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BOOK REVIEW AND ESSAY: 'Days of Rage...America's radical underground, the FBI, and the forgotten age of revolutionary violence'... Who helped the American ruling class undermine the great social, anti-war, and political movements of the 1960s and 1970s -- from the inside?

Days of Rage Book Review by Rich Gibson. November, 2015. DAYS OF RAGE, Americas Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence

By Bryan Burrough. Illustrated. 585 pp. Penguin Press. $29.95.

By the time of the "Days of Rage" in Chicago in 1969, the "Weatherman" faction of what had been the massive "Students for a Democratic Society" (SDS) tried to rampage through Chicago's Gold Coast, and were defeated by the Chicago police. Most of those arrested after the window breaking during "Days of Rage" were wealthy enough so that their families could afford the bails, which totalled more than $2 million. In his book, Days of Rage, Bryan Burrough offers us the best take on the worst thing that ever happened to the student movement of the 1960's and 70.

Burroughs work is meticulously researched and documented. It takes on a period in the US when everything appeared to be in crisis: the military, the presidency, the economy, the education system, even fundamental social values. It wasnt a second Enlightenment but criticize everything. was the norm. Some naive people thought the US was on the verge of a revolution. It wasnt.

How do I know? I was there.

I offer highlights of events in the run-up to the creation of a vast anti-war US anti-war movement in bullets:

*1964Lyndon Johnson elected as a peace candidate, using this television ad https://youtu.be/9Id_r6pNsus

*1964Johnson manufactured the Gulf of Tonkin, incident, a fiction that offered the administration a chance to expand the wars on Vietnam,

*1964, the student anti-war movement begins to rise from the civil rights movement and Mario Savio makes this speech at Berkeley. https://youtu.be/tcx9BJRadfw

The "Port Huron Statement" was the founding manifesto of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). By the time of the 1868 protests against the Vietnam War at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, SDS was growing by the thousands every month, and its regular newspaper, "New Left Notes," had circulation in the tens of thousands. As part of their well-financed plot to destroy SDS, the "Weatherman" grouplet took over the SDS national office at 1608 W. Madison St. in Chicago and destroyed the organization's massive mailing list, just as the time became ripe to organize the millions who would protest during the next three or four years. SDS never recovered from the infantile ultra-left coup d'etat organized by the leaders of the tiny Weatherman faction.*1965The war expands, as a working class war, children of the poor in the US killing other children of the poor on behalf of the rich in their homeland,

*1965--April, The Students for a Democratic Society call for a demonstration against the war in New York City. Expecting around 1000 people, max, 25 to 40 thousand arrive and march. SDS begins to boom,

*1965activists begin anti-war teach-across the US,

*1966--Conscription: Youth begin to burn draft cards https://youtu.be/gV--rAMQoQk

*1966The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense demonstrates, with long gun, on the steps of the California capital,

One of the many lies told by Billy Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn after they successfully avoided prison for their "Weatherman" and "Weather Underground" antics (and then cashed in on their class privileges by gaining university posts in Chicago), was that Bernadine never proclaimed how "cool" Charles Manson was by murdering Sharon Tate and others during the infamous Manson murders. Noted in the review here is that Dohrn's praise for Manson was done in the form of a quasi-Nazi salute to a Weather gathering, when she formed her right hand into what she thought was a fork and praised the fact that the Manson murderers shoved a fork into the belly of one of their victims. The praise for the Manson murders was one of the many examples of the Weather war on white people -- of all classes -- that was obvious to critics of the Weather cult during the days that Dohrn and Ayers were leading the destruction of SDS, which had grown to be a mass organization feared by the American ruling class both during the Presidencies of Lyndon Johnson (1963 - 1968) and Richard Nixon (1969 - 1973). The direct attacks by the ruling class against anti-war protesters during those years were supplemented by the typical divide and conquer internal attacks that ruling classes have used throughout history. Many have long suspected that the influence (and funding) for Weatherman came not only from the wealthy families of some of the leaders, but also from others...*1967--April 28th: Muhhammed Ali, heavy weight boxing champ, publicly refused induction to the US Armyhe was stripped of his title,

*1967uprisings in the cities: in Detroit, the US military returned to defeat the rebels with tanks, and the follow up US Kerner Commission, declared, Our nation is moving toward two societies, one white, one black; separate and unequal,

*Summer of 1967-a mass march on and seizure of the Pentagon, memorialized by Norman Mailer in his, Armies of the Night,

*1967--Martin Luther King came out against the "imperialist war," and began to connect civil rights and poverty to capitalism and war,

https://youtu.be/TxxeyPBB36c

*!968--In January, Vice President Humphrey: "We are winning the war in Vietnam."

By the time of the 1971 "Operation Dewey Canyon III" protest in Washington, D.C., Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), had emerged as one of the anti-war groups most feared by the ruling class and the administration of Richard M. Nixon. Hundreds of veterans travelled across the USA for the protest, which was highlighted by the men (and some women) throwing their medals across a hastily erected fence to protect the government from the men it had sent to fight, die, or be maimed in the "Second Indochina War." Although the Weatherman had destroyed the Students for a Democratic Society by the time VVAW began organizing in 1968 and 1969, the phony militancy of the middle class bomb throwers (who had planned to kill soldiers with one of the bombs they were making) had been surpassed by the mass organizing of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen (and women) in the U.S. Armed Forces across the globe. The contribution of the bomb throwers, when it didn't directly work on orders from the agents provacateurs who helped run them, was to confuse the average American about the movements of the time. *1968--Later in January-the Tet offensive attacks every major city, proving to many that the US was not in control, not at all. The once beautiful and historic city of Hue was bombed into oblivion-the US response. VC troops seized and held, briefly, the US embassy in Saigon. It was a symbolic victory, if military battle defeat. The most famous reporter in the USA, Walter Cronkite, says the war cannot be won,

*March 31, 1968, Johnson shocked many Americans, saying, "I shall not seek and will not accept,"

*May, 1968an uprising that began in Paris involved masses of workers and students, seeking to overthrow the government,

*April 1968-M.L. King was murdered while supporting a garbage workers' strike in Memphis. Rebellions swept the USA,

*1968... Bobby Kennedy killed by Sirhan Sirhan in California on June 6,

*1968Black workers in Detroit formed the Dodge Revolutionary Union movement to fight for concessions from Chrysler and other auto-makers -- as well as the racism within the United Auto Workers union. Eldon RUM followed along with several others. In July, DRUM led a brief strike. The many RUMs became the League of Black Revolutionary Workers.

*1969By this year, the GI anti-war movement was growing fast, depicted in the film, Sir No Sir. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nPJgeg6hpA

It was a time when, indeed, all that was solid was melting into air, and perhaps a better world was in the offing. Perhaps.

Wanted poster for Bill Ayers, Kathie Boudin, Judy Clark, and Bernadine Dohrn. Inside the radical Students for a Democratic Society, involving hundreds of thousands ot (mostly white) youth, a split was brewing: Weatherman arriving.

Burrough addresses more than the Weathermen. I chose to stick with them. Readers can make their own decisions about their likenesses and differences with, for example, the Black Panther Party or the Black Liberation Army.

I cleaned up after the Weathermen (from Bob Dylans You Dont Need a Weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing) and its key leadership, like Billy Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, too much in the late 1960's and early 1970's.

The Weathermen posed as revolutionaries, extending out from tony Ann Arbor, Michigan, west to Kalamazoo and, occasionally, east to my hometown, Detroit. I trailed behind, trying to convince many young people that massive doses of LSD, speed, exploitative sex, terrorism, and running naked through schools would never create the kind of class conscious movement that could not only end the US wars on Vietnam - but also sustain itself for genuine social change for equality and justice.

While Weatherman zealots tried (see the leading picture at the beginning of this essay) to run through Chicago's Gold Coast during their "Days of Rage," soldiers and others in the U.S. military had begun organizing within the military against the Vietnam War. The organizing, which began as early as 1964 and 1965, created a mass movement among a segment of working class youth that actually led to the end of America's imperialist war, while Weatherman was proposing to "liberate" working class high school students by running, naked or half naked, through high school hallways shouting "Jailbreak!" The contrast between the work that actually created the soldiers', women's rights, GBLT, and other working class victories of the years of the movement are in the 21st Century being obscured by a vast propaganda machine that focuses many of the historical narratives about the 1960s and 1970s on a bunch of spoiled rich kids, rather than on those who actually did the work that changed the USA for better...As we shall see, what ties together the continuum of the lives of the Weathermen, and especially Ayers and everyones paramour, now his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, is their self-building opposition to forging mass, class conscious, integrated actions.

In their terrorist Weatherman days, they sought to replace that struggle with bombs, often bringing down repression on those they claimed to represent.

Later, despite felony warrants, Ayers became an Annenberg grant favorite, a liberal professor, promoting the patent medicine of small schools, to the mortal disease that is segregated, mystifying, capitalist mis-education.

In October, 1997, the city of Chicago, where Ayers led the Custeristic, suicide charge of the Days of Rage made Ayers a Citizen of the Year.

Bernadine Dohrn became a liberal professor after working her way up the SDS ranks, much like Joan Kroc eventually the wife of MacDonalds Ray Kroc; on her back.

The sectarian, cultish, early life of Weathermen easily became the dishonest, opportunist, later lives of the Weathermen.

Opportunism and sectarianism are not a dialectical divide. Rather, they are often an equation.

The former says: the world will be remade as we jump up and down and demand itand oh yes, kill some people.

Weatherman opportunism rather inverts Lenins dictum that the imperial world can bribe its workforce to support imperialism. In this case, the empires riches made children of the upper classes hate the working classes to the degree that they destroyed the social movement that could have played a leadership role in liberating workers and students alike: the Students for a Democratic Society.

Weatherman sectarianism says two things: we will become a more and more closed cult, driving out friends and foes alike, as we are feted by the press as real revolutionaries, and we will discourage thousands of kids from engaging in serious struggles for social change. Secondly, later in life, the world will be made as we mechanically help fashion it, one lock step at a time in our very privileged careers, remaking the world much as it is, but steadily worse - oh yeah, well lie a lot about what we did earlier, as we grow richer.

Weathermen did considerable human damage.

In Kalamazoo, shortly after the Columbia University student strike in the spring of 1968, I met with a young man, Terry, who came from a small town in central Michigan. Terry was a talented writer, athletic, funny, buoyantand handsome. Enamored of the appeals of the Weathermen, and perhaps the special appeal of Bernadine Dohrn, Terry was pounding down acid and speed together at an alarming rate. To shorten the story, Terry never came down: life ruined.

There were many more like Terry. In Detroit, the Weathermen I could recognize (most just vanished) became junkies. Detroit, the origin of so many things now urban ruin started the Weatherman smash monogamy, movement, exploitative sex disguised as freedom, leading to not, Two, three, a Hundred Vietnams, but probably two hundred cases of a variety of stds.

The Weathermen did considerable political damage. In 1969, they demolished the Students for a Democratic Society, the largest student movement of the last century, on the eve of the massive outpouring of student action in May, 1970, opposing the bombing of Cambodia. As Weatherman Mark Rudd wrote, they destroyed the membership lists, making it nearly impossible to coordinate action.( http://www.markrudd.com/?sds-and-weather/the-death-of-sds.html)

In addition, in 1970, the working class which Weatherman insisted was completely sold out, corrupt, and rotten, was striking. There was a two week long wildcat postal strike. President Nixon had to invoke obscure laws, and call out the troops (many postal workers were Vietnam vets).

General Motors went on strike in 1970, a strike that was stage-managed by the United Auto Workers Union leadership, a charade documented in William Serrins, The Company and the Union, which concludes with most workers recognizing that the UAW was (is), at the top, a weapon of management. Even charade strikes can get out of hand. This one did not, despite the efforts of radical students who, all over the US, brought people to support the picket lines.

I was at the June, 1969, SDS convention where Weatherman cast out far more than half, perhaps two-thirds of the members assembled. By then, I was on the fringe of the Worker-Student Alliance Caucus, organized in the main by the Progressive Labor Party.

I had met, became friends with, Alan Spector, a regional traveler for SDS-WSA. WSAs view as I saw it: patiently building a movement that aligned workers, the troops, and students for direct, mass, action for social change - democracy the numerator, equality the denominator. (Spector has written extensively about SDS onlinethe only good book on SDS is by Alan Adelson, SDS)

PL assuredly, was fighting for communism: Maoist.

I respected the idea of workers, students, and troops together. Maoism? No. I was appalled that the headless Little Red Books, existed.

I valued Ho Chi Minh more as I believed that, though a nationalist, he wasnt going to move into the finest house in the country. Still, even back then I had encountered Chalmers Johnsons earliest essays on Peasant Nationalism, and guessed Vietnam, when they won, would lose as they did.

It follows that while I worked hard for SDS, had been jailed for demonstrations, beaten by police, and suspended from school, I was on the outside of the split debate, rooting for WSA, but utterly lost, and saddened, by chants of Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, howled by Weatherman, and Mao, Mao Mao Tse Tung, screamed by WSA and PL.

I was crestfallen when the split happened. It was clear to me that SDS was done.

I didnt go to the October, 1969, Days of Rage, even if I was furious at the Chicago police for what they did to thousands of us during the Democratic Convention (police riot) in 1968. (See the book, Rights in Conflict for a description of the convention).

I knew Days of Rage was coming. Ayers and Dohrn and their pals traveled all over Michigan promising Thousands, tens of thousands, of kids would descend on Chicago and start the revolution.

That was crap. I trailed behind them telling people rich and middle class white children alone dont make revolutions (an idea Weatherman seemed to pick up from, among others, a distorted reading of Herbert Marcuse).

Chicago will be a police trap, on both sides, was my refrain.

Burrough says maybe 200 showed up. Weatherman, always quoting Ho Chi Minh, descendant of Sun Tzus, The Art of War, didnt know their own weaknesses, didnt know the enemy, didnt know the terrain, and didnt win a thousand battles

In predictable crazed fashion, they stormed the streets of Chicago's Gold Coast, the wealthy community adjacent to Lake Michigan, one of the most expensive places in the USA. They got arrested, freed ($2.3 million in bail raisedhow?), went "underground", planned to kill people, and didthen turned to living well and blowing up toilets.

Only one of the Weathermen, Mark Rudd - cast out of leadership early in the underground days-- didnt repeatedly lie about their activity. Ayers, in particular, did.

At last, we have this new and accurate book, that brings us more details about the damage Weathermen did, Days of Rage, by Bryan Burrough.

Burrough explodes Ayers (and Dohrns) many lies.

Heres a central lie: I never killed or injured anyone....The Weather Underground crossed lines of legality, of propriety and perhaps even of common sense. Our effectiveness can be and still is being debated. We did carry out symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, and the attacks on property, never on people,

were meant to respect human life and convey outrage and determination to end the Vietnam war.

Peaceful protests had failed to stop the war. So we issued a screaming response. But it was not terrorism; we were not engaged in a campaign to kill and injure people indiscriminately, spreading fear and suffering for political ends. (Ayers, letter to New York Times, November 9, 2008).

What Ayers, slippery as ever, seeks to do here is build a moat between Weatherman and the Weather Underground. One pre-townhouse; one aftera name change in form only. More on the townhouse soon.

Burrough knows better.

Mark Rudd reiterates: The line was, Fight the people! All white people are the enemy...Weathers history was cleaned..a myth was born.

The myth, and this is always Bill Ayers line, is that Weather never set out to kill people, and its not true, we did policemen were always fair game. What Terry was gonna do (the Boudin townhouse)...wasnt far over our line, not like everyone said later. I mean he wasnt on a different planet from where we were. (Weatherman leader Howie Machtinger on p.123).

Following the Mussolini-like action factions bungled Chicago Rage demonstration, late fall of 1969, in Flint, about 45 minutes north of Detroit, they held the Wargasm council. There, Dohrn raised her hand in a Nazi-like salute, four fingers straight out, and said to the effect, This symbolizes the fork that was driven into the stomach of that pig Sharon Tate (pregnant, murdered by the Manson family). Dig it! (P.86).

Dohrn lied about this ever since she resurfaced.

Off the pigs. Bomb the military. (Cathy Wilkerson p.92).

The Greenwich Village "Townhouse Explosion" took place on March 6, 1970. The explosion was caused by the premature detonation of a bomb that was being assembled by members of the "Weather Underground" (at the time called "Weatherman") at one of the fanciest homes in New York City. The Weatherman were preparing that bomb to bomb a dance at the Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey. The bomb was under construction in the basement of 18 West 11th Street, but it "accidentally" exploded because the bomb-makers did not have the skills of those they were planning to murder in Southern New Jersey. The "Townhouse Explosion" reduced the historic, expensive four-story townhouse to a burning, rubble-strewn ruin. Two persons preparing the bomb, Diana Oughton and Terry Robbins were killed instantly. Also killed was a third "Weatherman" Ted Gold. Two Weather people, Kathy Boudin and Cathy Wilkerson, were injured but escaped. By 1970, the "Weather Underground" was planning to murder working class soldiers. Most of those soldiers had been drafted either directly or indirectly into the military. A massive soldiers' movement against the Vietnam War was growing, despite efforts by wealth terrorists like the majority of those in the "Weather Underground" to sabotage those mass movements. The "G.I. Movement," along with Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), did more to end the Vietnam War by a thousandfold than all of the antics of Billy Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, and their wealthy fellow terrorists. ...what we were gonna be was undiluted terrorist action....I remember talking with Teddy Gold about putting a bomb on the (Chicago railroad) tracks at rush hour to blow up people coming home from work. (Weatherman Jon Lerner p.92).

I will leave it to the reader to make the interesting discovery: who were the key Weatherman bomb-makers after the townhouse?

March, 1970: in a New York townhouse, owned by Diana Oughtons (Ayers ex girlfriend), wealthy father, five Weathermen planned to blow up a dance of young, low-level, military officers and their dates at Fort Dix. They had 200 sticks of dynamite, surrounded by shrapnel. The plan would have killed and wounded dozens, perhaps a hundred and more. If that plan succeeded, known radicals of all kinds, all over the country, would likely have been swept up.

Instead, the Weathermen blew themselves up. Three Weathermen, committed to mass terrorist murder, died: Terry Robbins, Oughton, and Ted Gold. Two inside, Kathy Boudin and Cathy Wilkerson, escaped.

Burrough shows that Ayers and Dohrn, while not at the townhouse, knew the plan - and much more. Weatherman was planning to kill not just young women and men, but cops, and Burrough, who repeatedly and rightly calls Ayers a liar, shows that most of the levels of the group knew that. They were surely trying.

What produced Weatherman, with so many children of wealth (Ayers father was the head of Commonwealth Edison in Chicago, served on innumerable bank boards; Dohrn was a high school cheerleader and held a J.D. degree from University of Chicago School of law in 1967shortly before she became the Weatherman who recruited with self-exploited sexuality - power doesnt come out of the barrel of a gun, it comes out of Bernadines cunt--of all kinds)?

While Burrough does explain Weatherman deeds in remarkable detail, and he touches on the Weatherman ideology, (and what is the grand strategy of terrorists?) he leaves it to us to discover more about where all their money came from, and what of their many ties to the limpid leafleting wing of the Democratic Party, the Communist Party USA, thoroughly infiltrated by both Soviet and US intelligence? There is a lot yet to be learned.

I was in my hometown, Detroit, when Weatherman was coming into being. I had worked in factories, usually auto feeder plants that would hire me, from seventeen on, sometimes summers, sometimes year round when I finished high school.

I worked, briefly, with the Detroit Committee to End the War in Vietnam, then took their ideas to Kalamazoo where I deepened my involvement with the Students for a Democratic Society. A self-appointed, if not terribly self-assured (most were older) organizer, I traveled southern and central Michigan, urging people to join SDS, not just in opposing the war, but surely that, but also to build an integrated movement to fight racism, exploitation on an off campus. SDS was, then, a multi-issue movement drawing in youth, mostly white, into what was becoming a Marxist (pick your marx) movement.

Weatherman came out of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (which itself split, then split again, one side led for decades by Bob Avakian, Chairman Bob, who formed a zombie-like cult from the Left Bank in Paris - nice exile! - and another led by Ayers current pal, Mike Klonsky, also an Annenberg boy).

History was not moving fast enough to satisfy them.

I first heard of RYM (the "Revolutionary Youth Movement"), and got a taste of the comings of Weatherman, when I watched my prof, and later friend, Freddy Perlman debate the RYM leadership in Kalamazoo at Western Michigan University.

That would be, I believe, late 1967 or early 1968. Freddy, one of the most sophisticated anarchists in the US, had a good go at them. He was the first that I know of who pointed at the RYMs and yelled, Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! He underlined their psycho-emotion which was not solidarity, but poisonous benevolence targeting black people and the Vietnamese.

What interested me was indeed, on the one hand, the guilt that drove them, and on the other hand, the contempt they voiced for the vast majority of people in the industrialized world, working people and veterans I knew and liked.

Instead of organizing around the issues of class and against the War in Vietnam, Weatherman and those who followed them declared that various groups and segments were the "revolutionary vanguard." Among those many vanguards were "revolutionary youth." Also, the black lumpenproletariat, best personified by Eldridge Cleaver, whose glib gifts won their way into the hearts and minds of many upper middle class liberals, and even some wealthier "movement" leaders. One of the most dangerous among those "movement leaders was Cleaver, whose book went into print, ultimately selling more than two million copies. Cleaver also received the support of the liberals who organized the so-called "Peace and Freedom Party" for the 1968 election. As Vice Presidential Candidates, Cleaver became the first admitted rapist to run for Vice President of the United States on what was called a "progressive" ticket. In "Soul on Ice," Cleaver had bragged that by raping white women, he had been doing a "revolutionary act." After following the Black Panther Party for a time, Weatherman, and later the "Weather Underground," decided that the Panthers were not vanguard enough and allied themselves with black terrorists, ignoring the mass movements of black workers (DRUM, ELRUM and others in Detroit) and the black soldiers and sailors who were in the leadership of what became the "G.I. Movement" that ended the Vietnam War.Guilt led them to idolize the common street thug, Eldridge Cleaver, who wrote a book, Soul on Ice, praising rape as a revolutionary act.

We wanted to follow the blacks. They wanted to kill cops. We did too.

Cleaver, who Burrough has urging Huey Newton and Bobby Seale to preposterous, un-thought-out levels of violence against cops, was likely a police agent from the outset.

Cleaver wound up issuing idiot proclamations from Algeria, then China, then returned to the US to hawk a line of mens and womens underwear, passed through born-again Christianity, the Unification Church, and Mormonism. Hes dead. Like many others in this saga, if he wasnt a cop, he missed a paycheckand missing a payday was not like Cleaver.

Cleaver praised Malcolm X. The latter spent most of his life in a dedicated fight against racism. At several turning points, when he discovered he was making the wrong fight, he changed his mind and direction; at the end costing his life. Malcolm X, however, for most of his adult life worshiped Elijah Mohamed, who in turn, built a religion on a series of fantasies originating in a fellow named, among other things, Wallace Fard from, of course, Detroit. The Nation of Islam, is now an identified racist hate group, not so strangely involved with Scientology. They share ideas about UFO-gods.

Cleaver and Malcolm X didnt have an education.

Weatherman did, from some of the finest schools in the US, in Ayers case, the University of Michigan.

Even though Billy Ayers brother, Rick, was a military deserter and was with Weatherman along the way, Weatherman also held the troops, who played key leadership roles in the anti-war movement, in contempt.

In 1971, early in Weathermans terrorist days, Vietnam Vets assembled in Detroit for the Winter Soldier, investigation. I attended as often as possible. The vets, who described the war crimes they were ordered to commit in Vietnam, went on to play key roles in the anti-war movement. Some of them never abandoned their struggle for justice and equality. Remember, Weatherman wanted to explode people like them months earlier. Weatherman held, and holds, contempt for the processes of history.

When dozens of veterans of the U.S. war in Vietnam (and Cambodia and Laos) organized the "Winter Soldier Investigation" into the war crimes that many of them had participated in during their tours of duty in the war, the phony "revolutionaries" of Weatherman (and some other groups) were blowing themselves up trying and failing to develop the deadly skills which the vets had been trained in. Many of those who described the crimes of the Vietnam was were traumatized for the rest of their lives by having to discuss the acts that they had witnessed, some of them not surviving for long after their public confessions. The heroism of the warriors who turned against the wars after they had mastered the killing skills learned in the U.S. Armed Forces remains a largely untold story of the period from the 1960s into the early 1980s -- while the "movement" is caricatured by the latest historical lies depicting Weatherman and a few other groups as the embodiment of an era, rather than a police sponsored and in many cases financed diversion from the mass movements that were built during the same years. One of the vets, John Rollins, returned from Vietnam so angry that he joined the 1969 Days of Rage.

Substance editor George Schmidt comments here: Rollins went AWOL..and joined the Days of Rage. Like many others, he was arrested. But because he wasnt wealthy...he was left behind as the arrested Weatherkids were bailed out, one by one, by their families high-priced lawyers. Rollins did about a year in a county jail... Rollins kept up his anti-war work, but he didnt express his disagreements by blowing things up and killing people. (Schmidt letter to Sun Times, 9/2/01).

Ayers and Dohrn lived comfortably underground in a Sausalito houseboat, a gaited home in Tiburon, and another beach house in California. Most other top level Weathermen lived well too, but a few, like Ayers brother Rick, lived hand to mouth. How to explain that?

By mid-1970, students despised Weatherman, an 8% approval rate (p.155).

But most students didnt know Weatherman was not, ever, SDS; that they were terrorists of the most common sort. Many youth just drifted away from organized action, even after the risings of May, 1970. More and more also walked away from Weatherman.

So, Weatherman, led I believe mainly by Dohrn who was smarter and older, shifted gears.

At base it was, hell with the blacks - up the Hippies! Instead of Weatherman, they became the Weather Underground. Ayers, disingenuous as ever, wants to pretend Weatherman was not the Weather Underground. The Black Panther Party, with its own problems, attacked them as one and the same (and robbed them once) much to Weatherman humiliation.

The toilet bombing began. Scary revolutionaries! Weatherman numbers continued to shrink.

In the book Ayers claimed to write, Prairie Fire, he reserved a special dedication to Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated Robert Kennedy. Christopher Kennedy, Roberts son, made sure Ayers didnt get emeritus status from his nice perch in his university (Newsweek, 11/26/10).

Despite Burroughs thoroughgoing research (he deals with much more than Weatherman) mysteries remain.

One would be: It may be easy to break the police agent, Timothy Leary out of a low-security jail, for cash, but how easy is it to get him out of the USA?

What of the Weatherman ties to Cuba?

Dohrn led a trip to Cuba, pre-townhouse explosion, where they were treated like royalty. One person told Burrough that a North Vietnamese delegation told them to go home and wage armed struggle. That may be, but everyone I have interviewed from the groups before the Venceremos Brigades, and the Brigadistas themselves - the Vietnamese told the eager participants to go home and vote Democratic.

Although the 1969 murder of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark of the Illinois Black Panther Party by the "State's Attorney's Police" under orders from then Cook County State's Attorney Ed Hanrahan has been widely publicized, much has also been ignored in many of the more widely shared histories. One is that the murders were facilitated because a police agent within the leadership of the Panthers in Chicago gave the murderers a map of the bedroom in which Hampton was asleep (reportedly drugged so he wouldn't be ready to fight back). Another was that, unlike some of the more lumpen leaders of the West Coast Panthers, Hampton was a true revolutionary idealist who was able to both organize and inspire thousands with the ideals and program of the Panthers, and not merely to serve personal ends. In retrospect, many of those who worked to build the working class mass movements on the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s now see that the work of Weatherman and other infantile terrorists of the era was encouraged -- and in some cases subsidized -- by the same forces that murdered "Chairman Fred." For those who want to follow trade-craft tracks where I have had to leave off to meet my own deadline; I believe that Dohrn had to meet with Julius Rizzo, a top Cuban intelligence officer, through his wife, and ex-Weatherman, Gail Reed Rizzo. It would be a natural connection that I cannot pin down. The Rizzos were later involved in Fidel Castros efforts to overthrow the government of Grenada, in 1983. How the social nationalist Fidel Castro would have wanted to opportunistically use Weatherman to his own ends is unknown, now.

Follow the money. The Weatherman adventures were expensive. Burrough traces a good deal of it to Weatherman lawyers, most of them in the once-Communist Party USA front, the National Lawyers Guild. That money made Weatherman possible. There had to be more. Rich parents?

And then we go back to the Communist Party USA, not communist but Democrats for decades.

Kathy Boudins father was CP lawyer Leonard Boudin. William Kunstler of the CP, aided them.

Clayton Van Lydegraf not only took over Weatherman for a bit, he assisted in the Leary escape.

After Cassius Clay won the 1960 Olympics in the light heavyweight division, he became a professional and really enjoyed the work. But after he became a Muslim and changed is name to Muhammad Ali, he also announced that he would not allow himself to be drafted for the Vietnam War. The reactionary press, with the exception of Howard Cosell (one of the nation's most famous broadcasters) attacked Ali for his opposition to the still popular war. But as the truth about the war and the anti-war movement grew, Ali's famous statement -- "No Vietnamese ever called me nigger" -- became one of the rallying cries of a movement. Ali was eventually allowed to fight professionally again, but his career was never the same.Judy Clark, a Weatherman who was convicted of murder in a unnecessarily vicious robbery, was a red-diaper baby. Clark is still in jail. Mind made right now - shes a very well educated chaplain.

Annie Stein, of the CPUSA, had enough consistent contact with Weatherman to convince them to surface from underground life. Annie Stein's daughter, Eleanor, was a red-diaper baby who married Jeff Jones, a top Weatherman. She is currently an administrative law judge at the New York State Public Service Commission. (Wiki). Annie Stein died several years ago.

Ted Gold, blown up in the townhouse, was a red diaper baby.

Rich.

Cathy Wilkersons father owned a radio station She graduated from high school at Abbot Academy, an elite girls school. Shes a Swarthmore grad. She met with the NLF in Cambodia in 67. She too went to Cuba.

Wilkerson, who has her own excuses for what Weatherman did, doesnt think much of Ayers. She posted on Znet, about his book Fugitive Days: a cynical, superficial romp . . . making these struggles seem like a glorious carnival . . . Ayers relates his relentless sexual encounters without the slightest trace of awareness that some of these encounters might not have been so positive for the woman." She insists Ayers was fully aware of the townhouse plans.

One woman, a red diaper baby who was a dedicated social activist, felt like most of the others I interviewed. I hated Dohrn. She was an arrogant common slut with an open blouse and open skirt and little else, except men sniffing behind - this as Womens Liberation was getting its footing.

Like the soldiers and marines who would eventually become the broad working class base of the anti-war (and, later, veterans) movements, Cassius Clay knew well the art of violence. But unlike the Weatherman, he became an outspoken opponent of the war (and American segregation and racism) without promoting mindless terrorism. Ali's famous statement -- "No Vietnamese ever called me nigger" -- was more effective in building those movements than all of the turgid manifestos and semi-pornographic urgings of the group that undermined, split and destroyed SDS.Then, the ties to CPUSA ideology: Weatherman knew the empty-headed Stalinist line of founding a Negro Nation, in the US. And they mimicked it.

A last Ayers maneuver to witness: his implications that there was no alternative to Weatherman terrorism. There was: the vast majority of the people in the organization Weatherman destroyedSDS.

What came of the prosecutions of the Weatherman most wanted criminals?

Police misbehavior undermined cases against them. The reader may be surprised who those cops would turn out to be, later. Its worth the read.

One of the two top bomb makers did about a year in jail. The other one was never known until Burrough unveiled him/her in his book. That person was never prosecuted.

Most, like Ayers and Dohrn, got probation and a fine.

Weathermen who repeatedly denounced white skin privilege, were quite happy to benefit from it when it came to the feigned final confrontation between them and the law.

The core issue of our time is, and was, the reality of perpetual imperialist war and booming color-coded inequality met by the potential of a mass, activist class conscious movement for justice, democracy, and equality. The movement was being built patiently, leaflet by leaflet, small demonstration into bigger demonstration, inside SDSuntil Weatherman wrecked SDS. They opposed that movement then. Rich; they oppose it now.

Weathermen Ayers and Dohrn now live in a trendy neighborhood in Chicago and did indeed host a fund-raiser for the demagogue, Obama.

It was the Hubris of rich, frequently red-diaper, children which led them to hate, and seek to blow up, people in the US - and to destroy SDS. It is the same kind of hubris that leads Ayers, Dohrn, and the living rest of them, other than Rudd, to continue to lie about what they did, and the counterfeit radicalism of what they do today.

Some of us never quit the struggle for equality, democracy and justice.

But: Burrough wrote the Weatherman Nemesis.

Rich Gibson: rg@richgibson.com



Comments:

November 10, 2015 at 8:19 AM

By: Susan Ohanian

Days of Rage

Fascinating that so many of these people became teachers. This info had me sitting here staring at the screen for quite a while. I don't know what to make of it.

Many violent people were free to live their lives while Judy Clark, one of the few to express regret, is still locked up in Bedford. Clinton pardoned more than a couple; Clark's release now depends on clemency from Governor Cuomo.

November 10, 2015 at 3:07 PM

By: Susan Hickey

Weatherman and all that jazz

I lived through that raucous time as well and was recruited to join SDS when I was an undergraduate at Northeastern (at that time Illinois Teachers College-North) by a police plant- Bill Frapolly. Frapolly was a 'star' witness at the Conspiracy 8 then 7 trial. His testimony caused Bobby Seale to go crazy. I left SDS when he and others joined the Weatherman faction. The SDS movement was extremely chauvinistic (who can forget the phrase the woman's position in the movement is prone).

The Weathermen were nuts and vain glorious to the max. It is ironic that people like Bill Ayers is now 'mainstream'.

What did they accomplish? Not much.....

November 10, 2015 at 4:44 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

Weatherman 'accomplished' Frapoly's mission...

Susan... If the question was "What did Weatherman accomplish for the broader movements against the war and for working class rights, desegregation, and women's rights (and later, thanks to those who like my brother fought at Stonewall, LGBT rights), the answer of course is "nothing." Actually, though, it is worse than that, because their "crazy" (and murderous) version of "revolution" undermined the work that many of us were doing against segregation, against those wars (that was a plural), and for those liberations we could and did win (after a fashion, but still continuing).

"The Weathermen were nuts and vain glorious to the max." you wrote, from experience as a young student. "It is ironic that people like Bill Ayers is now 'mainstream'. What did they accomplish? Not much..... "

Actually, by destroying SDS as a mass working class based organization, stealing the mailing list, taking over the national office, etc., they did their best to do the work of the ruling class. Perhaps that's why so many of them have been so richly rewarded of late, and are being promoted again in books and movies. One of the first acts of Substance was to expose one of the many police spies (and provacateurs) in the movement in Chicago -- Sheli Lulkin. By the time I published my story about how she was a policy spy in our June 1976 issue of Substance, it had become clear to me that many of the ultra-left infantile "revolutionaries" we were trying to deal with were actually working for the other side. And still are...

November 11, 2015 at 7:54 AM

By: Bob Busch

1968

What a year to be alive!

November 11, 2015 at 1:13 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

Weatherman & SDS

Susan, I haven't heard the name of our undercover pig in a long time. I went to Northeastern too and was very active in SDS. He violated so many laws, it wasn't funny (most of the time, it was he who instigated to violence). I miss those days when I was much more active in the Women's Rights, LGBTQ movement, non-segregation, Anti-war, Women's Separatist movement, etc. That was a time of such rapid change and the sense of power was strong. I was never a part of the Weatherman because I didn't see what their movement would accomplish. It is strange to see so many of them in establishment positions now like Bobby Rush.

November 11, 2015 at 4:20 PM

By: Susan (Gaspar) Hickey

RE: Weatherman & SDS

Margaret, I know that I wish I knew why the CPD thought I needed to be lured into joining SDS with that wacko Frapolly. He would always talk crazy! I remember he with some outside people stormed the Little Theater and threw President Sachs off the stage and was expelled. We lined up when he with his bodyguards came to get him back into Northeastern (Sachs said no)Conrad Pitcher died about 20 years ago and Chris Smolka became a 'new age' minister- go figure! He would bring the weed and I heard he had others arrested for drug possession.

WTTW had a documentary about 1968 and had him on. My daughter thought I was losing it as I started to swear at the TV! Even after all those years, he evoked very negative feelings!

Fun times!

November 14, 2015 at 1:11 AM

By: neil chertcoff

Weatherpeople /SDS histroy

THese semi-terrorist groups a la thee Weatherepeople , Symbionese Lib. Army , etc were probably infiltrated over time by the "democratic" political State &egged on to carry out actions (elite groups terror /bombs) that killed innocents discredited the serious movements then building in the USA in the late 60s-mid 7Os, etc

Sadly many forces degenerated since that time to betrayers , flunkies, and careerists jumping for meaty multi-dollar patronage bones from the sly ruling class. This is represented by the Bill Ayres types who today embrace- and profit off the Privatizitions of Education with Charter schools, etc. ripping off peoples tax $$$ and Pub Ed needs.,

We need to comprehend the past political experience- mistakes, disaters, foolishness and learn lessons .This way we can advance the fightabck struggles against todays profiteers /creeerists on the 'left' , center, and right and against the boss controlled Democrats and Republicans. .

November 17, 2015 at 12:27 AM

By: Joe Berry

Weather and review

I will certainly read the book and probably agree with most of it, as I do with much of the review. I myself was in SDS (the WSA wing) and was at the split convention in Chicago in 69, as well s being a regional traveler for sds (68-69, Iowa). I certainly share many of the criticisms of the weather people, as I did then (though we on the other side had our own sectarian and dogmatic demons to fight too).

However, I must say that the the article is greatly weakened by it's "over the top" tone and some comments that, without more cited support, are hard to take seriously. Most important, through, is the terrible sexist (I an think of no other word) style of the criticism of Bernadine Dohrn. A lot of guys lusted after her, certainly, and she clearly enjoyed and used that influence, but the tone and content of the criticism would never be made about a man. I have zero evidence of her "sleeping her way to the top" and I know for a fact, she was and is very sharp, well educated and organizationally capable (though also very anti-working class, still). She was, remember, the legitimately elected SDS national inter-organizational secretary (one of three constitutional officers) in the year or two before the split.

The issue of police agents is also a serious one, and one we dealt with in Iowa too. Especially now that we know that for decades Gus Hall was an agent leading the CPUSA, it puts many things into different light. However, this should never be the end of the discussion about anyone or decisions they made or participated in. Lenin said something to the effect that, after the head of the Bolsheiveks' Duma faction had been exposed as an agent, that he had to do a lot of good work for us too in order to keep that position.

Thanks for listening to the rantings of a now-old man talking about some of the most important years of my life, which I am mostly proud of.

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