Ralph Schoenman was one of the most radical and literally unhinged marxists in the anti-American, anti-Vietnam war movement. He was literally thrown out of the main anti-American organizations later in his life because of he strange behavior.
Conference on the International Situation, November 20, 1976
A "Conference on the International Situation]] (KW: constructed name from news report), was held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Columbia University on November 20, 1976. It was reported upon by "The Militant", the official paper of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the largest Trotskyite organization in the US and a secret member of the Trotskyite Fourth International based in Paris, France. Entitled "Who really represents the Peking line?" (Maoist conference in NYC), by Les Evans, it reported on the competing Maoist parties in their attempts to present themselves as the "true" heirs to Mao Tse-tung, and included the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), the October League (OL), and the Guardian US marxist weekly which had very strong ties to Red China for many years.
Among the sponsors of this event were:
- George Wald - professor and Nobel Prize-winning biologist, and a leading member of the Hanoi Lobby as well as a supporter of many communist fronts and causes
- Richard Falk - professor of International Law, Princeton Un, a hardcore marxist, a leader of the academics in the Hanoi Lobby, and later a vociferous supporter of the PLO and the Palestinian cause
- Richard Barnet - codirector of the marxist Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). See S. Steven Powell, "Covert Cadre: Inside the Institute for Policy Studies", Green Hill Publishers, Ottawa, Illinois, 1987.
All three men were supporters of and visitors to Hanoi during the Vietnam War and comments by both Falk and Barnet were broadcast over Radio Hanoi. See the section on "The Hanoi Lobby" and "American visitors to North Vietnam/Hanoi during the war" here at KW. They soon dropped their sponsorship of this conference, according to The Militant, when, as Falk "told the press, "It turned out that we didn't really know what we were sponsoring, and the whole thing was terribly manipulative. It began to have the feel of a left-sectarian event" which is actually was.
The Militant went on to describe who was behind the "conference"."In fact, while a certain range of views was permitted by the conference organizers, the essential business at hand was another round in the ongoing war between the various Maoist groups over who really represents the Peking line."..."The actual organizers of the meeting turned out to be the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) and its youth affiliate, the Revolutionary Student Brigade (RSB). They were out in force with a full-scale national mobilization of their membership from as far away as Hawaii.
Guests who spoke at the conference:
- Eqbal Ahmad - not identified but was a Fellow of the IPS and Iraqi marxist
- Dave Dellinger - "pacifist". A key leader of the Hanoi Lobby, Hanoi visitor, and self-proclaimed small "c" communist. He had a 4 decades long record of supporting all kinds of communist/marxist fronts and causes. Was identified in a news column as the American "go-between" to the North Vietnamese communists in Paris.
- William Hinton - avowed Maoist, author of "Fanshen", and "until recently, the national chairperson of the U.S.-China People's Friendship Association (USPFA).
- Ralph Schoenman - former director of the far-left, anti-American Bertrand Russel Peace Foundation and its affiliate, as head, the Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal. Schoenman was viewed by much of the US Left as an unstable communist fanatic who later was driven out of the organized Hanoi Lobby and other organizations because of he extremist views and actions.
Schoenman was also a member of the following far-left, communist fronts and organizations:
- National Committee for a Citizens' Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam, letterhead, approximately 1970. He was identified in the letterhead as Director, American Foundation for Social Justice, and Secretary General, International War Crimes Tribunal.
The Militant article described Schoenman as follows: "While the conference had invited reformists and Social Democrats of various stripes, the steering committee had passed an explicit motion barring 'Trotskyites'. Clearly, Schoenman had been invited in ignorance of the fact that he is a revolutionary Marxist. He schocked the audience by disputing the thesis that the Soviet Union is 'capitalist'."...."Schoenman was jeered and verbally abused by harden Stalinists. Significantly, however, even in this gathering some 25 percent of the audience applauded him at the end."
Panels were held on various topics, but not listed by name in the article. Only the following name appeared outside of the listed speakers and conference organizers.
Revolutionary Communist Party leaders at the conference:
- Robert Avakian - chairman and considered one of the top Red Chinese/Maoist fanatics in America
- Clark Kissinger - (aka C.Clark Kissinger - former antiwar activist and one time national secretary of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Kissinger would later show up in many Maoist/oriented organizations through the end of the century and even into the first decade of 2000.
Maoist parties and factions present at the conference:
- Revolutionary Communist Party - led by Robert Avakian and C. Clark Kissinger
- October League - (OL), a smaller but very vocal maoist faction created by former members of the maoist section of SDS and splinter groups
- Guardian newspaper - Once a Soviet propaganda operation known as the National Guardian, the Guardian became more maoist over time, especially in the 1970's until its demise in the early 1990's. It was, in fact, subsized by Peking's massive subscriptions to the newspaper (a money laundering method) and by its subsizing of Guardian tours to Red China. When the Guardian later changed its views on the way Mao's successors were going, these subsidies were cut off and signed the beginning of the financial/publishing decline of the publication.
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
In 2008 Ralph Schoenman, Co-Producer, "Taking Aim" WBAI, New York; UAW Local 1781, Vallejo, CA signed a statement circulated by the Partisan Defense Committee calling for the release of convicted “cop-killer” Mumia Abu-Jamal.