Letter to Editor of New York Times: Re: The WeatherMen (NYTimes June 12 04)

Re: The WeatherMen (NYTimes June 12 04)

The Times posses the Weathermen of the sixties as the radical left, terrorists. They were terrorists, but they were only liberals with bombs. Now they were liberals without bombs, and are often just rich.

The crux of the Weatherman position was that the US working class, and most others, were hopelessly corrupt, enemies of the people of the world. They adopted the typical path of terrorists, substituting bombs for mass conscious educational action toward democratic change. They blew up workers and monuments, and declared themselves ever so tough. Still do. Proof? Scary tattoos.

The Weathermen were never a big movement and they never wanted a real mass movement. They saw themselves as vastly superior.  They were voted out of the mass Students for a Democratic Society in the late sixties. Mostly children of wealth, Weathermen took leadership from agent provocateurs, police agents, who sought to wreck the left with images of Weather-terror.

Terrorism is an open admission of hopelessness. It nearly always reverberates on those who its promoters claim to champion. It is not a weapon against tyranny, but a boomerang that recreates tyranny in deeper ways.

The anti-war movement succeeded in spite of the Weathermen, not because of them. Many of its members are still around, working for democracy and justice, wanting not so much to be recognized, but to do something.

Rich Gibson
San Diego State University
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