- Socialist, lesbian, and current visiting college lecturer
- In the 1960s, was an organizer for the radical group – Students for a Democratic Society
- In the 1970s, was a member of the domestic terrorist group – the Weather Underground
- In the 1980s, was a member of the domestic terrorist group – the May 19th Communist Organization
- Arrested and pled guilty to the bombing of the U.S. Capitol in 1983
- “I don't really even care that much whether people think I'm a terrorist or not.”
Laura Whitehorn is an activist who takes her anti-war, anti-capitalism message to college campuses across the country as a visiting lecturer. She is a Socialist, a lesbian, and (according to Duke University’s department of black studies) a “revolutionary anti-imperialist.”
Whitehorn was an organizer for Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), one of America’s most influential radical groups in the 1960s. In 1969 she, along with other influential SDS members known as the Weathermen took over SDS, dissolved it and formed the Weather Underground to conduct a terrorist war against the United States.. Their idea was to use acts of terrorism to “bring the monster [the U.S.] down.”
Also in 1969, members of the newly-founded Weathermen traveled to Havana, Cuba to strategize their impending attack on America. At that time in Havana, camps established by Soviet KGB Colonel Vadim Kotchergine were indoctrinating Westerners both in the ideology of Marxism and urban warfare. When the Weathermen returned to the United States in October of that year, they launched the “Days of Rage” riots in Chicago. Late on the night of October 6, members of the Weathermen blew up America’s only monument to policemen, a statue that was located in Chicago’s Haymarket Square. The force of the explosion shattered some 100 windows in the vicinity, and ignited several violent days during which the Weathermen used guerrilla-style tactics to viciously attack police officers and civilians alike; in addition, they destroyed vast amounts of public property with homemade explosives. Whitehorn was arrested for her participation in the violence.
During the 1970s, the Weathermen intensified their attacks: they bombed New York City Police Headquarters in 1970; the Capitol building in 1971; and the Pentagon in 1972. By the dawn of the 1980s, most of the Weathermen had moved on, either to other ventures or to prison cells. Whitehorn, for her part, found refuge in another domestic terrorist organization – the May 19th Communist Organization, which served as a support group for the Black Liberation Army, an ultra-violent splinter faction of the Black Panther Party. The May 19th Communist Organization also worked in conjunction with the Puerto Rican Armed Forces of National Liberation, a Marxist terrorist outfit responsible for 120 terrorist bombings in the United States. In 1981, Whitehorn’s new group brutally murdered a security guard and two police officers in an armored truck robbery in New York; their goal was to procure additional funds for their terrorist bombing campaign. Between 1983 and 1985, the group bombed 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. The bombings were said to be in protest to the U.S. invasion of Communist Grenada. Whitehorn was eventually arrested and pled guilty to the bombing of the U.S. Capitol. She was paroled in 1999.
Of her complicity in the bombings, Whitehorn has said, “I'm unrepentant. I'm proud of my motives.” Notwithstanding her self-satisfied reflections on her violent past, Whitehorn is a frequent guest speaker on college campuses. In 2003 she was invited by a professor in Duke University’s African and African-American Studies program to speak to students on campus. Publicity for the event promoted Whitehorn as a “political prisoner,” and a “champion of human rights” never mentioning the bombing campaign that had led to her incarceration. Whitehorn has also spoken at Brown University, Cornell University, and Vassar College. “I don't really even care that much whether people think I'm a terrorist or not,” says Whitehorn. “These labels have everything to do with your own politics and not much with what the people do.” By contrast, Whitehorn readily labels the actions of the U.S. as terrorism, including American involvement in both the Vietnam War and the current War in Iraq.