THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND ORGANIZATION – PRAIRIE FIRE, THE POLITICS OF REVOLUTIONARY IMPERIALISM (1974)
A first edition of a samizdat book, produced clandestinely, by another American urban guerrilla group, printed in the same year as Hours of Fun. It has a Weather Underground, mimeographed distribution notice taped onto the covers. With “Do not take Bookstore copy” scrawled on it. The notice reads:
“Sisters and Brothers,
Hello. Here is Prairie Fire. Today 100's of these were [deli]vered to sisters and brothers in the Bay Area, and thousands [in o]ther parts of the country. We hope you will make it available [to p]eople through your store, charging a nominal fee to cover [handl]ing if need be. We rely on your ingenuity to help circulate [these] copies. Many thanks for your help. Venceremos. Weather Underground.”
The book signalled the group's move way from armed struggle after a tragic bomb accident that killed two Weathermen in Greenwich Village in 1970. “Weatherman" was taken from a line in a Bob Dylan song entitled Subterranean Homesick Blues. The group was largely made up of highly-educated, creative, attractive, white men and women in their twenties and of upper middle-class origins, as were many in the 'committed' sixties 'New Left' counterculture as a whole.
After the Greenwich Village bomb and much debate, the guerrilla war was pushed aside and bombings were described as a form of “armed propaganda”. They now dug in deeper to a countercultural style of life with its communes and vegetarian diet and Prairie Fire’s much softer message won them a wider spread of contacts from Tom Hayden to the Symbionese Liberation Army.
The fifteenth anniversary of the Cuban Revolution was on July 24th, so, it was a propitiously red date for releasing the book. They would print the publication in an underground manner as well. The rather comic book sounding Red Dragon Print Collective was a small, clandestine print shop run by a cell of comrades. Distribution of the finished book was carried out in a guerrilla fashion as well, with the entire organisation, including the public-facing cadres, doing covert bookstore drop-offs.