Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ayers/Dohrn stories that Barack missed

The Barack Obama campaign is saying that its candidate didn't know about Bill Ayers' radical past when they met in 1995. That is almost impossible because in left-wing circles, Ayers, his wife Bernardine Dohrn, and their group the Weather Underground is legendary.

When Dohrn made an appearance in Chicago in 1988, a newspaper reporter said activists came to see a "mythic figure."

Here are a few stories I found in Chicago papers in the 1980s that I guess Obama didn't notice while he was organizing communities in Chicago at the time.

1. Ex-radical defends new life - But Dohrn says it's vital to keep '60s spirit alive
Chicago Sun-Times - August 12, 1988
Author: Richard Roeper
In 1969, Bernardine Dohrn was a self-professed "revolutionary Communist" and a key player in Chicago's Days of Rage riots that caused hundreds of thousands of dollars' damage to North Side and Loop businesses.

Today, while Dohrn hasn't exactly become an American Express card-carrying yuppie, you might call her an "ernie" - an ex-radical now involved in the establishment.

Dohrn, a former Weather Underground leader who once was on the FBI's most-wanted list, is now a 46-year-old mother of three who recently worked for one of the nation's largest law firms, Sidley & Austin.

Chicago Tribune - August 12, 1988
Author: Robert Davis.
One of the dangers of changing from an iconoclast to an icon is that
someone might ask you, in front of a jam-packed auditorium, in all
seriousness, why you aren`t in jail.
And that`s just what happened Thursday to Bernardine Dohrn, militant
symbol of the `60s, leader of the Weather Underground, member of the FBI`s``10 Most Wanted`` list, as she stood before more than 300 people in the theater of the Chicago Public Library`s Cultural Center to share her memories of those turbulent times.
``I outlasted them by staying underground so long,`` said Dohrn, now 46, smiling and shrugging off the latent hostility in the question.
Dohrn spent about 11 years underground through the 1970s, hiding out after her militant Weatherman branch of the Students for a Democratic Society turned to bombings, robberies and murder, in their protest of the war in Vietnam and other governmental policies.
When she surfaced in 1981 to surrender herself, the hostilities of the
past seemed ``ridiculous,`` in her words, and she willingly pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct misdemeanor charge. She was placed on 3 years` probation and fined $1,500.
Her companion, Bill Ayers -the father of her three children and later her
husband, and the son of Thomas Ayers, former Commonwealth Edison Co. president-surrendered at the same time and found that no charges were pending against him.
Since then, Dohrn and her family have been trying, with varying degrees of success, to work within the system they once rejected totally. A graduate of the University of Chicago law school, Dohrn failed in her attempt to convince the New York Bar Association that she was worthy of entering the bar, though she had worked for several months as a legal aide in the prestigious and even staid law firm of Sidley & Austin in its New York office.

Chicago Tribune - August 27, 1985
Author: United Press International.
Bernardine Dohrn, a former leader of the Weather Underground charged with bombings and other crimes during the 1960s antiwar movement and now a lawyer, wants to be a member of the New York Bar Association, her attorney said Monday. Dohrn, 43, passed the bar exam a year ago and has been an associate at Sidley and Austin, a ``conservative, establishment`` corporate law firm based in Chicago, since October 1, 1984, said her friend, civil rights lawyer William Kunstler.
But now Dohrn wants to become a member of the New York bar and must be found of ``good moral character`` by a bar association committee, said her attorney, Don Reuben.
Dohrn, once called ``the most militant of all the Weathermen`` and who lived underground for more than 10 years,is a changed woman now, even``dull,`` Reuben said.
What has changed her? ``Life, children, living, the law,`` Reuben said.
Dohrn, a 1967 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School,
surrendered to authorities in 1980 and pleaded guilty to two counts of
aggravated battery and two counts of bail-jumping. She was fined $1,500 and put on probation for 3 years.
Dohrn is married to a former Weatherman, William Ayers , now a teacher, and has three sons.

I wonder if Obama attended the Dohrn speech.

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