02 / June
02 / June
'Death To the Fascist Insect That Preys Upon the Life of the People'

Thirty years ago today, Berkeley radicals rallied to support murderers and criminals. "Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people," speaker Kathleen Ann Soliah chanted. “Keep fighting! I’m with you! We’re with you!" The group she pledged her solidarity with, and whose peculiar 13-word motto she chanted, was the Symbionese Liberation Army, one of the most bizarre spillover groups from the tumultuous age that most Americans in the mid-'70s had thought had passed.

In late 1973, the Symbionese Liberation Army assassinated Marcus Foster, the superintendent of Oakland's schools. The SLA mistakenly believed Foster sought to impose identification cards on students in his district, and killed him because of it. What the SLA terrorists lacked in wisdom they made up for in passion. After two SLA members were arrested for Foster's murder, the group kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst (known as Tania within the SLA) and embarked upon a series of what outsiders called robberies but radicals termed "fundraisers." Apparently brainwashed (or--who knows?--maybe not), the megabucks princess partook in an SLA bank robbery, which security cameras famously caught on tape. In a fiery May 1975 standoff with the Los Angeles police, six SLA members were killed, including the self-dubbed General Field Marshal Cinque, the career criminal who led the rag-tag band of affluent and middle class whites. A few months later, police caught up with Hearst. A few decades later, police caught up with the rest of the gang, which never numbered more than about a dozen people.

Local PBS affiliates have been airing a fascinating documentary on the SLA entitled, Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst. Check your local listings and tune in.

posted at 06:07 PM

LEFTISTS ARE FREAKING CRAZY PEOPLE, and they evidently were crazier back then. SLA, Manson, dirty hippies everywhere. Thank God I remember nothing before 1983 or so.

Posted by: short on June 3, 2005 01:01 AM

Ahhh, 1983.

Three years before I lost my innocence w/ the Challenger explosion (see next post for context).

I do remember going to see Return of the Jedi in theatres that year and I have thus never minded the Ewoks b/c I remember getting into them back then.

I also remember going to see Smokey and the Bandit part three that year, depending on which came out first that is probably my earliest cinematic memory.

East bound and down . . .

Posted by: Brian on June 4, 2005 02:42 AM

Is "lead" now an alternative past tense of "lead?" I was taught that the past tense of "lead" is "led." I know that "led" sounds like the metal "lead," and that makes it confusing. "Read," of course, is not yet "red" in the past.

Posted by: Webster on June 5, 2005 07:14 AM

The left really are the craziest band of mothers I have ever encountered. Even when I disagree with you guys, it's nothing like these CRAZIES.

Posted by: Ben-T on June 6, 2005 11:49 AM


You lost you virginity as a result of the Challenger explosion? Pretty cool.

And the only good things to come out of 1983 were: cocaine as the drug of choice and Thriller going platinum.

Posted by: random on June 6, 2005 04:05 PM
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