UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) — Digging Deeper LXXXVI: July 6, 2009, 7:00 p.m.

Mark Rudd, Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen (New York: William Morrow/HarperCollins, March 2009.) Preface. Writing this book after 25 years of silence was prompted in 2003 by the Iraq war and the release of the documentary The Weather Underground (vii-x). PART I: COLUMBIA (1965-1968) Ch. 1: A Good German. Begins as undergraduate at Columbia University [Sept. 1965] (3-4). Depressed, Rudd enters analysis, but decides poverty and racism are more important problems (49). David Gilbert recruits him to the antiwar movement (9-12). Joins up with left-wing radicals (12-15). Fifth Ave. demonstration on Mar. 26, 1966 (16-17). Joins Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), is thrilled with the “moral and intellectual clarity” of statements by Tom Hayden and Paul Potter (17-21). Embraces Marxism (21-23). Awareness of the Holocaust made him sensitive to Vietnam War (23-24). Participates in three-day fast but snacks secretly (2425). March 1967 direct action in ROTC class provokes letter from dean (25-27). Ch. 2: Love and War. Organizing against campus recruiting gains traction (27-30). Spring antiwar rallies (30-31). Sexually active since 15, Rudd falls in love with Sue LeGrand, a Barnard student, in the summer of 1967 (31-33). Regrets missing the Oct. 1967 march on the Pentagon because of SDS’s preference for local organizing (34-35). First arrested in Nov. 1967 for disrupting a visit to NY Hilton by Dean Rusk; meets Abbie Hoffman in jail (35-37). Ch. 3: Action Faction. Visits Cuba, Feb.1968 (38-42). Elected chair of SDS chapter, Mar. 1968; organizes pie attack on a military speaker (42-45). The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) consortium becomes a focus of a campaign against university complicity (45-48). After MLK assassination, wanders through Harlem, observing (4951). Disrupts university memorial for King (51-53). Writes an open letter to Columbia’s president, Grayson Kirk, refuting the charge of nihilism and “call[ing] for justice, freedom, and socialism”(54-56). Ch. 4: Columbia Liberated. Chaotic Tues., Apr. 23, 1968, demonstration takes dean hostage in Hamilton Hall (57-65). Black radicals (Ray Brown, Bill Sales, Cicero Wilson) dismiss SDS from Hamilton Hall (65-69). SDS breaks into President Kirk’s office (69-74). SDS chapter rejects Rudd’s call for more militant actions (75). But by Friday a fifth building is seized and campus authorities close down campus and a student “commune” forms (75-80). “Jocks” vs. “pukes” (80-81). Attempts at negotiation (81-84). Ch. 5: Police Riot: Strike! Police arrest occupiers of buildings with much violence; blacks occupying Hamilton Hall leave in a peacefully negotiated exit (8589). Radicals and “moderates” (“liberals”) successfully organize a student strike (90-94). Surprise meeting with Columbia dean goes nowhere (9496). Unfair press coverage (96-99). Rudd becomes a focus of media attention (99-101). At the end of May, he is expelled from Columbia (101-03). Ch. 6: Create Two, Three, Many Columbias. Rudd now thinks the focus on amnesty for demonstrators was misplaced (104-05). After arrest at May 17-18 demonstration, his father is concerned but not unsupportive (10509). May 21 reoccupation of Hamilton

Hall (where John Jacobs [“JJ,” who “could outtalk anyone” (168)] sets fire and damages papers of Prof. Orest Ranum) and bust (109-11). Erich Fromm and Harold Taylor, former president of Sarah Lawrence College, speak at a “liberation commencement” (111-13). May 1968 rebels in Paris recognize Columbia (113). Columbia abolishes SDS as campus organization (114). Positive appreciations of the Columbia strike (115-16). PART II: SDS AND WEATHERMAN (1968-1970) Ch. 7: National Traveler. Rudd becomes a “traveling salesman” for SDS, speaking at 75 campuses in the fall of 1968 (129-21). Confesses to “womanizing” (122-23). Does “pure people work” out of SDS Regional Office (RO) in SoHo; SDS splits over teachers’ strike (123-25). Publicizes his draft induction and receives 1-Y “temporary psychological deferment,” which he now regrets (125-30). Declines to vote in 1968; participates in D.C. “counterinaugural” (130-31). Advocates violence but is secretly terrified (131-32). Gets mono (132-33). SDS defends Panther 21; Rudd leads violent demonstration (13334). FBI is involved in intense surveillance and infiltration, as Rudd learns when he is busted reentering the U.S. in Niagara Falls in May 1969 (13440). Ch. 8: SDS Split. In response to an ideological challenge from members of the Maoist Progressive Labor Party, Rudd embraces the idea that SDS needs a dogma of its own and joins in devising a the “Weatherman” (name coined in June 1969) statement of what they called the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) arguing that “imperialism is always the issue” (141-48). At the June 1969 National Convention, Rudd’s faction kicks PL members out of SDS and the new organization elects Rudd national

secretary and Bill Ayers educational secretary (148-53). Ch. 9: Bring the War Home! Rudd’s “tiny clique of about ten people” constituting leadership of the Weatherman faction of SDS, issues a statement calling for three days of violence in Chicago on Oct. 8-11, to coincide with the Chicago 8 conspiracy trial and commemorate Che’s death on Oct. 8, 1967: “violence is the only way” he said in speeches (154-60). Life in Weather collectives, with Maoist “criticism, self-criticism sessions” (16062). “I did not realize at the time that we had unwittingly reproduced conditions that all hermetically sealed cults use: isolation, sleep deprivation, demanding arbitrary acts of loyalty to the group, even sexual initiation as bonding. It’s strange that these practices can arise without any conspiratorial mastermind or leadership cabal” (162-63). An antimonogamy stance “emerge[s] from the Weatherwomen” in the summer of 1969 and leads to about half a year of “indiscriminate sex” in pursuit of revolutionary freedom (163-67). Weatherman is represented at meeting in Cuba but rejects Vietnamese preference for unity in the antiwar movement (16769). The night before the Chicago action, Gerry Long tells Rudd of meeting with Castro (169-70). Ch. 10: Days of Rage. The “Days of Rage” lead to 123 arrests, 36 injured police (171-9). In a debriefing, the Weather Bureau declares them a success and resolves to abandon SDS and “build the underground,” though “[d]eep down” Rudd knew the Days of Rage were “a terrible failure” (179-83). “We were by now a classic cult, true believers” (18485). Feels guilt for his parents’ suffering; his father has a series of strokes (18586). Ch. 11: To West Eleventh Street. The Weather faction abandons SDS, which

they have effectively killed (187-90). “The destruction of SDS was probably the single greatest mistake I’ve made in my life . . . it was a historical crime. . . . None of us in the Weather leadership, to my knowledge, were police agents either. We did it all ourselves” (190-91). In Jan. 1970 Rudd is removed as a leader from the Weather Bureau and charged with working in New York City (192-93). Three die when a bomb planned for a Fort Dix dance explodes on West Eleventh Ave. in Greenwich Village on Mar. 6, 1970; Rudd later concludes that “The town-house collective had spiraled into madness” (197; 193-98). Rudd rebuilds the collective, participates in armed restaurant robbery (198-200). With eleven others, he is indicted by a federal grand jury in April 1970 and narrowly escapes arrest (200-02). Larry Grathwohl was the only known Weather infiltrator (202-03). Ch. 12: Mendocino. Rudd stays in Philadelphia for a month (204-08). Kent State finds him isolated from the action (208-10). He arranges for his parents to visit and they give him cash (210-11). With it, he flies to San Francisco and meets with the Weather Bureau in Mendocino; they affirm the need for a more “life-affirming” line; JJ is purged and with Terry is blamed for the old line; a new strategy of bombing only buildings is adopted (211-16). PART III: UNDERGROUND (19701977) Ch. 13: The Bell Jar. Lives on Pine St. in San Francisco (219-20). Works on the docks, feels lonely, hooks up again with Sue LeGrand (220-23). Tries to blow up Marin County Courthouse (223-25). Helps Timothy Leary escape from prison to Algeria (225-31). On the last LSD trip of his life, on Dec. 31, 1970, in SF’s Tenderloin, Sue persuades him he should leave the Weather Underground, which

she compares to Sylvia Plath’s “bell jar” (231-32). Ch. 14: Santa Fe. Lunches with parents at Bookbinder’s in Philadelphia in Jan. 1971 (233-36). Sue LeGrand agrees to go underground with him if they have a baby (236-38). The FBI breaks up the San Francisco organization in early summer 1971 (239). As Tony Goodman and Flan Taraval, Rudd & LeGrand move to New Mexico, works construction (23944). Meet-up with Jane Alpert, also a fugitive, leads to a decision to leave Santa Fe (244-49). Ch. 15: Schoolhouse Blues. Sue and Mark fix up a one-room schoolhouse in western Bucks County, Pennsylvania; Sue suffers a miscarriage on Dec. 24, 1972 (250-51). Jan. 27, 1973: Paris Peace Agreement signed (251-52). Sets coping and tile around swimming pools in the Doylestown, PA, area for eight months, then collects unemployment with fake name but real SSN (252-54). The Weather Underground seems to be affecting nothing (254-56). Son born in July 1974 (256-58). As Watergate unfolds, charges against Rudd and other Weathermen dropped to hide COINTELPRO lawbreaking (258-62). Rudd stays underground continues to be loyal to the organization, which has been restructured into the Weather Underground Organization (WUO) and which published a Communist manifesto, Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism (1974) (262-64). Rudd disagrees with WUO’s support of the Symbionese Liberation Army (264-66). In Nov. 1974, Jane Alpert turns herself in and published a feminist attack on the left and Rudd in Ms. (266-69). Ch. 16: WUO Split. As Victor and Irene Kelso, they move with Paul to New Rochelle, NY (270-72). WUO publishes a magazine, Osawatomie, and is the subject of a documentary film by Emile de Antonio, “Underground” (272-75).

Doctrinal infighting splits a Hard Times Conference in Chicago (Jan. 1976) as WUO affirms a classical form of Marxism (276-78). Rudd’s attempt to rejoin the organization and bring it above ground en masse in 1976 is rejected and Rudd is shunned, which he views as “paranoid, psychotic, and manipulative . . . madness” (278-80). A security slip-up with JJ increases Rudd’s impatience with life underground ( 280-84). JJ never comes up; dies as “Wayne Curry” of skin cancer in 1997 after 27 years underground (284). Ch. 17: A Middle-Class Hero. New York Times puts his surrender on front page, Sept. 14, 1977 (285-86). Rejecting “the disastrous strategy of armed revolutionary struggle” (286), Rudd, living in Germantown, PA, had attorney Gerry Lefcourt negotiates deals (287-96; 299). Difficulties adjusting; depression; eventually joins War Resisters League (296-99). Sue and Mark move back to New Mexico (300). Epilogue. Marriage breaks up (301-03). Becomes a teacher, finds work rewarding (303-04). The October 1981 Brinks robbery in which Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert were involved; later argues with Gilbert that revolutionary struggle now is delusional, but accepts some responsibility (304-09). Builds a house in New Mexico, 1982-1984 (309-10). Marries Marla Painter in 1997 (310). Has been continuously engaged in peace and justice movement (310-12). Today, U.S. culture has changed: no draft; high student debt; despair at making a difference; lack of appreciation for the need for organizing (312-14). Believes Weathermen were seduced by the militancy, mistakenly believing its success was based in tactics rather than in organizing (314-15). “[A] new generation of young organizers has begun to emerge” (315). 40th reunion of Columbia strike, Apr. 24-27, 2008, including 50 of the blacks who occupied

Hamilton Hall, culminates with planting a weeping cherry tree in the park where the ’68 demonstrations stopped a gym from being built (315-22). Acknowledgments. Friends, harborers, old comrades, Sam Green and Bill Siegel who made “The Weather Underground” documentary, literary agent, parents, children, wife, and ex-wife (323-24). Appendix: Map of Columbia University Main Campus, New York City, 1968. (325) About the Author. Mark Rudd is a teacher living in New Mexico with his family. [Additional information. Mark Rudd was born Marc William Rudnitsky on June 2, 1947, in Irvington, New Jersey. His father (who died in 1995) was a Polishborn U.S. Army veteran who sold real estate and his mother was born the year after her parents emigrated to the U.S. from Lithuania; he has one brother, an attorney. Mark Rudd joined Columbia’s SDS chapter in 1963 and by 1968 was widely regarded as a leader and spokesperson for the anti-Vietnam war movement.] [Critique. Rudd’s interesting memoir is that of a self-critical narcissist who confesses to being “good at rationalization” (31). Though he gained prominence as an ideologue, his memoir has an anti-intellectual cast. Few arguments are longer than a few sentences; there is no index. Rudd discusses Marxism only in clichés and never comes explains his attitude to it. Few books are mentioned (exception: Régis Debray’s Revolution in the Revolution?) and no authors are discussed. There is little insight into figures mentioned in the book. Rudd’s insights into himself are also limited; he has very little to say about his early life. The personal sources of Rudd’s violent

belligerence remain obscure, even to Rudd (“I must have convinced myself that if you talk about something enough, it will come true” [159]; later Rudd describes himself as “operating mechanically, efficiently, focusing on whatever task was in front of me in order

to mask my inner confusion” [177]; he refers to his “madness” and after noting that he expressed a desire to “kill a pig” asks: “Where did these words come from?” [189] but does not try to answer the question.]

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