Terrorism and Domestic Terrorism Definitions and Theory SLP
The vision of the organization, operations and the overall effect of the operations. The Weather Underground Organization (WUO) or simply “Weather Underground” was an American radicle leftist group that emerged in 1968. It started as a faction of students for a democratic society in the University of Michigan. The organization derived its name from the lyrics of the song “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” saying “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” This line was used as the title of their first position paper consequently considered as a founding document (Jacobs, 1997). Members of this group identified themselves as “Weathermen.” This memo called the white fighting force to be joined with the black liberation movement and other radical movements with the aim of destroying U.S imperialism and building an unrestricted world.
The group was created during a riotous time in the American and world history. There were many national liberation, guerrilla and left-leaning revolutionary movements that harbored a different world, similar to the one that prevailed in the 1950s. They believed in revolution and fought against inequality and racism in the U.S. The weathermen were radical and vocal in their way of expressing their ideas and activities. They strongly believed in violence as a way of getting the government or other concerned parties to make the changes they demanded. The organization viewed violent actions as a necessity for changes to be effected (‘Weatherman organization’, 2014).
It is clear that the Weathermen had a vision of a new world where they would overturn social and political hierarchies between races, men and women and eventually between the developed and developing countries. In the 1970s, the weathermen conducted a series of bombings and participated in other illegal acts such as breaking Timothy Leary out of Jail. Timothy Leary is a well-known psychologist and writer, who popularized slogans (such as “Think for Yourself and Question the Authority”) that promoted his philosophy – and probably influenced the way of thinking for the Weathermen. Leary was a concern to the government in the U.S in the 1960s and 1970 and had been sent to about 29 different prisons being called the most dangerous man in America.
Some of the notable operations of the Weathermen include; the setting off of a bomb in Pentagon on 19th May 1972 as revenge for the U.S bombarding raid in Hanoi and staging of violent riots dabbed “Days of Rage” in Chicago on 8th October 1969 against the War in Vietnam. On 1st of March 1971, the group bombed the U.S Capitol in protest of the United States’ invasion of Laos, where no people got injured, but property worth several hundred thousands of dollars was damaged. On 6th of March 1970, three members of the Weathermen were killed while making bombs in a house in Greenwich Village, which forced the group to make their operations fully underground. The overall result of the Weathermen’s activity brought hatred to the society for the acts of war by the U.S government overseas and created tension among people who worked for the government. The Weathermen also caused significant property damage and loss of lives during the group’s activities (Amy Zalman, 2014).
Strategic goal of the organization. One of the primary goals of the weathermen was to create a clandestine revolutionary party, which would be used as a vehicle to overthrow the government of the US. Initially, the group believed in peaceful protests that later proved not effective hence the change to violence (Varon, 2004). In 1970, after the death of Black Panther members in December 1969 due to the police raid, the weathermen declared war against the United States, with the stated objective to “lead white Kids into armed revolution.” The Weathermen believed in revolutionary violence as a tool to combat what they alleged as war against African Americans, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Cambodia and other American Military actions overseas (Berger, 2006).
Were the Weathermen successful? The issue remains rather controversial. It can be argued that the activities of the group together with various factions all over the globe contributed to the termination of the Vietnam War. A significant part of the world’s population viewed (even up to today) the Weathermen as terrorists who never represented the interests of people, especially due to their violent activities and bombings. From this viewpoint, one can debate that the group failed to achieve their goal of mobilizing people to join them in their striving to change the world. On a different note, their vision to eliminate the disparities between developed and developing countries, racial discrimination, classism and sexism, and U.S military action overseas (Middle East) remains evident in the 21st century.
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Standards, laws, surveillance, media, and overall view of the Weathermen compared to domestic terrorist groups. The point of view and activities of the Weathermen can be applied to some of the domestic terrorist groups. However, it has a number of differing points. Now, most of the domestic terrorism groups, like the Weathermen – have a catalyzing event that triggers their creation. As the Weathermen, most terrorist groups target the youth. These young people are then radicalized and given teachings and reasons to fight and even die for the course of the terrorist group. Like most of the terrorist organizations in the modern world, the Weathermen members believed that their activities (such as bombing and killing) are important for the people (or “their people”) whom they perceived as being oppressed or disregarded by the government and other concerned parties (Terrorist Organization Profiles, 2012). In conclusion, terrorism is a threat to the well-being of the public, irrespective of the reasons for terrorist activities, part of the world they come from or claim to represent (Rapoport, 2006). All of the terrorist groups and organizations have a lot in common, which can be used as a key to countering their activities.