Public Enemy: Bill Ayers on his critics, the sectarian left, and his new memoir

program date: 
Mon, 10/28/2013
Jan Haaken talks with education activist, Bill Ayers, about his recent memoir "Public Enemy: confessions of an American dissident". The book responds in part to critics who used Bill's controversial history as a founding member of the The Weather Underground (radical left revolutionaries who employed sometimes destructive tactics) to smear Barack Obama in the 2008 election.

Bill's explains how critics constructed a narative of guilt by association with not only him, but several other firebrand individuals Obama knew (e.g. Jerimiah Wright). Moreover, he reminds us that this particular narative to do with him, while seemingly a right-wing echo chamber fixation, actually originates with Hillary Clinton when her campaign folded in 2008. Jan and Bill unpack the hypocrisy of the demand for him to "confess" to the error of his past and renounce violence, seeing how much of the Congress and the president himself are implicated in continued State violence. Responding to a question about the "criticisms from the left" about his Weather Underground activities, Bill says the greatest sin of the time was sectarianism, dogmatism, and mistaking friends for enemies.


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