Afro-Asian People’s Warrior: Richard Aoki, 1938–2009


  • Diane C. Fujino



“A few years before participating in Berkeley’s 1969 Third World Strike, Aoki had already embraced internationalism and Third World radicalism. His politics developed in the historic period following the 1955 Afro-Asian conference in Bandung, Indonesia, and alongside the 1966 First Solidarity Conference of the Peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America in Cuba. Through the SWP, which formed a backbone of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, Aoki grew to support the Cuban revolution. In 1965, Aoki was part of the International Secretariat of the Vietnam Day Committee (VDC) in Berkeley, working to launch concurrent protests against the war in Vietnam in some eighty US cities as well as in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Seeking an endorsement of these International Days of Protest, Aoki wrote (via an SWP contact in Canada) to the Black revolutionary Robert F. Williams, then exiled in Cuba. Thus began Aoki’s correspondence with Williams and his distribution of Williams’s US-banned publication, The Crusader. As an act of Afro-Asian solidarity, Williams—exiled later in China—solicited from Mao in 1963 and 1968 two statements in support of Black liberation.”