"Storm the Heavens": Notes From the Weather Underground on Resistance to Trump
Those of us living within the borders of the United States currently find ourselves living inside the churning engine of a hyper-militarized corporate-fascist farce of a democracy that is spiraling into darkness. The blades of this death-machine are grinding what is left of our precious planet into dust.
Now, think back nearly five decades ago to the late 1960s. The Vietnam War was escalating dramatically and imperialism was lurching forward rapidly enough to cause ongoing demonstrations and political activism to spread like wildfire across the seething country. Some were fueled by a hunger for justice great enough they engaged in armed struggle against the US government.
It was they who comprised The Weather Underground Organization (WUO), a faction of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that took up arms in solidarity with the Black Panthers and other militant groups with the aim to "Bring the War Home." Going underground to escape the relentless pursuit of the FBI and other law enforcement, the group managed to carry out several high-profile bombings -- including one of the Pentagon -- over a span of several years. Each action was tied to an act of imperial aggression abroad or within the US.
The Weather Underground's bombings targeted symbolic infrastructure: The group went to great lengths to make sure that no human was ever harmed in the bombings, and none ever was.
Our current political moment brings to mind resisters like the members of the Weather Underground. How might they view the current crisis of imperialism the US has brought upon itself and the planet? How would they connect today's struggles for justice with those of the past? What advice would they give to those working for social justice today?
Truthout caught up with several former leaders of the Weather Underground to find out.
Revolution "Was in the Air"
When it comes to mainstream perceptions of the 1960s, former Weather Underground member David Gilbert says, the struggle against imperialism is often given short shrift.
"We have to remember that the source of imperialism’s strength, the global scope of intense exploitation, is also its greatest weakness."
"People looking at the 1960s through today's lens see only the horrors that had to be stopped -- the napalming of children and the massacres of villagers in Vietnam, the jailings and assassinations of civil rights activists at home," Gilbert, who was a founding member of the Columbia University SDS chapter, told Truthout in a letter from prison. "Yes, that was horrible; yes we were furiously fighting to stop that, as well as the many other military and economic atrocities imperialism rains down. But that's only half the story."
Gilbert, was arrested in 1981for his role in a Brink's armored car robbery. Gilbert and other white activists were part of a group they named the Revolutionary Armed Task Force. They were acting in solidarity with the Black Liberation Army, with whom they worked to rob the vehicle with the aim of acquiring funds for the movement. During the attempted robbery, two police officers and a Brink's security guard were "Storm the Heavens": Notes From the Weather Underground on Resistance to Trump: