May 19th Communist Organization
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The May 19th Communist Organization (also variously referred to as the May 19 Coalition, May 19 Communist Coalition, and various alternatives of M19CO), was a US-based, self-described revolutionary organization formed by members of the Weather Underground Organization. The group was originally known as the New York chapter of the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee (PFOC), an organization devoted to legally promoting the causes of the Weather Underground. This was part of the Prairie Fire Manifesto's change in Weather Underground Organization strategy, which demanded both aboveground mass and clandestine organizations. The role of the clandestine organization would be to build the "consciousness of action" and prepare the way for the development of a people's militia. Concurrently, the role of the mass movement (i.e., above ground Prairie Fire Collective) would include support for, and encouragement of, armed action. Such an alliance would, according to Weather, "help create the 'sea' for the guerrillas to swim in." The M19CO name was derived from the birthdays of Ho Chi Minh and Malcolm X. The May 19 Communist Organization was active from 1978 to 1985. M19CO was a combination of the Black Liberation Army and the Weather Underground. It also included members of the Black Panthers and the Republic of New Africa (RNA).
|May 19th Communist Organization|
|Participant in the Black Power movement and New Communist Movement|
|Area of operations||United States|
|Originated as||Black Liberation Army|
|Battles and war(s)||Edna Mahan jailbreak|
1983 United States Senate bombing
This alliance between the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army had three objectives:
- Free political prisoners in US prisons
- Appropriate capitalist wealth (armed robberies) to fund the third stage, and
- Initiate a series of bombings and terrorist attacks
From 1982 to 1985 M19CO committed a series of bombings, including bombings of the National War College, the Washington Navy Yard Computing Center, the Israeli Aircraft Industries Building, New York City's South African consulate, the Washington Navy Yard Officers' Club, New York City's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, and the United States Capitol Building. Three officers were killed during the Brinks Robbery, but no one was injured or killed in their bombings. Almost all the M19CO members were convicted in a US Court of Law for these offenses, but Elizabeth Ann Duke remains at large.
- In 1979 three members walked into the visitor’s center at the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women near Clinton, took two guards hostage, and freed Assata Shakur, a member of the Black Liberation Army. Shakur was serving a sentence of life plus 26 to 33 years for the murder of a state trooper.
- Several months later they arranged for the escape of William Morales, a member of the Puerto Rican separatist group, the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña (FALN), from Bellevue Hospital in New York City where he was recovering after a bomb he was building exploded in his hands.
- In 1981 Weather Underground members Kathy Boudin, Judith Alice Clark, and David Gilbert, together with several members of the Black Liberation Army, participated in the robbery of a Brinks armored car at the Nanuet Mall, near Nyack, New York, during which a Brinks guard and two Nyack police officers were killed. Upon her arrest Boudin was identified as a member of the May 19 Communist Organization.
- On January 28, 1983, M19CO bombed the federal building on Staten Island, N.Y.
- On April 25, 1983, the group was responsible for a bombing at the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.
- On November 7, 1983, the group triggered a bomb explosion at the US Senate.
- On August 18, 1983, it bombed the Washington Navy Yard Computer Center.
- On April 5, 1984, it bombed the Israeli Aircraft Industries Building.
- On April 20, 1984, M19CO committed a bombing at the Washington Navy Yard Officers Club.
- On November 3, 1984, two members of the M19CO, Susan Rosenberg and Timothy Blunk, were arrested at a mini-warehouse they had rented in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Police recovered more than 100 blasting caps, nearly 200 sticks of dynamite, more than 100 cartridges of gel explosive, and 24 bags of blasting agent from the warehouse.
- On September 26, 1984, the South African consulate was bombed.
- The M19CO alliance's last bombing was on February 23, 1985, at the Policemen's Benevolent Association in New York City.
By May 23, 1985, all members of the group had been arrested, with the exception of Elizabeth Duke, who remains a fugitive. Alleged rioter Donna Joan Borup was arrested but failed to appear at trial and is currently on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorist list.
- Jacobs, Ron (1997). The Way The Wind Blew: A History Of The Weather Underground. Verso. pp. 76–77. ISBN 1-85984-167-8. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
- "Left-Wing Extremism: The Current Threat Prepared for U.S. Department of Energy Office of Safeguards and Security" (PDF). Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education: Center for Human Reliability Studies ORISE 01-0439. 2001. p. 1. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
- National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Responses to Terrorism, DHS (March 1, 2008). "Terrorist Organization Profile: May 19 Communist Order". National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Responses to Terrorism. Archived from the original on June 7, 2010. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
- PHILIP SHENON (May 12, 1988). "U.S. Charges 7 In the Bombing At U.S. Capitol". New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2009.