Prairie Fire Organizing Committee (PFOC) formed in 1974, was the publishing arm of the Weather Underground Organization (WUO), the terrorist spin-off from Students For a Democratic Society (SDS). The name came from a statement by Mao Zedong, "a single spark can set a prairie fire." Its first pamphlet was Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-imperialism, written by Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers and Jeff Jones.
It announced "We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men, underground in the United States for more than four years. We are deeply affected by the historic events of our time join the struggle against US imperialism....Our intention is to disrupt the empire...to incapacitate it, to put pressure on the cracks, to make it hard to carry out its bloody functioning against the people of the world, to join the world struggle, to attack from the inside."
Prairie Fire complained that "The CP [Communist Party] had lost its capacity to fight. Tens of thousands of supporters and Party members deserted the struggle." They went on to say, "We have much to learn from the experience and wisdom accumulated over the years by CP workers ofthat period. The CP in its early history was a great advance in the US revolution. Its reversals and wrong directions are defeats for us all - that is why the lessons must be drawn sharply."30
Prairie Fire was "written to communist-minded people, independent organizers and anti-imperialists; those who carry the traditions and lessons of the struggles of the last decade, those who join in the struggles of today. Prarie Fire is written to all sisters and brothers who are engaged in armed struggle against the enemy. It is written to prisoners, women's groups, collectives, study groups, workers' organizing committees, communes, Gl organizers, consciousness-raising groups, veterans, community groups and revolutionaries of all kinds; to all who will read, criticize and bring its content to life in practice. It is written as an argument against those who oppose action and hold back the struggle."
Prarie Fire urged its supporters to form an above-ground arm of the WUO. Chapters soon formed in several cities with perhaps a thousand members. Members of PFOC helped facilitate communication and logistics for WUO members living underground. The PFOC also published Breakthrough, a quarterly journal which routinely called for widespread violent resistance to U. S. imperialism, and ran article after article praising third-world single party last Marxist-Leninist dictatorships.
Type of Organization
- Ideological cover: Openly Marxist-Leninist
- American Indian Movement (AIM)
- Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN)
- Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP)
- Republic of New Africa (RNA)
- Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA)
- Workers World Party (WWP)
- May 19th Communist Organization (M-19 CO)
- Prarie Fire, the Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, Political Statement of the Weather Underground, published by Communications Co., (no place) 1974, Introduction and pp 1 and 75.
- Harvey Klehr, Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today (Transaction Books, New Brunswick, 1988), 109.
- ATTAC Terror Report
- The SDS Papers - Prairie Fire & The Port Huron Statement, Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-imperialism