Read the FBI’s review of ‘The Anarchist Cookbook’
Spoiler Alert: They didn’t like it.
Earlier this month, the FBI decided to upload its 141-page file William R. Powell, author of The Anarchist Cookbook, to its website. If you’re unaware, the 1971 book — written by Powell during his first year at Windham College in Vermont — is basically an instruction manual for how to commit crimes. As the FBI’s file on Powell puts it, “The main part of the book is divided into four chapters: Drugs; Electronics, Sabotage, and Surveillance; Natural, Nonlethal and Lethal Weapons; and Explosives and Booby Traps.”
Needless to say, it is not the sort of book that one actually takes instruction from, or even necessarily reads. It’s a book that rebellious teenagers own because it seems like a cool thing to have around. However, that didn’t stop the FBI — by then concerned about mass anti-Vietnam protests as well as the actions of left-wing groups such as the Weathermen and the Black Panthers — from freaking out about the book as well as its author. He and his publisher were both surveilled, and the FBI began (unsuccessfully) looking into legal justifications for banning The Anarchist Cookbook’s sale.
While previous iterations of Powell’s file have been made public to individuals through Freedom of Information Act requests in the past, the fact that the FBI would distribute its records on Powell at this moment is telling. America is yet again in a period of renewed left-wing zeal, and with that has come reactionary paranoia from the right. Around the time the FBI uploaded the Powell file to its website, right-wing conspiracist/quasi-journalist Jame O’Keefe released secret recordings of low-level government employees who happen to be members of the Washington, D.C. chapter of Democratic Socialists of America discussing protest actions as proof that a “Deep State” exists and is trying to undermine Trump. Given that an estimated 21 percent of the government’s two million employees are in the D.C. area, it’s inevitable that there would be a few D.S.A. members working for the government — especially when you consider the fact that the D.S.A’s perfectly reasonable ideals are gaining traction in the political mainstream. But instead of treating this like a normal thing that people are definitely allowed to do, O’Keefe and his ilk are convinced the socialists are here to destroy America. So, as you brace yourself for a wave of anti-left propaganda from the Fox News crowd, just remember that such nonsense is nothing new.