Your Money: Redford's Glorified Murderers, or Hero Who Stopped Them?

Bill Ayers, cofounder of the terrorist group Weatherman, was hosted by Minnesota State University as a “scholar-in-residence” last month. (I reported on this, as well as on his appearance at the Association for Teacher Educators conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Atlanta.) For an ex-terrorist, Bill Ayers has had a comfortable career, and is enjoying an enviable retirement from his position as “Distinguished Professor of Education” at the University of Illinois at Chicago -- a few years ago, his base salary was $126,000.

He apparently has no money worries, and now fills his hours doing the things he loves -- radicalizing teachers and students. Certainly, a life much less risky than that of a rioter or bomb-thrower, activities that Ayers participated in during his younger days, while hoping that the “red army” would come marching in amidst the chaos, as he wrote in Fugitive Days.

Like one of his heroes, Che Guevara, Ayers likes to boss people around. As much as he talks about “love” and “cooperation,” Bill Ayers likes to order subordinates, especially when it comes to dangerous things. His goal has been -- and still is -- to aid a communist revolution in the United States. Back then, Ayers discussed these plans with fellow Weathermen, deciding that the Southwest would provide a good location for “re-education camps.” And the resistors who refused to go along: Ayers and his comrades agreed that an estimated 25 million Americans would have to be “eliminated.”

We know this about Ayers because the heroic Larry Grathwohl recorded this statement in a 1982 video (here).

Grathwohl became a Weatherman informant in 1969 after having fought for his country in Vietnam. Grathwohl described his experiences with Ayers and other Weatherman comrades in his 1976 memoir Bringing Down America, long out of print.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of writer and crime blogger Tina Trent, Grathwohl’s book is being reissued, just in time for the release of Robert Redford’s depraved film glorification of the terror group, The Company You Keep.

Grathwohl’s book is a can’t-put-down insider’s story revealing the truth about the Weathermen. Hollywood is instead publicizing the romanticized version, a revisionist history with Bill Ayers portrayed as an idealistic peace protester.

Grathwohl knew Ayers. Ayers’s official title in the Weatherman was -- no surprise -- “National Education Secretary.” Grathwohl witnessed Ayers giving orders to blow up the Detroit Police Officers Association building. When Grathwohl warned that the bomb would also kill customers -- most of them black -- in the adjacent Red Barn restaurant, Ayers replied:

We can’t protect all the innocent people in the world. Some will get killed.

Grathwohl also wrote:

He glared at me for questioning his authority.

Grathwohl saved many lives when he tipped off the police about Ayers’ planned bombing, lives of little importance to Redford’s narrative.

Ayers not only enjoyed giving orders for murder, but also liked to order the personal lives of Weathermen. In a reversal to the creed of “smashing monogamy,” Ayers gave the okay to monogamous Weatherman relationships, “as long as it doesn’t take precedence over the movement.” Writes Grathwohl:

Ayers enjoyed delivering these dicta to his subjects. He paced around the room emphasizing certain points by throwing his fist into the air in the power salute.

In 1970, San Francisco Police Sergeant Brian McDonnell died from a bomb thought to have been planted by Weatherman. McDonnell suffered for two days from the bomb, with inch-long industrial fence staples that severed his jugular vein and lodged in his brain.

The 44-year-old police sergeant left behind two children.

Ayers and wife Bernardine Dohrn were targets of the 2003 federal grand jury investigation into the case, which is still open.