Early Motherfuckers included Tom Neumann, the stepson of Herbert Marcuse, John Sundstrom, Alan Hoffman (who was subsequently killed in a highway accident in Northern California), and numerous others. The political ideology of the Motherfuckers was strongly influenced by the writings of anarchists, and by "The Mass Psychology of Fascism," an essay by Sigmund Freud's rebellious student Wilhelm Reich. The Motherfuckers thought of themselves as "a street gang with an analysis"; an affinity group. In fact it was they who coined the term and first used it. This analysis grew out of a rigorous study of the works of such historic anarchists as Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin, the Wobblies and others.
The Motherfuckers contributed to New York City's counterculture by setting up crash pads, serving free food, starting a free store, and helping radicals connect with doctors and lawyers. They were opposed to and resisted on principle any attempt to impose order on the political demonstrations they participated in. Among other things, the Motherfuckers instigated brawls with Stalinist groups such as the Progressive Labor Party.
Eventually, as the political and economic climate changed toward 1970-1971, the Motherfuckers ceased concentrated activities in New York City, stopped referring to themselves as UAW/MF, and many members moved to New Mexico, California, and other states. Morea himself moved with his wife to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, where they lived for five years on horseback, gathering and poaching game. Other UAW/MF members became loosely absorbed into an interconnected network of communes and collectives known as Armed Love or simply, "The Family" (not to be confused with some other counter-culture and religious groups which also referred to themselves as "the Family") With Black Bear Ranch as a spiritual center, the Armed Love collectives spread out along the rural and urban coastline of California and Oregon, existed in Vermont, New Mexico, and other locations. As Motherfucker Terry C. once stated, "Motherfuckers was just a form. That time is past. It's time to move on."
When Morea was asked in a 2005 interview by John McMillian of the New York Press how he had been able to rationalize supporting Solanas, Morea replied, "Rationalize? I didn't rationalize anything. I loved Valerie and I loathed Andy Warhol, so that's all there was to it." He then added "I mean, I didn't want to shoot him." But then he 'doubled back' again: "Andy Warhol ruined art."
The Motherfuckers were never part of the Situationist International. Situationist Raoul Vaneigem did not want to have anything to do with them during his visit to New York City; Morea castigated Vaneigem in correspondence, for his out-of-touch 'person of letters' persona; and the English section of the Situationist International was expelled in 1967 for its ties to the Motherfuckers. They went on to form the King Mob group.
Most of the lyrics for the 1969 song "We Can Be Together", by the acid rock band Jefferson Airplane were used virtually word for word on a leaflet written by Motherfucker John Sundstrom, and published as "The Outlaw Page" in the East Village Other newspaper. The lyrics read in part, "We are all outlaws in the eyes of Amerika. In order to survive we steal, cheat, lie, forge, fuck, hide, and deal... Everything you say we are, we are... Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker!" The song marked the first use of the word "fuck" on television, when the group played it uncensored on The Dick Cavett Show on August 19, 1969. This song also helped popularize the phrase as a counterculture rallying cry, over and beyond the immediate impact of the anarchist group.
On Beatles bootlegs taken from the January 1969 Get Back Sessions at Twickenham Studios in London, John Lennon asks the group, "Has anybody heard the Motherfuckers? American group. He says that they'll never get a billboard with that or to imagine if they get a number 1 hit: "The number 1 this week is the Motherfuckers followed by Engelbert Humperdinck." This excerpt first appeared on the 1987 vinyl Beatles bootleg The Real Case Has Just Begun.
At various times, the line became popular among several groups that came out of the sixties, from Black Panthers to feminists and even "rednecks." In the 1970s, Texas country singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard adapted the famous phrase for a song he wrote entitled "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother". It has similarly been incorporated in a number of other musical compositions including the album Penance Soiree by The Icarus Line and that of Lucien Francoeur's band Aut'chose.