Immanuel Wallerstein is a world respected scholar and sits at the pantheon of the US left.
He is now at the US Social Forum in Detroit, Michigan. As an elder statesman of the left, he will have the honour of 'dialoguing' with a left icon, the 95 year old activist, writer, and philosopher Dr. Grace Lee Boggs.
Wallerstein has had a steady and some might say rapid rise to the heights of the left's muck mucks.
Yet he says little of his pas associations with the secretly funded CIA foundations and youth organisations with which he was associated during his youth.
Wallerstein comes out the World Federalists. A bright lad, he may have caught the eye of a fellow Federalist Cord Meyer who became in the early 1950s a CIA operative. We cannot say for sure Meyer saw the value of Wallerstein's intelligence.
In Wikipedia's entry on Wallerstein, it is mentioned that he attended an 1951 world youth festival which sparked his interest in Africa. That international meeting was the 1951 World Assembly of Youth (WAY)first conference.
WAY was the US response to the Prague based International Union of Students (IUS) which had fallen under Communist control.
WAY received its funding from the Foundation of Youth and Students the headed by an old CIA hand David Davis. Davis played an important role in Wallerstein's ascent in youth affairs at home and abroad.
Davis & his spy masters saw gold in the quick intelligence of the former radio 'Whiz Kid'. So for them, the pathway to fame and fortune and later renown was worth every US dollar they would spend and every door they would open for Wallerstein.
At home, the Federalist belonged to another CIA funded organisation the Young Adult Council (YAC) with which Wallerstein was associated.
Drafted into the US during the Korean war, he was sent to Panama. And here is where Davis comes in. Davis got Wallerstein transfered back the US and groomed for a vice president's slot in WAY. Wallerstein served two 4 year terms, during which he finished his graduate work on Ghana and thanks to the Foundation's largesse traveled widely in Africa and other parts of the world. (Exposes in the now defunct 'Ramparts' magazine in the 1960s, revealed the hand of the CIA in secretly funding US and world youth and student organisations.)
As a vice president of WAY, Wallerstein could travel; the CIA funded organisation opened the way to meeting, say, during the 1950s the heady days leading towards decolonisation, leading African nationalists and of equal weight African youth and trade union leaders who one day come to power.
Wallerstein's faustian bargain fed a steady flow of information, impressions, and future prospects of these men, into the US intelligence files, some might say. The CIA had a handle on the African leader or rising star's virtues and vices, strengths and weaknesses, ideological leanings, etc. In this way, he was easier to 'handle', 'bribe', or 'shunt aside in favour of a more pliable rival'.
With a fresh Ph.D. from Columbia in his hip pocket, Wallerstein's thesis on Ghana easily found a publisher a division of Random House. The thesis had merit but one wonders if the CIA did not have a hand in easing its acceptance for publication?
By the 1960s, Wallerstein is an alumnus of the CIA sponsored organisations, but did he cut his connexions with the US spy agency? An interesting footnote: during a stopover in Conakry, Guinea, Wallerstein was briefly arrested for being a CIA spy and then expelled.
Wallerstein during the Vietnam War acquired his leftist bona fides. He has gotten plum posts and ended up as the sanctuary keeper of Ferdinand Braudel studies.
Is he like the late writer Graham Greene who worked for MI6 pr MI5 during world war two, but never broke his ties with his country's spy network?
And did Wallerstein keep files on his friends on the left for his old friends?
Now, that gives one food for thought.