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Launched in 1999, Leftbooks—a self-styled “people’s resource for progressive books and videos”—was a Los Angeles-based Internet seller of “radical” materials that it claimed larger Internet sellers “refuse to stock.” “Created by and for activists involved in the struggles for social justice and against U.S. war and racism,” Leftbooks urged its customers to “get involved, get political and help spread progressive and alternative materials to your friends and family.” Leftbooks was affiliated with Ramsey Clark’s Marxist-Leninist International Action Center (IAC), and shared office space with the IAC in both its Los Angeles and New York locations. IAC co-director Deirdre Sinnott, who created the Leftbooks website, said: “People have asked me if the name leftbooks.com stands for ‘left-wing.' I say, you're damn right it does.”
Among the titles in the Leftbooks catalog were a wide selection of writings by violent revolutionaries such as Leonard Peltier, who was responsible for the deaths of two FBI agents; cop-killer and former Black Panther Party activist Mumia Abu Jamal; onetime Black Panther leader Huey Newton; and Black Panther militant Assata Shakur, who killed a New Jersey police officer in 1973 before fleeing to Cuba. Leftbooks’ promotional literature for Shakur's autobiography cast doubt on the author's guilt, whitewashing her as “someone targeted by the U.S. government.” Other authors whose works were distributed by Leftbooks included William Blum, Arundhati Roy, and Howard Zinn. Leftbooks' collection also featured nine books by or about Che Guevara, as well as several volumes by Fidel Castro.
Leftbooks took special pride in presenting the views of communist movements such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist terror organization. In 2000, for instance, Leftbooks distributed the English-language translation of FARC-EP Historical Outline, a FARC manifesto delineating a strategy to impose communism on Colombia by means of “armed struggle.” Leftbooks.com creator Deirdre Sinnott praised the book for offering an inspiring “vision of a new Colombia, without exploiters or exploited."
In the category of revolutionary literature, Leftbooks sold a number of how-to manuals for radical activists. Prominent among them was We Won’t Go! The Truth on Military Recruiters & the Draft. Billed as a “guide to resistance,” this book, according to Leftbooks’ description, was “aimed at increasing recruiting problems by helping young people and their parents counter the lies of the recruiters.”
In addition to its own books and videos, Leftbooks also sold items produced by the International Action Center.
In 2012 Leftbooks shut down its operations.