Mother Country Radicals

Crooked Media

Zayd Dohrn was born underground - his parents were radicals and counter-culture outlaws, on the run from the FBI. Now Zayd takes us back to the 1970s, when his parents and their young friends in the Weather Underground Organization declared war on the United States government. They brawled with riot cops on the streets of Chicago, bombed the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, broke comrades out of prison, and teamed up with Black militant groups to rob banks, fight racism - and help build a revolution. read less

Our Editor's Take

The Mother Country Radicals podcast is the story of one family's revolutionary history. Host Zayd Dohrn was born while his parents were running from the FBI. In 1970, his 28-year-old mother was on their most-wanted list and considered an enemy of the state. This series follows Zayd's journey to discover more about his mother. Who was the woman who was once known as the most dangerous woman in America?

Chapter one of Mother Country Radicals starts with his mother, Bernardine Dohrn. A hidden cassette tape reveals the first communication from the Weather Underground. Zayd's parents (his father was Bill Ayers) were the group's founders, living in a crowded safe house in San Francisco. As Zayd listens to his mother's voice on the recording, he reveals knowing her as shy and reserved. His mother felt she had to communicate their message and became a symbol of revolution.

Podcast listeners will learn about the controversial actions made by the Weather Underground. This idea of white people risking their lives for the Black Civil Rights movement was powerful. The far-left group had to teach themselves what it meant to be revolutionaries. They trained up on everything from making bombs to fighting the police. While some saw the organization as freedom fighters, others saw them as terrorists. Given the host's lineage, Mother Country Radicals is sympathetic towards the group.

Each podcast chapter focuses on a different part of this unbelievable history. One focuses on The Black Panthers and its relationship with Weather Underground. Another episode talks about the opposition to the Vietnam War. It led to violent action and bombings of government buildings. When a townhouse in Greenwich Village exploded, detectives discovered bomb-making equipment. Zayd's parents visited the site for years to commemorate their lost members that day.

In the last episode, Zayd connects with children like him who were born during the revolution. One was born in prison shortly before a jailbreak helped them escape. Another person talks about trying to understand the sacrifices their parents made. Mother Country Radicals captures a forgotten chapter of 1960s history.

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