Prairie Fire Organizing Committee
The Prairie Fire Organizing Committee is an activist group whose members advocate the overthrow of the current capitalist system  as the only solution to racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and imperialism. The group members believe all forms of oppression are created by the U.S. government. It claims a long history of fighting for rights of all people. It opposes white supremacy in all its forms, and believe it persists through practices such as racial profiling. It calls attention to prisoners it deems political and states, “We know that close to 100 women and men are in U.S. prisons because they have dared to struggle for the liberation of oppressed peoples”. The group’s members are typically activists fighting U.S. imperialism. Their work proceeds from the premise that, while the U.S. remains in the global position that it currently occupies, there will be no freedom or peace for anyone.
Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism
The Prairie Fire Organization began in 1975. It sprang up from the radical group known as Weatherman. Members of the group, Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, Jeff Jones, and Celia Sojourn (a pseudonym for several individuals who were unnamed), created a six-part book titled Prairie Fire:The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism (1974), composed of sections titled, “Arm the Spirit,” “Vietnam,” “On the Road: Impressions of US History,” “Imperialism in Crisis: The Third World,” “Imperialism in Crisis: The Home Front,” and “Against the Common Enemy”. The book’s preparation was a 12 month process, written collaboratively and adopted as the collective statement of the Weather Underground. Mark Rudd stated that the book “was an attempt to influence the movement that we had abandoned back in 1969. It tried to reach out to many thousands of New Leftist and former New Leftists by saying, in effect, 'Don’t despair, we’re all part of the same thing'". Bill Ayers explains that Prairie Fire “was an attempt to sum up our thinking since the ‘Weatherman’ paper and especially since the townhouse. Through it we hoped to consolidate our political organization and to forge unity with progressive activist”. Ayers is referring to the 1970 Greenwich Village townhouse explosion which killed 3 members of Weatherman, Diana Oughton, Theodore Gold, and Terry Robbins. The book was a call to organize. It was Weather's attempt to ask the questions that all revolutionary groups faced and to apply the lessons of former revolutionary groups to the present fight against imperialism. By creating this book, the Weatherman Underground required help from the aboveground community to distribute the book including Van Lydegraf and Jennifer Dohrn. This is how the Prairie Fire Distribution Committee was created which later became the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee.
In 1974 the book Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-imperialism was created by various members of the group Weatherman Underground. At this time, discussion groups were started to discuss the issues that arose from the book. There was also help needed from people above ground to distribute the book to others. In 1979, the victory of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and the FMLN-led people’s war in El Salvador put the ideals of a just society in the center of attention. In the 1980s, there was a large solidarity movement that developed in the U.S. in response to America’s military intervention in Central America. The Prairie Fire Organizing Committee actively participated. In 1980, the U.S. government arrested eleven Puerto Ricans, members of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional (FALN, the Armed Forces of National Liberation), who were committing acts of terrorism to gain independence for Puerto Rico. Prairie Fire worked as alliances with the Puerto Rican independent movement to demand the release of the prisoners. Since 1984 Prairie Fire has been active in the annual International Women’s Day that is held on March 8 in Chicago. Members participate in marches and programs based around the event. In the 1990s, Prairie Fire joined WAC, the Women's Action Coalition, to take direct action against sexism by fighting for women’s rights to their bodies and access to women’s clinics. In 1996, Prairie Fire initiated the Not On The Guest List Coalition which organized a demonstration at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. It was a demonstration that focused its attention on the Death Penalty, racism and classism within the criminal justice system, and for the release of political prisoners which are held within the U.S. prisons. Currently, Prairie Fire also works with thousands of people in the U.S. to protest the war against Iraq and they are activists in many other domains of societal issues that are prevalent in the global community.
- Jacobs, Ron. (1997). The Way The Wind Blew: A History of The Weather Underground. New York: Verso p. 158
- Dohrn, Bernardine; Jones, Jeff; Ayers, Billy; Sojourn, Celia. (1974)Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism: Political Statement of the Weather Underground. m: Communications Co. p. 6
- Berger, D. (2006). Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground And the Politics of Solidarity. Albany.pg. 192
- Berger, D. (2006). Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground And the Politics of Solidarity. Albany. p. 184
- Berger, D. (2006). Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground And the Politics of Solidarity. Albany.pgs. 127-128
- Jacobs, Ron. (1997). The Way The Wind Blew: A History of The Weather Underground. New York: Verso p.163
- Jacobs, Ron. (1997). The Way The Wind Blew: A History of The Weather Underground. New York: Verso pg. 160
- prairiefire.org in the "history" section of the website
- Berger, D. (2006). Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground And the Politics of Solidarity. Albany.
- Sing a Battle Song: The Revolutionary Poetry, Statements, And Communiques of the Weather Underground 1970 - 1974 (1st Seven Stories Press Ed ed.). (2006). New York: Seven Stories Press.
- Dohrn, Bernardine; Jones, Jeff; Ayers, Billy; Sojourn, Celia. (1974)Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism: Political Statement of the Weather Underground. m: Communications Co.
- Jacobs, Ron. (1997). The Way The Wind Blew: A History of The Weather Underground. New York: Verso