Pipe Bomb_Abbie Hoffman

Which Side of the Political Spectrum Uses Terrorism and Violence: The Left or the Right?

Once again liberals want to blame a murder spree on conservatives. They did it with Dylann Roof who murdered nine innocent black people in a church. Liberals did a similar thing with the Oklahoma City bombing. Then President Bill Clinton blamed conservative talk radio shows. When have you heard a liberal blame liberal rhetoric against conservatives? Can anyone say “never”?

And what’s a liberal’s solution? Take legally-owned guns from 99.9 percent of the population and take down the Confederate Battle Flag in South Carolina. That will solve all our problems like MLK Day and Black History Month have helped lower black teenage unemployment.

Liberals have forgotten that violence is a tactic of the Left – everything from bombings to disruption of political campaigns.

In the July 11, 1968, issue of The Village Voice, Marvin Garson, the pamphleteer of the Free Speech Movement, recounted with pride the bombings which had been the calling-card of campus radicals from Berkeley and its environs:

“The series of successful and highly popular bombings which have occurred here recently: the steady bombing of the electric power system from mid-March when the lines leading to the Lawrence Radiation Lab were knocked down, to June 4, when on the morning of the California primary 300,000 homes in Oakland were cut off; the dynamiting of a bulldozer engaged in urban renewal destruction of Berkeley’s funkiest block; three separate bombings of the Berkeley draft board; and finally, last Tuesday night, the dynamiting of the checkpoint kiosk at the western entrance to the University campus, a symbol of the Board of Regent’s property rights in the community of scholars.”1

Left-wing Weathermen were even more radical. They too were into bombs.

“On March 6, 1970, a tremendous explosion demolished a fashionable Greenwich Village townhouse, and from the flaming wreckage fled two SDS ‘Weatherwomen,’ members of the SDS terrorist faction. In the rubble police found remains of a ‘bomb factory’ and three bodies, including one of the organizers of the 1968 Columbia University rioting and another of a ‘regional traveler’ who had helped spark the Kent State buildup. Four days later in Maryland two close associates of Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) firebrand ‘Rap’ Brown blew themselves to smithereens while apparently transporting a bomb to the courthouse where their cohort was to stand trial on an inciting riot charge. . . . Also, in 1970 a Black Panther carrying a bomb along a Minneapolis street blasted himself to bits. Despite the carnage to themselves, Panther and Weatherman terrorists succeeded in setting off bombs in the New York City police headquarters, the U.S. Capitol, and scores of other public and corporate buildings across the nation.”2

In addition, they had succeeded in setting off bombs in the Pentagon and several major courthouses. “These were the bombings they took credit for publicly. The full extent of their terrorist activities remains unknown.”3

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a resurgence of left-wing radicalism that led to violence with hope to build a better world. On May 7, 1967, just weeks before the riot in Newark, New Jersey, Greg Calvert of SDS described its members as “post-communist revolutionaries” who “are working to build a guerrilla force in an urban environment. We are actively organizing sedition.”4

The SDS was a growing radical movement made up of college students. The rhetoric of the SDS was at its core anti-government. “SDS organizers denounced ‘oppressors,’ ‘exploiters,’ and ‘the Al Capones who run this country.’ The university was depicted as a ‘colony’ of ‘the military-industrial complex’ and a ‘midwife to murder.’ ‘Imperialism’ was offered as a convenient scapegoat for every frustration and failure.”5

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

“It is 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.”6

Some campus radicals in the 1960s pursued the conviction “that violence may be necessary” to bring about any meaningful cultural change in America. A student from the University of California at Berkeley stated that she understood why certain groups riot. “I feel the same frustrations in myself, the same urge to violence.”7

Such sympathies are prevalent among today’s liberals when their opinions are surveyed regarding Palestinian suicide terrorists. Self-sacrifice for an ultimate cause, although not in such extreme measures, was born and bred in the USA. The campus at Berkeley led the way. In 1967 the national secretary of SDS declared himself to be a disciple of Che Guevera: “Che’s message is applicable to urban America as far as the psychology of guerrilla action goes. . . . Che sure lives in our hearts.” “Black power,” he added, “is absolutely necessary.” White student activists noted that “black nationalists are stacking Molotov cocktails and studying how they can hold a few city blocks in an uprising, how to keep off the fire brigade and the police so that the National Guard must be called out. . . .”8 Domestic terrorism is writ large in our history, but few people remember it.

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

Abbie Hoffman_Rifle

Hoffman envisioned and encouraged today’s sexual revolution and the general disembowelment of morality and  supplied information that he hoped would lead to the violent overthrow of “the system”:

“To enter the twenty-first century, to have revolution in our lifetime, male supremacy must be smashed, . . . A militant Gay Liberation Front has taught us that our stereotypes of masculinity were molded by the same enemies of life that drove us out of Lincoln Park. . . . Cultural Revolution means a disavowal of the values; all values held by our parents who inhabit and sustain the decaying institutions of a dying Pig Empire.”9

Hoffman’s rhetoric about revolution was just a warm-up. 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.10 Helpful drawings on how to make the incendiary devices are included.

Pipe Bomb_Abbie Hoffman

In Woodstock Nation, Hoffman updated his revolutionary tactics. This time, Random House was the publisher. Next to Random House’s name on the title page, there is an illustration of a man blowing up a house with dynamite. This same illustration appears in Hoffman’s Steal This Book.

Abbie Hoffman_Dynamite 001

The theme of both books is how to blow up the system, literally. Can you imagine what would have happened if a conservative publishing house had published anything like Hoffman’s books? In fact, if they had been published by a conservative book publisher, they would have been dusted off and used as prima facie evidence that the Orlando murderer was following the conservative playbook.

By the way, the rifle and all the “weapons of mass destruction” illustrated in Hoffman’s book were made from legal materials. When somone wants to kill other people, there is no law that will stop him or her.

Of course, Hoffman never advocates blowing up anything or anyone. “I ain’t saying you should use any of this information, in fact for the records of the FBI, I say right now ‘Don’t blow up your local draft board or other such holy places.’”11 He’s just making the information available. You know, freedom of expression and all of that. Then he reproduces pages from the Department of the Army Field Manual dealing with “Disguised Incendiary Devices,” “Mechanical Delay Devices,” and pipe bombs.12

Then there are these from Hoffman:

  • “Off the Pigs!”
  • “Yippies believe in the violation of every law.”

Liberals have short and selective memories.

“The use of violence was justified, many in the New Left comforted themselves, because theirs was a violence to end all violence, a liberating and righteous violence that would rid the world of a system that deformed and destroyed people. Such glorious ends justified, even ennobled, violent means.”13

Organizations like Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) used violent rhetoric from their inception in the early 1960s.

It’s my guess that what we’re seeing today with these acts of terrorism is being modeled after how liberals gained power in the 1960s and 1970s. Today they wear suits, but they are still just as revolutionary. Instead of throwing bombs, they use the law as an oppressive agent of radical change.


  1. Quoted in Lewis S. Feuer, The Conflict of Generations: The Character and Significance of Student Movements (New York: Basic Books, 1969), 479. 

  2. Eugene H. Methvin, The Rise of Radicalism: The Social Psychology of Messianic Extremism (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1973), 513. 

  3. Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter, Roots of Radicalism: Jews, Christians, and the New Left (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 42. 

  4. New York Times (May 7, 1967). Quoted in Eugene H. Methvin, The Rise of Radicalism: The Social Psychology of Messianic Extremism (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1973), 497 and The Riot Makers: The Technology of Social Demolition (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1970), 27. 

  5. Methvin, Rise of Radicalism, 504. 

  6. 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. 

  7. Feuer, The Conflict of Generations, 478. 

  8. Feuer, The Conflict of Generations, 478. 

  9. Abbie Hoffman, Revolution for the Hell of It (New York: Pocket Books, [1968] 1970), 3. 

  10. Abbie Hoffman, Steal This Book (New York: Pirate Editions, 1971), 170–79. 

  11. Hoffman, Woodstock Nation, 114. 

  12. Hoffman, Woodstock Nation, 115–116. 

  13. Richard J. Ellis, The Dark Side of the Left: Illiberal Egalitarianism in America (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1997), 137. 

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Gary DeMar

Gary DeMar was raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and Reformed Theological Seminary (1979). He has served as researcher and writer at the Christian Worldview ministry American Vision since 1980 and President since 1984. Today he serves as Senior Fellow at American Vision where he lectures, researches, and writes on various worldview issues. Gary is the author of 30 books on a variety of topics – from "America’s Christian History" and "God and Government" to "Thinking Straight in a Crooked World" to "Last Days Madness." Gary has been interviewed by Time magazine, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the BBC, and Sean Hannity. He has done numerous radio and television interviews, including the “Bible Answer Man,” hosted by Hank Hanegraaff and “Today’s Issues” with Tim Wildmon and Marvin Sanders. Newspaper interviews with Gary have appeared in the Washington Times, Toledo (Ohio) Blade, the Sacramento Bee, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Marietta Daily Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Chicago Tribune.

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