Ron Radosh

The New York Times' Favorite 60's Terrorist

Evidently The New York Times editors have somewhat of a crush about Bill Ayers. First, they legitimized him a few months ago by giving him a space to repeat his many lies in an Op-Ed piece.  Deciding that giving him such coveted space was not enough, they have compounded their love affair with the 60’s terrorist by now awarding him a full page in the Sunday edition of The New York Times magazine.

Titled “Radical Cheer,” the interview by Deborah Solomon is compounded by their full page color photo of Ayers—a device that indicates those the magazine chooses to interview are indeed noteworthy important people. Most egregious, however, is that Solomon clearly believes that Ayers’ and his wife Bernard Dohrn’s lifelong agenda is, as she puts it,  a “long struggle against racism and social injustice.” With those words, Solomon transforms Ayers’ and Dohrn’s actual  lifelong real struggle for overthrow of our capitalist democracy with some form of revolutionary socialism, which they define in traditional Marxist-Leninist terms, into a simple quest for peace and justice.

It is clear that Ms. Solomon has no awareness of Ayers own writings; his calls for revolution, his endorsement of bombing as a worthy tactic for antiwar activists, his advocacy of a race and class war led by the Black Panther Party and other far left black groups, to which the white New Left would serve as supporters.  Had she just read Prairie Fire, the official statement of the Weather Underground ideology and program, she would have had sufficient information about their openly stated ideas.

“We need,” their political statement said, “a revolutionary communist party in order to lead the struggle, give coherence and direction to the fight, seize power and build the new society.”  And here is the heart of their manifesto: “Our final goal is the destruction of imperialism, the seizure of power, and the creation of socialism. Our strategy for this stage of the struggle is to organize the oppressed people of the imperial nation itself to join with the colonies in the attack on imperialism. This process of attacking and weakening imperialism involves the defeat of all kinds of national chauvinism and arrogance; this is a precondition to our fight for socialism.”

 Why did Solomon not ask Ayers if he still stands by that judgment? After all, as he stood by Hugo Chavez’s side in Venezuela a few years ago, he made statements that would indicate that he still held by that original vision.  And his wife Bernardine Dohrn made the following statement in 1969:  “Revolutionary violence is the only way. Now we are adopting … classic guerilla strategy…in the technically most advanced country in the world.”  Solomon also praises Dohrn. Has she changed her vision? Readers never know. Of course, Ayers does tell Ms. Solomon that “I don’t think what we did was brilliant,”  which may be the understatement of the year.

Bill Ayers is right. He was not and is not brilliant. Indeed, as Paul Berman wrote, he was and is one of the stupidest men alive.  He ends the interview by telling Solomon he is an eternal optimist. Why shouldn’t he be? The MSM and the Times have adopted him as one of their own; simply an antiwar activist from the old days who should be continually honored.