Distorting the Legacy of Richard Aoki
Former San Francisco Chronicle reporter Seth Rosenfeld reveals in his newly-released book, “Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power,” that the late Richard Aoki, an extraordinary Asian American activist, was a long-term FBI informer. From there, Rosenfeld goes on to assert that Aoki was not only a paid snitch but an agent provocateur as well, having provided “the Black Panthers some of their first guns and weapons training, encouraging them on a course that would contribute to shootouts with the police and the organization’s demise.”
This is a classic example of how truth is mixed with falsehood to rewrite history and promote a more sweeping agenda. The goal is to discredit the movements of the 1960s and ‘70s and key activists of that era who might serve as role models for coming generations. The failed prosecution of former Black Panthers in the well-known case of the “San Francisco 8” is just one of many recent examples.