Presentation on theme: "The Weathermen. Who were the Weathermen? Weathermen, and later the Weather Underground, was an American radical Left organization. It originated in 1969."— Presentation transcript:
Who were the Weathermen? Weathermen, and later the Weather Underground, was an American radical Left organization. It originated in 1969 as a faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) composed for the most part of the national office leadership of SDS and their supporters.
Birth of Weathermen Initially formed as a splinter group which believed that peaceful protests were ineffective. Weathermen were widely criticized for their use of violence as a means of social and political change.
Who were the Weathermen? Some accused the group of terrorism Others accused it of giving all activists, both militant and more mainstream, a bad name.
1969 SDS Convention At an SDS convention in Chicago on June 18, 1969, the National Office attempted to convince unaffiliated delegates not to endorse a takeover of SDS by Progressive Labor who had packed the convention with their supporters.
1969: A New Revolutionary Party The most important task for us toward making the revolution, and the work our collectives should engage in, is the creation of a mass revolutionary movement, without which a clandestine revolutionary party will be impossible. A revolutionary mass movement is different from the traditional revisionist mass base of "sympathizers." Rather it is akin to the Red Guard in China, based on the full participation and involvement of masses of people in the practice of making revolution; a movement with a full willingness to participate in the violent and illegal struggle. Progressive Labor faction: Maoists
Weatherman Ideology The thesis of Weatherman theory, as expounded in its founding document, You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows, was that "the main struggle going on in the world today is between U.S. imperialism and the national liberation struggles against it"
RYM = Revolutionary Youth Movement The role of the "Revolutionary Youth Movement" is to build a centralized organization of revolutionaries, a "Marxist- Leninist Party" supported by a mass revolutionary movement to support international liberation movements and "open another battlefield of the revolution.
Weathermen Linked to Global Revolutionary Movements Paris Students in 1968 Cultural Revolution in China Che Guevara Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam Black Panthers in the US
Which Side Are You On? The Weathermen were outspoken advocates of the critical concepts that later came to be known as white privilege and identity politics.
Bernardine Dohrn Bernardine Dohrn said, White youth must choose sides now. They must either fight on the side of the oppressed, or be on the side of the oppressor.
Weather Bureau The Weatherman created a central committee, the Weather Bureau, which assigned its cadres to a series of collectives in major cities. These cities included New York, Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Buffalo, and Chicago, the home of the SDS' head office.
Haymarket Bombing [10/5/69] Shortly before the Days of Rage demon- strations, the Weatherman planted a bomb that blew up a statue in Chicago [Oct. 5 th, 1969] built to commemorate police casualties incurred in the 1886 Haymarket Riot.
"Days of Rage" October 9, 1969 SDS Activist Recalls the Days of Rage on NPR-7 SDS Activist Recalls the Days of Rage on NPR-7
Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, March 1970 Premature detonation of a bomb as it was being assembled by members of the Weatherman (later rechristened the Weather Underground), in the basement of a townhouse at 18 West 11th Street in New York City's Greenwich Village.
Weather Underground Formed After the Greenwich Village incident [December, 1969], the group was now well underground, and began to refer to themselves as the Weather Underground Organization.
Violence? YES! The direct action techniques [Violence] were intended to show Americans the level of violence in Vietnam.
Declaration of a State of War, May 1970 In response to the death of Black Panther member Fred Hampton in December, 1969 during a police raid, on May 21, 1970 the Weather Underground issued a "Declaration of War against the United States government.
Federal Grand Jury Indicts 13 Weathermen Leaders On July 23, 1970 a Detroit Grand Jury indicted 13 Weathermen members on conspiracy to bomb and kill. Ten of the Thirteen already had outstanding Federal Warrants.
Timothy Leary prison break, September 1970 In September 1970, the group took a $20,000 payment from a group called The Brotherhood of Eternal Love to break LSD advocate Timothy Leary out of prison, transporting him and his wife to Algeria. Leary joined Eldridge Cleaver in Algeria.
Pentagon Bombing, 1972 On May 19, 1972, Ho Chi Minhs birthday, The Weather Underground placed a bomb in the womens bathroom in the Air Force wing of The Pentagon.
1973: Cease-fire accord in Vietnam The Paris Peace Accords of 1973, intended to establish peace in Vietnam and an end to the Vietnam Conflict, ended direct U.S. military involvement and temporarily stopped the fighting between north and south.
Charges Dropped, 1973 In 1973 the government requested dropping charges against most of the WUO members. The requests cited a recent decision by the Supreme Court that barred electronic surveillance without a court order.
Prairie Fire 1974 With the help from ultra-leftist (expelled from the Communist Party) Clayton Van Lydegraf, the Weather Underground sought a more Marxist-Leninist ideological approach to the post-Vietnam reality.
Dissolution Weathermen Mark Rudd and Cathy Wilkerson emerge from years of hiding and surrender to the police, receiving two years of probation and three years in prison, respectively.
Dissolution Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers resurface from the underground, pleading guilty to bail- jumping charges from a 1969 anti-war protest. Dohrn is fined $1,500 and given three years probation.
Dissolution 1981: The unofficial end of the Weather Underground occurs when Kathy Boudin resurfaces to participate in an armed robbery in New York, which results in the shooting deaths of three men. Boudin is sentenced in 1984 to 22 years in prison, and is paroled in 2003.
Weathermen Today Part of the leadership of the Weather Underground, Dohrn was considered the organizations figurehead. She spent the 1970s living underground and was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. Today, Dohrn is an associate professor and director at Northwestern University's Children and Justice Center.
Weathermen Today: Bill Ayers A central figure in the Weathermen, Ayers lived underground for ten years, an experience he wrote about in his memoir, Fugitive Days. Now married to Dohrn, Ayers is currently a school reform activist and a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Weathermen Today: Mark Rudd Rudd was best known for his role in the 1968 Columbia protests. As part of the Weather Underground's leadership, he lived underground for several years during the 1970s. He now teaches at a junior college in New Mexico.