This article originally ran in the March 26, 1974 Boston Phoenix.
From Mu, a lost land of legends, they march on America (or at least San Francisco) — the Symbionese Liberation Army, probably not more than a dozen "soldiers," and among these at least one Field Marshal and one General. They choose as their symbol the seven-headed cobra, the Naga of Lemuria: in fact they rip out a page of Colonel James Churchward's book The Sacred Symbols of Mu and reprint it for their pamphlets.
San Francisco — A picture of Patricia Hearst from the Symbionese Liberation Army insignia and shows her holding what is described as an automatic weapon.
Roots so strange are only one of the confusing aspects of this new terrorist group uncovered in a two-week investigation, but here, in the bewildering thickets of the mysticism so dear to many Californians the logic of the SLA is surprisingly clear.
Churchward's three books on Mu, often racked beside Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Trilogy in paperback book stores is a legend of an early land, a continent lost to the world centuries before Atlantis was born; he writes in dry, anthropology through the sacred legends a vision of creation roughly based upon Brahmidic legends of India. Brahmic mysticism divides earthly evolution into seven racial epochs; it is only in the third, the Lemurian Epoch, that man took physical form. It was the age according to the myth, in which the Negroid race reached its cultural zenith. (The fourth epoch, the age of Atlantis, saw the mongoloid Asian races at their zenith. We're now in the fifth epoch, and have been for centuries, the age of Europe, with the Caucasian race rising to its apex and the inevitable fall. The sixth epoch will see a hybrid — tawny skinned blondes ruling the world from the Pacific basin area. The seventh epoch, a long way off, will find man only in spirit, invisible.)
An SLA leaflet explains that the Naga, the ancient symbol for god and life, was chosen as their emblem to signify the strength of the oppressed united, "because our forces are from every walk of life, every religion, and every race..." In fact, according to well informed sources, the SLA actually consists of primarily middle-class whites in their late twenties led by a charismatic black escaped convict, Donald David DeFreeze, "General Field Marshal Cinque."
A General Field Marshal, another General (a woman), and perhaps another ten "soldiers"! An army! There is little that is of normal scale in all this furor, not in the SLA itself, not in any of the events that have transpired since the "Symbionese Federation" declared war on the fascist corporate-military-capitalist state, and certainly not in the enormous media happening that all this has become, a media event uniquely manipulated by the SLA itself.
The Symbionese Liberation Army is now holding captive nineteen-year-old Patricia Hearst, daughter of conservative media czar Randolph A. Hearst, chairman of the corporation that owns the Herald American and the nationwide Hearst chain of newspapers, magazines and broadcast stations, and Mrs. Randolph Hearst, a member of the conservative Board of Regents for the multi-campus University of California.