babble home
rabble.ca - news for the rest of us
today's active topics


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » right brain babble   » culture   » The Weather Underground

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: The Weather Underground
raoul_duke
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4324

posted 19 October 2003 10:20 PM      Profile for raoul_duke     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
http://www.upstatefilms.org/weather/main.html

Anyone else plan on seeing this at the Bloor? On Thursday you can catch a double bill of this and a Noam Chomsky documentary.


From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
statica
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1420

posted 20 October 2003 07:46 AM      Profile for statica   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
do you have the web address for the bloor cinema?
From: t-oront-o | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 20 October 2003 07:57 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If this is the right theatre, statica, then the address is here.

Holy cheap price - $7 regular price for a movie. Awesome. The Paradise on Bloor between Ossington and Dufferin is pretty great too - with a $3/six month membership, movies are $6 regular price, and $4 on Tuesdays.

Sounds like an interesting movie, raoul_duke. Thanks for the heads up.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 20 October 2003 10:49 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have a wee question about the chronology of that blurb (the opening link).

In my memory, the original "Days of Rage," the first memorable public performance of the Weatherman, was at the Democrat National Convention in Chicago in the summer of 1968.

That convention was also marked, of course, by the Chicago police riots. The Chicago cops not only overreacted to protesters on the streets but at one point invaded a conventioneers' hotel and dragged McCarthy supporters out in the middle of the night. The cops' attacks drove a crowd of tourists through a plate-glass window.

All this happened on international TV, live -- "the whole world is watching," chanted the protesters, and we were.

The counter-productive result, sadly, was that a lot of horrified USians supported Nixon in the election that followed thereupon.

Definitely, though, the Weatherman were there.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 20 October 2003 11:02 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
PS: At the time, the expression "Weatherman," singular, was correct.

It derived from the Dylan line, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowin'."

Feminist consciousness was not high, even in the left -- maybe especially not among left men -- in 1968. The shift to "Weather Underground" is a 1970s political correction.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
statica
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1420

posted 20 October 2003 01:23 PM      Profile for statica   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
http://www.bloorcinema.com/
From: t-oront-o | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 20 October 2003 01:51 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
In my memory, the original "Days of Rage," the first memorable public performance of the Weatherman, was at the Democrat National Convention in Chicago in the summer of 1968.

That sounds like a good film, but I think it will show that the Days of Rage actually occurred in 1969, not 1968, in Oak Park Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. It had nothing to do with the Democratic National Convention.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 20 October 2003 02:17 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Drat. I hate arguing with jeff house, and I can't do it right now, but I'm a-gonna have to later.

Maybe "Days of Rage" is a phrase from '69; but the Weatherman appeared at the Democrat convention in '68, one is sure. (Could we note the correct form of Democrat, please?)

Mutter, mutter, life is short, too much research to do all at once, mutter mutter ...


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 20 October 2003 09:44 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Democratic Convention was in summer, 1968, but Weatherman...

quote:
In October, 1969, they organized their first event, called the "Days of Rage" in Chicago. The opening salvo in the Days of Rage came on the night of Octboer 6, when they blew up a statue dedicated to police casualties in the 1886 Haymarket Riot. Although the October 8 rally failed to draw as many participants as they had anticipated, the estimated three hundred who did attend shocked police by leading a riot through Chicago's business district, smashing windows and cars. Six people were shot and seventy arrested. Two smaller violent conflicts with police followed the next two nights.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather_Underground[/URL]

[ 20 October 2003: Message edited by: jeff house ]

[ 20 October 2003: Message edited by: jeff house ]


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
marcy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3562

posted 21 October 2003 01:40 AM      Profile for marcy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In 1968, SDS was 'together' - the split that gave the Weatherman their ultra-blindered, arrogant, bent -vanguardist approach to organizing had not yet happened. By 1969, the Weatherman faction espoused an essentially hopeless and egotistical notion of 'propaganda of the deed' and genuinely believed that, as they trashed stuff, onlookers and bystanders would follow them into the streets. I was involved in a fruitless discussion (actually, it was an argument) with Bill Ayers in August of 1969 when he came here to visit his brother, Rick and to participate in a conference at SFU. He had a pretty poorly developed notion of class politics, labour and the working class, as I recall, and the eventual approach to left wing 'organizing' the Weatherman developed (elitist and anti-materialist) was doomed to failure. I really think they opted to be outlaw 'heroes', because in reality, that's all they could be.
From: vancouver | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 21 October 2003 09:19 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am going to have to admit that I was wrong. marcy and jeff house are right, and I was wrong.

Perhaps it was an SDS presence at Chicago '68 that I was remembering?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Polunatic
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3278

posted 21 October 2003 10:16 AM      Profile for Polunatic   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Or the Yippies who brought a pig to run for president.
From: middle of nowhere | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 21 October 2003 12:52 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
QUOTE]...the split that gave the Weatherman their ultra-blindered, arrogant, bent -vanguardist approach to organizing had not yet happened. By 1969, the Weatherman faction espoused an essentially hopeless and egotistical notion of 'propaganda of the deed' [/QUOTE]

I think it was "macho" too.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1425

posted 21 October 2003 02:20 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
On a not-completely unrelated note, my mate and I watched Medium Cool last night. I would urge anyone with an interest in '60s US protest movements and the media to beg, borrow or steal this film. It probably won't surprise anyone, but it's a smart, tough film actually shot during the police attacks on peaceful protestors at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

One of my new all-time favourite films.


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 21 October 2003 02:43 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
the Weatherman faction espoused an essentially hopeless and egotistical notion of 'propaganda of the deed' and genuinely believed that, as they trashed stuff, onlookers and bystanders would follow them into the streets.

Thank Gawd nobody believes this twaddle anymore, eh?


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
marcy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3562

posted 21 October 2003 09:48 PM      Profile for marcy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Macho and macha!!! Let's not forget that Bernardine had a red star tattoo on her left breast. I always thought that was pretty stupid, especially if you were an on-the-run fugitive, even with an outlaw hero complex. Magoo, please remove yr tongue from yr cheek. Yee Gawd. Yr right, there seem to be a few. Recent history is pretty interesting in that regard. Speaking of hippies, I never thought I'd see the day but this generation of high school students think that everyone who 'grew up' ( and I use the term loosely ) in the 1960s was a hippie, but quite frankly, they really have no idea what a hippie was. 1968 was 35 years ago! And in just over a month, JFK will have been dead for 40 years. And to continue in an off-topic vein, judging by that photo of Bill 'n Bernie, they should knock off the Starbucks and get jogging.
From: vancouver | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 21 October 2003 10:00 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Let's not forget that Bernardine had a red star tattoo on her left breast.

Oh yes, I had forgotten that....or perhaps never been told!


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mick
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2753

posted 24 October 2003 04:33 AM      Profile for Mick        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Saw the film tonight, it was pretty well-done but it confirmed my analysis about the weather underground being a bunch of vanguardist, adventuristic, irresponsible, middle-class wankers.

What really made the film was the contrast between the serious working-class composition and leadership of the Black Panther Party and that of the middle-upper-class weather underground members.

Now, I'm critical of the BPP's style of organization, theory, as well as machismo, but you could just tell that the BPP was a genuine revolutionary mass movement and that the WU were nothing but spoiled college kids with a left-wing GI Joe / Jane complex.

This was exemplified in the coverage of the days of rage protest. Fred Hampton was filmed being very critical of the event because "it's not responsible to lead people into a slaughter." (paraphrased). Which it almost was with 6 people getting shot by the police.

In my opinion all the WU really accomplished was to destroy the SDS, one of the largest student anti-war organizations in the US. The public above ground work that the SDS was doing far outweighed the bombings of the WU.

I only heard the WU members (who were also interviewed for the film as well as the archived footage) mention class once, and that was to explain their master plan for organizing working class youth was to go into working class 'hoods for a summer and set up collective houses. Geez, I sure wish middle-class idiots would just stay away from our hoods. All they seemed to accomplish with that was blowing up a co-op housing complex in New York by accident (3 WU members also died when the bomb they were making exploded in their apartment).

But yeah, I recommend going. Some of the footage from the Vietnam war was intense and really put a lot of things in context. Like the full unedited footage of a NLF soldier being executed in the street by a South Vietnamese general during the tet offensive. The blood squirting out of his head as he lay on the ground dead. You've probably seen the still picture, you need to see the film for this alone.


From: Parkdale! | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 24 October 2003 09:00 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh darn, I forgot about that! I was thinking about going to it. Oh well.

Interesting take on it, Mick. You make me want to see it even more.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Polunatic
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3278

posted 24 October 2003 09:16 AM      Profile for Polunatic   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Like the full unedited footage of a NLF soldier being executed in the street by a South Vietnamese general during the tet offensive.

That scene was also in "Hearts and Minds" - another must-see film about the Vietnam War although I think that scene kind of traumatized me because it's so graphic.

[ 24 October 2003: Message edited by: Non-partisan partisan ]


From: middle of nowhere | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 24 October 2003 01:59 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It is wrong to say that the Weather Underground destroyed SDS. The tensions in that organization had pretty-well destroyed it by the time the Weathermen appeared.

To my mind, the main perpetrator of this was Progressive Labour, which I, at least experienced as a weird communist cult dedicated to Enhver Hoxha and Albania.

The best book on SDS was written by Kirkpatrick Sale, and is called simply: SDS.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mick
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2753

posted 24 October 2003 07:47 PM      Profile for Mick        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well the film certainly suggested that the main leadership of what latter became the weather underground took over the SDS leadership at the Chicago convention (pre days of rage).
From: Parkdale! | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
marcy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3562

posted 25 October 2003 09:54 PM      Profile for marcy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From what I remember, and it is fuzzy folks, since I thought from the beginning that Weatherman was a giant pain in the ass and tried to forget all the stupid things they did, they advocated 'exacerbating the contradictions.' So, it would have been logical for them to wreck what was left of SDS after August 1968 and force a split along self-defined notions of 'real revolutionaries' (us) and hopeless reformists (everybody else). Also, as I remember, PL started off as what would have been called 'workerist,' idolizing Mao (China is the greatest) and then, judging the Chinese to have 'sold out,' switching to loving Albania above all else. That being said, what I wouldn't give to have held on to my blue Mao cap, all those dozens of buttons and my Little Red Book (in translation), not to mention my cloth likenesses of Chou, Mao and yikes, even Lin Piao. Bet I could sell them on eBay.
From: vancouver | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mick
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2753

posted 21 December 2003 03:02 AM      Profile for Mick        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was cleaning out my email account and came across this. Thought I'd post it. Better late than never.

quote:
I missed the film-makers when they were at the NuArt; I had other commitments both nights they were there. Eventually I got to see the movie (which I had also missed when I was in NY while it was showing there earlier in the summer). Now, I'm really sorry I didn't see it sooner, and didn't have a chance to talk with them. I think it was an interesting and effective film, but I was struck by the dishonesty of the subjects. Now I am curious as to whether the film-makers were taken in, not knowing much about the original experiences, or were more actively involved in casting certain events in the light they were shown in.

Several things struck me. One was the difference between most of the women and most of the men, particularly Laura Whitehorn and Naomi Jaffe on the one hand and Mark Rudd and Brian Flanagan on the other. Laura and Naomi are still clearly solidly engaged in struggle and basically optimistic today; Mark and Brian come across as still at a loss to fathom what they did or what to do. This I assume was perceived and intentionally shown by the film-makers.

The two key things that were missing -- and perhaps this reflects the unresolved weaknesses of the people documented and the unlearned lessons of the experience they reflect on -- were the full political context of their decision to go underground, and their decision to come up from under. Both get presented as being on the one hand, somewhat outside their choosing, and on the other, their own individual responses, rather
than as parts of a much larger, conscious political struggle process.

In point of fact, many people were making the decision to engage in armed struggle in the US, and to build clandestine organizations, prior
to and while the Weather-people were doing the same. Many other white people engaged not only in street fighting and resistance to police attacks -- well-documented in the film -- but in attempts to apply in a US context what they felt numerous revolutionary forces around the world were engaged in. More to the point, Black liberation
organizations, Puerto Rican independentistas, Chicano/Mexicanos, American Indians and other people of color inside the US were engaging
in both clandestine and semi-public political-military operations of various sorts, that helped create the rationale for WUO. The film treats
the act of launching armed actions as mostly a desperate response to US violence, primarily the violence of the Vietnam War. Several of the interviewees, notably Rudd and Flanagan, repeatedly characterize it as a kind of "madness" brought on by the madness of the Vietnam War. This undercuts the very serious political struggle that went on in SDS and among many other left forces at the time, and the leadership the Weatherpeople were responding to.

Similarly, and even more fatally for people trying to draw lessons for today from these past experiences, the Weather decision to come up from under is treated as a kind of exhaustion, a belated recognition that they were wrong, or a kind of individualized surrender to reality. Again, the political context and what the actual decisions and judgments that were made at the time is mostly missing. The WUO had a concerted and well-laid-out strategy for "inversion" based on a political redefinition of their role, the basis of their politics, and the times. They issued a book, "Prairie Fire," from clandestinity, made a film, shown briefly within this new documentary, with Emile di Antonio
and Haskell Wexler, and started producing a magazine, "Osowatomie," in order to attract and organize supporters and followers into a mass network out of which they could shape a new party, with themselves at the helm.

This plan fell apart when the "Hard Times" conference, organized by people influenced by the politics and strategy of the "new look" WUO, disintegrated over criticisms primarily from participating Black, Puerto Rican and other revolutionaries, about white supremacy, male supremacy, elitism, and opportunism and economism around class questions. The Black Liberation Army issued a stinging critique of the WUO's failure to free any Black prisoners or respond to previous criticisms. Prairie Fire Organizing Committee (PFOC), which grew out of efforts to popularize, distribute and discuss the WUO's book "Prairie Fire," ended up criticizing the political line of the Weather Underground and its own politics. With their plans derailed, the Weather people began to split up and dismantle their apparatus, and many individuals resurfaced. Others went on to other efforts to maintain an underground organization beyond the eyes of the state, and to carry out other "armed propaganda" type actions in response to the continuing crimes of the US empire.

One may argue that such political struggles are beyond the scope of a documentary film meant to appeal to wide audiences interested more in the broad sweep of history and the personal details of participants. But I think they are critical weaknesses in understanding what the phenomenon being documented really was about, and what its
true strengths and weaknesses were (as opposed to the fatuous vitriol of Todd Gitlin).

I would certainly recommend seeing the film. It does make me very sad that there are no links I can provide to people to examine on the internet, some of the primary documents of the periods in
question. It's funny that you can find on-line obscure Marxist, Trotskyist, and anarchist polemics from 60 or 100 or 160 years ago, and yet none the material produced not so long ago, regarding what were arguably some of the most significant political developments in this country's history, are unavailable except in a couple of specialized libraries or for purchase from a few antiquarian book dealers.

Michael Novick
Anti-Racist Action LA



From: Parkdale! | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 06 February 2004 02:30 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Weather Underground is playing again tonight (Friday, February 6) at the cinema in my neighbourhood here in Toronto, if anyone missed the last one. I think I'll go see it tonight since I missed it last time.

Weather Underground
7:00 p.m.
Paradise Cinema (on Bloor Street, between Ossington and Dufferin subway stations, just west of Dovercourt)

Tickets are $8 for non-members, $6 for members, and membership only costs $3 for six months.

[ 06 February 2004: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | rabble.ca | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008 rabble.ca