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The All-Women Terrorist Plot To Bomb The Capitol

The 1983 bombing of the Capitol Building caused a million dollars in damages.
Library of Congress
The 1983 bombing of the Capitol Building caused a million dollars in damages.

On November 7, 1983, a bomb exploded in the U.S. Capitol. The blast caused roughly a million dollars worth of damage, but no one was killed or injured.

An all-women group called May 19th was behind it. And counterterrorism expert William Rosenau’s new book takes us inside the group and their motives.

Here’s an excerpt from the book, published in The Daily Beast:

May 19th hated sexism, chauvinism, and misogyny, but its members weren’t interested in the crunchy, women-only lifestyle embraced by the separatists. As one woman close to May 19th explained, “I think it was a reaction to… lesbian separatism, and being like, oh, if we just go back to our own land, and leave men out of our lives, then everything will be fine, and we can just wear our Birkenstocks, and have our women-only spaces, and live our own lives.”

For May 19th, revolutionary politics came first. Sexual oppression, capitalism, racism, imperialism—all of that horror went together. Lesbian liberation required national liberation.

Rosenau also makes the case that “Americans see terrorism as something alien, foreign, and rare. But violent political extremism is woven deeply into our history.”

What do the methods and aims of terrorist groups from the 1960s-1980s tell us about domestic terrorism today?

Produced by Kathryn Fink.


William Rosenau, Senior research scientist, CNA; international security fellow, New America; author, “Tonight We Bombed the U.S. Capitol: The Explosive Story of M19, America’s First Female Terrorist Group”

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

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