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The New Weathermen

New York: Seven Stories Press published Wilkerson, Cathy New York: Seven Stories Press. Archived from the original on Retrieved The Evening Independent. Retrieved 24 June September 29, Latin-American Office on Madison Ave. Retrieved May 5, Prairie Fire Distributing Committee. Retrieved 15 September Retrieved December 28, New York Times. Retrieved December 30, Albert, Michael. Six Weathermen were shot by the police and an unknown number injured; 68 rioters were arrested. For the next two days, the Weathermen held no rallies or protests.

On October 10, the Weatherman attempted to regroup and resume their demonstrations. About protesters marched through The Loop , Chicago's main business district, watched by a double-line of heavily armed police. The protesters suddenly broke through the police lines and rampaged through the Loop, smashing the windows of cars and stores. The police were prepared, and quickly isolated the rioters. Within 15 minutes, more than half the crowd had been arrested.

During a closed-door meeting of the Weather Underground's leadership, the decision was also taken to abolish Students for a Democratic Society. Murtagh, who was presiding over the pretrial hearings of the so-called "Panther 21" members of the Black Panther Party over a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. In the preceding hours, Molotov cocktails had been thrown at the second floor of Columbia University 's International Law Library at W.

Army base and for Butler Library at Columbia University, [2] there was an explosion in a Greenwich Village safe house when the dynamite used in bomb construction prematurely detonated for unknown reasons. Cathy Wilkerson and Kathy Boudin escaped unharmed. The site of the Village explosion was the former residence of Merrill Lynch brokerage firm co-founder Charles Merrill and the childhood home of his son, poet James Merrill ; the younger Merrill subsequently memorialized the event in his poem 18 West 11th Street , the title being the address of the brownstone townhouse.

An FBI report later stated that the group had possessed enough explosives to "level After the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, per the December Flint War Council decisions the group was now well underground, and began to refer to themselves as the Weather Underground Organization. At this juncture, WUO shrank considerably, becoming even fewer than they had been when first formed. The group was devastated by the loss of their friends, and in late April , members of the Weathermen met in California to discuss what had happened in New York and the future of the organization.

The group decided to reevaluate their strategy, particularly regarding their initial belief in the acceptability of human casualties, and rejected such tactics as kidnapping and assassinations. In , Weather Underground members stated in interviews that they wanted to convince the American public that the United States was truly responsible for the calamity in Vietnam. According to David Gilbert , who took part in the Brink's robbery that killed two police officers and a Brinks' guard, and was jailed for murder, "[their] goal was to not hurt any people, and a lot of work went into that.

But we wanted to pick targets that showed to the public who was responsible for what was really going on. We were very careful from the moment of the townhouse on to be sure we weren't going to hurt anybody, and we never did hurt anybody. Whenever we put a bomb in a public space, we had figured out all kinds of ways to put checks and balances on the thing and also to get people away from it, and we were remarkably successful.

In response to the death of Black Panther members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in December during a police raid, on May 21, , the Weather Underground issued a " Declaration of War " against the United States government, using for the first time its new name, the "Weather Underground Organization" WUO , adopting fake identities, and pursuing covert activities only.

These initially included preparations for a bombing of a U.

We've known that our job is to lead white kids into armed revolution. We never intended to spend the next five to twenty-five years of our lives in jail. Ever since SDS became revolutionary, we've been trying to show how it is possible to overcome frustration and impotence that comes from trying to reform this system.

Kids know the lines are drawn: revolution is touching all of our lives.

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Tens of thousands have learned that protest and marches don't do it. Revolutionary violence is the only way. Bernardine Dohrn subsequently stated that it was Fred Hampton's death that prompted the Weather Underground to declare war on the US government. We felt that the murder of Fred required us to be more grave, more serious, more determined to raise the stakes and not just be the white people who wrung their hands when black people were being murdered.

In December , the Chicago Police Department, in conjunction with the FBI, conducted a raid on the home of Black Panther Fred Hampton, in which he and Mark Clark were killed, with four of the seven other people in the apartment wounded. The survivors of the raid were all charged with assault and attempted murder. The police claimed they shot in self-defense, although a controversy arose when the Panthers, other activists and a Chicago newspaper reporter presented visual evidence, as well as the testimony of an FBI ballistics expert, showing that the sleeping Panthers were not resisting arrest and fired only one shot, as opposed to the more than one hundred the police fired into the apartment.

However, two weeks would pass without any occurrence. The explosion was preceded by a warning about six minutes prior to the detonation and was followed by a WUO claim of responsibility. On July 23, , a Detroit federal grand jury indicted 13 Weathermen members in a national bombing conspiracy, along with several unnamed co-conspirators.

Ten of the thirteen already had outstanding federal warrants. Rumors also circulated that the funds were donated by an internationally known female folk singer in Los Angeles or by Elephant's Memory , which was John Lennon 's backup band in New York City and was a factor with the attempted deportation of Lennon, who had donated bail money for radical groups. The damage caused flooding that destroyed computer tapes holding classified information. Other radical groups worldwide applauded the bombing, illustrated by German youths protesting against American military systems in Frankfurt.

In , the government requested dropping charges against most of the WUO members. The requests cited a recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that barred electronic surveillance without a court order. In addition, the government did not want to reveal foreign intelligence secrets that a trial would require. Four months afterwards the cases were dismissed. Patrick Gray , and the federal indictments of W.

Mark Felt or "Deep Throat" and Edwin Miller and which, earlier, was the factor leading to the removal of federal "most-wanted" status against members of the Weather Underground leadership in Leftist newspapers praised the manifesto. Abbie Hoffman publicly praised Prairie Fire and believed every American should be given a copy. Hundreds of above-ground activists helped further the new political vision of the Weather Underground. Prairie Fire urged people to never "dissociate mass struggle from revolutionary violence".

To do so, asserted Weather, was to do the state's work. Just as in —, Weather still refused to renounce revolutionary violence for "to leave people unprepared to fight the state is to seriously mislead them about the inevitable nature of what lies ahead". However, the decision to build only an underground group caused the Weather Underground to lose sight of its commitment to mass struggle and made future alliances with the mass movement difficult and tenuous.

By , Weather had recognized this shortcoming and in Prairie Fire detailed a different strategy for the s which demanded both mass and clandestine organizations. The role of the clandestine organization would be to build the "consciousness of action" and prepare the way for the development of a people's militia.

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Concurrently, the role of the mass movement i. Such an alliance would, according to Weather, "help create the 'sea' for the guerrillas to swim in". The Prairie Fire Collective favored coming out of hiding and establishing an above-ground revolutionary mass movement. With most WUO members facing the limited criminal charges most charges had been dropped by the government in against them creating an above ground organization was more feasible.

The May 19 Communist Organization continued in hiding as the clandestine organization. A decisive factor in Dohrn's coming out of hiding were her concerns about her children. The remaining Weather Underground members continued to attack U. The files detailed the targeting of civil rights leaders, labor rights organizations, and left wing groups in general, and included documentation of acts of intimidation and disinformation by the FBI, and attempts to erode public support for those popular movements.

By the end of April, the FBI offices were to terminate all files dealing with leftist groups. Due to the illegal tactics of FBI agents involved with the program, government attorneys requested all weapons- and bomb-related charges be dropped against the Weather Underground. The most well-publicized of these tactics were the " black-bag jobs ," referring to searches conducted in the homes of relatives and acquaintances of Weatherman. Mark Felt publicly stated he had ordered break-ins and that individual agents were merely obeying orders and should not be punished for it.

Felt also stated that acting Director L. Patrick Gray had also authorized the break-ins, but Gray denied this. Felt said on the CBS television program Face the Nation that he would probably be a " scapegoat " for the Bureau's work. While admitting the break-ins were "extralegal," he justified it as protecting the "greater good.

Bell , investigated, and on April 10, , a federal grand jury charged Felt, Edward S. Miller , and Gray with conspiracy to violate the constitutional rights of American citizens by searching their homes without warrants. The case did not go to trial and was dropped by the government for lack of evidence on December 11, The indictment charged Felt and the others "did unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other to injure and oppress citizens of the United States who were relatives and acquaintances of the Weatherman fugitives, in the free exercise and enjoyments of certain rights and privileges secured to them by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America.?

Felt and Miller attempted to plea bargain with the government, willing to agree to a misdemeanor guilty plea to conducting searches without warrants—a violation of 18 U.


Roosevelt had authorized the bureau to engage in break-ins while conducting foreign intelligence and counterespionage investigations. It was Nixon's first courtroom appearance since his resignation in Mitchell , and Richard G. Kleindienst , all of whom said warrantless searches in national security matters were commonplace and not understood to be illegal, but Mitchell and Kleindienst denied they had authorized any of the break-ins at issue in the trial. The jury returned guilty verdicts on November 6, Cohn wrote it was the "final dirty trick" and that there had been no "personal motive" to their actions.

The Times saluted the convictions, saying that it showed "the case has established that zeal is no excuse for violating the Constitution". Despite the change in their legal status, the Weather Underground remained underground for a few more years. However, by the organization was disintegrating.

The idea was to create an umbrella organization for all radical groups. However, the event turned sour when Hispanic and Black groups accused the Weather Underground and the Prairie Fire Committee of limiting their roles in racial issues. The conference increased divisions within the Weather Underground. East coast members favored a commitment to violence and challenged commitments of old leaders, Bernardine Dohrn , Bill Ayers , and Jeff Jones.

These older members found they were no longer liable for federal prosecution because of illegal wire taps and the government's unwillingness to reveal sources and methods favored a strategy of inversion where they would be above ground "revolutionary leaders". Jeremy Varon argues that by the WUO had disbanded. Matthew Steen appeared on the lead segment of CBS' 60 Minutes in and was interviewed by Mike Wallace about the ease of creating fake identification, the first ex-Weatherman interview on national television.

The federal government estimated that only 38 Weathermen had gone underground in , though the estimates varied widely, according to a variety of official and unofficial sources, as between 50 and members. Most modern sources lean towards a much larger number than the FBI reference.

FBI agents Richard J.

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Gianotti and William D. Reagan lost their cover in November when federal judges needed their testimony to issue warrants for the arrest of Clayton Van Lydegraf and four Weather people. The arrests were the results of the infiltration. Within two years, many members turned themselves in after taking advantage of President Jimmy Carter 's amnesty for draft dodgers. Charges were dropped for Ayers. Some members remained underground and joined splinter radical groups.

The robbery was violent, resulting in the deaths of three people including Waverly Brown, the first black police officer on the Nyack police force. Boudin, Clark, and Gilbert were found guilty and sentenced to lengthy terms in prison. Media reports listed them as former Weatherman Underground members [] considered the "last gasps" of the Weather Underground. The Weather Underground members involved in the May 19th Communist Organization alliance with the Black Liberation Army continued in a series of jail breaks, armed robberies and bombings until most members were finally arrested in and sentenced as part of the Brinks robbery and the Resistance Conspiracy case.

Throughout the underground years, the Weather Underground members worked closely with their counterparts in other organizations, including Jane Alpert, to bring attention their further actions to the press. She helped Weatherman pursue their main goal of overthrowing the U. Most former Weathermen have successfully re-integrated into mainstream society, without necessarily repudiating their original intent. The FBI, in a news story titled "Byte out of History" published on its website, refers to the organization as having been a "domestic terrorist group" that is no longer an active concern.

In his book about his Weatherman experiences, Bill Ayers stated his objection to describing the WUO as terrorist. Ayers wrote: "Terrorists terrorize, they kill innocent civilians, while we organized and agitated.

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  6. Terrorists destroy randomly, while our actions bore, we hoped, the precise stamp of a cut diamond. Terrorists intimidate, while we aimed only to educate. No, we're not terrorists. Its war against property by definition means that the WUO was not a terrorist organization.

    The late s and early s were tumultuous times, with the FBI attributing bombings in just to "civil unrest" by radical groups. The observation that Weather Underground never attacked or harmed people, and only targeted property, is criticized by some who point to the bombs which caused the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion , which could have been used to harm people if they hadn't exploded prematurely.

    On the morning of March 6, , three of my comrades were building pipe bombs packed with dynamite and nails, destined for a dance of non-commissioned officers and their dates at Fort Dix, N. Still trying to "bring the war home", their bombs were crude mirrors of the anti-personnel weapons the U. We talk about non-violence as the only possible winning strategy. But our goal is a majority movement to end war and global injustice. I believe such a thing is possible in this country. From my own experience I know that the American people see no distinction between violence against property and violence against human beings.

    Political violence is a category which does not exist: it is just violence, defined as either criminal or insane or both. That's a very bad position to put yourself into. It's guaranteed failure. After the Townhouse, when the Weather Underground turned to bombing symbolic targets like empty corporate offices, it made us no less isolated. As self-expression violence can make perfect sense; as political activity to build a movement, none at all. Besides, the U. Prompted in part by claims made by informants working for the FBI within the Weather Underground, grand juries were convened in and to investigate if Weather Underground was responsible for the San Francisco Police Department Park Station bombing , in which one officer was fatally wounded, one maimed and eight more wounded by shrapnel from a pipe bomb.

    Ultimately, it was concluded that members of the Black Liberation Army, whom WUO members affiliated with while underground, were responsible for not only this action, but also the bombing of another police precinct in San Francisco, as well as bombing the Catholic Church funeral services of the police officer killed in the Park Precinct bombing in the early summer of In Bill Ayers was quoted in a New York Times interview saying "I don't regret setting bombs", [] but has since claimed he was misquoted.

    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 The responsibility for the risks we posed to others in some of our most extreme actions in those underground years never leaves my thoughts for long. The antiwar movement in all its commitment, all its sacrifice and determination, could not stop the violence unleashed against Vietnam.

    And therein lies cause for real regret. Mark Rudd, now a teacher of mathematics at Central New Mexico Community College , has said he doesn't speak publicly about his experiences because he has "mixed feelings, guilt and shame These are things I am not proud of, and I find it hard to speak publicly about them and to tease out what was right from what was wrong.

    I think that part of the Weatherman phenomenon that was right was our understanding of what the position of the United States is in the world. It was this knowledge that we just couldn't handle; it was too big. We didn't know what to do. In a way I still don't know what to do with this knowledge. I don't know what needs to be done now, and it's still eating away at me just as it did 30 years ago. Their official site reads:.

    The RAF weathermen who helped save D-Day - BBC News

    We oppose oppression in all its forms including racism , sexism , homophobia , classism and imperialism. We demand liberation and justice for all peoples. We recognize that we live in a capitalist system that favors a select few and oppresses the majority. This system cannot be reformed or voted out of office because reforms and elections do not challenge the fundamental causes of injustice.

    We also respect the right of people to take up armed struggle against colonialism for the liberation of oppressed peoples. This is in accordance with resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and the Geneva Convention, which recognize that the crime is colonialism, not the struggle for liberation. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the United States political organization. For the weather forecasting service, see Weather Underground weather service.

    For other uses, see Weather Underground disambiguation. American radical organization. Seattle Weather Collective Women's Brigade. Bill Ayers Bernadine Dohrn [1]. Ford William Z. Active organizations. Defunct organizations.

    List of Weatherman actions

    Related topics. Main article: List of Weatherman actions. Main article: Days of Rage. Main article: Flint War Council. Main article: Greenwich Village townhouse explosion. Main article: Brink's robbery Main article: May 19th Communist Organization. Retrieved June 7, Federal Beureau Of Investigation.

    Retrieved November 30, The Movement". Independent Lens. Retrieved June 2, Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved December 4, Retrieved December 20, AK Press. Archived from the original on March 28, Retrieved March 3, Retrieved December 15, PLP was a Stalinist group that had turned to SDS as fertile ground for recruiting new members after meeting with little success in organizing industrial workers, their preferred base.

    By and they would profoundly affect SDS, particularly at national gatherings of the membership, forming a well-groomed, disciplined faction which followed the Progressive Labor Party line. Retrieved November 19, Seven Stories Press. Government Printing Office. Random House Publishing Group. Bringing the war home. The Sixties Chronicle. Legacy Publishing. Power on the Left.

    Weatherman PDF. Ramparts Press. Outlaws of America. AK Rress. New York: Seven Stories Press. Outlaw woman: a memoir of the war years, San Francisco, CA. City Lights: Outlaws of America: the Weather Underground and the politics of solidarity. Berkeley: University of California Press. Archived from the original on May 1, Retrieved January 30, The Haymarket Tragedy.

    Haymarket Revisited, p. Death in the Haymarket. Pantheon Books. Weather underground organization. Retrieved from Foia. The way the wind blew. Underground: my life with sds and the weatherman. New York Post. Retrieved January 6, Perlmutter, Emanuel February 22, The New York Times.