New book now available

Agents: The FBI and GPU Infiltration of the Trotskyist Movement

By Mehring Books
21 January 2019

The World Socialist Web Site and Mehring Books are pleased to announce the publication of Agents: The FBI and GPU Infiltration of the Trotskyist Movement, by Eric London.

Agents, available at Mehring.com for $19.95, exposes how the Stalinist GPU carried out the assassination of Leon Trotsky and how the GPU and FBI deepened their penetration of the American section of the Fourth International during and after the Second World War.

The 1940 assassination of Leon Trotsky by the Stalinist secret police was perpetrated by a network of agents that had infiltrated the Fourth International. In the US, agents from both the GPU and the FBI flooded the movement and handed over intimate party details to the Soviet and American governments. This book tells the story of how the infiltration took place, how the agents’ real identities were concealed, and how the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) exposed their true roles.

“This book and the material it covers are a vital part of the history of the Fourth International,” said David North, Chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Website and National Chairman of the Socialist Equality Party (US).

For decades, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) protected the FBI or GPU agents operating within the American Trotskyist movement.

“It was not until the ICFI launched the Security and the Fourth International investigation in 1975 that the true nature of the state penetration of the Trotskyist movement was known,” North explained. “Now, the availability of new material shows the unquestionably devastating role played by agents within the Fourth International.”

The book’s author, Socialist Equality Party (US) Political Committee member Eric London, added, “This is one of the great, untold stories of the 20th century. The GPU orchestrated the greatest social crime of the century, the murder of Leon Trotsky, from US territory. Then, even as the GPU retained its presence in the movement, the US government penetrated the SWP to such an extent that its agents orchestrated the expulsion of Alan Gelfand, a member of the SWP, because he raised questions of state infiltration.”

The first essay in this book, “The Smith Act trial and government infiltration of the Trotskyist movement,” draws on information gathered from the book Trotskyists on Trial: Free Speech and Political Persecution Since the Age of FDR, by Donna T. Haverty-Stacke as well as from the World Socialist Web Site’s independent investigation of thousands of pages of trial transcripts, archive material, and previously unavailable FBI records regarding the US government’s decision to prosecute 29 members of the American Trotskyist movement for sedition in the run-up to the Second World War.

The second essay, “An ‘Exemplary Comrade’: The Socialist Workers Party’s 40-year-long cover-up of Stalinist spy Sylvia Callen,” traces the ICFI’s struggle to expose Stalinist agent Sylvia Callen. For nearly nine years Callen had high-level and unrestricted access to the party’s most sensitive information. However, when the Socialist Workers Party learned Callen was an agent, they helped hide her role as a spy within the Trotskyist movement and launched a cover-up that lasted for nearly four decades.

Finally, this volume includes, as an appendix, “An Open Letter to Suzie Weissman,” in which David North refutes the falsifications of this long-time apologist for Joseph Hansen to discredit the Security and the Fourth International investigation. The book also includes a timeline of events and a glossary explaining the background of Security and the Fourth International.

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