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by Sharon Rondeau

Marines in Vietnam, April 3, 1968 from The National Archives

(Feb. 17, 2010) — The 1960s self-described radical group, Students for a Democratic Society, is reorganizing, according to its website.  “New in Nov. 2009” is a Facebook page where people can “Trade stories and photos about the past and about our current projects.”  The website also notes that “Antiwar Speeches from marches on Washington to end the war in Vietnam are still relevant to building a movement today.”

The group’s original purpose, as expressed in its Constitution in 1962, is to “create a sustained community of educational and political concern: one bringing together liberals and radicals, activists and scholars, students and faculty… It seeks a relevance through the continual focus on realities and on the programs necessary to effect change at the most basic levels of economic, political, and social organization.”  It its 1962 “Port Huron Statement,” the SDS advocated a transition to “public ownership of power” and “internationalizing rather than localizing, its [America’s] educational system.”

A second website for Students for a Democratic Society is publicizing a nationwide demonstration scheduled to take place on March 4, 2010 to “fight back and be a part of the nationwide resistance movement that is saying enough is enough – no more budget cuts on the backs of students and workers!”  It claims that “state universities are cutting scholarships for oppressed nationality and working students, and eliminating funding for women’s and cultural centers that focus on Black and Chicano programming and education.”

The Progressive Democrats of America lists as one of its Advisory Board members one Tom Hayden, who “was a founding member of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1961” and wrote the Port Huron Statement.  He also served 18 years in the California general assembly.  Another board member, David Swanson, has to his credit “Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.”  PDA describes the Tea Party movement as “nearly all-white” and and accuses its members of “attacking President Obama for socialism and his supposed foreign birth…”

PDA uses as its slogan that of the SDS nearly 50 years earlier:  “Don’t Mourn:  Organize.”

Radical Roots

Bill Ayers, a founder of the Students for a Democratic Society, later broke away and formed a splinter group called “Weathermen.”  The group claimed responsibility for 25 bombings, including the Capitol in Washington, DC.   Renamed “The Weather Underground,” it organized the October 7, 1969 “Days of Rage” at universities across the country in which militant students smashed cars and other private property with metal pipes.  The Weather Underground also set up a bomb-making operation which destroyed a Greenwich Village townhouse and killed three of the group’s members.  Ayers’s wife, Bernadine Dohrn, was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List and lived underground for about ten years in the San Francisco Bay area evading the authorities, as did several of the others.

In 1976, the Chicago bureau of the FBI published numerous reports on the activities of The Weather Underground.   An excerpt from the first report dated August 20, 1976 reads:  “Knowledgeable analysts…are well aware of the foreign influences on the collective thoughts and actions of these revolutionaries who have consistently carried out the Marxist-Leninist conception of armed struggle in the U.S.”

All of the FBI documents are posted through links at the SDS website.  The site contains lapel buttons with the words “by any means necessary” and other slogans on them and a link to the “German SDS” featuring a poster of Marx, Lenin and Engels.

In “You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows,” authored by Karin Asbley, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, John Jacobs, Jeff Jones, Gerry Long, Home Machtinger, Jim Mellen, Terry Robbins, Mark Rudd and Steve Tappis, paragraph 9 states:  “The goal is the destruction of US imperialism and the achievement of a classless world:  world communism.”

The document mentions blacks as a separate group with distinct societal needs: “It is necessary for black people to organize separately and determine their actions separately at each stage of the struggle. It is important to understand the implications of this. It is not legitimate for whites to organizationally intervene in differences among revolutionary black nationalists.”

Howard Machtinger, a self-described founder of the Weathermen, disagrees with Bill Ayers’s assessment of the group when he stated, “After we decided in late 1969 to create a national underground organization that could carry on illegal—and sometimes violent activities—beyond the reach of the criminal justice system…While we in the WU did not, by some grace, become terrorists, we were wrong and destructive. We did lose our way.”

In 2002, a documentary film was made about the activities of The Weather Underground which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Marxism Today

On February 11, 2010, almost 50 years after the SDS and Weather Underground wrought violence and destruction upon America, a CNN article entitled “Time for Obama to go ‘gangsta’ on GOP” appeared.  Roland Martin, the author, states:  “When you’re the top dog, you do what you have to do to govern.”  Martin himself brings up the issue of “Chicago-style politics” but justifies using the method by recommending, “Channel your inner Al Capone and go gangsta against your foes. Let ’em know that if they aren’t with you, they are against you, and will pay the price.”

A few days later, David Bourgeois of The Huffington Post wrote a column called “Obama Better Start Breaking Some Kneecaps” in which Bourgeois expresses frustration with Obama’s performance during his first year in office and offers the following advice to him:  “It’s time you break kneecaps. It’s time to destroy the Republican Party. They don’t deserve a seat at the table when all they want to do is score political points by being the Party of No” (emphasis in original).  At the bottom of the article, Bourgeois acknowledges that his words prompted some to accuse him of promoting violence, which he refutes by saying “Of course I’m not advocating violence.”

Dr. John C. Drew, in a recent interview with Newsmax, claims that he met Obama while they both attended Occidental College in 1980.  Drew’s recollection of Obama was that ““He was arguing a straightforward Marxist-Leninist class-struggle point of view, which anticipated that there would be a revolution of the working class, led by revolutionaries, who would overthrow the capitalist system and institute a new socialist government that would redistribute the wealth,’ says Drew, who says he himself was then a Marxist.”

Then there was Obama’s well-known conversation with “Joe the Plumber” in which Obama said, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

Former Radicals Gravitate to Educational Institutions

The founders and members of the 60s SDS are predecessors, mentors and/or supporters of Obama.  Shortly after the presidential election, The New York Times ran a story featuring Bernardine Dohrn, Tom Hayden, and other well-known former SDS members entitled “1960s Radicals Predict Rebirth of Social Activism.”  They currently work in the highest positions in academe:  Bill Ayers is “Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC);” Bernardine Dohrn is Clinical Associate Professor  at the Bluhm Legal Clinic  at Northwestern University School of Law.

Cathy Wilkerson, a former Weather Underground member, teaches math in the public schools in New York City.  Mark Rudd, who as the leader Columbia University’s SDS chapter also led the “Days of Rage” protest at Columbia University which shut down the campus, taught at a college in Albuquerque, NM from 1980 to 2006.  He is currently  on a book tour discussing his memoir, “Underground.”  Rudd reportedly claimed last April that Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corporation, paid him $50,000 to write the book.  He also stated that “the election of Barack Obama was a major ‘advance’ and provides an ‘opening’ for the far-left to continue making gains.”

These are but a few of the people, and the philosophy, which put Obama in power.

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  1. My concern is where is “our” SDS and Weather Underground groups to counter these people who have already taken control of America through Obama and will now plan to round us up. I don’t think it’s the Tea Party movement that can save us.