Message to Bill Ayers:
I am currently studying your biography and am astonished at your entire history of hatred for free society. I cannot express strongly enough my disdain of your life work. You choose to believe the worst about the best the world has ever known. On the principals of Biblical precedence this country has fought evil within its own ranks as well as around the world. This country has been the greatest influence for personal freedom and the accountability of government leaders in the history of governments. I have nothing but contempt for your work. I believe you are the biggest reason our schools and our society is suffering communist indoctrination. A method of governance that has proven to be the bane of society everywhere it has ever been applied. There is simply no capacity within the nature of man to create utopia. Stop trying, it only makes a way for tyrants to commit the worst human rights violations imaginable. All your heroes are these same tyrants. (Mao, Guevara, Castro, Lenin, Marx, Chavez, etc.,)
ps. this research began on the oft repeated charge against patriots of ‘jingoist.’ Thank you for drawing my attention to your hatred of me and like minded people. Now I know my enemy. Now I know the root of the evil influence on our children.
Movie Trailer of the documentary "The Weather Underground"
William C. ("Bill") Ayers (born 1944) is a Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has worked on school reform in Chicago. He was a 1960's era radical and a founder of the Weatherman group which later became the Weather Underground. (My addition) He is honored as one of the most influential speakers on educational reform and therefore is called upon to speak at educational institutions around the world.
From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weatherman_%28organization%29
Weatherman, known colloquially as the Weathermen and later the Weather Underground Organization, was a violent U.S. radical left group formed in 1969 by leaders and members who split from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). They took their name from a lyric in the Bob Dylan song "Subterranean Homesick Blues","You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," which they used as the title of a position paper they distributed at an SDS convention in Chicago on June 18th, 1969, as part of a special edition of New Left Notes. The Weathermen were initially part of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) within the SDS, splitting from the RYM's Maoists by claiming there was no time to build a vanguard party and that revolutionary war against the United States and the capitalist system should begin immediately.
Their founding document, signed by 11 people, including Mark Rudd, Bernardine Dohrn, John Jacobs, Bill Ayers, Jim Mellen, Terry Robbins, Karen Ashley, Jeff Jones, Gerry Long, and Steve Tappis, called for the establishment of a "white fighting force" to be allied with the "Black Liberation Movement" and other "anti-colonial" movements, to achieve the goal of "the destruction of U.S. imperialism and the achievement of a classless world: world Communism." The statement noted, "A revolution is a war; when the movement in this country can defend itself militarily against total repression it will be a part of the revolutionary war." The group's first public demonstration was the "Days of Rage," an October 8, 1969 rally in Chicago that was coordinated with the trial of the Chicago Eight.
In 1970 the group issued a "Declaration of a State of War" against the United States government, under the name "Weather Underground Organization" (WUO), and members adopted fake identities and pursued violent covert activities. They carried out a domestic terror campaign in the United States, consisting of bombings, jailbreaks, and riots. Their attacks were mostly bombings of government buildings between 1969 and 1975, including the United States Capitol (two bombs on March 1, 1970), The Pentagon (May 19, 1972), and the Harry S Truman Building housing the United States Department of State (on January 29, 1975), along with several banks, police department headquarters and precincts, state and federal courthouses, and state prison administrative offices. They were also notable for the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion that claimed the lives of three of their own members in 1970. The Weathermen largely disintegrated shortly after the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973 and the conquest of South Vietnam by the communist North in 1975, which saw the general decline of the New Left. Members of the group participated in the Brinks robbery of 1981, in which two police officers and a security guard were killed.
The group emerged from the campus-based opposition to the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movements of the late 1960s. During this time, United States military action in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam, escalated. In the U.S., the anti-war sentiment was particularly pronounced during the 1968 U.S. presidential election.
The origins of the Weathermen can be traced to the collapse and fragmentation of the Students for a Democratic Society. The split between the mainstream leadership of SDS, or "National Office," and the Progressive Labor Party pushed SDS as a whole further to the left. National Office leaders such as Bernardine Dohrn and Mike Klonsky began announcing their emerging perspectives, and Klonksy published a document entitled "Toward a Revolutionary Youth Movement" (RYM). RYM promoted the philosophy that young workers possessed the potential to be a revolutionary force to overthrow capitalism, if not by themselves then by transmitting radical ideas to the working class. Klonsky's document reflected the growing leftist philosophy of the National Office and was eventually adopted as official SDS doctrine. During the Summer of 1969, the National Office began to split. A group led by Klonsky became known as RYM II, and the other side, RYM I, was led by Dohrn and endorsed more aggressive tactics.
 SDS Convention, 1969
At an SDS convention in Chicago on June 18th, 1969, the National Office attempted to convince unaffiliated delegates not to endorse Progressive Labor ideals. At the beginning of the convention, two position papers were passed out by the National Office leadership, one a revised statement of Klonksy's RYM manifesto, the other called "You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows." The latter document outlined the position of the group that would become the Weathermen. It had been signed by 11 people, including Mark Rudd, Bernardine Dohrn, John Jacobs, Bill Ayers, Jim Mellen, Terry Robbins, Karen Ashley, Jeff Jones, Gerry Long, and Steve Tappis.
After the summer of 1969 fragmentation of Students for a Democratic Society, Weatherman's adherents explicitly claimed themselves the real leaders of SDS and retained control of the SDS National Office. Thereafter, any leaflet, label, or logo bearing the name "Students for a Democratic Society" or "SDS" was in fact the views and politics of Weatherman, and not of SDS as a whole. Weatherman contained the vast majority of former SDS National Committee members, including Mark Rudd, David Gilbert and Bernadine Dohrn. For this reason, the group, while small, was able to easily commandeer the mantle of SDS and all of its membership lists. For a brief time, affiliations with regional SDS cadre were maintained from the National Office, but with Weatherman in charge the relationships did not last long, and local chapters soon disbanded. By February 1970, the group had decided to close the SDS National Office, concluding the major campus-based organization of the 1960s.
The name Weatherman was derived from the Bob Dylan song “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, which featured the lyrics “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” The lyrics had been quoted at the bottom of an influential essay in the SDS newspaper, New Left Notes. Using this title the Weathermen meant, partially, to appeal to the segment of American youth inspired to action for social justice by Dylan’s songs. It appears also that the “Weatherman” moniker used by the group may have been meant as a rebuke against the Progressive Labor Party, whose Worker Student Alliance SDS faction had succeeded in recruiting many former SDSers to its ranks, and had allegedly co-opted the 1969 convention.
The Weatherman group had long held that militancy was becoming more important than nonviolent forms of anti-war action, and that university-campus-based demonstrations needed to be punctuated with more dramatic actions, which had the potential to interfere with the U.S. military and internal security apparatus. The belief was that these types of urban guerrilla actions would act as a catalyst for the coming revolution. Many international events indeed seemed to support the Weathermen’s overall assertion that worldwide revolution was imminent, such as the tumultuous Cultural Revolution in China; the 1968 student revolts in France, Mexico City and elsewhere; the Prague Spring; the emergence of the Tupamaros organization in Uruguay; the emergence of the Guinea-Bissauan Revolution and similar Marxist-led independence movements throughout Africa; and within the United States, the prominence of the Black Panther Party together with a series of “ghetto rebellions” throughout poor black neighborhoods across the country.
The Weathermen were outspoken advocates of the analytical concepts that later came to be known as “white privilege” and identity politics. As the unrest in poor black neighborhoods intensified in the early 1970s, Bernardine Dohrn said, “White youth must choose sides now. They must either fight on the side of the oppressed, or be on the side of the oppressor.”
"Days of Rage"
Haymarket Square police memorial (1889 photo)
One of the first things the Weathermen did upon splitting from SDS was to announce that they would hold the "Days of Rage" that fall. The event was advertised with the slogan "Bring the war home!" Hoping to cause chaos on a level able to "wake" the American public out of what the group saw as the public's complacency toward the "slaughter" of the Vietnamese people, the Weathermen wanted the event to be the largest-scale protest the decade had seen. The Weathermen believed the ‘Days of Rage’ riot was a measurement of commitment towards the New Left. They were with the Weathermen in the struggle or not. Although the October 8, 1969 rally in Chicago had failed to draw as many participants as they had anticipated (originally expecting 10,000), the estimated two to three hundred who did attend shocked police by leading a riot through the Gold Coast neighborhood, smashing windows of a bank and then those of many cars. The Weathermen wanted to bring their fight to the 'rich enemies'. They also blew up a statue dedicated to police casualties in the 1886 Haymarket Riot. That night, six people were shot and seventy were arrested.
 Declaration of a State of War
In 1970, following the police raid that resulted in the death of Black Panther Fred Hampton, the group issued a "Declaration of a State of War" against the United States government, using for the first time its new name, the "Weather Underground Organization" (WUO), adopting fake identities, and pursuing covert activities only. These initially included preparations for a bombing of a U.S. military non-commissioned officers' dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey in what Brian Flanagan said had been intended to be "the most horrific hit the United States government had ever suffered on its territory".
 Greenwich Village explosion
Main article: Greenwich Village townhouse explosion
On March 6, 1970, during preparations for the Fort Dix bombing, there was an explosion in a Greenwich Village safe house. WUO members Diana Oughton, Ted Gold, and Terry Robbins died in the explosion. Cathy Wilkerson and Kathy Boudin escaped unharmed, Wilkerson running naked from the apartment. It was an accident of history that the site of the Village explosion was the former residence of Merrill Lynch brokerage firm founder Charles Merrill and his son, the poet James Merrill. The younger Merrill subsequently recorded the event in his poem 18 West 11th Street, the title being the address of the house. An FBI report later stated that the group had possessed sufficient amounts of explosive to "level ... both sides of the street".
There was talk of infiltration by COINTELPRO that later turned out to be both imagined and real. The vast majority of other Radical Left groups that had not explicitly distanced themselves from the group at the beginning largely did so at the point of the Village explosion accident. Despite their marginalization, the Weather Underground pushed on, releasing a number of manifestos and declarations while carrying on a series of bombings, which from then on were committed free of human casualties. The bombing actions attacked the U.S. Capitol, The Pentagon, police and prison buildings, and later the rebuilt Haymarket statue, among other targets. To avoid any loss of life as a result of these bombings, a WU member would issue warnings to evacuate the building ahead of time via phone.
After the Greenwich Village incident, the Weathermen officially went underground. WUO shrank considerably, becoming even fewer than they had been when first formed. In late April, 1970, members of the Weathermen met in California to discuss what happened in New York and the future of the organization. The group decided against kidnapping and assassinations. They wanted to convince the American public that the United States was truly responsible for the calamity in Vietnam. The group struck at night, bombing empty offices, with warnings issued in advance. After the Greenwich Village explosion, no one was killed by WUO bombs. On 21 May, 1970, a communiqué from the Weather Underground was issued promising to attack a symbol of an American institution within two weeks. The communiqué included taunts towards the FBI, daring them to try and find the group, whose members were spread throughout the United States. Many leftist organizations showed curiosity in the communiqué, and waited to see if the act would in fact occur. However, two weeks would pass without any occurrence. Then on 9 June, 1970, their first publicly acknowledged bombing occurred at a New York City police station. The FBI placed the Weather Underground organization on the ten most-wanted list by the end of 1970. On 19 May, 1972, Ho Chi Minh’s birthday, The Weather Underground placed a bomb in the women’s bathroom in the air force wing of The Pentagon. The damage caused flooding that devastated vital classified information on computer tapes. Leftist groups worldwide applauded the bombing, illustrated by German youth protesting American military systems in Frankfurt.
 Change in direction, "Prairie Fire"
The Weather Underground’s ideology changed direction in the early 1970’s. With help from ex-Progressive Labor member, Clayton Van Lydegraf, The Weather Underground sought a more Marxist-Leninist approach. The leading members of the Weather Underground collaborated ideas and published their manifesto: "Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism." By the summer of 1974, five thousand copies had surfaced in coffee houses and bookstores across America. Leftist newspapers praised the manifesto. Abbie Hoffman publicly praised Prairie Fire and believed every American should be given a copy. The manifesto’s influence initiated the formation of the 'Prairie Fire Organizing Committee' in several American cities. Hundreds of above-ground activists helped further the new political vision of the Weather Underground.
 FBI Office Break-In
In April 1971, The "Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI" broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. The group stole files with several hundred pages, ninety-eight percent of the files targeted left wing individuals and groups. By the end of April, the FBI offices were to terminate all files dealing with leftist groups. The files were a part of an FBI program called COINTELPRO. However, after COINTELPRO was dissolved in 1971 by J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI continued their counterintelligence on groups like the Weather Underground. In 1973, the FBI established the ‘Special Target Information Development’ program, where agents were sent undercover to penetrate the Weather Underground. Due to the illegal tactics of FBI agents involved with the program, government attorneys requested all weapons and bomb related charges be dropped against the Weather Underground. The Weather Underground was no longer a fugitive organization and could turn themselves in with minimal charges against them.
 Timothy Leary prison break
The group also took a $25,000 payment from a psychedelics distribution organization called The Brotherhood of Eternal Love to break LSD advocate Timothy Leary out of prison, transporting him to Algeria. Leary joined Eldridge Cleaver in Algeria; his initial press release contains revolutionary rhetoric sympathetic to the Weather Underground's cause. When Leary was eventually captured by the FBI, it is alleged he offered to serve as an informant to capture the Weather Underground members to reduce his prison sentence. Others, such as Robert Anton Wilson, claim he was just feeding false information to the authorities in an attempt to reduce his sentence. Ultimately no one was charged, and Leary served a few more years in prison.
 Dissolution and aftermath
Despite the change in their status the Weather Underground remained underground. However, by 1976 the organization was disintegrating. The Weather Underground held a conference in Chicago called Hard Times. The idea was to create an umbrella organization for all radical groups. However, the event turned sour when Hispanic and Black groups accused the Weather Underground and the Prairie Fire Committee of limiting their roles in racial issues. The conference enhanced a division within the Weather Underground. The Weather Underground faced accusations of abandonment of the revolution by reversing their original ideology.
East coast members favored a commitment to violence and challenged commitments of old leaders, Bernadine Dohrn, Bill Ayers and Jeff Jones. By the end of 1976, the Weather Underground would collapse. Within two years, many members turned themselves in after taking advantage of President Jimmy Carter’s amnesty for draft dodgers.
Mark Rudd turned himself in to authorities on Jan. 20, 1978. Rudd was fined $4,000 and received two years probation. Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers turned themselves in on Dec. 3, 1980, in New York, with substantial media coverage. Charges were dropped for Ayers. Dohrn received three years probation and a $15,000 fine.
Certain members remained underground and joined other radical groups. David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin joined the "Black Liberation Army." On Oct. 20, 1981, in Nyack New York, the group attempted to rob a Brinks armored truck containing more than $1 million. The robbery turned violent, resulting in the murder of two police officers. David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin were found guilty and sentenced to lengthy terms in prison, considered the “last gasps” of the Weather Underground.
After the group began dissolving in 1977, many members moved on to other radical groups and were subsequently arrested and held for long periods. Very few served prison sentences for their time in the Weather Underground; the infiltration tactics used against them by COINTELPRO made much of the evidence gathered against them deemed illegally obtained and inadmissible in court.
Widely-known members of the Weather Underground include Kathy Boudin, Mark Rudd, Terry Robbins, Ted Gold, Naomi Jaffe, Cathy Wilkerson, Jeff Jones, David Gilbert, Susan Stern, Bob Tomashevsky, Sam Karp, Russell Neufeld, Joe Kelly, Laura Whitehorn and the still-married couple Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers. Most former Weathermen have successfully re-integrated into mainstream society, without necessarily repudiating their original intent. For example, Bill Ayers, now a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in an interview coincidentally published on September 11, 2001 that he does not "regret setting bombs. I believe we didn't do enough." Dohrn and Boudin also still hold to their original beliefs. Members like Brian Flanagan have expressed regret. Still others, such as Mark Rudd, believe the group's original motivation, particularly its position regarding supporting communism, was justified, but its resultant actions were clearly wrong.
 Weathermen documentaries
The WU insisted that Emile de Antonio shoot the documentary Underground in 1976. However, a much more extensive, widespread, and critically-acclaimed documentary emerged in 2002 with the Oscar-nominated The Weather Underground by filmmakers Bill Siegel and Sam Green. A little seen film called Ice had several WU members in a somewhat fictionalized revolutionary setting.
A non-violent faction of the Weather Underground continues today. The Prairie Fire Organizing Committee is committed to the opposition of classism and imperialism, and demands the right to liberation and justice worldwide.
 Chronology of events
- 18-22 June, 1969 – SDS National Convention held in Chicago, Illinois. Publication of "Weatherman" founding statement. Members seize control of SDS National Office.
- July, 1969 – Members Bernardine Dohrn, Eleanor Raskin, Dianne Donghi, Peter Clapp, David Millstone and Diana Oughton travel to Cuba and meet representatives of the North Vietnamese and Cuban governments.
- August 1969 – Weatherman member Linda Sue Evans travels to North Vietnam. Weatherman activists meet in Cleveland, Ohio, in preparation for "Days of Rage" protests scheduled for October, 1969 in Chicago.
- 4 September 1969 – Female members converge on South Hills High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they run through the school shouting anti-war slogans and distributing literature promoting the “National Action.” The term "Pittsburgh 26" refers to the 26 women arrested in connection with this incident.
- 24 September 1969 – A group of members confront Chicago Police during a demonstration supporting the "National Action," and protesting the commencement of the Chicago Eight trial stemming from the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
- 7 October 1969 – The Haymarket Police Statue in Chicago is bombed; The Weathermen later claim credit for the bombing in their book, Prairie Fire.
- 8 October-11, 1969 – The "Days of Rage" riots occur in Chicago, damaging a large amount of property. 287 Weatherman members are arrested, and some become fugitives when they fail to appear for trial in connection with their arrests.
- November-December, 1969 – A small number of Weatherman members join the first contingent of the Venceremos Brigade (VB) that departs for Cuba to harvest sugar cane.
- 6 December 1969 – Bombing of several Chicago Police cars parked in a precinct parking lot at 3600 North Halsted Street, Chicago. The WUO claims responsibility in Prairie Fire, stating it is a protest of the fatal police shooting of Illinois Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark on 4 December 1969.
- 27 December-31, 1969 – The Weathermen hold a "War Council" in Flint, Michigan, where they finalize their plans to change into an underground organization that will commit strategic acts of sabotage against the government. Thereafter they are called the "Weather Underground Organization" (WUO).
- February, 1970 – The WUO closes the SDS National Office in Chicago, concluding the major campus-based organization of the 1960s. The first contingent of the VB returns from Cuba and the second contingent departs. By mid-February the bulk of the leading WUO members go underground.
- 13 February 1970 - Several police vehicles of the Berkeley, California, Police Department are bombed in the police parking lot; 16 February 1970: A bomb is detonated at the Golden Gate Park branch of the San Francisco Police Department, killing one officer and injuring a number of other policemen. No organization claims credit for either bombing.
- March, 1970 – Warrants are issued for several WUO members, who become federal fugitives when they fail to appear for trial in Chicago.
- 6 March 1970 – 34 sticks of dynamite are discovered in the 13th Police District of Detroit, Michigan. During February and early March, 1970, members of the WUO, led by Bill Ayers, are reported to be in Detroit, for the purpose of bombing a police facility.
- 6 March 1970 – WUO members Theodore Gold, Diana Oughton, and Terry Robbins are killed in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, when a nailbomb they were constructing detonates. The bomb was intended to be planted at a non-commissioned officer's dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
- 30 March 1970 – Chicago Police discover a WUO "bomb factory" on Chicago’s north side. A subsequent discovery of a WUO "weapons cache" in a south side Chicago apartment several days later ends WUO activity in the city.
- April, 1970 – The FBI arrests WUO members Linda Sue Evans and Dianne Donghi are arrested in New York.
- 2 April 1970 – A federal grand jury in Chicago returns a number of indictments charging WUO members with violation of federal anti-riot laws. Also, a number of additional federal warrants charging "unlawful flight to avoid prosecution" are returned in Chicago based on the failure of WUO members to appear for trial in local cases. (The Anti-riot Law charges were later dropped in January, 1974.)
- 10 May 1970 – The National Guard Association building in Washington, D.C. is bombed.
- 21 May 1970 – The WUO releases its "Declaration of a State of War" communique under Bernardine Dohrn's name.
- 6 June 1970 – In a letter, the WUO claims credit for bombing of the San Francisco Hall of Justice, although no explosion has occurred. Months later, workmen locate an unexploded bomb.
- 9 June 1970 - The New York City Police headquarters is bombed by Jane Alpert and accomplices. The Weathermen state this is in response to "police repression."
- 23 July 1970 – A federal grand jury in Detroit, Michigan, returns indictments against a number of underground WUO members and former WUO members charging violations of various explosives and firearms laws. (These indictments were later dropped in October, 1973.)
- 27 July 1970 - The United States Army base at The Presidio in San Francisco is bombed on the 11th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. [NYT, 7/27/70]
- 8 October 1970 - Bombing of Marin County courthouse. WUO states this is in retaliation for the killings of Jonathan Jackson, William Christmas, and James McClain. [NYT, 8/10/70]
- 10 October 1970 - A Queens traffic-court building is bombed. WUO claims this is to express support for the New York prison riots. [NYT, 10/10/70, p. 12]
- 14 October 1970 - The Harvard Center for International Affairs is bombed. WUO claims this is to protest the war in Vietnam. [NYT, 10/14/70, p. 30]
- December, 1970 – Fugitive WUO member Caroline Tanker, who fled the country for Cuba, is arrested by the FBI in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Fugitive WUO member Judith Alice Clark is arrested by the FBI in New York.
- 1 March 1971 - The United States Capitol is bombed. WUO states this is to protest the invasion of Laos. President Richard M. Nixon denounces the bombing as a "shocking act of violence that will outrage all Americans." [NYT, 3/2/71]
- April, 1971 – FBI agents discover an abandoned WUO "bomb factory" in San Francisco, California.
- 29 August, 1971 - Bombing of the Office of California Prisons, allegedly in retaliation for the killing of George Jackson. [LAT, 8/29/71]
- 17 September 1971 - The New York Department of Corrections in Albany, New York is bombed, as per the WUO to protest the killing of 29 inmates at Attica State Penitentiary. [NYT, 9/18/71]
- 19 May 1972 - Bombing of The Pentagon, "in retaliation for the U.S. bombing raid in Hanoi." [NYT, 5/19/72]
- 18 May 1973 - The bombing of the 103rd Police Precinct in New York. WUO states this is in response to the killing of 10-year-old black youth Clifford Glover by police.
- 19 September 1973 – A WUO member is arrested by the FBI in New York. Released on bond, this member again submerges into the underground.
- 28 September 1973 - The ITT headquarters in New York and Rome, Italy are bombed. WUO states this is in response to ITT's alleged role in the Chilean coup earlier that month. [NYT, 9/28/73]
- 6 March 1974 - Bombing of the Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare offices in San Francisco. WUO states this is to protest alleged sterilization of poor women. In the accompanying communiqué, the Women’s Brigade argues for "the need for women to take control of daycare, healthcare, birth control and other aspects of women's daily lives."
- 31 May 1974 - The Office of the California Attorney General is bombed. WUO states this is in response to the killing of six members of the Symbionese Liberation Army.
- 17 June 1974 - Gulf Oil's Pittsburgh headquarters is bombed. WUO states this is to protest the company's actions in Angola, Vietnam, and elsewhere.
- July, 1974 – The WUO releases the book Prairie Fire, in which they indicate the need for a unified Communist Party. They encourage the creation of study groups to discuss their ideology, and continue to stress the need for violent acts. The book also admits WUO responsibility of several actions from previous years. The Prairie Fire Organizing Committee (PFOC) arises from the teachings in this book and is organized by many former WUO members.
- 11 September 1974 – Bombing of Anaconda Corporation (part of the Rockefeller Corporation). WUO states this is in retribution for Anaconda’s alleged involvement in the Chilean coup the previous year.
- 29 January 1975 - Bombing of the State Department; WUO states this is in response to escalation in Vietnam. (AP. "State Department Rattled by Blast," The Daily Times-News, January 29 1975, p.1)
- March, 1975 – The WUO releases its first edition of a new magazine entitled Osawatomie.
- 16 June 1975 - Weathermen bomb a Banco de Ponce (a Puerto Rican bank) in New York, WUO states this is in solidarity with striking Puerto Rican cement workers.
- 11 July-13, 1975 – The PFOC holds its first national convention during which time they go through the formality of creating a new organization.
- September, 1975 – Bombing of the Kennecott Corporation; WUO states this is in retribution for Kennecott's alleged involvement in the Chilean coup two years prior.
- October 20, 1981 - Brinks robbery in which Kathy Boudin and several members of the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army stole over $1 million from a Brinks armored car at the Nanuet Mall, near Nyack, New York on October 20, 1981. The robbers were stopped by police later that day and engaged them in a shootout, killing two police officers and one Brinks guard as well as wounding several others.
- Diana Oughton
- Terry Robbins
- Kathy Boudin
- Mark Rudd
- Ted Gold
- Naomi Jaffe
- Cathy Wilkerson
- Jeff Jones (activist)
- Eleanor Raskin
- David Gilbert
- Susan Stern
- Bob Tomashevsky
- Sam Karp
- Russ Neufeld
- Joe Kelly (radical)
- Laura Whitehorn
- Bernardine Dohrn
- Bill Ayers
- Daniel Shakespeare
- Judith Clark
- Sam Melville
- Kit Bakke
- John Jacobs
- Brian Flanagan
(Taken from Ayers own website) Ayers on teaching:
"The paradox of education is precisely this—that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he [sic, throughout] is being educated. The purpose of education, finally, is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions, to say to himself this is black or this is white, to decide for himself whether there is a God in heaven or not. To ask questions of the universe, and then learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity.
Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token save it from that ruin which, except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and the young, would be inevitable. And education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.
The end of all education should surely be service to others. We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about the progress and prosperity of our community. Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others for their sake and for our own.
The drama of education is always a narrative of transformation. Act I is life
as we find it—the given, the known or the received, the settled and the status
quo. Act II is the fireworks, the moment of upheaval and dissonance, the
experience of discovery and surprise, the energy of remodeling and refashioning.
Act III is the achievement of an altered angle of regard, new ways of knowing
and behaving, a new way of seeing and being. Act III, of course, will
necessarily be recast in some future educational encounter as a new Act
This is the fundamental message of the teacher: You can change your life. Wherever you’ve been, whatever you’ve done, the teacher invites you to build on all that you are, and to begin again. There is always something more to do, more to learn and know, more to experience and accomplish. You must change your life, and if you will, you can change your world.
This sense of opportunity and renewal—for individuals, for whole communities and societies—is at the heart of all teaching; it constitutes the ineffable magic drawing us back to the classroom and into the school again and again. Education, no matter where or when it takes place, enables people to become more powerfully and self-consciously alive; it embraces as principle and overarching purpose the aspiration of people to become more fully human; it impels us toward further knowledge, enlightenment, and human community, toward liberation. Education, at its best, is an enterprise that helps human beings reach the full measure of their humanity."
This is a link to Ayers blog:
This is an interview of Ayers by the Voice of the Revolutionary Communist
Party,USA on October 1, 2006. It demonstrates that Ayers has not changed his
hatred for America or his associations with others who do, in the
Interview with Bill Ayers:
On Progressive Education, Critical Thinking and the Cowardice of Some in Dangerous Times
The Revolution Interview is a special feature to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music, literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own, and they are not responsible for the views expressed elsewhere in Revolution and on our website.
Bill Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, returned from summer vacation to find a letter from colleagues he’d worked with for decades. They told him about a conference on progressive education they were planning for the spring, and at the same time informed him that he would not be welcome to it!
Professor Ayers is the author of Teaching Toward Freedom and many other books, anthologies, and essays on progressive education that have appeared in many journals, including Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Teacher Education, Teachers College Record, Rethinking Schools, Nation, and Cambridge Journal of Education. Ayers is also the author of the book Fugitive Days, about his experiences as one of the founders of the ‘60s-’70s group the Weather Underground.
Revolution correspondent Reggie Dylan recently spoke with Bill Ayers about his colleagues’ letter and its larger implications.
Reggie Dylan: Tell us about how you learned that you had been “disinvited” to a conference by your colleagues, and about your initial response.
Bill Ayers: I returned from summer vacation and I had a letter on my desk. The people who wrote the letter were an administrator at a university, a dean, and then a couple of people I knew pretty well, actually. I think I was stunned to get it because what it said in effect was we’re having an important progressive education conference, we count you as one of the important progressive educators in our era. Therefore we feel we owe you an explanation of why you’re not invited. And my first read, I kind of laughed and put it aside. But then as I thought about it I thought… There’s not a single sign of the times, there are many, many signs of the times, and some of them are quite hopeful, some of them are quite exciting, but here’s one of the dismal signs of the times. These guys aren’t just progressive, they’re socialists, and they think of themselves as activists. And yet they feel that in order to have a meeting that will be legitimate, they have to make a decision who to exclude, and they excluded me. And I decided it wasn’t an issue about me in particular. It wasn’t an issue about my personal feelings. And I certainly didn’t feel hurt. But I did feel increasingly agitated about the thinking that went into it. I don’t have it in front of me, but here’s what I remember about being first very, very agitated about.
They said in the body of the letter: we want to position progressive education not as radical, but as familiar and good. Now that just steamed up my ears because if you’re saying you’re a progressive educator… That’s one of the things that’s actually annoyed me for about 40 years of being a progressive educator: the separation of the concept of progressive education from the concept of politics and political change. You can’t separate them…and this is a contradiction, incidentally, that goes all the way back to the beginning of progressive education and really the beginning of the conversations about the relationship between school and society. But John Dewey was one of the brilliant, brilliant writers about what democratic education would look like and was himself an independent socialist. But he never resolved a central contradiction in our work, the contradiction between trying to change the school and being embedded in society that has the exact opposite values culturally and politically and socially from the values you’re trying to build in a classroom. This contradiction is something progressive educators should address, not dodge. So this is what got me going. That’s a short version.
Reggie Dylan: In your letter you say you see great harm for progressive education itself in what’s represented in the approach they’re taking.
Bill Ayers: There’s two things. The first thing is they take the teeth out of the critique. They say we’re presenting progressive education as something nice and familiar. Then you’re not critiquing standardized testing, you’re not critiquing sorting kids, you’re not critiquing the privatization of the public space, you’re not critiquing the attack on teachers and the undoing of the trade union movement. So to me, you’re just saying, I’m giving you progressive education-lite. I don’t see the point in that. That’s one problem
The second problem is not addressing the fact that schools serve society in subtle and overt ways. So every school in every society is a microcosm of, or represents in some sense, that society… Here’s a great example. Sometimes its hard for people to see this inside our own country because these things are so familiar. But go outside our country. If you went to apartheid South Africa and you went into the schools, you would see a white school with 15 kids per class, high-tech, highly educated teachers, peaceful campuses. And you go to the township and you see a classroom of 85 kids, no equipment and no rooms—and that would speak volumes. You could see, even if you knew nothing about apartheid, you would see apartheid represented in the school. One school is preparing kids to run society in the future; one school is preparing kids for the mines and the mills and the prisons.
Well, that’s true of all societies, and it’s as true of ours as any other. Go to the schools in the inner city. Go to the schools in the privileged suburbs and see what you see. To separate progressive education from the savage inequalities of our schools, from the drill and kill, from the sort and punish, it’s like a fantasy world. You’re not changing anything if you don’t address the social inequities out there. And right now, one of the cruelest places we see this is the question of preparing kids for prison, for unemployment, and for war. We see this in big schools, we see this in big urban schools. Where does the military recruit? They don’t recruit in New Trier [upper middle class school in the Chicago suburbs]. They don’t recruit at Andover and Exeter [elite private schools]. They’re not allowed in there. They recruit in DuSable high school and Lawndale high school [mainly Black and poor schools in Chicago]. And that’s unfair.
Reggie Dylan: You are on the David Horowitz list. (Horowitz is a highly placed operative in the service of the Bush regime carrying out an orchestrated attack on dissent and critical thinking in the universities. Bill Ayers is one of the faculty viciously attacked in Horowitz’s book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.) Maybe we can step back a bit and talk about the bigger attack on dissent and critical thinking that’s going on in academia in general. What you’re describing is a whole front of this which is really important to be brought into it—what’s going on in the elementary and secondary level. But there has been this whole attack going on in the universities which…
Bill Ayers: I agree with you, it’s not just elementary and high school. And I have a very strong take on it these days. I actually was listening to Berlusconi the other day in Italy. The right-wing bastard that used to run Italy. And Berlusconi said people criticize us because we have so much power. But the truth is we don’t have the schools, and we don’t have the economy. And that’s very much what’s true in America. You know, if you look at a place like Chicago or if you look anywhere around the country, the right wing—it’s not just conservatives, it’s probably the most reactionary cabal of ideologues I’ve ever seen, operating with a very, very clear ideological purpose—control all three branches of the federal government, control many state governments, control the media—the kind of bought priesthood of the media that does nothing but bow down to them and kowtow to them. And yet, if you hear them talk, they’re whining about how little power they have, how marginal they are, how under attack they are. And on the one hand, you could say, oh that’s just demagoguery, those guys are bullshitting. But the truth is they see something that they know that we maybe don’t know so well, and that is their power is tenuous and short-lived. I think the reason we’re going to see the bombing of Iran is because they know that they have a little window here to do all the bad things that they’ve wanted to do, or in their view, to set the conditions for all the things that they would like to struggle for over the next decade. And they are going at their agenda with a fierce single-mindedness. And whether they are thrown out of power, the one public space that still irritates the crap out of them is education. And it is one of the public spaces that’s left to fight about.
So what do we see? We see a whole frontal attack on the very idea of public education. It’s an attack on the idea that there should be a free common public education for all. And we see it in all kinds of subtle and in not-so-subtle forms. Subtle forms like zero tolerance. What’s the point of the zero tolerance in a democracy? In a democratic school system, classroom justice is flexible. But not in an authoritarian society. In an authoritarian society classroom justice is authoritarian. Zero tolerance, right? So there’s that kind of attack. And the obsession with a single-minded standard of standardization. And again, I’m a big fan of standards. But I’m against standardization which I take to be fundamentally anti-democratic. And I’m for standards set by people working in classrooms with one another. And then we see the metaphorical market being held up as the ideal of what the public schools should become. So we see charters and we see vouchers. But behind it all is the idea that it’s a market, that there are consumers and that there are producers, etc.
As far as higher education is concerned, it’s like, anybody who works in higher education like me—and we hear it said this is a bastion of liberal thought and this is where the radicals hang out—we’re like completely stunned. We have no idea what they’re talking about. I mean its true I’m here, but its also true there’s a whole bunch of right-wing colleagues up and down the hallway who promote the status quo and believe in it and so on. And that’s true across the academy. So why are they on the attack? Because it is true people with a critical view can find a place and things to do —and not only things to do, but a public forum from which to have these debates. That’s unacceptable to these hard right-wingers, unacceptable. And so that’s why we’re seeing, in my mind why we’re seeing a wholesale attack on education generally.
On the level of K-12, we’re seeing the attack on the public space. And on the level of higher education, that attack on the public space is an attack on the idea that intellectual freedom has a place. And I think that’s huge, very, very important.
Reggie Dylan: And there’s a connection. Because you have kids coming to college now who have been fed a very narrow understanding of reality, including rooted in fundamentalist religion, rooted in the notion of evolution being a theory and not a fact. And they come to the university and they get challenged with ideas they’ve never heard before. They’re being encouraged to question things in a way they never have before. And to overturn that seems to be the goal of what Horowitz is doing. And you know we were talking about this, Ward Churchill has become a concentration point of that.
Bill Ayers: Well, Ward Churchill is a great example because what I think people, leftists are continually doing with the Ward Churchill case is missing this larger context you and I are talking about and instead kind of parsing, “Well, what did he say and do I agree with it.” What the hell do I care? First of all, there was a thorough study done by a university committee that never should have been set up, and they found a few, a tiny, a handful of instances where he might have borrowed a phrase, but nothing like Doris Kearns-Goodwin [a widely published historian who was found to have plagiarized extensively in one of her books] did, nothing like, you know, the big academics at Harvard have done, like Dershowitz [who has been accused of plagiarism]. And yet somehow he’s held to the standard. And then people on the left again feel like they have to say, well this is part of what Ward says I don’t agree with. What has that got to do with it? He’s being pilloried for his politics, for being a leftist, for being a critic of U.S. imperialism as it relates to Native Americans. How can we as socialists or as communists or as leftists, how can we leave him in the cold and say, well I’m a good leftist because I don’t talk the way Ward talks. I find that appalling. And I would hope that when they come to get Ward, we all link arms and don’t allow it.
Reggie Dylan: And there’s a connection between them going after Ward Churchill and Horowitz’ book, The Professors, which has a hundred professors in it, and the point you make at the end of your letter of, where does this end? You said the attempt to cleanse has no end.
Bill Ayers: It’s not only cowardly, it’s cynical. But it’s suicidal. And by cynical what I mean is that you don’t trust people and so you kind of try to parse out your own little place to have your career as a lefty. And that just makes me sad when it doesn’t make me sick. You have to believe that if you speak the truth, if you speak up and speak the truth as you understand it, and you’re willing to listen and be in dialogue with people, that people can get it. So the cowardliness of not speaking out—we see this in the Democratic Party all the time. Why won’t they speak out against the war? They know better, some of them. But they won’t. And partly because they’re bought into the same system. But even those who know better won’t do it, and the reason is they don’t trust people. And we as revolutionaries have to say that at the end of the day, people will be smart enough, good enough, strong enough to stand up. But why should they do it if we don’t have the courage to do it? And the letter I got was a cowardly letter. Its cynical, it’s cowardly, and it’s slippery.
Ayers is an enemy of America in the highest order, as surely as Benedict Arnold was a traitor, Ayers is violating the will of the people and subverting the ideals this country was built on. There is no excuse for the college that allowed him to learn his trade and use it to work the destruction of this country from within upon the most innocent among us. Neither is there any excuse for the institutions of higher learning for giving him a platform from which to operate this subversive work. All organizations involved in this man's rise through the ranks of educators should be brought up on charges of subversion of our school kids and traitorous activities. He may not be bombing people anymore, but he is certainly creating an environment in which others are encouraged to take violent action against the common good and the welfare of the United States. How can we count the people who've acted in violence upon American citizens in the name of anti-American sentiments this man has inflicted on our youth and upon our future teachers and professors? God only, knows.
To quote Reverend Wormbrand when he was testifying before the American Congress in a hearing before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other International Security Laws, of the Committee on the Judiciary, Washington D.C. on Friday, May 6, 1966.
It may be right for a state to have peaceful existence with communism. I
do not know. That is a question for Johnson and Goldwater to decide. But the
church can never have peaceful coexistence with atheism. Everybody would
laugh if I would say that health can peacefully exist with the microbe of
tuberculosis, that the FBI can coexist peacefully with gangsters, that the
church can peacefully exist with drunkenness, but communism and atheism is
much worse than drug addiction and drunkenness. You drink a little wine and the
next day it passes, but communism poisons youth and our children since 50 years.
How can there be peaceful existence with this on the side of churchmen and the
church leadership I cannot understand.
I must say I have been very sad. I have read in your periodicals that, I do not know why, church bodies here ask the admission of Red China in the organization of allied nations. It may be right. I do not know politics. I do not know what this organization of allied nations is, but I ask myself, "You, a church periodical, why don't you write about the tortures inflicted to Chinese Christians by the communists? That is your business and leave the business of politics to the Senate and like this."
Please read his entire testimony here:
Reverend Wormbrand was giving testimony on the Communists' behavior toward Christianity in Rumania where he'd been imprisoned numerous times for preaching against Communism. In prison he underwent torture and brainwashing and suffered every mockery unimaginable of his faith. He witnessed the tortured deaths of numerous believers. Communism always, always results in this kind of human rights violations and far worse. Atheist doctors wanted to know his Savior because according to everything they knew about healthcare, the Reverend should have been dead. When he came out of Rumania and for the first time in 14 years had a chance to see world events, to read anything including the Bible or a newspaper, he found the Western politicians and church leaders meeting with his interrogators to make or keep peace.
Bill Ayers sees only the evil of the free world and paints a picture of glorious peaceful care for the subjects of all the tyrants of communism. He and everybody like him need to be prevented from influencing any child and any educator. They need to be prevented from participation in any authority of any kind in our society.
Here in California, the opposite is happening. Laws on the books banning the inculcation of Communism are being repealed. The story is found at this link:
McCarthyism was a wild case of civil liberties violations used to increase the power of a few politicians under the auspices of protecting our nation from radical elements of Communism within our ranks. The abuses lasted for a few years and essentially lost its teeth shortly after it began, but since 1968 the pendulum has swung the other way and for 40 years has remained in the over precaution against overbearing Congressional powers. Now there are no controls on the presence and influence of these parties who have overt priorities to destroy the purpose of freedom to every citizen and accountability of every leader.
With California and Florida and other states tossing these protective laws out, the radical left will have an unprecedented free reign to pervert the purposes of state run schools to radicalize students to violent overthrow of the U.S. government. If Ayers has managed to do this much damage since 1984 when he graduated for his first teaching credentials, what will be possible in the next 24 years with so many teachers having bought his anti-American, anti-freedom agenda already in place? His students have moved from classrooms to court benches, to high political offices, to scientists, to every area of American authority and academia. In very short order, some of his students will be qualifying to run for the highest office. Barack is only the first taste of what is possible. Without action, this radical element will begin ruling this nation.
The court that had this man and released him because of a technicality should be held accountable. The government that has allowed this overt destructive process to go on for 24 years has to be held accountable. The colleges that have taken this criminal terrorist in and given him honored access to our kids have to be held accountable. The platform this man has built from the ground up has to be dismantled, burned, and buried forever. To quote Ronald Reagan; "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."