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Bill Ayers, Target of Political Smear in 2008, Talks About New Book “Public Enemy” and Much More

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Bill Ayers, former SDS and Weatherman member who was used in attacks on Obama in 2008, along with his remarkable wife Bernardine Dohrn, dropped by the secret studio for a great conversation about the new book Public Enemy and lots more.Click here for GoDaddy deal that benefits the PBC Podcast!

Ayers is retired Distinguished Professor of Education at University of Illinois at Chicago, and Dorhn taught law at Northwestern for many years. The new book is a charming memoir about chilling experiences, and adds important dimensions to our knowledge of their lifelong commitment to the values they agitated for starting in the 1960’s.

We open with a bit of Public Enemy’s Rebel Without a Pause, and talk about their roles as teachers, and their legacy as antiwar activists.  We touch on Medea Benjamin’s work in the present day, and recent broad opposition to an attack on Syria despite the decline of protest since Obama took office.  Ayers comments that people on the left often misplace thier focus on power centers where they have no influence.

We turn to the book, Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident and how Ayers previous book, Fugitive Days had been published on 9/11/2001 with a review in the NY Times headlined  “no regrets for a lifetime love of explosives” which produced a new wave of controversy.  We talk about Bernardine’s almost year-long detention for refusing to testify before a grand jury, which is recounted in the book, and the political attacks that originated from the Clinton campaign in the spring of 2008, and amplified by McCain and Palin in the fall campaign.  Ayers printed some of the hate mail he received, and relates his encounter with one of his hateful correspondents.  There’s much more in this rich conversation, with several cameos from Chloee, our studio dog.