The attempt to steal the bicentennial--the Peoples Bicentennial Commission


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The attempt to steal the bicentennial--the Peoples Bicentennial Commission report of the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, second session, May 1976
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iii, 30 p. : ; 24 cm.
United States -- Congress. -- Senate. -- Committee on the Judiciary. -- Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws
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American Revolution Bicentennial, 1776-1976   ( lcsh )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


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At head of title: 94th Congress, 2d session. Committee print.

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University of Florida
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Main body
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Back Cover
        Page 31
        Page 32
Full Text

94th Congress
2d SessionJ



The Peoples Bicentennial C i.

R lob




MAY 1976


70-140 0


For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402 Price 45 cents
There is a minimum charge of $1.00 for each mail order

eLi '1


JAMES 0. EASTLAND, Mississippi, Chairman
PHILIP A. HART, Michigan HIRAM L. FONG, Hawaii
EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Massachusetts HUGH SCOTT, Pennsylvania
BIRCH BAYH, Indiana STROM THURMOND, South Carolina
ROBERT C. BYRD, West Virginia WILLIAM L. SCOTT, Virginia
JOHN V. TUNNEY, California

JAMES 0. EASTLAND, Mississippi, Chairman

JOHN L..McCLELLAN, *rkansas
BIRCH BiYH,Indiana

STROM THURMOND, South Carolina

CAROLINE M. COURBOIS, Assistant to the Chief Counsel
ALFONSO L. TARABOCHIA, Chief Investigator
ROBERT J. SHORT, Senior Investigator
MARY E. DOOLEY, Research Director
DAVID MARTIN, Senior Analyst


Resolved, by the Internal Security Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on
the Judiciary, that the attached report entitled "The Attempt to Steal the Bi-
centennial: The People's Bicentennial Commission" shall be printed for the use
of the Committee on the Judiciary.
Approved: April 27, 1976.



Introluction --------------------------------------------------------1
The attempt to steal the Bicentennial ---------------------------------- 3
The origins of the PBC-Jeremy Rifkin and John Rossen ---------------5
The PBC program-The camouflage and the reality -------------------- 11
The PBC's high school program ---------------------------------------14
Peoples research operation for the Bicentennial era (PROBE) ------------19
"The Light in the Steeple"-The PBC's church program ---------------- 19
Campaign corporate exposure ----------------------------------------20
Some other activities of the P --------------------------------------22
The PBC's finances ------------------------------------------------- 23
The July 4th demonstration in Washington -----------------------------24
The PBC, the July 4th coalition, and the planned mass demonstration in
Philadelphia -----------------------------------------------------24
PB ,and ARBA ---------------------------------------------------- 25
PB ,and 'the media ------------------------------------------------- 26
What can be done --------------------------------------------------29

Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2013


This report has aptly been captioned, "The Attempt to Steal the
This year our nation is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its
founding. So that this anniversary could be observed in a proper, dig-
nified and meaningful manner at every level of our society, Congress
in July of 1966 established the American Revolutionary Bicentennial
Commission which, under new legislation enacted in January 1974, was
converted into the American Revolutionary Bicentennial Administra-
tion. ARBA is currently funded at an approximate level of ten mil-
lion dollars a year, with another eleven million disbursable to assist
states and communities in planning their observances. In enacting
this legislation, it was the hope and expectation of Congress that in
this way our citizens, old and young, would be given a better under-
standing of our magnificent national history and would be able to
draw a fresh inspiration from the examples of the founding fathers
and the immortal documents of liberty which they handed down
to us.
It is obvious that the successful national observance of our Bicen-
tennial will require the cooperation 'of our schools, of our churches,
of our media, and of our great national organizations. But the evi-
dence presented in this report and in the hearing record on which it is
based points to the conclusion that a privately funded organization,
the Peoples Bicentennial Commission, operating with some hundreds
of thousands of dollars, has been far more successful in reaching our
churches, our schools, and our media, than has the official Bicentennial
organization, ARBA. What is more, this heavily documented evi-
dence establishes beyond challenge that the Peoples Bicentennial Com-
mission is a far-left organization whose true views are far closer to
those of Castro and Mao than they are to those of our founding
fathers. Its participation in the Bicentennial is a deception and a
fraud. By muscling in on the Bicentennial observance, it seeks first of
all to pervert its meaning, and secondly, to exploit it for the purpose
of overthrowing our free society.
Because the PBC propaganda is skillful, many well-intentioned
people have been taken in by it. As Mr. Frank Watson, one of the
witnesses who testified, put the matter:
As to attracting large numbers of people who might not
feel comfortable relating directly to a radical organization,
the PBC has set some new sort of record. Indeed, there is
hardly a question that if the PBC's true origin and ancestry
were known, many of the current participants, supporters
and endorsers would not have touched it with the proverbial
ten foot pole.

In opening the hearing which is the subject of this report, I made
the following statement:
It is important that the Congress and the public be aware
of the existence of organizations of the revolutionary left
which seek to pervert the legitimate meaning of the Ameri-
can Revolution and which, with the tacit connivance of front
organizations, have engaged in a massive campaign to try
to "capture" the Bicentennial celebration for themselves.
Knowing something of the evidence which a lengthy staff investi-
gation had already developed, I expressed the belief that our hear-
ings would be able to-
Peel back the patriotic veneer of the name "Peoples Bi-
centennial Commission" for the purpose of examining and lay-
ing before the Congress and the public, facts by which the
legitimacy of this organization's publicly stated goals and ob-
jectives and the integrity of their spokesmen may be objec-
tively evaluated.
That the committee was able to achieve the objectives suggested
by the preliminary evidence is amply demonstrated in the report that

On March 18th and 19th the Senate Subcommittee on Internal
Security held hearings on the Peoples Bicentennial Commission, a
private activist organization that has attracted much attention. The
witnesses were Mr. Frank M. Watson, Jr. of Dunn Loring, Virginia,
and Mrs. Mary Walton of the State of Illinois.
Mr. Watson, who is a retired Army officer with a masters degree in
Journalism, has worked for over 12 years in the field of media analysis
and propaganda analysis. In the latter field, he has been primarily con-
cerned with revolutionary organizations.
A private citizen, writer and lecturer, Mrs. Walton has for 14 years
made an intensive study of revolutionary movements, has worked with
many educators on the problem of student radicalism and drug abuse,
and served on the Illinois Governor's Advisory Council on Student
Radicalism under Governor Ogilvie.
The report that follows is based on the testimony Mr. Watson and
Mrs. Walton presented to the Subcommittee and the numerous ex-
hibits which they submitted in support of their testimony.

The Peoples Bicentennial Commission over the past two years or
more has received considerable attention from the American media.
The early reports placed their primary emphasis on the PBC's edu-
cational activities and on its opposition to the commercialization of the
Bicentennial. These reports were generally highly laudatory in nature.
But the PBC's roster of activities-especially in recent months-has
included certain items which could not have washed too well even with
its best misguided friends in the media:
In April of 1975 it was responsible for the disorderly counter-
demonstration which heckled President Ford and uglified the com-
memorative proceedings at Concord, Massachusetts.
Within the past month, it has sent 8,000 cassette recordings, accom-
panied by first name covering letters, to the wives of corporate execu-
tives. The tape recordings told the wives about "the recent wave of
corporate scandals and criminal activity," and called upon the wives
in effect, to crossexamine their husbands about any "criminal and
abusive policies" in which they might be involved.
In recent weeks, too, the PBC has sent letters to some thousands of
secretaries of corporation executives, offering a reward of $25,000
to any secretary who would provide information leading to the
successful prosecution of her boss.
It has announced plans for a mass demonstration, similar to the
Concord demonstration, in Washington, D.C. on July 4th; and the PBC

has repeatedly claimed that it plans to mobilize 250,000 people for the
occasion. It is also secretly collaborating with the National July 4th
Coalition, an amalgam of far-left organizations which is planning a
parallel demonstration in Philadelphia.
Despite all this, there is widespread public confusion about the
real nature and purpose of the PBC. Because the name is so similar,
many people, in fact, tend to confuse it with the official "American
Revolutionary Bicentennial Administration (ARBA)". An elemen-
tary school teacher in Fort Dodge, Iowa, for example, wrote in to
ARBA to ask if "the Peoples Bicentennial Commission is another
name for your group of coordinators, or if it is a separate orga-
nization.. "
What is the "Peoples Bicentennial Commission"?
The "Peoples Bicentennial Commission", with headquarters at 1346
Connecticut Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., poses as a "nationwide
citizens organization dedicated to restoring the democratic principles
that shaped the birth of this republic." In actual fact, it is a propa-
ganda and organizing tool of a small group of new-left political
extremists whose pantheon of political heroes include such Marxist
luminaries as Fidel Castro, Mao Tse-tung, Che Guevara, and Regis
Debray, and who seek to pervert the meaning of the American Rev-
olution and to exploit the Bicentennial celebration in order to further
their own revolutionary goals.
In a document prepared for the Subcommittee, Mr. Watson de-
scribed the purposes and modus operandi of the Peoples Bicentennial
Commission in the following apt words:
Under the guise of the noblest of patriotic claims, and
with the appearance of the most altruistic concern for the
"little guy", they seek to promote dissatisfactions and divi-
sions among broad segments of the population. Methodi-
cally they seek to discredit each of the traditions and insti-
tutions of the existing political and economic system, and
to encourage the citizenry to demand the bit-by-bit substitu-
tion of those of a socialist state. Their program is extremely
vell thought out, and it is subtle. It has fooled quite a number
of honest and well-meaning people and organizations, and
has garnered encouragement and financial support from
some most unlikely sources. Indeed, an amount of careful
study is required to unmask the scheme for what it is.
To quote an expression which was responsible for launching the
PBC. the Peoples Bicentennial Commission seeks to "radicalize Amer-
icans by Americanizing radicalism." It is a tribute to the skillfulness
of the PBC's propaganda that it has been able to persuade most of
tho American media that. its patriotism is for real. Newspaper col-
umns and TV and radio programs have thrown open their doors to
the PBC- -to the point where the coverage it has received far exceeds

that of the official American Revolutionary Bicentennial Adminis-
tration (ARBA). In general, the media coverage of the PBC has
ranged from uncritical to laudatory. Even the staid Wall Street
Journal has written favorably about the PBC, describing its pro-
gram as "old-fashioned egalitaiianism"-this, despite the fact that
the PBC literature calls for the abolition of corporate ownership and
its replacement by worker and community ownership. As Mr. Watson
summed up the matter, even their bad press would have been a public
relations man's dream.
PBC reports that its radio series, "The Voices of '76" is being aired
on a daily basis by 924 radio stations across the U.S.; that a television
series with a similar caption is being aired on an ongoing basis by
102 TV stations in major metropolitan areas; that the PBC feature
services are sent to over 14,000 general and specialized media publica-
tions and journals; and that the PBC's ambitious book publishing pro-
gram includes major publishers like Bantam Books, Simon and
Schuster, and McGraw Hill.
Following the lead of the media, PBC reports that "thousands of
libraries, churches, fraternal clubs, schools, civic associations, etc.,
are currently using [educational] materials and [social action] pro-
grams especially developed by the PBC." According to PBC, 65,000
churches are using Bicentennial material prepared by it.

The man who is generally credited with having launched the Peoples
Bicentennial Commission and who serves as its principal spokesman is
a 30-year old Chicagoan by the name of Jeremy Rifkin. Rifkin de-
scribes himself as an "economist". There is more to his background
than this, however.
Jeremy Rifkin, as a New Left activist, played a prominent role in
the anti-Vietnam war movement, serving as National Coordinator for
the National Committee for Citizens Commission of Inquiry on U.S.
War Crimes in Vietnam. (Like the rest of the Old Left and New Left
"humanitarians", Rifkin exploded with fraudulent indignation over
the massacre of several score civilians at Mylai-in violation of a
whole series of orders and troop directives-but has remained com-
pletely silent over the Communist killing of half a million Cam-
bodians through executions, forced marches, and starvation.)
At a later date, in 1971, Rifkin was a founding member of the New
American Movement, a far left New-Left organization, which com-
bined calls for revolution with professions of commitment to democ-
racy. What these professed commitments to democracy really meant
is apparent from the fact that the NAM repudiated the moderate
and democratic socialist parties of Western Europe as upholders of
the capitalist regime, and sent fraternal delegates to last year's confer-
ence of the Castro-dominated Puerto Rican Socialist Party, in the
company of other fraternal organizations like the Prairie Fire Organiz-

ing Committee (the support organization of the terrorist Weather
Underground), the American Indian Movement, and the American
Section of the Philippine Communist Party.
In attempting to describe the NAM's position in the Left Wing
spectrum, Mr. Frank Watson said:
If you were to draw up a family tree of the splinter-
ing and combining of the Communist factions in the U.S.
over the past 5 or 6 years, you would probably have to con-
sider the New American Movement something of a second
cousin to such terrorist organizations as the Weathermen
and the Symbionese Liberation Army.
At the founding meeting of the NAM, Jeremy Rifkin successfully
urged that the movement commit itself to a Peoples Bicentennial Com-
mission program. In a statement subsequently published in the Novem-
ber-December 1971 issue of the "New American Movement", Rifkin
It makes no sense for the U.S. to allow the defenders of the
system the advantage of presenting themselves as the true
heirs and defenders of the American revolutionary tradition.
Instead, our revolutionary heritage must be used as a tactical
weapon to isolate the existing institutions and those in power.
The article argued further that by establishing "Peoples Bicenten-
nial Commissions" on the state or local level the New American Move-
ment could attract citizens from communities, unions, civic organiza-
tions, grade schools, high schools, and colleges, for eventual recruit-
ment to the local chapters of the New American Movement itself.
"Aside from engaging large numbers of people for the first time who
might not feel comfortable relating directly to the New American
Movement," said the article, "the Peoples Commissions would provide
a unique forum for mass media exposure over the next four years. This
mechanism could be used to raise political awareness and to promote
the New American Movement and other radical activities and
Today Jeremy Rifkin is no longer listed as a member of the NAM,
anld the PBC does its upmost to obscure NAM's seminal role in the
founding of the PBC. The language Rifkin uses and the authorities he
invokes are selected with care so that people will be led to believe that
his ra(licalism is Ii the Jeffersonian tradition and that it reflects
nothing more than an "old-fashioned egalitarianism"-to quote the
Wall Street Journal again.
A Washington Star News article on November 24, 1974, had this to
say about Jeremy Rifkin:
When he calls himself and his colleagues revolutionary, he
says he is not thinking about 1enin an(d Karl Marx, he is
thinking about Paul Revere and Nathan Hale. Thomas Paine,
Thomas Jefferson, John Adams are the revolutinaries he
likes to (lilote.
In the ari(1-e in tl New Ameican" Mvement which has already
beeln (uoted above, Rifkiii put things a little bit differently:

A genuine understanding of the revolutionary ideals," he
said, "is what links Thomas Paine, Sam Adams, and Benja-
min Rush and the American people with Lenin, Mao, Che
[Che Guevara], and the struggles of all oppressed peoples in
the world. Not until the masses of Americans begin to re-
identify with these principles and develop their own revolu-
tionary struggle will they be able to form a real bond of
fraternalism and solidarity with the struggles of all oppressed
Mr. Watson pointed out that Rifkin was one of a committee of
seven appointed to sanitize the NAM's literature for the purpose of
eliminating telltale rhetoric that would frighten away the ordinary
citizen. Rifkin did his work well. The paragraph quoted above, in a
"sanitized" version, appeared in the introduction to "America's Birth-
day", a PBC volume published by Simon and Schuster. (page 13.)
The sanitized paragraph is reproduced below, with the changes in-
dicated in brackets:
A genuine understanding of American democratic ideals
["revolutionary" has been changed to "democratic"] is what
links the American people with the struggles of all oppressed
people in the world. [Rifkin's previous reference to "Lenin,
Mao and Che" has been deleted.] Indeed, the American Revo-
lution has stood as an example of revolution to the Third
World. Not until the majority of Americans begin to re-
identify with our democratic principles [the word "demo-
cratic" has been inserted] and develop our own revolutionary
struggle will we be able to form a real bond of fraternalism
and solidarity with the struggles of all oppressed peoples.
Mr. Watson underscored the fact that this kind of camouflage con-
sistently characterizes PBC propaganda. He said that, in the case
of Rifkin's introduction to "America's Birthday", "you can go down
through it page by page and find whole paragraphs that have been
picked up and plopped in there-with the scare words and scare names
taken out." He offered for the record a comparative sheet, on one side
of which were four paragraphs from Rifkin's writings for the under-
ground press, where he was speaking to fellow leftists, while on the
other side were the same four paragraphs as they appeared in "Amer-
ica's Birthday", with scare words and scare names deleted.
Despite the fact that Jeremy Rifkin is generally portrayed as the
founder of the PBC, according to both witnesses the real ideological
and propaganda genius responsible for launching the Peoples Bicen-
tennial Commission was not Rifkin but an aging fellow Chicagoan by
the name of John Rossen.
The witnesses submitted extensive documentation to establish that
the basic set of ideas behind the PBC, its rhetoric, its revolutionary
quotations, its graphic designs, including the "Don't tread on me"
coiled rattlesnake logo, were all the product of Rossen's earlier efforts,
preceding the PBC by a good several years. As Mr. Watson put the
matter, "Rifkin, more generally acceptable, 30 years of age versus
Rossen's age between 65 and 70, simply took the blueprints for the
PBC and moved the locus of the operation from Chicago to

The evidence established that Rossen had been a long time member
of the Communist Party, from approximately 1930 to the nid-50's.
Among other things, he served as a Communist Party organizer in the
State of Illinois, he ran for mayor of St. Louis on the Communist
Party ticket, and he served with the Communist-dominated Abraham
Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. Although Rossen claims
that he broke with the Communist Paiy-apparently some time in
the 50's-he still speaks with pride of the years he spent as a Com-
munist activist and organizer.
In the early 60's. Rossen was a leader of the Fair Play for Cuba
Committee in the Chicago area. (The Fair Play for Cuba Committee
was the subject of an intensive investigation by the Senate Subcom-
mittee on Internal Security. This investigation established that the
Committee received a substantial )art of its funding from the Castro
government.) At a later stage, he was prominently identified with
the SDS-the SDS, in fact, maintained its national headquarters in
a Chic-ago building owned by Rossen.
In the late 60's, together with a group of other American radicals,
Rossen met with a delegation of North Vietnamese and Vietoong in
Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. Rossen quoted the Vietnamese Communists
as telling the American delegation: "The problem with you Ameri-
can f ends is that you have not yet found your identity; you do not
identify with the Arnerican people." When he got back to the United
States, Rossen used his own publishing operation, the Johnny Apple-
seed Press of Cicero, Illinois, to print and distribute "an open letter to
the American Left."
The basic problem confronting the American left, said Rossen in
this "open letter", was "how to get started on the American road to
socialism." The letter continued:
If one accepts the proposition that there is an American
road to socialism, that no social revolution can be trans-
planted or grafted onto American society, then it is clear
that the humanist-socialist transformation of society in the
United States can come about only as an unfolding of the
unique history and the unique experiences of the American
nation, as a further development and flowering of the great
Ameiean Revolution of 1776.
Is it possible that there is only one American revolution?
Tha t i began in 1776, and that in 1969 Americans had the
revolutionary task of bringing that revolution up to date?
American radicals, who are really American and really
radical, nmst accel)t the proposition that 20th century Ameri-
canism is humnanist-socialisi.
A revival and u)(lating of the spirit of '76 by the American
left, and a revamping of left theory and practice in terms of
that spirit would not only defeat the fascist danger, but
would create conditions for an offensive by the left that
would speed the (lay of the arrival of the American people
at the next milestone in our historyl-a huanist-socalist
In conjunction with his open letter to the American left, Rossen
am1unced the launching of a new movement, which he called the

"New Patriotic Movement", and he also published a paper called
The New Patriot.
About the time he started putting out The New Patriot, Rossen
published a pocket-sized booklet entitled, "Revolutionary Quotations
From the Thoughts of Uncle Sam". The first edition, published in
1969, said in its foreword that it had been inspired by the "Little Red
Book" of quotations from Mao Tse-tung. This booklet was offered
as a subscription bonus with some of the more radical underground
papers in the Midwest, such as Rising Up Angry, published in
Chicago, and KaJeidoscope, published in Milwaukee. Mr. Watson
submitted for the record a copy of an advertisement for the Rossen
book of quotations which appeared in the nationally circulated
weekly, The Guardian, which claims to be Marxist-Leninist, and
whose sympathies are obviously Maoist. (The Guardian, May 3, 1969.)
The advertisement, again, drew a comparison between "Revolutionary
Quotations by Great Americans" and the "Little Red Book" of Mao.
The advertisement said that the book contained quotations from
Thomas Paine to Tom Hayden, from Sitting Bull to Eldridge Cleaver
and Huey Newton, from Gene Debs and Bill Haywood to Helen Keller
and C. Wright Mills, and from Richard Daley to Rennie Davis.
When this booklet was advertised a short while later in "The New
Patriot", where Rossen was seeking a broader and somewhat less
radical audience, Mr. Watson pointed out that a few dramatic changes
took place. First, the name of the booklet was altered to read "Little
Red, White and Blue Book of Revolutionary Quotations by Great
Americans". Second, there was no reference to Mao's book. Third,
there was no longer any reference to names like Eldridge Cleaver
and Huey Newton and Sitting Bull, etc.-for the very good reason
that most Americans are not inclined to regard such people as revolu-
tionary heroes.
This early deception by John Rossen is characteristic of the more
grandiose deception practiced by the PBC.
Mr. Watson pointed out that the packet of eduactional materials
which the PBC is now sending out, contains a little booklet, approx-
imately 31/2" by 5" in size, entitled "First Principles". He said that
this had a table of contents that bore many similarities to the table
of contents of the two versions of Rossen's "Revolutionary Quota-
tions", but that it had been further sanitized to eliminate the traces
of modern revolutionaries.
The themes of "revolutionary nationalism" and of "radicalizing
Americans by Americanizing radicalism" run consistently through
Rossen's writings. In his contribution to "How to Commit Revolu-
tion American Style", Rossen, for example, quoted Regis Debray, the
French Marxist writer (his principal book is the "Revolution Within
the Revolution") who was an aide to Che Guevara in his guerrilla
foray against Bolivia. "There will never be an authentic nation on
this-continent without revolutionary socialism, just as there will never
be socialism without revolutionary nationalism."
Rossen participated, together with Rifkin, in the founding confer-
ence of the "New American Movement" in the fall of 1971. Ie and
Rifkin were the, prime movers in selling the PBC concept to the con-
ference. Describing the Rifkin-Rossen presentation to their NAM
comrades, Mr. Watson said their argument ran roughly as follows:

70-140 76 2


Look, they were saying to the New Left radicals, you have
been trying to bring a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist revolution
to the United States by using opposition to the Vietnam War
as an issue, and we agree with you on this goal. But you're
going at it wrong. People in this country, are not going to
buy off from the turgid writings of Marx, the easily identifi-
able polemics of Lenin, or "Quotations from the Thoughts of
Chairman Mao." You have tried that, and it has not worked.
Here, give them the "Revolutionary Quotations From the
Thoughts of Uncle Sam." We are completely committed to
bringing a Cuban or Chinese type regime to the U.S. just as
you are, but it simply cannot be done the way you are trying
to do it.
As part of the current emphasis on camouflage, Rossen rejects in-
dignantly the allegation that he is a Marxist. He told Bob Wiedrich
of the Chicago Tribune: "I reject Marxism and Stalinism and Mao-
ism. I have abandoned any ideas that were purely Marxist."
This denial by Rossen, said Mr. Watson, called to mind an editorial
which Rossen had written in his tabloid The New Patriot. He quoted
Rossen as follows:
I would say that for a revolutionary-socialist in the 20th
century to label himself as a Marxist or a Marxist-Leninist
is as ridiculous as for a modern physicist to call himself a
Newtonian, or for a modern biologist to call himself a Darwin-
ian. Marx laid the sturdy foundations for the scientific revo-
lutionary-socialist methodology, and for any modern revo-
lutionarv to ignore these foundations would be as stupid as for
a physicist to ignore the findings of Isaac Newton. But neither
can the modern revolutionary limit himself to the findings
of Marx. That is why I use the expression "scientific revolu-
tionary methodology" rather than the expression "Marxism."
The problem with most of those who call themselves Marx-
ists today, is that they accept Marxism as a dogma and not as
a scientific tool, a revolutionary methodology which is con-
stantly being refined, added to, improved on, on the basis of
the revolutionary experience of the last century and a quarter.
Rossen speaks of "scientific revolutionary-socialist methodology."
Marx and Lenin also spoke of "scientifc revolutionary-scialist
methodology". From his statement it is clear that Rossen does not
completely reject Marx-indeed he believes that modern revolution-
aries must build on the sturdy foundations laid by Karl Marx.
So much for John Rosen 's anti-Marxism.
As part of the grandiose deception in which they are now involved,
Rifkii and Rossen now seek to conceal the fact that Rossen and his
Johnny Appleseed Press and the New American Movement were re-
sponsible for the conception and launching of the Peoples Bicenten-
nial Commission; they seek to downplay tleir own relationship; and
they are doing their utmot to convert -how to Commit Revolution
American Stye", which they coe(ited in 1973 as PBC's first publica-
tion, into a "nonbook". On this point, Mr. Watson observed:
The odds are that much of this cover-up attitude came from
a degree of Success with the PC idea th at uione of those in-

volved in the launching had predicted. PBC did catch on
quite rapidly, and, as we have pointed out earlier, with people
who would not have had anything to do with the goals and
strategy Rossen and Rifkin were expressing in their initial
In the light of the massive documentation submitted to the Sub-
committee by both witnesses, Rossen's protestations that he is not the
true father of the Peoples Bicentennial Commission ring very hollow.
The complete record can be found in the proceedings of the two hear-
ings of March 17th and 18th and in the appendices to these hearings.
But it might be of interest before leaving this point to note that when
Mrs. Walton recently wrote to the PBC office in Chicago asking for
a copy of an early edition of Rossen's "The New Patriot" which ap-
peared in September 1970, the PBC obliged by sending her a copy of
the 6-year-old publication-with the PBC's insignia conveniently
stamped on the front page. Mrs. Walton also noted that:
Last year the Peoples Bicentennial Commission in Chicago
began to issue a monthly newsletter called The Chicago
Patriot, and in their Volume One, Number 4, which was
December 1975-January 1976, they stated, "The New Patriot,
the newspaper formerly put out by the Johnny Appleseed
Patriotic Publications, will be resumed by the Peoples Bicen-
tennial Commission of Chicago and Johnny Appleseed. The
Chicago Patriot is hereby discontinued. Subscribers will
receive instead The New Patriot with its large colorful for-
mat of 20 to 30 pages. $3.50 is our special rate for early sub-
scribers to The New Patriot in January."

In a widely distributed flyer, the PBC describes itself in these
The Peoples Bicentennial Commission is a nonprofit public
foundation, founded in the belief that it is time to reaffirm
the democratic principles of the Declaration of Independence
of the American Revolution. Today we face economic and
political crises as great as those of 1776. Like our ancestors,
we must meet the challenge to our democratic birthrights.
We must dedicate ourselves to a new patriotism, one that
calls for allegiance to the revolutionary democratic prin-
ciples that launched our first national rebellion against
Statements such as this; plus the repeated invocation of the names
of the founding fathers; plus the numerous quotations from the writ-
ings of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Tom Paine; plus the
clever use of various paraphrases of the Declaration of Independence,
plus the authentic revolutionary line drawings and eigraviiigs and
woodcuts with which they have so lavishly illustrated their literature;
plus their continuing emphasis on the American revolutional tradi -
tion, and their avoidance of scarewords like Marxism, Castroism, Mao-
ism-all of these things taken together have effectively camouflaged

the real goals of the Peoples Bicentennial Commission and have given
it a popular credibility a thousand times greater than anything it
could expect to enjoy if it presented its objectives honestly to the
American people.
What are the real objectives of the PBC?
In 1973, Jeremy Rifkin and John Rossen were co-editors of a PBC
anthology of revolutionary writings captioned "How to Commit Revo-
lution American Style". The book was published by Lyle Stuart of
New York, a publishing house specializing in revolutionary literature
of all kinds.*
Rifkin and Rossen do not talk about "How to Commit Revolution
American Styvle" today. It is clear from the evidence that they are
embarrassed by it and that they would like to hide it-if they could.
At that early stage in their operation. the two founders of the Peo-
ples Bicentennial Commission were still amateurs at the art of revolu-
tionary camouflage, and they expressed their beliefs and commitments
in terms which they carefully avoid today.
In an article on Revolutionary Nationalism which appeared in
"How to Commit Revolution American Style", John Rossen paid
tribute to Castro as "an early revolutionary nationalist" who was
"clearly aware of this powerful new current and its effect on world
revolutionary strategy."
Rossen continued:
In the Caribbean islands, new black liberation movements
are popping up all over. In Canada, the Quebecois Libera-
tion Front has brought the fires of revolutionary nationalism
right up to the U.S. frontier.
On the European Continent similar fires are scorching the
hides of imperialists. In Spain, Franco's fascist empire, kept
afloat for nearly three decades with the aid of the U.S.
imperialist establishment, may well be smashed on the rocks
of Basque and Catalan revolutionary opposition and the new
patriots within Castile itself. In Northern Ireland, the
Catholic minority represents a form of revolutionary
nationalism; and closer to home for the British imperialists,
the resistance of Scottish and Welsh nationalists forbodes new
headaches for #10 Downing Street.
In the Middle East, the Palestinian Liberation Movement
and in Africa the struggle to free Angola stands out as the
revolutionary-nationalist bastions of the anti-imperialist
front. In the Philippines, the resurgent anti-U.S. imperial-
ism movement is clearly another manifestation of the new
revolutionary nationalism.
In Asia the entire continlent seethes with the movement.
The victory of the first stage of the Chinese revolution can
be said to have struck the sparks that set off the whole world-
wide phenomenon of revolutionary nationalism.
"Among Lyle Stuart's more notorious productions in recent years was "The Anarchist
CookhIk a terrorist immil complete with detailed how-to-do-it instructions for bombers
;Ird other categories of terrorists. In presenting his evidence about "How to Commit Revolu-
tion American Style". Mr. Watson reminded the Subcommittee that Lyle Stuart had served
I the Treasirer of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in the early 1960's. when Investilta-
tions coniduicted by the Senate Subcominttee on Internal Spurity established that the
Fair Play fr Cuba Committee had een set up with the connivance of the Castro Govern-
ient aId had received money from it.


From the paragraphs quoted above, it is impossible to escape the
conclusion that the New American Revolution which Rossen talks
about is one which would establish in the United States regimes very
similar to those that exist in Cuba and China. The expression "revolu-
tionary nationalism", as Rossen and the PBC use it, is simply PBC
"doublespeak" for what most people would call a Communist takeover.
It is also interesting to note that Rossen speaks with undisguised
sympathy for terrorist nationalist organizations like the Quebecois
Liberation Front and the Irish Republican Army. Apparently these
movements, too, are covered by the euphemism "revolutionary nation-
alism" and this sanctifies them in the eyes of Rossen.
Despite their endless quotations from the founding fathers and
their deliberate obfuscation of their own objectives, the PBC should
not remain a mystery to any intelligent reader who looks beyond the
beautiful revolutionary drawings in their literature. The PBC, for
example, has printed a document called the "Declaration of Economic
Independence" in which they set forth their economic program for
America. This document, which was put into the record by Mrs. Wal-
ton, reads, in part:
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary
for one people to dissolve the economic bonds which have tied
them to another, a decent respect for the opinions of human
kind requires that they should declare the causes which com-
pel them to separation.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all people are
created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with
certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights eco-
nomic institutions are instituted among people, deriving their
just power from the consent of the citizens.
That whenever an economic system becomes destructive of
these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it
and to institute a new economic system laying its foundation
on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as
to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and hap-
The history of the present giant corporations is a history of
repeated injuries and usurpations, all having as their direct
object an establishment of absolute tyranny over the states.
To prove this, let the facts be submitted to a candid world.
America's giant corporations have seized control over the
great land and resources of our country. They have forced
millions of Americans into unemployment lines by system-
atically closing down their American plants and moving
their business operations abroad so they can hire cheaper
labor and reap still greater profits for their owners.
After listing further grievances against the corporate system, the
Declaration continues:
We, therefore, the citizens of the United States of America.
hereby call for the abolition of these giant institutions of
tyranny and the establishmiient of new economic enterprises,
with new laws and safeguards to provide for the equal and

democratic participation of all American citizens in the eco-
nomic decisions that effect the well-being of our families, our
comunities, and our nation. In furtherance of our joint
hopes and aspirations and mindful of the lessons of history,
we steadfastly adhere to the general principle that a demo-
cratic republic can only exist to the extent that economic deci-
sion-making power is above the exercise by the people and not
delegated to a few.
Such is the necessity which compels us to act in support of
decentralized economic enterprises with ownership and con-
trol being shared jointly by the workers in the plants and by
the local communities in which they operate, with similar
patterns of shared representative control being exercised on
a regional and national level to insure the smooth and efficient
coordination of all economic operations. For the support of
this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of
Divine Providence. we mutually pledge our lives, our for-
tunes, and our sacred honor.
Not a word is breathed about the fact that the American free enter-
prise system, despite its shortcomings has produced for the American
people the highest standard of living known to history, or about the
fact that, millions of people would have starved in recent years in
Com11munist countries if American free enterprise agriculture had not
made up for the colossal failure of socialized agriculture.
Is the PBC, in its Declaration of Economic Independence and other
eoJnomic statements, talking about Communism or Socialism?
Mr. Watson told the Subcommittee that efforts to get the PBC to
answer this question have resulted in repeated evasions. But Rossen
was not evasive in this point in his chapter on revolutionary na-
tionalism in "How to Commit Revolution American Style". There he
said, "The American version of the concept of revolutionary national-
ism will be anti-capitalist and socialist in content and national in form
and rhetoric."
That the PBC advocates the total destruction of the free enterprise
system rather than any reforms desired to make it a more effective
servant of the people. is repeatedly made clear in the literature of the
organization. For example, the April 1974 issue of Common Sense
says the following:
Can any reformer of the 4iant corporation tell us how it
is possible to put that institution into the hands of the peo-
ple without taking it out of the hands of the wealthy to
control it? Make no mistake about it! This was the same
dilemma that faced the moderate reformers of the Continen-
tal convention in 1776. They advocated power to the People
and preservation of the monarchy at the same time. The fal-
lacy of their position seemed self evident in perspective. Yet
there are some among us today who hold the same position in
regard to the business corporation.
Even in its current literature, the PBC says many things which
Inakes it clear that they are not thinking of any liberalized or re-
forlled variant of the free enterprise system. Mrs. Walton submitted
for the record, a p1ge from the PBC organ, Common Sense. On one


page, there was a picture of all the Presidential candidates as of
March 1975, ranging from conservative candidate Governor Ronald
Reagan, to Senator Birch Bayh and former Senator Fred Harris,
whom the press have regarded as the most liberal of the Democratic
candidates. On the page facing the photographs, the PBC says:
After 200 years, is this the best we can do? Look at these
men. All of them want to be President of the United States.
Each of them wants your vote... We think it is time to put
the candidates on notice we are fed up with worthless cliches
and endless chatter from a cast of tweedle dee dee and tweedle
de dum candidates. We want some action.
The PBC then states that it is conducting the "Common Sense
Campaign for a Democratic Economy". The Common Sense Cam-
paign for a Democratic Economy, it says, is forming groups across
the country to heckle all the Presidential candidates.

The PBC has had remarkable success in the high schools, thanks in
part to the cleverness and deceptiveness of their own propaganda, and
thanks in other part to the failure of the American Revolutionary
Bicentennial Administration--the official Bicentennial body-to pro-
vide ready-made packages of educational material for the high schools
and to suggest detailed activities in which high school students could
engage in connection with the Bicentennial. Thousands of teachers
and student leaders, searching for such prepared packages of material
on the Bicentennial and seeking guidance for their activities, have
ordered the standard PBC package at $10.00, or else have taken ad-
vantage of the PBC's offer to send the package gratis to anyone who
can't afford it.
According to both witnesses before the Subcommittee, some teachers
have been horrified by what they have found and have sought to have
the use of the PBC material discontinued in their schools. It is a tribute
to the cleverness of the PBC package, however, that the "Student-
Teacher Programs for a Peoples Bicentennial"-if PBC claims of
success can be believed-has apparently resulted in deceiving and mis-
leading scores of thousands of less knowledgeable and less critical
teachers and students.
The PBC states that their program is designed to reawaken the
radical student movement of the 60's. In the words of the PBC's Stu-
dent-Teacher Program:
Educational reform today is meaningless without a general
reorientation of our society. Students and teachers can never
really take control of the educational process from adminis-
trators, boards of education, and the needs of big business and
demagogic politicians, until the people of America take con-
trol of our society from the neo-tories who run our govern-
ment and economic system.
The PBC appeals to student grievances, real and imagined, and to
the natural desire of young people to feel themselves involved with
history. One of their cleverest gimmicks is the Declaration of Student
Independence. This declaration starts out:


As the 200th anniversary of the American Revolution
nears, we, the students of ------------------High School,
pledge ourselves to reaffirm and live the revolutionary
prnciples, the ideals that founded this country.
It is clear to us students that education today is run on
the same basis on which King George the Third ran his em-
pire-inequality, arbitrary regulations and lack of personal
The Declaration of Student Independence goes on to declare, in
language carefully modeled after the Declaration of Independence,
that students are forbidden the basic right of freedom of speech, press,
assemblyN and thought; that students are at the mercy of their teachers
and administrators; that they have no part in hiring or firing
faculty,; and that they therefore have no meaningful decision-making
power over their lives as students.
After spelling out a long list of grievances, the Declaration
Therefore, we the students of ------------------High
School, endorse and present this declaration to the school and
our community, and declare that students are, and of right
ought to be, free and independent human beings, fully par-
ticipating in shaping their education.
We pledge to one another that, having stated and endorsed
these grievances, we commit ourselves, as the founders of
America did, to right these wrongs, to take control of our lives
and education, and, as the patriots proclaimed in 1776, to
use every method in our power to secure our rights.
The Student-Teacher Program then provides the students with
detailed instructions on how to publicize and implement their Declara-
tion of Independence. They are told to make large copies of the Decla-
ration and paste them up around the school and student hang-outs
and stores. They are also told to present it to the principal, who is cast
in the role of King George in this script. Finally, they are told that
when 70% of the students have endorsed the student declaration of
independence, they should hold a public festival to celebrate the
lile the PBC package is targeted primarily at the high schools,
tHey also state that the program of activities outlined in the package
can be adopted for elementary and junior high schools and for college
campuses. They suggest that student, activists take the initiative in
creating high schol or college PBC chapters. "Building a campus
Bicentennial Commission," they say, "will give a sense of movement,
energy and growth. imagine how powerful an entire network of
campus PBC's could make students feel by 1976." They instruct the
stu(lents to organize around what they call "oppressive issues", and
"t lie puroseM of achle6ing student freedom and self-deternmation."
All told, the student-teacher guide outlines 16 different activities in
which students and teachers can engage, each one with a set of irstruc-
tions. Basically, these activities are supposed to take them out into
the community for the puIrpos of discoverig how exist ing conditions
in our society stack up against the ideals of the American Revolution.
The first activity listed is called "Consent of Who?". The purpose

of this activity, ostensibly, is to explore the concept of government by
the consent of the governed. Students are instructed to conduct sur-
veys, asking employers, military officers, and landlords whether they
actually govern by the consent of their employees, enlisted men, and
tenants. Conversely, the private soldier is asked, for example, whether
he is taking orders from his officer on the basis that he has consented to
be governed by him. As Mr. Watson pointed out after describing this
project, "I would argue that this is a propaganda gimmick guaranteed
to produce an amount of dissatisfaction, and an unrealistic applica-
tion of the meaning of our founding documents."
Students are told to read the original Declaration of Independence
and to discuss its language. The manual asks a series of questions:
Is your school, like King George's empire, destructive of
your rights as human beings? Are your grievances similar to
those of 1776? Has your school's administration refused to in-
stitute any rules "wholesome and necessary for the public
good," such as freedom of press and assembly for students?
When students are suspended, are they deprived "of the bene-
fits of trial by jury Has your school answered your demand
for democratization of your education only by repeated
Students are also urged to circulate a petition for the purpose of
compelling the school administration's acceptance of a "Student Bill
of Rights." Mrs. Walton pointed out that this Student Bill of Rights
is modeled very closely after the "High School Bill of Rights", origi-
nally promulgated by the Student Mobilization Committee in 1970.
This High School Bill of Rights at the time was presented to school
districts across the country. Although a few school districts accepted
parts of the proposed Bill of Rights, it was rejected out of hand by the
overwhelming majority of school districts. The Student Mobilization
Committee then went to the American Civil Liberties Union and asked
for their assistance. The Civil Liberties Union, in response, printed a
little booklet which was distributed to students throughout the coun-
try, telling them what their rights are-as Mrs. Walton observed, the
rights in this booklet were identical to the rights demanded by the
Student Mobilization's High School Bill of Rights.
Mrs. Walton expressed particular concern over two of the "rights"
recommended for implementation. First, she said, students are encour-
aged to assess their textbooks. If they decide their textbooks are worth-
less, they are told to organize for the purpose of having them "assigned
to the trash bin." Finally, in order to dramatize their objections, stu-
dents are told to rewrite the textbooks, chapter by chapter. The books
written by the students, they are told, should be called "peoples
Second, students are encouraged to push for a "free week"-a, time
when anyone will teach any class he wishes to teach. As an example,
the student-teacher guide suggests that the history of the peace niove-
ment could b taught, with students doing the bulk of the teaching and
teachers learning.
Students are told they should have the choice of curriculum and they
should be able to decide how subjects will be taught, with teachers
serving only as advisors. They are told that once they succeed in break-


ing down curriculum barriers, exams, grades, and homework will be
the next issues. It is suggested to them that suitable issues to be taken
up during the Bicentennial year would be compulsory school attend-
ance, access to school buildings and equipment for organizing pur-
poses, dress codes, and so on.
The teacher-student gide tells students that official school news-
papers are controlled and censored by the administration. They are
encouraged to seize control of the official school paper, but, if this
fails, then they are told to start their own underground paper.
To start such a paper, thev, are advised to write to FPS, Youth Lib-
eration. 007 Waslitenaw Ave.. Ann Arbor, Michigan for its 25c pam-
phlet, "How to Start a High School Underground Newspaper." For
an additional dollar, they can receive a sample package of ten high
school underground newspapers. Mrs. Walton submitted as evidence a
sample of such a package of high school underground newspapers.
These newspapers were generally Marxist or New Left in orientation,
including the use of the clenched fist salute, shared by the Old and
Ne Le ft.
As step No. 1, students are told that if they have any difficulty in
obtaining a paper supply for the publication of their underground
paper, they can always rip off a paper supply from their own high
In step No. 2, students are told that if the school administration
opposes their underground paper, they should pass it out anyway, and
sue the school for violating their First Amendment rights.
Mrs. Walton said that the PBC provides teachers with a whole series
of multi-media tools for use in the schools. All of these, she said:
Have the theme that ours is an oppressive Tory society and
that they-students, teachers, PBC people-are today's "new
patriots", and it is their duty to overthrow their oppressors.
One tool is the "Patriots Handbook", a syllabus and study
gui le to the American Revolution. with such recommended
books as Herbei-t Aptheker's "The Colonial Era of the Amer-
icana Revolution" and "The Negro in the American Revo-
(Herbe-t Aptheker, it should b noted has long been regarded as the
principal theoretician of the American Communist Party.)
Mrs. Walton 1-elated that earlier this year she was lecturing in a
Chicago suburb, and when she mentioned Dr. Aptheker, a concerned
mother approached her and said that her daughter had brought home
I)r. Aptleker's book on the American Revolition from her high school
an1( that tley were using this as a Bicentennial e(hdcational book.
What (I()es tHe PBC hope to accom)lisl through its Student and
Teacher Proralns for a Peoples Bicentennial ? They are careful to
aLvoid the references to Castro and Mao that characterized their earlier
writing and that might give unwary readers some understanding of
their true objectives. On the other hand, they do make it clear that
they seek nothing ,les than total revolution. "In the end." says "Amer-
ca's Bihday," "tlie patriots of 1776 should teach us not only patience,
bilt th't revolutionizing in(lividual institutions in society without a
societal revolution is meaningless. After all. we go to h1h s1hol
for just thre or four year. We live in American society for 60 or 70.
We can begin laying the Imsis for a revolutionary education, but we
cannot change it until we have revolutionized society."


The Community Program for the Peoples Bicentennial suggest to its
readers that they take the initiative in their communities or on their
campuses in launching research operations to be called "Peoples Re-
search Operation for the Bicentennial Era (PROBE)." Students are
told that PROBE can be used as a continuing aspect of the student
revolt of the 60's. They are instructed that PROBE should go into the
community and ask a series of questions-many of which sound per-
fectly proper and patriotic, while others are clearly designed to foster
discontent wherever a grievance can be found. Among the suggested
questions are the following:
What do the people of your community know about the
ideals of the American Revolution?
Do the institutions that effect the community operate in
accordance with those ideals?
The Russians have the Communist Manifesto; the Chinese
have the "Quotations of Chairman Mao." Do Americans have
a political document to lean on for guidances?
When the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of
Independence, they pledged their lives and fortunes... Do
you think modern politicians are that dedicated to the people
they represent?
The Declaration says that whenever any form of govern-
ment turns against our rights and tries to destroy them, it is
our duty to change or abolish that form of government. Do
you agree with that?
The colonists complained that they had no voice in making
decisions. Do you feel that you have a voice in local decisions?
In state decisions? In national decisions?
Mr. Watson pointed out that PBC in virtually all of its literature
and in its abbreviations and paraphrases of the Declaration of In-
dependence, goes heavy on emphasizing the "duty and right" to over-
throw oppressive governments but invariably ignores the Declara-
tion's vital caveat that "prudence, indeed will dictate that Govern-
ments long established should not be changed for light and transient
Those who buy the PBC approach, are urged to organize around a
whole series of community issues, dealing with education, recreation,
jobs, senior citizens, transportation, sanitation, police, courts, health,
welfare, and acaye. On the latter point, the PBC proposes the de-
velopment of a daycare operation-the National Daycare Child De-
velopment Council of America-that would be the largest in the na-
tion. Mrs. Walton noted that the PBC's grassroots door to door cam-
paign "Birthday Parties for Kids" aims at enlisting 10 million parents
into a daycare lobby to press for quality community control daycare
by 1976.
Many of these activities sound proper and even noble, and some
of the grievances to which they point are certainly legitimate. But
the far left has always been adept at exploiting legitimate grievances
and ostensibly noble purposes for evil and totalitarian ends.


One of the most remarkable coups pulled off by the PBC involved
the production, under contract to the National Council of Churches,
of a church guide for Bicentennial observance, bearing the title "The
Light in the Steeple." "The Light in the Steeple" contains suggestions
for sermons by clergymen, suggestions foi disctissions by church
groups, and outlines of activities in which church groups can engage in
connection with the Bicentennial.
In an apparent effort to give the publication the broadest possible
acceptance by all religious groups, "The Light in the Steeple" was
published and has been distributed by the Ecumenical Task Force on
the Religious Observance of the Nation's Bicentennial. But from
statements made by both sides, it is clear that the PBC, rather than
the Ecumenical Task Force, niust be given primary credit for the
general conception of the publication and for most of its content, as
well as for the lay-out and printing. In his U.S. News and World Re-
port interview of March 24, 1975, Jeremy Rifkin claimed that "there
are 65,000 churches using that guide right now."
Copies of "The Light in the Steeple" are contained in the standard
PBC kit. The publication bears the notation that additional copies
may be obtained from the Ecumenical Institute, Riverside Drive, New
In early April the PBC announced the launching of "Campaign
Corporate Exposure", "to mark the 200th anniversary of capitalism."
They said that by sending out tape recordings and covering letters to
the wives of corporate executives, they planned to "reach directly into
the living rooms of America's top 8,000 corporate families." The press
release said further:
Over the next 40 days each of America's most prominent
corporate families will be receiving a series of personal tape
recorded communiques and letters detailing their involve-
ment in big business policies that are threatening the eco-
nomic survival of millions of hardworking Americans and
undermining the democratic foundations of our Republic.
Our first communication, a tape recorded message concern-
ing the recent wave of corporate scandals and criminal ac-
tivity, has already been sent out to the private home ad-
dresses of America's most prominent business families (see
enclosed transcript of the messages).
This unprecedented communication effort is aimed directly
at the families of America's top business leaders because we
believe that the famiv itself is the basic social unit that must
take on the responsibility of confronting and dealing with the
criminal and al)usIve pollcies that our Nation's business
leaders are involved in.
We are callingw] on Nw-es and children of America's top
business leaders to legin a frank and open discussiono, in their
own homes, of the inmioral and amoral behavior of America's
financial leaders.
The standard tape recordings that was sent out said to the wives
of corporation executives:


We are communicating with you because your husband is
one of the top business leaders in the country. For that reason
we think you should listen carefully to what we have to say.
No doubt you are aware of the recent revelations of wide-
spread corruption and criminality in the corporate board
rooms . We say these corporate scandals put a special
responsibility on your family to ask some probing questions of
your husband because it is no longer possible to argue that
the rapid [rampant?] corporate criminality represents merely
isolated -incidents or the abberational behavior of a few per-
verted individuals. In fact, a recent survey by the prestigious
Conference Board found that over half the executives sur-
veyed said that they would not hesitate to make the same kind
of payoff [referring to the recently revealed payoffs by Lock-
heed and other aviation concerns] if they felt it would help
their company make a sale.
Have you ever asked your husband which half of that
survey he falls in? Have you ever asked him if he or his col-
leagues of his firm have ever been involved in criminal ac-
tivity q...
Would you inform the authorities if you uncovered such
A follow-up letter to the recipients of the tape said the following:
We hope your family has begun to discuss some of the ques-
tions regarding corporate immorality that we raised in our
last communication to you.
As you probably know, the extent of corporate abuse of
power goes well beyond the question of strictly illegal ac-
Today, 200 giant corporations already own over two-thirds
of the manufacturing assets of the country. Heading up these
corporate empires are a small group of nameless, faceless men
who have amassed enough power to virtually dominate Amer-
ican life, from the aisles of the supermarket to the halls of
Your husband is a part of this small privileged business
elite. That puts a special responsibility on you and your fam-
ily to speak up against corporate policies that result in price-
fixing, induced unemployment, environmental destruction,
excessive profiteering, unfair distribution of wealth and other
On the heels of their letters to corporation wives, apparently as part,
of their operation "Campaign Corporate Exposure", the PBC an-
nounced that it was sending personal letters to over 10.000 secretaries
who work for major corporate executives, and to 13.000 Journalists
across the country, offering them $25,000 in cash for "information that
leads directly to the arrest, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment
of a chief executive officer of one of America's Fortune 500 corpora-
tions for criminal activity relating to corporate operations."
[The information contained in the paragraphs above is based on
documents submitted by Mr. Frank Watson subsequent to his testi-
mony, and ordered into the record by the Chairman.]


The PBC has engaged in a number of other activities in various
parts of the country. A few of them are worth noting, because they
underscore both its deviousness and its effectiveness.
Mrs. Walton reported that on December 16, 1974, the PBC had orga-
nized an observance at the gravesite of David Kennison, who was the
last survivor of the Boston Tea Party. The stone at the gravesite
originally had a dedication on it from the Daughters of the American
Revolution. Just before the commemoration, the bronze plaque was
stolen. John Rossen, who has been in charge of the PBC operation in
Chicago, contacted the regent of the David Kennison Chapter of the
D)AR in Oak Park and asked if they would work with the PBC to
restore the plaque and join with them in a commemoration ceremony.
Mrs. Walton said that she found out about the invitation in time to
alert the DAR to the true nature of the PBC. The DAR did not par-
ticipate in the ceremony. Nevertheless, the Chicago press gave hand-
some coverage to the ceremony, photographs and all.

Mrs. Walton also reported that the PBC had a protest demonstration
in Chicago on the 2nd and 3rd of August, 1975, when the Freedom
Train visited the city. (The Freedom Train has toured the country,
bearing documents and memorabilia of the American Revolution, as
part of the official Bicentennial program.) PBC put out flyers and
letters which called upon the people to protest the "Freedom Train
rip-off." They said that General Motors invested one million dollars
in the Freedom Train while laying off workers, that Kraft food had
invested one million dollars while raising their prices at the super-
market, that Pepsi Cola had received a one million dollar tax write-off
in helping to bring the Freedom Train to Chicago.
An item from the Daily Chicago News for Friday, October 31, 1975,
submitted by Mrs. Walton, described another demonstration sponsored
by the PBC in collaboration with other organizations. The item read:
Veterans for Peace [Veterans for Peace has been cited as
a Communist Party front] will hold an all (lay vigil outside
the Federal Building, 219 South Dearborne, on Veterans Day,
on November 11th, to urge amnesty for Vietnam war resisters.
Joining in the effort will be the Chicago PBC, the Chicago
Peace Council [which has been cited by the House Internal
Security Committee report as being a Communist Party
front] and Women for Peace.
Mrs. Walton sai(I that she later heard Leroy Wollins, head of Vet-
erans for Peace, state over radio WBBM on the 10 p.m. news on
October 6, 1 975, that Veterans for Peace were co-sponsoring the Viet-
nani Amnesty Vigil with the Peoples Bicentennial Commission.

One of PBC's most effective propaganda ploys took the form of a
I igl I ly I IIest Ionable poll, c(n(ucte d for PBIC by Peter Iart Associates.
,)1 pl)Iic ttIitI1des toward the free enterprise system and the business
(omnunuuity. The purported findi of this poll received tremendous
pick-up in the national press. rhe Wall Street Journal, for example, on


August 22, 1975, in a front page item captioned "Anti-Business Feel-
ings", said:
Anti-business feelings run high, pollster Peter Hart finds.
He says 611% of the Americans believe that there is a big busi-
ness conspiracy to keep prices high. Only 17% favor the pres-
ent economic system. 41% want major changes. By a 66% to
25% margin, Americans favor employees owning most of their
company stock.
The Wall Street Journal article did not even indicate that the poll
had been commissioned by the PBC; nor did it suggest that, in view of
the origins of the poll, the possibility existed that the poll had been
specifically tailored to provide the PBC with the kind of information
they wanted for their propaganda purposes.

While the PBC attacks the official American Revolutionary Bicen-
tennial Administration and advertise themselves as an alternative to
ARBA, they have, as a matter of tactics, refrained from attacking the
state and local commissions and instead have sought to cooperate with
them and infiltrate them.
Mr. Watson said that he had sat at meetings of the PBC and listened
to the speakers tell the people "to go back home and, if you can't start
a PBC of your own, get yourself a job in the official Bicentennial Com-
mission and see that this literature gets used."

The PBC pulled another major coup with its counter-demonstration
at Concord, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1975, commemorating the
200th anniversary of the Battle of Concord. The PBC was able to
mobilize some 40,000 to 45,000 people for the occasion. Mrs. Walton
pointed out that they received a permit from the Park District in Con-
cord to camp out on Punkahasset Hill, which is on the side of the Con-
cord bridge where the embattled farmers stood-thus forcing
President Ford and the Official Commemoration Committee to hold
their service on the side where the British had stood. In addition to
their heckling and disrupting of the official ceremony, Mrs. Walton
said that the PBC demonstrators had left Punkahasset Hill in the
"worse kind of mess" and that there had been a great deal of property
The witnesses were able to provide only limited information about
the finances of the Peoples Bicentennial Commission. Mr. Watson
testified that the first money they received was in the form of a grant
of $7,210 from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a gov-
ernment organization. The Subcommittee has received evidence indi-
cating that this initial grant was approved by the American
Revolutionary Bicentennial Commission-acting in complete ignor-
ance of the real purposes of the PBC. The witnesses also said that the
PBC had received grants from the Stern Foundation and other
According to Mr. Watson, when Rifkin is asked about the sources of
their money, he "sometimes . will simply say that they received do-
nations from a lot of concerned citizens, plus the fact that they sell these


packets for $10.00 apiece. At other times, and especially when he
thinks that he is off the record, in his remarks he will laugh and say,
"Hell, I go to rich liberals and tell them that there is a new McCarthy
era pressing down on us and if we don't do something about it, we are
all going to be in trouble and they jerk out their checkbooks. They just
lap up what I am saying and write me a check."
Mr. Watson said that the staff of the PBC in the Washington office
range from 12 to 15, and that according to JereImy Rifkin, nobody on
the staff makes more than $85.00 a week. Ile said that the total income
of the PBC was generally quoted as somewhere between $200,000K) and
$300,000 a year. This money, however, is very effectively spent because
of the low salaries paid to staffers and because of the great amount of
volunteer assistance they receive in their travels around the country.

The PBC, as has previously been indicated, has set itself the target
of mobilizing 25o00 people for a mass demonstration in Washington
on July the Fourth. According to the PBC's plans, the demonstration
will begin with an 8:00 a.m. memorial service at the Jefferson Memo-
rial and from that point, when the service is over, the demonstrators
will march to the Capitol.
Advertised speakers include a number of people who would have to
be placed in the left liberal spectrum-but in addition to these, the
speakers' list includes far left radicals like Phil Foner, a Marxist his-
torian long associated with the CPUSA's Jefferson School in New
York City; Eqbal Ahimed, head of the Transnational Institute of the
Institute for Policy Studies, a New Left think tank; and Sam Love-
joy, who publicly took responsibility in February 1974 for sabotaging
a power facility in Montague, Mass.

While the PBC is in command of the mass demonrstation scheduled
for Washington, I).C. on July 4th, another orianzation, the "National
July 4th Coalition," is planning a parallel mass demonstration in
Philadelphia for that day. The individuals and organizations sup-
portig tie Jly 4th Coalition belong to the far left end of the polit-
ical sl)ectrum. Among teM organization affiliations which appear in
the list of sponsors are the National Lawyers Guild (long identified as
a communist t Party front), the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (iden-
tified iM testimony before tile Senate Subcommittee on Internal Secu-
ritv as a Castro I)( operation), the American Indian Movement, the
Center for Constitutional Rights (William Kunstler), tile Prairie
Fire Organizing Committee (Jennifer l)ohrn) the Communist Party
(Grace Mora). the National Committee of the New American Move-
ment. and the Tllird World Coalition. ThIe solid far, left nature of the
July 4tl Coalition is remarkable despite the notation that organiza-
tioms are listed "for identification purposes only".
The temper of the propaganda i)ut out by the July 4th Coalition
and of the Up)coming (demonstration 'ii Philadelphia may be gleaned
from the following sentene taken from a newspaper-size throw-


Today, the abuses and crimes committed by the U.S. Gov-
ernment and the giant corporations it serves against the peo-
ples of the United States and the world exceed in their
inhumanity those committed by the British against the peo-
ple of the 13 colonies.
Publicly, the PBC has so far not identified with the July 4th Coali-
tion because the image it casts is far to the left of what the PBC
considers desirable. There is, however, evidence indicating that the
two movements are coordinating their July 4th actions in Washing-
ton and Philadelphia. The Subcommittee has received a copy of a
form letter sent out by the Chicago July 4th Coalition. The return
address on the form letter is the same as the address for the PBC-
2440 North Lincoln Avenue-and the phone number given is also iden-
tical to the PBC's Chicago phone number-327-176. What clearly
emerges from this is that the Chicago July 4th Coalition is running
its operation out of PBC's Chicago headquarters.
The Subcommittee has also been informed that on Monday, April
19, at an organizing meeting of the Chicago July 4th Coalition, John
Rossen was on hand, manning a PBC literature table.

Mrs. Walton in her testimony underscored the fact that much of
the success the PBC has had has been due to the failure of ARBA to
provide ready made packets of educational materials for use in the
schools and elsewhere. Mrs. Walton's words on this point are worth
In furtherance of their program of education for the Bi-
centennial, the PBC, working with Bantam Books Inc.,
which is a subsidiary of Simon and Schuster, the publishers
of "America's Birthday", has put out a flyer directed at
teachers and schools.
Bantam Books has what they call a "Learning Adven-
tures Section," which puts out educational publications.
There has been set up a PBC department within the Learning
Adventures Section. Their flyer has been. widely distributed.
It is called "Create Your Own Birthday Package." It is
a complete educational program for the Bicentennial, based
primarily on the Peoples Bicentennial Commission's docu-
ments, using this particular one, "Common Sense II" which
was authored by Jeremy Rifkin.
If I may say at this time, I am disturbed by the fact that
no one else has seemed to come up with an educational pro-
gram through the schools on the Bicentennial. I feel very
o strongly that ARBA should have done so-this should have
fallen within the realm of ARBA's activities .... They have
not come up with an educational program for the schools.
To the best of my knowledge, the PBC is the only organiza-
tion that has done this.
In speaking to educators when I go around to lecture, they
are very disappointed that the government did not come up
with an educational program for the Bicentennial because


they are looking for that and many of them have said that
they have put their own programs together because they have
received nothing. It is likely that the Bantam Books- PBC
program has, in many instances, filled this void, as have
other PBC educational materials.
Ms. Walton was asked, "When a concerned citizen has questions
that they would like answered about the PBC, and they contact the
official American Revolutionary Bicentennial Administration, what
type of response do they get?" Mrs. Walton replied that she had had
some correspondence on the subject with Mr. John Warner, who is
Chairman of the American Revolutionary Bicentennial Administra-
tion, and that the reply she had received was "completely neutral and
lacking in information." Mrs. Walton said that, after learning that
Mr. Warner planned to invite Jeremy Rifkin to a planning session
for the Bicentennial, she sent Mr. Warner a letter providing him
with background materihl on the PBC. She received from Mr. Warner
a reply dated May 7, 1975, providing her with background informa-
tion about ARBA. About the PBC, the reply stated:
The Peoples Bicentennial Commission, which was estab-
lished long before this new administration, is one of many
organizations springing up across the United States in re-
sponse to the particular needs and desires of our diverse
Under PL93179, Congress authorized the Administration
to pass judgement on Bicentennial programs which are sub-
mitted to us for official recognition. Since the Peoples Bi-
centennial Commission has not made any such request, we
have not officially reviewed any of their activities. In general,
this organization, as well as others participating in the Bi-
centennial, express their views freely, consistent with the
Constitutional guarantees provided all of us.
In the end the people of the United States, quite properly,
will make the ultimate choice from among the many Bicenten-
nial themes being advanced.
At this point, the Subcommittee staff added the information that
ARBA, in responding to requests for information about the PBC,
has advised people that they could obtain PBC literature by writing
to the National Office, whose address they then provided.

The tremendous public impact of the PBC is due in large measure
to its success in harnessing the media to its bandwagon. Comparing
Iedia treatment of the PBC with media treatment of the government-
sIoisored American Revolutionary Bicentennial Administration, Mr.
Wato told the Subcommit tee: "To say that the PBC has gotten
more time and Space than the official Bicentennial administration is
Nin understatement." lie said that the medib conservative and liberal,
"have fallen all over themselves in provi(ling Rifkin and his self-
i1)1point(l Peoples Bicentennial Commission time and space. News-
Iaper, news magazines and radio and television outlets have taken


things at face value, and, in the process, have simply made themselves
conveyor belts for anything the PBC wants to pump out to the Ameri-
can public." Among the many publications named as having run
favorable or uncritical articles about the PBC were the New York
Times, the Washington Post, the Washington Star News, the Boston
Globe, Playboy Magazine, the National Observer, the Wall Street
Journal, and U.S. News and World Report. Mr. Watson estimated
that 90 to 95 percent of the press coverage of the PBC had been favor-
able. He said that some of this coverage was lavish to the point of
being amazing.
The New York Times, for example, on May 26, 1975, carried an
article by Jeremy Rifkin on the subject of economic freedom. This
article was basically a rewrite of the PBC's declaration of economic
independence, which calls for the elimination of the free enterprise
system, or the "corporate system", as they call it. In describing Jeremy
Rifkin's credentials, the New York Times said simply that he was an
economist, co-director of the Peoples Bicentennial Commission, and
author of "Common Sense II". Not a word was said about Rifkin's
revolutionary antecedents, or about his many public statements in
recent years which make it clear that his real goal is the establishment
of a Castroite or Maoist society in America.
There was a similar aitiele by Rifkin-a feature article-in the
Sunday magazine section of the Boston Globe on April 13, 1975, under
the caption "What Dare We Dream ?"
The editors of the U.S. News and World Report accorded Rifkin
the same uncritical treatment in a 2-page interview published in their
issue of March 24, 1975. The interview was captioned "The Govern-
ment Bicentennial is Very Shallow". Rifkin could not possibly have
hoped for more considerate treatment, or for more effective promo-
tion. For example, in response to the question, "Exactly what is the
Peoples Bicentennial Commission?" Rifkin replied-without chal-
lenge of any kind: "We're a nonprofit organization. We felt there had
was titled "The Spirit of (19)76-Is It a Bicentennial or a Buycen-
tennkl on a national level that could help develop programs and ideas
for a meaningful Bicentenni-al. We have a very specific move in mind-
helping to shape a new patriotic movement in this country."
Mr. Watson ,also offered for the record a copy of an article which
appeared in the W7all Street Journal of April 15, 1975. This article
was titled "The Spirit of (19)76--Is It a Bicentennial or a Buycen-
tennial ?" (The pun "Buycentennial" is frequently used by the PBC
to describe the official Bicentennial program.) The article had the fol-
lowing to say about the PBC:
The Peoples Bicentennial Commission, a private activist
group, eschews commercial products altogether. Through
groups like the National Campfire Girls or the National
Council of Churches, it distributes literature aimed at, re-
acquainting Americans with social, political, and economic
issues in the revolutionary era that still exist today. The
Peoples Bicentennial Commission seems motivated by an old-
fashioned egalitarism.
All of which must have made the PBC sound downright fascinating
to readers of the Wall Street Journal, with their firm attachment to


the free enterprise system. As Mr. Watson observed, the article made
PBC appear as an "altruistic alternative to the government's Bicen-
tennial agency."
Even Rifkin's bad press, observed Mr. Watson, would be "a public
relations man's dream". He pointed out that when PBC-inspired
rowdies tried to disrupt the ceremonies at Concord, Massachusetts on
April 19, 1975, shouting "Down with the corporations" and heckling
President Ford to the point where it was almost imposible for him
to speak, even the conservative U.S. News and World Report described
the PBC demonstrators as '"a bunch of juvenile delinquents out for
a go~xl time."
The American pre.s has an unrivaled genius for investigative jour-
nalism. But where the PBC is concerned, investigative journalism
has been virtually nonexistent. Mr. Watson did pay credit to investi-
gative articles exposing the real facts about the PBC, written by
Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Weidrich and by Lloyd Jenkins Jones
of Tulsa, Oklahoma. But he underscored the fact that such articles
were very rare exceptions.
The media have further assisted the PBC in putting its impint
on the Bicentennial celebration by the lavishly laudatory reviews of
the PBC book, "America's Birthday"; and they have been assisted,
further by the iuany favorable comments on their packaged material
emanat ing front reputable sources.
The Organization of Anmerican Historians' newsletter of Junuary
1975, for example, stated that the PBC had produced a complete
Bicentennial display package of books on the American Revolution
entitled "In the Minds and Hearts of the People", and that this dis-
p)lay package was highly suited to library and school use. Describing
this display package, the newsletter said: "It contains eight large
l)oster-, based on quotes from the founding fathers anid mothers, 30
reproductions of the revolutionary era, engravings, cautions and head-
lines (escribing the major events and thenies of the American Revolu-
t ion, and a syllabus and study guide developed by )r. Page Smith,
senior staff historian and Bancroft Award winning author. The dis-
play package can 1e ordered from PBC, 1346 Connecticut Ave., N.W.,
a) in IonI, D).C., for $20.00."
The New York Times book review of "America's Birthday" con-
taine(1 this uninhibited paragrph of praise: "The only book to come
along that is dedicated to Sam Adams and Tomi Paine ... 'America 's
Birthday' is opposed to flag-waving and commercialism. The book
(lelaids tlt Atiericans ineed not relive the past, but at le-ast think
aIid at like (les -,lldllits of the men who wrote the Declaration and
Cost itutioll ... A readable, challenging, handsomely illustrated and
desi-ned book."
In the article anticipating the PBC which he wrote for the Novemn-
l)ei I)ecember 1971 issue of "New American Movement", a New J~ft
organization of which he was a former, Jeremy Rifkii called for
lie establish vient of "Peoples Bicentennial (1omiiissiois" on the state
and local level. Ili hi s concluling paragraphs. he St forth this am-
Ibit ios vst (11iate of wlct such a Iiovelmiint cold expect to accomplish:
Asidle fromii engaging large nmbers of people for the first
time %\whio might not feel comfortable relating directly to the


New American Movement, the Peoples Commissions would
provide a unique forum for mass media exposure over the
next four years. This mechanism could be used to raise politi-
cal awareness and to promote the New American Movement
and other radical activities.
As Mr. Watson observed in his commentary, almost every line in
this paragraph has come true in the four years that have elapsed since
the article was written-to a degree probably surpassing Jeremy
Rifkin's fondest dreams.

Obviously, the first thing that has to be done is to establish the true
facts about the Peoples Bicentennial Commission and about the two
men primarily responsible for the movement, Jeremy Rifkin and John
Rossen. It is to be hoped that now some of the facts have been set forth
in this record, the media, conservative as well as liberal, will be dis-
posed to show a bit more investigative zeal in writing their stories
about the PBC.
But in addition to setting forth the facts about the PBC, there are
certain positive things that can be done to counteract the propaganda
of the PBC and to provide our young people, in particular, with
meaningful alternatives to PBC's sponsored activities. On this point,
Mr. Frank Watson offered the following thoughts in a document he
left with the Subcommittee:
Why not sponsor projects, right down into the communi-
ties, to examine just the opposite of the "Peoples" group's
contentions, and have people going around among their insti-
iutions looking for freedoms Americans enjoy that other
people in the world do not ? Why not sponsor discussions,
papers, or even displays, which illustrate the interrelation-
ship of our freedoms-how the freedom to do the kind of
work you choose, to sell your products on an open market,
and to bargain with others freely for goods and services, are
inherent to the maintenance of freedom of speech, press,
worship, and assembly?
Why not instigate the formulation of a new Declaration
of Independence-a 1976 Declaration of Independence from
Despair-and get people in the communities to sign it? Why
not recognize "gloom" and "doom" as the King and the Tories
of 1976, and set people out to put their fingers on the "long
train of abuses" at their hands?
Why not also make the Bicentennial an occasion on which
everybody is encouraged to give a birthday present to the
cduntry-individuals, schools, churches, and businesses. Why
not move the spotlight from criticism and the "discussion of
issues" to findings solutions, and break people out of the "rap
session" approach, where the most vocal participants carry
the day. Find ways for letting individuals think as free indi-
viduals again. Take a cue from former President Kennedys
remark and pose the question to every man, woman and child:
"What can I do for my country"-not just "what do I think


the country's most serious problem is," but "what can I do,
in my own little way, toward solving it?" Why could not busi-
nesses at local levels offer prizes for the best individual an-
swers to questions of this sort?-with state and national
elimination contests? Why not get executives, newspaper
editors, doctors, lawyers, and educational, religious and po-
litical leaders to address themselves to such questions-trying
to define and put into action solutions that do not erode
individual freedoms.
There are many, many subordinate projects that would help
to provide us all a better understanding of the relationships
between individual freedom and the system in which we enjoy
it-moral codes and freedom, laws and freedom; the profit,
or incentive, motive and freedom; violence and freedom; the
press and freedom; and on and on. A really impressive list of
ways for getting people and institutions involved in construc-
tive ways could be made if the amount of thinking and re-
search that went into the "Peoples" program were applied
to a positive approach to the Bicentennial. It will take that
magnitude of effort, though. No one should think otherwise.
And the businessman should expect it to cost him time and
money. But it will not be nearly so expensive as the dissent,
protests, boycotts, strikes, consumer rebellions, and restrictive
legislation that the "Peoples Bicentennial Commission" pro-
gram can bring on if it is left to dominate the field.


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