1 Dec 2022


The Weathermen | The Official Site

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Terrorism is usually associated with Islamic groups that operate in the Middle East. It is vital to recognize that this term applies to other organizations that engage in acts of destruction and chaos. In the United States, a number of groups have been identified as terrorist organizations. The Weathermen is among these groups. It is true that this group has lost its appeal and relevance. However, for a full understanding of domestic terrorism to be gained, it is necessary to consider the actions and motivations of this organization.

Vision, operations and overall effect 

The Weathermen emerged as an off-shoot of the Students for a Democratic America, an organization that was committed to the liberation of the African American community (Eckstein, 2016). The main vision of the Weathermen was to create a nation where racial equality thrived. The Weathermen sought to deliver equality to all races in the US. The group was staunchly opposed to white privilege and called for an end to the oppression that minority races had been subjected to. In addition, the Weathermen also desired a world free from imperialism (Beck, 2010). One of the objectives that the group pursued was bringing an end to American intervention overseas. The Weathermen made it clear that they were opposed to the American involvement in the Vietnam War. Another vision that the Weathermen had was a classless society where the proletariat exercised authority.

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In an effort to achieve their vision, the Weathermen engaged in a number of operations. These operations mostly involved bombings. This group mainly targeted government facilities. For example, in 1971, the group bombed the United States Capitol (Beck, 2010). This bombing was in response to the American invasion of Laos. The building that houses the Department of State and the Pentagon are other facilities that the Weathermen bombed. These bombings were a form of protest at the American invasion of such countries as Vietnam and Hanoi (Beck, 2010). Apart from bombings, the group also conducted bank robberies. In 1981, members of the group robbed an armored track and made away with $1.6 million (Beck, 2010). This robbery resulted in the dead of two police officers. While violence was the main tool that the Weathermen used to promote their agenda, the group also relied on peaceful means. For example, they challenged college students and the American working class to rise up and demand change.

The Weathermen had a significant impact on the United States. One of the effects of this group is that the FBI directed huge amounts of resources to tackling it. The FBI committed agents and money to tracking down the group and its leaders (Eckstein, 2016). It placed its leaders in its list of the most wanted. Another impact of the group is that it set the stage for civil liberties. While the group’s violence alienated it from other organizations such as the Black Panther that pursued civil rights, the Weathermen played a role in the granting of liberties to African American, women and the gay community.

Strategic goal 

Social reform was the main strategic goal that the Weathermen pursued. As has been mentioned, the group was opposed to racial inequality and desired an America where one’s skill color did not determine the direction that their life took (“The Weather Underground”, n.d). The Weathermen envisioned a country where working Americans took charge of the country. This group was strongly opposed to the corruption that the elite perpetrated. Given the noble causes that the Weathermen pursued, one wonders why they were labeled a terrorist organization. That they carried out bombings and other violent acts is what qualifies them as a terrorist outfit.


The Weathermen were mostly unsuccessful. That this group is no longer relevant or active is the primary evidence of its failure. After carrying out attacks in the 1960s and 70s, the group went underground. It underwent a period of inactivity which set the stage for its eventual decline. Another indication of the group’s failure lies in the fact that it alienated itself from mainstream movements and the wider American public. The movements did not approve of the violence that the Weathermen employed (“The Weather Underground”, n.d). The American public was also opposed to the methods that the group used. Further evidence that the group failed can be found in the imprisonment of some of its leaders. Low membership numbers is yet another indication that this group was not successful.

Lack of equal treatment of terrorist groups 

When one examines how the Weathermen group was treated, it becomes clear that standards, surveillance and laws do not apply equally to all terrorist groups. Law enforcement agencies in the United States tend to be ruthless and relentless in their pursuit of terrorist networks. For example, these agencies have used lethal force in a bid to eliminate the leaders of such groups as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. The same level of aggressiveness and resolve cannot be seen in how the agencies pursued the Weathermen. It is true that some of the leaders of this group were arrested and placed behind bars (Beck, 2010). However, various leaders of this group occupy positions of respect despite the atrocities that the group committed. For example, Jeff Jones who was among the leaders of the Weathermen runs a consulting company and took part in developing the stimulus program for the American economy (Beck, 2010). Bill Ayers, another leader of the Weathermen received an award and serves as a professor at the University of Chicago. Bernadine Dohrn and Mark Rudd who were also members of the group serve in high profile positions (Beck, 2010). It is clear that law enforcement agencies apply double standards. While they are ruthless in their fight against other terrorist groups, they seem to be lenient on the Weathermen.

In conclusion, domestic terrorism is a challenge that law enforcement agencies in the United States are committed to eliminating. Domestic terrorist groups such as the Weathermen have caused untold devastation. This group carried out bombings and robberies. Its operations were primarily aimed at convincing the American government to withdraw its forces from other countries. This group also championed for racial equality and an end to corruption. The decline of this group indicates that violence is not an effective means for pushing for a cause.


Beck, G. (2010). Where are the Weathermen now? Retrieved 19 th July 2017 from


Eckstein, A. M. (2016). How the Weathermen Underground Failed at Revolution and still

Changed the World. Retrieved 19 th July 2017 from


The Weather Underground. (n.d). Retrieved 19 th July 2017 from


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