tv [untitled] CSPAN June 8, 2009 1:00am-1:30am EDT
he moved in with us for several months and we storyboarded a book, and i thought when we first decided to do this we were going to illustrated version of "to teach." i had to learn from this young man that a graphic novel is not an illustrated book. it's an entirely different book. so, in the -- the reason is because it's the -- it's in the intersection of art and words that the thing comes to life so we wrote an entirely new book in six months and it will be out in early 2010, and it's called, to teach the journey in comics, and i am very excited about it because i think it's going to reach a different audience and it's going to be -- have a different kind of impact. i think to teach is important and beyond what i would mention is teach teaching toward
freedom, which is about teaching which tries -- and the subtitle is -- i don't know what the subtitle -- it's called -- you can seep it bet are -- moral commitment and ethical action in the classroom, and that's an attempt to fast forward from 15 years of writing and thinking about education and to say, again, in a democracy, what is the requirement of teachers? what is teaching in a democracy, and i ran with the idea that the fundamental thing is we have a moral commitment to think about our students, our world in certain ways, and then to act on that thinking. >> host: if it's okay with you, my ayers, we scheduled a break at this pound but we would like to continue to take more phone calls. we will take a short break in a half hour or so if that will help everybody out. do you need to break? you go right ahead, and you can leave if anybody here in the audience needs to leave, that's
okay to do. we're just going to continue to take your calls here from chicago, florida, george, you're on the line. >> gentlemen. mr. ayers, with your writing and selling of books are you incorporated in i have a couple questions so maybe you want to take notes. i am a combat veteran of vietnam? i was med-evacked through valley forge army hospital and visited -- separated there. given the recent authors from generals of the nva they said after tet we had them beat because we eye him nateed a third of their army. they said it was people like you who made the war go on because they said they would win in the street, and i got ask you as a combat veteran, don't you realize you gave aid and confident to -- comfort to the enemy in the sense they knew they could win it with people like you in the street and you were not for the troop.
you were the for the poor vietnamese and you seem to dismisses common sense and reasoning and i will say. why your analogy in the beginning was that poor black children do not know what a poach is. i come from west philadelphia, underprivileged a lot poorer than a lot of blacks and was drafted before the lottery. now, there isn't a residence in west philadelphia and all philadelphia and baltimore and in the northeast corridor through boston that doesn't have a porch. so you make an analogy that makes absolutely no sense. now, i have to ask you, if you still believe in what you believe, aren't you kind of like stuck with an adolescent behavioral development problem? you're 65 years old with earrings in your ears and you come up with these naive statements that have evidence to
have failed from the ussr through china, so i say to you, sir, that more bullets came at me and i was wounded, not because of the nva as much because i was in a seige for four days than through your efforts, which increased the moral enemies' thinking. that's my statement, sir. one other thing, are you a communist? >> host: let's leave it there. lots to work with. bail ayers. >> guest: there's a lot to work with. it's true. i'm not incorporated. i do have earrings. i got them when i was 20. i'm reluctant to take them out. i don't know what that indicates. michael jordan has earrings so it's not a gang symbol. the question the really, the important central question i think is this question of
whether the antiwar movement aided and abetted the enemy and continued the war, and the question i would ask back is, what the alternative? i the war is illegal, immoral, slots at thing instant innocents and as john kerry said, we committed war crimes every day. not as a matter of choice but as matter of policy, and that was true. so what is the responsibility of citizenship? i think of myself as a patriot but not a nationalist. a patriot is something who wants their country to live up to its own ideals and the universal ideals of human rights and freedom and democracy and justice. a nationalist is somebody who says, my country right or wrong. whatever it does, doesn't matter. i think that's a horrible mistake. i think in many ways nationalism is rejection of peyton jim just as patriotism rejects
nationality. so i don't think the antiwar mom was antipatriotic and this idea we were against the troops is wrong. it was the center of the effort, and interestingly the troops are at the center of the antiiraq effort right now. i went down to an encampment early on that cindi sheehan set up in texas and there was a peace encampment run by soldiers, and we ended up kind of -- when they said lunch is as noon they didn't mean 12:30 or 1:00. all the anarchists were starving because they didn't get there on time. it was amusing and also true that the people who understand war are the people who went there and found the here of horror of it. michael says those who make wars never fight them. those who fight wars never like them, and i think that's largely
true. so i never felt that i was against the troops but i'm against the war. mill maher made a joke that being pro war was supporting the troops and he said something to the effect, i have never heard anybody say i love the bush administration, it's those dam troops i hate. i mean, it's not true. those of us who are against war are against the policy that puts you, for example, in harm's way, gets you injured and defines your life for the next 40 years. we should not be at war all over the world. we should not have 150 military bases all over the world. we should not be fighting war after war. we shouldn't be spending a trillion dollars a year which incidentally is half of the world's budget on armaments in war, and we spend half. the rest of the world spends another trillion. it's an outrage in this country
that should be and should be so great. >> host: we have another question from a member of our studio audience. >> i'm from chicago, and near west side, and bill, i want to get back to education with a question. that is, what i would like to know is if mayor daily, instead of choosing mr. herbert as our superintendent of schools had chosen bill ayers in that position, what kind of initiatives or what kind of policies would you have and administer erred and promoted to reach the goal you have of teaching children, teaching people to be effective in a democracy? >> guest: wow. that's a great intelligent question. i think that i can think of -- i can probably think of a top ten quick of what i think the leaders should do.
we should demill tarrize the public schools. i don't think we should create military academies, create recruitment mills for the military and the schools are a civilian, not a military undertaking so that would be one thing. i would do away with any remnants of abstinence only education which i humiliating, and 96% of texas schools do abstinence only education. it has the third highest team pregnancy rate in the country. it's a proven failure. it's predict louse. we ought to have healthy and sane sex education for kids. that would be the second thing. i would rebuild the educational infrastructure of i had the resources, and frankly, i think arnie duncan does have the resources and this is something that we ought to see so that schools on the south and west side should look more like palaces of learning and less
like 19th century factories or prinze. that should be invested in. the main thing would do is invest in teachers. the dumbing down, the kind of hammering teachers into cards in a bureaucracy, treat teachers as if they are mid lifestyle bureaucrats in a machine is a huge mistake. i want any kids, my grandkids now to have in the classroom an intel legal talkly curl you, well paid, well rested teacher at the center of their lives. if we don't invest in that we lose the stabilities of the teaching corps, people staying in it for 10, 20, 30 years. we lose the kind of accumulated wisdom that comes, the institutional memory as well as a community of wisdom that comes from that. so investing in teachers is huge
and treating teachers like professionals. they need to have the where n wherewithal the structures and support to meet with one another to face one another around a conference table and consider the content and conduct of the enterprise, teaching, curriculum, assessment, that should be in the hands of teachers. so, i want to invest in teachers. i don't think we should invest in layers of supervision to watch teaches. i think what chicago did in 1987 of bringing the schools closer to the parents and the communities is a wise move. that has been stripped away. we should get back to that. so those are a few initiatives i would take off the top of my head. thank you. >> host: who are malik, said and chess saw. >> guest: you pronounced them wrong but it's a good try. said is my oldest, malik is the middle school teacher.
he is 29 now. and chase is my you cannest son, just finished his first year of law school at yale, and is. >> host: also an author? written three books and he is 28. and i feel like a slouch. what have been up to but he has spent the summer in south africa clerking for a justice. >> host: his name is chase. >> guest: good try. chase is my youngest soon. we adopted him at 14 months. >> host: whoa? >> guest: bus his presents were arrested and went to present for life, and his mother actually got out five years ago and we're still hoping his biological father will get out. we raised him from 14 throughout, and he is an extraordinary kid. a kid who came to us with many problems, and was slow to kind of do at love of -- lot of
things. didn't read until he was the third grade. so no first agreed grade teachers should make haven'ty judgments but he had a complicated life history, and had a lot to overcome in order to gear into learning and participating fullly. but he is a great kid. >> host: are you in regular contact with his mother. >> guest: absolutely. she is part of our family. she goss out of prison five years ago or so. since shep got out of prison -- i get this is genetic, another high achiever. she has gotten a master degree, doctorate, works two or three jobs, just got -- is writing a book. an extraordinarily talented person, and did 22 years in prison for a terrible crime, served her sentence, did her dish did what was required of her and now she is out and being
a productive citizen. >> host: his father? >> guest: david gilbert. he is in prison near the canadian border, and i saw him a couple weeks ago and i hope he can get out, too. >> host: where did the name said and malik come from. >> guest: named after a belong panther. malik was named after malcom x. those are arabic names. >> host: if you would, bill aayers, walk us through the year 1970 for us. >> guest: 1970. oh, of course. 1970, i was an officer of sds. >> host: students for -- >> guest: students for democratic societies. a major student antiwar organization, and in march of 1970 there was a terrible explosion at a townhouse in
greenwich village. my girlfriend at the time was killed two friends were killed and the rest of us went underground. i was underground until 1981. >> host: what in 19 # 1 made you come out from underground? >> guest: well, we had been underground for 11 years and that was long time and the war had ended and the war was the real defining reason he had gone underground. we now had two kids, and it seemed a lot of expert a lot of energy to -- and frankly, you know, unable to do the the kind of political work we would have liked to have done so we determined it was probably time to make our peace with the u law and take whatever consequences were there and to come above ground so we did. >> host: how many places did you live and how many names did you have? >> guest: i can't even remember but many. many, many. many places.
>> host: disguys? >> guest: disguises are overrated. it's more -- i mean there's not much you can do. i didn't have plastic surgery. i had -- i had long hair, and -- but everybody had long hair. it was mainly staying away from places like your childhood home, and the other thing is, it's hard to put it in today's context, but there was an entire youth movement and an entire youth community that we moved easily in people recognize me every week and no one turned me in. why would they? what was the point of that. >> host: how did you fund yourself? >> guest: worked crumby jobs. worked off the books in restaurants and picked fruit in california and worked on the wartfront. >> host: did you have any contact with your family? >> guest: no. my brother was underground with me. but my parents wouldn't have known how to deal with it, and i wouldn't have either. then we we came back, of course,
the wonderful thing about family bonds is the first thing my father said to me was kind of important industrial leader in chicago, first thing he said to me after a long embrace was, your need a haircut. so, dad, what the hell? that was on his mind. >> host: what was the last day you decided to come out like? we were living in new york. we had two small kids. i was teaching in a day care center. and we decided we had to do it and we came back to chicago with our lawyer, and stayed with my younger brother and walked ourselves into a 26th and california where the county court is. >> host: did you alert them ahead of time? >> guest: the state's attorney then was richard daley and my attorney contacted him and tried to make a deal and wouldn't make a deal so we hurled ourself toes
mercy of the court. >> both you and you bernadine dohrn. >> guest: and bernadine will be here in a minute and she can speak for herself which she always does. >> jackson, wyoming. >> caller: i don't want to go negative and you seem to be fill busting but of your comment. one thing that is why we got in vietnam. i was in -- marching in the peace marches in washington, and we used to quote the rockefeller war -- call it the rockefeller war, that we were there to protect rockefellers chase bank, and i heard that -- hoe ho
minimum manipulating wanted to talk with kennedy and then we got the situation of the gulf of tonkin. >> guest: well, the gulf of tonkin was the manufactured incident that gave kind of the justification for going into vietnam. it never happened, but in the american media and in the american government put forward this idea that we had been attacked on the high seas. a bit of a stretch if you think about it. if you think about the ways wars are justified, the sinking of the maine and the gulf of tonkin and saddam hussein has weapons of mass destruction. it's true that 9/11 happened. did not happen because of iraq. did not happen because the government attacked us. it was a kerr determined group of individuals and a horrible, horrible thing, but the gulf of
tonkin became the dusk of what ultimately was the death of three million people. one of the callers earlier said the government lied. there's a cautionary tale. all governments lie. that's one of the things they do countily so it's not just the united states. russia lies, china lies, and one of the things that marks a government or administration when it's moving into high propagandas when it lies and knows that you know it's lying, but it does it anyway. so when the chinese said after tianimen these were outside foreign agents and said its consistently with a straight face, they said it as recently as last week it's a lie. everybody knows it's a lie but they say and it what's the message? we can say it. so that colin powell shows you the picture of mass destruction and must know that anybody with a computer is going to figure out it's silliness and a lie but
we can lie. you're frippet 'ed. you're sheep and we will treat you as passive and unimportant so we're going lie to you. so absolutely right. never heard the history of hoe the minimum contacting standard kept. might have happened but never heard of it. >> host: michael consistence kinsley in time magazining wrote this sunny don't read this stuff. >> host: for strategic and psychological reasons the underground wanted the vietnam war to go on. they wanted the killing and dying to continue and spread along with an narkty, dope, and free sex. >> guest: not true. not true. nothing true about that. >> host: what do you read on a regular basis? >> guest: i read books a lot and i believe in the power of books to change our lives. i was thinking this morning when walking through the book fair that there's a wonderful book that everybody should read and
re-read by ray brad bury, fahrenheit 451 because the -- you remember the book. it's about the burning of books and the fire department, the job of the fire department is to go to homes that have books and burn them. and the fire chief, chief batey, explains the problem with books is they offer complexity, that people would be happier if there was nothing complex, if we just saw things simply we would be happier and that's truth to that. it's often said that the unexamined life is not worth living but the examined life can be full of pain and sorrow and misery, but, yes, complexity, books. but if you're asking periodicals i read the nation every week and rail against its. >> host: and rail against it? >> guest: of course. i read the new yorker regularly, and rail against it, and thin
get up every morning and read in the "new york times" to the great mockery of my children. they say why do you read that crap? i say, i have to how can you be informed and they say you mustbe kidding and say something sunrise like judith miller, and as you might remember chev is "the new york times" reporter who laid out the primrose path into war in iraq i say there's stuff there i need to know. and they say what? and my oldest son, brilliant writer himself, will say, if you spent that hour a day reading a novel you would be much mored of indicated. but frankly i'm of a generation of not giving it up. i have to have it in print and he says, no, it's all going to be gone in a year. so i read the times every morning. >> host: back to the nation. >> guest: i gave up the tribune and it was with great regreg -- regret but it's unreadable. i fine its unreadable and will
be gone in the next year, which is a shame. >> host: back to the nation. i think most people consider it to be a liberal, progressive, whatever tag, magazine. why do you rail against and its where do politics follow? >> guest: i wouldn't say that i have politics opposed to in the nation. when i said i recalled against it i was being partly goofy. the fact is i think it's very important and we're sitting in a room full of readers and i think most ofoff would agree that as a reader it's your responsibility to object and fight back. it's not your responsibility to read something and then drink it in as if it's the truth. so i find myself with the new yorker, the new york times, the npr and the nation arguing against them. because you have set something in present that takes on the spirit of truth and orthodoxy
and it's responsibility as thinking people to fight against orthodoxy. you know what i mean by that. that there's -- and frankly i don't think it's the orthodoxy of the republican house members i have to worry about. in some sense their dog mattism is too obvious. it's the orthodoxy of the left, the good people. when i talked earlier about education and the metaphor, education equals business, that's orthodoxy. that's something that everyone genuflects in front of. i object so i don't want to be in that camp, and when you think about it. what do we accept as normal that 30 or 40 years from now another generation will say, what -- you guys were crazy, and i want to object to the orthodoxy of common sense. so i find myself railing against the nation. in a regular basis. the new york times every day, npr, pretty much eave day.
not because i think i know everything but because i think you have to be inargument with in order to find out who you actually are. if you just take it and drink the kool-aid alongside it you're dead as a thinker. >> host: do you ever pick up the weekly standards or national review or something your going to diagree with? the new york times. that's the beautiful thing. i thread financial times, the wall street journal and i read a lot of books that i disagree with. >> host: jerry in tennessee. thank you for holding. >> caller: yes, peter and bill. before i get to my point. bill, you made a couple of staples i would like to cover. you said texas was third in i guess teen pregnancies? that's not really a surprise considering we're the largest state in the continental united states. it would have been a shock if it was like rhode island.
>> guest: it's percentagewise. it's by percentage. >> host: jerry do you have another comment? >> yes. he made the statement that senator kerry threw his medals away. senator kerry probably displays some is medsals in his office, and i just kind of find that -- the vietnam vets against the war, lot of them were funded be the people's coalition of -- for -- oh -- for peace and justice and the world peace organization and they were funded by the communist party. i mean, we know that today. the records actually prove it. so i don't know why people won't -- mean, the guys i'm sure they -- i know the that war is hell and they had all the rights in the world to protest the word but they were being funded by the communist party, and in coming to the kgb, and al hubbard one of the main spokesmen for the vietnam veterans against the war and he
supposedly got injured in the war. he was never in vietnam. he wasn't a pilot. he lied about the whole thing, like senator kerry and his christmas in vietnam. i mean, christmas in cambodia when nixon was president. well, at the time he was allegedly in cambodia, johnson was still president. >> host: jerry, where are you going with this? would you like mr. ayers to respond? >> well, yes, would he prefer an educational system like the leader of venezuela, chavez? i know you praised m-chavez when you go down there, his educational system. would you like to should that here in america for the kids to denounce capitalism and go more for a marxist type of education? and thank you for -- >> guest: i will answer two of those questions or comments.
the communist party funding the vietnam vets against the war, i don't know about it. it may be true but it make mess actually -- i have anyone been supporter of the communist party usa but if they gave the vietnam vets against the war money it makes he feel warmer towards them in an odds way. it reminds me of a friend of us, miles horton, who founded a school when he was dying. he sat down with him and were going over pictures from the civil rights movement. highlander was the center of the civil rights activities in the south and a marvelous place and miles was a real hero in american history. we were going through some pictures and found a picture of a billboard that was very popular in the south in the 60s and it was picture of martin luther king as a young age sitting at a highlander workshop and the banner above the bill board said, martin luther king at communist training school,