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Dr. Juan R. Cespedes, Ph.D.

supplementary class notes



“Agitation” and “propaganda” are technical terms within Marxist revolutionary theory. Agitation and propaganda as defined by Georgi V. Plekhanov and supported by Vladimir I. Lenin are "value-free", which is to say devoid of morality.


Bolshevik leader and theoretician, Nikolai Bukharin, in his The ABC of Communism wrote in 1919:



The State propaganda of communism becomes in the long run a means


for the eradication of the last traces of bourgeois propaganda


it is a

powerful instrument for the creation of a new ideology, of new modes of

thought, of a new outlook on the world.


Marxist theoretician and first leader of the Red Army, LeonTrotsky, and a small group of Communists regarded the nascent Soviet Union as doomed without the spread of Communism internationally


2.1. The use of the “Mass Line” or “Party LIne” within agitation and propaganda

2.1.1. The mass line is primarily a method of establishing world leadership. But, secondarily, it is also a method of education and mobilization of the masses in order to have them embrace the socialist cause.

2.1.2. To be the leader in a world movement, one must also educate. Since the primary tool for leadership is the mass line, it is therefore not surprising that the mass line/party line is also of value in the work of political indoctrination.



One way in which the mass line/party line is of value is in determining what specific points to concentrate on in agitation (especially) and propaganda. 1

2.2. Communist propaganda was aimed towards influencing the attitude of the western and “non-aligned” populations, advancing the ideology of Marxism, the communist world-view, and the interests of the communist states.

2.2.1. The mass line/party line of the communist states, led by the USSR and PRC, during this period has these important common motifs: the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China were the supporters and natural allies of anti-imperialists and the working classes throughout the world the USSR and PRC were the vanguard of a logical and irrepressible world-wide socialist revolution the USSR and the PRC were peace-loving nations defending themselves against an aggressive and expansionist capitalist military alliance Ironically, the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (officially the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and also known as the Nazi–Soviet Pact), was presented as a peace measure to the world. the United States and its allies were imposing their will on the people of the world the struggle in Vietnam and Southeast Asia was a struggle against neocolonialism and capitalist hegemony the struggle in Vietnam specifically, and Southeast Asia generally, was essentially a civil war (akin to the US Civil War) that should not be interfered with by outside interests The Viet Cong and NVA were grass-roots organizations admired and backed by the oppressed Vietnamese peasantry

1 Agitation and propaganda, or “Agitprop” (Russian: агитпроп ) consisted of stage plays, gatherings, speeches, pamphlets, media, motion pictures and other art forms with an explicitly political message in order to motivate the masses.


the pro-western governments of South Vietnam and Southeast Asia were unpopular authoritarian puppets of the United States The armed forces of the United States in South Vietnam represented an occupying power feared and resented by the South Vietnamese, who wanted reunification with Ho Chi Minh’s communist North. They were engaged in a war that was unwinnable.

the pro-western governments of South Vietnam and Southeast Asia did not represent the interests of their respective populations

Additionally and incongruent to the policies of the USSR, the propaganda machine of the People’s Republic of China sought to

The PRC sought to be the leader of the communist world, and increasingly saw the USSR s a rival (especially since the Sino- Soviet split of the early 1960s). Mao Zedong proposed a more belligerent attitude towards capitalist countries, initially rejected all ideas of peaceful coexistence, and saw the Soviet Union as a “revisionist” 2 of Marxist principles.

secure access to resources and energy throughout Southeast Asia.

build alliances and weaken Taiwan's (Republic of China) relationship with the international community (and succeeded greatly in this matter. On Oct. 25, 1971, the United Nations General Assembly voted to admit the People’s Republic of China and to expel the Republic of China [Taiwan]. The Communist PRC therefore assumed the ROC’s place in the General Assembly as well as its place as one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council).

Promote a multipolar world and constrain or decrease US global power. Like the Soviets, the Chinese sought to diminish the United State's influence in Asia, but also to create its own sphere of influence in Southeast Asia and underdeveloped countries vis a vis the Soviet Union.

2 Within the Cold War communist world, to be a “revisionist” is to believe in an unwarranted altering of fundamental Marxist premises. The term is a pejorative and indicates a "watering down" or abandonment of true Marxism.




3.1. Even before the Bolsheviks seized power, Lenin proclaimed that the Revolution was the vanguard of a world-wide revolution, both international and socialist. The slogan "Workers of the world, unite!" was constantly repeated.

3.2. Lenin founded the Comintern to propagate Communism internationally. When this became a difficulty in dealing with his Allies in World War II, the Comintern was dissolved by Stalin. Other “front” organizations were used instead to spread communist influence.

3.3. Naturally, the existence of an antiwar/peace movement in the communist world was impossible. All political activities, demonstrations, writing or speeches which were counter to the foreign policies of the USSR/PRC were strictly prohibited and ruthlessly suppressed.




the CIA estimated in 1980s that the budget of Soviet propaganda targeted abroad was between 3.5-4.0 billion dollars (approximately 7-8 billion in 2015 dollars).


Propaganda abroad was partly conducted by Soviet intelligence agencies. The GRU (Russian: ла́вное разве́дывательное управле́ние , or Main Intelligence Directorate) alone spent more than $1 billion for propaganda and peace movements in partnership against the Vietnam War, which was a "hugely successful campaign and well worth the cost", according to GRU defector Col. Stanislav Lunev 3 . He claimed that "the GRU and the KGB helped to fund just about every antiwar movement and organization in America and abroad".


According to former KGB General Oleg Kalugin, "the Soviet intelligence was



The KGB programs -- which would run all sorts of

congresses, peace congresses, youth congresses, women’s movements,

trade union movements, campaigns against U.S. missiles in Europe,

campaigns against neutron weapons, allegations that AIDS

was invented by

the CIA

all sorts of forgeries and faked material -- [were] targeted at

politicians, the academic community, at the public at large."


Soviet-run movements pretended to have little or no ties with the USSR, were often seen as noncommunist, but in fact were controlled by USSR.

3 Highest ranking GRU officer to defect to the United States. According to Colonel Lunev, the Soviet Union spent more money on funding of US anti-war movements during the Vietnam War than on funding and arming the Viet Cong forces in that struggle. He remains in the FBI’s witness protection program.



Most members and supporters, referred to as “useful idiots”, did not realize the fact that they were unwilling instruments of Soviet propaganda.

5.2. The organizations aimed at convincing well-meaning but naive Westerners to support Soviet overt or covert goals.

5.2.1. A witness in a US congressional hearing on Soviet covert activity described the goals of such organizations as the: "spread [of] Soviet propaganda themes and create false impression of public support for the foreign policies of Soviet Union."


6.1. Much of the activity of the Soviet-run peace movements was supervised by the World Peace Council (WPC)

6.2. Other important front organizations which were critical of US foreign policy in Southeast Asia included the

6.2.4. Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization,

6.2.7. International Federation of Resistance Movements

6.2.12. There were also numerous smaller organizations and student groups in colleges (such as the SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] who waved Viet Cong flags and chanted “Mao, Mao, Mao Zedong”, and Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the Viet Cong are gonna win” at their national


convention), the International Union of Students, the World Federation of Democratic Youth, and the International Organization of Journalists, were affiliated with the above fronts.

6.2.13. Among the groups targeted by the Soviets in the United States and Canada was the Viet Nam Veterans Against The War (VVAW) which was the subject of numerous FBI and CIA investigations for plots against US leaders.

6.3. Many of those organizations received (in total) more than $100 million from USSR every year.

6.4. Image: Members of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) blocking access to a university hallway.

Society (SDS) blocking access to a university hallway. 7. THE HONEST DISSENTERS 7.1. The aforementioned


7.1. The aforementioned organizations undoubtedly also had members who genuinely believed in world peace and studiously avoided contact with


communists and their fellow-travelers, but who nonetheless were used by the USSR/PRC propaganda machine to promote policies in sync with Marxist- Leninist goals.

7.2. “Useful Idiot”: In Cold-War political jargon a is a pejorative term for the aforementioned honest dissenter, or people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose real goals they are not fully aware of, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the said cause.

7.3. Image: Dubbed “Hanoi Jane” by her critics, actress Jane Fonda sits wearing a helmet in a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun emplacement (later mimicking it firing at US aircraft for the cameras). She participated in nearly a dozen propaganda broadcasts in Hanoi denouncing the American military as “war criminals”. 4

denouncing the American military as “war criminals”. 4 7.3.1. “Useful Idiot”: A term often attributed to

7.3.1. “Useful Idiot”: A term often attributed to Vladimir Lenin.

4 The epitome of a “useful idiot”? Fonda was only a few blocks away from the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison, where many American servicemen were being brutally tortured by the same North Vietnamese she readily endorsed. Fonda continued to deny that the communists were torturing American POWs, and called the POWs “snakes and liars.” She has refused to apologize to this day, refering to veterans alternatively as “professional killers”, “self-righteous” and “war criminals”. Not surprisingly, many Americans, especially military veterans, consider her a traitor and a fool.



In the Russian language, the equivalent term "useful fools" (полезные дураки) was already in use by 1941.

7.4. Image: The Marxist theme of a rich/poor class struggle is evident in the "We Won't Fight Another Rich Man's War!!!" banner held by these Vietnam Veterans Against the War, circa 1970.

held by these Vietnam Veterans Against the War, circa 1970. 7.5. The underlying accusation was that,

7.5. The underlying accusation was that, despite the people in question thinking of themselves as standing for a benign socialist or ideological cause, such as the peace movement, and although they were de facto valued allies of the USSR/ PRC; they were actually held in contempt and were being cynically used by the communists for political purposes.


8.1. “Front” organizations such as the WPC condemned western efforts in Southeast Asia, armaments and weapons testing, and other policies of western democracies, but refrained from criticizing the same or similar efforts by the totalitarian USSR/PRC.

8.2. Former SVR (Soviet Foreign Intelligence) officer Sergei Tretyakov said that the Soviet Peace Committee funded and organized demonstrations in Europe against US bases



Often, during negotiations the Soviet side was not interested in compromise with the US, calculating instead that peace movements in the West would force the Americans to capitulate.

8.2.2. Image: The ultimate canard: Students in Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, 1967, placing then President Lyndon Johnson in the same category as the Nazi war criminals who engineered the Holocaust. The banner underneath declares that the US is destroying Vietnam.

underneath declares that the US is destroying Vietnam. 8.2.3. As a result, some political and civic

8.2.3. As a result, some political and civic leaders saw no difference between an antiwar activist and a Communist or Communist sympathizer/”pinko” 5 .

8.2.4. US President Ronald Reagan said that the peace demonstrations in Europe in 1981 were sponsored by the WPC.

5 “Pinko”: a slang term coined in 1925 in the United States to describe a person regarded as being sympathetic to communist goals, although not a full “red” Party member.



Soviet defector Vladimir Bukovsky 6 stated that the peace demonstrations were coordinated at the WPC's 1980 World Parliament of Peoples for Peace in Sofia, Bulgaria, which was part of the Soviet Bloc.

8.2.6. The FBI reported to the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that the WPC-affiliated U.S. Peace Council was one of the organizers of a large 1982 peace protest in New York City.

8.2.7. Image: Students waving Viet Cong flags during Kent State antiwar demonstrations in Ohio, 1970.

during Kent State antiwar demonstrations in Ohio, 1970. 8.2.8. Image: Anti-war demonstration near the White House,

8.2.8. Image: Anti-war demonstration near the White House, 1970. Hippies who had been wading in a fountain to cool off cheer when a fellow demonstrator managed to climb on top of a bus to wave a Viet Cong flag.

6 A writer, neurophysiologist, and activist for human rights, Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky is celebrated for his part in the campaign to expose and halt the political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union, where opponents of the communist system were deemed “insane” and confined to mental institutions. Because of his opposition Bukovsky was confined to psychiatric hospitals from May 1963 to July 1966 with a few brief months of release in 1965. Bukovsky would spend a further 12 years of periodic confinement in Soviet psychiatric hospitals, labor camps and prisons.


9. TRULY NON-ALIGNED? 9.1. Defectors from Soviet intelligence agencies and many Western analysts have confirmed


9.1. Defectors from Soviet intelligence agencies and many Western analysts have confirmed that the non-aligned peace movement was controlled by the Soviet Union.

9.1.1. In 1951 the House Committee on Un-American Activities published The Communist "Peace" Offensive, which detailed the activities of the WPC and of numerous affiliated organizations.

9.1.2. In 1982 the Heritage Foundation published Moscow and the Peace Offensive, which pointed out that non-aligned peace organizations advocated similar policies on defense and disarmament which are beneficial to the Soviet Union. It argued that "pacifists and concerned


Christians had been drawn into the Communist campaign largely unaware if its real sponsorship."

9.2. Richard F. Staar (American political scientist and historian, who holds a position of senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution) in his book Foreign Policies of the Soviet Union, states that non-communist peace movements without overt ties to the USSR were "virtually controlled" by that totalitarian state.

9.3. Lord Chalfont (British politician Alun Arthur Gwynne Jones, Baron Chalfont, OBE, MC) maintained that the Soviet Union was giving the European peace movement £100 million a year.

9.4. The Federation of Conservative Students (FCS) alleged Soviet funding of CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament).


10.1. Official investigations during the Cold War turned up circumstantial evidence, but little or no absolute proof of KGB involvement.

10.2. CIA: ''Political influence operations are the most important but least understood of Soviet active measures,'' it said. ''They are difficult to trace and ”

to deal with because they fall into the gray areas

10.3. On the other hand, CIA case officer, Kent Clizbe, analyzes the counterintelligence details to conclude that KGB covert influence agents in American education and academia, Hollywood, and the media inserted anti- American sentiments.


11.1. The media also played a substantial role in the polarization of American opinion regarding the Vietnam War.

11.1.1. For example, up to the year 1965 a majority of the media attention focused on military tactics with very little discussion about the reasons for the full scale US intervention in Southeast Asia.

11.1.2. Image: Protesting the war. The reasons for the military involvement by the US in Southeast Asia are clearly not evident to this protestor.


11.1.3. After 1965, the media covered the dissent and domestic controversy, but mostly excluded why

11.1.3. After 1965, the media covered the dissent and domestic controversy, but mostly excluded why the views of dissidents and resisters paralleled the foreign policy goals of the USSR/PRC

11.1.4. Images of the US massacre at My Lai dominated the television, yet the daily atrocities committed by North Vietnam and the Viet Cong rarely made the evening news

11.1.5. Image: South Vietnamese exhume from mass graves the bodies of innocent civilians murdered during the brief communist occupation of Hue City during the Tet Offensive. Communist documents confirm the intentional massacre. The Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) released a list of 4,062 victims identified as having been either murdered or


abducted. Victims were found bound, tortured, and often buried alive. Many victims were also clubbed to death. 7

buried alive. Many victims were also clubbed to death. 7 11.1.6. Image: One of many fatal

11.1.6. Image: One of many fatal days faced by the Vietnamese peasantry. Sunday morning, 11 June 1967, sixteen innocent civilians were killed by

7 The North Vietnamese army set up a “provisional government” shortly after capturing Hu ế in the early hours of January 31, 1968. It was a portent of things to come when the communists eventually took over the entire country in 1975. Working from lists of undesirables previously developed by Viet Cong intelligence officers, people were rounded up following the initial hours of the attack. These included South Vietnamese Army soldiers, civil servants of all types, teachers, Americans and other foreigners, and anyone suspect of being politically unreliable to the communists. Cadres called out the names on their lists over loudspeakers, ordering them to report to a local school. Those not reporting voluntarily were hunted down.


the Viet Cong near Tra Luong Hamlet north of Phu My.

the Viet Cong near Tra Luong Hamlet north of Phu My. 11.1.7. The North Vietnamese Tet

11.1.7. The North Vietnamese Tet Offensive was actually a US victory with the communists suffering enormous casualties. Television, however, portrayed the attack as a brutal defeat for the US.

11.1.8. The percent of television stories in which journalists editorialized news jumped from 5.9 percent before Tet, to 20 percent in the two months after the offensive.

11.1.9. The most significant statement came from the "most trusted man in America", Walter Cronkite. In a CBS news special, the anchorman concluded, 'To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past, to say that we are mired in a bloody stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory conclusion". After the Tet Offensive and Cronkite's statement, coverage of American involvement in the war became predominantly negative. Before Tet, journalists described 62 percent of their stories as victories for the United States, 28 percent as defeats, and 2 percent as inconclusive. After Tet, 44 percent of the battles were deemed victories, 32 percent defeats, and 24 percent inconclusive




Active measures (Russian: активные мероприятия) was a Soviet euphemism for the actions of political warfare conducted by the USSR’s intelligence services to influence the course of world events

12.2. Active measures ranged "from media manipulations to special actions involving various degrees of violence" (used both domestically and abroad).

12.2.1. “Active measures” included disinformation, propaganda, establishing “front” organizations such as the Wold Peace Movement, counterfeiting “official” documents, assassinations, political repression, penetration of the churches and civic organizations, and persecution of dissidents.


13.1. The current goals of the Communist Party, USA:

13.1.1. “[We have a] need for a new kind of peace movement embedded in the struggles for economic, social and racial justice and nurtured by a proactive Communist Party and YCL [Young Communist League] and



peace movement coupled with renewed efforts to increase the Party's

membership and multiply the readers of our online publications.”


us commit to


persistent work" to build a new kind of

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