The resolute reporting of National Review Online’s Stanley Kurtz and his colleagues has cast light on the concealed web of connections linking Barack Obama and Bill Ayers. A recent visit by this writer to a local Borders Bookstore has opened a window onto the Weather Underground itself via the pages of a volume found unexpectedly in the store’s political science section. Dan Berger, the author of Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity, published in 2005, intends his book to be a chronicle of subtle praise for the terrorist organization, another nostalgic trip through the psychedelic 60s. In the hands of a reader with a sound moral compass, however, it becomes a searing indictment of the group. Read factually, it pierces the purple haze spewed by the radical chic narrative of the anti-war movement. On page after page it paints a picture of the sordid moral wasteland inhabited by the members of the Weather Underground and their terrorist co-conspirators. The unvarnished truth demonstrates that the rationalizations Barack Obama has employed to explain away his links to Bill Ayers are untenable. It also casts doubt on Obama’s suitability to serve as president of the United States.
A WAR COUNCIL
Dan Berger is described on the book’s back cover as a writer, activist and doctoral student. He claims, with the cool detachment of a scholar, that his study is “an attempt to explain what drove the Weather Underground and why … to create space for a dialogue of what the Weather Underground means for today.” He describes the group as “a dynamic and vibrant revolutionary movement dedicated to fundamental and progressive social change.” (Change we can believe in, perhaps?) But only a sycophant like Berger could proceed to compile copious evidence of illegal acts without labeling the perpetrators criminals of the highest order.
There are many unsavory figures in the book. Bill Ayers, for example, was a founding member of the Weather Underground, which split off from the radical Students for a Democratic Society in June, 1969. He was one of the signatories of the organization’s first manifesto, which asserted that “the main struggle going on in the world today is between U.S. imperialism and the national liberation struggles against it.” Taking its call for “a white fighting force” quite literally, the group’s leaders launched a spasm of violence, including street fighting, riots, beatings, pipe bombs, and attacks on the police, all culminating in the infamous Days of Rage in Chicago in October. They tried to organize a new version of the Brown Shirts, in other words.
In December, 1969 Ayers and his zealous co-revolutionaries resorted to an outright terrorist campaign, a step taken at what they dubbed a “National War Council” in Flint, Michigan. It was an ugly scene, where various spokesmen, Berger writes, “proudly proclaimed themselves the ‘New Barbarians’ and pondered aloud whether it would be acceptable to kill white children to prevent the further spread of white supremacy. They worked themselves up to a laughing frenzy, chanting ‘Explode!’” At the end of this sickening spectacle they made the decision to go underground, and within months the bombings started in earnest.