Bill Ayres Follow-up


    One of the first things I learned upon becoming an activist beginning in 1970 that the Weatherman movement functioned as a destroyer of the progressive movement and that people like Bill Ayres were anti-union leftists.

    When I said this in the post previous to this, Fred Klonsky disputed me. I backed off. Then Michael Fiorillo followed up and nailed Ayres as an arrogant elitist supporter of the Chicago school model of "reform". I'll go with Mike.

    Hello All,

    Ayers was an arrogant fool back in the day, and he's an arrogant fool now.

    In the '60's, Weatherman, of which Ayers was a founder, was roundly criticized for their dogmatism, arrogance and idiocy. As Kirkpatrick Sale wrote in his history of SDS, it was common among Weatherman's critics to turn the source of their name (from Bob Dylan's "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing,") against them by saying,"You don't need a rectal thermometer to know who the assholes are." True then and now.

    Just as Weatherman represented the dissolution and demise of the New Left, Ayers work for small schools has shown an incredible naivete, having been hijacked by the corporate ed reform movement to destroy neighborhood schools and neutralize/weaken and ultimately destroy teacher unions. I met him at my school about 8 years ago and found that arrogance and sense of privilege - his father was the Chairman of Chicago's electric utility - intact. It seems to me that he has used his work in education to rehabilitate himself. However, no matter what the Right may think, the Left should disregard him.

    Michael Fiorillo

    Mike Klonsky has left a new comment on your post "Bill Ayres Follow-up":

    Sad to see leftists and progressive educators piling on Bill Ayers right at this opportune moment and pronouncing various educators at "anti-union." The Weatherman faction of SDS is pretty easy pickens from the right or the left. I ought to know, having led the fight against them in 1968. Problem is, that was 40 years ago and the Weather faction is not really the problem facing New York's teachers or their union at this moment.

    And the charge that Ayers is "anti-union" today, or that he supports the current Chicago school reform initiative, Renaissance 2010, is pure bullshit and the people feeding you that crap know it. So if you are really interested in this question, read Bill and my Kappan (Feb. 2006) articles, "Renaissance 2010 Meets the Ownership Society" and
    "Private Management of Chicago Schools is a Long Way from Mecca," and then go back and tell my brother Fred that he was right all along, and send Bill a note of apology.

    Mike Klonsky

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