In an in-depth interview aired this week by the Fox New Channel, Weather Underground co-founder and Barack Obama colleague Bill Ayers has been put on the defensive by a well-prepared Megyn Kelly, who has peppered him with facts and substantial allegations of his group’s violent attacks on the U.S. government in the 1970s.
Ayers, while refusing to talk about his specific involvement in bombings, typically defends his group by characterizing it as one of many protesting an unpopular war that was taking innocent lives abroad.
But often lost in conversations Ayers has engaged in over the years about his radical past is the indisputable fact that the ultimate aim of the Weather Underground was to overthrow the U.S. government and replace it with a communist regime.
Employing the language of the global communist movement – “comrades” battling “American imperialism” to “liberate” the “oppressed masses” through “revolution” – Ayers’ group clearly had much more in mind than ending the Vietnam War.
Though the war in Southeast Asia may have sparked Ayers’ movement, the many grievances that arose from the war were merely pretexts to justify a greater cause. Ayers obviously recognizes that while some solidarity can be found, even today, for the use of violent tactics in protest of an unpopular war, very few Americans have sympathy for sedition.
Ayers, along with his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, and other members, made the Weather Underground’s political intent plain in a manifesto published in 1974 titled “Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-imperialism.”
“We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men, underground in the United States for more than four years,” the group declared.
Ayers’ group, a splinter faction of the radical Students for a Democratic Society, said what is needed is “a revolutionary communist party in order to lead the struggle, give coherence and direction to the fight, seize power and build a new society.”
In a 12-page letter left in a phone booth for the Associated Press after the bombing of the State Department, the Weather Underground declared it was acting “in solidarity with the people and liberation forces of Vietnam,” meaning the communist insurgency in South Vietnam.
The group called it a “racist war” in which the U.S. was “trying to stop a liberation struggle” through an “imperialist war of aggression.”
“The roots” of the problems the U.S. faced, according to the radicals, “lie within the U.S. system.”
The Weather Underground’s grand purpose was made clear in the letter.
“The defeat of U.S. policy in Vietnam will advance us a further step along the path to revolution in the U.S.”
Ayers is a retired professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He held the titles of distinguished professor of education and senior university scholar. Dohrn is a clinical associate professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law.
Eliminating 25 million people
A former FBI informant who penetrated the Weather Underground in 1969 claimed he witnessed a meeting in which members discussed a future communist takeover of America in which some 25 million “diehard capitalists” would need to be killed.
Larry Grathwohl, who died last year, recalled his experience in the 1982 documentary “No Place to Hide.”
In a session with Weather Underground members, Grathwohl said discussion centered on a future in which the communist nations of Cuba, North Korea, China and the Soviet Union would occupy various parts of the U.S., with “re-education centers” established in the Southwest to prevent counterrevolution.
Grathwohl, who worked as an operative for law enforcement agencies in Cincinnati, said when he pursued the genocide issue further, the Weather Underground members “estimated they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these re-education centers.”
“And when I say ‘eliminate,’ I mean ‘kill,’” he continued. “Twenty-five million people.”
Grathwohl told the interviewer: “I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.
“And they were dead serious.”
In 2008, PJ Media asked Grathwohl to affirm whether or not the Weather Underground intended to overthrow the U.S. and sincerely believed it could be accomplished.
“I suppose you could consider this a purely academic discussion in that the Weathermen never had the opportunity to implement their political ends,” he said. “However, I can assure you that this was not the case.”
Grathwohl said there was “an absolute belief that they, along with the international revolutionary movement, would cause the collapse of the United States and that they would be in charge.”
See Part 1 the Ayers interview, aired Monday:
Just an anti-war movement?
In the Fox News interview, aired in two parts, Monday and Tuesday, Kelly listed a series of instances in which the Weather Underground was connected to bombings and killings.
Ayers – ignoring the fact that the Weather Underground's ultimate intent was the overthrow of the republic by a revolutionary communist movement – sought to minimize his group's violent attacks by insisting that, like millions of Americans, they were motivated by the desire to stop the war and save innocent lives abroad.
Ayers acknowledged the Weather Underground took responsibility for 20 bombings, but he insisted the attacks took place at a time when there were "20,000 bombings in the United States against the war."
When Kelly emphasized the significance of the Weather Underground's bombing of New York City Police headquarters, the State Department, the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon, Ayers shot back that "to equate it to the murder of human beings in nonsense."
"I would not apologize for destroying property in defense of stopping 6,000 people a week from being murdered," Ayers said.
Ayers and Dohrn went underground after Dohrn was charged with instigating riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In 1970, three of their Weather Underground associates, including Ayers' girlfriend, Diana Oughton, were killed when nail bombs they were building blew up prematurely in a Greenwich Village townhouse. The bombs were intended for an attack at an officers' dance at the Fort Dix Army Base in New Jersey.
Ayers and Dohrn surfaced in 1980 and turned themselves in to face the Chicago riot charges. They had learned that the much more serious federal charges had been dropped because the FBI used illegal wiretaps to learn of their crimes.
Some observers of Ayers, who note his many documented ties to Obama, interpret his public distancing as a strategy to promote the president. Ayers and Obama both studied the tactics of the guru of 1960s radicalism, Saul Alinsky, who believed the most effective way to transform America into a socialist state was through infiltrating the system and bringing about incremental change.
Ayers and Dohrn held in the living room of their Hyde Park, Chicago, home the first fundraiser for Obama in his effort to win a seat in the Illinois state Senate. Ayers and Obama served on the boards of two far-left non-profits, and a friendly Obama biographer has confirmed WND columnist Jack Cashill's well-researched conclusion that Ayers was the primary writer of Obama's highly praised autobiography, "Dreams from My Father." The book was used to burnish the credentials of an unusually unknown and inexperienced presidential candidate in the 2008 election campaign.
See Part 2 of the Ayers interview with Megyn Kelly, aired Tuesday: