lieberman), whose other senior partner Leonard Boudin
was also a CP member, became the leading counsel for the CP through the NLG and
the associated National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee (NECLC), cofounded
by Corliss Lamont (see entry) and Boudin's brother-in-law I. F. Stone (who would later appear at the VVAW's Dewey Canyon III rally).
Working closely with Rabinowitz Boudin and
the NECLC, and later with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the NLG
defended accused Communists during the Cold War, and since the 1970s it has defended various terrorist clients, notoriously including 1993 World Trade Center
bomb plotter Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman.
In 1944 the House Un-American Activities
Committee identified the NLG as a CP front, and the Attorney General
subsequently attempted to designate it a Communist front in 1953, leading to
five years of legal battles before the Justice Department gave up in 1958.
Two years later, Rabinowitz and Boudin won a
battle for legal representation of Communist Cuba and began a long-term
relationship with Castro's apparatus in the United States.
In 1963 prominent NLG lawyer Peter Weiss
(see entry) became chairman of the board of the Institute for Policy Studies,
a Marxist think tank linked to Soviet and
In 1964 NLG lawyers in San Francisco established the Council for
Justice, which later assisted the Vietnam Day Committee, a key pioneering group
in the Vietnam antiwar movement. During
the Vietnam War the NLG assisted draft resisters and antiwar GIs.
Weiss participated in the Bertrand Russell
Peace Foundation's International War Crimes Tribunal (based
in Stockholm, Sweden and supported by the Stockholm
Conference on Vietnam, a Soviet front--see entry for
"World Assembly for Peace") and the VVAW's
Winter Soldier Investigation and served as a lawyer for the VVAW.
John Kerry chaired NLG officer Robert
Drinan's 1970 Congressional campaign before Kerry joined VVAW, and after
joining VVAW Kerry continued to work with Drinan.
NLG member Ramsey Clark legally represented the VVAW during Dewey
Canyon III. The NLG-connected CCR
defended VVAW members in the Gainesville Eight trial.
Section Two of Guide to Contents, Abbreviations, and Names in the Information Digest Special Report on VVAW
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