The major campaign issue of Sen. Barack Obama’s affiliation with former Weathermen radical Bill Ayers was really a racist tactic meant to stoke fear among white people that they cannot trust a black man, according to Ayers’ wife and fellow Weathermen ringleader Bernardine Dohrn.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the radical left-leaning Democracy Now! syndicated news program, Dohrn also hailed what she said was the return of “the tools of the ’60s” which she said were a “springboard for this election and for really a historic and momentous milestone that just happened last week.”
“On the other hand, the exciting thing about today – Bill and I were in Grant Park last week, the day of the, night of the election. And I think one wants to note that many of the tools of the ’60s – the participatory engaged organizing, the door-to-door, the volunteerism, people changing their lives to go listen and talk to people they don’t know about critical issues of our time – this is extremely hopeful,” stated Dohrn sitting astride Ayers, who also participated in the interview broadcast last Friday.
“Many of the great tools of the ’60s have been picked up and transformed in the course of this campaign, in the course of these terrible wars we’re involved in, and now in the course of this economic collapse and global peril. So I’m hopeful that we can, not continually rerun the disagreements about the ’60s, but actually recognize that the ’60s were a springboard for this election and for really a historic and momentous milestone that just happened last week. And we can savor that milestone, before we have to critique it and disagree with it and fall to squabbling again,” Dohrn stated.
Referencing “white supremacy,” Dohrn said the fury surrounding Obama’s relationship with Ayers had racist undertones:
“You want to recognize here that the famous and much-talked-about Bradley Effect, the notion that white people cannot leave behind some of the trappings of white supremacy and racism that have been the ugly river beneath all U.S. discourse, is really important. I was struck when you were playing those tapes that the real coded message underneath those tapes that used Bill as a fear proxy is that you don’t know who Barack Obama really is.
“There was some notion of him being unknowable, exotic, strange, foreign, deceitful. And, you know, strangely enough, we feel like if all they could come up with was that he knew us casually, the guy is pretty clean, is pretty extraordinary. He’s been vetted and vetted and vetted, and there was nothing there to throw at him, except this question of maybe an African-American man is not knowable to white people. And it’s worth – we don’t – neither Bill or I think that we’re in a post-racial world, but it is worth noting that that was rejected by almost all sectors of the population, including independent voters.”
During the in-depth interview, Ayers described the Weathermen terrorist group, which sought the downfall of the U.S. government by threatening violence and carrying out bombings as an “organization” that could “resist and create a more militant response to the American misdeeds in Vietnam.”
Asked directly if the Weathermen was a terror group, Dohrn chimed in that “nothing the Weather Underground did was terrorist.”
She continued: “And, you know, we could make lots of choices if we were reliving it. Nothing we did was perfect. But decision was made, after the death of our three comrades in a townhouse, not to hurt people, to engage in direct actions that were symbolic, that were recognizable and understandable to the American people and that protected people. And that kind of restraint was widespread. There were tens of thousands of political bombings over that first three – 1970, ’71, ’72, ’73, all across the country, not under anybody’s leadership, but they were overwhelmingly restrained, symbolic.”
The Weathermen declared “war” on the U.S. government. It bombed U.S. governmental buildings in the 1970s, including the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol building, and was fingered in scores of other attacks, including the arson of the home of a judge presiding over a Black Panthers trial; attacks against the National Guard headquarters; the New York police department headquarters; and the San Francisco’s Presidio Army Base.
Ayers infamously advocated, “Kill all the rich people. … Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents.”
Dohrn once was on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List, and was described by J. Edgar Hoover as the “most dangerous woman in America.” Ayers and Dohrn raised the son of Weathermen terrorist Kathy Boudin, who was serving a sentence for participating in a 1981 murder and robbery that left four people dead. Dohrn is accused of playing a role in the robbery.
In her interview with Democracy Now!, Dohrn said following the 9-11 attacks it was more difficult for people to condone domestic bombings:
“Now, nobody in today’s world can defend bombings. How could you do that after 9/11, after, you know, Oklahoma City? It’s a new context, in a different context. So you have to go back to the savage and unrestrained terror that the United States was unleashing in the world, in Vietnam, as Bill said, and at home. You remember that the assassinations of black political leaders in the United States was a regular feature of life. And, you know, it seemed – the context of the time has to be understood.”
Echoing claims made by Obama during the presidential race, Ayers described his association with the president-elect as “a guy in the neighborhood.”
“You know, we, like thousands of other people, we knew Obama, and we knew him as well, probably, as thousands of other people. He was a guy in the neighborhood. He was somebody that was active in civic life, as we are. And so, of course we would meet and see one another at meetings and so on,” Ayers said.
“The idea that we launched his political career is a myth that was created with the intention of hurting his candidacy. You know, like millions and millions of other people, we wish that we knew him better. I mean, you know, he is an extraordinary person who has accomplished something extraordinary. But did we launch his career? We were asked by our state senator if we would hold a coffee for him some, I don’t know, twelve or fifteen years ago, and we did, which we’ve done for many people and many causes. So it wasn’t anything extraordinary, and it wasn’t anything outside of our normal lives,” said Ayers.
The remarks were similar to those made by Obama during an ABC News interview two months ago, in which the then-presidential candidate described Ayers as “guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.”
In 1995, Barack Obama served as chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, or CAC, which was founded by Ayers and billed itself as a school reform organization. Ayers also served as co-chairman of the Chicago School Reform Collaborative, one of the two operational arms of the CAC, from its formation in 1995 until 2000.
WND reported that in an interview during his failed congressional bid in 2000, Obama cited his CAC job as evidence of his qualification for public office.
Also in 1995, the first organizing meeting for Obama’s state senatorial campaign reportedly was held in Ayers’ apartment.
In a widely circulated article, WND first reported Obama served on the board of the Wood’s Fund, a liberal Chicago nonprofit, alongside Ayers from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund’s website. Tax filings showed Obama received compensation of $6,000 per year for his service in 1999 and 2000.
The “Friends of Barack Obama” campaign fund lists a $200 campaign contribution from Ayers April 2, 2001.
Ayers and Obama appeared together as speakers at several public events, including a Nov. 20, 1997, panel discussion on juvenile detention at the University of Chicago organized by Michelle Obama, who at the time served as associate dean of Student Services and director of the college’s Community Service Center, which sponsored the discussion.
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