WASHINGTON – Bill Ayers, the former Weather Underground extremist with extensive links to president-elect Barack Obama, dedicated his book to Sirhan Sirhan, Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin, then denied it, then admitted it and now says maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do.
Ayers dedicated his 1974 book, “Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism,” to “political prisoners,” specifically listing Sirhan Sirhan, the man who was found guilty of murdering Kennedy during the 1968 presidential campaign. Sirhan was given a life sentence.
However, when asked about the dedication at a book signing, Ayers said recently, “Absolutely, that wasn’t a dedication.”
He then backtracked a little, confirming that the dedication in “Prairie Fire” was “as a
manifesto to all political prisoners.”
He then said he regretted naming Sirhan Sirhan in the dedication.
“If I were writing a book like that today, I would dedicate it to 2.1 million people in prison. I think it was a stupid thing to single him out but, I also think that we have created a monster in the prison system, and we ought to abolish the prisons.”
Ayers was part of the Weather Underground terrorist organization that bombed the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon. He stated in 2001 he had no regrets and wished he could have done more. His book is the ideological manifesto of the Weather Underground and is expressly communist, advocating violence against the government.
Ayers and Obama worked side-by-side on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a school reform program, and also served together on the board of the Woods Fund, a Chicago charity. Obama has described Ayers as a “just a guy who lives in my neighborhood” while Ayers has called Obama a “family friend.”
The weblog Dakota Voice cited a passage from the book:
We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men, underground in the United States for more than four years. We are deeply affected by the historic events of our time in the struggle against U.S. imperialism.
Our intention is to disrupt the empire, to incapacitate it, to put pressure on the cracks, to make it hard to carry out its bloody functioning against the people of the world, to join the world struggle, to attack from the inside.
Our intention is to engage the enemy, to wear away at him, to harass him, to isolate him, to expose every weakness, to pounce, to reveal his vulnerability.
Our intention is to encourage the people, to provoke leaps in confidence and consciousness, to stir the imagination, to popularize power, to agitate, to organize, to join in every way possible the people’s day-to-day struggles.
Our intention is to forge an underground, a clandestine political organization engaged in every form of struggle, protected from the eyes and weapons of the state, a base against repression, to accumulate lessons, experience and constant practice, a base from which to attack.
“This book contains terrorist, Marxist, anti-American writings that should make the blood of any red-blooded American boil,” Dakota Voice said. “Stop and consider for a moment that Barack Obama allowed this America-hating terrorist help launch his political career in his living room. That Barack Obama worked with this man on the board of the Annenberg Challenge and the Woods Fund. That they sat together on panels like the one over juvenile justice.”
According to several online biographies, Sirhan, who remains imprisoned in California, was an Arab who had emigrated to the U.S. and reportedly was disturbed by Kennedy’s pro-Israel positions.