Opinion

Leftists Have a Long History of Advocating Violence to Advance Their Cause

“There will be blood,” Democrat State Representative Douglas Geiss threatened from the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives in 2012 as its members debated legislation that eventually made Michigan the nation’s 24th right to work state. Union thuggery is not uncommon or new. It was Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., who said this about the Tea Party: “Let’s take these son-of-a-bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.”

The history of the labor movement in this country is a history of purposeful disorder. “As it entered the industrial age full blast in the 1870s, America had plunged into ‘the bloodiest and most violent labor history of any industrial nation in the world.’”1 Under the auspices of the first Education and Defense Society, “workers met regularly and drilled with firearms.”2 On May 4, 1886, during a labor rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, anarchists had thrown a bomb into police ranks, killing 7 policemen and injuring 70 more. The gathering had been organized to protest the killing of six striking workers at the McCormick Harvester plant.

At the trial for the anarchist leaders, the following treatise, written by Johann Most, a leading American anarchist, was entered into evidence: Science of Revolutionary War — Manual for Instruction in the Use and Preparation of Nitro-Glycerine, Dynamite, Gun-Cotton, Fulminating Mercury, Bombs, Fuses, Poisons, and so forth.3 Most’s guide consisted of information he gathered from his experience at an explosives’ factory in Jersey City. “With a certain zest he contemplated using ‘hand grenades and blasting cartridges … the proletariat’s substitute for artillery.’ Larger bombs were even more promising: ‘That which reduces what had been solid rocks into splinters may not have a bad effect in a court or a monopolist’s ballroom.’”4

Like all romantic revolutionaries, these early social justice warriors believed that humanity could be saved only “with blood and iron, poison and dynamite!”5

In 1912, because of a dispute over unionization, the Los Angeles Times building was dynamited and 21 persons killed. “Sixteen packets of bombs were found in the New York Post Office in April 1919.

In June 1919, bombs damaged the houses of the U.S. Attorney General, the mayor of Cleveland and judges in New York and Boston.”6 In September 1920, a group of anti-capitalist anarchists set off a bomb on Wall Street, killing 38 people.

These tactics were copied during the turbulent 1960s. Abbie Hoffman, whose book Revolution for the Hell of It (1968), is shown with a rifle in his hand leaping for joy on the cover. Hoffman’s rhetoric about revolution was just a warm-up. In Steal This Book (1971), he gave instructions on how to build stink bombs, smoke bombs, sterno bombs, aerosol bombs, pipe bombs, and Molotov Cocktails. Hoffman’s updated version of the Molotov Cocktail consisted of a glass bottle filled with a mixture of gasoline and Styrofoam, turning the slushy blend into a poor man’s version of napalm. The flaming gasoline-soaked Styrofoam was designed to stick to policemen when it exploded. Helpful drawings on how to make the incendiary devices were included.

In Woodstock Nation, Hoffman updated his revolutionary tactics. This time, Random House published his book. Next to the publisher’s name on the title page, there is an illustration of a man using dynamite to blow up a house. This same illustration appears in Hoffman’s Steal This Book. The theme of both books is how to blow up the system — literally. “Righteous violence” was rationalized by the front-line New Left leadership in the 1960s: “The use of violence was justified, many in the New Left comforted themselves, because theirs was a violence to end all violence, a liberating and righteous violence that would rid the world of a system that deformed and destroyed people. Such glorious ends justified, even ennobled, violent means.”

Organizations like Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) used violent rhetoric from their inception in the early 1960s. John Lewis, the very liberal Democrat representative from Georgia, boasted when he addressed the March on Washington in August 1963, “We will march through the South, . . . the way Sherman did. We shall pursue our own ‘scorched earth’ policy and burn Jim Crow to the ground—nonviolently. We shall crack the South into a thousand pieces and put them back together in the image of democracy.”

You can add to these the 1968 Democrat National Convention in Chicago where riots led by Leftist radicals were the news of the day. “The amount of tear gas used to suppress the protesters was so great that it eventually made its way to the Hilton Hotel… The police were taunted by the protesters with chants of ‘Kill, kill, kill.’”

Bernardine Dohrn was a founding member of the radical Weatherman group who made the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. She told an SDS convention just before she went underground, “Offing those rich pigs with their own forks and knives, and then eating a meal in the same room, far out! The Weathermen dig Charles Manson.” If you didn’t know, Dohrn is married to Bill Ayers, another former radical who supports leftist causes and was also one of the founders of the Weathermen. Ayers is a long-time friend of President Obama. Some even speculate that it was Ayers who was the ghostwriter for Obama’s Dreams from My Father. Dohrn and Ayers are part of the new establishment. She is an Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law and the immediate past Director of Northwestern’s Children and Family Justice Center. Ayers is an American elementary education theorist and promoter of revolution, as this video shows. “The media mainstreaming of a figure like Mr. Ayers,” Sol Stern, a long-time critic of Ayers, writes, “could have terrible consequences for the country’s politics and public schools.” Ayers and Dohrn have not given up their radical beliefs. They’ve rechanneled them.

These radicals learned a big lesson. They don’t have to burn down buildings, blow up government offices, and shut down universities in order to take over the system. Bill Ayers is a perfect example of a leftist radical who followed Antonio Gramsci’s model for revolutionary (communist) change. After building their coalition “they must enter into every civil, cultural and political activity in every nation, patiently leavening them all as thoroughly as yeast leavens bread.” To change the culture, Gramsci argued, “would require a ‘long march through the institutions’ — the arts, cinema, theater, schools, colleges, seminaries, newspapers, magazines, and the … [media].” And that’s what they’ve done.

It was Saul Alinsky who wrote, “Do one of three things. One, go find a wailing wall and feel sorry for yourselves. Two, go psycho and start bombing — but this will only swing people to the right. Three, learn a lesson. Go home, organize, build power and at the next convention, you be the delegates.”

Today, Ayers and many other former radicals are the system.

It seems that some of today’s Democrats – and James Hodgkinson held mainstream Democrat ideas – didn’t get the Alinsky message that blowing up stuff only will swing people to the right.

  1. James H. Billington, Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith (New York: Basic Books, 1980), 43. []
  2. Billington, Fire in the Minds of Men, 433. []
  3. Billington, Fire in the Minds of Men, 437. []
  4. Billington, Fire in the Minds of Men, 437. []
  5. Quoted in Billington, Fire in the Minds of Men, 4. []
  6. Michael Barone, “A Brief history of zealotry in America,” U.S. News & World Report (May 8, 1995), 45. []
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