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Lift your lamp beside the golden door, Break not the golden rule, avoid well the golden calf, know; not all that glitters is gold, and laissez faire et laissez passer [let do and let pass] but as a shining sentinel, hesitate not to ring the bell, defend the gates, and man the wall

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Cycle of Democracies

overview of what various forms of Govt.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010



The Weather Underground Organization (abbreviated WUO), was an American radical left organization. It originated in 1969 as a faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)[2] composed for the most part of the national office leadership of SDS and their supporters. Their goal was to create a clandestine revolutionary party for the violent overthrow of the US government and the establishment of a dictatorship of the proletariat.[3]
With a charismatic[4] and articulate[5] leadership whose revolutionary positions were characterized by anti-imperialist, feminist, and Black liberationist rhetoric,[2] the group conducted a campaign of bombings through the mid-1970s, including aiding the jailbreak and escape of Timothy Leary. The "Days of Rage," their first public demonstration on October 8, 1969, was a riot in Chicago timed to coincide with the trial of the Chicago Seven. In 1970 the group issued a "Declaration of a State of War" against the United States government, under the name "Weather Underground Organization" (WUO). The bombing attacks mostly targeted government buildings, along with several banks. Most were preceded by evacuation warnings, along with communiqués identifying the particular matter that the attack was intended to protest. For the bombing of the United States Capitol on March 1, 1971, they issued a communiqué saying it was "in protest of the US invasion of Laos." For the bombing of the Pentagon on May 19, 1972, they stated it was "in retaliation for the US bombing raid in Hanoi." For the January 29, 1975 bombing of the United States Department of State Building, they stated it was "in response to escalation in Vietnam."[6]
The Weathermen grew out of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) faction of SDS. It took its name from the lyric "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", from the Bob Dylan song Subterranean Homesick Blues. You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows was the title of a position paper they distributed at an SDS convention in Chicago on June 18, 1969. This founding document called for a "white fighting force" to be allied with the "Black Liberation Movement" and other radical movements[7] to achieve "the destruction of US imperialism and achieve a classless world: world communism."[8]
The Weathermen largely disintegrated after the United States reached a peace accord in Vietnam in 1973, which saw the general decline of the New Left.


The Weathermen emerged from the campus-based opposition to the Vietnam War, as well as the Civil Rights Movements of the late 1960s. During this time, United States military action in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam, escalated. In the U.S., the anti-war sentiment was particularly pronounced during the 1968 U.S. presidential election.
... The milieu of the late 1960s. With a growing protest movement in the United States and the global struggle in which anti-imperialist forces were on the march in Vietnam, Algeria, and Angola, the Weathermen believed they were on the winning side of history — creating new communities free from capitalist exploitation and embracing the Che Guevara prediction that numerous Vietnam-type conflicts would topple the American regime."
— Ron Briley, History News Network[9]
The origins of the Weathermen can be traced to the collapse and fragmentation of the Students for a Democratic Society following a split between office holders of SDS, or "National Office," and their supporters and the Progressive Labor Party. During the factional struggle National Office leaders such as Bernardine Dohrn and Mike Klonsky began announcing their emerging perspectives, and Klonksy published a document entitled "Toward a Revolutionary Youth Movement" (RYM). RYM promoted the philosophy that young workers possessed the potential to be a revolutionary force to overthrow capitalism, if not by themselves then by transmitting radical ideas to the working class. Klonsky's document reflected the philosophy of the National Office and was eventually adopted as official SDS doctrine. During the summer of 1969, the National Office began to split. A group led by Klonsky became known as RYM II, and the other side, RYM I, was led by Dohrn and endorsed more aggressive tactics such as direct action, as some members felt that years of non-violent resistance had done little or nothing to stop the Vietnam War.[6] The Weathermen strongly sympathized with the radical Black Panthers. The police killing of Panther Fred Hampton prompted the Weatherman to issue a declaration of war upon the United States government.
We petitioned, we demonstrated, we sat in. I was willing to get hit over the head, I did; I was willing to go to prison, I did. To me, it was a question of what had to be done to stop the much greater violence that was going on.

SDS Convention, June 1969

At an SDS convention in Chicago on June 18, 1969, the National Office attempted to convince unaffiliated delegates not to endorse a takeover of SDS by Progressive Labor who had packed the convention with their supporters.[10] At the beginning of the convention, two position papers were passed out by the National Office leadership, one a revised statement of Klonksy's RYM manifesto, the other called "You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows." The latter document outlined the position of the group that would become the Weathermen. It had been signed by 11 people, including Mark Rudd, Bernardine Dohrn, John Jacobs, Bill Ayers, Terry Robbins, Jeff Jones, Gerry Long, and Steve Tappis. The document called for creating a clandestine revolutionary party.
The most important task for us toward making the revolution, and the work our collectives should engage in, is the creation of a mass revolutionary movement, without which a clandestine revolutionary party will be impossible . A revolutionary mass movement is different from the traditional revisionist mass base of "sympathizers . " Rather it is akin to the Red Guard in China, based on the full participation and involvement of masses of people in the practice of making revolution; a movement with a full willingness to participate in the violent and illegal struggle.[11]
At this convention the Weatherman faction of the Students for a Democratic Society, planned for October 8-11, as a "National Action" built around John Jacobs' slogan, "bring the war home."[12] The National Action grew out of a resolution drafted by Jacobs and introduced at the October 1968 SDS National Council meeting in Boulder, Colorado. The resolution, titled "The Elections Don't Mean Shit—Vote Where the Power Is—Our Power Is In The Street" and adopted by the council, was prompted by the success of the Democratic National Convention protests in August 1968 and reflected Jacobs' strong advocacy of direct action.[13]
As part of the "National Action Staff," Jacobs was an integral part of the planning for what quickly came to be called "Four Days of Rage."[12] For Jacobs, the goal of the "Days of Rage" was clear:
"Weatherman would shove the war down] their dumb, fascist throats and show them, while we were at it, how much better we were than them, both tactically and strategically, as a people. In an all-out civil war over Vietnam and other fascist U.S. imperialism, we were going to bring the war home. 'Turn the imperialists' war into a civil war', in Lenin's words. And we were going to kick ass."[14]
In July, 1969 30 members of Weatherman leadership travel to Cuba and meet with North Vietnamese representatives to gain from their revolutionary experience. The North Vietnamese request armed political action in order to stop the US Government's war in Vietnam. Subsequently, the accept funding, training, recommendations on tactics and slogans from Cuba, and perhaps explosives as well.[15]

SDS Convention, December, 1969

After the Days of Rage riots the Weatherman held the last of its National Council meetings from December 26 to December 31, 1969 in Flint, Michigan. Flying to the event, Dohrn and Jacobs ran up and down the aisles of the airplane, seizing food, frightening the passengers.[16] The meeting, dubbed the "War Council" by the 400 people who attended, adopted Jacobs' call for violent revolution. Dohrn opened the conference by telling the delegates they needed to stop being afraid and begin the "armed struggle." Over the next five days, the participants met in informal, random groups to discuss what "going underground" meant, how best to organize collectives, and justifications for violence.[7][16][17][18][19][20] In the evening, the groups reconvened for a mass "wargasm"—practicing karate, engaging in physical exercise, singing songs, and listening to speeches.[7][16][17][18][19] The "War Council" ended with a major speech by John Jacobs. J.J. condemned the "pacifism" of white middle-class American youth, a belief which they held because they were insulated from the violence which afflicted blacks and the poor. He predicted a successful revolution, and declared that youth were moving away from passivity and apathy and toward a new high-energy culture of "repersonalization" brought about by drugs, sex, and armed revolution.[7][16][17][18][19] "We're against everything that's 'good and decent' in honky America," Jacobs said in his most commonly quoted statement. "We will burn and loot and destroy. We are the incubation of your mother's nightmare."[16]
Two major decisions came out of the "War Council." The first was to immediately begin a violent, armed struggle against the state without attempting to organize or mobilize a broad swath of the public. The second was to create underground collectives in major cities throughout the country.[21] In fact, Weatherman created only three significant, active collectives, one in California, the Midwest, and New York City. The New York City collective was led by Jacobs and Terry Robbins, and included Ted Gold, Kathy Boudin, Cathy Wilkerson (Robbins' girlfriend), and Diana Oughton.[13] Jacobs was one of Robbins' biggest supporters, and pushed Weatherman to let Robbins be as violent as he wanted to be. The Weatherman national leadership agreed, as did the New York City collective.[22] The collective's first target was Judge John Murtagh, who was overseeing the trial of the "Panther 21".
After the summer of 1969 fragmentation of Students for a Democratic Society, Weatherman's adherents explicitly claimed themselves the real leaders of SDS and retained control of the SDS National Office. Thereafter, any leaflet, label, or logo bearing the name "Students for a Democratic Society" or "SDS" was in fact the views and politics of Weatherman, not of the slate elected by Progressive Labor. Weatherman contained the vast majority of former SDS National Committee members, including Mark Rudd, David Gilbert and Bernardine Dohrn. The group, while small, was able to commandeer the mantle of SDS and all of its membership lists, but with Weatherman in charge there was little or no support from local branches or members of the organization,[23][24] and local chapters soon disbanded. By February 1970, the group had decided to close the SDS National Office, ending the major campus-based organization of the 1960s which at its peak was a mass organization with 100,000 members.


The thesis of Weatherman theory, as expounded in its founding document, You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows, was that "the main struggle going on in the world today is between U.S. imperialism and the national liberation struggles against it",[25] based on Lenin's theory of imperialism, first expounded in 1916 in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. In Weatherman theory "oppressed peoples" are the creators of the wealth of empire, "and it is to them that it belongs." "The goal of revolutionary struggle must be the control and use of this wealth in the interest of the oppressed peoples of the world." "The goal is the destruction of US imperialism and the achievement of a classless world: world communism"[26]
The Vietnamese and other third world countries, as well as third world people within the United States play a vanguard role. They "set the terms for class struggle in America..."[27] The role of the "Revolutionary Youth Movement" is to build a centralized organization of revolutionaries, a "Marxist-Leninist Party" supported by a mass revolutionary movement to support international liberation movements and "open another battlefield of the revolution."[28][29]
The theoretical basis of the Revolutionary Youth Movement was an insight that most of the American population, including both students and the supposed "middle class," comprised, due to their relationship to the instruments of production, the working class,[30] thus the organizational basis of the SDS, which had begun in the elite colleges and had been extended to public institutions as the organization grew could be extended to youth as a whole including students, those serving in the military, and the unemployed. Students could be viewed as workers gaining skills prior to employment. This contrasted to the Progressive Labor view which viewed students and workers as being in separate categories which could ally, but not should not jointly organize.[31]
Federal Bureau of Investigation analysis of the travel history of the founders and initial followers of the organization emphasized contacts with foreign governments, particularly the Cuban and North Vietnamese and their influence on the ideology of the organization. Participation in the Venceremos Brigade, a program which involved US students volunteering to work in the sugar harvest in Cuba, is highlighted as a common factor in the background of the founders of the Weather Underground, with China a secondary influence.[32] This experience was cited by both Kathy Boudin and Bernardine Dohrn as a major influence on their political development.[33]
The name Weatherman was derived from the Bob Dylan song “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” which featured the lyrics “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” The lyrics had been quoted at the bottom of an influential essay in the SDS newspaper, New Left Notes. Using this title the Weathermen meant, partially, to appeal to the segment of US youth inspired to action for social justice by Dylan’s songs.
The Weatherman group had long held that militancy was becoming more important than nonviolent forms of anti-war action, and that university-campus-based demonstrations needed to be punctuated with more dramatic actions, which had the potential to interfere with the US military and internal security apparatus. The belief was that these types of urban guerrilla actions would act as a catalyst for the coming revolution. Many international events indeed seemed to support the Weathermen’s overall assertion that worldwide revolution was imminent, such as the tumultuous Cultural Revolution in China; the 1968 student revolts in France, Mexico City and elsewhere; the Prague Spring; the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association; the emergence of the Tupamaros organization in Uruguay; the emergence of the Guinea-Bissauan Revolution and similar Marxist-led independence movements throughout Africa; and within the United States, the prominence of the Black Panther Party together with a series of “ghetto rebellions” throughout poor black neighborhoods across the country.[34]
We felt that doing nothing in a period of repressive violence is itself a form of violence. That's really the part that I think is the hardest for people to understand. If you sit in your house, live your white life and go to your white job, and allow the country that you live in to murder people and to commit genocide, and you sit there and you don't do anything about it, that's violence.
The Weathermen were outspoken advocates of the critical concepts that later came to be known as “white privilege” and identity politics.[35][36] As the unrest in poor black neighborhoods intensified in the early 1970s, Bernardine Dohrn said, “White youth must choose sides now. They must either fight on the side of the oppressed, or be on the side of the oppressor.”[6]


Shortly after its formation as an independent group, Weatherman created a central committee, the Weather Bureau, which assigned its cadres to a series of collectives in major cities. These cities included New York, Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Buffalo, and Chicago, the home of the SDS' head office. The collectives set up under the Weather Bureau drew their design from Che Guevara's foco theory, which focused on the building of small, semi-autonomous cells guided by a central leadership.[39] Members of collectives engaged in intensive criticism sessions which attempted to reconcile their prior and current activities and political positions to Weatherman doctrine. Monogamy and other exclusive sexual relationships came under attack. Martial arts were practiced and occasional direct actions were engaged in.[40] This formation continued during 1969 and 1970 until the group went underground and a more relaxed lifestyle was adopted as the group blended into the counterculture.[41]

Armed propaganda?

In 2006 Dan Berger (writer, activist, and longtime anti-racism organizer)[42] states that following their initial set of bombings, which resulted in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion the organization adopted a new paradigm of direct action set forth in the communiqué New Morning, Changing Weather, which abjured attacks on people.[43] The shift in the organization's outlook was in good part due to the 1970 death of Weatherman Terry Robbins in Greenwich Village townhouse explosion. Terry Robbins was renowned among the organization members for his radicalism and belief in violence as effective action.[44] According to Dan Berger a relatively sophisticated program of armed propaganda was adopted. This consisted of a series of bombings of government and corporate targets in retaliation for specific imperialist and oppressive acts. Small, well-constructed time bombs were used, generally in vents in restrooms, which exploded at times the spaces were empty. Timely warnings were made and communiqués issued explaining the reason for the actions.[45]

Haymarket Police Memorial bombing October 7, 1969

Shortly before the Days of Rage demonstrations on October 7, 1969, the Weatherman planted a bomb that blew up a statue in Chicago built to commemorate police casualties incurred in the 1886 Haymarket Riot.[17] The blast broke nearly 100 windows and scattered pieces of the statue onto the Kennedy Expressway below.[46] The statue was rebuilt and unveiled on May 4, 1970 (coincidentally, the same day as the Kent State massacre), only to be blown up by the Weathermen a second time on October 6, 1970.[46][47] The statue was rebuilt once again and Mayor Richard J. Daley posted a 24-hour police guard to protect it.[46]

"Days of Rage" October 9, 1969

The Haymarket Square police memorial (1889 photo)
One of the first acts of the Weathermen after splitting from SDS was to announce they would hold the "Days of Rage" that autumn. This was advertised to "Bring the war home!" Hoping to cause sufficient chaos to "wake" the American public out of what they saw as complacency toward the role of the US in the Vietnam War, the Weathermen meant it to be the largest protest of the decade. They had been told by their regional cadre to expect thousands to attend; however, when they arrived they found only a few hundred people. According to Bill Ayers in 2003, "The Days of Rage was an attempt to break from the norms of kind of acceptable theatre of 'here are the anti-war people: containable, marginal, predictable, and here's the little path they're going to march down, and here's where they can make their little statement.' We wanted to say, "No, what we're going to do is whatever we had to do to stop the violence in Vietnam.'"[6]
The protests did violate Bill Ayers stated expectations:
Of the police:
We were faced with revolutionaries.[48][49]
Of the city:
We never expected this kind of violent demonstration. There has always been a big difference between what they say and what they do.[49][50]
Headlines read:
SDS Women Fight Cops[51]
A comment in the press:
Here we see a new breed of pro-black, pro-Viet Cong hooligan revolutionaries who not demanding this or that change, but are out to totally disrupt the very fabric of this society, out the smash this social order.[51]
Though the October 8, 1969 rally in Chicago had failed to draw as many as the Weathermen had anticipated, the two or three hundred who did attend shocked police by rioting through the affluent Gold Coast neighborhood. They smashed the windows of a bank and those of many cars. The crowd ran four blocks before encountering police barricades. They charged the police but broke into small groups; more than 1,000 police counter-attacked. Many protesters were wearing motorcycle or football helmets, but the police were well trained and armed. Large amounts of tear gas were used, and at least twice police ran squad cars into the mob. The rioting lasted approximately half an hour, during which 28 policemen were injured. Six Weathermen were shot by the police and an unknown number injured; 68 rioters were arrested.[7][17][21][52]
For the next two days, the Weathermen held no rallies or protests. Supporters of the RYM II movement, led by Klonsky and Noel Ignatin, held peaceful rallies in front of the federal courthouse, an International Harvester factory, and Cook County Hospital. The largest event of the Days of Rage took place on Friday, October 9, when RYM II led an interracial march of 2,000 people through a Spanish-speaking part of Chicago.[7][52]
On October 10, the Weatherman attempted to regroup and resume their demonstrations. About 300 protesters marched through The Loop, Chicago's main business district, watched by a double-line of heavily armed police. The protesters suddenly broke through the police lines and rampaged through the Loop, smashing the windows of cars and stores. The police were prepared, and quickly isolated the rioters. Within 15 minutes, more than half the crowd had been arrested.[7][52]
The Days of Rage cost Chicago and the state of Illinois approximately $183,000 ($100,000 for National Guard expenses, $35,000 in damages, and $20,000 for one injured citizen's medical expenses). Most of the Weathermen and SDS leaders were now in jail, and the Weathermen would have to pay over $243,000 for their bail.[21]

Park Place Police Station bombing, February 1970

On February 16, 1970 a nail bomb placed on a window ledge of the Park Police substation in the Upper Haight neighborhood of San Francisco exploded at 10:45 p.m. The blast killed police Sergeant Brian McDonnell. Law enforcement suspected the Weather Underground but was unable to prove conclusively that the organization was involved.[53] A second officer, Robert Fogarty was partially blinded by the bomb’s shrapnel.

New York City, Judge Murtagh arson attacks, February 1970

On February 21, 1970, gasoline-filled Molotov cocktails were thrown at the home of New York State Supreme Court Justice Murtagh, who was presiding over the trial of the so-called "Panther 21," members of the Black Panther Party over a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. One bottle full of gasoline had broken against the front steps, and flames scorched the overhanging wooden frame until its contents burnt out. In addition windows were broken, and another molotov cocktail caused paint charring on a car. Painted in red on the sidewalk in front of his house was "FREE THE PANTHER 21", "THE VIET CONG HAVE WON", and "KILL THE PIGS".[54] The same night, molotov cocktails were thrown at a police car in Manhattan and two military recruiting stations in Brooklyn.[55] The son of Justice Murtagh claims that the Weatherman were responsible for the attempted arson,[54] based on a letter promising more bombings sent by Bernadine Dohrn to the Associated Press in late November, 1970,[56] Some authors assume that letter is generally assumed to refer to an October bombing of a Queens courthouse.[57] NYPD Chief Detective Seedman quoted Dohrn's December, letter as stateding ‘two weeks before the townhouse explosion, four members of this (WUO)group had firebombed Judge Murtaugh’s house in New York as an action of support for the Panther 21." [58] No one or was caught or tried, for the arson attempt,[54] several sources[59][60][61][62] state that the arson attempt was enacted by the Weathermen but was considered a failure.

Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, March 1970

On March 6, 1970, during preparations for the bombing of a Non-Commissioned Officers’ (NCO) dance at the Fort Dix U.S. Army base and for Butler Library at Columbia University,[2] there was an explosion in a Greenwich Village safe house when the nail bomb being constructed prematurely detonated for unknown reasons. WUO members Diana Oughton, Ted Gold, and Terry Robbins died in the explosion. Cathy Wilkerson and Kathy Boudin escaped unharmed. It was an accident of history that the site of the Village explosion was the former residence of Merrill Lynch brokerage firm founder Charles Merrill and his son, the poet James Merrill. The younger Merrill subsequently recorded the event in his poem 18 West 11th Street, the title being the address of the house. An FBI report later stated that the group had possessed sufficient amounts of explosive to "level ... both sides of the street".[63]
The bomb preparations have been pointed out by critics of the claim that the Weatherman group did not try to take lives with its bombings. Harvey Klehr, the Andrew W. Mellon professor of politics and history at Emory University in Atlanta, said in 2003, "The only reason they were not guilty of mass murder is mere incompetence. I don't know what sort of defense that is."[2]

William (Bill) Ayers 
and The Weathermen AKA  
The Weather Underground
  • Leader of the 1960s and 70s domestic terrorist group Weatherman 
  • "Kill all the rich people. ... Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents."
  • Participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972
  • Currently a professor of education at the University of Illinois
“I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough.” -Willaim Ayers

Born in 1944, Bill Ayers, along with his wife Bernardine Dohrn, was a 1960s leader of the homegrown terrorist group Weatherman, a Communist-driven splinter faction of Students for a Democratic Society. Characterizing Weatherman as "an American Red Army," Ayers summed up the organization's ideology as follows: "Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, Kill your parents."

Today Ayers is a professor of education and a Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois, where, as of October 2008, his office door was adorned with photographs of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Che Guevara and Malcolm X. He also has authored a series of books about parenting and educating children, including: A Kind and Just ParentTo Become a TeacherCity KidsCity TeachersTo TeachThe Good Preschool Teacher; Zero Tolerance: Resisting the Drive for Punishment in Our Schools; and Teaching Towards Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom.

Ayers was an active participant in Weatherman's 1969 "Days of Rage" riots in Chicago, where nearly 300 members of the organization employed guerrilla-style tactics to viciously attack police officers and civilians alike, and to destroy massive amounts of property via vandalism and arson; their objective was to further spread their anti-war, anti-American message. Reminiscing on those riots, Ayers says pridefully: "We'd ... proven that it was possible -- we didn't all die, we were still there."

In his 2001 book Fugitive Days, Ayers recounts his life as a Sixties radical and boasts that he "participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972." Of the day he bombed the Pentagon, Ayers writes, "Everything was absolutely ideal.... The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them." He adds:
"There's something about a good bomb … Night after night, day after day, each majestic scene I witnessed was so terrible and so unexpected that no city would ever again stand innocently fixed in my mind. Big buildings and wide streets, cement and steel were no longer permanent. They, too, were fragile and destructible. A torch, a bomb, a strong enough wind, and they, too, would come undone or get knocked down."
In a 2001 interview, Ayers expressed his enduring hatred for the United States. "What a country," he said. "It makes me want to puke."

All told, Ayers and Weatherman were responsible for 30 bombings aimed at destroying the defense and security infrastructures of the U.S.  "I don't regret setting bombs," said Ayers in 2001, "I feel we didn't do enough."

In 1970, Ayers' then-girlfriend Diana Oughton, along with Weatherman members Terry Robbins and Ted Gold, were killed when a bomb they were constructing exploded unexpectedly. That bomb had been intended for detonation at a dance that was to be attended by army soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Hundreds of lives could have been lost had the plan been successfully executed. Ayers attested that the bomb would have done serious damage, "tearing through windows and walls and, yes, people too."

After the death of his girlfriend, Ayers and his current wife, Bernardine Dohrn, spent the 1970s as fugitives running from the FBI.

In 1974 Ayers co-authored -- along with Dohrn, Jeff Jones, and Celia Sojourn -- a book titled Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism. This book contained the following statements:
  • "We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men ... 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."
  • "The only path to the final defeat of imperialism and the building of socialism is revolutionary war."
  • "Revolutionary war will be complicated and protracted. It includes mass struggle and clandestine struggle, peaceful and violent, political and economic, cultural and military, where all forms are developed in harmony with the armed struggle."
  • "Without mass struggle there can be no revolution.
    Without armed struggle there can be no victory."
  • "We need a revolutionary communist party in order to lead the struggle, give coherence and direction to the fight, seize power and build the new society."
  • "Our job is to tap the discontent seething in many sectors of the population, to find allies everywhere people are hungry or angry, to mobilize poor and working people against imperialism."
  • "Socialism is the total opposite of capitalism/imperialism. It is the rejection of empire and white supremacy. Socialism is the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the eradication of the social system based on profit."
The title Prairie Fire was an allusion to Mao Zedong's observation (in a January 1930 letter) that "a single spark can start a prairie fire." Ayers' book was dedicated to a bevy of violent, America-hating revolutionaries, including Sirhan Sirhan (assassin of Robert F. Kennedy).

In 1980 Ayers and Dohrn surrendered to law-enforcement authorities, but all charges against them were later dropped due to an "improper surveillance" technicality -- government authorities had failed to get a warrant for some of their surveillance. Ayers' comment on his life, as reported by Peter Collier and David Horowitz in their authoritative chapter on Weatherman in Destructive Generation, was this: "Guilty as sin, free as a bird, America is a great country."  

Notwithstanding his violent past, Ayers today does not describe himself as a terrorist. "Terrorists destroy randomly," he reasons, "while our actions bore ... the precise stamp of a cut diamond. Terrorists intimidate, while we aimed only to educate."

In Fugitive Days, Ayers reflects on whether or not he might use bombs against the U.S. in the future. "I can't imagine entirely dismissing the possibility," he writes.

In the mid-1990s, Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn hosted meetings at their Chicago home to introduce Barack Obama to their neighbors during his first run for the Illinois Senate.

There is strong evidence suggesting that Ayers wrote Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama's 1995 memoir. In October 2009, conservative blogger Anne Leary reported that Ayers had personally told her that he was the book's author.

In 1995 Ayers -- whose stated educational objective is to "teach against oppression" as embodied in "America's history of evil and racism, thereby forcing social transformation" -- founded a "school reform organization" called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC). He appointed Obama as the group's first chairman.

When National Review Online writer Stanley Kurtz in 2008 reviewed the CAC archives at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois, he found that Ayers had been one of five members of a working group that assembled the initial CAC board which hired Obama.

"Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit," Kurtz wrote. "No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval." According to Kurtz, the CAC archives show that Obama and Ayers worked as a team to advance the foundation's agenda -- with Obama responsible for fiscal matters while Ayers focused on shaping educational policy. The archived documents further reveal that Ayers served as an ex-officio member of the board that Obama chaired through CAC's first year; that Ayers served with Obama on the CAC governance committee; and that Ayers worked with Obama to write CAC's bylaws.

A September 2008 WorldNetDaily report offers still more details: "Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Obama. Ayers also spoke for the Chicago School Reform Collaborative before Obama's board, while Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the collaborative … According to the documents, the CAC granted money to far-leftist causes, such as the radical Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which …has done work on behalf of Obama's presidential campaign."

WorldNetDaily reports further that "while Obama chaired the board of the CAC, more than $600,000 was granted to an organization founded by Ayers and run by Mike Klonsky, a former top communist activist. Klonsky was leader of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party, which was effectively recognized by China as the all-but-official U.S. Maoist party."

In 1999 Ayers joined the Woods Fund of Chicago, where he served as a director alongside Barack Obama until the latter left the Woods board in December 2002. Ayers went on to become Woods' Chairman of the Board. In 2002 the Woods Fund made a grant to Northwestern University Law School's Children and Family Justice Center, where Ayers' wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was employed.

At a 2007 reunion of former members of the Weather Underground and Students for a Democratic Society, Ayers painted a verbal portrait of life in the United States which included the following passages:
  • "This is a time not only of great stress and oppression and authoritarianism, and a kind of rising incipient American form of fascism, and what the government counts on, what the powerful count on, is that we will stay quiet. It's the idea that we can tolerate these intolerable things without screaming, without somehow coming out, joining up and coming out and saying something. It's what they count on in terms of keeping things under control."
  • "Empire resurrected and unapologetic, war without end, an undefined enemy that's supposed to be a rallying point for a new kind of energized jingoistic patriotism, unprecedented and unapologetic military expansion, white supremacy changing its form, but essentially intact, attacks on women and girls, violent attacks, growing surveillance in every sphere of our lives, on and on and on, the targeting of gay and lesbian people as a kind of a scapegoating gesture to keep our minds off of what's really happening."
And here is how Ayers characterized himself and the longtime radical comrades to whom he was speaking:

"Even though we think of ourselves as political, we weren't politicians. We were people who had a moral vision of what was possible. And when we talk, for example, about health care, about peace, we're talking a language of ethics, not a language of instrumentalism or opportunism, or what we might get. So we have to speak in a language that's large and generous and encompassing. And then we have to act."

Today Ayers sits on the board of the Miranda International Center, a Venezuelan government think tank dedicated to bringing Cuba-style education to Venezuelan schools. Ayers is a great admirer of Venezuela's Marxist President, Hugo Chavez.

Ayers and Dorhn have two children, whom they named Malik (the Muslim name of Malcolm X) and Zayd. Zayd's namesake is Zayd Shakur, a Black Panther killed while driving the radical JoAnne Chesimard (a.k.a. Assata Shakur) to a hideout — the resulting traffic stop shootout ended in the murder of a New Jersey State Trooper. The former Weather Underground terrorists also raised Chesa Boudin because his natural parents, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, were serving lengthy prison sentences for their roles in the Brinks murders, a joint Weatherman and Black Liberation Army operation in which two police officers and an armed guard were killed. Unlike Ayers, Dohrn actually spent time in prison as a result of their terrorist activities — a contempt citation for refusing to honor a grand jury subpoena in the Brinks investigation.

Bernardine Dohrn became one of the leaders of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM), a radical wing of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), in the late 1960s. The ninth annual national SDS conference was held in Chicago in June 18-22, 1969, and the SDS collapsed in a Revolutionary Youth Movement-led upheaval.
Dohrn led the Weatherman faction in the SDS fight and continued to be a leader afterward.[7][8]

Weather Underground Declaration of a State of War


Jeffrey Carl Jones

  • Was a member of Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s
  • Co-founder of the Weather Underground Organization
  • Environmentalist
  • Owns consulting firm that helps grassroots leftist organizations promote their agendas and fundraise successfully
  • Director of New York State's chapter of the Apollo Alliance

Jeffrey Carl Jones was born into a Quaker family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in February 1947. In September 1965 he enrolled at Antioch College in Ohio. A month later he joined the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and became active as an anti-war speaker on college campuses. In April 1967 Jones quit school to become the regional office coordinator of New York City's SDS chapter, a position he held until December 1968.

During his tenure with SDS, Jones became a sworn enemy of the United States government. Believing that America's military involvement in Southeast Asia was immoral, he sided with the North Vietnamese communists. Formally renouncing the conscientious-objector status that had been conferred on him as a result of his Quaker lineage, he began referring to himself and his ideological comrades as "communist revolutionaries."

In November 1967 Jones and fellow anti-war radical Cathlyn Platt Wilkerson went on a fact-finding mission to Cambodia, where they had a friendly meeting with representatives from the North Vietnamese embassy and members of the National Liberation Front, the communist army of the Vietcong.

In August 1968 Jones participated in a large-scale protest at the site of the Democratic National Convention, a protest that escalated into rioting on the streets of Chicago. At one point, Jones shouted to his fellow rioters:
"The power belongs to the young people and the black people in this country. We're going to remake this country in the streets. Don't get hung up on this fourth party bullsh**. Don't get hung up on peace candidates. Come on! We gotta fight it out where the only power we can build is. That's at the base. We gotta build a strong base and someday we gotta knock those motherfu**ers who control this thing right on their ass."
By mid-June of 1969, Jones, along with Bill Ayers and Mark Rudd, became a leader of SDS's most militant wing and formed a new radical organization, Weatherman. They issued a Weatherman "manifesto" eschewing nonviolence and calling for armed opposition to U.S. policies; advocating the overthrow of capitalism; exhorting white radicals to trigger a worldwide revolution by fighting in the streets of the "mother country"; and proclaiming that the time had come to launch a race war against the "white" United States on behalf of the non-white Third World.

Jones helped to promote and organize an October 1969 demonstration in Chicago, timed to coincide with two significant events: (a) the trial of the "Chicago Seven" defendants who stood accused of having incited the aforementioned riots of 1968; and (b) the second anniversary of the death of Che Guevara.

"Bring the War Home" was the slogan for this latest Chicago rally. Addressing those in attendance, Jones claimed to be the embodiment of Marion Delgado, a five-year-old Chicano boy who had placed a slab of concrete on a railroad track and derailed a passenger train in California 22 years earlier - a symbol of the immense amount of damage that the small were capable of inflicting on the mighty.

At the end of his talk, Jones exhorted his listeners to take violently to the streets, thereby unleashing the so-called "Days of Rage" which featured rioters (many of them affiliated with Weatherman) smashing windows, damaging cars, and clashing with police. In the 1980s, Jones would reminisce about the Days of Rage:
"The point of [the action] was that if they're going to continue to attack the Vietnamese and to kill the [Black] Panthers, then we as young white people are going to attack them behind the lines.... That's why we ... smashed up people's private property ... and fought the cops.... The situation was so grave, what the U.S. was doing -- this of course was true -- that we had to take extreme measures."
Jones was arrested for his role in the Days of Rage, along with approximately 100 others. He was charged with "crossing state lines to foment a riot and conspiring to do so." When he he failed to appear for his March 1970 court date, the FBI launched a manhunt to track him down.

Also in March 1970, Jones and Weatherman issued a "Declaration of a State of War" against the United States government. For the first time, they used a new name, the "Weather Underground Organization," adopting fake identities and restricting themselves exclusively to covert activities.

Jones would manage to elude law-enforcement authorities for a decade. After living for more than a year in San Francisco with fellow fugitive Bernardine Dohrn, Jones and Weather Underground comrade Eleanor Raskin relocated to New York's Catskill Mountain region in 1971; during the years that followed, they would reside variously in New Jersey and the Bronx, New York.

In 1974 Jones co-authored -- along with Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and Celia Sojourn -- the book Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, whose title was an allusion to Mao Zedong's observation that "a single spark can start a prairie fire." This publication contained the following statements:
  • "We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men ... 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."
  • "The only path to the final defeat of imperialism and the building of socialism is revolutionary war."
  • "Revolutionary war will be complicated and protracted. It includes mass struggle and clandestine struggle, peaceful and violent, political and economic, cultural and military, where all forms are developed in harmony with the armed struggle."
  • "Without mass struggle there can be no revolution. Without armed struggle there can be no victory."
  • "We need a revolutionary communist party in order to lead the struggle, give coherence and direction to the fight, seize power and build the new society."
  • "Our job is to tap the discontent seething in many sectors of the population, to find allies everywhere people are hungry or angry, to mobilize poor and working people against imperialism."
  • "Socialism is the total opposite of capitalism / imperialism. It is the rejection of empire and white supremacy. Socialism is the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the eradication of the social system based on profit."
In late October 1981, Jones and Raskin were caught in a police sweep of individuals suspected of having participated in the deadly robbery of an armored truck in Nyack, New York three days earlier. A week before their sentencing in December 1981, Jones and Raskin were married. At sentencing, Jones received probation and community service, while the charges against Raskin were dropped.

Jones thereafter spent ten years as a communications director for Environmental Advocates of New York. He currently heads Jeff Jones Strategies, a consulting firm that specializes in helping grassroots leftist organizations promote their agendas and fundraise successfully. His clients include, among others, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Workforce Development Institute, New Partners for Community Revitalization, the Land Trust Alliance, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, the Healthy Schools Network, and the League of Conservation Voters.

Jones also serves as director of New York State's chapter of the Apollo Alliance, which helped craft portions of the $787 billion "stimulus" legislation that President Barack Obama signed into law in early 2009.

In addition, Jones is a board member of West Harlem Environmental Action; the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy; the Healthy Schools Network; the Capital District Chapter of the League of Conservation Voters; and the financial arm of Movement for a Democratic Society, a group that works closely with the newly reconstituted SDS.

A resident of Albany, New York, Jones is a member of Governor David Paterson's Energy and Environment Transition Commission. He is also affiliated with New York's Workforce Development Institute, which advises state and local governments and universities on how to write their grants in a manner that is likely to successfully secure funds from the aforementioned stimulus bill.

Jones identifies "climate change and global warming" as his chief environmental concern. He says"
"What bothers me about it is the impact that it will have on people, and the people who are least able to deal with it. We saw this with [Hurricane] Katrina. We know that sea-level rise is going to affect island nations, poor nations like Bangladesh. These are human-rights, social-justice issues that really impact me personally a lot."

  • "We felt that doing nothing in a period of repressive violence is itself a form of violence. That's really the part that I think is the hardest for people to understand. If you sit in your house, live your white life and go to your white job, and allow the country that you live in to murder people and to commit genocide, and you sit there and you don't do anything about it, that's violence." -Naomi Jaffe
  • "Once Richard Nixon was elected president and inaugurated in January 1969, we were targeted, bam, bam, bam, by a very sophisticated, advanced, counterintelligence program; At the same time, by very crude and violent police." -Kathleen Neal Cleaver, Black Panther Party
  • "This pattern of harassment is going on against the Black Panther Party across the country. On Friday, the Watts office of the Black Panther Party was bombed and demolished. Last week the Des Moines office was bombed. They can't stop anything we're doing as a legitimate political organization so they come in and shoot us and shoot tear gas at us like they've lost they minds." -Kathleen Neal Cleaver, Black Panther Party
  • "There's no way to be committed to non-violence in one of the most violent societies that history has ever created. I'm not committed to non-violence in any way." Bernardine Dohrn, The Weather Underground
  • "Freaks are revolutionaries and revolutionaries are freaks." Bernardine Dohrn, The Weather Underground

Larry Grathwohl

Grathwohl claims

Larry Grathwohl, an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated The Weather Underground, claimed that Ayers wanted to overthrow the United States government. In an interview in January 2009, Grathwohl stated that:
"The thing the most bone chilling thing Bill Ayers said to me was that after the revolution succeeded and the government was overthrown, they believed they would have to eliminate 25 million Americans who would not conform to the new order."
In response to Grathwohl's claims, Ayers stated that:
"Never said it. Never thought it. And again, Larry Grathwohl, I don't know him today, but certainly the FBI was an organization built on lies."
In an interview with ABC7 reporter Alan Wang, Ayers stated that "Now that's being blown into dishonest narratives about hurting people, killing people, planning to kill people. That's just not true. We destroyed government property," said Ayers. However, when asked if he ever made bombs, Ayers replied: "I'm just not going to talk about it."

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