Violence and Mayhem Have Long Been Tools of the Left

I don’t know who was involved in the Boston Marathon Massacre. Some on the Left need it to be a person associated with “white privilege” so as not to slow down immigration reform that the Democrats desperately want in order to swell their voting ranks. Liberals also want it to be somebody aligned with a conservative ideology.

For Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok, it’s not a real terrorist attack unless the target is aimed at “black people or Jewish people or gay people or Muslims” and white people who hold a conservative ideology are involved.
Whoever it turns out to be, the history of terrorism and bombings is a decidedly leftist enterprise.

Mao Tse Tung’s said that “power grows out of a barrel of a gun.” Leaders of student movements in the 1960s spouted violent rhetoric and acted on it to further their anti-establishment causes. Carl Oglesby, president of the ultra-leftist Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), said, “Revolutions do not take place in velvet boxes. . . . Nuns will be raped and bureaucrats will be disemboweled.”1.

A keynote speech at a 1962 SDS convention praised the freedom riders, not for furthering civil rights but for their “radicalizing” potential, their “clear-cut demonstration for the sterility of legalism.” The speaker continued:

“It’s not by . . . ‘learning the rules of the legislative game’ that we will succeed in creating the kind of militant alliances that our struggle requires. We shall succeed through force — through the exertion of such pressure as will force our reluctant allies to accommodate to us, in their own interest.”2

 Tom Hayden, an SDS organizer and strategist, former member of the California General Assembly, and one-time husband of Jane Fonda, intoned the following in 1967: “Perhaps the only forms of action appropriate to the angry people are violent. Perhaps a small minority, by setting ablaze New York and Washington, could damage this country forever in the court of world opinion. Urban guerrillas are the only realistic alternative at this time to electoral politics or mass armed resistance.”3

Anti-war activists planted a fertilizer and fuel oil bomb at Sterling Hall, home of the University of Wisconsin’s Physics Department and the Army Math Research Center.

On the cover of Revolution for the Hell of It, Abbie Hoffman, the late Yippie (Youth International Party) spokesman of the 1960s, is pictured with a rifle in his hand leaping for joy.

In Steal This Book he gave instructions on how to build stink bombs, smoke bombs, Sterno bombs, aerosol bombs, pipe bombs, and Molotov Cocktails. Hoffman’s updated version of the Molotov Cocktail consisted of a glass bottle filled with a mixture of gasoline and Styrofoam, turning the slushy blend into a poor man’s version of napalm. The flaming gasoline-soaked Styrofoam was designed to stick to policemen when it exploded.4 Helpful drawings on how to make the incendiary devices were included.

In Woodstock Nation, Hoffman updated his revolutionary tactics. Next to the publisher’s name on the title page, there is an illustration of a man using dynamite to blow up a house. This same illustration appears in Hoffman’s Steal This Book. The theme of both books is how to blow up the system, literally.

So when liberals want to blame the right, let’s remind our leftist friends that if the Boston Marathon Massacre turns out to be some nutball who claims to align himself with the right is the culprit, it was their fellow leftists who taught them how.

  1. In a speech by Carl Oglesby at the Washington Peace March, November 27, 1965. Quoted in Os Guinness, The Dust of Death: The Sixties Counterculture and How It Changed America Forever (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1994), 112. []
  2. Thomas Kahn, “The Political Significance of the Freedom Riders,” in Mitchell Cohen and Dennis Hale, eds., The New Student Left (Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 1966), 59, 63. Quoted in Rothman and Lichter, Roots of Radicalism, 13. []
  3. Quoted in Methvin, Rise of Radicalism, 505. []
  4. Abbie Hoffman, Steal This Book (New York: Pirate Editions, 1971), 170–79. []