Friday, 15 December 2017

The Weathermen and their legacy: they won academia


My two posts on the Weathermen, the terrorist wing of the American student radical movement in the era of Richard Nixon, weren't intended as political polemic, although polemic is my strong suit. 

My purpose was twofold. First to bring to people's attention the speech by Bernardine Dohrn about the Manson murders and second to show part of the background to the anti-racist, progressive ideas that have influenced and continue to influence the world so much. 
To recap, Bernardine Dohrn told a Students for a Democratic Society meeting shortly after the Manson murders:
“Offing those rich pigs with their own forks and knives, and then eating a meal in the same room, far out! The Weathermen dig Charles Manson.”
Her audience “instantly adopted” “four fingers held up in the air, invoking the fork left in Sharon Tate’s belly,” according to Mark Rudd, another leader of the group.

At that moment at the end of 1969, those people who raised their fingers in the air thought that killing innocent white people and white unborn babies was progressive. Some of them later became university professors.

Dohrn's husband, Bill Ayers, who was present, later claimed these words of his wife's were a joke but David Horowitz interviewed thirty people who were present and all were sure that it was a not a joke.

For people like me, brought up during the Cold War to see Communism as wholly bad and colonialism as on the whole good, it is interesting to see the anti Western views which since 1969 have taken over academia in the USA and Western Europe.

The Weathermen were no more than 800 or so extremists, but their ideas about revolution were shared with very many other young American radicals who did not seek to bring about a revolution. This generation grew up and took power. It gave the world many political leaders, including the Clintons and Donald Trump. It also gave the world many lecturers, schoolmasters, librarians, journalists and people who work in publishing houses.

One of the extreme Chartists in England in 1848 could in the right circumstances have been an English Robespierre. Jack Jones, the British union leader who we now know to have been a Communist and in touch with the KGB could in other circumstances have been a British Walter Ulbricht. Had the conditions of chaos that brought Lenin to power been replicated in 1970 in the USA who knows what strange people might have emerged. 

Instead Bernardine Dohrn became a passionate supporter of Barack Obama. His career started with a fund-raiser held in her sitting room.

Researching the views of the Weathermen, I also understood for the first time why quite a few children of immigrants from Third World in Europe feel resentment towards the West and the countries of which they are citizens.

The working class of the developed countries let the left down, but non-white people have replaced them as the supposedly revolutionary class. Which is why feminists and homosexual activists generally do not criticise Islamists.


  1. Obama is a peace time more modern Lenin.

    1. Obama left in a peaceful transfer of power and performed far fewer radical changes than his successor has.

  2. Fascinating little episode and quite disgusting.