‘Prairie Fire’ Memories

1960s: Days of Rage


“I could wallow in nostalgia about my days with the Weather Underground in the early 1970s: at Coney Island with Bernardine Dohrn, eating Bill Ayers’ soufflés and Jeff Jones’ homemade breads and the thrill of having my left earlobe pieced by my wife, Eleanor, who was having the time of her life as a fugitive. But nostalgia would serve no purpose other than self-indulgence. Better to focus on the publication of Prairie Fire, 45 years ago, arguably as significant a manifesto as ‘The Port Huron Statement’ (1962) that helped to launch Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the mass organization Weatherman destroyed—with help from Progressive Labor (PL), the faction that urged members to go to factories and organize workers. The Port Huron Statement emphasized moral values, love, and honesty and expressed the desire for democratic social change. Prairie Fire (1974), the political statement of the Weather Underground, reverberated with…

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