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Think Act Change: Meet Activists Bill Ayers & Mitchel Cohen to Benefit WBAI Radio — 11/18
January 14, 2016 @ 1:39 pm EST
On behalf of WBAI Free Speech Radio 99.5fm, join us for a freewheelin’ chat with Bill Ayers (activist/author/educator and co-founder of the Weather Underground), Mitchel Cohen (writer, activist, poet, former chair WBAI-FM Local Board), and Rachel Laforest (Executive Director, Right to the City). Grab a cup of joe downstairs at Think Coffee or bring a brown bag lunch if you like, and have your questions ready: each has a new book out and a lot to say about what you can do to help save WBAI Free Speech Radio and make the world a better place!
The doors will open at 1:15 pm and the chat will begin at 1:30ish. This is a co-presentation of Think Act Change NYC meetup.
WBAI is facing a difficult budget crunch and we encourage you to make a donation at the door. WBAI is listener-supported radio. As a member of the Pacifica chain of radio stations, it provides a vast array of original programming to listeners in the Metropolitan NYC region and worldwide on this site. Make a donation online.
Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident
by Bill Ayers
In this sequel to Fugitive Days, Ayers charts his life after the Weather Underground, when he becomes the GOP’s flaunted “domestic terrorist,” a “public enemy.”
In the heat of the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama’s opponents were spinning a chilling narrative that cast him as an enigmatic figure with a group of shadowy associates, including a Black Nationalist preacher, a Palestinian professor, and an “unrepentant domestic terrorist.” That imagined terrorist was Bill Ayers, a one-time leader of the Weather Underground. The McCain campaign spent millions of dollars demonizing Ayers specifically and castigating Senator Obama for, in Sarah Palin’s deathless phrase, “pallin’ around with terrorists.”
That wasn’t the first time Ayers found his face plastered all over the media under the label “terrorist.” After his memoir Fugitive Days, the story of his life in Students for a Democratic Society and later the Weather Underground, was published on September 10, 2001, he came under furious fire from right-wing media, which bizarrely tied him to the World Trade Center tragedy. Over the years, at the hands of the radical Right, Bill Ayers has become a household name and a public enemy. In reality, Ayers is a dedicated teacher, father, and social justice advocate, and his “shady past” is actually the story of an ardent antiwar activist.
Ayers was hosting his graduate students at his Hyde Park home during the 2008 presidential debate in which his neighbor Barack Obama was confronted about their association. Public Enemy begins there and then flashes back to tell Ayers’s story from the moment he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, emerged from years on the run and rebuilt their lives as public figures, often celebrated for their community work but much hated by the radical Right.
In the face of defamation by conservative media, and despite frequent death threats, Bill and Bernardine stay true to their core beliefs in the power of protest, dissent, and deep commitment to the welfare of others. Ayers recounts his adventures with the Tea Party, including memorable scenes of “confessing” under entertaining duress that he was indeed the author of Obama’s Dreams from My Father, of hosting a dinner party for Fox News stars, of being banned from college campuses and, in one case, from an entire country. He also takes us along to the red carpet at the Oscars, to prison vigils and the Greek islands, and ultimately back to his Hyde Park home, where his activism and commitment to a life that refuses to make a mockery of his values allow him to make the most of his post as America’s leading public enemy.
What is Direct Action?
By Mitchel Cohen
View this Author’s Spotlight
Paperback, 596 Pages
How to change the world. Longtime New Left activist and poet Mitchel Cohen, co-founder of the Red Balloon Collective at SUNY Stony Brook in 1969, the Brooklyn Greens, and a participant in Occupy Wall Street, offers unique and often humorous perspectives on radical movements since the 1960s while challenging the framework used by both anarchists and Marxists from within the Left. Foreword by Prof. Richard Wolff. Cover Art by Haideen Anderson. Includes writings by Marina Sitrin, Isis Feral, Jay Moore, Arun Gupta, Rebecca Solnit, David Graeber, Jeff Goldthorpe, John Tarleton, Sarah Jaffe, Dave Lippman, Tom Angotti, Chris Williams, & Mickey Z.
More About Bill Ayers from his web site
William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), member of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, oral history, creative non-fiction, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament. A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College, Columbia University, Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is a past vice-president of the curriculum studies division of the American Educational Research Association.
Ayers’ articles have appeared in many journals including the Harvard Educational Review, the Journal of Teacher Education, Teachers College Record, Rethinking Schools, The Nation, Educational Leadership, the New York Times and the Cambridge Journal of Education.
His previous books include, among others, To Teach: The Journey in Comics with Ryan Alexander-Tanner (Teachers College Press, 2010), Race Course: Against White Supremacy with Bernardine Dohrn (Third World Press 2008), Teaching the Taboo: Courage and Imagination in the Classroom with Rick Ayers (Teachers College Press, 2011), Fugitive Days: A Memoir (Beacon Press, 2001, 2008), and To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, (Teachers College Press, 1993) which was named Book of the Year in 1993 by Kappa Delta Pi, and won the Witten Award for Distinguished Work in Biography and Autobiography in 1995. Follow Ayers on his website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Rachel Laforest has been the Executive Director of Right to the City Alliance since May 2011. She joined the Alliance after eight years of working with progressive labor, directing the Organizing and Public Policy departments of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 and Actors Equity Association (AEA). Rachel organized and led multiple mobilizations of thousands of TWU members to City Hall and the state government in Albany; conducted extensive research and designed education and training in public policy for rank-and-file union members and officers; and was one of the lead coordinators for TWU during the 2005 New York City transit strike, after which the union leadership was jailed. Prior to her career with TWU and AEA, Rachel served as Lead Organizer/Co-Campaign Director for Jobs with Justice/New York Unemployment Project, building community-labor solidarity and joint action and co-coordinating the campaign that won an increase of $2 per hour in the minimum wage for New York State. Rachel holds a BA from Hunter College/CUNY in Political Science (Black and Puerto Rican Studies) and Education and she is a new mami!!
Right to the City (RTTC) emerged in 2007 as a unified response to gentrification and a call to halt the displacement of low-income people, people of color, marginalized LGBTQ communities, and youths of color from their historic urban neighborhoods. We are a national alliance of racial, economic and environmental justice organizations. Through shared principles and a common frame and theory of change, RTTC is building a national movement for racial justice, urban justice, human rights, and democracy.
About CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing) and Social Activism
As you may know, CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing) is a center for the teaching and practice of A Course in Miracles (ACIM). Many people see the Course as being solely about changing the mind rather than behavior, about finding peace in one’s own mind by accepting external circumstances (as being unimportant, indeed unreal) rather than trying to change them. However, the Course also says (in an earlier edition) that once your mind returns to love,
You now share my inability to tolerate the lack of love in yourself and in everyone else, and must join the Great Crusade to correct it. The slogan for this Crusade is ‘Listen, Learn, and Do.’ This means Listen to My Voice, Learn to undo the error, and do something to correct it. The first two are not enough. The real members of my party are active workers. — A Course in Miracles Urtext (T-1.26).
Therefore, we at CRS actively support all forms of social action that are motivated by love and the goal of undoing the obstacles to love in the world. That starts with changing our own minds by returning our own thoughts to love and then spreads when we help others to do the same.
We frequently partner with Think Act Change NYC to host documentary film screenings, NGO and social entrepreneurship talks, workshops, and panel discussions.
Think Act Change NYC is a meetup group for changemakers, thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs or anyone who is passionate about social innovation, social enterprise or simply doing good. At our meetups we want to talk about ideas, but more importantly we want to connect people to enable them to act on their ideas in order to implement real change.
This video pretty much sums us up!
Make sure to like us on Facebook & follow us on Twitter we’ll keep you posted on all things awesome that you can do to change the world!
Learn moreThink Act Change Web Site
November 2013181:15 pm