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Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity Paperback – November 1, 2005
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Volunteers of America
By RON JACOBS
In 1997 Verso published my history of the Weather Underground, The Way the Wind Blew: a History of the Weather Underground. Weather Underground member Bill Ayers' memoir Fugitive Days, published by Beacon Press in 2001, followed. Two years later, the film The Weather Underground, directed by Sam Green and Bill Siegel, was released. The film probably received the greatest amount of coverage in the mainstream media, although the unfortunate timing of Weather Underground member Bill Ayers' memoir (September 11, 2001) certainly provided his book with its own share, most of it negative.
There have also been novels written where the WUO figured prominently (most notably The Company You Keep by Neil Gordon Viking 2003), a pamphlet written by political prisoner David Gilbert (SDS/WUO, Students For A Democratic Society And The Weather Underground Organization, Arm the Spirit 2002) and the comparative study of the Weather Underground and the German leftist armed organization, the Red Army Fraction, by Jeremy Varon (Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies; UC Press 2004).
AK Press of Oakland, California is adding another book to this growing library of Weather Underground literature. The book, titled Outlaws of America and written by up-and-coming radical author Dan Berger, is an important complement to the earlier works.Read more ›
The history of the group is traced from its origins through its demise. The WUO arose from the much larger SDS. The break from Students for a Democratic Society was engineered by a classical Leninist move: a small, self-proclaimed leadership circle whose extreme views set it in opposition to most SDS members expelled elements that espoused "competing lines". Its emphasis on race and "white privilege" was expressed as support for just about any and all "Third World Liberation movements". After initially denying the traditional "Old Left" class-based social and economic analysis, the WUO "platform" as defined by the group leaders, gradually morphed into conventional Marxism. In the process, virtually all sympathetic and potentially sympathetic segments of society were alienated, as were many Weather "cadres", essentially none of whom were consulted regarding this or other policies. The vitriolic attacks on those who held differing opinions was reminiscent of Stalin's tactics at their harshest.
Basically, the rapid demise of the group was largely the WUO's own fault. The entire enterprise and the political analysis upon which it was based was fatally flawed and utterly superficial. The group's strategy was hopelessly naive.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
-a masterful book- reminding me of the other great ones on the radicals of my generation, some on the violent side: as in Baader Meinhof Complex, and others not- books by Bill... Read morePublished on November 26, 2010 by moby pablo
Right from the acknowledgement --"David [Gilbert] has been a close friend . . ." we learn the author has a pro-radical viewpoint. Who is Gilbert? Read morePublished on April 27, 2008 by Virginia music lover