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By Aaron M. Rodriguez


Bill Ayers and the Weatherman Underground

William Ayers standing on the American flag Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were the national leaders of a radical leftist movement called the “Weatherman Underground Organization.” An offshoot of the "Students for a Democratic Society" (SDS), the Weathermen sought to enlighten the American consciousness to the evils of the Vietnam War. Unlike their parent organization SDS, the Weathermen pursued or more radical modus operandi. Consciously, they could no longer wait for SDS to grow a vanguard party - they were required to act immediately. In 1969, the Weathermen Organization split from SDS, and in 1970, they issued a declaration of war against the U.S. government and their capitalistic system.

In 1970, the Weathermen detonated bombs in Berkeley and San Francisco California killing a police officer, destroying police vehicles, and damaging a U.S. Army Base. Later that year, they bombed a Police Station in Detroit, a National Guard Building in Washington, D.C., and the Police Department Headquarters in New York.

In 1971, the Weathermen bombed the U.S. Capitol, a MIT research center in Massachusetts, and a Department of Corrections facility in New York.

In 1972, the Weathermen bombed a bathroom in the U.S. Pentagon.

Although Ayers managed to stay clandestine most of the time, the FBI inaugurated a strong federal case against him. In 1979, they had enough evidence to incarcerate him for life, but their case was tossed out due to illegal wiretaps. Two years later in an interview with David Horowitz, William Ayers said this about his freedom, "Guilty as hell, free as a bird."

Bill Ayers, Barack Obama, and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge

After leaving the Weathermen, Ayers earned himself a master’s degree in education. And despite taking credit for at least 30 separate bombings, he was hired by the University of Illinois and became a distinguished professor of education. During his professorship, he involved himself in many education reform groups that worked to safeguard his influence in educational circles.

In December of 1993, billionaire-philanthropist Walter Annenberg announced that the Annenberg Foundation would grant 500 million dollars to various schools across the nation. In June of 1994, William Ayers and others selected a 73-member group called the “Chicago School Reform Collaborative” (Collaborative) and drafted an application for an Annenberg grant. In January of 1995, with the backing of several influential education foundations, the Annenberg Foundation awarded the Collaborative a 49.2 million dollar grant. The project to use the sizable grant was called the “Chicago Annenberg Challenge”, which required a 49.2 million dollar match in private donations and another 49.2 million dollar match in public funding.

Barack Obama and the External Partners of the Annenberg Challenge

In June of 1995, the Collaborative, Co-Chaired by William Ayers, designated Barack Obama to be Chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge Board (Challenge Board). As Chairman of the Board, Barack Obama was the executor in fiscal matters and would fund the education policy of the Collaborative. The Challenge Board contracted 45 "external" partners to work directly with the schools. These external partners included various universities, parks, and community organizations. In most cases, grant money did not go directly to the schools.

The first external partner to receive funds from Obama, approximately 175,000 dollars, was the “Small Schools Workshop,” an organization founded by William Ayers and directed by Mike Klonsky. Mike Klonsky was the leader of the “New Communist Movement”, a Marxist-Leninist organization of the 70s and 80s with ties to the Black Panther Party. Klonsky was also a leader of the “SDS”, a radical leftist organization that gave birth to the Weathermen Underground Organization. Essentially, the first payout issued from the Challenge Board, authorized by Barack Obama, was awarded to a radical group who made no secret they were Communists with a lower-case “c”. This group, led by former leaders of the Weathermen Underground Organization, became responsible for reforming the education of Chicago’s school children.

Barack Obama and ACORN

Image Among other external partners to receive funding was an organization called ACORN, which had received 190,000 dollars. ACORN, founded by a former member of the “SDS”, Wade Rathke, is a leftist community organization with close ties to the Democratic Socialists of America. In the 1990s, ACORN heavily involved itself in the housing market by using the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 as a tool to extort banks and pressure them into making risky loans. In the 90s, ACORN’s militant tactics caught national attention on several occasions when they broke into private offices, harassed bankers at their homes, and used the CRA to delay bank mergers.

As a representative of ACORN once put it,

“When you’re talking a billion-dollar merger, every day of delay costs lots of money. It’s cheaper to negotiate than to fight.”
As a corollary to delaying bank mergers, ACORN had received generous payoffs from banks to stop interfering with their expansion. In one case, when ACORN threatened to block the merger of Bank of America, NationsBank, and the Chemical Bank in 1997, these banks pledged over 22 million dollars in loans and grants to community groups.

Barack Obama and the Results of the Annenberg Challenge

The results of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge were less than noteworthy. The Obama Campaign issued a statement saying that the Chicago Annenberg Challenge had a positive effect on Chicago schools stating,

One objective of the Challenge was to improve education for the bottom quartile of the students attending Chicago Public Schools – whose reading, math, and basic skills scores improved markedly during the years in which the Challenge was invested in city schools.
The Obama Campaign is technically correct about the reading, math, and basic skills scores, however such improvements had little to do with the Challenge. The Chicago Annenberg Challenge’s own report stated, “There were no statistically significant differences in student achievement between Annenberg schools and demographically similar non-Annenberg schools. This indicates that there was no Annenberg effect on achievement.” Based upon their own report, it would appear that the first executive experience of Barack Obama was a failed educational reform project and a substantial waste of 140 million dollars.

Barack Obama Denies Connection to ACORN

ImageJust as they deny any connection with ACORN, the Obama Campaign has denied any significant working relationship Ayers. In an attempt to de-radicalize Obama’s participation in Ayer’s education reform project, the Obama Campaign released a statement that the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was funded by Walter Annenberg, a former Nixon Ambassador and a friend of Ronald Reagan. They also stated that Republican Governor Jim Edger supported the Challenge inferring that the operation had mainstream support. However, as Stanley Kurtz pointed out,

“Moderates and Republicans often support Annenberg activities, it’s true. Yet the story of modern philanthropy is largely the story of moderate and conservative donors finding their funds ‘captured’ by far more liberal, often radical, beneficiaries.”
As it stands, however, it appears that Barack Obama was not forthright with his past relationship with the 60s radical. Formerly described by the Obama Campaign as just a guy that lives in Obama’s neighborhood, Ayers partnered with Barack Obama on a 4-year education reform project. Ayers developed an education policy with radical-political undercurrents, and Barck Obama funded it with grants from the Annenberg Foundation. It’s important to note that there is a common thread that ties Barack Obama to a radical leftist ideology – namely socialism.

A Brief Recap: Barack Obama, Annenberg Challenge, and ACORN

In October of 1992, Barack Obama partnered with ACORN, on “Project Vote,” a campaign to get out the vote to the black community on the south side of Chicago. In 1995, Barack Obama so impressed the leaders of ACORN that they requested his legal expertise in a lawsuit against the state of Illinois called “ACORN vs. Edgar.” Later that year, Obama was selected to preside over the Chicago Annenberg Challenge by a group Co-Chaired and led by William Ayres.

As Chairman of the Challenge board, Barack Obama contracted two radical socialist groups (ACORN and Small Schools Workshop) with nearly a 400,000 payout. Both organizations, founded and led by self-identified communists, worked with the school children of Chicago on education reform. In March of 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America and the New Party ( a socialist organization founded in 1992) endorsed Barack Obama as a candidate for the Illinois Senate 13th District. In July of 1996, Obama attended a New Party meeting thanking them for their support and invited members to join his task forces. In November of 1996, the “Progressive Populist” magazine acknowledged that Barack Obama was a member of the “New Party,” and the New Party confirmed this point on their website, despite their later denials.

Barack Obama, Citizen Services Inc., and Campaign Activity

Fast forward to February of 2008, the Obama Campaign employeed “Citizens Services Inc.,” as subsidiary of ACORN, to “get out the vote” in the primaries. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) finance reports indicated that $832,598.29 was allotted to Citizens Services Inc. for “polling, advance work, and staging minor events.” The Obama Campaign cut checks to CSI ranging from 60,000 to 70,000 dollars. This irregularity red flagged the FEC partly because the campaign’s average allotment for “advanced work” averaged at 500 dollars per check.

After an FEC investigation, the Obama Campaign made an amendment to their filing and classified CSI’s services as “getting out the vote.” If these sizable payoffs were sent to CSI to avoid the appearance of an ACORN alliance, it’s probably not helpful that CSI and ACORN share the same mailing address, nor is it helpful that ACORN, back in 2006, described CSI as a part of its “campaign services entity.” The fact that the Obama Campaign hired ACORN through an affiliate suggests they wanted to cloak their relationship with ACORN by keeping their payments low-profile. And the fact they neglected to describe their services accurately adds more suspicion to their behavior.

In February of 2008 (the same month that the Obama Campaign employeed ACORN), ACORN’s western regional representative, Alicia Russell, officially endorsed Barack Obama with these words,


I think he will commit himself to providing us the necessary path for the low-income and moderate-income families to improve their lives. He’s on the same level as we are, and sees our issues as we do.
At least conservatives and ACORN can agree to one thing – they both believe that Barack Obama and ACORN see many issues the same way. For instance, on December 1st of 2007, Senator Obama met with community activists at a Heartland Democratic Forum. When asked if he will meet with a delegation of community organizers (including ACORN and others) within his first 100 days as president, Barack Obama said,
Yes, but let me even say before I even get inaugurated, during the transition, we're going to be calling all of you in to help shape the agenda. We're going to be having meetings all across the country with community organizations so that you have input into the agenda of the next presidency of the United States of America.

Final Thoughts on Barack Obama and Socialism

After reviewing the past ties of Barack Obama to radical organizations, it’s hardly surprising that the National Journal had ranked Obama the most liberal member of the Senate in 2007. His voting record lined up with his party 98.5% of the time, which pushes Obama even further left than all of his party leaders.

In November of 2007, Barack Obama told ACORN members:


I come out of a grassroots organizing background. That's what I did for three and half years before I went to law school. That's the reason I moved to Chicago was to organize. So this is something that I know personally, the work you do, the importance of it. I've been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.

There is little doubt that Barack Obama has worked with ACORN on a number of projects, nor is their doubt that Obama has aligned himself with ACORN most of his political career. In the upcoming weeks, Barack Obama will have some difficulties disentangling himself from the more radical elements of his party. William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, ACORN, Small Schools Workshop, Democratic Socialists of America, and the New Party are far removed from mainstream America. And for many Americans, these associations are beyond coincidence. To use the old adage, if there is smoke there is probably fire.


Comments (5)
  • Joy Maldonado

    Nice to see another enlightened Hispanic. I have been so frustrated with the masses believing everything Obama says on the news. He appeases only the ignorant. The rest of us see through him. I guess people are generally lazy to take care of themselves and are looking for the magic pill or person to do it for them. I've been a Republican 43 out of the 45 years of voting. After changing to the Democratic Party, I soon became disenchanted after finding they didn't have my values. I noticed they cheated but it was okay if it meant they got what they wanted. I believe in being honest, hard working and independent. I don't believe I should take care of people that don't help themselves. Although I may not always agree with the Republicans, I know they have our Country's best interests at heart. Thanks for the article.
    Joy Maldonado

  • Aaron Rodriguez  - Thanks

    Thanks for the kind words.

  • Turther  - Blame it on the commie

    The problem is that no matter how perceptive and intuitive people get about their Government, they still cannot shake off this Cold War frame of mind, resulting from a thorough Red Scare campaign.

    Weather Underground is just one of those Gladio-style alleged leftist radical organizations where the rightist terrorism was blamed on the leftists.

    While Weather Underground was spreading terror, they were actually distracting the public from the Vietman War and providing the excuse to step up the repression against the actual anti-war activists.

  • MaldonadoJames  - respond this topic

    This is known that money makes us autonomous. But how to act if one doesn't have money? The one way only is to get the personal loans and collateral loan.

  • Anonymous

    Capitalism creates economic (and ultimately social) classes that ruins the equality of opportunity we are supposed to have in the United States it.

    What's happened today is that most of the money that is supposed be in circulation has accumulated at the top with the financiers. Greed has triumphed and there is very little money trickling down.

    Socialism on the other hand gives the means of production to the people rather than the financiers creating economic and arguably social equality.

    Capitalism sucks ass, I'd rather go with Socialism any day of the week :)

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