Bill Ayers (billayers) Thu 10 Jul 03 19:07
Cynthia---You have a bit more faith than is warranted in the folks who have captured political power in our country...Suppose we can convince them,you muse....Well it makes utter sense--- and decades of practice and research with Head Start for example confirms this---that if you invest in early education,the benefits for individuals and society are immense,incontrovertible.And what does Congress do?Starves Head Start for years,and now Bush proposes to kill it off.Power concedes nothing without a demand:Social Security was a response to social upheaval,the war on overty including Head Start a response to a mass movement and a mobilized,discontented people.If we hope for a better world our job is not to hope the rich and powerful will come to their senses,but is to organize a powerful,irresistible force...
Bill Ayers (billayers) Thu 10 Jul 03 19:38
Cynthia---On keeping faith:Bush said after the unprecedented antiwar protests of Feb.15 that he wasn't paying attention.Like Nixon saying he was watching the Superbowl when we brought 250,000 people to DC.So one reason to keep going is pure spite:don't let the bastards grind you down.More seriously,it's important for the rulers to say what you do doesn't matter precisely because it does matter and one weapon they weild is to sow despair,cynicism,passivity...Don't give in!Resist! Gather around you friends and colleagues with whom you can interpret and make sense of the world,and find pathways to resist.. And participate in political activity because that's how you learn the limits and possibilities and next steps... Rosa Luxemberg wrote to a friend from prison:Be a mensch...Love life fully,admire the sunrise and the clouds,fall in love....and be prepared to throw yourself on history"s wheel when possible. So be both modest and audacious in turn.We are both little specks of nothing living on the edge of the gallaxy for a nanosecond,and at the same time we have seen ordinary people stand up and change history.... What a dire and happy time to be alive and fighting...
Gail Williams (gail) Fri 11 Jul 03 10:34
You've got a fine philosophy.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 11 Jul 03 13:24
Thanks, Bill, for your thoughtful and passionate answer. I'll try, I swear, to find that enthusiasm I once took for granted as being limitless.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 11 Jul 03 13:26
And now, I want to thank both Bill Ayers and Andy Klein for joining us here for the past two weeks. This has been quite a journey, and though we've now turned our virtual spotlight onto a new interview, there's no reason this one can't continue. This topic will be left open for continued discussion, so please feel free to keep talking. Thank you, and keep up the good work, Bill!
Bill Ayers (billayers) Fri 11 Jul 03 13:34
Hey----thank you...sorry to stop just as I was figuring out my machine...but I'll check in and see what's going on...I like the site a lot and the concept.I also would love to hear from anyone who gets a chance to read Fugitive Days.Bill
Harry Henderson (hrh) Fri 11 Jul 03 14:10
It's been an interesting discussion. Bill, I hope you take a little time to look around here on the Well and see if there's anything ongoing you'd like to participate in.
flying jenny (jenslobodin) Fri 11 Jul 03 14:26
Oh, dear. It's over already? Heck. I regret that I haven't yet bought your book, Bill, so I didn't know what to ask you specifically (though being roughly the same age, of course I remember you and Bernadine well). I didn't know you back in the day, but Mike Klonsky was a great friend. Your story was important to me, and it's SO damned heartening to see you here. To know you're not only _alive_, which is a triumph in itself (Fred Hampton's murder was one of the darkest and most disheartening days ever), but that you and Bernadine are still together, and still working hard for a better world. I can't tell you how much this means to us (I read some of your words to my roommate, who was moved and gladdened, too). I have a little $ now, so intended to rush right out and devour it, and then get back to you. Do you have a website? Or, I will email you after reading the book, if you're no longer around the Well. Hope you will be, though. Your encouraging words, exhorting us not to let the bastards get us down, are wonderful, and just what the doctor ordered. Forget Prozac; I need a shot of your energy every once in a while, to remember to "Fuck the Nazis!" Thank you
flying jenny (jenslobodin) Fri 11 Jul 03 14:35
Whoops. The "it" I intend to devour is your book, of course.
Gail Williams (gail) Fri 11 Jul 03 15:03
Some places to check out within the password-walls of The WELL proper -- and maybe folks will post others that touch on some of the issues addressed in your book: <writers.> <boomers.> (for generational musings) <politics.> (relatively civil discussion, with real and opinionated humans <current.> (current events and more unfettered political stewing) <education.> <media.> (about and with media folk, large area) And many more of course, but you may find one or more of those perfect for settling into. You can continue to post right here in your own topic, of course, and make this an online home. Thanks, very interesting life you've led!
Get your hands dirty or get your ass kicked. (stdale) Fri 11 Jul 03 15:24
><current.> (current events and more unfettered political stewing) Aw, thanks, Gail. That's the kindest description of <current.> I've encountered since I've been a host. And absolutely, Bill. Drop by <current.>
(fom) Sat 12 Jul 03 16:37
Bill, I hope you hang around for a while and check out some other parts of the Well. And that this very interesting discussion continues.
the invetned stiff is dumb (bbraasch) Sat 12 Jul 03 18:26
I read Fugitive Days about a year ago and some of the stories in the book took me back to where I was at about the same time in about the same place. I remember when Fred Hampton was murdered by the Chicago Police. I was near Lincoln and Fullerton. There was revolution in the air. I don't know if the red stenciled signs Piece Now with a silhouette of a pistol had begun showing up on the sidewalks, but it was around that time. There were extra large sized plainclothes cops in jeans and flannel shirts pulling guys off the street. I recall being very pissed off at the time, but I didn't walk over there to see the scene of the crime, but you did!! You go into some elaborate details to show how much work you had to do to lose tails, but you were able to slip in and out of the crowd there, white kids in a black neighborhood. Were you that good at misdirection that they thought you were in some far off place when that happened?
excessively heterosexual (saiyuk) Sun 13 Jul 03 02:44
Indeed, thanks, Bill, although it seems like this just started. I hope you continue to hang out and we can keep this going some more.
(fom) Sun 13 Jul 03 07:46
Lincoln and Fullerton -- bbraasch, we must've crossed paths a million times. I have a question about the Days of Rage but I'm insufficiently caffeinated at the moment to compose it properly.
Huh? (macoyote) Tue 15 Jul 03 10:17
I don't believe people around twenty or thirty have any idea how sickening the war in Vietnam was, how divorced from reality or decency. Looking back, I think the effect was, and continues to be, comparable in many ways to the wounds of the Civil War. Afterwards, as a country, we went into denial and cynicism. And, yes, I do think education is the best (not the only) hope. And I say this as one who used to feel, as an adult, that the way we were taught in school-that we were stupid, and could only learn by listening to teacher and believing what we were told-was so damaging that the only way out was 2-3 years, starting at 10 years old, learning to read, write, and figure, and no more. With two more years of access to books, of course. God knows, the history I was taught in grade school was no help to anyone. Remember, this was 50-60 years ago.
(fom) Wed 16 Jul 03 09:12
(Starting at 10 -- that's interesting. Why 10?)
Huh? (macoyote) Wed 16 Jul 03 09:31
I thought then that kids were more prevented from knowing they could/do learn on their own if it started early. By ten, they would be..less gullible? more aware of who they were? Now, I think that being with other children, since we're not a tribe anymore, is too valuable to miss. Children learn so much, bad and good, from other children. This is one of the problems I have with home schooling.
Bill Ayers (billayers) Wed 16 Jul 03 13:12
Hey jenny---Thanx for the note and write when you've read the book if you want to...We do all need to remind ourselves that we are neither crazy nor deluded nor alone...the clique running OUR country represents the American people in the same way that the Soviet CP represented the people of the old Soviet Union---which is to say,yes,to some extent some of the time,and really a large NO WAY most of the time for most of the people. Now here we are with all the familiar talk of how SHOCKING it is that a president lied,and all the clever misdirection and fumbling about 1 sentence when the whole thing was a lie top to bottom,when the man can't open his mouth without lying---we need to speak clearly into the fog. Also,now comes the familiar underestimation of the cost of occupation,the toll in $$$ but also in a corrupted culture,consciousness,spirit...And the liberals call it a quagmire,holding on to the myth of American innocence,our good intentions undermined as if no one pointed this out again and again---pointedly in the recent antiwar protests....But to the established powers,liberal and conservative,it's critical to hold to the idea that we're outside the debate and so never a serious voice....And so we must work harder to establish the power of people mobilized and energized to wage the struggle for peace and justice....
Bill Ayers (billayers) Wed 16 Jul 03 13:17
bbraasch---I worked in the Cleveland colony called Lakeview/Hough,but years before I was on the run...No hiding out there,just getting high on the people,rapping about freedom,and living in the beloved community----amidst the clarifying wreckage....
(fom) Wed 16 Jul 03 17:56
proletarianly intoxicated, eh?
the invetned stiff is dumb (bbraasch) Fri 25 Jul 03 22:31
I saw a new documentary on the Weathermen tonight at the Castro. It'll be there for a week. Very well done. Catch it while you can.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Mon 28 Jul 03 17:30
Title? I'm not likely to get to SF but I have a local indie/art theater that has an excellent booking agent. I could ask about bringin' it up here.
(fom) Wed 30 Jul 03 23:42
The Weather Underground. Or maybe just Weather Underground. It's also playing at the Shattuck, where I saw it today. Very emotional experience. I'm gonna go back in a few days and see it again. Bill is one of the main people in it, of course -- Bill and Bernardine and Mark Rudd and a few others are interviewed throughout the movie. The old footage is incredibly compelling, or was for me. The Vietnam stuff is gorrifyingly violent. That's a typo, but so apt I'll leave it. Bill? You there? Do you have any comments on the movie? I wish I'd gone opening day, because Bernardine appeared for Q&A at both theatres (on different evenings).
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