Leaving the White House grounds recently, I knew I would encounter protestors. You could hear them throughout the evening, trying to disrupt.
Most of the protestors were to the east and north of the White House, so staff directed us to exit out the west gate. A security guard offered to accompany me and my husband south to Constitution Avenue to meet our Uber driver, and we went safely home.
We heard numerous stories the next morning of guests who had been threatened and endangered. One friend with whom we had walked out of that west gate actually decked a foul-mouthed biker. The biker had veered too close to our friend’s wife while shouting threats and obscenities, and the husband then acted as a man might reasonably be expected to — he punched the guy.
Elsewhere, dozens of angry protestors surrounded Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his wife Kelley as they left the White House grounds. Eventually, more police officers arrived and escorted the couple to the safety of their hotel.
Sen. Paul later reported: “After we got back to our hotel room and some safety we heard something frightening. The ‘protesters’ were staying on our floor — including the room next door to us. They were talking about their mob activities and even saying they thought we were here on this floor. We had to develop a 3 a.m. plan with the Capitol Police to get to safety.”
Paul asks, “Who are these people? Who paid for their hotel rooms? Who flew them in?” What he saw that night led him to conclude, “It’s organized. It’s paid for. It’s violent.”
Several days later, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced the Justice Department had launched an investigation into the organization and funding of the violent protests that have wracked cities across America for months. On Sept. 10, 50 members of Congress signed a letter, calling on Attorney General William Barr to investigate the groups responsible for the ongoing attacks against our republic.
How Do Communists Start a Riot?
This calls to mind a similar moment 60 years ago. President Dwight Eisenhower had planned a state visit to Tokyo in August 1960, but a series of demonstrations and riots by Japanese communists against the visit led the president’s security team to cancel. DeWitt Wallace, founding editor-in-chief of The Reader’s Digest, asked two pivotal questions: “All the newspapers say these are communist-inspired riots. How do we know? If you’re a communist, how do you start a riot?”
Wallace’s questions ended up on the desk of a 26-year-old journalist from Georgia named Eugene Methvin. Starting his research at the Library of Congress, Methvin looked up books on riots. He could find only one — a U.S. Army field manual from 1882 that had been written in response to the 1879 C&O railroad strikes.
In 1960, there were no riots in the United States, only in foreign countries. But that quickly changed. By 1965, America’s cities were imploding. By 1968, there had been more than 150 riots or major disorders. In 1967 alone, rioting left 83 people dead and 1,800 injured.
Methvin did come across a pamphlet published by The Senate Internal Security Subcommittee entitled, “Communist Mob Violence Around the World.” It had been written by the committee’s research director, Ben Mandel. Methvin described it as “the first published study of Communist techniques of ‘riot diplomacy.’”
Mandel knew about the topic because he had been a card-carrying member of the Communist Party. Indeed, he had been the one who handed Whitaker Chambers his Communist-Party card in the 1920s. Mandel referred Methvin to Steve Posony, who had fled Austria when the Nazis took over in 1938. Posony taught history at Georgetown and advised the deputy director for intelligence in the U.S. Air Force.
With Posony and Mandel as guides and mentors, Methvin spent the next 10 years trying to answer Wallace’s questions. They are essentially the same questions we should pose today.
How To Turn Civil Unrest Into Riots
How do we know those are Marxist riots in our streets? That one’s easy: because the organizers tell us they are. In a 2015 interview, Patrice Cullors said she and Alicia Garza, co-founders of Black Lives Matter, are “trained Marxists.”
The second question is more challenging: If you are a Marxist, how do you start a riot? Or, as Methvin posed the question: “What turns an ordinarily trivial city street arrest incident into a gargantuan explosion of mass violence?” After 10 years of research, Methvin found the answer, and he published it in “The Riotmakers.”
He opens with the Newark riots of 1967, which were eerily similar to the riots following George Floyd’s death. From the windows of two public housing buildings on the evening of July 12, 1967, police were seen dragging a struggling man upstairs into the police station. Rumors quickly flew that the police had beaten and killed the prisoner.
Protests began and soon erupted into riots. Over the next four days, 26 people were killed as a result and many homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Within 10 days, riots had broken out in 43 cities across the United States.
Methvin dug deep to understand the cause. One factor he identified was the “Tractor Revolution,” the mechanization of agriculture after World War II that pushed poor blacks and whites into northern cities. While many of those poor whites were able to transition into industrial jobs, Methvin saw that blacks faced numerous obstacles such as poor education, union racism, and housing discrimination, which kept them out of the suburbs and thus out of reach of the industrial jobs.
Other factors playing a role were: the welfare policies of the 1960s, which had started to erode the black family; rampant corruption in Newark’s government, and epic overcrowding. Newark was a tinderbox. Tens of thousands of black Americans were underemployed, undereducated, alienated, exploited, and resentful.
Spontaneous or Incited?
Methvin asked: Would Newark have erupted into violence spontaneously, or did someone light a spark? He found multiple sparks.
Three years prior to the summer riots of 1967, Tom Hayden had arrived in Newark. White, bored, and unhappy, the 25-year-old from Royal Oak, Michigan was on a mission to upend the comfortable world he had been born into.
Hayden was a leader of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). He had co-authored the manifesto that lifted them out of obscurity, the 1964 Port Huron statement, which begins: “We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.”
Methvin describes the statement as “warmed-over Marxist analysis of American society, with a pinch of Lenin’s Imperialism, the Last Stage of Capitalism, and a heavy flavoring of anarchistic utopian idealism.” The statement called for a new left which “must include liberals and socialists,” and which would “start controversy across the land.”
‘We Are Actively Organizing Sedition’
What exactly was SDS’s work in Newark? While it might have been ennobled with the aspiration of rectifying the unjust and inequitable treatment of Newark’s black population, in essence, it sought to foment war. The immediate goal was revolution.
Three months before the Newark riot, Hayden took a local protégé, Jesse Allen, to Puerto Rico to meet with members of the pro-Castro “Movement for Independence.” While there, according to Methvin, Hayden denounced the Newark slum as a colonial possession of the United States. Just weeks before the Newark riot, SDS National Secretary Gregory Calvert revealed: “We are working to build a guerilla force in an urban environment. We are actively organizing sedition.”
To lead their guerilla force, SDS brought in Hassan Jeru Ahmed, a militant activist with a long criminal record who formed a battalion of “Black Beret” mercenaries and organized a campaign of agitation. Newark was flooded with anti-police propaganda and instructions for making Molotov cocktails, which included this directive: “Light rag and throw at some white person or white person’s property.”
The SDS spent three years exacerbating grievances, heightening tensions between black and white, demonizing the police and local government officials. They provided the training, the tools, and the weapons for violence. The riots that ensued, killing 26 and causing millions of dollars in damage, were in no way spontaneous.
The month after the riots had finally ended and the buildings had stopped smoldering, The New York Times Review of Books published an article by Hayden, in which he wrote:
The role of organized violence is now being carefully considered. During a riot, for instance, a conscious guerilla can participate in pulling police away from the path of people engaged in attacking stores. He can create disorder in new areas the police think are secure. He can carry the torch, if not all the people [sic], to white neighborhoods and downtown business districts. If necessary, he can successfully shoot to kill.
Communist Incitement Buried
Methven cites the numerous investigations and court cases that found similar patterns of deliberate instigation in riots across the United States: in Rochester, Cincinnati, Baltimore, San Jose, Toledo, Philadelphia, Watts, Detroit, Chicago.
In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, including Hayden’s well-publicized admission of SDS’s tactics and the open calls for violence by Black Panther leader Stokely Carmichael, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, appointed by President Johnson, concluded in what is known as the Kerner Report that racism was the primary cause of the riots.
Historian Sean Wilentz calls out the profound bias in that conclusion. The experts and analysts who made up the Kerner Commission were not unified in their conclusions.
Those who ultimately held sway justified the riots “not as signs of oppressive poverty and social breakdown but as righteous political protests against racist institutions, in particular the police. The events in Watts, Detroit, and elsewhere were not riots…they were rebellions; instead of seeking to quell the outrage in the nation’s inner cities, responsible government officials needed to awaken to the racism so deeply and systematically embedded in American life, and then attack it head-on.” Sound familiar?
Young, bored, white college students, seduced in their ignorance by the dysfunctional dream of Marxism, decided to conduct their revolutionary experiment using black people as the trigger. But at tremendous cost. The riots of the 1960s had a long-term negative impact on both the value of black-owned properties and on black income and employment.
Riots ‘Unambiguously’ Hurt Black People Most
Robert Margo, a professor of economics at Boston University, and William Collins, of Vanderbilt University, concluded: “the riots were unambiguously negative. They reduced incomes of African Americans’ employment, and they reduced housing values. In the case of housing values, it was broader; it actually affects overall housing values in cities, but the impact is primarily felt by African Americans.”
The Kerner Commission spent seven months looking into the cause of the riots and concluded, simply, it was racism. Methvin spent 10 years looking into the same question and came to a very different conclusion.
He fully acknowledged an array of negative factors affecting blacks in many American cities, but Methvin also demonstrated, incontestably, that the explosion of discontent into violence and rioting was not spontaneous. Indeed it was the direct result of planning and interference by white college students under the sway of Marxism.
Their meddling not only did nothing to help black people, it set many of them years back. As Margo concludes, “whatever was done afterwards was not enough to compensate for the damage and whatever economic consequences came after that.”
These Riots Are Not Random Or Spontaneous
Many of today’s leaders and mainstream media outlets would have us believe that the riots and violence sweeping across America’s cities this year are spontaneous. But history and current evidence tell us otherwise.
As Lora Ries and Charles Stimson of The Heritage Foundation pointed out in a recent report, “Video evidence and arrest records demonstrate that some rioters…have moved from city to city to cause violence using repeated tactics. Their movement and the places they go are not random. Rather, this appears to be part of an organized effort to cause chaos and destruction across the country…”
Similarly, Mike Gonzalez recently wrote in City Journal:
The protests that sprang up in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis seemed like spontaneous outpourings of grief and anger. They weren’t entirely. Though many who joined their ranks may have been moved by outrage at the images of Floyd’s death, those operating behind the scenes have prepared for this moment for a long time.
Gonzalez cites Melina Abdullah, of BLM’s Los Angeles chapter, who told an interviewer that the demonstrations in that city had been strategically planned: “We built kind of an organizing strategy that said, build black community [to] disrupt white supremacy.”
The New York Times also cites the role of Black Lives Matter: “One of the reasons there have been protests in so many places in the United States is the backing of organizations like Black Lives Matter. While the group isn’t necessarily directing each protest, it provides materials, guidance and a framework for new activists.”
Not Just Parallels, But Direct Links
Not only are there strong parallels between the riots of 2020 and the riots of the 1960s, but there is a direct link between the organizers. As Gonzalez points out, one of the three BLM founders, Patrice Cullors, spent a decade working as a radical organizer in the Labor/Community Strategy Center, which was established and run by Eric Mann, a former member of the Weather Underground.
The Weather Underground was formed in 1969 as a militant wing of the Students for a Democratic Society. They sought “the destruction of U.S. imperialism and [to] form a classless communist world.” In seeking those ends, they bombed the State Department, the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, the California attorney general’s office, and a New York City police station.
Andrew McCarthy recently documented ties between the BLM Global Network and the Weather Underground. Kyle Shideler has also exposed the ideological roots of BLM’s obsession with white privilege, which can be traced directly to the terrorists of the Weather Underground.
As the United States now finally embarks on a serious effort to uncover whether, as Rand Paul charges, the current rioting is planned and organized, they would do well to rediscover the ground-breaking work of Methvin. He exposed the very real injustices faced by black Americans, but he also exposed the way those injustices were exploited by those who had been seduced by the lies of Marxist utopia.
Through painstaking research, Methven was able to uncover exactly how those radical organizers turned despair and frustration into violence. We can also now see, with the benefit of hindsight, that the social demolition of the revolutionaries only hurt those it aspired to help.
To Truly Help Black People, Reject BLM
Why is this all of this so vitally important? Because right now, many well-intentioned Americans believe they are helping black people by putting Black Lives Matter signs in their front yards. A number of corporations believe they are helping stamp out racism by donating millions of dollars to Black Lives Matter. Middle schools and high schools across the country are using a curriculum developed by Black Lives Matter to teach children that America is riddled with systemic racism.
But in fact, Black Lives Matter is not about helping black people. It is about using black people to achieve the co-founders’ revolutionary, ideological aims.
BLM wants to overthrow the American system of deliberative democracy and ordered liberty and replace it with their Marxist hell. The sooner Americans wake up to that reality, the less black people will suffer as a result of their current exploitation by the radical left.