[Marxism] Re: Weather Underground - I knew those comrades anditwas not "...

Ethan Young ethanyoung at earthlink.net
Mon Jan 9 05:57:51 MST 2006

The writer of these words:
>I never knew much about the Weather Underground until  
seeing the documentary that was made about them. I still have this on tape and 
 am always inspired by their commitment, intelligence and self sacrifice 
whenever  I watch it.

...has been lied to, and cheated. The movie is a whitewash of a tiny breakaway from
the student movement, whose STATED INTENTION at the time was the undermining of the 
movement. Mark Lause is right that their m.o. was sheer arrogance, though this
was missing from the movie. No record of how the Weather folks confronted local
activists, challenging them to choose between the revolution (them) and the 'pigs.'
Nothing about how they formally dissolved SDS and then bragged that 'we offed the pig.'
Fred Hampton, whose leadership of working class youth was in large part a model for the
Weather ideology that so quickly degenerated to putschism, warned all through the summer
of 1969 that their grandstanding would only bring down more heat from an already bloodthirsty
state. When the police murdered Hampton that December, the object of his scorn ran and hid.
Excuse me, went underground.

The film even has the nerve, through juxtaposition of images, to compare the Weather folks 
to the successful leader of a mass movement that changed history: King. All while blatantly 
ignoring Weather's political trajectory AGAINST nonviolence, AGAINST racial integration, 
AGAINST broad alliances, which was the foundation of their whole effort - in effect, a direct
 rejection of the King period of the black liberation movement.

As a sympathizer at the time of the 1969 national action and after, I know that the Weather 
folks could be smart, brave, charming, self-sacrificing, etc. But in this they were no different 
from members of any other group. What's important is understanding that their politics and
practice were a disaster for the movement.

If you're looking for inspiration, remember the thousands of ex-SDSers who rejected the 
Weather hype and turned to serious, patient, long-term organizing in communities and 
workplaces. Those activists kept faith with the mass movements. The Weather folks just 
rejected them for a self-aggrandizing scheme of instant revolution.

ethan young

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