An Interview With Bill Ayers

An Interview With Bill Ayers
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From today's Rumpus interview with Bill Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground and a favorite punching bag for the failed John McCain campaign.

1968: "March 31st, 1968, Lyndon Johnson announces he won't run for President. Here's the most effective politician of his generation; he's passed the most far reaching civil rights legislation. He's ruined his Presidency in the furnaces of war. And he announces he won't run for President. Those of us who were anti-war activists had this spontaneous explosion."

American Fascism: "What we thought fascism would look like was that it would have two faces: the face to black people was going to be increasing depression, increasing economic hardship, and the murder of Fred Hampton, Mark Clark, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X. That's what fascism looks like. That's exactly what it looks like. Targeted assassinations. Terror against communities... The face of fascism in the white community would be conspiracy trials. What we envisioned for ourselves were endless trials, endless prison sentences, conspiracy indictments. And it was all happening. I was indicted on two federal conspiracies. My wife was on the Ten Most Wanted list. That's what fascism was going to look like. That's what it did look like."

Then and Now: "I don't buy the whole mythology of the sixties. I think I'm an intergenerational person just like you guys and I'm as much a part of this generation as you are.

The 40 Hour Work Week: "The fact is in the last 40 years we've gone from having a 40-hour work week for the middle-class, upper middle-class, professional. For example, my dad was chairman of Commonwealth Edison for 30 years, worked a 40 hour week. That's unthinkable today. I'm a professor, I work an 80-hour week. He was home for dinner every night, and he ran the biggest corporation in Chicago."

Tattoos: "I bled a lot. But you're supposed to bleed a lot when you're for freedom."

Fox News: "If you listen to Fox News, or you listen to the people who might write a letter to this or that it seems like I'm this demon. But most people who think about it are not actually persuaded by it. The proof is the last election."

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