Results of a Freedom of Information request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1988, on files relating to the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, and its successor, the Democratic Socialists of America
From: J. Hughes, Chicago, IL
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I request a complete and thorough search of all filing systems and locations for all records by your agency pertaining to and/or captioned:
Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee
Democratic Socialists of America
DSA Youth Section
including, without limitation, files and documents captioned, or whose captions include:
DSOC or DSA.
This request specifically includes "main" files and "see references," including but not limited to numbered and lettered sub files, "DO NOT FILE" files, and control files. I also request a search of the ELSUR Index, and the COINTELPRO Index. I request that all records be produced with the administrative pages.
I wish to be sent copies of "see reference" cards, abstracts, search slips, including search slips used to process this request, file covers, multiple copies of the same documents if they appear in a file, and tapes of any electronic surveillances.
I wish to make it clear that I want all records in your office "identifiable with my request," even though reports on those records have been sent to Headquarters and even though there may be duplication between the two sets of files. I do not want just "interim" documents. I want all documents as they appear in the "main" files and "see references" of all units of your agency.
If documents are denied in whole or in part, please specify which exemption(s) is(are) claimed for each passage or whole document denied. Please provide a complete itemized inventory and a detailed factual justification of total or partial denial of documents. Give the number of pages in each doument and the total number of pages pertaining to this request. For "classified" material denied please include the following information: the classification (confidential, secret, or top secret); identity of the classifier; date or event for automatic declassification, classification review, or down-grading; if applicable, identity of official authorizing extension of automatic declassification or review; and if applicable, the reason for extended classification.
I request the excised material be "blacked out" rather than "whited out" or cut out and that the remaining non-exempt portions of documents will be released as provided under the Freedom of Information Act.
Please send a memo (copy to me) to the appropriate units in your office to assure that no records related to this request are destroyed. Please advise of any destruction of records and include the date and authority of such destruction.
As I expect to appeal any denials, please specify the office and address to which an appeal should be directed.
I believe my request qualifies for a waiver of fees since the release of the requested information would primarily benefit the general public and be "in the public interest."
I can be reached at the phone listed above. Please call rather than write if there any questions or if you need additional information from me.
I expect a response within ten (10) working days, as provided for in the Freedom of Information Act.
Sincerely, James J. Hughes
Material was received in dribs and drabs over the course of the next year.
The final FBI report said that 48 pages had been found, of which 30 pages were released and 18 had been withheld for one or more of the following reasons:
To: Director, FBI 10/19/73
From: SAC, New York
Subject: Founding Convention of Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, NYC 10/12-13/73
On 10/16 and 17/73 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX[excised to protect privacy (b7c) and to protect the identity of confidential sources (b7d)] XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX furnished the following information concerning the Founding Convention of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee which was held at the Loeb Student Center, New York University, NYC, on 10/12/73, and at the McAlpin Hotel, 34th Street and broadway, NYC on 10/13/73.
About 200 persons attended the 10/12/73 session and about 400 persons attended the 10/13/73 session. The main speakers were Michael Harrington, author of the book, "The Other America" and former chairman of the Socialist Party, and David Lewis, a parliamentary leader of the Canadian New Democratic Party. Chairman was Victor Reuther, former labor leader. the stated goal of the convention is the re-establishment of a socialist presence in American life. the address of the organization is 125 West 77th Street, NYC.
Mr. Harrington, in his main speech, stated that he wanted to make the "political statement" that, "What we are doing here today is building the '70's left." We must go to where the "mass left" is and that is the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The new socialist organization must place socialists in every sector of the Democratic Party in efforts as such experts as Patrick Moynihan, current Ambassador to India and former professor at Harvard University has stated that capitalism has only 50 years to go." The new socialist organization will be done on the campuses from among former civil rights and anti-war activists. Harrington used the phrase the socialists "must come out of the closet" and make themselves known as socialists and must work within the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
David Lewis, in his speech, emphasized that the new socialist organization should not be interested in large numbers of adherents. He stated that what we seek is not a large cadre but the confidence of the people. this confidence can be realized through active support of such popular measures as tax reform and the Kennedy-Griffin National Health Bill. lewis pointed out that the goal of the organization in its support of tax reform should be a massive redistribution of wealth and from the National Health Bill the goal should be nationalized medicine.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX[excised to protect privacy (b7c) and to protect the identity of confidential sources (b7d)] XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
To: SAC, NY (100-179259) 11/30/73
From: SA XXXXXXXXXXX 3a6)
Subject: Founding Convention of Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee
New York 10/12-13/73
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX [these excisions made on the basis of protecting individuals' privacy and the identity of "confidential sources" or spies] XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX is attached for 62-11243.
To: SAC, Denver (176-55) 5/6/74
From : SAC, New York (176-56) (P)
Re Denver airtel to Bureau 12/10/73 and Butte letter to New York 3/26/74.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX[these excisions made on the basis of protecting individuals' privacy and the identity of "confidential sources" or spies] XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX[these excisions made on the basis of protecting individuals' privacy and the identity of "confidential sources" or spies]
XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
NY 100-179259 "Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee," dead file, indicates its goal is "re-establishment of socialist presence in American life." Address of this organization: 125 West 77th Street, NYC. This file reflects XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
The following investigation was conducted by SA XXXXXXXXXX White Plains, NY Resident Agency, regarding a call placed by XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
The current Coles Directory of Householders for Westchester County, as well as the current telephone directory for Westchester, fail to contain any identifiable references to XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
To: Director, FBI 9/12/74
From: SAC, Omaha (100-NEW) (P)
Subject: Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, aka DeeSoc
Enclosed for the Bureau and New York is one copy of an article which appeared in a Des Moines, Iowa newspaper. The enclosed newspaper article appeared in the Des Moines Tribune on 8/3/74. It refers to a branch of the captioned organization being established in Davenport, Iowa. From the contents of captioned article it appears that there are approximately 12 citizens of Iowa who are members and those persons are teachers, government employees, or students. The article indicates that the group was formed about a year ago in New York by one Michael Harrington.
Omaha files contain no identifiable information concerning the names of the persons in Iowa of the organization XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX [excised to protect privacy] XXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Omaha is not aware of the characterization of this organizatin and does not know whether it is possibly a new legitimate political party or a front group of some socialist subversive organization.
Bureau is requested to advise Omaha if this is a legitimate political organization or if Omaha should initiate investigation of this group.
Des Moines Tribune Sat. Aug. 3, 1974
"Socialist Iowans Seek Change"
Davenport, PA - Doris Kolvoord was 10 when her widowed mother inherited property in Germany and they moved there from New Jersey in 1934. Doris joined the Hitler Youth and then the Nazi Party. She recalls being shocked when she learned of the war atrocities. "We've learned to question a lot more since then, thank God," she sadi somberly.
Mrs. Kolvoord is now 56, wife of a retired US. army sergeant, mother of two and grandmother of one. And she is questioning the American system of government. She's one of perhaps a dozen Iowans who belong to the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee - called "DeeSoc" - chaired by New York Michael Harrington, who put the group together last fall.
Socialism, which advocates vesting of ownership and control of production, capital, land etc. in the community as a whole is not unique in Iowa. But in the past, persons with strong socialist leanings usually have kept to themselves because of the backlash of McCarthyism in the 1950's.
Now that has changed....
(heading on page 2: "Socialist: Life Needs Some Frivolity")
To Director, FBI Oct. 31, 1974
From: SAC, New York (100-179259) (C)
Subject: Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee
re: Omaha letter to the Bureau 9/12/74
Enclosed for Omaha are one copy each of New York airtel to the Bureau 10/19/73 entitled "Founding Convention of Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, NYC 10/12/13/74". XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX[excised to protect privacy (b7c) and to protect the identity of confidential sources (b7d)] XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX and memorandum of SAC XXXXXXX dated 11/30/73.
Enclosures contain pertinent information in the files of the New York office concerning captioned organization. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX [excisions made to protect the privacy of individuals: b7c) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
New York has conducted no investigation on captioned organization. (Four enclosures)
To: Director, FBI 5/27/75
From: San Francisco (105-37777) (C)
Attn: Internal Security
Demonstration at Portuegese Consulate 3298 Washington Street, San Francisco, California, May 27, 1975.
On May 27, 1975, special agents of the FBI observed approximately ten individuals parading in a peaceful and orderly manner on the sidewalk in front of the consulate. One of the marchers stated that they were members of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC). The purpose of the demonstration was to indicate support for the Socialist Party in Portugal and to protest against the Portuguese Communist Party's attempt to shut down the press and to seize control of the labor unions. Several marchers carried placards which expressed similar sentiments. The marcher further stated that the DSOC had a national headquarters in New York City and was headed by Michael Harrington, a socialist theorist and writer.
Adminstrative: Special agents of the FBI observing demonstration were XXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXX liaison was maintained with USSS XXXXXXXX [excised to protect identity of a spy]
San Francisco indices negative with respect to the DSOC. Facts regarding demonstration, as set out above, were presented to Ausa EB Luckel by SA XXXXXXXX. Ausa Luckel advised that no further investigation should be conducted in connection with this matter. In view of the opinion of Ausa Luckel, San Francisco will conduct no further investigation in this matter. No LHM to follow.
To: Director, FBI 8/19/77
From: Legat, Rome (100-1949) (P)
Subject: Democratic Socialism Organizing Committee (DSOC)
On August 12, 1977, the Acting Head of the Political Section, American Embassy, Rome, advised Legat that the Embassy has received a number of pieces of information concerning on XXXXXXXXXXX who is reportedly a member of the DSOC. XXXXXX is reportedly in Europe having meetings with various leftist groups including Italian communists, and explaining the leftist movement in the United States.
Request of Bureau
The Bureau is requested to advise whether the DSOC is presently under investigation in accordance with existing Attorney General guidelines. Also request Bureau furnish any pertinent information available concerning the DSOC and XXXXXXX.
To: Legat, Rome (100-1949) 8/30/77
From Director, FBI
Democratic Socialism Organizing Committee (DSOC)
Domestic Security -FPC
By communication dated 9/34/74, SAC, Omaha was advised that the DSOC is a legitimate organization and no further action was to be taken to investigate the organization. DSOC was founded on 10/12/73 in New York City and one of its leaders pointed out that the DSOC did not seek a large membership but makes itself known as a socialist organization working within the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Bufiles contain no other references to DSOC.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX [excisions made to protect privacy, b6 & b7c] XXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
State Department Files July 1978
Subject: Arrests at New York Aeroflot Offices
Ref: State 161672
1. Further reftel, group known as Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, ??? Broadway, Room 517, Not Repeat Not Democratic Social Organizing Committee. Purpose of sit-in was to protest violation of human rights in Soviet Union and South Africa. "sit-ins" arrested by local police on complaint of Aeroflot General Director, McHenry.
Defense Investigative Service Feb. 10, 1984
Personnel Investigations Center
Reply to Federal Government
Attn: Chief, Investigations Division (D0620)
1. The Defense Investigative Service is currently conducting a Personnel Security Investigation regarding the above subject for acess to Top Secret information. Subject listed affiliation with the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, 1346 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington D.C. from March 1981 until March 1982.
2. Request that your office furnish this agency with current characteristics of the above organization to reflect whether or not it is of the character covered by EO 11785.
Department of the Navy 83/02/15
Protest Activity Against Navy Civilian Recruiter at Oregon State University
This is an info report, not finally EVAL INTEL
Source: Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station (NUWES) Security Officer
Summary: On 2 Feb 83, and employee of NUWES, Keyport, WA was at Oregon State University (OSU) recruiting civilian engineers. There was a small but unexpected protest of this recruitment effort by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
Details: On 2 Feb 83, A civilian engineer with NUWES was recruiting engineers for the station at the OSU administration building in Corvallis, OR. His recruitment efforts were protested by three members of the OSU chapter of the DSA who distributed leaflets, enclosures (1), at the entrances to the building. The leaflet contained very detailed and accurate, but unclassified, information about NUWES and its mission. It stressed NUWES support of the Trident and other "first strike" nuclear weapons programs. The tone of the leaflet was very moderate and questioned whether recruiters associated with the military should be allowed on campus. There were no confrontations and the leafleting probably had little effect on the recruitment effort. A newspaper article concerning the leafleting is enclosure (2).
(U) O?IS OMTS: This is the first time in memory that a NUWES recruiter has encountered opposition during college recruitment visits. This protest is seen as significant only in that it may harm future recruiting. The command at NUWES believes that the information contained in the leaflet was probably provided by a student aid, who was provided an unclassified brief concerning the function of NUWES, and who is now a student at OSU. NAVINVSERVRA BREMERTON WA holds no information on the DSA.
(U) COLL MGMT CO??S: NONE
(U) SPEC INST: PIRC: Yes, the provisions of DOD Directive 5833.37 apply to this document. USN and other DOD recipients may retain this report no later than 22 May 83.
(U) Prepared by: Special Agent, NIS
(U) PP BY: NAVINSERVA BREMERTON WA
(U) Two Encls: (to Follow) 1. leaflet from DSA, 1 copy, undated: 2. Corvallis Gazette-Times article "Polite Trio Protest Recruitment by Lab" 1 copy, 1 page
"Federal Government" August 23, 1984
[To: Defense Investigative Service
XXXX [excised to protect privacy of individuals] XXXX
Please refer to your letter captioned as above dated July 13, 1984. Enclosed please find characterizations of the New American Movement and the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee. FBI files were negative concerning the Latin American Solidarity Committee.
Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee
The Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) was an organization which was founded in New York City on October 12, 1973. The DSOC did not attempt to build a large membership structure, but made itself known as a socialist organization which worked within the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. As a socialist organization, the DSOC advocated availability of nationalized medicine, as well as the restructuring of the United States tax system. There is no information in FBI files relative to recent activities of DSOC.
New American Movement
The New American Movement (NAM), formerly known as the New American Community Party, was founded in November 1971, as a democratic-socialist party composed of radicals and revolutionaries who committed themselves to the establishment of a society characterized by economic, racial and sexual equality. The NAM, which wa headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, also had 40 additional chapters located throughout the United States. There is no information in FBI files relative to recent activities of the NAM.
From: Cleveland FBI Date: 1-22-85
Cleveland FBI found one record of DSA, in a full page ad that had been placed by the Cleveland Abortion Rights Action League in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Out of the several hundred individual and organization names on the page the National Lawyers Guild, Socialist Workers Party/Young Socialist Alliance, and Cleveland DSA were underlined and cross-referenced. WILPF, the Unitarians and Central Ohio Atheists were apparently ignored.
To: Director, FBI XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 4/14/86
From: Acting SAC, Baltimore XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Enclosed for XXX is a xerox copy of page 1228 from the Encyclopedia of Associations.
A review of the student directory, College Park Campus, University of Maryland for 1985-86 school year revealed that the Democratic Socialists of America is listed as a registered student organization at UM.
A review of the Encyclopedia of Associations, 18th edition, 1984, Vol. I revealed that the Democratic Socialists of America is an association founded in 1982 and claims as of 1984, to have 7,000 members. Baltimore is providing XXXXX with a xerox copy of page 1228 from this Encyclopedia, which further explains the association and its goals.
The Bureau is requested to search indices for any information concerning the Democratic Socialists of America.
To: DADIC (100B-182986) (Sub F) 7/1/86
Subject: Libsail; Major Case 83; Special events management
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To: Director, FBI XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 8/12/86
From: SAC, Baltimore XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Subject: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX
[excised in pursuant of an Executive Order/National Security: b1]
All items of information contained in this document are classified "secret" by C-3 unless otherwise noted.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX [Executive Order excision]
Re two Bureau routing slips to Baltimore, dated June 27, 1986 and Baltimore airtel to the Director, dated April 10, 1986 and captioned XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX(material excised to protect privacy) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
A review of the Encyclopedia of Associates, 18 Edition, 1984, Volume 1, revealed that the Democratic Socialists of America is an organization funded in 1982 with approximately 7,0000 [sic] members, which is dedicated to "building a society at the service of human needs" and seeks to "create a foreign policy dedicated to the peaceful extention of democratic rule for all peoples of the world." The encyclopedia further goes on to say that the organization "works to protect and expand civil liberties, encourage democratic social planning and distribute the nations wealth and income more equitably."
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX[Executive Order/national security excision]
XXXXX had no information regarding the Democratic Socialists of America. The Democratic Socialists of America is listed as a registered student organization at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
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As both XXX and FBIHQ had no information identifiable with the Democratic Socialists of America XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX