Political violence has been used throughout history to send messages and influence public opinion and policy. Throughout the 1960’s up until the 1990’s, leftists groups consistently used bombings, shootings, and scare tactics to promote their goals. In the United States, the Weather Underground is probably the most notable terrorist group in the history of the United States. Yet, the group is held esteem by many intellectuals, academics and media figures, who feel the violence committed by the group was justified given the context of the times. Leftist groups such as the Weather Underground were promoting viewpoints that would eventually become accepted into the mainstream, such as opposition to the Vietnam War and the dissolution of white homogeneity in the United States. As a result, groups such as the Weather Underground can give us a unique perspective on the prism through which the media and the Left in the Western World perceive violence.
In 1970, Weather Underground members Terry Robbins, Theodore Gold and Diana Oughton, were all killed when a bomb they were making in a Greenwich brownstone detonated, leveling the brownstone. The goal was to attack an army ROTC dance for non-commissioned officers in Fort Dix, New Jersey, in retaliation for the U.S.’s war in Vietnam. The fact that it was a dance likely would have resulted in the death of many female civilians. In 1981, a number of Weather Underground members and the Black Liberation Army shot and killed two police officers and a guard while trying to rob a Brinks armored truck. Many more incident could be listed, but the point is that these leftist groups were very violent.
In Europe, the left-wing violence during the Cold War was infinitely more vicious than America’s, resulting in scores of deaths across the European continent. The Red Army Faction (Germany), Revolutionary Cells (Germany), Action Directe (France), The Red Army Brigades (Italy), etc. were all responsible for hundreds of deaths. Kidnappings, bombings, and executions were standard practice for these groups.
However, these groups are generally not considered with the same revulsion as right-wing terrorism, despite their substantially higher kill rate. Since the period of New Left terrorism, documentaries such as The Weather Underground (2002), contain a very supportive undercurrent in their coverage of Weather Underground members (the Weather Underground, created by two Jews, was nominated for an Academy Award). Many other books, articles, and movies have glamorized these groups.
William Ayers (co-founder of the Weather Underground) and his wife Bernardine Dohrn (a leader of the Weather Underground), not only did not do any real time for their actions, but are now considered a part of the liberal elite in Chicago. It has been noted before, but Ayers and Obama are at the very least acquaintances, both living in the same affluent neighborhood of Hyde Park in Chicago at one time, a fact used by Republicans to attack Obama during his political campaign for president. In all likelihood, Ayers actually benefitted from his foray into terrorism, even writing a book about his experience. It is safe to say that Ayers, Dohrn, and others in the group are considered a part of the Revolutionary Canon of the 60‘s and 70‘s, where violence was not only necessary, but romantic.
One of the notable aspects of the Weather Underground, that perhaps endears it to the political and academic establishment, was its tacit hatred of Whites. The members indicated they were ready to go to war against Whites in support of Blacks and other indigenous people. Ironically enough, even while fighting for the ethnic rights of these groups, these New Leftists were calling for an end to all racism and “perceived” differences between people. Regardless, violent leftists felt the White monoculture had to go one way or another. For the Left, attacking Whites through violence was a justified option. “We’re against everything that’s ‘good and decent’ in honky America,” Weather Underground member John Jacobs said in his most commonly quoted statement. “We will burn and loot and destroy. We are the incubation of your mother’s nightmare” (in J. Varon, Bringing the War Home, p. 160). Jacobs came from a prominent Jewish leftist family, and remained a fugitive until his death in 1997.
David Gilbert, another prominent Jewish member of the Weather Underground, summarized his involvement in the organization as follows:
In response to the murderous government assault on the Black Liberation Movement and the unending, massive bombing of Vietnam, the Weather Underground formed in the early 1970’s. I spent 10 years in underground resistance. On October 20, 1981, I was captured when a unit of the Black Liberation Army and allied white revolutionaries attempted to take funds from a Brinks truck, with the unfortunate result of a shoot-out in which a guard and two policemen were killed. (In Dan Berger, Outlaws of America, p. 44)
Gilbert was sentenced to 75 years in prison.
In the film, The Weather Underground, Naomi Jaffe, who came from a Jewish family, said
We felt that doing nothing in a period of repressive violence is itself a form of violence. That’s really the part that I think is the hardest for people to understand. If you sit in your house, live your white life and go to your white job, and allow the country that you live in to murder people and to commit genocide, and you sit there and you don’t do anything about it, that’s violence.
In fact, former members of the Weather Underground are routinely invited to give talks about their actions on campuses, museums, activist gatherings, etc. (Once Anders Breivik is released from prison, if ever, I wouldn’t count on him getting invited to any lectures at leading universities). One of the most influential members of the Weather Underground, Mark Rudd, who is also Jewish, spoke at the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society about his role in the Weather Underground and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 2005, a precursor to the Weather Underground, choosing to focus on the heavy Jewish involvement in the group.
I first spoke publicly about the question in 1988 at the twentieth anniversary celebration of the Columbia strike. In a rambling 45 minute monologue I touched on a lot of subjects, but the only one people seemed to respond to was my recognition of our Jewish backgrounds as relevant to our opposition to the war and racism. … Unfortunately, I haven’t pursued the subject until now, but I do believe that the revolt of Jewish youth in the New Left of the sixties and seventies deserves to be studied and honored as an important chapter in the history of American Jews.
In the same speech, Rudd mentions the disproportionate role of Jews in SDS:
I got to Columbia University as a freshman, age 18, in September, 1965, a few months after the United States attacked Vietnam with main force troops. There I found a small but vibrant anti-war movement. In my first semester I was recruited by David Gilbert, a senior who had written a pamphlet on imperialism for national SDS, Students for a Democratic Society. David was one of the founders of the Columbia SDS chapter, along with John Fuerst, the chapter Chairman. Both were Jewish, of course, as were my mentors and friends, Michael Josefowicz, Harvey Blume, Michael Neumann, and John Jacobs. Ted Kaptchuk and Ted Gold were Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Columbia SDS the year before I was elected Chairman, along with my Vice-Chairman, Nick Freudenberg. All of us were Jewish. It’s hard to remember the names of non-Jewish Columbia SDS’ers; it was as much a Jewish fraternity as Sammie. There were probably a greater proportion of gentile women than guys in SDS, and of course I got to know them.”
Rudd goes farther than most in celebrating the role of Jewish involvement in SDS. In this rather obscure speech to a rather obscure Jewish organization in New Mexico, Rudd basically reveals the overarching mindset of the revolutionary tactics employed by Jews and their non-Jewish cohorts. It seems that all the latent and often well-concealed anger towards the “goy” and White culture bursts forth in Rudd’s analysis of Jewish involvement in the SDS and later, the terrorist group, the Weather Underground. Not only that, but despite Rudd and other Jews being members of what the U.S. government deemed a terrorist organization, the disproportionate involvement of Jewish members is a matter of pride in the Jewish community, especially as the SDS and the Weather Underground were both seen as a part of successful attack on Whites and White culture. Rudd excoriates everything perceived to be White and non-Jewish:
What outraged me and my comrades so much about Columbia, along with its hypocrisy, was the air of genteel civility. Or should I say gentile? Despite the presence of so many Jews in the faculty and among the students—geographical distribution in the admissions process had not been effective at filtering us out, our SAT’s and class-rank being so high—the place was dripping with goyishness.
The main reason for pointing to these viewpoints shared amongst members of the Weather Underground, is that the Weather Underground’s use of violence has been excused and embraced as proper and fitting in the Western ethos, and much of this is influenced by a uniform hostility towards White culture. Right-wing groups, especially those that are explicitly sympathetic to Whites and White culture, are uniformly attacked, and viewed as psychologically deranged. In academia and in the media right-wing extremists are universally characterized as insane, pathologically evil, and operating without remorse. That’s all well and good, but the media takes a different tack when violence is committed by groups opposed to Whites.
That is not to say that the entire history of the New Left can be categorized as one of racial harmony among Jews and other minorities versus Whites. In Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity, Dan Berger illustrates some of the conflicts that arose between Jews and other groups:
World events would also split the antiwar and civil rights movements. On June 5, 1967, Israel launched a pre-emptive attack on Syria and Egypt while being attacked by Jordan. The Six-Day War brought under Israeli control the Golan Heights, the West Ban, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula…To many activists, Israel’s occupation seemed to be an act of open and racist hostility against its Arab neighbors. (An analysis seemingly confirmed a decade later by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, who admitted that Syria posed no threat and that the idea was to “grab a piece of land and keep it, until the enemy gets tired and gives it to us.”)
From the beginning of the 1967 war, there was fear that taking a position critical of Israel would be seen as anti-Semitic. This fear was especially pronounced in the United States, where Jews across the political spectrum supported the Six-Day War and subsequent occupation and were pushing the United States to do more to aid Israel.
Both SNCC and SDS were criticized for taking positions in solidarity with the Arab countries and critical of Israel’s war effort. Greater hostility however was directed at SNCC, already in white America’s disfavor because of the group’s Black Power position. While SNCC’s position was at times simplistic—e.g. equating the Gaza Strip occupation with a Nazi death camp—the main problem was that it was a Black organization criticizing Israel. Jewish liberals denounced SNCC’s “betrayal” and donations to SNCC dropped dramatically as talk of “Black anti-Semitism” increased” (p. 56).
During the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, Jews still felt somewhat marginalized in society, especially in the presence of so many “goys” still running the country. It was therefore necessary to use violence to deal with Whites, often in cooperation with other minorities and token non-Jews (mostly non-Jewish women if Rudd is to be believed). There were even plans to have Black sovereign states formed by Black separatist groups— seen as a legitimate course of action on the New Left. According to Berger, a Black group called New Afrika attempted to establish a sovereign Black nation in Mississippi in 1968 (p. 68). This was not the only group that was explicitly organizing around ethnic lines. There also were the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army, the Brown Berets, the Young Lords Party, and El Comité, amongst many others. The Weather Underground not only supported the ideology of these ethnic groups, but was allied with both the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army.
It is unclear how much effect violence had on policy and political discourse, but one thing is clear: Since the days of the New Left, the U.S. has embraced multiculturalism and White homogeneity has been broken. The type of left-wing violence of the 60’s and 70’s in America is no longer seen, partly because those on the fringe promoting multiculturalism have now become the elite, and their dogmas have been incorporated into the status quo: once you become a part of the establishment you ostensibly have no reason to attack the establishment. Ayers, Rudd, Dohrn, are all emblematic of this trend, going from terrorist leaders to well-respected academics, and in the case of Rudd, to hero of the Jewish people.
End of Part 1. Go to Part 2.
John Schretenthaler is a freelancer writer. His website is www.cultureofpoverty.com.