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“William Ayers’ forgotten communist manifesto: Prairie Fire [Dedicated to Sirhan Sirhan Among Others]”

October 30, 2008

William Ayers’ forgotten communist manifesto: Prairie Fire
By: ZOMBIETIME
posted: October 22, 2008
Excerpts

William Ayers is a communist. But don’t take my word for it. He said so himself:
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And not some nicey-nice peace-and-love kind of communist. Through his group the Weather Underground, Ayers was planning to “seize power” in a violent communist takeover of the United States:

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The quotes above were scanned directly from a now long-forgotten book entitled Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, which was written and published in 1974 by William Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and other members of the Weather Underground. In this slim volume, which functioned as the Weather Underground’s ideological manifesto, Ayers declares himself to be a communist, and announces that his group’s bombing campaign was intended to start a violent revolution to overthrow the American government.

After a long search, I was lucky enough to finally get my hands on a copy of the original edition of Prairie Fire, which is now extremely rare and hard to find. It was written in secret while Ayers and his fellow Weather Underground members were still in hiding and on the run, and still actively engaging in bombings and other violent acts.

This essay features many high-resolution scans of quotes and entire pages taken directly from Prairie Fire, which journalists, bloggers and other media members are free to copy and re-post.

If you’re interested only in viewing or downloading the scans taken from Prairie Fire, scroll down this page to see a large selection of shocking quotations which you can use as you see fit. My introductory explanation below simply provides context and elucidates why the text of Prairie Fire is so significant at this very moment in history.

So far in 2008, there has been almost no mention of this manifesto and its insurrectionary goals. It seems as if the media, William Ayers, Barack Obama and his supporters don’t want you to know about Prairie Fire. Which is exactly why you need to see it.

How Is This Relevant to the 2008 Presidential Campaign?

There’s nothing illegal about being a communist. People in this country are free to hold whatever political beliefs they so choose. I don’t know William Ayers, I’ve never met him (that I’m aware of), and I have nothing against him personally.

This essay only exists to correct and unequivocably debunk claims routinely made by the mainstream media over the last few weeks about William Ayers, his beliefs, and the purpose behind his bombing campaign during the 1970s.

Specifically, when questions arose during the 2008 presidential race about Barack Obama’s past associations with William Ayers, many media reports and articles blandly described Ayers as a “Vietnam-era radical” and the Weather Underground as a group that set bombs “to protest against the Vietnam War.” Both of these characterizations are demonstrably inaccurate.

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:

• Ayers and Obama worked together for years on a school reform program called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.
• Ayers and Obama also served together on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a separate charity organization.
• Obama had his political coming-out party in William Ayers’ home.
Ayers mentions Obama by name in a book he wrote in 1997, and mentions that the two are very close neighbors.
• Obama gave a short glowing review of that same Ayers book for the Chicago Tribune.
• Obama and Ayers were both presenters together on a panel about juvenile justice (organized by Michelle Obama).
• Both Obama and Ayers were close friends with the same person, Rashid Kalidi.
• There are also several unverified rumors swirling around that have not been documented: That Ayers may have helped to write part (or all) of Obama’s autobiography; that Obama and Ayers shared an office space together for three years, on the same floor of the same building in Chicago; and that Ayers and Obama may have known each other as far back as 1981.

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May 9, 1974

Sisters and brothers,

Here is PRAIRIE FIRE, our political ideology – a strategy for anti-imperialism and revolution inside the imperial US. It comes out of our own practice of the last five years and reflects a diversity of experiences. This paper is not the product of one or two people, nor even a small handful of us. Rather PRAIRIE FIRE represents the politics and collective efforts of an organization. It has been the focus of our study groups and our political education. It has been chewed on and shaped in countless conversations, struggles and written pages. It has travelled around the country, growing, developing thru the attempt to understand the shape of world forces and the revolutionary possibilities before us. The paper was rewritten four times and collectively adopted as the political statement of the Weather Underground. The twelve-month process of writing PRAIRIE FIRE, squeezed between on-going work and practice and action, has now reached a kind of end-point. A cycle is done.

We undertook this analysis to explain the changes in US and world conditions since the Vietnam ceasefire and to evaluate the consequences of the Vietnamese victory. We have come some distance in evaluating the political situation, the priorities for revolutionary work since we began this writing. Now many more revolutionaries will need to shape and change the paper. The politics cannot be realized unless and until the content of the program is activated in thousands of situations, among thousands of people in the coming period. PRAIRIE FIRE will be a growing thing.

We hope the paper opens a dialectic among those in the mass and clandestine movements; we hope people will take PRAIRIE FIRE as seriously as we do, study the content and write and publish their views of the paper as well as their analysis of their own practice. We will respond as best we can.

Our movement urgently needs a concrete analysis of the particular conditions of our time and place. We need strategy. We need to battle for a correct ideology and win people over. In this way we create the conditions for the development of a successful revolutionary movement and party. We need a revolutionary communist party in order to lead the struggle, give coherence and direction to the fight, seize power and build the new society. Getting from here to there is a process of coming together in a disciplined way around ideology and strategy, developing an analysis of our real conditions, mobilizing a base among the US people, building principled relationships to Third World struggle, and accumulating practice in struggle against US imperialism.

PRAIRIE FIRE is written to communist-minded revolutionaries, independent organizers and anti-imperialists; those who carry the traditions and lessons of the struggles of the last decade, those who join in the struggles of today. PRAIRIE FIRE is written to all sisters and brothers who are engaged in armed struggle against the enemy. It is written to prisoners, women’s groups, collectives, study groups, workers’ organizing committees, communes, GI organizers, consciousness-raising groups, veterans, community groups and revolutionaries of all kinds; to all who will read, criticize and bring its content to life in practice. It is written as an argument against those who oppose action and hold back the struggle.

PRAIRIE FIRE is based on a belief that the duty of a revolutionary is to make the revolution. This is not an abstraction. It means that revolutionaries must make a profound commitment to the future of humanity, apply our limited knowledge and experience to understand an ever-changing situation, organize the masses of people and build the fight. It means that struggle and risk and hard work and adversity will become our way of life, that the only certainty will be constant change, that the only possibilities are victory or death.

We have only begun. At this time, the unity and consolidation of anti-imperialist forces around a revolutionary program is an urgent and pressing strategic necessity. PRAIRIE FIRE is offered as a contribution to this unity of action and purpose. Now it is in your hands.

Bernardine Dohrn
Jeff Jones
Billy Ayers
Celia Sojourn

For the Weather Underground

Dedicated to Sirhan Sirhan (among others)

The following snippet is taken from the book’s dedication page, and shows that the Weather Underground dedicated the book to Robert F. Kennedy’s killer Sirhan Sirhan, among many other now-obscure ’60s-era radicals, criminals and revolutionaries:

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GO READ IT ALL!

Also see:
The Bomber as School Reformer
The Obama-Ayers Top Ten: Highlights of the 20 year Obama-Ayers Connection – Be sure to browse the list of related Obama/Ayers posts linked on side bar.

Related:
Obama & Ayers: Two Leftist Ideologues in a Pod
CNN’s Flying Pig Moment
Obama – Ayers Chicago Annenberg Challenge
Connecting the Dots: The Barack Obama Bill Ayers Connection
Son of Saul Alinsky: “Obama Learned His lesson Well”
Barack Obama Fan Club
Barack Obama’s Network: The Down and Dirty Lowdown
Obama’s Friends in Low Places

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