October 22, 2008

So. Who Is William Ayers?

Zombie Time has William Ayers' Weather Underground manifesto, Prairie Fire. He has passages, excerpts, commentary, and scanned pages from Ayers' book.

William Ayers is a communist. But don't take my word for it. He said so himself . . . . And not some nicey-nice peace-and-love kind of communist. Through his group the Weather Underground, Ayers was planning to "seize power" in a violent communist takeover of the United States.

[scanned passage from the Ayers book]

The quotes above were scanned directly from a now long-forgotten book entitled Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, which was written and published in 1974 by William Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and other members of the Weather Underground. In this slim volume, which functioned as the Weather Underground's ideological manifesto, Ayers declares himself to be a communist, and announces that his group's bombing campaign was intended to start a violent revolution to overthrow the American government.

After a long search, I was lucky enough to finally get my hands on a copy of the original edition of Prairie Fire, which is now extremely rare and hard to find. It was written in secret while Ayers and his fellow Weather Underground members were still in hiding and on the run, and still actively engaging in bombings and other violent acts.

This essay features many high-resolution scans of quotes and entire pages taken directly from Prairie Fire, which journalists, bloggers and other media members are free to copy and re-post.

If you're interested only in viewing or downloading the scans taken from Prairie Fire, scroll down this page to see a large selection of shocking quotations which you can use as you see fit. My introductory explanation below simply provides context and elucidates why the text of Prairie Fire is so significant at this very moment in history.

So far in 2008, there has been almost no mention of this manifesto and its insurrectionary goals. It seems as if the media, William Ayers, Barack Obama and his supporters don't want you to know about Prairie Fire. Which is exactly why you need to see it.

How Is This Relevant to the 2008 Presidential Campaign?

There's nothing illegal about being a communist. People in this country are free to hold whatever political beliefs they so choose. I don't know William Ayers, I've never met him (that I'm aware of), and I have nothing against him personally.

This essay only exists to correct and unequivocably debunk claims routinely made by the mainstream media over the last few weeks about William Ayers, his beliefs, and the purpose behind his bombing campaign during the 1970s.

Specifically, when questions arose during the 2008 presidential race about Barack Obama's past associations with William Ayers, many media reports and articles blandly described Ayers as a "Vietnam-era radical" and the Weather Underground as a group that set bombs "to protest against the Vietnam War." Both of these characterizations are demonstrably inaccurate.

Furthermore: Obama and his supporters at first claimed he barely knew who Ayers was, but when public awareness of the connections between Obama and Ayers became too numerous and too strong to deny, Obama's supporters have now begun resorting to a fallback position: that William Ayers wasn't such a bad guy after all, and that it is no shame to be associated with him. The now-standard talking points are:

• Ayers was simply protesting against the Vietnam War, and a lot of people protested against the Vietnam War back then, so there's no shame in that.

• Ayers was never actually convicted of setting any bombs or killing anyone, so there's no real proof that he ever did anything wrong.

• Ayers is now a respected, mainstream, mild-mannered and popular professor, so obviously his political views couldn't have been that extreme.

This essay disproves all of these claims. The text that William Ayers authored in Prairie Fire, and the additional documentary links provided below, prove that:

• Ayers was not simply protesting "against" the Vietnam War. Firstly, he wasn't against war in principle, he was agitating for the victory of the communist forces in Vietnam. In other words: He wasn't against the war, he was against our side in the war. This is spelled out in great detail in Prairie Fire. Secondly, and more significantly, the Vietnam War was only one of many issues cited by the Weather Undergound as the justifications for their violent acts. As you will see below, in various quotes from Prairie Fire and in their own list of their violent actions (and in additional impartial documentary links), Ayers and the Weather Underground enumerated dozens of different grievances as the rationales for their bombings -- their overarching goal being to inspire a violent mass uprising against the United States government in order to establish a communist "dictatorship of the proletariat," in Ayers' own words.

• Ayers and his co-authors freely brag about their bombings and other violent and illegal acts, and even provide a detailed list, most likely typed up by Ayers himself, of the crimes they had committed up to that point. Ayers' list, scanned directly from Prairie Fire, is shown below. He may have escaped conviction due to a legal technicality (the prosecutors failed to get a warrant during some of their surveillance of the Weather Underground), but this in no way means that Ayers was factually innocent of the crimes. As has been widely reported, after the case against him was dropped, Ayers described himself as "guilty as hell, free as a bird."

• Just because Ayers tries to appear respectable now doesn't mean that he wasn't a violent revolutionary in the past. In fact, as the text of Prairie Fire shows, Ayers was one of the most extreme extremists in American political history. And as the links given as the end of this essay will prove, Ayers is just as politically radical now as he was back then. He has never renounced the political views he professed in the 1960s and 1970s. The only difference is that now he no longer commits violence to achieve his goals. After his stint as the leader of the Weather Underground, he shifted to a different tactic: to spread his ideology under the aegis of academia. But the goal remains the same: to turn America into a communist nation. Ayers' contemporary writings contain many of the same ideas (and even the same phrases) found in Prairie Fire, just toned down to make them more palatable in polite society.

But Where Is the Obama Connection?

This essay is only about William Ayers' past and present political views. It is not about the connection between Barack Obama and William Ayers. That issue has been covered (and continues to be covered) elsewhere in innumerable news reports and blog postings. Yet as evidence mounts of the extensive and long-standing connection between Obama and Ayers, making their association more and more difficult to deny, Obama's campaign and supporters have started shifting their strategy; Sure, they say, Obama may have had a connection with Ayers, but why is that so bad? Look at William Ayers now: He's a completely respectable man. What -- he protested against the Vietnam War? So did everyone. He's no extremist.

I see these arguments made in countless blog posts, comment sections, and even news articles. This essay exists to stop that political escape route. There's no getting around it: William Ayers was a violent communist revolutionary bent on overthrowing the government and "seizing power" in the United States. The proof is on this page. And the only difference between the 1970s William Ayers and the William Ayers whom Barack Obama associated with is a change in rhetorical style; a re-wording of his radical philosophy to make it seem more mainstream. But the underlying political thesis (i.e. communism) remains the same.

Authorship of Prairie Fire

How do we know that William Ayers himself co-authored Prairie Fire? Doesn't the cover say it's by The Weather Underground as a group, and doesn't mention him specifically?

Well, it's simple enough to prove. Because in the introduction, the four actual authors sign their names -- Bernardine Dohrn, Jeff Jones, Billy Ayers, and Celia Sojourn.

My emphasis, mostly.

Via Mikal.

Bloggers, do your duty.

Posted by Attila Girl at October 22, 2008 08:56 PM | TrackBack

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