October 11, 2008
For the fourth time this presidential season I have had to repost this item on Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. This time it is one putative Republican presidential candidate John McCain, mad "terrorist" bomber of everything he could get in his sights over North Vietnam while he was a Navy pilot, who is muddying up the waters. I have nothing in common with Democratic Vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden but he has his finger on the situation. Why, if it was such a big issue didn't John McCain raise to Barack Obama to his face on debate night, October 7, 2008. Not much of interest was being said so it would have been okay to brooch the subject. Well done, Joe. As for the rest of this damn presidential campaign season- the hell with it. Forward to a workers party!
October 7, 2008
Apparently, for the third time this presidential season I have to dust off this old review of the Weather Underground and the activities of leftist Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. Why? Sarah Palin, self-proclaimed "hockey mom" Republican Vice-presidential candidate, has decided that the virtue of the American Republic requires a rehashing of that old chestnut concerning the supposed organic relationship between the "terrorist" professors and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. I am reposting previous comments here because, frankly, I have nothing to add to the previous comments. Except this, Professors Ayers and Dohrn can now serve as prima facie evidence that ostensible leftists should be very careful in the choice of bourgeois capitalist candidates they "hang around with". In short, stay very far away from those types.
August 26, 2008
Apparently, the Republican presidential campaign of Arizona Senator John McCain is trying to get mileage out of some tenuous connection between Democratic presidential candidate Illinois Senator Barack Obama and very, very ex-Weatherpeople Professors Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. This same issue popped up in the spring of 2008. The introductory comment used there reposted directly below and a review of what The Weather Underground really meant politically still apply. I would only add that forty years of "cultural wars" by these reactionaries, led by Karl Rove and his ilk, is enough. I only hope that when our day comes we will relegate them to some nice island somewhere so they can "reflect" on their sins and leave the rest of us alone.
There is currently a tempest in a teapot swirling around Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama concerning his relationship with former Weatherpeople Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. Here are a couple of reviews from last year on the historic significance of that movement. The real question to ask though is not why Obama was hanging around with Ayers and Dohrn but why they were hanging around with this garden-variety bourgeois candidate on the make. Enough said.
YOU DO NEED A WEATHERMAN (PERSON) TO KNOW WHICH WAY THE WIND BLOWS
THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND: REBELS WITH A CAUSE, 2003
In a time when I, among others, are questioning where the extra-parliamentary opposition to the Iraq War is going and why it has not made more of an impact on American society it was rather refreshing to view this documentary about the seemingly forgotten Weather Underground that as things got grimmer dramatically epitomized one aspect of opposition to the Vietnam War. If opposition to the Iraq war is the political fight of my old age Vietnam was the fight of my youth and in this film brought back very strong memories of why I fought tooth and nail against it. And the people portrayed in this film, the core of the Weather Underground, while not politically kindred spirits then or now, were certainly on the same page as I was- a no holds- barred fight against the American Empire. We lost that round, and there were reasons for that, but that kind of attitude is what it takes to bring down the monster. But a revolutionary strategy is needed. That is where we parted company.
One of the political highlights of the film is centered on the 1969 Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) Convention that was a watershed in the student anti-war protest movement. That was the genesis of the Weathermen but it was also the genesis of the Progressive Labor Party-led faction that wanted to bring the anti-war message to the working class by linking up the student movement with the fight against capitalism. In short, to get to those who were, or were to be, the rank and file soldiers in Vietnam or who worked in the factories. In either case the point that was missed, as the Old Left had argued all along and which we had previously dismissed out of hand, was that it was the masses of working people who were central to ‘bringing the war home’ and the fight against capitalism. That task still confronts us today.
One of the paradoxical things about this film is that the Weather Underground survivors interviewed had only a vague notion about what went wrong. This was clearly detailed in the remarks of Mark Rudd, a central leader, when he stated that the Weathermen were trying to create a communist cadre. He also stated, however, that after going underground he realized that he was out of the loop as far as being politically effective. And that is the point. There is no virtue in underground activity if it is not necessary, romantic as that may be. To the extent that any of us read history in those days it was certainly not about the origins of the Russian revolutionary movement in the 19th century. If we had we would have found that that movement also fought out the above-mentioned fight in 1969. Mass action vs. individual acts, heroic or otherwise, of terror. The Weather strategy of acting as the American component of the worldwide revolutionary movement in order to bring the Empire to its knees certainly had (and still does) had a very appealing quality. However, a moral gesture did not (and will not) bring this beast down. While the Weather Underground was made up a small group of very appealing subjective revolutionaries its political/moral strategy led to a dead end. The lesson to be learned; you most definitely do need weather people to know which way the winds blow. Start with Karl Marx.