Underground- Robinson

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WBROBINSON While recent memoirs have eloquently described the tulmultous yet sophisticated tales of the 1960’s and ‘70s political underground, Mark Rudd’s Underground: My Life with SDS and The Weathermen... Rudd’s memoir provides a harrowing account of his time as a member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and its faction the Weathermen, as well as his seven years as a fugitive from the federal government. Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen chronicled Rudd’s time in the movement; a tipping point in American culture where new world order seemed not only possible, but was expected. While Mark had simply set out to be politically active, Rudd lacked a sense of direction and clung to an ideology that was misguided. The disillusionment and arrogance of Mark Rudd and his fellow SDSers ultimately cost the lives of his friends, his reputation, and the future of the S.D.S. and the subsequent Weathermen. The Students for a Democratic Society was an radical left group that sought to intiate social change. The Weather Underground was a splinter faction of the Students for a Democratic Society. First organized around 1969, the Weathermen Underground (known colloquially as the Weathermen) concluded that the American people would never stop the ongoing war in Vietnam. Rather then politicans halt the war, it was up to them-a small conglomerate of young adults-to act on behalf of the Vietnamese people by engaging in a campaign of public bombings on landmarks like the United States Capitol and the Pentagon. The Weathermen were founded at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; the unhappy child that resulted from the birth of the S.D.S. The group was composed for the most part of the national office leadership and the ... ... middle of paper ... ...ffect of what they had intended: We deorganized S.D.S. while we claimed we were making it stronger; we isolated ourselves from our friends and allies as we helped split the larger antiwar movement around the issue of violence. In general, we played into the hands of the F.B.I.-our sworn enemies. We might as well have been on their payroll 8. The seemingly self destructive nature-and Rudd’s idealic passion, narcicissm, hypocricy, and sense of entitlement- derailed the movement and alienated followers. While the movement was ill-advised, ill-equipped, and ineffectual, Rudd played an integral and energetic role in bridging the gap between student activists of today and the New Left organizers of the 1960s. Ultimately, Mark Rudd was an agent of neccessity in a political revolution, convinced that he was doing what needed to be done when it needed to be done.

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