Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

January 5, 2016

Mike Vanderboegh: portrait of an agent-provocateur

Filed under: entrapment — louisproyect @ 4:46 pm

A former Marxist? Hardly.

Four years ago Mother Jones published an article on Mike Vanderboegh, the ultrarightist who has been falsely associated with the armed occupation of buildings in a bird sanctuary in Oregon, that referred to his leftist past:

Fiery rhetoric about resistance and revolution isn’t new for Vanderboegh, though the origins of his activism may seem a bit incongruous. “I used to be a communist,” he says. Vanderboegh, who is in his late 50s, claims he joined the anti-war movement in 1967, first with Students for a Democratic Society, then the Socialist Workers Party, and eventually the Maoist Progressive Labor Party.

Vanderboegh says his days as a left-wing radical came to an end in 1977. At the time, he was working as an aide in an Ohio hospital and an ex-Wehrmacht surgeon being treated there “wrestle[d] the devil for my soul.” “Herr Doktor,” as Vanderboegh called him, gave him a copy of Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, a 1944 tome that is one of the intellectual pillars of libertarianism. Through Hayek and some tutoring from Herr Doktor on the evils of communism, Vanderboegh says, he saw the light and gave up the class struggle and even politics in general—at least for a while.

I don’t have much interest in the man’s involvement with the Burns, Oregon action but I am interested in the allegation that he once belonged to the SWP, a group I spent 11 years in. Vanderboegh’s “conversion” is recounted in a post on Sipsey Street Irregulars, a blog that describes itself as “The ORIGINAL gathering place for a merry band of Three Percenters. (As denounced by Bill Clinton on CNN!)”.

I can understand the progression from SDS into the SWP, a path followed by many as the New Left degenerated into Weatherman type antics. But hardly anybody ever went from the SWP to the PLP, unless it was Arne Swabeck, the octogenarian who became a Maoist in the 1960s after decades in the Trotskyist movement. In fact my first SWP meeting in NYC took up his expulsion.

But check out what Vanderboegh says about his work with the PLP:

Toward the end, I became a member of the PLP’s “secret party,” dropped from public view and on instructions began to organize a “worker’s militia” in central Ohio. We’d start out vetting new members by having them break into National Guard armory parking lots and slash vehicle tires. In the end, we’d rob dope dealers to raise the money to buy weapons, all kinds of weapons. We were very good at what we did. And very, very lucky. Don’t believe me? Most of my “Benedict Arnold” period papers are part of a collection at the Ohio Historical Society. Look it up. You can look up the statute of limitations too. Nobody died. Like I said, we were very, very lucky.

This sounds like utter bullshit to me. If you know anything about the PLP, you know that the last thing they would be up to is robbing dope dealers or slashing tires in National Guard armory parking lots. Most likely, a PLP member would be selling their unreadable newspaper in front of plant gates, the same kind of activity that the SWP would eventually take up. The PLP was a workerist sect that was involved with some major campus struggles such as the San Francisco State student strike of 1968. But its working class intervention was pretty focused on “serving the people” trade union organizing that was anything but adventuristic. In Boston, they were focused on getting their members into the GE plant in Lynn or into the local hospitals.

Basically Vanderburgh sounds like he is telling tales or more ominously had conned some inexperienced PLP members into what looked like the typical FBI entrapment. I remember an invitation from a guy in NYC to take part in similar dubious activities. We knew him as Carl “Mustafa” Jones, an African-American who showed up at our upper west side HQ one afternoon. He told us that he was an ex-con who was at Attica during the rebellion. He was serving time for robbing drug dealers—the same story told by Vanderboegh. After a few weeks of coming to Friday night forums, Jones sat down with the branch organizer and me to invite us to come to a firing range where “revolutionaries” were preparing for armed struggle. At that point we began to have our doubts.

Finally, on his “Benedict Arnold” period at the Ohio Historical Society. I just got off the phone with the librarian there and she told me that the box contains nothing but pamphlets, buttons, leaflets, newspapers, posters, etc. and not a single thing he produced. I was interested in any of his personal correspondence since that would give me some clues into his likely agent-provocateur past. Since there was none, I had to assume that he joined leftist groups without even a modicum of familiarity with socialist politics that allowed Ed Heisler, another FBI informant, to end up on the SWP national committee.



  1. Vanderboegh is in his “late 50s” — say, 58 or 59. If he joined the antiwar movement and SDS in 1967, he was nine or ten years old at the time, and joined the SWP when he was at most twelve. Bullshit.

    Comment by Ian Angus — January 5, 2016 @ 10:51 pm

  2. Actually his birth date is 1952. But he is still a bullshit artist and an agent-provocateur.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 5, 2016 @ 10:52 pm

  3. “Mike Vanderboegh, the ultrarightist leading the armed occupation of buildings in a bird sanctuary in Oregon”

    The above is an outright, utter and complete falsehood. In point of fact Mike Vanderboegh REPUDIATED the very act the author alleges he leads and did so in the strongest possible terms. But I never expect leftist/statists to scruple to stay with the facts.

    Ian Angus, Mike Vanderboegh is 63. Does that make him old enough to have done what he said he did?

    Comment by Bad Cyborg — January 6, 2016 @ 6:07 pm

  4. Sorry Cyborg but he is indeed an Ultra-Rightist whose full of shit because he was born in either 52 or 53 which means he would have been only 14 or 15 joining the SDS which is nonsense.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — January 6, 2016 @ 11:21 pm

  5. You are quite correct that “Red Mike” Vanderboegh is an agent provocateur — as us “unapologetic Nazis or Christian Identity believers” call a ZOGbot.

    Red Mike used to pretend to be a Constitutional “militia general” or head of the 1st Alabama Constitutional Cavalry Regiment or as I called it “Red Mikes’ Bolshevik Gang of Four or Five Horseless Mattoids.”

    You see, there is no such thing as a “Constitutional Militia because the Founding Felons, mindful of how the Amurrikwan Revolution started was by local militias shooting it out with the redcoats on April 19, 1775, made formiing these local “People’s Armies” illegal under their proposed CONstitution. So the Founding Felons set it up so that the new militias couldn’t be founded at the county and township level but had to be set up by the state government and “federalized.” George Washington didn’t want the West Pennsylvania whiskey rebels to start a new civil war over Alexander Hamilton’s national bank and whiskey taxes, so they made it so that a local militia wouldn’t be a “constitutional militia at all.

    The original militias of post Waco were less than 20 individuals in Missouri, around a dozen or more, all lead by ex-military of the Christian Identity or Klan persuation. They were impossible for such as Red Mike to get into. It wasn’t until late 1994 or early 1995 that the suburban retards of Kansas City or Saint Louis took it into their little minds to form these mythical “Constitutional Militias” and then critters like John Parsons and Red Mike Vanderboegh claimed to be “militia leaders”. John Parsons snitched on a Christian Identity Klansman known for being crazy by even Christian Identity standards named “Crazy Willie Lampley” who advocated killing Morris Dees. At the trial, John Parsons admitted to being an FBI informant for $1776 per month, Red Mike resigned from Parson’s “Tri-States Militia” but kept in touch with Parsons and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Red Mike used to have a problem with pulling a .45 Colt pistol on Christian Identity women, and then having to deal with men who wanted to kill Red Mike. But it was in May 1998, when Red Mike pulled his pistol at a Southern States Militia on Pa Beezley, girlfriend of John Parsons, because Pam Beezley was taking pictures of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and Red Mike had a fit. This got around and everyone was freaked out about Red Mike’s antics. When Y2Kaos went bust, so did the militia movement for ten years and so agents provocateur like Red Mike had nothing to spy on.

    So Red Mike was reborn as a “leader of the III Percenters.” Red Mike fights with the other “leaders” of the 3-percenters, claiming to be a “Constitutional Militia leader” fighting with us Nazis and Christian Identity followers.

    Let’s understand something: The original militias were survivalist and Klan and Christian Identity “militias” or, survivalists. Some of them went aboveground, most did not. Now there are four or five times as many “militias” as there were in 1993 — but they are “preppers” and don’t call themselves “Constitutional militias”.

    Red Mike Vanderboegh is a Southern Poverty Law Center “militia leader.” The old ZOGbot tard is dying and only other retards pretend to be sorry to see this nasty piece of shit croak off.

    This blog got Red Mike pegged. Red Mike is an agent provocateur. A fraud. Working for the Southern Poverty Law Center.


    Hail Victory!!!

    Pastor Martin Lindstedt
    Church of Jesus Christ Christian/Aryan Nations of Missouri

    Comment by Martin Lindstedt — January 28, 2016 @ 6:37 am

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