Seattle Liberation Front 1970 Installment 1

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at
Fri Feb 14 12:36:21 PST 2003

I take it Carrol that you are going to give us the early history of Michael Lerner, way back before he became a "rabbi" but who has been a big A-hole.

Jim F.

On Fri, 14 Feb 2003 14:21:37 -0600 Carrol Cox <cbcox at> writes:
> From Socialist Revolution Vol. 1, No. 5 September-October 1970
> Gang Rape in Seattle
> Fanshen Collective
> Anna Louise Strong Collective
> The Seattle Liberation Front sponsored the Sky River Rock
> Festival.
> Three women were gang raped. One woman was stabbed attempting to
> escape.
> A fourth rape was prevented by a female "chauvin patrol."
> Two days after Sky River, women from the women's liberation movement
> intruded upon an SLF general meeting. We denounced seven men who
> had
> fucked us over, used and destroyed people, and created a white, male
> supremacist movement in Seattle.
> The movement in Seattle is, in many ways, a microcosm of the
> movement
> across the country. The men we denounced are not unusually evil,
> brilliantly manipulative, or exceptional leaders in any sense. All
> over
> the country men have defined the Revolution. People who want to act
> have
> had to exist in the context these men set up. We feel a
> responsibility
> to sisters across the country to explain our action and the history
> behind it.
> It began, in Seattle, with the arrival of a radical Marxist
> professor
> from Berkeley. He s et up shop at the University of Washington, and
> used his classes to inject politics and liberal guilt into his
> students.
> But he was not content with the notoriety his yippie-style
> histrionics
> and flamboyant hairiness won for him. The Berkeley Liberation
> Program
> (with a section on the workers tacked on) was bait for the "groovy
> people" he wanted to us as organizers.
> It worked. A collective was formed, composed mainly of the
> professor's
> students. Then, on the 19th of January, a meeting was called, a
> program
> was read, and two more collectives began to pull together.
> A lot of us hadn't been in the movement before. We had looked into
> existing organizations and dismissed them. SDS was Weatherman
> controlled. The only alterntive to SDS, Radical Organizing
> Committee,
> spent its time in sterile debates over meaningless agendas.
> We thought that SLF would give us a chance to connect; that the
> collective structure would allow us autonomy, crativity, and
> self-respect.
> We might have harmed ourselves less and recognized sooner the
> impossibility of achieving anything good in that context if the
> Sundance
> gang hadn't arrived;, fresh from Cornell SDS, ready to take over the
> Seattle movement. Sundance spotted the professor as a man they could
> use
> when he spoke with Jerry Rubin at a rally, three days before the
> first
> SLF meeting. They contacted him the same day and began their
> alliance.
> The professor provided the "base on campus." Sundance provided
> revolutionary models for hero worship, objects for media
> infatuation,
> and much of the direction and energy of the SLF.
> We found our energies absorbed in a whirlwind of "organizing"
> defined
> and directed by the all-seeing, all-knowing eye of the Sundance
> center.
> There was no time for us to find and defend what was important to
> us.
> The Chicago conspiracy tgrial was ending - we felt we had to
> respond.
> TDA [The Day After] came and went as a window-smashing melee. We got
> our
> riot credentials running through the streets breaking bank windows,
> pushing people out of the way of the rocks falling around them,
> while
> the well-disciplined tac squad arrested 75 people.
> The demonstration got the publicity the leaders wanted so much. They
> were mad SLF in the media, and they were SLF to the people who
> poured
> into the organization afterwards.
> Sundance had injected some youth culture hype into the program and
> became the center of the Seattle movement social scene by arranging
> huge
> parties with lots of beer, dope, wine, and girls. By procuring money
> for
> expensive, multi-colored leaflets and programs, they made an
> immediate
> impact on a movement so impoverished that the acquisition of mimeo
> paper
> was a hassle. Many established groups, who at first refused to
> incorporate themselves as SLF collectives, began to succumb to what
> was
> happening. And SLF was what was happening. People were afraid to be
> left
> out of the Revolution.
> To the burgeoning and freaked-out SLF, the Sundance "command
> collective"
> made clear the only thing to do was become a "professional
> revolutionary." So people quit their jobs, dropped out of school,
> grew
> their hair, smoked lots of dope, and hun out with people at the
> Century
> Tavern.
> The mass dropout in the spring made no sense unless we believed in a
> teenage revolution - people had none of the skills necessary to
> survive.
> But it did provide a large pool of unskilled labor to use as
> shitworkers, and people who depended on the leaders for the
> direction of
> their lives.
> And the ethic Sundance lived by was not anti-materialistic. The
> ethic
> was to rip-off. One leader showed us the way, spending hundreds of
> dollars hard-pressed collectives had earned for an SLF office, on
> Sundance rent and beer. "Living Communism" was exemplified by
> Sundance,
> who declared that everything most people have to do to survive was
> "bourgeois," while they exploited people who had money (mainly
> women) to
> support their incredibly expensive life-style.
> pp. 117-119.
> To be continued

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