Weather Underground Organization

In 1970, a bunch of US radicals went underground. They spent the next few years setting off bombs in hopes of causing the revolution. In late 1975 and early 1976, they announced a change in their politcal philosophy with the suggest that bombs were no longer the right tactic.

What happened to them after 1976?

My impression is that by 1975, the Weathermen and other off-shoots of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) had all dropped back into society to carry on the fight within the law(like Tom Hayden) or if they were actively wanted by the police, changed their identities and went into hiding (like Abby Hoffman). Groups like the SLA had given these kinds of organizations such a bad rep that they realized they would never gain the popular support they knew they needed to continue the “revolution”. Also, remember that the war in Vietnam was the catalyst for these movements. The war ended in 1975.

It doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows
-B. Dylan

That’s “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
Bob Dylan
Subterranean Homesick Blues

I know, picky picky - but it really does change the meaning.

Thanks PapaBear. Would it be fair to say that these organizations faded away after the end of the Vietnam War? You wouldn’t happen to know what happened to some of the more famous Weather people, such as Bernardine Dohrn and Mark Rudd?

Nickrz, I know that that was the phrase that they developed their name from, but do you know whether they got it from a Dylan song?

Rudd and Dohrn came out of hiding in 1977 and each recieved a few years probation a fines of about $2,000. Except for a small group of weathermen who killed 2 cops while pulling a Brink’s truck hiest, all the weathermen got off with a slap on the wrist. Dohrn is now married to WU founder Bill Ayers, who has publicly repudiated the group’s philosophy and tactics.

Robb said:

I think that members of the Weather Underfound might also have been discouraged by the dissolution of the Red Army Faction in Germany, dubbed by journalists the Baader-Meinhof gang. (Though the main leaders of the group were Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin, Ulrike Meinhof received a lot of publicity, partly because she wrote the group manifesto.)
Most leaders of the group were captured in 1972. Ulrike Meinhof was found hung in her prison cell in 1976, and Andreas Baader and two others were found dead in their cells in 1977. Most observers believe the official government verdict of suicide.

In a similar way, the Red Brigades in Italy were the most active in the 1970s (1981 marked their last well-publicized terrorist action, if I remember correctly.) The organization has been considered inactive since about 1988.

Japan had a similar group whose name eludes me (Red Star?) I think that they also were most active in the 1970s.

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Yup. The Subterranean Homesick Blues by little Bobby Zimmerman is the source of the “Weatherman” faction’s (of the SDS) name.

Thanks all, for your answers. Can you recommend any good books on these subjects for further study?

Try these, Robb:

The Way the Wind Blew : A History of the Weather Underground by Ron Jacobs

The Sixties : Years of Hope Days of Rage by Todd Gitlin

BTW, Gitlin was president of the SDS in the early 60s.

It always seemed to me that they named themselves after the wrong line in the song. They should have been the Vandals, from “the pump don’t work 'cause the vandals stole the handles”. Society would become unworkable because the Vandal Underground stole the handles.