Beyond the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, and the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, the period has been conveniently forgotten by boomers now in power. It was a product of the Sixties but ran its course in the Seventies and didn't spend itself until the mid-Eighties, with the more dedicated and disciplined groups like the Puerto Rican independence group FALN, planting bombs in New York and Chicago up until the time young Barack Obama, still dreaming for himself a more radical--and modest--future than destiny had laying in wait, walked their streets. Bryan Burrough's 2015 history of the time, Days of Rage:
"People have completely forgotten that in 1972 we had over nineteen hundred domestic bombings in the United States" notes a retired FBI agent, Max Noel. People don't want to listen to that. They can't believe it. One bombing now and everyone gets excited. In 1972 it was every day. Buildings getting bombed, policemen getting killed, it was commonplace."The social justice terrorists of the Sixties employed extreme rhetoric and some even imagined the Stalinist purges they would later lead, but they underestimated their own capacity for violence and (probably more important for a calculating figure like Ayers) that of the murderous hordes they hoped to inspire. Not so true for the black radicals of the time. As now, radical politics were for blacks a racial solidarity movement, the antithesis of white radicalism, driven by race hatred as much their white counterparts--at least as they imagined--were driven by opposition to race hate. The Democratic Party remains a dysfunctional coupling of white ethno-masochism and non-white ethnic solidarity.
There are crucial distinctions, however, between public attitudes toward bombings during the 1970s and those today. In the past twenty-five years terrorist bombs have claimed thousands of American lives, over three thousand on 9/11 alone. Bombings today often mean someone dies. The underground bombings of the 1970s were far more widespread and far less lethal. During an eighteen-month period in 1971 and 1972, the FBI reported more than 2,500 bombings on US soil, nearly 5 a day. Yet less than 1 percent of 1970s-era bombings led to a fatality; the single deadliest radical-underground attack of the decade killed four people.
Left out of most accounts of the time are the Black Muslim Death Angels, less an organization than a tradition attached to the Nation of Islam. The Death Angels may have killed hundreds of whites (to test the cold-blooded brutality, rather than skill or courage, of recruits they were given more credit for murdering women and children) in California alone as part of a leadership initiation ritual. As only four Black Muslims (of eight suspects) were convicted for a fraction of the murders, they mostly got away with it.
But if there are no demands made and no publicity sought--no attempt to terrorize--is it terrorism or just guerrilla warfare? Does the whole of black recreational violence targeting whites, borne along by the relentless narrative of black oppression, constitute a campaign of political violence and terror?
There's just one real book on the subject, about a local Death Angels campaign in San Francisco in the Seventies that became known as the Zebra Murders, Clark Howard's Zebra. Nicholas Styx wrote about the case:
Richard Walley, who until his unfortunate death from cancer in 1974, ran the California Department of Justice’s Intelligence Analysis Unit (IAU), was convinced that during the 1970-early 1974 period alone, the NOI was responsible for 71 black-on-white racial murders in California. In Zebra, however, author Clark Howard estimated that the NOI was guilty of “just under 270” black-on-white murders in California during the same period.There is another book on the case, a supposedly autobiographical account of the time by the disgraced first black police chief of San Francisco, Earl Sanders, co-authored with a screenwriter and optioned years ago by Dreamworks as a Jaime Foxx project. The book is an attempt by Sanders to portray his minor role in the investigation as major and place it--where else?--in the context of him fighting the Good Fight against racism.
The rhetoric of BLM is revolutionary, through and through, but, unlike the revolutionary groups of the Sixties, it has mainstream credibility and authority--one can lose his livelihood for publicly offending it, for example--this is a fundamental difference between it and any protest group, from milquetoast to militant, from the Sixties. There is no establishment opposition to them. On the contrary, there is much establishment support. In that light, police assassinations by BLM supporters can't be seen as terrorism, at least not anti-state terror. There are no laws on the books to repeal and mainstream convention is in agreement with the terrorists it inspires on everything but remedies.
The current revolution's problem is it is in direct competition with the power it supposedly opposes for its would-be leaders. Corporate and governmental America are so geared toward uplifting blacks the the already-lean talented tenth of black America sells itself on the market at a considerable premium. Despite the rhetoric, long gone are the days when a black American of any talent at all found himself stymied by convention. Non only that, if it's radicalism he's interested in, he can be well compensated for that too. Is it any wonder BLM appears to be a dozen homosexuals and women leading an amorphous mass of gullible idiots?
The political terror of the present isn't revolutionary struggle, it's revolutionary rule.