Zero Squared #44: COINTELPRO and American Maoism in the 60s


Aaron Leonard is a writer and historian. He is a regular contributor to Truthout,, the History News Network, PhysicsWorld, and Canadian Dimension magazine. His book Heavy Radicals was published by Zero Books in February of this year and he returns to the podcast to talk about COINTELPRO and American Maoism.

Joshua Moufawad-Paul reviewed the book in Marx & Philosophy Review of Books this way: Leonard and Gallagher’s historiography reads as a grand political tragedy: it is the story of an organization that, despite significant state interference, temporarily became the primary force of revolution in the United States, and then, also despite state interference, imploded and became a marginal grouplet. Apprehending this tragedy should provide the contemporary left with several useful lessons.

In this episode you’ll hear a cut up of a documentary on Mao, a songified speech from Bob Avakian, and Andrew Kliman and Raya Dunayevskaya explaining the negation of the negation. Right now you’re listening to the March of the Volunteers but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Aaron Leonard and I discuss the history of some heavy radicals.

Pop the Left #3: The Conspiracy Conspiracy


C Derick Varn and Douglas Lain return for the third episode of Pop the Left, a podcast dedicated to moving beyond the impasse in Left politics. This week we take a look at conspiracy theories, the psychology behind them, and the Left’s inability to cope with the prevalence of this approach to politics. Does the bourgeois left benefit from conspiracy thinking? Can we get beyond our own tendency to blame conspiracies for our ideological and political failures? Was 9/11 an inside Job? Did we ever land on the moon? What about entryism?

Three years out of the Zero years and the attendant Bush administration, are we finally ready to face up to the how the Left turned over radical politics to the likes of Alex Jones and David Icke?

Next time on Pop the Left Nicholas Pell will return. Possible subjects to mull over: What is Historical Materialism? What should we make of the Arab Spring? Marxist Humanism and the Self Thinking Idea.

Do you have a suggestion or topic you’d like to hear us discuss? Leave a comment. Special thanks to the North Star blog for helping to promote Popping the Left. pop2