[Marxism] Review of Public Enemy

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Nov 20 09:31:32 MST 2013

On 11/20/13 11:02 AM, Alan Wieder wrote:
> http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/11/bill-ayers-and-the-radical-spark-past-and-present/

Alan, your review refers to an earlier piece you had written about Ayers:

"Finally, as an academic who works with teachers who fought against 
apartheid in South Africa, I can’t help but think that the same people 
who define Bill Ayers as a terrorist would have given that label to 
Nelson Mandela and his less known comrades during the struggle against 
the apartheid regime."

There is a crucial distinction to be made. Nothing required Ayers and 
the Weather Underground to embark on a bombing campaign. In 1971 the 
United States was absolutely wide-open politically, more so than at any 
time since the 1930s. Unlike Edward Snowden, PFC Manning, or Julian 
Assange, Daniel Ellsberg suffered no long-term effects from his release 
of the Pentagon Papers. GI's were conducting meetings in Indochina over 
whether they would obey orders to go into a fire fight without worrying 
about being court-martialed.

When Ayers and his friends gave up on the American people as a hopeless 
reactionary beast and began setting off bombs, it actually made it more 
difficult for people like me to push for greater freedoms in a place 
like Houston, Texas where the KKK was operating with impunity. By 
allowing the bourgeois press to make an amalgam between the Weathermen 
and socialists taking advantage of every opportunity afforded them 
through our hard-won Bill of Rights, we were often put on the defensive.

If Nelson Mandela had had the opportunity to organize above-ground and 
legally, the ANC would never had resorted to the kinds of bombing 
missions carried out by Ronnie Kasrils. Mass action is the primary means 
to the conquest of power, not bold actions carried out as a substitute 
for mass action.

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