Turbulent 1970s Revisited
Date Written: 2016-07-01
Publisher: Against the Current
Year Published: 2016
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21463
Book reviews of Michael Simanga's Amiri Baraka and the Congress of African People: History and Memory, and Aaron J. Leonard's and Conor A. Gallagher's Heavy Radicals:
The FBI's Secret War on America's Maoists: The Revolutionary Union/
Revolutionary Communist Party, 1968-1980.
These new books investigate two of the important revolutionary groups to emerge in the United States during the 1970s. Both books are written by veteran former members of their respective organizations, adding richness and authenticity to both works.
While the Congress of African People and the Revolutionary Union had different roots in the late 1960s, both organizations embraced a version of Marxist politics influenced by the Chinese revolution and anti-colonial movements in the Third World.
Simanga's book looks at poet-activist Amiri Baraka's dynamic journey from Black nationalism to the New Communist Movement, while Leonard and Gallagher, using new archival research, provide startling insight into how the U.S. government worked clandestinely to repress and destroy that movement.