WASHINGTON, July 2, 2014 – The Weather Underground Organization was a group founded on a University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Campus in 1969. The purpose of the group was to create revolutionary actions to overthrow the US government in opposition to the Vietnam War.
Ayers claims his actions were non-violent and in response to the killing 6,000 people a week in Vietnam.
Founders Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Jeff Jones, and Celia Sojourn wrote the groups manifesto “Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism” explaining that their intention was to “encourage the people and provoke leaps in confidence and consciousness in an attempt to stir the imagination, organize the masses, and join in the people’s day-to-day struggles in every way possible.”
The founding document said the groups goal was to achieve “the destruction of US Imperialism”, to “achieve a classless world” and to align what they called the “white fighting force” with the Black Liberation Movement, particularly the radical group The Black Panthers.
With the slogan, Bring the War Home they wanted to give the United States a “taste of what would happen if the Government did not cease the war in Vietnam.”
A few highlights from the groups activities:
On October 8, 1969 they were part of a riot in Chicago that happened at the same time as the trial of Chicago Seven.
In 1970, the Weatherman released their “Declaration of a State of War” against the government and started a series of bombing attacks against government buildings, banks, armed service recruitment centers. The declaration was a direct response to the death of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark (1969), both members of The Black Panther organization. They died during a badly performed joint raid on the home of Fred Hampton by the FBI and police.
February 16, 1970 in San Francisco, 44 year old Brian McDonald was killed and 8 other officers were injured in a Weather Underground explosion.
Ten sticks of dynamite were exploded in New York City Police headquarters on June 9, 1970.
In October 1970, the FBI put Bernardine Dohrn on their Ten Most Wanted List.
The United States Capital was the Weatherman’s target on March 1, 1971. In their communications before the bombing they said it was in protest of the US invasion of Laos.
On May 19, 1972, the target was the Pentagon, in retaliation for US bombings in Hanoi. The date coincides with the birthdate of Ho Chi Minh.
January 29, 1975, the US Department of State was the target in response to the escalation of the war in Vietnam.
On October 20, 1981, members Kathy Boudin, David Gilbert and Judith Alice Clark robbed a Brinks armored truck of $1.6 million. The goal was to redistribute the money in a steal from the rich and give to the poor scheme. That act resulted in the deaths of two policemen Edward O’Grady and Waverly Brown and a Brinks security guard Peter Paige. Notably Waverly Brown was one of the first black officers on the Nyack police force.
Five days later the Weather Underground bombed Judge John Murtagh’s home. In the book Sing a Battle Song edited by Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, and Jeff Jones they write “…this group had firebombed Judge Murtagh’s house in New York as an action of support for the Panther 21, whose trial was just beginning….” Ayres denies that the Weather Underground did the bombing or writing the passage in the book Sing a Battle Song.
Ayres justifies the destruction of property to fight against the Vietnam War and does not rule out that he would do so again today. The only reason Ayres and Dorhn are not in jail, is that the FBI made a mistake. In the early days of electronic surveillance they did not have the proper warrants and by prosecuting Ayres and Dorhn it was feared that intelligence information best kept secret would be revealed.
Professor Ayres and Dorhn are now teaching students in Chicago. Kathy Boudin was appointed as an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of Social Work after spending 22 years in prison for the killing of the men during the Brinks robbery.
In April of 2013, the then 69 year old Boudin, was named the Sheinberg Scholar-in-Residentce at the NYU law School where she gave a lecture on “The Politics of Parole and Re-Entry.”
In an April 2013 article in the New York Post, writer Larry Celona reports:
John Hanchar, the nephew of another victim of the robbery, Nyack Police Officer Edward O’Grady, said that while Boudin “has a right to do whatever she wants . . . I just hope the people that she’s lecturing are smart enough to question why [she felt] like killing people is an acceptable choice to forward their goals.”
“It’s easy to forget that violence is never the answer. Nine children grew up without their dads because of her actions,” said Hanchar, whose uncle O’Grady was shot with automatic weapons
In the following video. Megyn Kelly asks the questions anyone who lived in Chicago during the days of the Weather Underground, would like to ask. And in this video, Ayres admits that they should have done more, destroyed more property, to stop that genocidal war. That domestic terrorism was an acceptable way to force their ideals.
Ayres states he and Dohrn are still friends with Boiden, and that they raised her son while she served her sentence despite the fact that she pulled the trigger to kill the police officers. Dorhn spent months in jail after refusing to speak to a Grand Jury about the murders a decision Ayers says is because Grand Juries are “a terrible overreach of the American Government.”
Ayres has a message for President Obama , whom he says he has me, but that he is not friends with, to stop droning people, close Gitmo, and to provide universal health care – medicare for all.
Megyn Kelly sits down with Ayres who practices what can only be called revisionist history – justifying not only his actions but the fatal actions of Bernardine Dohrn and others.
In Chicago during the 70’s awareness of the Weather Underground and the Black Panther’s is fresh in mind watching this interview. It’s a fascinating piece that offers a look at a Domestic American terrorist and a time in our recent history that should not be forgotten:
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