KGB Documents Show the Secret History of Ibram X. Kendi’s “Antiracist” Movement

When five black middle schoolers attacked their white classmates and were arrested for hate crimes this past March, some may have concluded that these “antiracism” initiatives had failed. In reality, those initiatives had actually succeeded, exactly as our nation’s enemies had hoped they would. Despite efforts to ignore the evidence, what we now call “antiracism” began as communist party policy and influence operations more than half a century ago. Thanks to one Soviet dissident, Vladimir Bukovsky, we have the KGB documents to prove it. This is a part of history that the critical race theorists appear unwilling to teach.

Based on the files Bukovsky obtained, we now know that Gus Hall, former General Secretary of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), secretly wrote to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CC-CPSU) in September 1969. Hall requested that the Soviets confer an honorary doctorate degree to a black CPUSA member named James Jackson. Hall explained that it “would have a deep meaning… for our party and its leadership’s influence amongst the negro masses.” The CC-CPSU agreed with Hall and noted that this degree would give Jackson “the opportunity to receive a place among the instructors at New York University.” By now, the long march through the institutions was well underway.

A few months later, in late-April 1970, Soviet KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov wrote to the CC-CPSU to request permission to assist the CPUSA in an ongoing influence operation to radicalize and recruit the Black Panthers. As Andropov explained to the Central Committee: “Because the rise of negro protest in the USA will bring definite difficulties to the ruling classes of the USA and will distract the attention of the Nixon administration from pursuing an active foreign policy, we would consider it feasible to implement a number of measures to support this movement and to assist its growth.”

Andropov was encouraged by the fact that the CPUSA, despite having just begun the operation, was “already yielding positive results.” For example, two months earlier in February 1970, a CPUSA cell called the Che-Lumumba Club learned about the campaign to free an incarcerated member of the Black Panthers, George Jackson, and sprang into action. One of the club’s members, Angela Davis, rose to international fame because of this campaign after firearms she purchased fell into the hands of Jonathan Jackson, George’s 17-year-old brother. Jonathan carried out a shooting in early August that left four dead, including himself.

[Related: “Democracy in Danger: A Notice to the National Security Community”]

Davis went on the run and was caught by the end of the year; the CPUSA, along with the Soviets, came to her defense. One of Davis’s earliest attorneys was CPUSA member John Abt, the same lawyer requested by Lee Harvey Oswald after Oswald assassinated President Kennedy. The KGB went to work as well, and declassified CIA reports from March 1971 note that Davis’s trial appeared to be “developing into a rallying-point for a Soviet manipulated… anti-U.S. campaign.” The KGB, however, did not use propaganda alone. In July 1971, the KGB attempted to start a race war by planting bombs in black neighborhoods—known as Operation PANDORA.

Davis was acquitted in 1972, as having purchased the guns was not enough to establish her role as a conspirator, and she left the United States to tour socialist countries. Impressed by the absence of racial inequality in Castro’s dictatorship, Davis came to the conclusion that “only under socialism could the fight against racism be successfully executed.” As she continued her activism throughout the decade, she declared in 1979 that “in a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist,” thus establishing the terminology still in use by modern “scholars,” such as Ibram X. Kendi.

Due to her increased prominence, Gus Hall chose Davis as his running mate for the 1980 presidential election. As the CPUSA continued to work with the Soviet Union—even requesting special training from the KGB months before the election—Davis began her most influential book: Women, Race and Class. Ibram X. Kendi regards the book as an instant classic, forging “an integrative race, gender, and class analysis, in American scholarship.” Even so, much of the material cited by Davis was purchased by the CPUSA from International Publishers, and the Soviets provided covert financial assistance, as evidenced by a top-secret document from 1982.

By the mid-1980s, communists had worked to radicalize African Americans and worsen race relations for at least 15 years, and it was not only domestic relations that the Soviets sought to harm. In the Summer Olympics of 1984, for example, the KGB posed as the KKK, and sent racist pamphlets to Asian and African athletes. In 1985, defected KGB officer Yuri Bezmenov published his pamphlet, Black is Beautiful, Communism is Not, to try and warn the black community, reflect on his time in the KGB, and share his knowledge of communist influence operations. Bezmenov’s warnings, however, failed to stop the further spread of these efforts.

[Related: “Can We ‘Long March’ Back through the Institutions?”]

The key writings of critical race theory were codified a decade later, with Davis cited throughout. While CRT did begin with legal scholars in the 1970s—and throughout the 1980s—the influence that Davis and her communist supporters had on the theory was by no means indirect, only more or less covert. Davis was, after all, a favorite student of Herbert Marcuse, a founder of critical theory (from which spawned CRT), and an original supporter of the “long march.” That march nears its end, as almost every university and many large corporations have adopted this ideology under the guise of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

So-called “antiracism,” as intended, will only stoke racial division and sow chaos. CRT antagonizes white people for their “power,” “privilege” and “whiteness.” The theory blames black people’s problems on “systems” alone, ultimately infantilizing them, and CRT—like a reversed course of cognitive behavioral therapy—teaches everyone to see “power imbalances,” “systemic racism” and “oppression” everywhere. “Antiracist” advocates openly seek to end representative government, the separation of powers, federalism, and free speech—among other civil liberties.

Our enemies deserve recognition, and despite the secrecy in the past, today’s communists seem quite willing to take credit. As Joel Wendland-Liu, a modern-day member of the CPUSA, wrote on behalf of the party in May 2021: “More and more, CRT scholars have acknowledged these ideas originated even further back in time. Some point to Communist Party leader Angela Davis, and others even to Claudia Jones… Today, while many concede Jones’ role in developing this theory, they ignore its original function as Communist Party policy.” Supported by a small trove of secret Soviet documents, the CPUSA’s confession should be accepted as fact.

As Vladimir Bukovsky once warned, “Evil is cynic, sly, and fantastically organized…it is ready to use any kind of means without hesitation. And of course it does—under the banners of the most noble ideas.” The American people must come to realize that while the Soviet Union may have dissolved, its agents still walk among us, and they have subverted our most important institutions, not least our universities. The work to resolve racial inequalities should continue, but what transpires today under the banners of diversity, inclusion, equity and antiracism jeopardizes all of the progress our civilization has made.


Image: porcomanzi, Adobe Stock

Mason Goad

Mason Goad is a junior researcher with the National Association of Scholars, investigating DEI in STEM education and research. He can be contacted on Twitter (@GoadMason) or via email at goad@nas.org.

3 thoughts on “KGB Documents Show the Secret History of Ibram X. Kendi’s “Antiracist” Movement

  1. “The Naked Communist” (1959) discusses this as well as many other things we see happening today. Well worth the read.

  2. I have Bukovsky’s latest book, ‘Judgement in Moscow.’. I will be happy to confirm your assertions.

    Clearly CRT comes from critical theory from Marxists, and Herbert Marcuse sought to rope in disaffected blacks.

    Valuable piece, thank you.

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