Excerpts from the new afterword in the re-issue of William Ayers' 2001 memoir, "Fugitive Days," which recounts his days with the radical 1960s group Weather Underground:
"I said that I regretted many things -- for example, in the political movement, I was deeply sorry for the turn to dogmatism and the slavish devotion to a rigid set of ideas that led to the terrible intolerance and splitting that was so characteristic of the Weather faction in 1969, and I deplored the macho posturing and destructive male-supremacist practices that passed for leadership. I regretted the deaths of our beloved comrades and wrote about the subsequent and contested Weather decision to engage in purely symbolic actions. ... We weren't effective, we weren't strong enough, smart enough, experienced enough, quick enough. ... This was a shameful and murderous, illegal war carried out by my government for over a decade. I didn't do enough to stop it, and I don't know anyone who did."
Regarding reporters reaching out to him for comment after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11: "Before long I was besieged by reporters and editors wanting my take on Al Qaeda, on the psychology of fanaticism, on getting ID and maintaining false identities, on hiding out in American society off the radar screen. I declined every request -- I don't possess any particular insight into any of those matters, I explained. Further, I had no interest in being held up as a token representative of some subspecies of 'them' -- in this case, 'terrorists.'"
"Day in and day out I go about my business, hang out with my wife and our kids and grandchildren, take care of the elders, go to work, teach, and write. I also organize and participate in the never-ending effort to build a powerful movement for peace and social justice. Now and then (and often unpredictably) I appear in the newspapers or on TV with a reference to Fugitive Days, and some fantastic assertions about what I did, what I said, and what I believe."
"Every candidate claims the mantle of change, and why not? None can afford to run on a platform of war without end, illegal and aggressive occupations draining the wealth of the nation, an expansive use of indefinite detention, extraordinary rendition, torture, and extrajudicial murders, all undermining and destroying traditional humanist values. None wants to own job loss and economic dislocation combined with corporate corruption and unprecedented shifts in wealth to rich and superrich."
" Senator Barack Obama, asked during the primary campaign whom he though Martin Luther King Jr. would support responded: Reverend King wouldn't support or endorse any of us, but he'd be in the streets building a movement for justice, and holding our feet to the fire. Exactly right."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun