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Bill Ayers To Speak At Busboys & Poets

by Prince Of Petworth November 11, 2008 at 11:20 pm 26 Comments

2007_bill_ayers, originally uploaded by BHowdy.

I’m dying to know what you guys think about this talk.

From an email:

Book Talk with Bill Ayers
The controversial Chicago activist comes to DC

Bill Ayers’ name has been in the news lately, though most of the coverage hasn’t been about his new book, City Kids, City Schools: More Reports from the Front Row – or its well-known companion, City Kids, City Teachers: Reports from the Front Row. A respected elementary education theorist and a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Education, Ayers comes to Busboys and Poets at 14th and V Streets to drop a few metaphorical bombshells on the state of public education in urban schools courtesy of our partner Teaching for Change who invited us to co-sponsor this event.

City Kids, City Teachers shed light on student life in urban public schools and commented on issues faced by city students, from language, race and class to culture, poverty and violence. Twelve years later, City Kids, City Schools picks up where its companion left off, connecting life in city schools to life in the surrounding neighborhoods. Contributors take on topics from culturally relevant teaching to gentrification in a collection that multicultural education writer Sonia Nieto says “challenge[s] the conventional wisdom of what it means to teach in urban schools.”

Ayers knows well the need to improve urban education, a concern he shares with DC VOICE and its supporters. His call to action will likely resonate with our community, which is why we extend this invitation to you to hear Ayers speak.

Monday, November 17, 6:30p – 8:00pm
Langston Room at Busboys and Poets
2021 14th St
NW DC 20009

  • Christina

    I bet that will be a packed house.

  • anonymouse

    probably could have done without the lame reference to “bombshells”. Maybe they could find another way to make a joke about people dying.

  • Anonymous

    I am old enough to remember Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Cathy Wilkerson, Kathy Boudin and many others from Weathermen, then Weather Underground. I wouldn’t give this unrepentent domestic terrorist the time of day and am glad of wonderful president-elect isn’t either.

  • reuben

    I, too, am old enough to remember the folks mentioned by Anonymous. I will, however, be there. I understand where “anon” is coming from, but I also find the sudden use of the “domestic terrorist” term interesting. I have a t shirt which reads-“Homeland Security-Since 1492”. There are three Native Americans holding guns on it as well. A guy at my gym didn’t get it…. 9/11 was a heinous act, but it wasn’t the first terrorist attack on American soil. I also know this wasn’t the previous author’s point-but we do seem to overlook the history of Native Americans far too much.

  • Steve

    I too will be interested to go. I think what Ayers did in the past was awful – from what I understand. I really don’t want to hear about his past. In my mind the election closed the book on the chapter of the 60s in our history. I am more interested in what he thinks of Mrs. Rhee’s efforts to reform the DC schools.

  • reuben

    I guess there is no way to translate the tumult of the ’60s (whether one agrees with what yo[u think occured)to this day. I won’t go on and on , because I know this generation has a different (albeit somewhat flaccid.. oops) take on politics… and i dont want to come across like one of those relatives you avoid at Thanksgiving… (“Here comes Uncle Reuben, talking about Sacco and Vanzetti again!)

  • Boomhauer

    I’d as soon attend a talk by Ayers as I would a talk by an abortion clinic bomber or someone doing a “Weekend at Bernies” with Tim McVeigh.

  • SG

    The right wing was right about Ayers… even if you agree with his policies, you can’t agree with his methods. He is a domestic terrorist.

  • Anonymous

    I know. He should have “worked within the system”. Like , oh, I don’t know… John Adams…

  • Odentex

    I wouldn’t want to see Ayers, not because he was a “dirty hippie bomber/terrorist marxist,” or whatever else Sarah Palin decides to make up today when she’s on the TV, but because he and his politics are irrelevant given the problems we face today.

    Ruben, what you call “flaccid” some might call pragmatic or realistic. Starry-eyed baby boomers failed. Ayers represents a generation of leaders that have had their shot (no pun intended) and made a miserable showing over the last 40 years. The boomers talked a lot of shit, but where are those changes they spoke so passionately about when they were in their 20’s? Lost in the pursuit of money and status primarily as they became yuppie authors and took cushy tenure! I note, with a giggle, that Ayers it on a publicity tour instead of hiding out in a safe house. Some revolutionary.

    While I guess Obama may technically be a boomer, he is more in line with what people of my generation think than yours. To me he represents the middle way of a reasonable adult attempting to get things done, not the impossible musings of an overgrown boomer child.

  • Anonymous

    “Domestic terrorist”? You guys watch an embarrassing amount of TV. You’d probably describe Wright as “a preacher of hate,” too.

    The Weather Underground’s goals were to incite revolution against the federal government and damage federal property, not to create terror in the population. Reasonable labels might be “vandal” or “revolutionary.”

  • reuben

    Good points, Odentex. Very good points. Heartbroken radicals are the worst kind of people to be around. (This is why I have never come to any of the POP-generated events.. LOL) I’ve not given up, but I wish you -the new wave- a lot of luck…
    There are still things about America which will always puzzle me.. Like why so many of “us” seem to take pride in being the last Industralized nation without-dare I say it-Universal Health Care… There are some things a latte just won’t fix.

  • Neener

    When I was a kid in the 1970s the weathermen were definitely DIS-regarded amongst the world of revolution. the nonviolent protesters were lionized, the yippies sort of distrusted and the weathermen hated. People like Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden had “issues” before they redeemed themselves.

    Nonviolence is the only kind of revolution that works in the 20th and 21st centuries. Military crackdowns beget international interference. Nonviolent political change is the only change worth pursuing.

  • Ayers advocated violence-why exuse him?

    Ayers unfortunately made the leap that violence had to be used to achieve his objectives.

    I don’t think we can be morally unequicoval about when violence is wrong. It is wrong about 99.9 % of the time [I can justify it in self defense, protection of an innocent civilian]

    Count me out.

  • Matt

    Anyone who attends this talk will probably end up on a watch list–just food for thought.

  • Anonymous

    Steve: I’m not sure this election closed the door on the 1960s….else there wouldn’t be this talk or this thread. Best not to forget our past anyway; that whole history repeating itself bit.

    As for Ayers, I’m not entirely sure how he’s relevant to much of anything these days. They guy was and probably still is pretty much a jerk on the fringe. Pack him off to the old ‘activists’ home.

  • Anonymous

    While I’m glad the Ayers connection didn’t stick to President-Elect Obama, I still find Ayers a repugnant little relic of, yes, post-hippie domestic terrorism. Why would I go see a man who plotted to murder folks like my father, a drafted US Army soldier, because of some delusional belief in revolutionary violence which never resulted in any meaningful change and probably set back progressive politics by 25 years?

    The Baby Boomers’ days are over and done with. Our generation should discard the relics of that time to the dustbin and move on to more productive methodologies of achieving political progress.

  • Anon

    Some of us need to get our history correct. The Weathermen NEVER physically harmed a single human being in any of their attacks, and actually sought to avoid it using strategic planning.

  • Anon2

    A relic of the days when people cared enough about an unjust war that they went to some extreme measures. ~60,000 soldiers died in Vietnam.

  • Toby

    Elementary school theorist? Has he actually ever taught in an elementary school? Didn’t think so. I know he was on the lam for several years.

  • reuben

    I hope some of you look up from your tekkie toys and come visit me in the old hippies home from time to time.

  • Simon

    Bill Ayers’s actions in the late 60s and early 70s were misguided and wrong. His actions since then provoke the question: is it possible, over thirty-plus years, for a person who never killed, or plotted to kill, anyone to make up for the sins he did commit? He’s been a force for positive change in our schooling system; his writing on education is fascinating and progressive (I read his book “To Teach” during my first year as a teacher, having never heard of his previous career on the left); and no, he didn’t say, in 2001, that he regretted he didn’t set enough bombs, he said he regretted he didn’t do enough to stop the war — meaning, he recognizes that what he did didn’t stop the war. He was wrong forty years ago. Is it possible he’s right now?

  • Odentex

    Anon @ 10:13: YOU need to get your history straight, besides the 3 people killed when their bomb prematurely exploded in Greenwich Villiage in 1970, three members of the group robbed an armored car in NY in 1981 resulting in the deaths of two police officers and a security guard. So other than SIX DEATHS, I guess you’re right.

  • Revolted

    Normally I stop going to DC restaurants thanks to shoddy service and overpriced food, but now I get to avoid one for hosting a terrorist who is going to talk about urban school reform, which he’s totally failed at in professional life…and who just happens to be family friends with the guy that will be president. What a city. If only Reverend Wright would show up and share his thoughts on education like he did at the Michigan NAACP dinner.

  • Jonas

    # Odentex Says:
    November 13th, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Anon @ 10:13: YOU need to get your history straight, besides the 3 people killed when their bomb prematurely exploded in Greenwich Villiage in 1970, three members of the group robbed an armored car in NY in 1981 resulting in the deaths of two police officers and a security guard. So other than SIX DEATHS, I guess you’re right.

    The Brinks Robbery in 1981 in Nanuet, NY happened during Obama’s Columbia U days. Ayers was also studying there at that time. Oh, and one of the guys still in prison from that incident is named Sekou Odinga. Yup. Odinga, as in Raila Odinga.

    Amazing coincidences.

  • Anonymous

    He’ll also be at Georgetown University Law Center that afternoon, at 4:30, discussing his book and taking questions.


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