Leaders of the pro-Chinese Communist Party Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) have claimed credit for “the spark that has inflamed the world,” referencing the recent wave of rioting that has devastated several U.S. cities.
There’s also evidence that the Beijing-loyal FRSO wasn’t just a catalyst for some of the most destructive civil unrest in U.S. history, but also laid the groundwork for and is playing an active role in maintaining momentum for the ongoing insurrection.
One of the most striking things about radical left movements is their ability to cause such great damage with comparatively minuscule numbers of agitators. Many of these individuals and organizations work relentlessly to bring about revolution with little to no scrutiny.
A great example of this is reflected in a June 18 Facebook post by Chicago FRSO leader Joe Iosbaker, who wrote about his comrade Frank Chapman’s recent visit to Minneapolis. Readers likely aren’t aware of Chapman, but everyone is familiar with the riots that he and his comrades take credit for “sparking” after decades of communist exploitation of race for revolutionary purposes and anti-police agitation.
The communist organizers might pass for a group of friends at a neighborhood barbeque, but their innocent appearance shouldn’t lull citizens into complacency.
Their leaders are trained Maoist revolutionaries.
“Frank Chapman is in Minneapolis/St. Paul today to meet with the movement that launched the nationwide rebellion in the wake of the police murder of #GeorgeFloyd,” Iosbaker proclaimed.
Accompanying photographs in the post highlighted Chapman giving a raised fist salute with several leaders of the Minneapolis-based FRSO front “Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar,” and also addressing a meeting of the organization.
In a June 20 Facebook post, Chapman wrote:
“Part of my Juneteenth was spent in Minneapolis/St. Paul with the rebels that gave us the spark that has inflamed the world. I also visited the George Floyd Memorial and discovered in the park next to it this memorial cemetery created by the rebels for the far too many Black, Latinx, Indigenous, LGBTQ and Trans people murdered by the police. … ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!”
The Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar was founded in late 2015 after 24-year-old black man Jamar Clark was fatally shot during a physical altercation with police (who were found to have acted in self-defense).
The coalition has played a major anti-police agitation role in Minneapolis since then and was heavily involved in the protests that erupted after the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody.
According to the Communist Party USA website People’s World:
“Community control of the Minneapolis police took a step toward that goal at a forum hosted by the Twin Cities Justice for Jamar Clark Coalition on Thursday, June 18. The Coalition has played a leading role in organizing protests and actions demanding justice for George Floyd.”
In 1961, Chapman was sentenced to life plus 50 years for armed robbery and murder in Missouri. In prison, he became a Marxist-Leninist and a jailhouse lawyer; his cause was championed by the Communist Party USA.
As Iosbaker writes in a 2019 profile of Chapman’s book “The Damned Don’t Cry: Pages from the Life of a Black Prisoner and Organizer”:
“Through Freedomways magazine, started by leading Black Communist Party (CP) members Esther Jackson, Jack O’Dell, and others, Chapman established movement contacts in the outside world. Over the years in prison, Freedomways and the Daily World, the CPUSA’s paper, published a number of his writings. Herschel Walker, the Black CP district organizer in Saint Louis, was the living link to the movement in Missouri, and started a defense committee to free Chapman.”
After Communist Party leader and leftist icon Angela Davis was charged in connection with the murder of a California judge, the Communist Party formed the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR), also referred to as the National Alliance, to campaign for her freedom. That alliance also fought for Chapman to be released from prison.
“Chapman is very clear that it was the massive movement to free Angela Davis which paved the way to freedom for him and other political prisoners,” Iosbaker explained. “The National Alliance said Chapman was a political prisoner because he had started advocating for civil rights while in prison.”
Chapman explained in his book, as relayed by Iosbaker, that the National Alliance “helped free him,” and a grateful Chapman became the “leader of the Saint Louis chapter” after his release, “building it up through community and labor struggles to becoming one of the largest chapters in the country.” Eventually, the NAARPR dissolved, with some branches remaining open in Kentucky and Illinois.
After years as a Communist Party member, Chapman eventually joined the central committee of the Marxist-Leninist group Freedom Road Socialist Organization, where he’s “helping to guide and train a new generation of Black communists.”
Re-Founding of NAARPR
In November 2019, the NAARPR was re-founded as a national organization at a gathering of 1,200 comrades in Chicago—and Chapman was appointed chairman.
According to Chapman, interviewed for FightBack! News:
“Our call for the re-founding of the National Alliance was a direct response and a conscious intervention into a mass youth uprising that we can trace back to the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Our young people became very agitated by how they were being ruthlessly and recklessly murdered by the system. The police said it was OK for Zimmerman to stalk and murder this teenager. That sparked a very powerful response and agitated into being organizations of young people such as Black Lives Matter, Dream Defenders, and Black Youth Project 100. This was the dawn of a new youth-led stage in the Black liberation movement.
“Coming into the present, police repression has continued to grow and intensify, bringing tens of thousands of people in the streets. … We had a new stirring in the Black community that had to be reckoned with. …”
When the NAARPR called a “May 30 National Day of Action” to protest George Floyd’s killing, FRSO front groups and allies nationwide responded to the call—including the Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar.
“We will be protesting to stop the racist murder and violence that this administration has willfully unleashed,” the National Day of Action invitation proclaimed in part. “Not only is the government standing by as COVID-19 ravages African American, Latinx, and Indigenous communities—inciting mass Black death with their calls to reopen the economy, but the police and racist vigilantes continue to brazenly hunt and kill Black folks while they sleep in their beds and on open roads in broad daylight.”
“You know, [Russian revolutionary Vladimir] Lenin talked about sparks. … A spark is a moment that agitates into existence a mass response to something that’s been done by the system that grossly violates human rights or intensifies human suffering. We have a spark with Charlottesville. Look at what’s happened: an anti-racist activist was maliciously murdered, and the response by people throughout the country has been massive.”
The death of Floyd was just such a spark.
But a spark has to be fanned into a flame, and that was FRSO’s job. If it hadn’t happened in Minneapolis, it would have happened the following week in Georgia, or the week after that in New York. Whatever the spark, these riots were long-planned for election year.
“I’m not saying it was more massive than the response to Michael Brown, or Eric Garner, or Philando Castile. All those were massive responses. But this is different, because this involved the White House. This involved the president of the United States refusing to acknowledge the terrorist act that had been perpetrated that day. That’s what makes it qualitatively different. …
“Trump has told the police throughout the country that they can take off the velvet gloves, now’s the time for the iron fist. During his campaign, and his tenure in office, he’s been consistently beating the racist war drum. He’s calling down the thunder on our people.”
And this movement is clearly targeting the president, and the plan to tear down statues has been simmering since Charlottesville:
“For the movement, this is definitely a turning point. What makes this different than the other racist crimes that have been perpetrated, mostly involving the police, is that mostly there hasn’t been a clear target. The closest you came is ‘Jail killer cops.’ Or ‘Stop police crimes,’ ‘Stop police impunity.’ This movement has objectives with far deeper political implications.
“Take down all the Confederate statues. Take down all those vestiges of slavery that have been haunting our country ever since the Civil War. Take those down. And a direct frontal attack on white supremacy. Being led for the most part by white people. I think that’s a great beginning. Sometimes events make a breakthrough that the movement has been trying to make for years. ‘There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen,’ is how Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Party, put it. …
“There’s a new slogan in this movement: We are the majority. That does two things; it recognizes that Trump is a minority-elected president, but also saying that most people in the country don’t support his racist agenda. The left has been fighting for unity for decades, because potentially we knew it was there. But this is the first time that slogan has come out of a spontaneous uprising of masses of white people. Our task is now to unite the many in order to defeat the few.”
Charlottesville was indeed a breakthrough for the left. Pro-Chinese communists battled in the streets with pro-Putin white supremacists—President Donald Trump and genuine conservatives in the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party were awarded the blame.
Bringing Down President Trump
Charlottesville was one chapter in a long-running saga to bring down Trump.
According to FightBack! News:
“In the aftermath of the dramatic 5,000-person protest that caused Trump to cancel his March 11 [in 2016] campaign appearance on the campus of the University of Illinois, Steff Yorek, the political secretary of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, urged progressive activists around the United States to follow Chicago’s example.
“‘We need two, three, many Chicagos,’ said Yorek. ‘Trump is an open advocate of racism and national chauvinism. Forcing Trump to chicken out of his Chicago campaign appearance was a real victory. Chicago protesters of all nationalities sent a message to the world, that here in the U.S. there is widespread and militant opposition to his reactionary agenda.’”
On Jan. 20, 2017, the day of Trump’s inauguration, Yorek proclaimed at a Columbus Circle protest in Washington, “We need to stay in the streets the entire four years opposing Trump and making the country ungovernable.”
Naturally, election year would see an uptick in FRSO attacks on the president. Causing enough unrest and economic damage to defeat the president would be a huge victory for the FRSO—and would no doubt please their Chinese comrades.
The ‘People’s War’
In May 2019, in response to Trump placing tariffs on Chinese goods, CCP mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency published a strongly worded editorial stating that the United States was fighting for “greed and arrogance,” while China fought to “defend legitimate rights and interests”:
“The trade war in the United States is the creation of one person and his administration who have swept along the entire population of the country. Whereas the entire country and all the people of China are being threatened. For us, this is a real ‘people’s war.’”
Most commentators naively thought that the term “people’s war” referred to trade. However, in Maoist ideology, “people’s war” carries a much wider and highly significant meaning.
Developed by Chairman Mao, the “people’s war” was a strategy in which Maoist insurgents could use attrition and unconventional warfare to defeat much more powerful conventional armies.
Autonomous Zones as ‘People’s War’ Strategy
In a rural setting such as pre-1949 China, this meant luring government armies into rural areas and harassing them with guerrilla warfare—never in direct battle. Eventually, the Maoists would take over certain rural areas and establish autonomous zones or guerrilla-ruled counter governments. These would be gradually expanded until the countryside was controlled and the cities could be surrounded—then seized.
This strategy was followed successfully in China, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. It’s still being used today by the Maoist New People’s Army in the Philippines.
Does the people’s war strategy make sense of recent Maoist-inspired attempts to establish autonomous zones in several cities coupled with constant political and physical attacks on police?
The FRSO is well aware of the concept of people’s war, citing it on May 5, in their “45th anniversary of Vietnam’s victory over U.S. imperialism,” which credits communists of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos with creating a “wave of activists who wanted to bring down U.S. imperialism and who decided to take up Marxism-Leninism” in the United States.
“People’s China,” according to the article, “had a profound effect on the student, anti-war, Black, Chicano, Asian American and other oppressed nationality movements.” The FRSO bragged that they’re “carrying forward the best aspects of the new communist movement.”
Targeting Trump, the article continued:
“[Forty-five] years ago, Vietnam showed the world what was possible, and it is important to remember that today. Trump and his corporate backers are doomed. Capitalism is a failed system.
“It is like Mao said about the U.S. in the 1960s, ‘However, all reactionary forces on the verge of extinction invariably conduct desperate struggles. … And the revolutionary peoples are bound to meet with all kinds of difficulties before final victory. Nevertheless, all these difficulties can be surmounted, and no difficulty can ever obstruct the advance of the revolutionary people. Perseverance means victory.’”
In the late 1980s, a Maoist faction of the terrorist Irish Republican Army (IRA) tried to develop a new theory of people’s war, suitable for more advanced countries or urban settings.
As explained on the Facebook page Marxism-Leninism-Maoism Ireland, the idea was to destroy police stations in certain areas, which would then become governed by the IRA as occupied areas—from which to spread further insurrection:
“This strategy was devised by IRA commanders along the border as an attempt to implement Chairman Mao’s theory of Protracted People’s War to the concrete conditions in Ireland. …
“From 1985 onwards, the IRA in the border areas began to implement this strategy, attempting to create liberated zones, areas were the occupation forces were powerless and the Republican movement was in control.”
This strategy failed when its originators were killed in a British Army ambush while trying to blow up a police station. The more urbanized people’s war apparently lives on with modern Maoists.
The FRSO could be causing mayhem on the direct orders of the CCP or it could be acting autonomously in sympathy for the international revolutionary movement.
Either way, it’s clear that the FRSO thinks of itself as the instigator of the recent revolutionary wave and that their goal has only a little to do with “racial justice” and a lot to do with destroying Trump and the global wave of patriotism and state sovereignty.
As America’s institutions have become heavily infiltrated, it’s not surprising that communist subversives are able to act freely. But Americans surely deserve a government with the political will to enforce existing laws that would thwart bad actors from destabilizing the United States, and the world.
Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics. He is best known for his book “Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress” and his similarly themed documentary film “Enemies Within.” His recently published book is “White House Reds: Communists, Socialists & Security Risks Running for U.S. President, 2020.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.