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Education Reporter

Protesters Attend Bill Ayers Lecture
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St. Mary's College in Moraga, California recently hosted a lecture series intended to feature and honor the work of Bill Ayers. Ayers, most famous as a founder of the domestic terrorist group the Weather Underground, is now a leader in the field of education and a notable advocate of "social justice" education. Ayers's radical views attracted national attention during the 2008 presidential campaign, since he is a close friend and associate of now-Pres. Barack Obama.

A large group of protesters gathered both inside and outside the hall where Ayers spoke in late January. In the 1960s and '70s, the Weather Underground set off bombs in government buildings to protest the Vietnam War. Not far from St. Mary's College, the site of the 2009 lecture series, one of those bombs killed Sgt. Brian V. McDonnell at San Francisco's Park Police Station in 1970.

The charges against Ayers were dropped because of illegal FBI surveillance. "Now [my past] is being blown into dishonest narratives about hurting people, killing people, planning to kill people," Ayers told ABC7 reporter Alan Wang. "That's just not true. We destroyed government property."

"Did you make bombs?" asked reporter Wang.

"I'm just not going to talk about it," replied Ayers.

Although he chose not to talk about it that day, Ayers reminisces about his days with the Weather Underground in frequent appearances on other college campuses across the country. He has also frequently written about his subversive activities. In a piece of memoir that appeared in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, Ayers wrote, "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough."

Larry Grathwohl, who infiltrated the Weather Underground as an undercover FBI agent, says that Ayers was intent on overthrowing the government. "The most bone-chilling thing Bill Ayers said to me was that after the revolution succeeded and the government was overthrown, they believed they would have to eliminate 25 million Americans who would not conform to the new order," says Grathwohl. Ayers denied this charge and called the FBI "an organization built on lies." (ABC East Bay News, 1-28-09)

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