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Titus Andronicus Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:41 PM
Original message
Bill Ayers Whitewashes History, Again
I'm not so sure that terrorism necessarily involves intentional attacks on people, but okay, let's say Ayers wasn't a terrorist. How about thuggish? Vainglorious? Egomaniacal? Staggeringly irresponsible? And illogical, don't forget illogical: as Hilzoy points out, the idea that because "peaceful protest" hadn't ended the war, bombs would is missing a couple of links. It's like a doctor saying, Well, chemo didn't cure your brain tumor, so I'll have to amputate your leg. It's not as if there was nothing else to try, after all. While Ayers and Dohrn were conveying their outrage, other people were doing the kind of organizing work that the Weather Underground despised as wimpy. Today Ayers blends himself into that broader movement, the "we-- the broad we" that "wrote letters, marched, talked to young men at inductions centers" etc., but at the time, Weatherpeople had nothing but contempt for the rest of the antiwar left. Writing letters? Off the pig! you might as well... become a community organizer!
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/anotherthing/388681?rel=...

I realize this is ancient history. As a friend who doesn't see why I am raking this all up argues, it's not as if today's left is bristling with macho streetfighters. It's hard to imagine anyone now applauding the Manson murders, as Dohrn notoriously did in l969, or dedicating a manifesto to, among others, Sirhan Sirhan. But just because it's ancient history doesn't mean you get to rewrite it to make yourself look good, just another idealistic young person upset about the war and racism. We were all upset about the war and racism. I knew people in the Progressive Labor Party who were so upset they joined the army to radicalize the troops. A freshman in my dorm was so upset she quit college, joined the October League, and went to organize in an auto-parts factory, where last I heard maybe a decade ago, she was still at work. Of the many thousands of people involved in the movement one way or another, only a handful thought the thing to do was to form a tiny sect and blow things up in the service of a ludicrous fantasy : ie, creating a white-youth fighting force that would join up with black nationalists, end the war and overthrow capitalism. Oh, and anyone who didn't see why that was the right,necessary and indeed only possible course of action was a sellout and a coward.

I wish Ayers would make a real apology for the harm he did to the antiwar movement and the left. Not another "regrets, I've had a few," "we were all young once," "don't forget there was a war on" exercise in self-promotion, but one that showed he actually gets it. I'd like him to say he's sorry for his part in the destruction of Students for a Democratic Society. He's sorry he helped Nixon make the antiwar movement look like the enemy of ordinary people. He's sorry for his more-radical-than-thou posturing, and the climate of apocalyptic nuttiness he helped fuel to disastrous results, of which the fatal Brinks robbery, committed by erstwhile comrades who became even crazier than Ayers' crew, was only the most notorious.

True, the damage wrought by the Weatherpeople is trivial compared with the war itself and has arguably been more thoroughly denounced. After all, John McCain most likely killed civilians while bombing Vietnam, and he got to run for president as a war hero. Henry Kissinger is fawned upon wherever he goes. I'd be happy to forget all about the Weatherpeople, many of whom have done good things with their lives since. But if we're going to talk about them-- and Ayers can't leave it alone-- let's tell the truth. Of all the sectarian groups from that era , Weather, in all its permutations, was the least effective and the most destructive to the movement. It was all about the romance of itself. And it still is.
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. troll
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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:50 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yep.
No doubt.
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Katha Pollitt is a troll?
Who knew?

:shrug:

--p!
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atimetocome Donating Member (236 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. LOL
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David__77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:57 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. Not troll, but wrong,
She is wrong, that is all.
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
3. *yawn*
You're under the impression anyone cares almost 40 years after the fact... :eyes:
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Titus Andronicus Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:58 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. I don't know, the NYT just featured his editorial a couple days ago.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/06/opinion/06ayers.html?...

"Now that the election is over, I want to say as plainly as I can that the character invented to serve this drama wasnt me, not even close. Here are the facts:

I never killed or injured anyone. I did join the civil rights movement in the mid-1960s, and later resisted the draft and was arrested in nonviolent demonstrations. I became a full-time antiwar organizer for Students for a Democratic Society. In 1970, I co-founded the Weather Underground, an organization that was created after an accidental explosion that claimed the lives of three of our comrades in Greenwich Village. The Weather Underground went on to take responsibility for placing several small bombs in empty offices the ones at the Pentagon and the United States Capitol were the most notorious as an illegal and unpopular war consumed the nation.

The Weather Underground crossed lines of legality, of propriety and perhaps even of common sense. Our effectiveness can be and still is being debated. We did carry out symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, and the attacks on property, never on people, were meant to respect human life and convey outrage and determination to end the Vietnam war."



Not everybody is yawning.
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bperci108 Donating Member (969 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:02 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. So...what do you propose be done to Prof. Ayers?



(I can't wait to hear this...)
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Titus Andronicus Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #14
24. Done? Why should anything be done to Ayers?
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bperci108 Donating Member (969 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:24 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. So you just brought up the issue to read your own posts here on DU?
Okay....

I thought you might have a point of some kind in mind when you put up the OP.


Apparently reply # 1 called it correctly.
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Titus Andronicus Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. This the is the discuss area, right? I am not in favor
of anything being "done" to Ayers. Is this topic out of bounds?
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islandmkl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
5. anarchy is not easily grasped, especially by those embracing it...
and those on the 'other end' never understand the function of anarchy to the social order...

your 'revisionist' history re: WU/Ayers, etc. is apparently rooted in the cold, hard glare of 40 years later, without the true emotions of the time...

when you can get shot and killed for exercising the First Amendment...you will nurture a few anarchists...

no excuses for Ayers...and no canonizing, either...but you seem to compress the myriad of social forces into a simple conclusion...and one that i don't find to be reflective of the era that spawned your subject...
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Forkboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:55 PM
Response to Original message
6. Ham and mortar!
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #6
17. That is the second time...
I have seen the "Ham and mortar" post tonight. What am I missing?
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Forkboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. ....
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. Thanks. nt
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Smarmie Doofus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:55 PM
Response to Original message
8. People killed by the US gov't in SE Asia numbered in the millions.
>>>>>True, the damage wrought by the Weatherpeople is trivial compared with the war itself >>>>

The Weathermen were nutty and dangerous but killed a handful of people...and except for the Brinks robbery ( which was not really a Weatherman dealie, though it starred a few stragglers) all inadvertently. Mostly they destroyed or radically ( no pun in tended) comlicated their own lives .

To say that their damage is trivial compared to that wrought by their antagonists is an understatment of such magnitude that it, in turn, trivializes the murdered millions in Asia.
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Idealism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:56 PM
Response to Original message
9. Back to freeperland with ye!
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David__77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:56 PM
Response to Original message
10. I think he has little to apologize for.
He isn't a war criminal. He dropped no bombs on women and children while "just following orders." And while WU or SDS did galvanize rightism in this country, along with the Black Panthers and others, they also forged a solid left-wing core that still exists today and has changed the fabric of the country.

Ayers is to be respected for maintaining his position rather than opportunistically cowering like others, including Jane Fonda, who took the right position in during Vietnam, but later prevaricated.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:56 PM
Response to Original message
11. Least effective?
Someone would really have to try hard to show me that 10,000 people writing letters to Congress had half the impact of the WU.
It was resisting soldiers who did the most to end the war more than all the peaceful protests anyway. The current peace movement hasn't done anything effective in several years.
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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:03 PM
Response to Original message
15. Weather Underground ...

There's a very good documentary put out a number of years ago about the Weather Underground. It was produced by iTVS (Independent Television Service) and broadcast originally on KQED in San Francisco. The filmmakers were Sam Green and Dan Siegel.

It goes into more detail on Ayres role in what happened to the SDS than any of the recent articles published about Ayres even bother to try to do. It's very balanced, has much commentary from former WU members as well as those who hunted them. I suggest trying to find it.
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jonnyblitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. it's available to watch on google video
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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:12 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. Ah, cool ...
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 11:19 PM by RoyGBiv
I didn't realize that was there. Thanks.

I found it somewhere a long time ago and digitized it, then burned my own DVD of it. I re-watch it occasionally.

P.S. I should mention this.

This film is not for the squeamish. It shows raw footage of the carnage in Vietnam, e.g. a body blown apart and being dragged out of a hole.
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jonnyblitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. i watched it awhile back, too. i am in the habit of checking
youtube and google video anytime somebody mentions a documentary just for shits to see if it's there. you'd be surprised what you can find.
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Titus Andronicus Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:10 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. Here's a link-
http://www.upstatefilms.org/weather/main.html

"Hello, I'm going to read a declaration of a state of war...within the next 14 days we will attack a symbol or institution of American injustice." ~ Bernardine Dohrn

Thirty years ago, with those words, a group of young American radicals announced their intention to overthrow the U.S. government. In THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND, former Underground members, including Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, Mark Rudd, David Gilbert and Brian Flanagan, speak publicly about the idealistic passion that drove them to "bring the war home" and the trajectory that placed them on the FBI's most wanted list.

Fueled by outrage over racism and the Vietnam War, the Weather Underground waged a low-level war against the U.S. government through much of the 1970s--bombing targets across the country that they considered emblematic of the real violence that the U.S. was wreaking throughout the world. Ultimately, the group's carefully organized clandestine network managed to successfully evade one of the largest manhunts in FBI history, yet the group's members would reemerge to life in a country that was dramatically different than the one they had hoped their efforts would inspire. Extensive archival material, including, photographs, film footage and FBI documents are interwoven with modern-day interviews to trace the group's path, from its pitched battles with police on Chicago's streets, to its bombing of the U.S. Capitol, to its successful endeavor breaking acid-guru Timothy Leary out of prison. The film explores the Weathermen in the context of other social movements of the time and features interviews with former members of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Black Panthers. It also examines the U.S. government's suppression of dissent in the 1960s and 1970s.

Looking back at their years underground, the former members paint a compelling portrait of troubled times, revolutionary times, and the forces that drove their resistance.
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Maat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:05 PM
Response to Original message
16. I agree with virtually everything said here in this article.
Bill and Bernardine are NOT heroes in my mind. They hurt the anitwar effort; they certainly did not help it. What they did was not only morally reprehensible .... it made them hypocrites (they condemned violence, yet they engaged in it).

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Now, Bill Ayers, please, just shut the hell up, and crawl back under the rock from which you came.
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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. Small point ...

They didn't really condemn violence, not all of them anyway. As with the SDS from which the WU originated, the WU itself had factions of course, which is one of the reasons they had so many problems, and some of those were very outspoken in their intent to use violence, usually by couching it in such phrases as "I am not committed to non-violence." The justification used was similar to that used by other more militant groups during the period. It was a violent world, and the US government was using extreme violence to further its imperialist agenda. They announced an intent to use violence in an attempt to "overthrow" the U.S. government.

One could certainly call them hypocrites anyway, but let's be clear that what we're condemning is the stated intent to use violence to combat violence.

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Ichingcarpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:13 PM
Response to Original message
23. A known PUMA
Here Kitty, kitty, kitty!
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bperci108 Donating Member (969 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #23
28. I figured as much.
FreepTard or PUMA.


Both virtually indistinguishable from each other. :evilgrin:
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
30. Locking
Flamebait which has achieved it's desired results.

Cheers,

cbayer
DU Moderator
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