Monday, February 7, 2011

Bill Ayers and the Weathermen's Day of Rage: October 8, 1969...

The Weathermen announced a return to Chicago that would "bring the war home... attack the beast from within as the peoples of the world attack it from without." Dubbed by organizers as the Days of Rage, the plan called for thousands of armed, angry young revolutionaries to gather on the evening of October 8 in Lincoln Park then plunge into the city's streets to wreak havoc and "off the pig."
On the appointed night, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and their Weatherman comrades gathered at Lincoln Park. But the army of angry youths - "tens of thousands," the underground press had promised - stayed home. In all, "no more than a couple hundred" people showed up. "My stomach sank, " Ayers wrote years later. "I felt like running away, but I knew I couldn't... There's no turning back now, I said to myself."
The group swiftly set out for Chicago's Gold Coast, the city's wealthiest section. Whooping and hollering, the rabble flung bricks and pipes...
As David Dellinger disapprovingly noted, the Weathermen vandalized "a disproportionately high percentage of ... Volkswagens and other old and low priced cars ... small shops, proletarian beer halls, and lower-middle-class housing."
More than a thousand Chicago Police officers were perched along barricades. Amid the ensuing frenzy were bullets, nightsticks, and tear gas. After two hours, twenty-eight policemen lay wounded and six Weathermen were shot; sixty-eight were arrested and untold others fled with their injuries. Recurring clashes over the next three days led to damage to 1,400 businesses, residences, and automobiles.

-The Strong Man by James Rosen