Abdon M. Pallasch, Chicago Sun Times, May 26, 2009
So how do a couple of ex-radical anti-war activists spend Memorial Day?
Former “Weather Underground” activists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn held a discussion about whether President Obama’s election moved America past racism–far from it they say–at the Hyde Park Arts Center.
“On Memorial Day, we hear that the anti-war movement just pisses people off and makes them pro-war and that’s insane,” Ayers told the crowd of 24 white, black and Hispanic men and women. Ayers and Dohrn wore blue jeans and black tops and Ayers drank iced coffee from a plastic Starbucks cup.
“Michelle Obama has become the queen, not just of America, but of the world,” Ayers said. “Just a few months ago, she was being dragged through the media in what one New York Times person called ‘Round Two of the sulfurous national game of Kill the Witch.’ She was the ‘Black Nationalist’ who was ‘dangerous’ and ‘frightening, unlike her husband who was cool.'”
Ayers found himself in the news again this weekend because he was one of 60 college professors to sign a letter to Obama asking him not to send a wreath to be laid at the graves of Confederate soldiers. Obama compromised and sent one to the graves of African-American soldiers, too.
Ayers and Dohrn declined to give Obama a grade on his first 100-plus days, saying it will all depend on whether activists in the streets push him to do great things. “The election of Obama was an astonishing moment. We were in Grant Park dancing in the streets,” Ayers said.
“Fifty-seven percent of white voters did not vote for Obama,” Dohrn said. Referring to hers and Ayers new book, Race Course: Against White Supremacy, she said, “That was the impetus for writing this book. We’ve got a big job to do to change those numbers.”