While The Speed of Dreams has still not formed a final opinion on the question of Richard Aoki’s alleged status as an FBI informant (and the consequences of that), we present the following article from the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. As usual, posting does not imply endorsement or affiliation.
On August 20, 2012 an article was released alleging that Richard Aoki, a Japanese national and early Black Panther Party (BPP) member, was an FBI informant. This claim was made by journalist and author Seth Rosenfeld, whose bookSubversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power was conveniently released on August 21. On September 7, 2012 Rosenfeld published a follow-up article, with 221 pages of “newly released” FBI documents which he believes further implicate Aoki as an FBI informant.(1)
Let’s start with Rosenfeld’s political worldview, because we know no journalist is truly unbiased. Rosenfeld’s opinion on liberation struggles is revealed in his characterization of the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF), that Aoki organized in, as a violent student movement.(2) He blames the violence of the 1968-69 strikes of the TWLF on Bay Area college campuses on the strikers themselves, not the pigs. Yet the students did not initiate violence, and in fact were sprayed with so much teargas by the pigs that the trees in Sproul Plaza on the University of California at Berkeley campus were still irritating students’ eyes even into the following school year. Coming from this perspective we must question Rosenfeld’s assessment of the FBI right of the bat. Read the rest of this entry
There’s now a paper trail that shows detailed evidence of former Black Panther Richard Aoki work as an FBI informant. In a report released Friday morning at the Center for Investigative Reporting, reporter Seth Rosenfeld outlines his findings of 221 pages of FBI files that show Aoki’s role as informant with the agency for 16 years, from 1961 to 1977.
Here’s what the records show: The FBI began targeting Aoki while he was still in high school, a striking point that speaks to just how aggressively the government worked to intervene in radical and people of color-led movements. Notably, the files do not detail exactly what information Aoki gave to the FBI, and in particular the redacted documents do not specify whether he informed on the Black Panthers, the political organization with which Aoki is most widely identified. However, the documents do show that Aoki was an informant during the critical years in which the Black Panthers had conflict with the police. Read the rest of this entry
Firstly, apologies to readers for the lack of posts recently. I have started a new job and am also gearing up for surgery, so I haven’t had the free time I would like in order to post.
Anyway, onto the business at hand. I am making this quick post today in order to jot down some initial thoughts of mine on the controversy surrounding the recent allegations that famed Asian-American Black Panther Party member Richard Aoki was in fact a government informant the entire time. I posted the article which first hit the web with the news with the caveat to take it with a grain of salt. Since then have stayed silent because I feel it is far to early to judge the allegations as the article (and the book it was promoting) only came out this week. It is most certainly the case that no-one has taken the time to do the kind of in-depth research necessary in order to refute OR support them.
However, many folks around the North American leftist internet community have obviously felt that it is not necessary to do said investigation in order to stand up and say with total confidence that Aoki was NOT an agent. While I still would consider myself not particularly swayed in either direction, I find myself not endorsing or posting any of these defences of Aoki because I have some particular concerns about the whole case that I feel have either not be dealt with well, honestly or at all by others commentators. Read the rest of this entry