Direct Action: Left Wing Activism in the 1970s and 1980′s

Dr. Eryk Martin – A member of the history department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, gives an interesting, almost-contemporary lecture about the radical left to a meeting of about 65 people at the MoV Oct 27, 2016 . He focuses in the first part on the Squamish Five, whose bombings of BC Hydro facilities in 1982 brought them instant notoriety, and described the process of radicalization (in San Francisco and Paris) of two of the members. He then described the Wimmin’s Fire Brigade, radicalized by the tidal wave of violent porn in the 1970s, who struck back with bombings of Red Hot Video outlets in 1982. The issue of « Direct Action » – of individuals taking the law into their own hands after seeing an unsatisfactory (in their eyes) response from authorities – animated the entire presentation. One particularly interesting part was the unwillingness of these BC radicals to attempt any assassinations, unlike their German and Italian counterparts of the time; sabotage of property was their goal. Dr. Martin ends with the rhetorical question of whether these direct actions had had any lasting effect.

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