Thursday, April 17, 2008

 

Weatherman

Since the Weathermen have made it into the news of late, I'm working on a post to clarify a lot of misinformation. To begin with, aside from the accidental death of three of its members in an explosion while making bombs, they killed nobody. They always gave plenty of warning, which differentiates them from other terror groups. Make no mistake, I do regard them as a terror group.

In the meantime, I'm posting a quick-review I wrote a couple of years back when I rented the documentary from Netflix. I have to get to the radio station so I don't have time to look it over. I make no promises as to grammar, spelling, etc.
I’m still assimilating this film. I came of age just as the Weathermen era was coming to a close. If you’re skeptical of the power of this film, just read the reviews here and note the swarm of right wingers hitting the “not helpful” button on any review hinting of sympathy. I’m not going to indulge in political discussion, except to point out despite my own jaded leftism that it is a testament to the virtue this country and the strength of due process that these people are not all behind bars, or dead. Granted, the FBI’s desperation led to abuses of the law that made prosecution impossible, but it would have been very easy to ignore due process given the level of crime involved. I say this pointing out that nobody was ever intentionally killed and recognizing that had there been assassinations the judges involved would probably have found their way around the Fourth Amendment to nail them to the wall.

This is a film about righteousness and self-importance, and while the tactics can be roughly compared to modern terror, the state of mind is perhaps a mirror image of a more acceptable post-9/11 state of mind. So much to talk about in a film like this. I wish there were more clips from the Gitlin interview, as I’m certain he had more to say to undermine the thread of denial among these “activists.”

It’s hard to strike a balance here, not wanting to whitewash the full violent significance of these acts and the extreme mindset represented by the badly written incoherent “communiqes” and at the same time not wanting to play into the oversimplifications of those who would equate the Weathermen with Al Qaida. For a group that confounded the FBI for a decade and beyond the first couple of mishaps managed to pull off bombings over and over again without hurting anyone physically, it’s a lesson in the compartmentalization of brilliance. Lastly, in light of the actual context of the Dylan lyrics, one wonders why they chose their name.
More later, including info on Bill Ayers in particular.

I just remembered that I made a post about the Weathermen last year.

Addendum: Here's a link for the documentary, entitled The Weather Underground. It is an excellent documentary and it's available on Netflix.

Oh, and Bill Ayers is one of the ex-members interviewed.

Second addendum: More on Bill Ayers and the context of some of his "I wish we had done more" comment.

Third addendum: Here's a clip from the film. It captures a little bit of the FBI's frustration. The bombs kept going off. During the 1970s, none of them was caught. Not one. In the late 1970s, some of them started to turn themselves in. The FBI, in its frustration, had resorted to some tactics which led to exclusions of evidence which made it nearly impossible to convict. Most of the brains of the group had surrendered by the 1980s. A few of the less, well, gifted, hung on and started a couple of new groups including the one that led to the disastrous Brinks robbery. The film and the DVD extras provide some of the information.

Editing: It appears that the the whole documentary was posted at youtube in 9 parts. This one is the first. If you click on the box after it finishes, it should take you to youtube where you can find the rest.


Comments:
You left out entitled, rich, white punks.
 
You are one pompous dude Eric.
 
what film?
 
Good point 9:04. It's a documentary about the Weathermen entitled cleverly, "The Weathermen." I'll dig up a link.
 
Okay, actually it's called t"he Weather Underground." I'm putting the link in the main post.
 
My memory of my Socialist Party days includes the surprise I experienced when the middle class students I recruited immediately moved as far left as they possibly could. Kids with leftist parents were much more stable.
 
I found that documentary very engaging - I'd highly recommend it.
 
The left is now so far gone that it is OK to consort with unrepentant terrorist scum as long as the terrorist scum commits bombings in the name of leftist ideology. Shame on you people. You have become reprobate - so screwed up that you call evil good and good evil.
 
Nice straw man. Beats having to actually discuss the matter rationally?
 
Why doesn't anyone talk about McCain's associations as a senator? All this bleating about Obama's minister and fellow board member but nothing about McCain's associations with his drug addict wife, lobbyists and convicted criminals. Certainly those are more relevant than these distant and tenuous associations of Obama's.
 
Because McCain is the media's darling.
 
I haven't seen the film yet, but I do remember the events and bombings. I can understand the emotions of people who are upset with anyone willing to find any sympathy whatsoever with the Weathermen.

My recollection is that the Weather underground was an offshoot of a group called Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). If I'm not mistaken, one of the founders of SDS was Tom Hayden (sp?), who later entered politics and was a congressman from California.

I listened to some of his SDS speeches and was impressed. SDS started mainly as an anti Vietnam War organization, and as the war dragged on, people became more and more angry with the situation. Young men in particular were upset because they were being drafted and told they could be sent there to die and saw no real reason for it.

I'm not saying that I can agree with what they did and I know that I could not have participated in it. However, when people feel that threatened, some might easily go over the top.

Why have we not seen the huge demonstrations we saw near the end of the Viet Nam war? Why haven't we seen something like the Weathermen develop during the Iraq wars? I think you all know that it is mainly due to your government and mine spending billions of dollars on mercenaries like Blackwater to desperately avoid drafting young people into the service.

My brief experience so far on this blog compels me to end this post by saying, "There it is, take your shots...I'm ready."
 
Unk John - The Weatherman faction took over, according to Gitlin, who also helped found the organization along with some other big names. The documentary covers the evolution with some detail.
 
I didn't want to get sucked into this...
The Weathermen "took over," but there wasn't anything to take over. This being the 60's, was a very amorphous group, people didn't take orders, but made their own decisions about what they would or would not do. Many, like myself, ended up out here as back to the landers. The era seemed to end up in a moral dilemma about which course of action to pursue, and I and most others did not think that violence was an acceptable course. The Weather Underground was really a very small core of committed individuals who were victims of their own convoluted logic.
 
Probably true, although Gitlin sees it differently.

As amorphous as SDS was structurally, it had stood for certain principles which were lost under Dorn's watch.
 
No offense to the socialist left and revolutionaries. But, I don't think they were so good to never get caught. They were allowed to exist by the government.

Ever heard of the term 'Agent Provocateur?"

It's pretty simple. The weather underground was infiltrated. Encouraged to become more radical. Names and activities jotted down. And they were purposefully kept around for years so that the FBI COINTELPRO would know who was moving toward these types of groups. I suspect many of the members interviewed here on this tape were either full blown agents, or at least informants. Read up on this type of stuff. The government does it all the time. Theres very few groups they are not tampering with or have the ability to tamper with if necessary.
 
It's a possibility, but bombs kept going off. Dozens over half a decade. And the FBI, by all accounts, were extremely frustrated to the point where they were hanging people out windows to get them to talk.

By 1976 some of the group turned on Dorhn, Ayers, and Rudd because they wouldn't work with some of the other groups, including the Black Liberation Army. They were called racist. I suspect that the BLA was the provocateur group, which eventually pushed the bloody Brinks robbery. By this time the semi-sane leadership had turned themselves in and probably the funding from above-ground sources had dried up.

Marge Piercy wrote an excellent novel entitled Vida which I believe was loosely based on Dorhn. It's a fictional account, but there was obviously some input.
 
the patriot act essentially reauthorizes cointelpro.
 
I would tend to agree the Weathermen had much more involvement with the government than this docu exposes.

Heres an interesting video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWbgnyUCC7M

While the Canadian mounties are not very good at it, you get the idea.

Now imagine what the US Feds do in he name of national security and socialist movements. And it makes perfect sense to essentially create a terror group that becomes famous/ notorious so that all the wackos flock to it. The network of contacts that group creates would be tremendous. And yes, some people died, bombs went off. But until the truck heist (When the group was finally put to bed) no innocents were killed.

Also, the kids running this thing had everything to lose. You really think they wouldn't crack when the Feds got angry? I bet they all did. They just didn't know that everyone around them cracked.

Look at how the cops do the war on drugs in Humboldt County. I am willing to bet you all I own that you can't walk from one end of Garberville to another and not see a couple police informants. At the very least!
 
"Since the Weathermen have made it into the news of late, I'm working on a post to clarify a lot of misinformation."

Eric, do us all a big favor and stop trying to pontificate about 60's and '70's radical stuff you only know from reading other people's opinions. You were a kid then. Many of us are of that generation and I for one am getting bugged by your constant attempts to "own" radical history by cut and pasting other people's opinions.
 
Perhaps "pontificate" is too strong a word, Stephen. The poor kid wasn't lucky enough to be born earlier. He had to do something silly and actually read accounts of the events. He then probably formed an opinion. Who knows, maybe he tweaked the opinion as he learned more.

That's what intelligent people do in lieu of experience. They read history and try to make heads or tails out of it. Maybe he has some inside information. It could be that he knows things from firsthand accounts from older friends or his parents.

I find it refreshing.
 
I don't. Because anything coming from a conflicted and hypocritical Leftie wannabe capitalist pig lying lawyer/dope grower money taker should be highly suspected of fudging facts to support his conclusions.
 
Thanks Unk.

I have never actually met a Weatherman per se, but while attending UCSC I did hang out with a group with the leadership affiliated with the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee. I heard some interesting stories, but they were always very cautious about what they said. It seemed they were holding back.

A quick anecdote. When the bombs first started going off, coincidentally my mother and father were separated. He left our home for a few weeks and was staying on his sailboat. All of the sudden, several activists my parents hadn't heard from in years were calling up asking how things were going, how my father was, where was he, what was he doing?

My parents and their fellow activists had always suspected that a few activists who had been facing serious drug charges had been offered deals to inform. We later learned through the Cointelpro revelations that it was a common practice. My parents had suspected one of these several callers in the past. They never heard from any of them again.

My dad has always been a hothead, and his technical capabilities (unlike mine) quite high. If you only knew him on a casual basis, but had heard one of his angry political rants, the suspicion wouldn't have been completely irrational.

During the same time two men showed up early in the morning at a friend's home. She was an elderly ex-Trostskyist still very active. They started "We're from the FBI mam," and she said, "I don't care if you're the man from uncle! It's seven o'clock in the morning!" And she slammed the door on them. Never heard from them again.
 
Wow, Stephen, you seem pissed! I guess we're gonna need you here to let us know when he's lying.

By the way, are you a non-conflicted leftie, a capitalist (Insert or don't insert "pig", the choice is yours), non-lawyer, or what?
 
No, I'm not conflicted at all about my ideology because unlike Eric, unlike all the Lefties he respects, I am not a follower but a source of social change ideology.

I am a communitarian capitalist. Communitarians are humanitarian communists. I add the capitalist component because I believe and work towards a two-tier economic system, one where all the basics to individual and community health and well-being are socialized and democratized, while the non-essential economy is free-market driven with only health and safety regulation (environment included under health).

Eric's pomposity big bubble head periodically needs to be poked and burst like for every other post of his. It's not an easy job but somebody's got to keep him in line.

Unfortunately for the rest of you, only God has the ability to keep me in line.
 
FXXXKKK!! There goes another damn lightning bolt! Almost got me again!
 
Stephen your posts are all the same. You haven't expressed an origional thought on this blog or any other. Not one. Half the time you aren't even on topic.
 
Actually, I lie not. The day before yesterday God took my old Volvo which died of extreme heat prostration in Petaluma. This was due to fan belt assembly rupture and water pump failure several miles from town with a nincompoop at the wheel who insisted on limping the poor car into town instead wisely abandoning the vehicle on the side of the road and walking in the hot sun with jillions of cars passing him about 5 miles to Petaluma. This cost me my car as it's a beater and not worth the price of fixing. Except

Except the weird part is it was a very peppy 1985 Volvo 240 SW for having 310,000+ miles on the odometer and no sign or record of major engine work. However its external parts showed their age and kept failing. It ate alternators and two water-pumps. Worth something to a Volvo enthusiast perhaps. The body's straight, no serious dings although the interior is shot to hell. Anyone know anyone interested in such a car let me know soon. I'm in the book under Prophe..Stephen Lewis but don't bug the other two poor Steve Lewiss in the book that have to fend of attacks and job firings and other indignities just for having the honor of sharing my name.
 
Actually, anon 3:20, while I lie not, you do. Do. Lie. Best take the blinders off your eyes so you can see clearly. I know it's blinding revelation I bring and it's hard to look at squarely but there it is--within our community God has blessed it with, well, with me.

I mean what other pot brownie or biscuit maker in Humboldt County can claim to have made a biscuit so strong from nothing more than shake that stopped a human heart from beating, almost killing his best friend's girlfriend?

I wasn't kidding about those lightning bolts..

Believe me, this is way more inneresting than old Weathermen..

The night before my car dies, I was staying overnight at my dear friend's place in El Cerrito. His girlfriend has had an interest in my pot biscuits for a long time, is not a pot user but does have chronic back pain and arm nerve damage so has tried pieces of a biscuit here and there over the past year and half I'd say to no real effect. She's tried smoking bud and gotten soundly silly but not on pieces of my famous biscuits, (you know, from my Uncle Dad's Kush Kookies and Biscuit line in available at all stores in Weed, Ca.)

Well, anyway, she sees me eating my nightly biscuit and asks for one. I say, are you sure? Yes. It's a relatively smaller biscuit so idiot here gives it her and my friend I watch to see if she finally gets high on a full biscuit. We go out to Chinese dinner, a little place in El Cerrito.

We are seated, order, and wait for dinners to arrive. My friend and I watch his girlfriend start to show signs of happy drowsiness. Her eyes close and her head starts a slow forward journey towards the empty plate before her on the table. My friend catches her head and tries to wake her up. No response. She is out. She starts sagging to the floor. My friend starts to get seriously alarmed, yells to the Chinese owners to call 9-ll and I get up and rush to help him hold her up while she's sliding towards the floor. He wants to walk her to keep her awake but she's out, really out. She's dead weight and I know from personal experience that the one thing you want to do if you really OD on pot is lie down flat. I recommend laying her down on the floor which we do. The owners can't explain to 9-11 what's happened so I go to the phone. My friend is desperate on the floor with his girlfriend not breathing at all. He wants me back with him to help her but 9-11 demands I stay on the line. Real life drama moment as I am torn between wanting to get back to help my friend give CPR but being told by this dingus 9-11 that they had to get I honestly have forgotten what in my own memory of the event but something not address--they had that automatically but something not vital but they said they weren't authorized to come unless they had this stupid piece of information. I had the receiver to the Chinese owner and go to my friends on the floor. The Chinese owner tells me they coming soon. The one couple customers besides us watched all this happen with composure but I think they lost some others.

We divide the CPR. He breaths into her mouth--I push her chest. It takes a couple times to coordinate our efforts but after ten times, she hacks and her chest moves. She was a goner but for us we think 'cause the ambulance arrived after we had revived to open eyes and breathing. Attempted murder with poisonous substances of my best friend's girlfriend is not an easy burden to live with but somehow I must manage..

We laugh about the situation as she's stoned but they want to take her in to the hospital anyway to check her vitals. It turns out she's had reacted somewhat similarly although not as intense once before reacting to mixed pain meds causing electrolyte malfunctioning. She's in chronic pain from an old back injury and also something like carpel tunnel syndrome so she's on some heavy duty pain meds. They take her vitals in the hospital and watch her for about 4 hours while we wait and joke around as they flush her system with saline solution and she comes down to more normal levels of high. The doctor tells her they think it happened because of the interaction of pot and her meds and recommend she lay off the weed next time. I tell her as we leave I am so happy that I don't have to go through the rest my life knowing I killed my best friend's girlfriend. I did offer to put her picture on the boxes of our Kushstone Kookies and Killer Bisuit line.
 
When I arrived home late last night after a grueling three day ordeal, miles of walking in the hot sun, running out of money in a strange town after paying for a car that wouldn't start because the engine was full of water, not being able to reach my daughter collect in Ukiah for some strange reason while being able to reach my friends in El Cerrito. I waited and called up ten times from when I thought she and my son-in-law got home from work until 10:30 at the back of the increasing cold miserable Chevron station while the back up plan is for my friend to come rescue me. No fun being 64, broke, cold, hungry, homeless in a strange town. Why that sounds just like being ...uh, the condition escapes me while I drown my troubles in the old Demon weed.

I come home to three messages on my answering machine. Sparky's daughter's finally called for him. I've won tickets for two to some resort I think or some crappy telemarketer scam and one from Sandy Dean who wants to talk with me this coming week. Think I should I offer him biscuits 'n tea?
 
Interesting life you got going there, Stephen. What's big in my life right now? I'm just hoping it doesn't snow tonight.
 
Yeah, it was getting really cold at night even in Rohnert Park. Snow in April..global warming mittens anyone?

And yes, God has given me a very interesting life, one I wouldn't trade for anyone else's on earth.

I'm reaching out this weekend once again to Bear River tribal leaders to stop and think about what they have walked away from by not following through backing our Heartlands Reorganization Plan for the Palco bankruptcy. Don't expect much and will probably be submitting a new Palco Community Corporation Reorganization Plan to Judge Schmidt on Monday for the deadline on Wednesday for the existing parties to submit plans for negotiation. This is why Sandy Dean wants to talk with me as I offered to help them defeat the New York bank's richie, Beal buy out Palco with his disposable income to add another trophy to another rich ie wannabe. We do have a financing mechanism that has the potential to eclipse anything Palco could ever produce timber-wise and MRC needs to show more financial buying clout.

What a bucking bronco ride this has been! But I rarely get bored trying to put the things God's given me to give to the community to use.
 
This is great. Once again I am without a vehicle, too poor to buy a functioning car and in the midst of important work. I remember hitchhiking to Boonville once to show one of Bob McKee's properties to a potential buyer in my real estate salesperson failure days. Hitchhike in, ride with Bob in his plane out. Like when I went to dinner at John Campbell's in 1990 leaving from The Bridge apt where I lived with a growing group of homeless people who offer me some food they've dumpster-dived for as I go out the door to eat a sumptiou meal at the Campbells.

Got to love God's irony..
 
Way cool Stephen. In contrast to poseur Eric who jumps from watching tv in his den, to his car, to his office, to his computer, and back home to the tv without hardly ever touching the Earth or rubbing shoulders with real people.
 
Yeah, I do try to walk the walk besides talk the talk but I tell ya ethical purity is a poor substitute for a nice running car and a visa card that doesn't decline when you're stuck in the middle of Timbuktu.

If Eric had an ounce of real radicalism in him he'd see the value of what I'm trying to do and offer help because the truth is, I am the only activist in Humboldt County working to put Palco in the workers' hands instead of corporations exploiting them.

Eric probably has friends in the Bay Area who would be overjoyed to help me right now and I do need some basic financial help, but do you think Eric will overcome his big fat ego, one almost as big as my own and help a project organized by Steve Lewis no matter how good the cause is?

Watch and see..
 
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