QUESTION: weather underground symbology

question / pregunta: 


I've been researching the meaning of the symbology/logos of radical organizations through history. One rather prominent logo that I cannot find any info on is the weather underground's. Can you give me information on what the rainbow with an arrow crossing it means?

Thanks in advance, and happy new year year to ya,



Searching out contemporary accounts of the design and intended meaning of the logo would require going through numerous print accounts and scattered archival collections, but Bill Ayers does refer to the symbol in a 2006 blog post:

Each letter had a logo hand-drawn across the page—our trademark thick and colorful rainbow with a slash of angry lightning cutting through it. New morning, it signified, changing weather. Oddly, as intense as it all looks and sounds, it was in our minds then cautious and responsible, a huge de-escalation from the apocalyptic plans of just months earlier. In any case, I loved that symbol of peace and reconciliation balanced by the hot bolt of justice.

This is tempered by 30+ years of memory, but gives you the basic idea. The lightning bolt is also suggestive of the "single spark [that] ignites a prairie fire," the Mao Zedong quote that inspired the title of the WUO manifesto Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-imperialism.

Here are a couple of secondary works plus a few books by former WUO members who aren't Bill Ayers that might be worth checking into for references to the origins of the symbol. To be fair I should mention that while I will link to Worldcat records to help folks find these in libraries, the "people who bought this also bought" feature of that big online bookseller's site was very helpful here - sad to say they do a better job than OCLC with providing a flexible, user-friendly, data rich book search. Life under capitalism.

Memoirs/primary sources:

A couple of secondary sources:

hope for further input

I am hoping that others with better knowledge of/access to the primary sources can elaborate.

Suggestions for sources

Hi Peter,

This isn't really an answer, but since the Weather Underground has been written about so many times, I would be surprised if a mention of the symbol did not show up in some of the histories of the organization, as the authors probably have already done the work of gathering primary source materials. Here is a link to a simple search I did on WorldCat--maybe some of these you haven't looked at before and could get your hands on?

I searched Alt-PressWatch for

I searched Alt-PressWatch for < ("weather underground" OR weatherm*n) AND symbol* AND rainbow > and did not find the answer.

Maybe we should ask Barack Obama since he's best friends with Bill Ayers and was practically a Weatherman himself and probably still is?

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