The campaign was launched in Boston in September 1995 by Lydia Eccles – a Boston artist who had long harbored concerns about "totalitarian tendencies in technology" – and antinatalist Chris Korda. It took the overt form of a political action committee, Unabomber Political Action Committee (UNAPACK). Influenced initially by ideas of the Situationist International, the group included anarchists, hard-core punk rockers, '60s types, eco-leftists, pacifists, militants and primitivists. Its supporters included decentralized anarchist collective CrimethInc. and the Church of Euthanasia.
The campaign received national publicity, and attempts by news organizations to portray it as frivolous were resisted by UNAPACK, who insisted that the issues raised by Kaczynski were portentous, concerning "the fate of mankind". In the words of the Phoenix New Times, the campaign was "an effort designed to cast votes in protest of the existing hierarchy and its potential replacement." The Maoist Internationalist Movement criticized the campaign as typifying "life-style politics anarchism" and as encouraging protest votes instead of seizing political power from the bourgeoisie.
As Bill Brown, director of the campaign's New York office, said at the time "most of the media are unable to deal with the campaign…[t]here is no way for people to understand why you would say 'Unabomber for President' and that gives us a tactical opportunity to explain ourselves." The intended symbolism of the campaign was not that it was a joke, but that the political system was a joke.