By Lee Weiner
August 4, 2020
5" x 7.25"
In March 1969, eight young men were indicted by the federal government for conspiracy to incite a riot. Most of them barely knew each other, having come together briefly to protest the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. First dubbed the “Conspiracy 8” and later the “Chicago 7,” the group included firebrands like Abbie Hoffman and Bobby Seale, but also a little-known scholar, community activist, and social worker named Lee Weiner, who was just as surprised as the rest of the country when his name was called.
The ensuing trial was a media sensation, and it changed Weiner’s life forever. But as he recalls in his memoir, the actions that brought him before a jury of his peers were part of a long tradition of American radicalism that had shaped him from an early age. From his family’s South Sde communist roots to anti-war campus sit-ins and high-profile political appointments, A Life on the Left shows how commitment to your ideals can change your destiny—for better and for worse.
Lee Weiner was born and raised on Chicago’s South Side. His activist life began with free-speech demonstrations at the University of Illinois in 1960, included community organizing in desperately poor neighborhoods in Chicago, and led to his indictment in the notorious Chicago 7 trial in 1969. His later political work included data analysis for members of Congress and national non-profit organizations. Along the way, he collected a couple of Master’s degrees and a PhD in Sociology. He now lives in Florida.