Should communists ever weaponize the capitalist state’s legal system and intellectual property laws against other communists?
On May 15, 2023, a lawsuit was filed against American Council of Bolsheviks (ACB) by the private for-profit company called Ideological Fightback, Inc., claiming to represent The Party of Communists, USA (PCUSA). PCUSA was formed by Dr. Angelo D’Angelo in a 2014 ideological split from Communist Party USA (CPUSA).
The lawsuit is seeking $75,000 in damages for what amounts to a dispute over Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts, various domain names, and “trademark infringement.” While PCUSA has been using the name “Ideological Fightback, Inc.” since at least 2014, according to records in the State of New York, it was first legally registered as a corporation on March 1, 2023—just two and a half months before the lawsuit itself was filed. D’Angelo is listed as the only member of the corporation.
On June 12, 2023, Justin Stewart, the only individual named in the lawsuit, filed his response with the court. He denied most of the allegations, issues, and claims, except for statements of fact (regarding addresses, dates, etc). As of the publish date of this article, the court has not posted any additional records or orders in the case.
Interestingly, the intent to file this lawsuit was stated publicly by PCUSA member “Alex Dillard” at least as early as September 8, 2022—which itself is at least a month before any legal action was taken on behalf of PCUSA in the form of cease and desist letters. In a public statement posted by Dillard, it was claimed that ACB split from PCUSA and had maintained control over various websites and social media assets. Dillard also stated “we have the addresses of these individuals” and “we have a lawyer ready,” suggesting that the corporation was only officially filed with the State of New York to provide the appearance of legal standing necessary to file the lawsuit, and may not actually represent the will of PCUSA as an organization.
When contacted for comment, PCUSA leader D’Angelo responded in shock, shouting “NO!” when asked if he had any knowledge of the lawsuit, shortly before hanging up the phone after responding “what?” to each follow up question.
Why would the head of a communist party have no knowledge of a lawsuit filed in his name? In a Facebook post by Justin Stewart on September 2, 2022, it is implied that D’Angelo is perhaps suffering from cognitive decline, stating that he is “an old man who claims other people’s work as his own [and] who can barely keep his thoughts straight.” So who is running PCUSA, and who filed the NY articles of incorporation for “Ideological Fightback, Inc.” in D’Angelo’s name?
The only individual admitting knowledge of this lawsuit publicly is Alex Dillard, who himself has a very strange connection to PCUSA. Dillard is one of only two individuals listed as the administrators on a host of strange websites for front orgs that appear to be non-entities imitating defunct workers’ orgs from 100 years ago. The other individual connected to these websites is Chris Bovet, who is listed as the copy editor for The Worker, one of the many publications under Ideological Fightback, Inc. Both Dillard and Bovet reside in California—not in New York, where Ideological Fightback is incorporated.
The strange “coalition” of fake front org websites includes American Student Union (c. 1935), American Peace Information Center (c. 1950), Movement for People’s Democracy (not to be confused with Movement for a People’s Party, the Nick Brana grift), Women for Racial and Economic Equality (c. 1946), Labor United Educational League (which claims to be affiliated with WFTU/FSM), Korean Friendship Association USA (not to be confused with the organization of the same name and logo, formed in 2000 in Spain), American Veterans Union, New Outlook Publishers (not to be confused with The Outlook, a paper that folded in 1928), US Friends of the Soviet People (not to be confused with Friends of the Soviet Union, an org founded in 1927), Progressive Center for Pan-American Project, and perhaps the most offensive fake org, United Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order (c. 1930).
Most or all of these websites are WordPress based, utilize the same “Astra” theme, are hosted on the same network, reference the same phone number and PO box, and include Alex Dillard and Chris Bovet as administrative users (discoverable by querying the WordPress API for the user list). Also worth noting, they only have a handful of followers across social media. Some of the sites list an address of 720 Seneca St., Suite #106, Seattle, WA 98101, the office of PCUSA’s “John Reed Center.” This address is also listed as the HQ of The Worker, one of PCUSA’s magazines claiming to be a continuation of The Daily Worker, a paper founded in 1924. OfficeSpace.com lists the average rent in the building at around $10,000 per month.
While having these fake front orgs exist simply for the sake of disguising a communist organization would be somewhat normal, that isn’t the case here. These sites all exist to shield what is essentially a memberless non-entity front for The Center for Political Innovation, founded by Caleb Maupin, an exposed sex pest and LaRouche cult member who goes out of his way to encourage his followers to get involved in expressing support for Russia and blatant government honeypots. Maupin himself has admitted to being funded by Russian nationalists while claiming to be a target of the US government. This is all worth noting because the original impetus behind the PCUSA and ACB split which brought about this lawsuit was a number of accusations made against PCUSA leadership, including shielding alleged rapists and federal informants.
These orgs also serve to project the appearance of worker involvement in anti-communist events, such as the Rage Against The War Machine rally, which was organized by the fascist Mises Caucus and Nick Brana’s scandal-ridden People’s Party. Nick Brana has been closely associated with both the LaRouche cult (and their Schiller Institute) and various fascist organizations.
This anti-communist alignment becomes self-evident when you look at the list of campaigns and links featured on each website. For example, Geoff Young, a LaRouche cult member who ran for office in Kentucky, and the long list of links to various other anti-communist or crypto-fascist organizations. Some examples include Black Hammer and their paper Hammer Times, Infrared and their “InfraWiki” site (which exists to harass and defame communists), The Schiller Institute (a LaRouche cult front org), the blog of Scott Ritter, a four-time convicted sex offender, and various other anti-communist and right-wing blogs, podcasts, etc.
Very prominently listed is a link to California United Front, an organization promoting many “patriotic socialist” and crypto-Libertarian talking points, and by the looks of their promo video, featuring a membership consisting entirely of individuals from Caleb Maupin’s Center for Political Innovation, PCUSA, and their obvious parent organization, the LaRouche cult. Many of the individuals are known for their association with Identity Evropa and Patriot Front, known neo-Nazi organizations. They often refer to “globalist bankers” from “the City of London” — a common anti-semitic talking point of Lyndon LaRouche echoed by his cult followers in their front org The Schiller Institute.
So perhaps it isn’t actually communists suing communists, but anti-communists and wreckers acting on behalf of the capitalist state, pretending to be communists, and weaponizing the bourgeois legal system to harass and attack working people. This isn’t a new tactic. In fact, this is what’s known as a SLAPP: a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. The goal isn’t actually to win a lawsuit or be awarded damages, but to intimidate minorities, dissidents, and the marginalized into shutting up and ending their critiques and challenges against the servants of the ruling class.
Alex Dillard and Chris Bovet did not respond to multiple requests for comment.