- "Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people."
- --motto of the Symbionese Liberation Army
The Symbionese Liberation Army dates its formation from the escape of "Cinque" (Donald DeFreeze) from Vacaville Prison on March 5, 1973. He had been active in revolutionary politics in prison, and sought sanctuary with the Black Cultural Association in the San Francisco Bay Area. For some time he shared a house with future SLA members Willie Wolfe and Russ Little, then moved in with Mizmoon Soltysik. They became lovers (Cinque was black, Mizmoon white, a fact that was significant in 1973) and began to outline the plans for forming the "Symbionese Nation."
The SLA committed their first "revolutionary" action in November 1973 when they murdered Oakland, California schools superintendent Dr. Marcus Foster. Their stated reason was that a plan of Dr. Foster's to introduce ID cards into Oakland schools was "fascist." In January 1974, Joe Remiro and Russ Little were arrested and charged with the murder of Dr. Foster. Little was ultimately acquitted on retrial, but Remiro was convicted and remains in prison.
The SLA was already planning their next action. Documents found by the FBI at one abandoned safehouse revealed plans set for the "full moon of January 7". The FBI did not take any precautions and the SLA did not act until a month later, but on February 4, publishing heiress Patricia Hearst was kidnapped from her Berkeley apartment.
Other members include Kathleen Soliah, whose attempt to kill officers of the Los Angeles Police Department failed on August 21, 1975, when her bombs would not detonate. She remained a fugitive until her arrest in 1999 and her guilty plea in 2001.