Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
“All over the world, people fighting Amerikan imperialism look to Amerika's youth to use our strategic position behind enemy lines to join forces in the destruction of the empire. Black people have been fighting almost alone for years. We’ve known that our job is to lead white kids into armed revolution.” (excerpted not from The Onion but rather, from the first Weather Underground communication: May 21, 1970)
I could’ve (should’ve?) called this article: “When ‘activists’ play with bombs.” Or maybe: “What happens when rich white kids think they’re waging a revolution [sic].” I mean, this trailer for a 2003 documentary about the Weather Underground (WU) plays like more satire from The Onion when viewed through the lens of 2018, right?
The Weather Underground (alternately, Weathermen Underground) took their name from a Dylan song and you might even say they also took their cues from all-talk, privilege-blind white “leaders” like Mr. Zimmerman. The WU has faded into near-total obscurity but they once made global headlines. Like that time when the wannabe freedom fighters clumsily blew up a townhouse in residential Greenwich Village -- by accident.
“The little house of Heaven Street”
It was a Greek Revival townhouse at 18 West 11th Street between Fifth Ave. and the Avenue of the Americas, originally built in 1845. In the 1920s, the home belonged to Charles E. Merrill -- co-founder of Merrill Lynch -- who called it ‘the little house on heaven street’.”
By the 1960s, the townhouse belonged to a successful advertising executive named James P. Wilkerson -- father of WU member, Cathy Wilkerson. With her parents out of town in St. Kitts, Cathy turned the place into a very amateur bomb-making factory. Working with Cathy were fellow WU “radicals” Teddy Gold, Diana Oughton, Terry Robbins, and Kathy Boudin (daughter of renowned civil rights lawyer, Leonard Boudin).
In her 2007 memoir, Flying Close to the Sun, Cathy Wilkerson admitted that none of the collective members had even a rudimentary knowledge of bomb-making or the basics of electricity. They were working hurriedly -- without safety features -- to make a nail-packed bomb to use against military men and their dates at a dance in New Jersey. They saw such actions as (wait for it) “bringing the Vietnam War home.”
It was 11:55 A.M. on Friday, March 6, 1970 -- the day of the non-commissioned officers’ dance -- when all this arrogance turned lethal.
At the time of the explosion, Oughton and Robbins were wrapping dynamite in tape with nails embedded to act as shrapnel. Just outside the door to the bomb-making room stood Gold. All three were instantly killed, blown to bits. It took weeks to identify the body parts. Wilkerson and Boudin, however, were dazed but walked out alive. After stealing clothes from a neighbor who had helped them, the two women literally went “underground.”
Eighteen West 11th Street was gutted and razed. Abutting structures were severely damaged. The lives of some neighbors were changed forever but -- perhaps thanks to the time of the blast -- no one else was injured.
This is just some of what was found inside the WU “bomb factory” in the aftermath:
According to the FBI, “had all the explosives detonated, the explosion would have leveled everything on both sides of the street.”
Bringing the war home and all…
Wring your hands…
Today, the Weather Underground is forgotten, not even a footnote. They committed major crimes, accomplished absolutely nothing, and many of them are still alive and well -- further proof of their permanent privilege.
In 1969, when Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton was assassinated by Chicago Police, WU member Bernardine Dohrn explained that his violent death now required the WU 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.”
“The parents of ‘privileged’ kids have been saying for years that the revolution was a game for us,” a 1970 WU communique declared. “But the war and the racism of this society show that it is too fucked-up. We will never live peaceably under this system.”
Never is a tough promise to keep, comrades.
Among the 33 WU members currently “living peaceably under this system” are once-high-profile “activists” like Wilkerson, Boudin, Dohrn, Nancy and Mark Rudd, and Bill Ayers. Another surviving member is the lesser-known Brian Flanagan. In the aforementioned documentary, Flanagan is the only WU “radical” to display nuanced remorse.
“Flanagan shows real anguish as he reflects on the Underground,” wrote David Greenberg in 2003. “The only person in the film to invoke Sept. 11, Flanagan compares himself and his former comrades to Islamist terrorists and to Timothy McVeigh, suggesting that all shared the conviction that their own knowledge of what was right for society entitled them to break laws, to kill, to engage in terrorism.”
“When you feel that you have right on your side,” said Flanagan, “you can do some pretty horrific things.”
It’s a shame the WU isn’t widely known today because they could serve as a powerful cautionary tale. Their story might help illuminate what happens when a tiny band of privileged, white, radical [sic] college kids entertain delusions of grandeur (yeah, I’m looking at you, Occupy).
If more potential “activists” understood the realities behind the romanticism and mystique and groupthink of such virtue signaling, they might actually be inspired to choose a much different path. You know, like actually doing something useful and helpful.
Mickey Z. is the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on the streets of New York City. To help him grow this project, CLICK HERE and make a donation right now. And please spread the word!
You don’t need the Weathermen to know which way the privilege flows… by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://worldnewstrust.com/you-don-t-need-the-weathermen-to-know-which-way-the-privilege-flows-mickey-z.