Meet Activist Bill Ayers & Friends — Benefit for WBAI Radio

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. 

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.


What is Direct Action?

What is Direct Action?
By Mitchel Cohen

 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.

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.

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  • Christopher P.

    Listen to the audio recording of the event here:­

    December 11, 2013

  • Christopher P.

    This was an amazing event with great panelists who really had far more to say than could be fit into a 90 minute program! Thanks to everyone who came. The program was recorded for radio broadcast on WBAI and we'll provide the link as soon as it is live!

    The number one take-way I got from it is that activism is still very much alive and kicking (and laughing), thank you very much, and the future is un-written. And will be written by individuals who simply respect and accept one another and work together on all levels to make their lives better.

    November 20, 2013

  • Christopher P.

    Here's a recent interview of Bill:­

    November 12, 2013

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