Ayers Breaks with Obama on War

Reporting from Chicago Clarence Page notes that Bill Ayers showed up at an anti-war demonstration. Questions abound….

Is this a fundamental break with his long time “family friend” and education reform colleague, Barack Obama? Or is this just a “single issue” criticism of the President? And perhaps more importantly is the appearance of Ayers at the demonstration a good sign for the new anti-war movement?

Here is the comment I posted on Page’s site:

The important question raised here is the strategy of the emerging anti-war movement.

First, will the antiwar movement be trapped in the politics of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”? Since 2003 the anti war movement has been largely led by groups such as ANSWER that are politically sympathetic to authoritarian movements in the regions of the world that the US is attacking. This was the nature of the politics of Ayers in the 60s and given his support for authoritarians like Hugo Chavez it is likely to be so now.

Second, the Ayers camp that worked closely with the Obama campaign – including Bernardine Dohrn and Tom Hayden among others – argued that they would build the outside pressure groups that would create space for Obama to move to the left on issues like the war. Independent leftists argued this was like the old “two cheers for LBJ” slogan of the early 1960s student movement. Of course, we know what LBJ did.

On both of these issues, is the Ayers camp now admitting that what will be needed is a new independent left movement? That Ayers did not mention his old colleague from the Chicago School Wars by name nor condemn the reactionary politics of the Taliban and al Qaeda suggests he has not taken that step yet.