Anna Louise Strong

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CCP Chairman Mao Zedong with Israel Epstein (first left), Anna Louise Strong (third left), Soviet spies and New Deal economists Frank Coe (second right), and Solomon Adler (first right).

Anna Louise Strong (November 24, 1885 - March 29, 1970) was a radical journalist who championed the Soviet, Chinese Communist and New Left revolutions. Strong wrote for The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, The Nation, the Guardian of New York, and Amerasia.

Early life

Strong was born on November 24, 1885 in Friend, Nebraska, the daughter of a minister.[1] Her father Sydney Dix Strong was a Social Gospel minister in the Congregational Church.[2] In 1911, she met Roger Baldwin, to which they were engaged[3] in 1912. They broke their engagement in 1913.[4]

Defends Moscow show trials during the Great Purge

In 1936 Strong reported on the Moscow show trials of Trotskyite dissenters during the Great Purges for Soviet Russia Today. Strong wrote,

Each of the defendants refused the assistance of attorneys; they were seasoned orators, able to speak for themselves. Nor were they subject to any brow-beating by the prosecution; a prominent British barrister who was present commented on the extreme correctness of the court procedure, the clearness and restraint with which Prosecutor Vyshinsky put his questions....they went to death under the storming hate of 170,000,000 people in the Soviet Union and tens of millions more throughout the world. They became history's supreme examples of the logic of counterrevolutionary struggle...Once these men were Marxists, believers in socialism, leaders in revolution....Self-love, not the love of comrades or of the revolution, drove them steadily further towards destruction....Thus onetime socialists who might have gone down in history among the builders of the first socialist republic chose, not in one act of will, but through a long process of degeneration, to go down as arch traitors of the Revolution.[5]

Identified as KGB operative in Venona decrypts

Assists Lublin Committee

For full article see Western Betrayal

In 1944 Strong was assigned to do a job on behalf of the Soviet sponsored Lublin Committee (PKWN), in Poland.[6] The establishment of the PKWN by the Soviet Union contradicted the terms and spirit of the Atlantic Charter and public statements made by President Roosevelt about agreements at the Yalta Conference. A Venona message reveals the covert relationship Strong had with the KGB. The San Francisco KGB arranged with her a password that would allow her to identify her Moscow KGB contact. Strong's cover name is Lira and is referenced in the following Venona decrypts: Venona 132 KGB San Francisco to Moscow, 18 March 1944; Venona 257 KGB San Francisco to Moscow, 7 June 1944; Venona 270 KGB San Francisco to Moscow, 22 June 1944.

In 1946 Strong published a book about her experiences witnessing the birth of the Soviet-backed regime in Poland entitled, I Saw the New Poland.[7]

Accused of Maoist deviationism

In 1949 the official Soviet news information bureau TASS announced "Mrs. Strong is accused of espionage and subversive activity directed against the Soviet Union" and described her as "the notorious intelligence agent."

After the Soviet occupation of Manchuria in 1945, Strong was the only reporter allowed to roam about Manchuria freely. From 1945 up until Mao's victory in the Chinese Revolution, Strong was the only reporter to be granted public interviews with Mao[8] and most of the other top Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders. Strong became the chief external propagandist for Mao. A Trotskyite observer noted, in her book Tomorrow’s China, and in an essay published in the magazine, Amerasia, Strong wrote of Mao and of the CCP leadership with the adulation usually reserved for Stalin alone.[9] Strong attributed to Mao the distinction of being the sole new contributor to Marxism–Leninism-Stalinism and of having developed a uniquely felicitous programme for China which "extends" these theories to the special situation of that "backward country." In an essay, The Thought of Mao Tse-tung, Strong wrote, "since the leadership of Mao Tse-tung developed, the Chinese Communists do not consider that they have made any profound mistakes."[10] Former CPUSA General Secretary Earl Browder quoted extensively from this essay which only facilitated him being fully deposed as a party functionary.

Association with violent New Left terrorist organizations

In the late 1960s the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) split over the role of black Americans in the revolutionary processes in the United States. Two factions of the WUO, the Action Faction led by Bernardine Dohrn, Mark Rudd, Jeff Jones and Bill Ayers, and Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) II led by Mike Klonsky joined forces to oust the Progressive Labor Party from SDS leadership. RYM II and the Weatherman believed armed struggle was the key to black liberation and the establishment of a black nation-state in several states of the American South.[11] This would constitute the first stage of a socialist revolution, to be followed by a white working class alliance with black Americans which together would complete the second stage, the socialist revolution.[12]

Mike Klonsky who led the RYM II faction of the SDS introduced a letter from Strong at the June 1969 SDS National Convention claiming that the Black Panther Party (BPP) constituted the main force for revolution among American workers and that everything possible should be done to assist the Panthers in their "nationalist struggle." This claim was interpreted by many attendees as the official Maoist line, as Strong then residing in Beijing, had previously been expelled by Stalinists for deviationism from the Stalinist line. SDS factions were at the time competing to be recognized as the official purveyors of Maoist Thought in America.[13] Weather Underground (WUO) terrorist co-founder Bill Ayers, a fundraiser, close friend and confidant of Barack Obama, states in Fugitive Days, that Strong provided a printing press for the Black Panthers upon WUO's request.[14]

Later life

She moved to China in 1958, and passed away in Peking, China, on March 29, 1970.[15]

Anna Louise Strong Papers

Her legacy of writing is stored at the University of Washington.[4]


Strong was a prolific author. Her works include:

See also


  1. The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia
  2. Elizabeth Wade White Papers Catalog and Finding Aid, Vol 1
  3. The Long War: The Intellectual People's Front and Anti-Stalinism, 1930-1940
  4. 4.0 4.1 Guide to the Anna Louise Strong Papers
  5. The Terrorists' Trial, Anna Louise Strong, Soviet Russia Today, Vol. 5 No. 8, October 1936. Transcribed by Red Flag Magazine, February 15, 2007.
  6. Jack Brad, How Mao Conquered China, Edited by Hal Draper. 9. Peking versus Moscow: the case of Anna Louise Strong, part 1. Compilation originally published in Labor Action between September 1948 and October 1949. Reprinted in Workers Liberty Volume 3 No. 24, October 2009, p. 8 (pdf). Retrieved from February 27, 2010.
  7. I Saw the New Poland, Anna Louise Strong, Little Brown and Company, 1946.
  8. Mao Tse-tung: Talk with the American Correspondent Anna Louise Strong, August 1946. Retrieved from the website, From Marx to Mao, February 28, 2010. Mao put forward his famous thesis here, "All reactionaries are paper tigers." This thesis is a "fundamental strategic concept;" "revolutionaries must despise the enemy, dare to struggle against him and dare to seize victory; at the same time, tactically, with regard to each part, each specific struggle, they must take the enemy seriously, be prudent, carefully study and perfect the art of struggle and adopt forms of struggle suited to different times, places and conditions in order to isolate and wipe out the enemy step by step."
  9. Jack Brad, How Mao Conquered China, Edited by Hal Draper. Compilation originally published in Labor Action between September 1948 and October 1949. Reprinted in Workers Liberty Volume 3 No. 24, October 2009, p. 8 (pdf). Retrieved from February 27, 2010.
  10. Jack Brad, How Mao Conquered China, p.7.
  11. In 1928 the 6th Congress of the Comintern in Moscow resolved that the black population of the American South was a subject nation, thus capable of engendering a "national revolutionary movement," and ordered the CPUSA to give high priority to mobilizing blacks. In Toward Soviet America William Z. Foster wrote, "the right of self-determination will apply to Negroes in the American Soviet system. In the so-called Black Belt of the South, where the Negroes are in the majority, they will have the fullest right to govern themselves." Toward Soviet America, William Z. Foster, Coward-McCann, New York, 1932.
  12. Foreign Influence - Weather Underground Organization (WUO). FBI Chicago Field Office Report, August 20, 1976. Section I. Ideology D. Influence of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought, Pages 55-62 in original (pp. 18-25 pdf).
  13. Foreign Influence - Weather Underground Organization (WUO). FBI Chicago Field Office Report, August 20, 1976, Mao Tse-tung Influence on SDS Factions at the June 1969 National Convention, Page 58 in original (p. 21 pdf).
  14. Quoted in Communism in Chicago and the Obama Connection, Cliff Kincaid, America's Survival, Inc., pp. 11-12.
  15. Anna Louise Strong