Executive Intelligence Review
This article appeared in the November 17, 1995 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

RU/RCP: anatomy of
a Maoist countergang

Name of group: Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), formerly Revolutionary Union (RU).

Also known as: Fight Back, Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, Revolutionary Communist Workers Brigade, Rich Off Our Backs, Unemployed Workers Organizing Committee, U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association, Revolution Books, China Books, Organizing Committee for a World Without Imperialism Contingent (WWIC), Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru, No Business As Usual.

Headquarters: 3449 North Sheffield, Chicago, Illinois. As of 1992, RCP had offices in 16 U.S. cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco/Berkeley, Washington, Miami, Atlanta, Honolulu, Baltimore, Cambridge/Boston, Detroit, New York City, Cleveland, Portland, Oregon, Philadelphia, Houston, and Seattle.

Date of founding: Originally called Revolutionary Union, it was founded in 1969 as a Maoist splinter out of pro-terrorist RYM II faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

Location of operations: In addition to U.S. cities listed above, RCP is active in western Europe, particularly in France, Germany, and England. As a result of 1981 criminal indictments of RCP National Chairman Robert Avakian and other leaders, for their break-in to White House grounds during a Presidential ceremony in the Rose Garden, Avakian and others fled the U.S. and have been living in exile in Paris ever since.

Major terrorist actions:

August 1971: RU cell in Reading, Pennsylvania is running explosives to left- and right-wing terrorist groups, including the Weatherunderground, Puerto Rican terrorists, and Ku Klux Klan, throughout the United States and Canada. Explosives provided by Reading, Pa., RU leaders Bertram Jones, Thomas Kanger, and James Colbert, are used by KKK terrorist Charles Simms to blow up 14 schoolbuses in Pontiac, Michigan, to stop racial integration through busing.

1972: RU personnel are involved in phony "Black September" Arab terrorist cell based in Montreal. Planned terrorist attacks against prominent American Jewish targets were foiled by diligent U.S. law enforcement. The cell's controllers include prominent Canadian China lobby figures James Endicott, Chester Ronning, and Paul Lin; and phony "Black September" operation was authorized by National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger. One incident believed to be linked to RU-linked "Black September" cell is the summer 1973 shooting of Israeli Col. Josef Alan near Washington, D.C.

1972-1974: RU member Dr. Steven Levin helps create the Black Liberation Army (BLA) "cop killer" cell at Lincoln Detoxification Center, in New York's South Bronx. BLA terrorists on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List are safehoused at Lincoln Detox.

1974-1975: RU founder, U.S. Air Force Intelligence Capt. H. Bruce Franklin, is a controller of Symbionese Liberation Army, which carries out assassination of Oakland, California School Superintendent Marcus Foster and kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst.

Nov. 27, 1979: Revolutionary Communist Workers Brigade (RCWB) takes hostages at Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan in support of Iranian "students" takeover of U.S. embassy in Teheran.

Dec. 5, 1979: RCP takes over Statue of Liberty, led by Fred Hanks, in support of Khomeini revolution.

April 25, 1980: W.E. Dubois Revolutionary Army issues a 20-page communiqué to Los Angeles Police threatening to assassinate prominent area residents, including the county sheriff, carry out arson in Beverly Hills, and bomb public sites, unless a "revolutionary black community fund" is set up. Communiqué references the shooting of Colonel Alan, prompting suspicion of RU involvement.

1981: RCP front group, Fight Back, is recruiting African-American GIs stationed in West Germany; provides information to Red Cells (RZ) used in the bombing of Ramstein U.S. Air Force Base, near Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Summer 1983: RCP terrorist training camps are held in Colorado, drawing in people from Iranian Student Association and Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA). The group is known to be involved in heroin trafficking between California and Scandinavia. RCP is also linked by police with the Ohio-based Outlaws Motorcycle gang in trafficking of heavy weapons.

October 1983: Organizing Committee for a World Without Imperialism Contingent (WWIC) is founded to establish links between RCP and European terrorist underground, for the purpose of blocking deployment of U.S. Pershing and cruise missiles in Germany. RCP founder Clark Kissinger leads an eight-week tour of Germany over November-December. WWIC contingent includes members of Peru's Shining Path.

Autumn 1983: RCP contingent penetrates Mutlangen U.S. military base in West Germany where Pershing II intermediate-range missiles are stored.

Autumn 1983: RCP is linked to bombing of Pan American Airlines offices in Stuttgart, West Germany.

November 1983: RCP/WWIC members are involved, along with Red Cells and other German anarchist-terrorists, in assault against Vice President George Bush's caravan, during the latter's visit to Krefeld, Germany.

Nov. 22, 1983: RCP and Greenpeace conduct joint public meeting in Seattle, signaling an RCP move into alliance with eco-terrorist groups.

Jan. 11, 1984: Gen. Robert Ownby at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, is assassinated, and the RCP is the chief suspect. It is already under investigation for infiltration of U.S. Army through its Fight Back front group. (An August 1983 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report identified Fort Sam Houston as the hub of a smuggling ring, stealing Army weapons for sale on the black market.)

Jan. 18, 1985: RCP's newspaper, Revolutionary Worker, calls for the assassination of President Reagan. RCP's call is seconded by RZ, Basque separatist ETA, Red Guerrilla Resistance, United Freedom Front (UFF), and British Columbia-based anarchist publishing house, Open Road.

March 12, 1984: RCP sponsors the founding conference of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) in London (see dossier on RIM). U.S. law enforcement estimates at this time show RCP with hard-core underground membership of 100 people in the U.S., plus an unknown number of members infiltrated into the United States Army, mostly in West Germany. U.S. apparatus provides support and equipment to active terrorist groups. Avakian and other leaders are still living in exile in Paris.

May 1, 1984: RCP contingent participates in May Day March in Paris, joined by Peruvian Shining Path members.

April 29, 1985: RCP holds a nationwide day of direct action, involving its front group, No Business as Usual, and the UFF.

Nov. 15, 1985: RCP in Paris issues a leaflet in the name Sympathizers of RIM supporting Shining Path.

July 26, 1986: Fighting Troop terrorist group bombs Dornier Aerospace company offices in Immerstadt, Germany in support of Shining Path. Fight Back members of RCP in the U.S. Army are suspected of links to bombing.

November 30, 1987: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California is bombed by Nuclear Liberation Front umbrella group with RCP participation. Simultaneous demonstrations at nearby Concord Naval Weapons Station by RCP and Greenpeace.

Dec. 7, 1987: PSA airlines flight 1771 crashes, killing president of Chevron Oil, three other company executives, and five West German SDI scientists. Police believe the plane was bombed, and suspect the RCP, given recent Livermore bombing and protests at Concord.

July 1991: Three nights of rioting in Washington, D.C. Hispanic neighborhood of Adams-Morgan are organized by RCP, which heavily penetrated the Hispanic community.

April 29, 1992: Los Angeles riots are triggered by RCP looting and trashing of downtown and government district. RCP, linked to Crips and Bloods narco-gangs responsible for rioting in South Central Los Angeles, circulates a leaflet featuring a statement by Carl Dix, RCP National spokesman, titled "It's Right To Rebel."

Summer 1992: Riots in "Little Haiti" section of Miami are instigated by RCP members, including Rolande Durancey, who is also personal spokeswoman for ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the head of Haitian Center.

Trademark terror signatures: Agents provocateurs for street rioting; behind-the-scenes control over hard-core terrorist gangs in the U.S., such as the Black Liberation Army, Symbionese Liberation Army, National Liberation Armed Forces (FALN), and Germany's Red Cells, which engage in bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, and other acts of "blind terror."

Leaders:

  • Robert Avakian: Founder of RU; son of National Lawyers Guild attorney and Alameda County, Calif. Superior Court Judge Spurgeon A. Avakian; Ramparts magazine writer; campaign manager for Peace and Freedom Party Presidential campaign of Eldridge Cleaver, 1968; unsuccessful 1968 candidate for Berkeley, Calif. city council on Peace and Freedom Party ticket (advocated white radicals arming black community for urban guerrilla warfare).

  • Capt. H. Bruce Franklin (USAF-ret.): "Inside" controller of RU during 1969-70; Air Force Intelligence officer, assigned to Strategic Air Command, specializing in irregular warfare, 1950s; PhD. in English literature, concentrating in science fiction, futurology and linguistics; mid-1960s at Stanford University in Paris, associated with leading Sorbonne radicals, "converted" to Maoism, under tutelage of Felix Greene of London Institute for Race Relations at Stanford University in 1966; 1970, stages split out of RU to form Venceremos, which launches United Prisoners Union; 1972, UPU merges with Vacaville (Calif.) Prison's Black Cultural Association, forming Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA); 1973, recipient of Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship; sent to Italy, mid-1970s serving as "consultant" to NATO linguistics/mind control experimentation, which ran cells of Italian Red Brigades.

  • Lt. Steven Levin: U.S. Army Intelligence officer involved in creating phony "GI radical" movement, 1964; founder of RU in San Francisco Bay area, 1969; at Lincoln Hospital Detoxification Center ("Lincoln Detox") in Bronx, N.Y., 1970-72, with other RU cadre, who created Black Liberation Army (BLA) cop killers through drug-enhanced behavior modification of hardened criminals using Maoist "self- and mutual criticism" techniques; redeployed to RU group in Reading, Pa. to participate in drug- and weapons-trafficking operations, sanctioned by National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger; later, staff physician at Chit Chat Farms, a behavior-modification center in Pottstown, Pa. owned by Kodak Corp.

  • Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz: Founder of RU, 1969; cultural anthropologist and editor-in-chief of Indigenous World, newspaper of radical ethnic separatist apparatus; leading publicist for Guatemalan narco-terrorist URNG (Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity), headed by Rigoberta Menchú; 1983 attended U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva with Menchú.

Groups allied nationally and internationally: Revolutionary International Movement (RIM) (see separate dossier on RIM for full listing of member organizations), Black Liberation Army, Symbionese Liberation Army, Young Lords, FALN (Armed Forces for the National Liberation of Puerto Rico), Red Cells (West Germany), Anarchos Institute (Montreal), Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, Sri Lanka), Medical Committee for Human Rights (U.S.), U.S.-Eurolinks, Organization of Communist Combatants (western Europe), Communist Combatant Cells (Belgium), Direct Action (France), ASALA (Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia), ETA (Basque, Spain), Red Brigades (Italy), Nuclear Liberation Front, Kurdish Workers Party (PKK, Turkey), EOKA-B (Greece), Indigenous World.

Motivating ideology: Maoism.

Known controllers and theoreticians:

  • William H. Hinton: Leading American-born Bertrand Russellite, whose seven books praising the Maoist revolution in China, and particularly the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), were crucial to organizing RU and other U.S. left-wing terrorist organizations following the breakup of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), major New Left movement. Served as consultant and back channel for Henry Kissinger during the early 1970s period of the Nixon administration's "China Card." Leading British Orientalists, including Joseph Needham, Felix Greene and Edgar Snow, helped build up Hinton through widely circulated laudatory reviews of all of his books. All the while, Hinton was part of a behind-the-scenes group exercising finger-tip control over RU, later RCP operations, which included arranging training for top cadres inside China.

    Hinton was born on Feb. 2, 1919, served as a propaganda analyst with the Office of War Information (OWI) in China, 1945-46; National Farmers Union, Eastern Division organizer, 1946-1947; returned to China as technician with United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, posted in Shansi Province, 1947-49, and in Beijing, 1949-53. His first and most famous book, Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village (Monthly Review Press, 1967), was based on notes he took during 1948 stay in Long Bow village in Shansi Province. His notes were confiscated by the Customs Service when he returned to the U.S., making Hinton a cause célèbre among U.S. radicals and building up tremendous interest when book was finally published 1967. His 1971 lectures at the New York City New School for Social Research supporting Maoist Cultural Revolution, published as Turning Point in China, built RU organization. Chairman, U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association, 1974-76; 1975, lecturer in Oriental Studies at University of Pennsylvania; consultant, Beijing Ministry of Agriculture, 1978, 1985; United Nations Grasslands Project in Inner Mongolia, 1980-83; Food and Agricultural Organization United Nations, Agricultural Mechanization Project, 1985-91; Ministry of Forestry in Mexico, 1988, and Unicef, Beijing, 1991-92.

  • Paul Jacobs: Pivotal figure in launching RU as the "leading Maoist" group in U.S. during the late 1960s, in 1969, he orchestrated RU involvement in the strike by the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union in Richmond, Calif.

    Self-described "professional revolutionist, 1935-1940, attempting to overcome U.S. government by force and violence"; U.S. Army Air Corps, 1943-46; consultant to trade union movement, 1940-present; staff director, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, leading Russellite think-tank in U.S., 1956-69, founded by Robert Maynard Hutchins; research associate, University of California at Berkeley, 1962-72; director, Fund for the Republic Trade Union Project; author of 10 books on history of American radicalism, race relations, and trade union movement.

Current number of cadre: Estimate several hundred active members in the United States; larger "secret membership" made up of university professors and other professionals who maintain distance from the terrorist hard core, but provide support and direction. The core group of leaders lives in exile in France and England, where, through direction of Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), they maintain contact with terrorist groups on every continent.

Training: Initially, members were sent to People's Republic of China for training; some members trained in Cuba via the Venceremos Brigades; more recently, terrorist training camps were set up in Colorado and other locations in U.S., plus personnel were sent to Peru and other locations where ongoing narco-insurgencies offered combat experience.

Known drug connections: RIM is made up of narco-insurgent groups like Shining Path financed through cocaine trafficking. From the outset, RU/RCP engaged in drug trafficking in factories, urban areas, etc. The Reading, Pa. RU operation was a major guns-for-drugs transit point for U.S. and Canada. It was suspected of ties to Chinese opium trafficking, and later involved with Iranian and other "Golden Crescent" Central Asia opium and heroin trafficking.

Known arms supplies: RU ran the Reading, Pa. weapons and explosives pipeline.

Known political supporters/advocates: Remnants of the "Gang of Four" faction in China; British Broadcasting Corp. writer Simon Strong, who acted as a publicist for the RCP and RIM via a New York Times Magazine story and 1992 book on Shining Path featuring RCP/RIM role. Robert Maynard Hutchins and American branch of Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, including Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and Fund for Peace; Bertrand Russell House, Great Britain.

Known funding: Early funding from the Chinese government; later, Soviet KGB financing is suspected.

History: Revolutionary Union was founded 1969 as hard-core Marxist-Leninist-Maoist countergang, with members recruited from remnants of SDS. It maintained "aboveground" presence in factories, on university campuses, while deploying an "underground" terrorist capability, controlling groups such as the Symbionese Liberation Army and Black Liberation Army.

Predominantly active in United States until 1980, when operations were shifted abroad. Founding cadre, including "national chairman" Robert Avakian, go into exile in Paris, establishing links to all western European terrorist cells. The other major European center of operations is London, where RCP operates out of Russell House, consolidating ties to British secret intelligence. In the mid-1980s, its links to Turkish guest-worker communities in Europe led to ties with Kurdish, Sikh, Ibero-American and other "Third World" separatist groups.

While maintaining hard-core Maoist beliefs, in the late-1980s, the RCP built ties to radical environmentalist groups like Greenpeace, and ethnic separatists. Following the January 1994 Zapatista insurrection in Chiapas, Mexico, RCP supports Zapatistas (EZLN).

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