Furthermore: Obama and his supporters at first claimed he barely knew who Ayers was, but when public awareness of the connections between Obama and Ayers became too numerous and too strong to deny, Obama's supporters have now begun resorting to a fallback position: that William Ayers wasn't such a bad guy after all, and that it is no shame to be associated with him. The now-standard talking points are:
• Ayers was simply protesting against the Vietnam War, and a lot of people protested against the Vietnam War back then, so there's no shame in that.
• Ayers was never actually convicted of setting any bombs or killing anyone, so there's no real proof that he ever did anything wrong.
• Ayers is now a respected, mainstream, mild-mannered and popular professor, so obviously his political views couldn't have been that extreme.
This essay disproves all of these claims. The text that William Ayers authored in Prairie Fire, and the additional documentary links provided below, prove that:
• Ayers was not simply protesting "against" the Vietnam War. Firstly, he wasn't against war in principle, he was agitating for the victory of the communist forces in Vietnam. In other words: He wasn't against the war, he was against our side in the war. This is spelled out in great detail in Prairie Fire. Secondly, and more significantly, the Vietnam War was only one of many issues cited by the Weather Undergound as the justifications for their violent acts. As you will see below, in various quotes from Prairie Fire and in their own list of their violent actions (and in additional impartial documentary links), Ayers and the Weather Underground enumerated dozens of different grievances as the rationales for their bombings -- their overarching goal being to inspire a violent mass uprising against the United States government in order to establish a communist "dictatorship of the proletariat," in Ayers' own words.
• Ayers and his co-authors freely brag about their bombings and other violent and illegal acts, and even provide a detailed list, most likely typed up by Ayers himself, of the crimes they had committed up to that point. Ayers' list, scanned directly from Prairie Fire, is shown below. He may have escaped conviction due to a legal technicality (the prosecutors failed to get a warrant during some of their surveillance of the Weather Underground), but this in no way means that Ayers was factually innocent of the crimes. As has been widely reported, after the case against him was dropped, Ayers decribed himself as "guilty as hell, free as a bird."
• Just because Ayers tries to appear respectable now doesn't mean that he wasn't a violent revolutionary in the past. In fact, as the text of Prairie Fire shows, Ayers was one of the most extreme extremists in American political history. And as the links given as the end of this essay will prove, Ayers is just as politically radical now as he was back then. He has never renounced the political views he professed in the 1960s and 1970s. The only difference is that now he no longer commits violence to achieve his goals. After his stint as the leader of the Weather Underground, he shifted to a different tactic: to spread his ideology under the aegis of academia. But the goal remains the same: to turn America into a communist nation. Ayers' contemporary writings contain many of the same ideas (and even the same phrases) found in Prairie Fire, just toned down to make them more palatable in polite society.
But Where Is the Obama Connection?
This essay is only about William Ayers' past and present political views. It is not about the connection between Barack Obama and William Ayers. That issue has been covered (and continues to be covered) elsewhere in innumerable news reports and blog postings. Yet as evidence mounts of the extensive and long-standing connection between Obama and Ayers, making their association more and more difficult to deny, Obama's campaign and supporters have started shifting their strategy; Sure, they say, Obama may have had a connection with Ayers, but why is that so bad? Look at William Ayers now: He's a completely respectable man. What -- he protested against the Vietnam War? So did everyone. He's no extremist. I see these arguments made in countless blog posts, comment sections, and even news articles. This essay exists to stop that political escape route. There's no getting around it: William Ayers was a violent communist revolutionary bent on overthrowing the government and "seizing power" in the United States. The proof is on this page. And the only difference between the 1970s William Ayers and the William Ayers with whom Barack Obama has associated is that Ayers no longer uses violence to achieve his goals. But Ayers' underlying political world-view (i.e. communism) has remained the same.
For the record, and just to be complete, here are links documenting some of Obama's many connections to William Ayers:
. . . And Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune thinks he's a newsman.