Opinion

Will Leftist Rhetoric Lead to Violence? It Has Before.

Off the Pigs!”

“Personally, I always held my flower in a clenched fist.”

“Yippies believe in the violation of every law.” — Abbie Hoffman (1936–1989)

Abbie Hoffman was an American political and social activist, anarchist, and revolutionary who co-founded the Youth International Party (“Yippies”). His rhetorical style is reminiscent of what we are hearing from people like Maxine Waters. The difference is that Hoffman was not a congressman. The question is, will Waters’ rhetoric lead to Hoffman-style violence by her socialist followers?

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Hoffman was published by mainstream publishing companies. He is shown with a rifle in his hand leaping for joy on the cover of his book Revolution for the Hell of It (1968). 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.

Revolution For The Hell Of It by Abbie) Free (Hoffman ...

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.”

A mainstream media property “dedicated to serving young, diverse America” has someone suggesting that violence is the next step in bringing down Donald Trump.

A writer for the popular progressive news website Splinter is warning supporters of President Trump that if they have a problem with the heckling of administration officials in public places, they haven’t seen anything yet.

“Do you think that being asked to leave a restaurant, or having your meal interrupted, or being called by the public is bad? My fascism-enabling friends, this is only the beginning,” writes Splinter senior writer Hamilton Nolan.

Pointing to history, he writes that the U.S. “had thousands of domestic bombings per year in the early 1970s.”

*****

Splinter is a news and opinion website owned by the progressive Gizmodo Media Group, a division of Univision Communications, the Hispanic media giant. Splinter’s direct owner, Fusion Media Group, was purchased from Disney in April 2016. Fusion describes itself as Univision’s multi-platform, English language division “dedicated to serving young, diverse America.” (WND)

Consider the following:

  • Kathy Griffin ‘Beheads’ Trump in Graphic Photo
  • Madonna – “I’ve thought a lot about blowing up the White House.”
  • Snoop Dogg “Shoots” Trump in the Head in Music Video
  • Ross Whedon: “I Want a Rhino to F**k Paul Ryan to Death”
  • Shakespeare in the Park Stabs ‘Trump’ to Death in Performance of ‘Julius Caesar’
  • Larry Wilmore Jokes About Suffocating Trump with ‘Pillow They Used to Kill Scalia’
  • Stephen Colbert’s Late Show Puts Stephen Miller’s Head on a Spike (Truth Feed)

Watch this new video from the RNC:

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a resurgence of left-wing radicalism that led to violence. On May 7, 1967, just weeks before the Newark riot, Greg Calvert, a member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), described its members as “post-communist revolutionaries” who “are working to build a guerrilla force in an urban environment. We are actively organizing sedition.”1 The SDS was a growing radical movement made up of college students. The rhetoric of the SDS was at its core anti-government. “SDS organizers denounced ‘oppressors,’ ‘exploiters,’ and ‘the Al Capones who run this country.’ The university was depicted as a ‘colony’ of ‘the military-industrial complex’ and a ‘midwife to murder.’ ‘Imperialism’ was offered as a convenient scapegoat for every frustration and failure.”2

A keynote speech at a 1962 SDS convention praised the freedom riders, not for furthering civil rights but for their “radicalizing” potential, their “clear-cut demonstration for the sterility of legalism.” The speaker continued:

It is not by . . . “learning the rules of the legislative game” that we will succeed in creating the kind of militant alliances that our struggle requires. We shall succeed through force—through the exertion of such pressure as will force our reluctant allies to accommodate to us, in their own interest.3

Tom Hayden, a former SDS organizer and strategist, member of the California General Assembly, and one-time husband of Jane Fonda, intoned the following in 1967: “Perhaps the only forms of action appropriate to the angry people are violent. Perhaps a small minority, by setting ablaze New York and Washington, could damage this country forever in the court of world opinion. Urban guerrillas are the only realistic alternative at this time to electoral politics or mass armed resistance.”4

Organizations like the 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 like Hoffman and Hayden (who later married Jane Fonda) 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 a Students for a Democratic Society 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.” Dohrn was referring the 1969 slaughter of Sharon Tate and others by Charles Manson’s anti-establishment cult followers.

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 Leftist 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.

Weather Underground leaders Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and Jeff Jones

Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and Mark Rudd

Civil unrest and purposeful destruction of the nation’s infrastructure and authority institutions was the order of the day in the 1960s. “On September 3, 1968, The New York Times reported that the city of Berkeley was declared to be in a state of civil disaster; the city authorities invoked emergency police powers, and the campus of the university was placed under curfew rules.5

Left-wing Weathermen were even more radical. They were into bombs. Fortunately, they were also inept. “On March 6, 1970, a tremendous explosion demolished a fashionable Greenwich Village townhouse, and from the flaming wreckage fled two SDS ‘Weatherwomen,’ members of the SDS terrorist faction. In the rubble police found remains of a ‘bomb factory’ and three bodies, including one of the organizers of the 1968 Columbia University rioting and another of a ‘regional traveler’ who had helped spark the Kent State buildup. Four days later in Maryland two close associates of Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) firebrand ‘Rap’ Brown blew themselves to smithereens while apparently transporting a bomb to the courthouse where their cohort was to stand trial on an inciting riot charge. . . . Also, in 1970 a Black Panther carrying a bomb along a Minneapolis street blasted himself to bits. Despite the carnage to themselves, Panther and Weathermen terrorists succeeded in setting off bombs in the New York City police headquarters, the U.S. Capitol, and scores of other public and corporate buildings across the nation.”6 In addition, they had succeeded in setting off bombs in the Pentagon and several major courthouses. “These were the bombings they took credit for publicly. The full extent of their terrorist activities remains unknown.”7

Hoffman never advocated blowing up anything or anyone. “I ain’t saying you should use any of this information, in fact for the records of the FBI, I say right now ‘Don’t blow up your local draft board or other such holy places.’ You wouldn’t want to get the Government Printing Office indicted for conspiracy, would you now?”8

Maxine Waters is not advocating violence against Trump and his supporters. But there are a lot of crazies out there who might not be so constrained when Trump is being described as a Nazi and the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.

  1. New York Times (May 7, 1967). Quoted in Eugene H. Methvin, The Rise of Radicalism: The Social Psychology of Messianic Extremism (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1973), 497 and The Riot Makers: The Technology of Social Demolition (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1970), 27. []
  2. Methvin, Rise of Radicalism, 504. []
  3. Thomas Kahn, “The Political Significance of the Freedom Riders,” in Mitchell Cohen and Dennis Hale, eds., The New Student Left (Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 1966), 59, 63. Quoted in Rothman and Lichter, Roots of Radicalism, 13. []
  4. Quoted in Methvin, Rise of Radicalism, 505. []
  5. Lewis S. Feuer, The Conflict of Generations: The Character and Significance of Student Movements (New York: Basic Books, 1969), 479. []
  6. Methvin, Rise of Radicalism, 513. []
  7. Rothman and Lichter, Roots of Radicalism, 42. []
  8. Abbie Hoffman, Woodstock Nation: A Talk-Rock Album (New York: Random House, 1969), 114. []
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