- 1 WEB DuBois Clubs of America
- 2 Jail
- 3 Radicalization
- 4 US Peace Council
- 5 1980s U.S. Peace Council Executive Board
- 6 National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
- 7 Chapman as Editorial Board Member People's Weekly World
- 8 "Revolutionary mole" letter
- 9 2013 CCDS conference
- 10 CCDS member
- 11 African American Equality Commission
- 12 CoC 2016 conference
- 13 ILPS conference
- 14 FRSO member
- 15 Charlottesville protest
- 16 Rasmea supporters
- 17 IWD 2019
- 18 References
Frank Chapman is a long time Communist Party USA supporter.
WEB DuBois Clubs of America
In 2014, Frank Chapman was listed a a friend on the DuBois Clubs Facebook page.
- Finally, and on a more personal note, had it not been for Esther and Jim Jackson I might still be in prison for they were the ones who first called national attention to my case through the pages of "Freedomways" in the Summer of 1966.
According to Joe Iosbaker:
Born in 1942, the oldest child of 12, the indomitable spirit of his mother and the bebop musical genius of his father are the juice that formed his personality. He describes the life of hustle he developed to deal with the poverty that resulted from his father’s drug addiction and imprisonment. His engaging writing style draws you in, so that his tale of surviving the penal and mental health system, his own addictions and criminality doesn’t read like a tragedy.
In 1961, Chapman was involved in a robbery in which a man died. He had been hospitalized several years earlier for addition to drugs and alcohol and had escaped from the treatment center. Had he been white, the court would have taken that into account. Instead, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life plus 50 years in prison. There was never a presumption of innocence. As he put it, for him and the other Black prisoners awaiting trial, “Your very life is in the balance and like it or not we were all being legally hung, it was just a question of whether they were going to hang us high or low.”
Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks, noted that time in prison is not lost because you have time to study and to write. Although not sent to prison for political activity, shortly after arriving at the Missouri maximum security penitentiary in Jefferson City, at the end of 1961, Chapman desired to read law in order to get out of the hell he found himself in. He spent over a year getting the administration to allow him to go to school full time. Then, in less than another year, he had his GED. He began to read voraciously, and soon became one of the jailhouse lawyers.
He also inhaled science, soon deciding he was an atheist, seeing “… human beings as a force of nature governed by the same physical and chemical laws that govern the sun, moon and stars.” A white, working class communist - in prison for blowing something up during a Teamsters strike - gave him his first Marxist literature, a book called A Marxist Handbook. This was an introduction to the philosophical, political and economic writings of Marx, Engels, and Lenin.
He said reading the Communist Manifesto played the critical role. “I was no longer helpless, now I could consciously be part of a revolutionary movement designed to empower the wretched of the earth.”
Soon he was organizing a Marxist-Leninist study group. Not just a debating society, what they called the “Collective” “took on certain practical tasks such as fighting to desegregate the prison facilities, to unite Black and white prisoners around issues of common concern, to get Marxist literature in the prison through legitimate channels and start PE (political education) classes among the prisoners, to fight for higher education programs for prisoners and establish strong links to the progressive movements on the outside.”
The system of racist national oppression followed Chapman into Jefferson City. In the Black halls, there were four to six men in cells, but white men were in cells of one or two. Black prisoners had the worst jobs, and the terrible conditions in the segregated areas led to more Blacks dying.
Chapman didn’t just help inmates file lawsuits for their own cases. He learned the relationship between civil rights, civil liberties and criminal justice. In his first initiative, Frank drafted a complaint based on the First Amendment right to pursue knowledge and an education; to express your beliefs in writing without fear of reprisal; but also the issue of racial discrimination and segregated facilities. Soon after filing it, the U.S. district court issued an order to the warden to respond.
This was met with stiff resistance by the warden. In the ensuing years, the warden unleashed violence to punish the Black prisoners, to get the racist white prisoners to attack them, and the Blacks and racist whites to fight each other. A number of Black prisoners and some whites died in the violence stoked by the warden. The drama unfolded until there was an uprising in the prison, which was put down with beatings, mace and the threat of the National Guard. The prisoners were able to emerge with a victory in part because the whites joined together with the Blacks against the warden. In later years, the warden unleashed another assault by guards on Chapman, breaking three ribs and other bones. Today, he suffers from arthritis as a result of that beating.
Chapman proved it was possible to win victories even inside that prison: the actions taken led to the end of segregation and over-crowdedness; the winning of First Amendment rights to read literature on national liberation and socialism; and the right to pursue college education.
Through Freedomways magazine, started by leading Black Communist Party (CP) members Esther Jackson, Jack O'Dell and others, Chapman established movement contacts in the outside world. Over the years in prison, Freedomways and the Daily World, the CPUSA’s paper, published a number of his writings. Herschel Walker, the Black CP district organizer in Saint Louis, was the living link to the movement in Missouri, and started a defense committee to free Chapman.
Chapman is very clear that it was the massive movement to free Angela Davis which paved the way to freedom for him and other political prisoners. From the CP, he learned about Davis leading the founding of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. The National Alliance said Chapman was a political prisoner because he had started advocating for civil rights while in prison. Clearly, he suffered attacks by the prison for his efforts.
The National Alliance took up his case, and after they had helped free him, he became the leader of the Saint Louis chapter, building it up through community and labor struggles to becoming one of the largest chapters in the country. Eventually he became the executive director and moved to New York City. Years later, the CP leadership had the Alliance dissolved as a national group, but several chapters - including Louisville, Kentucky as well as Chicago - refused. When Frank moved to Chicago in 2011, he found the organization here still continuing under the leadership of Josephine Wyatt, Clarice Durham and Ted Pearson. He joined in with them, and today has helped rebuilt the movement here and nationally. As a result, this fall the National Alliance will be re-founded in Chicago.
The Black liberation movement and the socialist movement freed Frank Chapman, and in turn he has made a lifelong commitment to those intertwined struggles. After leaving the CP ten years ago, Chapman has joined a newer Marxist-Leninist group, Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!. He has joined our central committee and is helping to guide and train a new generation of Black communists.
US Peace Council
- Mark Shanahan, CNFMP
- Sarah Staggs, Chicago Peace Council
- Rep. Irving Stolberg, Connecticut
- David Cortright, SANE
- Rev. William Hogan, Clergy and Laity Concerned
- Terry Provance, AFSC
- Michael Myerson, executive director - a long-time functionary of the New York State Communist Party USA.
- Erica Foldy, CNFMP
- Frank Chapman, AFSC
- Archie Singham, The Nation, editorial board
- Betsy Sweet, WILPF
- Rep. Saundra Graham, Massachusetts
- Miriam Friedlander and Gilberto Gerena-Valentin, New York City Council members
- Edwin Vargas, Jr., vice president, Connecticut Federation of Teachers, Hartford, Connecticut
1980s U.S. Peace Council Executive Board
Frank Chapman was an Executive Board member of the Communist Party USA dominated U.S. Peace Council 1983-1985-National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, NYC.
National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR) was founded in 1973 in Chicago, Illinois. It grew out of the struggle to free Angela Davis from a "racist frame-up" on murder charges surrounding the aborted attempt by Jonathan Jackson to free his brother, George Jackson and the Soledad Brothers in 1970.
- Notice, Daily World, Nov. 11, 1982, p. 19, "What's On" section, re Nov. 14th "Victory Celebration. Reception honoring Frank Chapman, Associate Director NAARPR and Contributing Editor, Freedomways Magazine, freed after 21 years of prison and parole. Report on the recent victory in the Mayor Eddie Carthan case in Mississippi. Benefit for NAARPR and
- Frank Chapman was a scheduled speaker at the LRA's (Ninth) "Annual Banquet Luncheon" planned for November 21, 1982, NYC. (Daily World, Nov. 11, 1982, p. 20, "Hail Black Caucus at LRA annual fete"). The LRA has long been cited by the government as a Communist Party front.
- The organization's 10th Anniversary Conference was held in Chicago, May 13-15 1983 at the McCormick Inn - Featured speakers included Frank Chapman
Chapman as Editorial Board Member People's Weekly World
Frank Chapman finally came out as a Communist Party USA member when his name appeared as a member of the Editorial Board, People's Weekly World, with one example being the April 11, 1998, issue, page 12.
He also wrote columns and articles for the PWW, some of which will be listed here to provide a chronology of his open relationship with the CPUSA.
"Revolutionary mole" letter
- Now, beyond all the optimism I was capable of mustering, Mr. Obama won Iowa! He won in a political arena 95 percent white. It was a resounding defeat for the manipulations of the ultra-right and their right-liberal fellow travelers. Also it was a hard lesson for liberals who underestimated the political fury of the masses in these troubled times.
- Obama’s victory was more than a progressive move; it was a dialectical leap ushering in a qualitatively new era of struggle. Marx once compared revolutionary struggle with the work of the mole, who sometimes burrows so far beneath the ground that he leaves no trace of his movement on the surface. This is the old revolutionary “mole,” not only showing his traces on the surface but also breaking through.
2013 CCDS conference
Nearly 100 delegates, observers and friends gathered in Pittsburgh, PA for the 7th Convention of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism over the July 18-21, 2013 weekend.
One panel was a discussion on how to use the Anne Braden film for radical education in organizing efforts. Presentations were made by Jim Branson, Janet Tucker, Frank Chapman, Ted Pearson, and the maker of the film, Anne Lewis.
In 2015, Frank Chapman was a member of Chicago Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. 
African American Equality Commission
CoC 2016 conference
Banquet at Emeryville Senior Centerly 2016;
Evening program: “Building Solidarity with Social Movements”
- Carla Wallace, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
- Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Author of “An Indigenous People’s History of the United States”
- Pennie Opal Plant, Indigenous People’s Movement Activist
- Frank Chapman, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
“Right to Exist, Right to Resist” was the theme of the national political conference called by the International League of Peoples Struggles (ILPS) - U.S. Chapter, held in Chicago, Oct. 22. 2016. ILPS is an anti-imperialist and democratic formation, which promotes anti-imperialist and democratic struggles of the peoples of the world. “We mobilized over 160 people from around the U.S. and Canada to discuss how to build the struggle against U.S. wars abroad and war on the workers and oppressed people at home,” said Bernadette Ellorin, national chairperson of BAYAN USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino organizations.
Frank Chapman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression spoke about the struggle in Chicago for community control of the police. “In the final analysis movements such as our must be measured by our ability to challenge the powers that be and bring about the systemic changes needed to empower the people.”
Hatem Abudayyeh of the Rasmea Defense Committee addressed the crowd on behalf of the iconic Palestinian community activist, Rasmea Odeh, who is on trial by the U.S. government for her commitment to her homeland and her people. Abudayyeh urged the crowd to travel to Detroit on Nov. 29, in solidarity with Rasmea as she and her lawyers appear in court. Abudayyeh explained, “This is the most important political trial in the country - resisting the attempt by the Department of Justice to criminalize all those who struggle for Palestine.”
The strains of the civil rights anthem, Oh, Freedom, rang out in Trinity Episcopal Church on Chicago’s South Side, Feb. 12, 2017, sung by Evangeline Jackson. Jackson, a registered nurse, is a leader in her union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1216. As a young woman in the South in the 1980s, her hospital was unionized with the help of Frank Chapman, a veteran of the Black liberation movement.
The song introduced a Black History Month program where Chapman spoke about his upcoming book, “A Marxist-Leninist Perspective on the Struggle for Socialism and Black Liberation.” A leading member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! , Chapman explained that the book sets forth the thesis that an important part of revolutionary content of Marxism-Leninism lies precisely in seeing the centrality of the national question in the struggle against imperialism and the struggle for socialism.
For Chapman, history is alive. He illustrated that the struggle for democratic rights that was the period of Black Reconstruction is still on the agenda today. “We lost the right to vote in the 1890s, we fought to get it back in 1965, and the Supreme Court just took it away again.” He explained that it was political power backed by arms in the South after the Civil War that guaranteed Black equality.
Chapman began by establishing that the idea of Black people as a nation in the U.S. grew organically out of the Black liberation movement, starting before the Civil War. He recounted the development in the 1920s, when the Communist Party USA, with the leadership of Black communists like Harry Haywood and the influence of the Communist International, “dealt with Black people as an oppressed nation within this nation.” Once this happened, the Party began to play a leading role in the Black movement, including the campaign to free the Scottsboro Boys, and organizing textile workers in North Carolina. Chapman even argued, “In the South, without the role of the Communists, there would have been no Civil Rights Movement.”
A former member of the Communist Party USA, Chapman joined FRSO because of the organization’s view of “the strategic alliance,” expressed in a statement adopted at the organization’s 2007 congress: “Our basic strategy for revolution and socialism is building a united front against the monopoly capitalist class, under the leadership of the working class and its political party, with a strategic alliance between the multinational working class and the oppressed nationalities at the core of this united front.”
The event opened with comments by Aislinn Pulley of Black Lives Matter-Chicago, who spoke of the recent Amtrak Police shooting of Chad Robertson; the refusal of prosecutors to bring charges against the cop who killed Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones on Christmas morning 2015; and the Chicago police department murder of a mentally ill woman two days before the event. This helped place Chapman’s talk in the context of the ongoing struggle against racist discrimination and national oppression.
1000 protesters gathered in Chicago to protest the murder of Heather Heyer and the injuring of 19 others by American Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017.
“Donald Trump is the commander in chief of white supremacist terrorism,” called out Frank Chapman at the start of the rally in Federal Plaza. “We call for driving Trump from office by a mass movement of the people.”
Chapman, field organizer of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, explained the demands of the protest. “We demand that the Department of Justice root out, arrest, indict, prosecute, and jail the leaders of this racist conspiracy against our democracy.”
“In Chicago, we have a problem with white supremacist attacks, but they come from the Chicago police,” said Nesreen Hasan of the Arab American Action Network in her speech. A popular chant during the march was, “Cops and Klan go hand in hand!”
The coalition behind the protest included Black Lives Matter, Assata’s Daughters, Arab American Action Network, Organized Communities Against Deportations, the Filipino youth group Anakbayan, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!.
Joe Iosbaker March 23, 2017 ·
- FB friends page
- War Called Peace
- USPC conference brochure Yale University November 8-10, 1985
- NAARPR newsletter Mar 24 1983 p1
- Peoples Weekly world January 12 2008
- CCDS Discussion, CCDS 7th Convention Debates Growth
- [Mobilizer,august 2015,http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=e50818b5-7091-4007-840f-00e30f1b7a69&c=0f914010-51d8-11e3-b0a6-d4ae529a826e&ch=10646e90-51d8-11e3-b0f4-d4ae529a826e#LETTER.BLOCK42Remembering Michael Brown By Frank Chapman[
- American Equality Commission Communist Party USA FaceBook group. accessed July 10, 2015
- FB News, Major anti-imperialist conference held in Chicago By Joe Iosbaker | October 25, 2016
- [http://www.fightbacknews.org/2017/2/14/frank-chapman-speaks-black-liberation-and-socialism FB Frank Chapman speaks on Black liberation and socialism \ By Joe Iosbaker | February 14, 2017]