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Arts & Culture

The Weather Underground

The group took inspiration for their name from a line in a Bob Dylan song: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." The members of the group included including Dohrn, Bill Ayers, Mark Rudd, David Gilbert and Brian Flanagan.

In October 1969 hundreds of young people wielding lead pipes marched through Chicago smashing parked cars and shop windows in their path. This was how the Weather Underground announced its presence with what it called Days of Rage. Incensed by the Vietnam War and racial injustices in the U.S., this group essentially waged war on the U.S. government in the 1970s. The group bombed the Capitol building, broke Timothy Leary out of jail, and eluded the FBI.

Filmmakers Sam Green and Bill Siegel speak with former members of the organization and use archive footage to create a portrait of what drove these young people to such passionate dissent and to insist that the only way to express their outrage was to "bring the war home." The filmmakers try to place this group in the context of social dissent at the time by also speaking with former members of the Students for a Democratic Society and the Black Panthers. The film doesn't condone the violence of the Weather Underground but it does try to provide insight into what could provoke such resistance. It also indirectly questions where the idealism and passion of the sixties and seventies has gone.

The Weather Underground is a fascinating study and well worth checking out.

Companion viewing: Chicago Ten. Running on Empty, Medium Cool, Berkeley in the Sixties