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Oswald and Third Party Politics

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Oswald and Third Party Politics

Post by greg parker on Tue 13 Apr 2010, 10:02 am

Oswald & The Socialist Party
Firstly, a little historical perspective. The CPUSA split from the Socialist Party - the split was basically along ethnic lines. Those of English speaking background stayed with the SP, whereas those of non-English speaking background tended toward the Comintern. The CPUSA later ruptured and split over the pact with Germany, and again over the expulsion of Trotsky. Preceding most of those splits, the right-wing leaders of the Socialist Party, Victor Berger and Morris Hillquit, had successfully expelled the left wing led by Big Bill Haywood.

By the 1950s, McCarthyism, internal squabbles and all the splits caused membership to dwindle to around 2,000. How many of those were actually FBI infiltrators is unknown.

The SP was led for many years by perennial Presidential candidate Norman Thomas whose influence was not Marx, but the British Christian Socialists whose raison d'ete was preventing revolution by throwing the working class a few bones. This movement also saw splits - with one splinter group being the Socialist Quaker Society. Whether by design or not, the Christian Socialists acted in the interests of the "establishment". The same can be said of the SP... on many fronts (bad pun intended).

As a sidebar, the Christian Socialists became embroiled to some degree in the Jack the Ripper case through one of the murders happening in the yard of one of the Working Men's Associations it had established.]

Oswald's first known letter to a left wing political party was to the SP:

October 3, 1956

Dear Sirs;

I am sixteen years of age and would like more information about your youth League, I would like to know if there is a branch in my area, how to join, etc., I am a Marxist, and have been studying socialist principles for well over fifteen months. I am very interested in your Y.P.S.L.

Sincerely Lee Oswald

With this was an advertisement coupon, on which he had marked the box requesting information about the Socialist Party. Something to consider: since Oswald claimed later that his interest in Marxism stemmed from his time in NYC and a chance meeting with an elderly Rosenberg crusader is if the Rosenbergs were defended legally, morally, financially or publicly by the Socialist Party. This seems unlikely given one, or possibly both, had been past CP members. The Socialist Party was anti-Communist, anti-Soviet. Why then, would the Rosenberg case eventually lead Oswald to want to join the SP, a party that was not even particularly Marxist orientated?

Julius Rosenberg did make some interesting comments to his lawyer in which he shows resignation to his fate: "This death sentence is not surprising. It had to be. There had to be a Rosenberg Case because there had to be an intensification of the hysteria in America to make the Korean War acceptable to the American people. There had to be a hysteria and a fear sent through America in order to get increased war budgets. And there had to be a dagger thrust in the heart of the left to tell them that you are no longer gonna give five years for a Smith Act prosecution or one year for Contempt of Court, but we're gonna kill ya!" Indeed. And it begs the question; can any of these sentiments apply to the assassination; particularly to Oswald's alleged role? Ruth Paine's family were strong supporters of Thomas, though she herself, disavowed any interest in politics, particularly so, it seems, in the politics of her parents. One thing Thomas did that may be relevant in New York at the time Oswald lived there was "supported efforts to ban communists from teaching positions on the grounds that they had surrendered their right to academic freedom through subservience to Moscow.” [1] Michael Paine also disavowed any intimate knowledge of his father's politics as shown in the following excerpt of his Warren Commission testimony:

Mr. Paine.Yes. Well, we would have to go back to a little to when I lived in New York as a school student in school, grammar school and high school. There I would see him very infrequently considering our close proximity and the fact that I found him stimulating and I liked him. He took me to a few, one or possibly two, Communist meetings at my considerable insistence. He didn't urge this upon me. I wanted to go, to get the feeling of the I asked him what he did or something and I wanted to know all this, my mother said he was on the radical left. So, I went to a few of those meetings, and didn't--was unfamiliar with the issues and questions they were debating. I got the feeling, I came away with the impression, that these people, there were three Communist groups apparently in New York at the time, and they were most up in arms with each other, or there—

Mr. Dulles.Excuse me, how old were you at this time approximately?

Mr. Paine.This was somewhere from eighth grade to high school.

Mr. Dulles.Yes.

Representative Ford.What year about, what time span would that be?

Mr. Paine.Well 1947, I think I got out of high school, so it is 1943 to 1947. Then I didn't--I got the flavor of those meetings. I found sort of an intense people, people of high intensity. I didn't feel very much at home there, and I guess I didn't go to any more.

Mr. Dulles.Did they try to recruit you at all or to get you to be a member or attend or join meetings?

Mr. Paine.No; they were glad to meet Lyman's son. That is he would introduce me to friends or people he knew there, and I liked--I had some favourable attitudes to the zeal of the group or the zeal of the assembled people. They were fully committed to what they believed in. I had my own dreams of how I would like to see society at the time and it wasn't along-the same line. So, I felt happy to have them there and I would go my course and just--I didn't feel opposed to them; neither did I feel drawn to them, although I tried to read some of Das Kapital at that time and Communist manifesto. Mr. Liebeler.Did you ever join any of these organizations?

Mr. Paine.Well, I didn't know of any organization as such. I went to this meeting in downtownNew York. I didn't know--so therefore I knew three groups. Maybe it was the Socialist group and the Stalinist group and I think the group that Lyman was in, I don't know, maybe he was a Socialist.

Mr. Liebeler.Which was the second group, was it the Stalinist?

Mr. Paine.I mentioned the Stalinist, Dubinsky, David Dubinsky, was the only name I remember aside from Stalin, was a name I remember there, and I can't now remember whose side who was on.

Mr. Liebeler.Do you have any clear recollection of what particular group your father was associated with?

Mr. Paine.No; I never had--never knew what the name of any group he might be associated with. Now, I suppose it was Trotsky. Trotskyite was a different distinct group at that time. They probably wouldn't be mentioning their own group. They would be mentioning their opponent's group.

Mr. Liebeler. Subsequent to your attendance at the meetings of these groups at the time you have spoken of did you ever attend any other meetings of similar groups either in New York or any other place?

Mr. Paine.I can't remember anything of a similar nature.

Mr. Liebeler.Did you know of your father ever using any aliases?

Mr. Paine.No; I don't.

Mr. Liebeler.You are not familiar with the name Thomas L. Brown or Lyman Pierce? Mr. Paine. No.

Mr. Liebeler. When was the—

Note that Michael Paine, either through ignorance or contempt, labelled all three major leftist parties (the CPUSA, SP and SWP) "communist", and referred to David Dubinsky as a "Stalinist". Nothing could have been further from the truth. Although Marxists of various stripe and hue could be found in the SP, more prominent were the anti-Zionists, Christian Socialists, [/font">Progressives, Free Thinkers and a whole cacophony of other "radicals" - of the left and right. And Dubinksy was no Stalinist. On the contrary, he was a member of the SP, and a friend of Thomas. Dubinsky's ticket into the Paine circle was the Ladies Garment Worker's Union (Lyman's wife, Frances, was in this union). Dubinksy almost single-handedly decimated the SP vote by forming the Social Democratic Federation, whose stated aim was to promote socialism within the ranks of the Democratic Party. So here we see a strong connection between the politics of the Paines and the Hydes through Dubinsky. AJ Weberman, who does not appear to have picked up on the fact that Michael Paine named Dubinsky in his testimony, nevertheless quotes a passage from PD Scott's tome which mentions him: "Ruth Paine grew up in the Democratic Socialist, anti-Communist tradition of Norman Thomas. Democratic Socialists were willing to work with the CIA to defeat the Communists, who they viewed as a totalitarian perversion of socialism. William Avery Hyde was not the only socialist-type CI [CIA Counter Intelligence] was willing to collaborate with; it also worked with David Dubinsky of the Garment Worker Union. [Scott - Deep Politics p374]" [2] I do not believe that the Paine/Hyde connections in New York, Oswald's claims that his interest in Marxism began in New York, Oswald's time in Minsk, Marie Hyde's visit to Minsk, Ruth Hyde's aid to (White Russian) Jewish émigrés, her role in the US-Russian Student Exchange program which put her in touch with the East-West Contacts division of the State Department run by Frederck T Merrill [3], and George De Mohrenschildt's association with Minsk, as well as a host of other neat things, cannot surely all be viewed as the result of mere chance - though some of them may well be.

Oswald & The Socialist Worker's Party
The SWP was a Trotskyist party which had split from the CPUSA. Lyman Paine and others later split from the SWP to form the Workers Party with the Forrest-Johnson Tendency (FJT) splitting from the latter. It was this group who had gathered at Lyman's home in California the last time (prior to the assassination) that his son had visited him. Though not stated by Michael Paine in his testimony, it can be ascertained from the following testimony:

Mr. Paine.Let me go to that. I have seen him on a few times, once a year would be a frequent--we felt great affinity in our bent, not in the actual application of the way we would like to do things but in a concern for the value of people. I know very little about what he does, and he has not tried to proselytize me, and he has not volunteered information about what he did. I think a certain change has come over him since. For many years or years in college or something I thought he was still interested in his revolutionary groups and that was a pity because that wasn't going to happen, and it was to be a dead end, a blind, he would come to the end of his life and his cause had fizzled out. When I went out to California more recently, the last time we were talking about the civil rights movement and, shall we say, the revolution occurring in this country spearheaded by the Negroes' demand for dignity, that was a subject that completely absorbed the weekend and there were various Negroes who came around the country, who happened to pass through at that time. You probably might be interested in regard to Cuba. I was surprised sometime in the conversation someone there had spoken favorably of the revolution in Cuba. This was a surprise to me, I didn't realize that this was part of the – of the present thrill, shall we say. I don't know whether that applied to Lyman also or whether--I think he went along with that. We didn't get around to arguing on that point. I only mention that in passing. That was about the full extent of it. She mentioned Cuba in this favorable way, and it was a subject I didn't—

Mr. Dulles.Who was this she?

Mr. Paine.It was Grace somebody, I have forgotten.

Mr. Dulles.One of the people present in these conversations?

Mr. Paine.Yes. So that was my only knowledge that he was, or the people around him were, interested in Cuba, and that is the only thing I can see has any bearing in your interest here.

"Grace" was Grace Lee Boggs (aka Ria Stone), a member of the FJT. Grace had translated a Marx essay called Private Property and Communism for the FJT. This was distributed as a pamphlet, and was the first translation in the US of any of Marx's many essays. Other members of the FJT included: William Gorman, Philomena Daddario, Nettie Kravitz, Martin Glaberman, Cecelia Lang, and Norman and Selma Weinstein. But the one of interest here (apart from Grace) is CLR James. Just as James had sought in pre-war Britain to articulate through his book, World Revolution, a revolutionary Marxist position which was opposed to the Stalinism of the Soviet Union, so too in the United States he began the process of establishing a coherent approach to a number of key questions. He returned to the writings of Hegel, Marx, Engels and Lenin; and over the course of a decade he, with a handful of collaborators, moved steadily away from the basic tenets of Trotskyism. The fruits of their collective work laid the basis for a new revolutionary Marxism. Specifically, they advocated the independent vitality of the black struggle; as the means of understanding the nature of the Soviet Union; they developed a Marxism applicable to American conditions; and they broke with the notion of the necessity of a revolutionary vanguard party.

By 1943 James emerged as the leader of a small group within the Workers' Party known as the Johnson Forest Tendency. Its name joined James's ["Johnson" being a pseudonym used by James] with that of his chief collaborator, Raya Dunayevskaya (Freddie Forest). Together they had begun a comprehensive study of Marxism, making the question of the Soviet Union an important focus. Dunayevskaya, a Russian emigrant with long experience inside the revolutionary movement, had also developed a position on Stalinist Russia which argued for its interpretation as a form of state capitalism. Later, Grace Lee (Ria Stone), a Chinese-American with a philosophy degree from Bryn Mawr, joined the Johnson Forest Tendency. Pooling their linguistic skills, different backgrounds and training, they quickly emerged as a dominant and formidable force in revolutionary politics. Prominent members included Freddie and Lyman Paine.

Lyman Paine had been a successful architect, a descendant of Tom Paine; and he provided the Tendency, especially James, with much financial support. James often spent weekends and vacations at the Paines' summer house in Northport, Long Island, from where he frequently wrote to [Constance] Webb. [4] Weberman notes the following airtel at the end of Nodule 9 "An airtel from the FBI Legal Attache in London dated February 5, 1964, regarding Michael Paine was almost totally deleted. [FBI 105-126129-44]" Did this pertains in some way to CLR James, who had been deported back to England some time about 1958?

Note that Grace Lee Boggs, and Raya Dunayevskaya both used aliases. So did Lyman Paine who used aliases incorporating at least one of his real names, just as Oswald had done.

AJ Weberman's analysis is that Lyman Paine was a factionalist - he was more interested in debating the fine points of Socialism then in defeating the capitalists. He was an armchair revolutionary. Oswald wrote that he hated the "factional mutants...odd ball Hegelian idealists out of touch with reality". My response to that is that Oswald had the name "Hegel" written in his notebook. Why would you need to note the name of someone whose works you are so familiar with, you can slam those who study such works? The quote from Oswald's notes in context, written on Holland-American Lines stationery is as follows: "I have heard and read of the resurgent Americanism in the U.S., not the ultra-right type, but rather the polite, seemingly pointless Americanism expressed by such as the American fore group and the freedom foundation. And yet even in these veiled, formless, patriotic gestures, there is the obvious "axe being ground" by the invested interests of the sponsors of their expensive undertaking. To where can I turn? To factional mutants of both systems, to odd ball Hegelian idealists out of touch with reality, religious groups, to revisionist, or too absurd anarchism. No!"

Unfortunately too many take everything they read at face value. "The America Fore Group" was an insurance group. It's full name was the America Fore Loyalty Group. Well, perhaps it did have a patriotic name, and Oswald may well have seen their ads in old copies of National Geographic whilst in the USSR, and some of those may have had a patriotic theme, but can he really have been talking about an insurance group here? Isn't it more likely, he meant "America FIRST", an alliance of Fascists and Socialists opposed to war with Germany? Norman Thomas was at the helm of America First. But among the more loathsome of creatures on the America First Committee was Gerald LK Smith, who went on to form the America First Party. Or perhaps Oswald could have meant "FOR America" - a conservative group started in 1954 by Charles Dunbar, Sumter Marks and Louis Claverie [5] - all principles in the law firm of Phelps, Dunbar, Marks, Claverie & Sims among whose clients was United Fruit? It may even be that United Fruit was one of the sponsors Oswald had in mind when writing of this newfound "formless" Patriotism. Oswald's next wrote: "He must be opposed to their basic foundations and representatives. And yet it is immature to take the sort of attitude which says 'curse on both your houses!' There are two great representatives of power in the world, simply expressed, the left and right, and their factions and concerns. Any practical attempt at one alternative must have as its nucleus the traditional ideological best of both systems, and yet be utterly opposed to both systems." CLR James and friends desire for a Marxism applicable to American conditions would seem to fit the general tenor of Oswald's writings.

The Neocons
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "neoconservative" as (1) a former liberal espousing political conservatism (2) a conservative who advocates the assertive promotion of democracy and United States national interest in international affairs including through military means. It was out of the ructions and splinter groups of the Worker's Party that neocons emerged - and the first President to surround himself with this breed was LBJ. The term "neoconservative" was first used in 1952. According to Merriam-Webster, the shortened term "neocon" did not enter the vernacular until 1979. The JFK records however, show otherwise. But first we need to look at Albert Osborne as epitomized in what is commonly called The Torbitt Document - a manuscript written by a Waco lawyer named David Copeland under the name William Torbitt and published as Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal. Much of Torbitt story of Osborne as a contact for Mexico-based assassins seems to derive, according to Torbitt’s own citations, from a Texas murder case in 1952. As Torbitt recounts the case, two of the professionals from the Mexican nest of assassins, Mario Sapet and Alfredo Cervantes, accepted a private contract for a murder, as they were allowed to do while awaiting authorized killing assignments. The intended victim was Jake Floyd, a District Judge in Alice, Texas, who was a bitter enemy of George Parr, the political boss of Duval County, but whose power extended beyond those county lines (It was Parr who among other things had helped Lyndon Johnson fraudulently win a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1948). On September 8, 1952, as the two assassins lay in wait outside Jake Floyd’s home, Floyd’s son Buddy came out of the house, and Cervantes mistakenly shot him dead. Sapet, Cervantes, and George Parr’s attorney, Nago Alaniz were indicted for the crime. Cervantes escaped back into Mexico, but Sapet, caught and convicted, was sentenced to 99 years, while Alaniz was acquitted. At some point one of the conspirators, again according to Torbitt, gave pertinent information to Bill Allcorn who was a special assistant Attorney General of Texas working on the case. What this accomplice allegedly revealed was the existence of the 25 to 30 professional assassins kept in Mexico, with the contact man for employing them being John Howard Bowen, reachable through the owner of the St. Anthony Hotel in Laredo. As the FBI would find out after the assassination, John Howard Bowen was an alias used by Albert Osborne. But what does all this have to with neocons? Commission Exhibit 2121. Specifically Part VIII: Allegations of Ylario Rojas Villanueva. Rojas wrote to RFK at the end of Dec, 63. The letter indicated that he would only give the names of those he believed involved in the assassination to RFK suggesting that "officials of the United States may be involved and affected by it." He goes on to indicate that he never thought that the plan (involving Oswald and someone he names only as "Albert") would be carried out. Needless to say, the FBI was on the job! It investigated and interviewed Rojas and followed up all leads generated. Came up with zip. Rojas was reinterviewed over the period January 22-23, 1964, this time furnishing background on himself, as well as further details of his involvement with Oswald, "Albert" and a Cuban he had previously mentioned as making the initial approach to him.

The next part of the document lists all the discrepancies in Rojas' story. From the beginning, Rojas claimed to have all the real names of the people involved in his diary which he'd left with a cop for safe keeping. This person did indeed have Rojas' diary, but it contained no such list (though it was left unexplained as to why the diary was left in the safe-keeping of a cop if it was empty of any "dangerous" information. Seems Rojas' had forgotten he'd torn that list out of the diary and hidden it in the sole of his shoe! He produced this list for the FBI on Feb 5. The unidentified Cuban was listed as "Toni Ferria", "Albert" was listed as "Advvin Walker", while Oswald was listed as "Lee Harvei Osvval". The FBI was now all out to discredit Rojas. That discrediting came when they found out about his "involvement" in the Jake Floyd case.

Rojas had written the Floyd family in 1962 indicating he had details of a conspiracy by Cervantes and others to kill Floyd. He was subsequently paid expenses to meet with investigators in that case.

The FBI states that Rojas demanded money prior to the meeting.

He was told money would only be forthcoming if he supplied "information of value". Floyd did indeed, pay him $40.00 on top of expenses. Rojas' story here was that he was running a bar where Cervantes was a customer, and that he (Cervantes) was hired by two Americans to kill Floyd. He named the two Americans and gave detailed descriptions. Unfortunately, the investigators could not find out anything about these two Gringos. Little wonder really... Rojas said their names were "Norman Neocon" and "Louis Feano". You have to ask yourself at this point... would/could Rojas' have possibly come up with those obviously false names himself? I doubt it. The FBI however, quickly concluded he did -- as part of a plan to milk as much money out of Floyd as possible. Feano, btw, was a female who disguised herself as a male in order to become a physician in the 6th century. She studied under Pythagorus, and became expert in medicinal herbs, pharmacology and therapy. In any case, by the time the FBI had finished with Rojas, he had confessed to obtaining all names he had supplied to investigators from "local newspapers", and trying to obtain a benefit from spinning his tales. Not explained is how, if he had obtained the names from local newspapers, those given in the JFK matter were not spelled correctly, but had been written phonetically by someone with English as a second language - that is to say, written as heard by a Spanish ear, while those given in the Floyd matter included an American term extremely unlikely to turn up in a Mexican rural newspaper - especially as a surname, and in an abbreviated form which would not be popularized, even in the US, for another 16 years. There is little doubt that Rojas' tales had numerous problems, yet until those names, and where they really came from, can be explained, those problems are not ones that should be used to dismiss his claims in toto. In fact it may be that the real story is in who supplied the names (and I am certain someone must have!) - whether or not the tales spun around them have any truth.

Backyard Photos & Provocations of Third Parties
Controversy over authenticity aside, it is now well recognized that the photos, showing as they do, the official organs of both the CPUSA and SWP, along with a pistol and rifle, had some type of intelligence purpose behind them - for as shown, the two groups were in total opposition. Few have put it better than researcher Herbert Blenner:

“Oswald subscribed to The Worker and The Militant during the spring of 1963. Both papers supported peaceful coexistence. The Worker advertised English language translations of the speeches of Khrushchev on peaceful co-existence. Editorials in The Worker denounced the Maoists as irresponsible infantile leftists. The Militant diversified their editorial comments with criticism of Soviet bureaucracy and ridicule of the revolutionary ‘ultra-leftists’. Occasionally, The Militant would advertise a work by Leon Trotsky. Any reader of The Worker or The Militant would have understood the ideological inclinations of these publications. Oswald as a thirty-month resident of the Soviet Union would have understood the depth of animosity between the Soviets and the Trotskyists. Allegedly Oswald sent letters and the backyard photos to the Communist and the Socialist Workers Parties. These letters were friendly, polite and amiable. Obviously the author designed the letters to endear themselves to the communists. The photographs on the other hand were surly, offensive, and antagonistic. Showing someone they cannot keep their own house in order is the surest way to alienate them. This is exactly what the backyard photos did. By displaying newspapers from the descendants of the Stalinists and the Trotskyists they reminded the advocates of unity of their first major division. After opening this old wound, the backyard photo poured salt into it. The backyard photo counterpoised two newspapers that supported peaceful coexistence with two guns that were the symbols of the revolutionary Leninist and Maoist factions. If someone intended to produce the most inflammatory photograph, then the backyard photo would have challenged their efforts. One photo taunted the advocates of unity that their fusion movement fissioned twice.” [6]

The pistol and DF Drittal
The Warren Commission Report tells us on page 174 that the pistol mail order form had a line for the name of a witness to attest that the person ordering the gun was a US citizen and had not been convicted of a felony. The name written in this space was DF Drittal. White Pages has no listings nationally in the US for that surname. The Warren Commission and its supporters would have everyone believe Oswald pulled the name out of thin air and that it has no meaning beyond providing a name for a form. Oswald, in that event, may be the only person in the world who, needing a false name for a legal document, would make up a surname that does not exist in preference to using a common name belonging to many, many thousands of people. Oswald's noted interest in, and rudimentary study of the German language may hold the real key to the name. Dritte (also written with the suffix "tel" as drittel) is German for "one third". It takes no stretch of the imagination to understand that Oswald could easily have meant "Drittel", but simply used the wrong suffix. What then, of the initials "DF"? As it happens, there are German words starting with those letters which fit in perfectly: "dienst fur". "Dienst Fur Dritte": English translation - "On behalf of a third party". If this analysis is correct, Oswald was humorously, but cryptically stating the pistol was being purchased for some other individual or group. [7]

[1] The American Prospect article, Exhuming McCarthy by Joshua Micah Marshall, Nov 30, 2002
[2] nodule 11
[3] Merrill was a conduit for CIA funds to various émigré groups
[4] Quoted text from the CLR James Institute website, Special Delivery: The Letters of C.L.R. James to Constance Webb, 1939-1948 Introduction by Anna Grimshaw
[5] According to researcher Tom Purvis who has done extensive work on the Claverie family tree, Louis Claverie was Margeriute Oswald's uncle.
[6] excerpt from alt.assassination.jfk newsgroup post by Herbert Blenner, Jan 7, 2002 in which Blenner puts forward the theory that the photos were provocations.
[7] Recently, researcher Tom Scully discovered that a family named Drittelle, Dritell, or Drittel migrated to the US from Poland in the early part of the 20th century and settled in Brooklyn. Although none of this family bear the initials “DF” (or any of the other suggested interpretations of the letters in the initials), it cannot be entirely ruled out that the name Oswald wrote somehow related to this family. It is interesting to note for instance, that there was a daughter named “Ana”. For reasons not explained, the FBI at some stage was looking for an “Ana Hidell”.

greg parker

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