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Bernardine Dohrn

In the 1960s, Bernardine Dohrn and her husband Bill Ayers were leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society's "Weatherman" faction, which in 1969 went underground to become America's first terrorist cult. At a 1969 "War Council" in Flint, Michigan, Dohrn gave her most memorable and notorious speech to her followers. Holding her fingers in what became the Weatherman "fork salute," she said of the bloody murders recently committed by the Manson Family in which the pregnant actress Sharon Tate and several other inhabitants of a Benedict Canyon mansion had been brutally stabbed to death: "Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim's stomach! Wild!"  Dohrn is currently an Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University.

A Chicago district attorney named Richard Elrod was seriously injured in a Weatherman riot that erupted during the Chicago "Days of Rage" in October 1969, and he was paralyzed for life as a result. Dohrn later led a celebration of Elrod's paralysis by leading her comrades in a parody of a Bob Dylan song -- "Lay, Elrod, Lay." Moreover, law-enforcement authorities are still investigating a bombing in San Francisco that killed a policeman, for which Professor Dohrn is one of the suspects.

Today Professor Dohrn expresses no real regret over her radical past. On one occasion she justified her actions, saying, "We organized both against war and racism. We also taught that all human life is equally valid, not just the body count of the United States."

In the mid-1990s Dohrn and her husband, Bill Ayers, hosted meetings at their Chicago home to introduce Barack Obama to their neighbors during his first run for the Illinois Senate.

In 2008 the Obama campaign produced a “fact sheet” pronouncing Dohrn and Ayers to be "respectable" members of the "mainstream" community.

To view a comprehensive profile and numerous supplemental resources about Bernardine Dohrn, click here.


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