Last Sunday marked 50 years since the Symbionese Liberation (SLA) Army kidnapped Patricia Hearst, granddaughter of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. Patty took on the nom de guerre Tania and joined her SLA captors in armed robberies. Arrested in 1975, Hearst drew 35 years but served less than two before President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence.
In 2001, President Bill Clinton granted Hearst a full presidential pardon. She married police officer Bernard Shaw and now showcases her French bulldogs at the Westminster Kennel Club. Nice story, but reports come up short on the SLA and other domestic terrorists, whose influence is now on the rise.
The Symbionese Liberation Army was headed by Donald DeFreeze, also known as Cinque Mtume, who served five years for robbery, escaped Soledad prison, and hooked up with radical leftist Patricia “Mizmoon” Soltysik. DeFreeze drew inspiration from Ron Karenga, also known as Maulena Karenga, born Ronald McKinley Everett in Maryland in 1941.
In the late 1960s Karenga rose to prominence as a theoretician of the black nationalist movement. In “The Quotable Karenga” handbook, he told followers: “When it’s burn, let’s see how much you burn. When it’s kill, let’s see how much you kill. When it’s blow up, let’s see how much you blow up.”
In 1971, a court convicted Karenga of kidnapping and torturing two women in his organization. According to “Karenga Tortured Women Followers, Wife Tells Court,” from the May 3, 1971 Los Angeles Times, Karenga stripped naked Deborah Jones and Gail Davis, whipped them with an electrical cord, and beat the women with a karate baton. Karenga also stuck a hot soldering iron into Davis’ mouth and cranked down on her toes with a vice.
Karenga established Kuzaliwa, a tribute honoring the birthday of Malcolm X on May 19, and Uhuru Day on August 11 to commemorate the 1965 “civil disturbance” in Watts. Karenga also created Kwanzaa, an inspiration to the Symbionese Liberation Army, whose seven-headed cobra symbolized Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba, and Imani, the principles of Kwanzaa.
The SLA claimed to stand against the evils of racism, sexism, ageism, fascism, individualism, competitiveness and possessiveness, plus all other institutions that sustained capitalism. Like the Black Panthers, they were a murderous criminal gang.
In 1973, the SLA assassinated black Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster. In 1974, Cinque Mtume and five other SLA members perished in a gun battle with Los Angeles police. In 1975, SLA member Kathleen Anne Soliah, who helped the SLA hide Patty Hearst, plotted to bomb two Los Angeles police cars.
Soliah also took part in bank robbery in Carmichael, California, that claimed the life of Myrna Opsahl, a doctor’s wife who had come to deposit church funds. Soliah also kicked a pregnant teller in the stomach, causing a miscarriage. Soliah fled to Minnesota, masqueraded as housewife Sara Jane Olson, and was not captured until 1999.
In 2009, after serving seven years, the SLA vet was released from prison in California and allowed to serve parole in Minnesota. One of her biggest supporters was Keith Ellison, who said “I think it’s dangerous to prosecute people for their political views and their political associations. I think you prosecute people for what they do, for their acts.” Ellison moved on to Congress and is now Attorney General of Minnesota.
Maulana Karenga is now professor of “Africana Studies” at Cal State Long Beach. His holiday Kwanzaa, which Karenga acknowledged had nothing to do with Africa, has now gained full establishment status.
“Michelle and I send our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Kwanzaa this holiday season,” said President Obama in a December 26, 2011 statement. “Today marks the beginning of the week-long celebration honoring African American heritage and culture through the seven principles of Kwanzaa – unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.” No word from the composite character president about the holiday’s founder.
“Jill and I wish a very Happy Kwanzaa to all those celebrating across America and around the world. May your homes be filled with hope, peace, and light. And in 2024, may we carry with us the wisdom of the seven principles of Kwanzaa — especially those of unity and faith,” read a December 26 post from White House resident Joe Biden. Even in Africa, a ballpark figure for nations celebrating Kwanzaa could be zero.
Meanwhile, as Patricia Hearst Shaw shows off her bulldogs, people might catch up on SLA vet Sara Jane Olson, now living comfortably in Minnesota. In 2013, she claimed “the war on drugs is a politically convenient peg on which to hang a lot of things,” and that the differences in crack and powder cocaine sentences stem from stereotypes of crack as a drug for poor black people while powder cocaine is for rich white people. And so on.
In November 2020, Olson was arrested for marching onto Interstate 94 in response to calls from the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression for nationwide protests. That summer, riots and arson across the country, deemed “peaceful protest” by Democrats, claimed more than 30 lives and caused more than $2 billion in damages.
That wave of destruction and death was headed by Black Lives Matter, a direct descendant of the Black Liberation Army (BLA) of cop-killer Joanne Chesimard. Weather Underground terrorists David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin named son Chesa after the cop-killer, and Chesa went on to boost crime as district attorney of San Francisco. After voters turned him out, UC Berkeley created a special place for Kathy’s kid.
BLA fugitive Joanne Chesimard is now Assata Shakur, the icon of Black Lives Matter. SLA, BLA, BLM. What goes around comes around. Watch for more domestic terrorism from the Left as the election approaches.