- Wealthy funder of Marxist groups and causes
- Creator of the Humanitarian Law Project
- Funder of the Christic Institute
Billionaire Aris Anagnos is a Los Angeles real estate magnate who since the early 1970s has been bankrolling Marxist causes in various parts of the world -- including the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Marxist rebels in Chiapas, and Fidel Castro in Cuba. In 1985 Anagnos founded the Humanitarian Law Project (HLP), a pro-Communist, anti-American, self-described “human rights organization.” Anagnos is also the founder of the Los Angeles Peace Center, which houses the West Coast offices of a number of leftist activist groups.
Born in Athens, Greece, Anagnos immigrated to the United States in 1946. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he and his wife Carolyn organized the Committee for Democratic Freedoms in Greece during a period of political disorder in that country. When Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974, the Anagnoses established the Save Cyprus Council (later renamed the American-Hellenic Council), which grew into a principal political lobbying group dedicated to the promotion of Greek-American interests.
In the United States, Anagnos was a prominent financial sponsor of the Christic Institute, a law firm that promoted Marxist principles as the most effective means of fulfilling the Christian directive to aid impoverished people around the world. Anagnos contributed some $600,000 to the infamous Christic Institute RICO case in 1985, which falsely alleged that the CIA was scheming with the Nicaraguan Contras to use drug money to finance their war against the Marxist Sandinistas -- and to assassinate Communists worldwide. The case was thrown out of court, however, on grounds that the evidence had been fabricated and that the suit was, according to the judge, "frivolous."
For years Anagnos has been a major donor to the Pacifica Radio Network. Until recently, Pacifica station KPFK's local advisory board held its meetings at Anagnos' Los Angeles Peace Center. HLP Executive Director Lydia Brazon sits on Pacifica's Board, which United For Peace and Justice leader Leslie Cagan chaired until April 2004.
In 2000, Anagnos told the Los Angeles Times that he considered Fidel Castro to be "one of the outstanding statesmen of the world today." "He [Castro] has served his people faithfully and unselfishly and is a model for presidents to imitate," Anagnos added.
Anagnos has served on the Board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California since the early 1980s, including a two-year term as President of that chapter. He is also the former Executive Vice President of Southern California Americans for Democratic Action, a liberal lobbying organization currently headed by Progressive Caucus member Jim McDermott.
Anagnos -- along with Martin Sheen, Ed Asner, Jodie Evans, Noam Chomsky, and Howard Zinn -- today sits on the Board of Directors of the Office of the Americas (OA), a non-profit organization dedicated to anti-war and anti-U.S. foreign policy activism. Seeking to help put an end to “the culture of militarism throughout the world,” OA aims to confront “areas of U.S. foreign policy which its Board of Directors considers illegal and/or immoral.”
In 2002 Anagnos was a signatory to Not in Our Name’s “Statement of Conscience,” which condemned the Bush administration's “stark new measures of repression” domestically, and its “unjust, immoral, illegitimate, [and] openly imperial policy towards the world.”
Anagnos is also an endorser of World Can't Wait, a direct action movement founded in June 2005 by Charles Clark Kissinger, a longtime leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Anagnos has made financial donations to the political campaigns of many leftists running for public office. Some recent beneficiaries of note include Diane Watson, Russell Feingold, Jim McGovern, Patrick Leahy, Maxine Waters, Medea Benjamin, Ralph Nader, Paul Wellstone, Barbara Boxer, Richard Gephardt, Hilda Solis, Barbara Lee, Bernie Sanders, Jim McDermott, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, Joseph Biden, Al Franken, Tom Harkin, and Cynthia McKinney. Organizations to which Anagnos has given money include the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Progressive Majority, Progressive Vote, and MoveOn.