From the October 9, 2008 New York Post
October 9, 2008
by Ronald Radosh
The Obama campaign hotly denies the McCain camp's charges that Barack Obama has long ties to Bill Ayers, the 1960s Weather Underground terrorist. I'll leave it to others to discuss most aspects of the relationship - and focus on one damning admission made in Obama's defense.
While denying any other meaningful link between the two, the Obama campaign says that Obama has long respected Ayers' work on education; many press accounts refer to him as a "school reformer." Problem is, those "school reforms" boil down to propagandizing for the very ideas that led Ayers to blow up buildings decades ago.
The Obama defense cites the likes of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who told The New York Times that Ayers (now a University of Illinois professor) is an educator who has "done a lot of good in this city and nationally." Thus, if Obama sought Ayers' expertise on his chosen field of childhood education, it was hardly anything to be wary of.
But, as Stanley Kurtz and Sol Stern have pointed out, Obama helped deliver thousands of dollars to fund Ayers' education projects in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge - whose purpose, says Kurtz, is to infuse students "with a radical political commitment."
Ayers makes this very clear in all his writings. K-12 teachers, he has written, must teach "for social justice and liberation" - making classrooms into centers for creating revolutionary change.
Time has only hardened Ayers' views. Consider an interview he gave two years ago to "Revolution," a magazine published by The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, a self-described "Marxist, Leninist, Maoist" group.
There, Ayers argues that education can't be separated from "the concept of politics and political change." Urban schools are now merely preparing students "for prison, for unemployment and for war."
So, to create a genuine "progressive" education for our children, teachers must work to overturn the repressive, racist and imperialist system that governs the United States; it is imperative to fight "the most reactionary cabal of ideologues" that control the federal government and the media.
Even if the Republicans lose the White House in in 2008, Ayers notes, the ruling class will remain irritated by education - which he proudly proclaims the one area they don't control. To keep it that way, he calls for fighting to stop proposals such as those favoring charter schools and vouchers. (Ayers doesn't seem to realize, or care, that such reforms gain access to good education for precisely the poor whose interests he claims to represents.)
In the interview, Ayers also makes a point of declaring solidarity identifying with perhaps the biggest charlatan in modern American academia - Ward Churchill, who was finally removed from his University of Colorado professorship by the school's president for academic misconduct, including false use of sources, plagiarism and the most extreme politicization of the curriculum conceivable.
As Ayers sees it, Churchill was simply challenging students "with ideas they've never seen before," and with encouraging students "to question things."
In fact, Churchill won his notoriety by saying that the Americans killed in the 9/11 attacks were "busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cellphones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants.
"If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it."
To Ayers, Churchill was simply "being pilloried . . . for being a leftist, for being a critic of US imperialism."
Consider also Ayers' 1997 book on juvenile justice, which Obama praised in a review as a "searing and timely account" of the issue. Yet, Ayers argued against the very existence of prisons in the United States, compared our country and its incarceration system to apartheid in South Africa and called for drastically softer sentences for juveline murderers. In a panel on the book Obama later even agreed with Ayers that the system is an "industrial-prison complex."
Ayers' policies when Obama worked with him were those of the revolutionary left; his views remain the same today. He refers to himself and his comrades as "revolutionaries" who have to "stand up" and fight for revolution. This is a "school reformer" Barack Obama respects?
Ronald Radosh is an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute; Prof. Emeritus of History at the City University of New York, and the author of many books, including "The Rosenberg File;" "Divided They Fell: The Demise of the Democratic Party, 1964-1996," and most recently, "Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left and the Leftover Left."
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