03/22/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Former Weather Underground Member: Ayers "Disingenuous"

Former Weather Underground member Howard Machtinger argues in an "In These Times" essay that Bill Ayers "glosses over" the violence of the organization's actions in a recent New York Times editorial.

As a former member of the Weather Underground, I feel compelled to add my voice to the recently re-heated discussion of the group's legacy.


We in the WU argued that militant nonviolence had been found wanting in stopping the war; we felt something more was urgently needed. However, there is no evidence that armed propaganda succeeded where militant nonviolence fell short. The WU argument only makes sense if its long-term aim was to set the stage for an armed overthrow of the state - a wildly wrong reading of the times.


One need not equate the relentless, pounding violence of the American war on Vietnam or against the Black Freedom movement with the small-time violent actions of the WU in order to be critical of the direction we set. While we in the WU did not, by some grace, become terrorists, we were wrong and destructive. We did lose our way. We were not demons, but we did succumb to our own fantasy of revolutionary pride.

The magazine website appears to be down; more quotes from the essay can be found here.

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