Sunday, April 05, 2015

Asymmetric "pinko" revolutionary violence was a bigger threat a few decades ago than we realize today


I don’t know when I’ll get around to reading the new book by Bryan Burrough, “Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Era of Revolutionary Violence”, from Penguin, but it is reviewed by David J. Garrow in the Washington Post under “Society” in “Book World” today on p. B8, link here

Garrow focuses on an explosion that destroyed a row house in the West Village in NYC in 1970, not too far from where I would live from 1974-1978. 
  
In December 1972, I “spied” on a planning meeting of the People’s Party of New Jersey in a drafty rowhouse a frigid Saturday night in Newark, NJ.  They did talk of force, expropriation.  I was probably an enemy because I was a “salaried professional”.  The attendees, especially the women, said they didn’t get why we “need” capitalism.
   
In the 1980s, the government had a low profile “civilian reservists” program that could handle not only nuclear attack, but asymmetric warfare, which was considered more likely that we realize now (but which was rarely discussed in the pre-public-Internet days).  Plans were drawn up for more decentralized government, much as in the NBC series “Revolution”.   In fact, near the end of a 1981 novel draft that I have, much of NYC is evacuated (by the “plan”), some people without clothing, after a radiation dispersal in parts of the city.  

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