Home | About | Donate

Why We Should Teach About the FBI’s War on the Civil Rights Movement

Why We Should Teach About the FBI’s War on the Civil Rights Movement

Ursula Wolfe-Rocca

This month marks the 45th anniversary of a dramatic moment in U.S. history. On March 8, 1971—while Muhammad Ali was fighting Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden, and as millions sat glued to their TVs watching the bout unfold—a group of peace activists broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, and stole every document they could find.


Not just a “weird personal life” but another element of shameless hypocrisy and power-mongering. Hoover worked closely with people known to be homosexual, and was himself very close with Claude Tolson to whom he left his estate, while simultaneously ramping up the “Lavender Scare” using evidence of homosexuality as a crude tool to destroy opponents and tighten the grip of his “security” apparatus.


The FBI’s role in the 1950s witch hunts could be added. I read one book that said “McCarthyism” should really be called “Hooverism,”, in that J Edgar Hoover did far more damage for a much longer period than McCarthy. This is another example of official whitewashing of the truth – making it appear that what was done to destroy the Left in the US was an aberration that was fixed once McCarthy was discredited, rather than a successful campaign that swung the US permanently to the right.


The FBI are America’s SS. As the United States grows more nakedly fascist, you’re noticing the profile of the FBI grow and grow as well. Now they want in your phone, your house, your car, up your nose, down your shirt, in your underpants, wrapped around your (formerly) privates.

More more more more more more information! Information is power and the FBI wants it all!

As the NSA is devoted to the elimination of privacy, so the FBI is devoted to the elimination of dissent. It’s one and only purpose is the crushing of any possible ripple of change to the status quo.

ThoughtCrime, it’s not just a cool word in an old socialism-bashing novel you were forced to read in high hchool any more.


If United States history is any indication, it seems that the FBI, and, in general, our whole society, is what bred for guys like Joe McCarthy, and for the permanent swing to the right by the United States at large.


Your post is an attempt to take the most rabid types of right wing paranoid, hateful lunatics and ascribe their character to the whole of society.

I’m halfway through Michael Parenti’s account of “The assassination of Julius Caesar” and it’s unbelievable how the tactics of THAT era are still in practice today.

Since I believe in reincarnation, I could see someone like Cicero reincarnated as either Goebbels or Cass Sunstein. Individual character is carried over from lifetime to lifetime and thus recognizable.

Many people make a tremendous flaw in their analyses. Although it’s obvious that almost EVERY society is based upon a hierarchical order of authority, power, privilege, and financial resources… still, many argue that what is affected from this top-down arrangement somehow defines everyone equally.

While the revolutions that occurred since the 18th century (counting the birth of America) have done much to create some social mobility–in that not all persons are held in a virtual caste inherited from birth–ultimately, great wealth and power still tend to follow down family dynastic chains.

Anyone who dared to institute reforms during Ancient Rome was either killed or nefarious plots were put in motion that usually blamed the individual for what the plotters were up to.

I find the same use of False Flags, character assassination, spreading rumors or lies told often until many presume them to be true, and all of the other inverted machinations notable today… to have very deep roots in history.

This is not an American problem or characteristic. And those who insist upon as much show their ignorance of history, global affairs, and human “nature.”

Wasn’t the FBI already about 15 yrs. old in 1935? The “Red Scare”, which began at the end of WWI, was the period of several significant events by both the right and the left, e.g.

<> The imprisonment of Eugene Debs for speaking truth to power.

<> The invasion of Russia to suppress the Bolshevik revolution. (The USA ruling class had our military siding with the losers of that civil war.)

<> The explosion of a large bomb on Wall St. in NY city outside the NY Stock Exchange (which was/is across the street from a prominent oligarchal bank.)

<> The Palmer Raids (which resulted in the arbitrary deportation of many innocent immigrants from places like Russia, without due process of law.)

<> The rise to prominence of J. Edgar Hoover and the establishment of the FBI.

<> Establishment of the ACLU.


I disagree with you here, Siouxrose1. Given the fact that the Rightwing forces in our society have an extremely long history of dominating our society’s overall mindset, and the fact that oh, so many people subscribe to that kind of thinking, this has enabled the FBI and the rightwing forces in our society to wreak the kind of havoc that it has wrought in our society for so long. Look how many people are really going for Trump, for example! That’s a more recent example of how so many people have allowed themselves to be manipulated into thinking that way, and the fact that a guy like Trump has gained so much popularity is indicative of one thing: Our society and whole system has created an atmosphere that breeds demagogues like that.


I also might add, Siouxrose1, that the most rabid rightwing forces in this country, while they’re not the whole of our society, don’t have to be in the majority, or the whole of our society, to present a huge problem, which they do. They’re generally the most organized and vicious, and they know how to manipulate the electorate at large into that kind of thinking, since they have the organization the viciousness, and the cunning to do so.

One very good example of this was when the Federal Court-mandated, large-scale, cross-city school busing edict that took Boston, MA by storm in the mid 1970’s, which lasted well into the 1960’s. There was resistance to the court-ordered mandatory school busing program all over the city, to varying degrees, but the most virulent resistance came from South Boston (or “Southie”) as it’s frequently called, which, back then, was an extremely rough and tough, white working-class neighborhood. While the numbers of people who fomented the resistance in Southie, and to lesser extents throughout the city were relatively small, the people in South Boston who fulminated that neighborhood’s particularly nasty resistance to it were the most organized, and the most vicious, and they brooked absolutely no dissent of any kind, whatsoever, from anybody, even fellow white South Bostonians. While there were some white Southies who did have the temerity to openly differ from the neighborhood’s organized resistance, they paid an extremely steep price for doing so!

1 Like

Not even a mention about the FBIs attempt to destroy Judy Barii and Daryll Cherney in their fight to save the ancient western redwoods, "redwood summer’, etc.

1 Like

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

1 Like

There’s another thing I don’t like about Teddy Roosevelt. He started the Spanish-American War & took Spain’s last colonies in the Americas & Pacific. He said he was promoting democracy in Cuba. That was like W saying he promoted democracy in Iraq.

I have mixed feelings about Teddy R. too, but he was only a soldier when the war was started by the McKinley administration. TR gained some fame from the war in Cuba, and became McKinley’s vice president. McKinley was assassinated by an immigrant, and only then did TR take over. The assassination could have been a stimulus for establishing the FBI.

Some have said that if TR were to be resurrected from the grave he would wonder why we haven’t yet conquered Canada and Mexico. I believe the extension of the Spanish-American War to the Philippines was TR’s doing.

1 Like

What remains equally disturbing is the way that liberals and media have barely mentioned, or completely overlooked, all the similar killings of poor white people – essentially, making the majority of poor non-people. Relying on race to define all those issues related to state brutality/fascism wildly skews the issues, making it impossible to gain the consensus needed to enact legitimate changes.


It’s necessary, but can be difficult, to put historic figures into the context of the times in which they lived.

1 Like

It’s those who aren’t rabid, and are deceptive, who worry me more, such as the Clinton branch of the party. The Clintons succeeded in deeply splitting those who aren’t on the right wing, dividing us by class and race, pitting us against each other.

1 Like

“It’s people who aren’t rabid and who are deceptive that I worry about”

Which is what makes Cruz even more dangerous than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

1 Like

I once read that during the Chicago 8 trial an undercover agent had to break cover in order to come forward to testify and that this agent had been one of Malcolm X’s bodyguards. I don’t have a memory of what agency this agent worked for. Does anyone know anything about what I am referring to?