“Every Communist must grasp the truth, ‘Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.’”—Mao Zedong, “Problems of War and Strategy” (Nov. 6, 1998), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 224.
During the 1960s and 1970s, when African-American revolutionaries launched street violence in cities across the United States, their close ideological and personal working relationship with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was very much out in the open. When Black Panther Party leaders Elaine Brown and Huey P. Newton or avowed militant revolutionaries such as Robert Williams visited Beijing in those days, it was often a photo op—sometimes with Mao Zedong himself.
On Aug. 8, 1963, the Peking Review published a statement that Chairman Mao issued at the direct request of Robert Williams, former president of the Monroe, North Carolina, chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and later affiliated with the Socialist Workers Party, the Workers World Party, and members of the Communist Party USA. Mao’s statement was entitled “Statement Supporting the American Negroes in Their Just Struggle Against Racial Discrimination by U.S. Imperialism.”
Mao’s words make reference to the “American Negroes’ struggle against racial discrimination,” and claim that “American Negroes are awakening and their resistance is growing stronger and stronger … [in a] continuous expansion of their mass struggle against racial discrimination and for freedom and equal rights.”
After citing some of the early developments of the U.S. civil rights movement in the early 1960s, Mao called upon “the workers, peasants, revolutionary intellectuals, enlightened elements of the bourgeoisie and other enlightened persons of all colors in the world … to unite to oppose the racial discrimination practised by U.S. imperialism and support the American Negroes in their struggle against the racial discrimination.”
That sort of full-throated, public backing by the top levels of the CCP is absent for the revolution currently being led on America’s streets by the openly Marxist, pro-Maoist Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and its allies among the equally communist Antifa and others. But that doesn’t mean that the ideological affiliation of Antifa and BLM leadership with communism and Beijing or even tangible CCP support for today’s communist street insurrection is absent. It’s just a little more discreet these days.
“We should support whatever the enemy opposes and oppose whatever the enemy supports.”—Mao Zedong, “Interview with Three Correspondents from the Central News Agency, the Sao Tang Pao and the Hsin Min Pao” (Sept. 16, 1939), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 272.
Clearly, the whole-hearted support of a totalitarian communist regime like Mao’s (with plenty of its own racial and other discriminatory issues) for America’s black revolutionaries was not really about individual liberty, government by consent of the governed, or equality before the law. It wasn’t then and it isn’t now.
Whether Newton, Williams, or any of today’s revolutionaries realized it or not, they were and still are being used by a revolutionary communist movement whose true objectives have less to do with the actual situation of blacks in American society than with its own imperative to overthrow the U.S. constitutional republic and replace it with a Marxist dictatorship.
The leaders at the top of both the CCP and the U.S. revolutionary movement have changed over the decades, but the mission remains the same: revolution; a revolution to overthrow the very foundational principles of America as we know it.
“Revolutions and revolutionary wards are inevitable in class society, and without them it is impossible to accomplish any leap in social development and to overthrow the reactionary ruling classes and therefore impossible for the people to win political power.”—Mao Zedong, “On Contradiction” (August 1937), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 344.
Then, as now, many have been drawn into revolutionary activism through a process of indoctrination that convinces them that America was founded in moral depravity, that no matter the lofty ideals of our foundational documents and over two centuries of striving to meet those ideals, this country remains a force for evil in the world.
Marxist infiltration of the U.S. educational system, domination of teachers’ associations, co-option of the media, and essential capture of the Democratic Party have convinced generations of Americans that only a violent revolution that overthrows the entire system can lead to the fantasy utopia they have been told will be theirs.
Visits to places such as Castro’s Cuba, Mao’s China, Stalin’s Russia, and the Chavez-Maduro wreckage of Venezuela were and are carefully managed to ensure the horrific magnitude of human suffering and death that are the inevitable result of a Marxist–Leninist–Maoist revolution are never seen.
As long ago as 1936, W.E.B. Du Bois, the African-American activist, historian, socialist, and writer, visited China. Returning there in 1959, he apparently saw enough of a transformation in the country that led him to think Mao’s communists would lead the world in a glorious revolution against capitalism, the free-market system, and the West in general. Other black radicals followed in Du Bois’ footsteps, likewise allowing themselves to be co-opted by the cynical forces of communism to the fanciful dream of a worldwide utopia.
As Manning Johnson, a former American communist, wrote in his 1958 pamphlet, “Color, Communism and Common Sense,” the plot to stir up bloody race and class conflict began with Moscow: “The plot to use the Negroes as the spearhead, or as expendables, was concocted by Stalin in 1928.” Maoism simply picked up where the Soviets left off, adapting Marxism-Leninism to the circumstances of the place and time.
Skipping ahead to the 1960s, it was some of that same Marxist literature that helped to indoctrinate African-American radicals like Huey Newton (who later would lead the Black Panther Party). Newton apparently became enamored of the Maoist revolution in China after reading the four-volume set of the “Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung.”
Williams, mentioned above, sought to launch a violent revolution in the United States on the model of China and Cuba. Fleeing federal charges in the United States, Williams lived for a time in Cuba, where he wrote “Negroes With Guns” in 1962. By 1966, however, Williams left Cuba and moved to China, where he was witness to the chaotic years of Mao’s Cultural Revolution (which he thought an inspiration for black urban uprisings in the United States), according to a 1999 article by Robin Kelley and Betsy Esch titled “Black Like Mao: Red China and Black Revolution” in the journal Souls.
Inspired by such black Maoist-inspired examples, black members of Students for a Democratic Society and other similar groups began to organize and in 1962 formed the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM, originally Reform Action Movement). Branches sprang up in cities across the United States. Their cause was Marxism-Leninism through Maoist application to a black liberation movement, to be achieved through violent guerilla warfare on the Maoist model. RAM leaders thought of themselves “as an all-black version of Mao’s Red Army,” according to Kelley and Esch.
Other groups and leaders followed, but with the 1966 founding of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in Oakland, California, by Newton and Bobby Seale, the direct relationships with Beijing and the top leadership of the CCP, as well as an explicit embrace of Marxist and Maoist thought, intensified.
Again, their idealization of Maoist ideology drew from the Chinese application of classic Marxism-Leninism to the circumstances of the local liberation movement there as well as in the United States. Even the Nixon-Kissinger opening to China in the early 1970s did not change these radicals’ determination to foment communist revolution in America. Mao’s Little Red Book was their inspiration and blueprint.
The original Black Panthers eventually fell apart amid internal conflicts, and Mao died in 1976. But that was not the end of the American black revolutionary movement or its association with the CCP.
Fast forward to July 13, 2013, the day that George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin: That’s when the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement began with the first use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media. The following year, street riots erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, and the movement expanded into a decentralized cell network that spanned the country.
Founded by three African-American self-avowed Marxists—Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors—BLM today espouses the same dedication to violent Marxist revolution as its ideological predecessors. The original 2016 platform of the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) coalition, of which the Black Lives Matter movement is the most visible member, includes demonization of American society as racist, demands for defunding law enforcement in the United States, financial reparations, and an antisemitic characterization of the Jewish State of Israel.
The ideological model is the Marxism of “The Communist Manifesto,” but with the Hegelian dialectical conflict based on race instead of economic class. Their heroes are leaders of the Black Panthers, such as iconic communist Angela Davis, who was tutored by Herbert Marcuse and broadcast encouragement over the loudspeaker to the doomed occupants of the Jim Jones compound in Jonestown, Guyana.
That would be the same Angela Davis who appeared on RT (Russia TV), a Russian state-controlled television channel on July 14, 2020, to express her support for Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy and to urge people to vote for him.
Assata Shakur is another such hero to the BLM movement. A former member of the Black Liberation Army, she escaped prison and fled to communist Cuba after being sentenced to life for the murder of a State Trooper. BLM street protesters have been seen wearing clothing that says “Assata Taught Me.”
Today, the CCP connection and influence are more prominent than the original Marxist-Leninist ideology. The progenitor of the BLM movement is an openly Marxist, socialist, anti-Israel, pro-boycott–divestment–sanctions movement aligned with Palestinian terrorists in Gaza and Judea/Samaria called the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Formed in 1985, Freedom Road has its roots in earlier Marxist-Leninist organizations of the 1980s that tended toward Maoist ideology. The group underwent a split in 1999, with Liberation Road separating from the original group that retained its founding name, Freedom Road Socialist Organization. It was from Liberation Road that BLM eventually emerged.
BLM today is directly supported by the CCP in various ways.
Propaganda plays a key role via the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the CCP’s Central Committee. According to the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission, the UFWD is responsible for co-opting and neutralizing “sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”
That responsibility extends not just domestically throughout China itself, but abroad as well. Here in the United States, that means seeking to co-opt ethnic Chinese individuals and groups, academia, business, and social groups, but also by targeting host country media reporting.
The UFWD also is likely responsible for extensive attempted influence operations targeting the U.S. elections online and through traditional media sources. There’s the pro-China spam network called the “Spamouflage Dragon” that spews disinformation using fake social media accounts and videos that attack the Trump administration and attempts to stoke racial tension in support of BLM rioting.
In another example, following the late May 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, CCP mouthpiece China Daily led off with a headline claiming “Growing global support for US protests over killing by police,” on June 8, 2020. The report noted “Chinese in San Francisco give strong backing to demonstrators,” despite mentioning “looting and vandalism.” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, speaking to CNBC in mid-August 2020, accused China of “recruiting and paying over a million citizens to monitor and influence the U.S. 2020 presidential election process,” according to investigative journalist Sara Carter.
The so-called “wu mao” (or 50-cent army), identified in 2016 by the Voice of America as a group of internet commentators, likely is yet another project of the UFWD.
It should also be noted that in July 2020, Freedom Road Socialist Organization claimed credit for sparking the BLM-led riots that have convulsed U.S. cities for months. Trevor Loudon, writing in The Epoch Times, said that there is “evidence that the Beijing-loyal FRSO was not just a catalyst for some of the most destructive civil unrest in U.S. history, but also laid the groundwork for and is playing an active role in maintaining momentum for the ongoing insurrection.”
Financially, too, there’s evidence that points to CCP support for the riots.
Black Futures Lab, founded in September 2018, is a venture of BLM co-founder Alicia Garza, who is listed as the group’s “principal” on its website. Clicking on the site’s “donate” button takes one to an organization called the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA). Black Futures Lab is identified there as a “fiscally sponsored project of the Chinese Progressive Association.”
The CPA was founded in San Francisco in 1972 as a pro-People’s Republic of China cultural organization that was then and remains today openly supportive of the Chinese Revolution and regime. There’s a CPA chapter in Boston, Massachussetts, too, where in 2019, the raising of the PRC flag over Boston’s City Hall to honor the communist takeover of China was organized together with the Chinese consulate in New York City.
On top of the obvious influence operations emanating from the CCP, the connection of a group like Garza’s Black Futures Lab via the intermediary of the CPA to the CCP should raise additional concern about just how deeply Beijing is involved in the BLM Global Network.
Despite the careful appearance of an organic, spontaneous movement, the BLM-led riots on the streets are anything but random. Even aside from the openly symbiotic alignment along Maoist lines, the level of coordination at both the local and national levels for what is clearly a communist insurrection bespeaks of extensive organization, preparation, as well as ongoing backing, funding, and support.
The evidence presented here only skims the surface of what increasingly looks like massive intrusion by a hostile foreign power into American society. That hostile foreign power is not Russia. It’s China.
This column was originally published in The Epoch Times.
The views expressed in CCNS member articles are not necessarily the views or positions of the entire CCNS. They are the views of the authors, who are members of the CCNS.