Monday, July 12, 2010
Weather Underground (organization)
Weatherman, known colloquially as the Weathermen and later the Weather Underground Organization (abbreviated WUO), 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. Their goal was to create a clandestine revolutionary party for the violent overthrow of the US government and the establishment of a dictatorship of the proletariat.
With leadership whose revolutionary positions were characterized by Black separatist rhetoric, the group conducted a campaign of bombings through the mid-1970s, including aiding the jailbreak and escape of Timothy Leary. The "Days of Rage", their first public demonstration on October 8, 1969, was a riot in Chicago timed to coincide with the trial of the Chicago Seven. In 1970 the group issued a "Declaration of a State of War" against the United States government, under the name "Weather Underground Organization" (WUO). The bombing attacks mostly targeted government buildings, along with several banks. Most were preceded by evacuation warnings, along with communiqués identifying the particular matter that the attack was intended to protest. For the bombing of the United States Capitol on March 1, 1971, they issued a communiqué saying it was "in protest of the US invasion of Laos." For the bombing of the Pentagon on May 19, 1972, they stated it was "in retaliation for the US bombing raid in Hanoi." For the January 29, 1975 bombing of the United States Department of State Building, they stated it was "in response to escalation in Vietnam."
The Weathermen grew out of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) faction of SDS. It took its name from the lyric "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", from the Bob Dylan song Subterranean Homesick Blues. You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows was the title of a position paper they distributed at an SDS convention in Chicago on June 18, 1969. This founding document called for a "white fighting force" to be allied with the "Black Liberation Movement" and other radical movements to achieve "the destruction of US imperialism and achieve a classless world: world communism."
The Weathermen largely disintegrated after the United States reached a peace accord in Vietnam in 1973, which saw the general decline of the New Left.