The Socialists Among Us In North Carolina

This quote about socialists and socialism is likely familiar, but few realize just who the man it is attributed to was.

The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of “liberalism,” they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform.
– Norman Matoon Thomas

Thomas was a Presbyterian Minister who died in 1968. He also ran six times as the Socialist Party of America’s candidate for President of the United States and several attempts at positions in New York — one time for the Governor’s position.

But Thomas is long since dead. But there are still Socialists still very much alive in the United States. Some of them are among us right here in North Carolina. Socialists such as Richard “Chip” Smith.

He’s the founder of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO).

Chip Smith, who currently resides with his wife, Dr. Kim Koo, near Rocky Mount, North Carolina, is still active in FRSO and related groups today.

051915 FB Organize the South Screen Print $20 sm

FRSO ‘Organize the South’
Image via Facebook

Before moving on, it bears mentioning that FRSO is the same organization which has spawned and backs some very well-known front groups like Black Lives Matter, Standing Up For Racial Justice, Jobs With Justice and numerous others.

FRSO hails back to 1985 and rose from what was called the ‘New Communist Movement’.  Two small organizations, Proletarian Unity League and the Revolutionary Workers Headquarters came together and FRSO was the product. Without question, FRSO is a Marxist-Leninist group.

In 2010, several homes of FRSO members were raided by the FBI seeking evidence of, “material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.”

FRSO’s current projects include how to “Crush Trump”, ‘Organizing the South’ and “Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Right.” These projects will be explored in a separate article.

More about Chip Smith

Chip Smith - Socialist - Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Chip Smith

Smith is the founder of Fayetteville Peace with Justice and formed Rocky Mount Racial Justice with his wife. Smith has described himself in several bios as the “director of a workers’ center and an anti-war activist in Eastern North Carolina.”

Smith’s bio mentions a “workers’ center”, which is actually the Western North Carolina Workers Center. This organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit that is registered with the North Carolina Secretary of State under the Corporations division.

The Western North Carolina Workers Center is concerned with, “wage theft, unsafe working conditions, discrimination, and sexual aggresion [sic].”

The stated vision of this organization is that “All in Western North Carolina are empowered and education around labor rights and working in places where those right are respected.”

Their mission statement is similar:  “to develop leadership among workers through organizing and education to resolve issues of labor rights and promote fair working conditions in Western North Carolina.”

Fayetteville Peace with Justice is a partner of the NC NAACP’s Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ). Their website, registered to a Chapel Hill, North Carolina resident, states that their mission is, “to work for a just and sustainable peace in Israel-Palestine.”

Rocky Mount Racial Justice Group did not seem to have a website or any other documentation other than Facebook.  The group appears to be allied with the Triangle May Day Coalition.

According to their Facebook page, “The Rocky Mount Racial Justice Group began in response to the recent murder of 9 Black people at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Our mission is to “prevent future such occurrences by learning from the past and working now to achieve FULL EQUALITY across the city in ALL aspects of community life.”

Smith, Catalyst, and The Tides Foundation

One other area that Smith’s name pops up often with is the Catalyst Project, which according to their website, is a Tides Foundation endeavor:

“Catalyst Project is a center for political education and movement building based in the San Francisco Bay Area.  We are committed to anti-racist work with mostly white sections of left/radical social movements with the goal of deepening anti-racist commitment in white communities and building multiracial left movements for liberation.  We are also committed to creating spaces for activists and organizers to come together to develop relevant theory, vision and strategy to build our movements.  Catalyst programs prioritize leadership development, building grassroots fighting organizations and multiracial alliance building. Catalyst is a project of the Tides Center.”

Catalyst was a major support system for Occupy, as evidenced by the resource center and toolkit which still remain on their website. Catalyst is also credited with supporting the Ferguson riots, as noted by the Media Research Center in an article detailing the $82.7 million dollars Tides received from the U.S Government to do their work:

Current Tides projects are just as radical. The Catalyst Project, an “anti-racist” group helped support the Ferguson riots and also trained one of the leaders of Madison, Wisconsin’s white “racial justice”  movement. The Center for Environment & Population focuses on the relationship between population size and the environment, and champions “reproductive rights” as a way to solve the perceived coming population crisis. The founder and director of CEP, Vicky Markham, openly speaks in favor of population control.

Chip Smith is listed as one of many authors in several Catalyst events on their website dealing with the topic of, “Developing Anti-Capitalist Feminist Analysis.”

The book Smith wrote is more of a pamphlet and is only 14 pages long. The work is entitled, The Cost of Privilege: Taking on the System of White Supremacy. (View the PDF.)

More details on Smith, including a bio, are on the website for Cost of Privilege.

In 2008, Smith gave a talk about his new ‘book’ at the Hayati Center in Durham, North Carolina. The event was sponsored by FRSO.

It’s worth noting that the Hayati Center has become a staging point for multiple social justice organizations and for hosting forums featuring various socialists in North Carolina and is the working address for the Triangle May Day Coalition.  The center has big-name sponsors like Duke Energy, Glaxxo-Smith Cline, Durham performing arts and FOX.

Smith gave a second talk about the book in 2008 at the invitation of the Cumberland County Progressives Forum.  There is a video of some of Smith’s remarks about his ‘book’, but it is unclear which forum the video was taken. The video is in two parts and has been edited. View Video one and Video two.

Smith is only one of many Socialists in North Carolina’s midst. In a separate installment, we’ll take look at his rather well-known comrades.

This article originally appeared at American Lens News on December 14, 2016.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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