Tag Archives: Stanley Levison

FBI Tried to Set Up Coretta Scott King for Assassination by Mississippi KKK in 1966

Happy Martin Luther King Day!  We honor the memory of Dr. King, a brave martyr in the long struggle to achieve equal rights for black workers in the racist hellhole of the United States of America.

As the recent worldwide protests against the wanton disregard for the lives of black workers by the US government and its police state agencies can attest, the struggle for equal rights for black workers in the USA is far from over.  The Independent Workers Party of Chicago seeks to create an integrated revolutionary Trotskyist workers party to organize the US working class to smash racism and the capitalist system that requires it in order to divide and conquer the workers movement and to maintain the class rule of the numerically tiny US capitalist class. The capitalist system needs to foment racism in order to function properly; it must keep the working class at each others’ throats so the capitalists can continue to exploit the workers effectively, squeezing profits from its wage-slaves while we fight among ourselves. Capitalism needs racism like a fish needs water! In order to smash racism we must first overthrow the capitalist system that creates, enforces and reinforces racism 24/7/365. To believe that we can smash racism while keeping capitalism is to believe in the impossible!

Every Martin Luther King Day workers in the US and all around the capitalist world are subjected to wall-to-wall propaganda from the US government and US capitalist enterprises cynically pretending to to pay “tribute” to MLK.  The racist, warmongering capitalists pay the tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. that vice always pays to virtue, wiping their bloodstained hands with the mantle of the civil rights movement led by MLK, while simultaneously subjecting black workers to the same old racist “last hired, first fired” treatment as well as by unleashing their murderous racist cops on the black population – beating, imprisoning and murdering any black worker who dares to stand up for her or his rights against the racist cops and government. In fact, in this supposedly egalitarian, democratic, anti-racist, capitalist US of A, a black worker is murdered every 28 hours by the capitalists’ racist cops, security guards or vigilantes! Who are they trying to kid?

The truth is, while they pretend today that they all loved him, in fact, while Martin Luther King was alive, the capitalists’ US Government and their police agencies did all they could to destroy Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement he led and they tried to either co-opt or assassinate its leaders.  The capitalists ordered the FBI to savagely attack the civil rights movement, setting up their infamous Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) operation to “disrupt, discredit and destroy” every element of the civil rights movement.  For Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta, this presented itself as a mysterious, savage campaign orchestrated by persons unknown (it turned out to be the FBI)

to destroy Martin Luther King, Jr. personally by driving him to commit suicide.  The FBI sent him and his family racist cartoons, death threats and did everything they could to make their lives a living hell.  The US Government’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. “lovefest” is in fact a cynical attempt to whitewash the true history of their decades-long and continuing attempts to keep the black population of the USA “in their place” as a reserve army of low-paid workers forced to live in segregated ghettoes patrolled by vicious, racist cops who think nothing of gunning down black workers of any age or sex.

Both Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King were the subject of illegal FBI wiretaps and surveillance throughout their careers as civil rights activists.  Their phones were tapped in their home and offices; their friends were approached to act as FBI informants; paid informants were directed to infiltrate the King entourage and to get as close to the family as possible in order that the FBI could be kept appraised of their every move, so as to be able to disrupt the civil rights movement as completely and effectively as possible.  Presidents from Democratic darling of the liberals John F. Kennedy to Republican Richard Nixon oversaw this wall-to-wall campaign of harassment and intimidation waged against the Kings before and after MLK was murdered in 1968.  After the murder, the US Army’s Intelligence Unit monitored the movements of the Kings as they exercised their Constitutional rights to conduct political activities around the US.

DOCUMENT: US Army Intelligence unit carried out domestic espionage against Coretta Scott King, 7 August 1968

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, we publish recently declassified FBI files which show that, in the 1960s, on at least one occasion, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informed police agencies in the Deep South in advance not only that Martin Luther King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, would be traveling by car through the jurisdictions of these notoriously racist cops but that the FBI was NOT requesting these police agencies to provide her with any protection at all.

This amounted to a clear attempt by the FBI to set up Mrs. King for arrest – or much worse – as she traveled across country on her way to participate in various Civil Rights Movement events taking place around the US.  In 1966 the police agencies of Mississippi were loaded with Ku Klux Klan members – and the FBI damned well knew this.  To inform these redneck cops in advance of Mrs. Kings itinerary was essentially setting her up to be murdered.  Two years later, with the assassination site itself swarming with undercover cops and FBI agents, Martin Luther King was murdered in broad daylight, right in front of their eyes – and they saw nothing.  It appears that as part of the FBI’s long-running attempts to destroy MLK personally, they gave the green light on at least one occasion to the Klan-ridden cops of Mississippi to “take out” his wife.

In November of 1966, Mrs. King planned to make a trip by car to Grenada, Mississippi car to to give a vocal recital at a benefit for the Grenada County Freedom Movement – and the FBI immediately knew about her trip and moved to set her up.  Today, it might not be a well-remembered name from the days of the Civil Rights era, but there is no way that Hoover and the FBI in 1966 would have been unaware of the deeply racist nature of the police in that part of Mississippi that Mrs. King would pass through on her way to Grenada.  Quite the contrary!

Grenada was one of the towns that had been on the route of James Meredith’s 220-mile-long “March Against Fear”  from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi which took place earlier that very same year.   Meredith was the man who had created a massive uproar when he, an Air Force veteran, dared to apply to attend the University of Mississippi in 1962.  It took a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, a threat to arrest the Governor of Mississippi, 500 U.S. marshals and a battalion from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to be deployed before the university would “allow” him to attend!  To say that the FBI “knew of” James Meredith would be a massive understatement: Meredith was internationally famous.

Originally, Meredith did not want any of the national civil rights organizations to be involved in the “March Against Fear” and he asked that only black men would participate in the march.  When Meredith was shotgunned 3 times by a white racist on the 2nd day of the march (- amazingly, he survived), the major civil rights organizations immediately came to his aid and took over the organization and leadership of the trek to Jackson.  According to the Wikipedia article on the “March Against Fear”, “The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Human Rights Medical Committee took part, with the Deacons for Defense and Justice from Louisiana providing armed protection.”  They combined the protest with voter registration drives in the towns they passed through.  When they got to Grenada and started their voter registration activities, the Grenada “town fathers” pretended to cooperate, and appointed black registrars to oversee the program.  However, as soon as the marchers left the town, the newly created registration rolls of the names and addresses of black voters were burned by the town’s racist leaders.

In spite of all this, when Mrs. King planned to drive to Grenada later that same year to give a vocal recital at a benefit for the Grenada County Freedom Movement, the FBI (which knew of her plans in advance thanks to the wiretaps US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy had ordered to be installed on the phones of key civil rights activists – especially Stanley Levison) informed the local Grenada cops as well as the Mississippi Highway Patrol that she was on her way – and that the FBI did not expect them to provide any protection for her!  The Jackson, MS office of the FBI was apparently given the green light to inform the local cops of detailed information the FBI had acquired about her planned movements, including the precise time that she was expected to be leaving the benefit!

DOCUMENT: FBI sets up Coretta Scott King in Grenada, MS, 13 November 1966

The evidence of this plot is contained in this November 12, 1966 document from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to the FBI office in Jackson, MS.  In it,  Hoover advises the FBI – in Jackson, Mississippi! – to “ADVISE MISS. HIWAY PATROL AND GRANADA [MISS. – IWPCHI] POLICE OF MRS. KING’S PRESENCE IN MISS. AND TAKE NO FURTHER ACTION.  THESE AGENCIES SHOULD BE ADVISED WE ARE MERELY PASSING ON THIS INFORMATION AND NOT REQUESTING PROTECTION FOR MRS. KING”.  Hoover quite pointedly did not order the Jackson office to inform the local racist cops that the FBI would be providing protection either, implying – not at all subtly – that the local crazies were free to launch an attack on Mrs. King and her entourage.  There really is no other way to interpret these orders from Hoover.

We have no idea if any members of the Mississippi police agencies that had been informed of Mrs. King’s travels to their state made any attempt to attack Mrs. King on or around November 13, 1966.  Maybe they did and we just don’t know about it; maybe they were suspicious that they were being set up by the Feds.  Maybe they just didn’t have enough advance notice of her itinerary to launch an attack.  But whatever the reason, it was not because the FBI was going out of its way to protect Mrs. King.

Capitalism uses racism to divide and conquer the working class, making it harder for workers to organize across racial lines in order to fight the capitalists endless attempts to smash unions, disrupt anti-racist and socialist workers parties and squeeze more profits out of us thereby.   The pro-capitalist political parties of the capitalist class – the Republicans and the Democrats, as well as the Green Parties and other reformist parties – all defend the capitalist system, which means that they can not be transformed into effective weapons in the workers struggle to smash racism.  We need to build an integrated revolutionary socialist workers party that understands that racism can’t be done away with under the capitalist system.  Capitalism needs racism in order to survive; it will take a workers socialist revolution to overthrow the capitalist system before we can even begin to wipe out racism here in the USA and around the world.  Join us!

Workers of the World, Unite!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

 

Declassified 1977 “Report of the Dept. of Justice Task Force to Review FBI Martin Luther King Jr. Security and Assassination Investigations”

Why is workers revolution necessary to completely overthrow the rule of the capitalist classes of the world and replace it with the rule of the working classes of the world – rather than merely reforming the system?

We publish here yet another expose of the “democratic process” in action.  It relates to how the US capitalist class reacts whenever the wage slaves of the United States – that is, YOU, dear reader – organize yourselves to fight for your rights.  In this case we expose the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s  use of its Counterintelligence Program (a.k.a. COINTELPRO) to destroy the leadership of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.  In stark contrast to the mythology that surrounds the US Government’s role which extols how “enlightened liberals” like John F. and Robert F. Kennedy courageously assisted the evolution of democracy and civil rights in the US, we see that in fact the US Government’s most “liberal” regime in the post World War II era – the Kennedy Administration – in fact unleashed the racist FBI of J. Edgar Hoover on the Civil Rights Movement, focusing first and foremost on destroying the credibility and effectiveness of one of the most charismatic leaders of that movement – the apostle of non-violence, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This internal Department of Justice review of the FBI’s “investigation” into the alleged “Communist” brain trust behind Martin Luther King (which was the pretext for FBI harassment, wiretapping and surveillance of Dr. King from 1963 up until his brutal murder in Memphis in April of 1968) proves that no matter how “nonviolent” or “pacifist” or even pro-capitalist a leader of the working class is, she or he will always be seen as a deadly threat to the capitalist class due to the simple calculation that ANYONE who is capable of inspiring the working class with a sense of their power to change the status quo presents a mortal threat to the continued existence of capitalist class rule.  The reaction of the capitalist class and their bought-and-paid-for politician-servants will be predictable: infiltrate, disrupt and destroy the threat – no matter how small – to the domination of the numerically tiny capitalist class over the vast working class majority of the population.

In the case of King, he was, like so many black civil rights leaders who had grown up through the massive class struggles of the 1930s and ’40s, not at all averse to working with Communists or ex-Communists.  Black workers from Harlem to Mississippi knew that the Communist Party of the United States of America had produced thousands of self-sacrificing workers who fought racism in the US and many of whom gave their lives in that struggle.  The CP as well as the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party had impressed black workers with their campaigns for full equality for black workers at work, in the military and at every level of society and had fought racist frame ups against blacks like the infamous Scottsboro Boys case.  Communist union organizers braved death threats from the Ku Klux Klan while attempting to organize black workers throughout the South into unions in which black and white workers would fight for their rights as workers together as sisters and brothers.  Martin Luther King Jr., like so many other people of color all over the world was no doubt inspired by the strong anti-racist side of the Communist program and supposedly studied basic Marxist philosophy to some extent – but he never became a Party member.

The basis of FBI head J. Edgar Hoover’s insistence that there existed a plot by the Communist Party of the US to infiltrate and control the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of Dr. King was based on the fact that King’s top advisor in the SCLC was an ex-Communist named Stanley_Levison.  Levison was a large part of the reason for the rapid organizing success of the SCLC in the early to mid ’60s.  Levison had learned how to effectively organize mass movements while he was a member of the CP in the ’40s and this experience served Dr. King extremely well throughout his rise to international fame.  Shrewdly advising King as to how to maneuver more skillfully in the treacherous political waters of the US, Levison helped the SCLC leadership create a powerful organization to fight for civil rights for black workers – using non-violent means.  Though Levison appears to have quit the CP in 1957, Hoover used the fact of his former party membership and current role as close advisor to King to justify the launching of the entire suite of COINTELPRO attacks on Martin Luther King and his wife, Coretta Scott King.  Hoover’s anti-Communist paranoia regarding Levison led him to tag Levison as  “secret Communist” – and he forwarded reports to fellow red-hater Robert F. Kennedy linking Dr. King to the CP through Levison that convinced RFK to greenlight the wiretapping of phones in King’s home and the SCLC offices starting in early October of 1963.

The capitalist class had created COINTELPRO originally to fight the rise of the Communist Party in order to keep the Party from gaining a leadership role over the working class of the US, which would threaten to overthrow capitalist class rule and establish a socialist workers state in its place.  One of the most dangerous (to the capitalist class) outcomes of such organization would be the smashing of the segregationist system of the US that divided the working class along racial lines.  The Communist Party’s program called for complete integration of the workers movement, which would neutralize one of the most powerful weapons in the hands of the capitalist class – the domination of its ideology of racial superiority of whites over blacks and Hispanics, which enabled the capitalists to more easily divide and conquer the multiracial US working class.  Levison’s position at the top of the SCLC’s leadership appeared to Hoover to be the harbinger of this capitalist class nightmare.  Hoover unleashed a massive COINTELPRO investigation campaign against Levison – as evidenced by his massive FBI file, the released version of which runs to 190 separate sections!

After John F. Kennedy was murdered in the highly suspicious manner in which he was, a sense arose among the US working class that it was quite possible that sinister forces INSIDE the U.S. Government may have contributed to or even actually planned the murder of the relatively popular Kennedy.  Investigations into his assassination quickly led to the uncovering of many clues as to what elements of the U.S. Government might have had a hand in the Kennedy assassination: was it the C.I.A., which blamed Kennedy for the failure of the infamous Bay of Pigs fiasco that attempted to overthrow the Castro regime in Cuba?  Was it the Mafia who were angry at the Kennedys, both Bobby and Jack, for unleashing the hounds of the Justice Department against them, in violation of an alleged pact between the Mafia and the Kennedy clan before the 1960 election?  Or was it a combination of the two?  As the sixties wore on and more evidence leaked out of the US government regarding its secret operations to topple governments throughout Central and South America, in Iran and the Dominican Republic and elsewhere, the working class of the United States and the entire world came to doubt the veracity of any official statement coming out of the mouths of the politicians and government officials in Washington.

The police state attacks on the U.S. Civil Rights movement were obvious from the beginning.  Cops all over the United States, north and south attacked black and white civil rights activists wherever they emerged, beating them bloody in front of TV cameras from Birmingham to Chicago and from New York to Los Angeles.  The murder of Medgar Evers; the savage attacks on the Black Panther Party, the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in which 4 young Sunday School students were slaughtered – and the lackluster “investigations” of these crimes by the U.S, Government at all levels – all pointed to a sinister racist collaboration between the national, state and local governments to crush the civil rights movement  by any means necessary. (It was later discovered that a paid FBI informant working inside the Klan in Birmingham named Gary Thomas Rowe, Jr. who took part in several Klan attacks on Freedom Riders and who participated in the murder of civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo most likely – at the least –  had advance knowledge of the conspiracy to commit the 16th St. Baptist Church bombing).

The vast amount of police state surveillance and the maelstrom of violence that had enveloped the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and his family and fellow leaders of the Civil Rights movement (in “spite” of that massive surveillance) was obvious to everyone involved in the Civil Rights movement.  So it was that when the Reverend King was murdered in cold blood while carloads of cops sat in the parking lot of the Lorraine Motel like scarecrows, the politically conscious workers of the US immediately suspected that there was a conspiracy in US Government circles that aided and abetted this heinous crime against the entire working class.  The US government’s attempts to “investigate” the King assassination were met with incredulity and contempt.  Anger turned into massive uprisings as angry black workers attacked the police and National Guard units sent into black communities to “restore order”.   The US capitalist class, in a desperate attempt to head off what appeared to be a rapid radicalization of the black working class ordered their hired lackeys in the Democratic Party to immediately institute the most thorough APPEARING “investigations” into the murder of Martin Luther King.  From 1968 to 1977, several investigations were launched – internal investigations by the police agencies at the local, state and national levels, as well as Congressional investigations.  As the extent of the FBI’s COINTELPRO was slowly revealed in the late 60s and early 70s, it became clear that, like the Kennedy assassination, there was a very sinister backstory behind the superficial analysis provided by the bourgeois press and the government investigations into the attacks by the FBI on the entire civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movement as well as those inquiries into the possible involvement of the FBI in the murder of Dr. King.

The end of the Vietnam War – made possible by the victory of the Communist Viet Cong over the troops of U.S. imperialism – as well as the death of J. Edgar Hoover in May of 1972 suddenly opened a window of opportunity for the politicians and servants of the bourgeoisie to perform the Herculean task of attempting to con the working class into believing that the “bad old days” of COINTELPRO were over and that the “democracy-loving” liberal Democrats and Republicans would right the ship of state and ensure that such excesses would never again be allowed to happen.  Investigations were launched into the CIA’s assassination of foreign government leaders and their involvement in military coups all over the world.  The Watergate scandal and the investigation into the FBI’s COINTELPRO operation – which most likely could never have taken place so long as J. Edgar Hoover still drew breath – was begun.  The massive effort of the US government to convince the working class that the “excesses” of the Hoover-era COINTELPRO operation would heretofore be eliminated and abolished through reforms at the FBI and other US police state agencies was, after years of strenuous effort, finally largely successful.  The rising tide of worker militancy – especially that of black workers – peaked and rolled back – or rather was driven back by the continued use of COINTELPRO-type police state attacks on activists while the politicians in Washington put on their dog-and-pony shows like the Church Committee  investigation into CIA, NSA and FBI “excesses” from the 1950s through the early ’70s.

The recent exposes of torture programs run by the United States military in Iraq and Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, as well as the secret prisons run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the massive global police state espionage operations of the National Security Agency – which make the FBI’s domestic wiretapping efforts against Civil Rights activists and opponents of the Vietnam War of the ’60s look like child’s play – prove that in fact, nothing has changed when it comes to the US capitalist class police state operations against their working class political opponents.  It should be obvious to any intelligent worker that the long, sordid history of US capitalist class rule proves that there is only one way for the 1% to maintain the whip hand over the tens of millions of wage slaves who create all the profits that are systematically stolen by the capitalists.  The class rule of the capitalist class requires the complete suppression of any attempt by the worker-slaves to organize an effective fight for their rights, never mind making an actual bid to overthrow their capitalist masters.  Even those who steadfastly espouse the philosophy of non-violence are set up for harassment, blackmail, long jail sentences on trumped-up charges and – if none of that “cures” the uppity wage slave who dares to stand up to all those attacks – assassination.   What the United States Government did to Martin Luther King must be burned into the consciousness of every working man and woman in this nation.  THIS is why we call for the overthrow of the most murderous ruling class ever to rampage across the face of the planet – the U.S. capitalist class.

11jan77_Report of the DoJ Task Force to Review the FBI MLK Jr. Security and Assassination Investigations

Workers of the World, Unite!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago