The Symbionese Liberation Army (S.L.A.) was an American self-styled urban guerrilla warfare group active between 1973 and 1975 that considered itself a revolutionary vanguard army. The group committed bank robberies, two murders and other acts of violence.
The S.L.A. became internationally notorious for kidnapping media heiress Patty Hearst, abducting the 19-year-old as she and her 26-year-old boyfriend, Steven Weed, sat relaxing in their Berkeley, California home. National interest grew into worldwide fascination when Hearst, in audiotaped messages delivered to (and broadcast by) regional news media, denounced her parents and announced she had joined the S.L.A. She was subsequently observed participating in their illegal activities. Hearst later alleged that she had been held in close confinement, sexually assaulted and brainwashed.
In his manifesto "Symbionese Liberation Army Declaration of Revolutionary War & the Symbionese Program," Donald DeFreeze wrote, "The name 'symbionese' is taken from the word 'symbiosis' and we define its meaning as a body of dissimilar bodies and organisms living in deep and loving harmony and partnership in the best interest of all within the body."