May 19th Communist Organization

The May 19th Communist Organization (also variously referred to as the May 19 Coalition, May 19 Communist Coalition or M19CO) was a US-based far-left armed group[1] formed by members of the Weather Underground Organization. The group was originally known as the New York chapter of the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee (PFOC), an organization devoted to promoting the causes of the Weather Underground legally, as part of the Prairie Fire Manifesto's change in Weather Underground Organization strategy, which demanded both aboveground mass movements and clandestine organizations. The role of the clandestine organization would be to build the "consciousness of action" and prepare the way for the development of a people's militia. Concurrently, the role of the mass movement, the above-ground Prairie Fire Collective, would include the support for and the encouragement of armed action. Such an alliance would, according to Weather, "help create the 'sea' for the guerrillas to swim in."[2] The M19CO name was derived from the birthdays of Ho Chi Minh and Malcolm X.[3] The May 19 Communist Organization was active from 1978 to 1985. M19CO was a combination of the Black Liberation Army and the Weather Underground. It also included members of the Black Panthers and the Republic of New Africa (RNA).[4][5]

May 19th Communist Organization
LeadersElizabeth Ann Duke
Kathy Boudin
Judith Alice Clark
and David Gilbert
Dates of operation1978–1985
Active regionsUnited States
Battles and warsEdna Mahan jailbreak
1983 United States Senate bombing

In addition to the May 19th Communist Organization being made up of the Black Liberation Army, the group was formed because of infighting in the Weather Underground Organization.[6] Following the split of the Weather Underground Organization into factions, the faction that favored more extreme actions to achieve its objectives joined the Black Liberation Army, forming the May 19th Communist Organization. One of the founders, Laura Whitehorn, was also part of the Weather Underground Organization's predecessor, the Students for a Democratic Society. In addition to being known as the May 19th Communist Organization and the New York chapter of the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee, the group was also known as the Armed Resistance Movement, the Red Guerilla Resistance, Resistance Conspiracy, and Revolutionary Fighting Group.[7] Despite these other monikers, the group was most popularly known as the May 19th Communist Organization, predicated on the Communist Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh's birthday.[8]

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