Repression is Not New

A Short List of Books for the Age of Bush

“In times of universal deceit the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

With increasing attacks on civil liberties and crackdowns on radicals in the United States now it is as important as ever to understand exactly what we are up against. Following is a list of books to get you on your way. It is in no way complete but consists of the most thorough groundbreaking works written to date.

War at Home: Covert Action Against U.S. Activists and What We Can Do About It. Brian Glick, 1989, South End Press. Provides a comprehensive and common sense approach for those who must engage in political activity while facing governmental and right-wing attacks. Includes a cogent analysis of the relationship between the U.S. political economy and domestic covert action.

Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement. Ward Churchill & Jim Vander Wall, 1988, South End Press. A chilling account of the murderous tactics used against non-white political activists. 500 pages and an extensive index and footnotes.

COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States. Ward Churchill & Jim Vander Wall, 1989, South End Press. Actual FBI documents and commentary make a strong case for convincing skeptics. Replaces the Counter-intelligence book previously issued by the NLG.

COINTELPRO: The FBI’s Secret War on Political Freedom. Nelson Blackstock, 1976, Vintage Books. The FBI’s campaign to infiltrate and disrupt the Socialist Worker’s Party; good overview of the other Bureau investigations of additional left organizations.

The Age of Surveillance: The Aims & Methods of America’s Political Intelligence System. Frank Donner, 1980, Alfred Knopf. The classic tome documenting surveillance and harassment in the U.S. from World War I to 1980.

Protectors of Privilege: Red Squads and Political Repression in Urban America. Frank Donner, 1991, Univ. of California. Donner provides a wealth of entertaining yet appalling anecdotes demonstrating how local police intelligence units-often dubbed Red Squads-subverted the Constitution while justifying their actions as preserving democracy in the fight against subversion.

Under Cover: Police Surveillance in America Gary T. Marx, 1988, Twentieth Century Fund/Univ. of California Press. The most thoughtful critical analysis of undercover police techniques currently available.

Political Repression in Modern America, 1870 to Present., 2nd edition. Robert J. Goldstein, 1978i, Schenkman Books, Inc. Government, corporate and other pressures brought to bear on political groups through the years.

The Private Sector: Rent-a-cops, Private Spies and the Police Industrial Complex. George O’Toole, 1978, W.W. Norton. Very hard to find but worth it.