Eighty-five thousand cheering fans. Pyrotechnics. A dramatic, temple-style backdrop. Such was the scene in Denver Thursday night as Barack Obama accepted his party’s presidential nomination with “great humility.” As his deep voice reverberated throughout the massive venue, thousands of eyes welled up with tears of hope and change. In the sea of faces and waving flags stood a woman by the name of Marilyn Katz. Like several of the other radicals who populate Obama’s sphere, she once advocated guerilla tactics against police officers and participated in violent riots. Unlike some of her more infamous counterparts like Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn—who are in self-imposed exile until November 5—Katz is deeply, and officially, involved in Obama’s presidential campaign.
In 1969, an undercover policeman named William Frapolly took the stand at the infamous “Chicago Seven” trials. Prosecutors asked him to describe his collaboration with organizers of the violent protests that roiled the previous year’s Democratic National Convention. Frapolly testified that on one chaotic night in Lincoln Park, Ms. Katz briefed a group of protesters on a new addition to their arsenal of anarchy: Guerrilla nails. “She had two types,” he recounted. “One was a cluster of nails that were sharpened at both ends, and they were fastened in the center. It looked like they were welded or soldered. She said these were good for throwing or putting underneath tires.”
Katz wasn’t just an aggrieved foot soldier in the anti-war movement. She was the head of security for the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a hardcore leftist cabal from which Ayers’ militant Weathermen organization splintered away. As the SDS security comrade-in-chief, Katz was intimately familiar with the group’s extreme tactics, which were employed repeatedly in clashes with authorities. Four decades later, Katz has traded in her guerilla nails for manicured nails, and is actively working to elect Barack Obama president.