The Weather Underground carried out a series of illegal and symbolic attacks on property then, some 20 acts over its entire existence, and no one was killed or harmed; the goal was not to terrorize people, but to scream out the message that the US government and its military were committing acts of terrorism in our name, and that the American people should never tolerate that. Some felt that our actions were misguided at best, off-the-tracks, indefensible and even despicable, and that case is not impossible to make. But America’s longest war itself, with all its attendant horrors, was doubly despicable, and while many stood up, who in fact did the right thing; who ended the war; who transformed the world?
All of that was forty years ago—lots of water under the bridge since then, raging rivers and cascading falls, rapids and torrents, chutes and ladders—a long time in the life of a person—the young become the old, and stories get retold. But it’s also a matter of perspective: the meaning of any historical event will always be contested, and the more recent the event, the fiercer the contestation.
We’re reminded of the Chinese premier Chou En Lai responding to a French journalist’s question many years ago about the impact of the 18th Century French revolution on the 20th Century Chinese revolution. He thought for quite awhile and finally said, “It’s too soon to tell.” Forty years is less than the blink of an eye.
— Bill Ayers Bernardine Dohrn (March 2, 2010)
Talking about 40 years being a blip reminds of Peter Coyote in his book saying what his Wall Street financier father told him in 1969.
Capitalism is dying, boy. It’s dying of its own internal contradictions.[He was, after all, a Wall Street financier, so I listened carefully.] You think the revolution’s gonna take five years. It’s gonna take fifty! So keep your head down and hang in for the long haul, because I’ll tell you something. The sons of bitches running things don’t give a shit about their children or their grandchildren, and they certainly don’t give a shit about you! They’ve paid their dues, and they want to get out with theirs! They’re gonna sell off everything that’s not nailed down to the highest bidder. Don’t get crushed when it topples down. Take care of yourself and your family. If you can make a difference, do it, but there are huge forces at work here, and they have to play themselves out according to their own design, not yours. Watch yourself.
As far as I can determine, everything he prophesied has come true.
Yup. The system really is reeling this time, and the biggest jolts, like massive commercial real estate failures and countries defaulting on debt, probably lie ahead. The criminals disguised as bankers and corporate CEOs really are grabbing everything that isn’t nailed down. Or trying to at least. Whether they can successfully continue to do so without going to prison or needing armed bodyguards 24/7 is another matter. I came of age in the 60’s and have never seen anger in this country at the (rising) levels it is at now.
In “The Money and the Power,” a book about the history of Vegas, a law enforcement official says of the mobsters, they aren’t smarter, they just do things most people won’t do. In other words, they are sociopaths devoid of any moral compass. Sounds like some of the banksters to me. So let’s not call them “elites.” A much better word would be “thugs” or ‘criminals.”
Peter Coyote and Ayers / Dohrn are quite correct. The historical forces involved here are huge and it’s way too soon to determine the outcome or what it ultimately means. This is a marathon, not a sprint.