Bill Ayers Quotes


There were no political ideas. It was an apolitical time. It was the '50s and in the privilege of the suburbs.

Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home kill your parents that's where it's really at.

Injustice anywhere is an assault on all of us. That means that we all can get busy.

I'd been arrested many times by then. I'd been an organizer so many things had changed over those three years [from 1965 till 1968].

Being arrested that also changed everything for me because I was suddenly seeing America from a different perspective all together. I did a couple of weeks in a county jail.

I was arrested in 1965 for opposing the war in Vietnam. There were 39 of us arrested that day. But thousands opposed us. And the majority of the people in the country supported the war then.

We have arguments [with my father] and we had a lot of arguments in the years when I was at Michigan.

His [Martin Luther King] last book Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community is a direct reference to angles barbarism or socialism.

The massive anti-war movement which I was a part of and which was a major part of my life never stopped the war in Vietnam.

If you read the literature of Soviet Communism you see a dogma that's chilling. On the other hand if you read the literature of anti-communism it's every bit as dogmatic.

I was involved in the anti-war movement.

I wish I knew as much about anything today as I knew about everything when I was twenty.

[The whole first year at university] was a great time for me and great time of awakening.

I didn't respond to people thrusting microphones at me and asking me questions that were unanswerable in a sound bite.

Students for a Democratic Society was also affiliated with the civil rights movement everywhere.

I'm not so much against the war as I am for a Vietnamese victory. I'm not so much for peace as for a U.S. defeat.

It's the height of the Cold War but I grew up in apolitical family and politics wasn't on the agenda.

The first thing I did [in Michigan] was join a picket line of a pizzeria in Ann Harbor in 1963 that didn't allow African Americans to eat there.

[Martin Luther King] King was a socialist and King was an activist who was really a radical by the end.

The rhythm of being an activist today involves a pretty simple rhythm. You have to open your eyes to the reality before you. You have to look and see.

I mean the prime case that you can look at is Martin Luther King who was only an activist for 13 years. But every year he became deeper more concerned connecting more issues.

Art and activism can be symbiotic. They don't have to be of course; they can also be contradictory.

Being an activist and an artist - those two things should go together. You should allow the artistic sensibility to control some of your activism but never should it be allowed to paralyze you.

When someone who's always been in your life is gone it's a stunning adjustment of your own identity.

There's something so remarkable in the intensity of taking care of somebody who can't take care of him or herself. And then watching that little person bloom into adolescence.

I have an addiction to caffeine.

It's amazing where the paranoid mind can take you.

When I was young communism which had a certain allure to me was clearly a failed experiment in the Soviet Union and in China. And yet anti-communism was as bad.

Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon

I proposed a law that every country where the U.S. has a military base - those people should be allowed to vote in the American election.

Guilty as hell. Free as a bird. America is a great country.

This 1965. We went to trial on our city. We were obviously borrowing tactics and strategy from the Black freedom movement and we were echoing their approach to things.

I don't regret setting bombs.

But the frat boys were all frivolous and idiotic in our minds now a bunch of conformist fools going through the motions of hip.

Large numbers of people are broken from the notion that the system is working for people that the system is just or humane or peaceful.

I knew Barack Obama absolutely. And I knew him probably as well as thousands of other Chicagoans.

Nothing is more boring than some old person going on and on about the way things used to be.

I breathed the air of deliverance through books and through books I leapt over the walls of confinement..

Nixon probably was a nice guy.

I was a kid and I studied when I had to [live].

I'm different in the sense that every minute of every day I change. I'm thinking. But the basic principles that have powered me forward are still there. They're not different.

Writing a memoir has a particularly excited sense of narcissism.

The nice thing about being detained in Canada is it's like being in a Days Inn; it's very clean and very nice.

Beginning to dismantle the Pentagon would save $1 trillion a year - a small government proposal if ever there was one.

Certainly my parents were Dr. [Benjamin] Spock-driven parents. So they were tolerant.

So we were ecstatic and we swirled around spontaneously the campus in Ann Harbor and about 4 000 of us landed on the steps of the president of the University of Michigan's home.

I was a good liberal in some sense at that point. I wanted to end a war. I wanted to support the civil rights movement.

I would say when I went to Michigan. It started. I got very very involved in civil rights in Ann Harbor right away. Picketing something I never even knew existed.

The passions and commitments that ignited my activity as a student are the same passions and commitments that I have today.

I was indicted on two federal conspiracies. My wife was on the Ten Most Wanted list. That's what fascism was going to look like. That's what it did look like.

Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.

I dropped out in '64. And I came back to Michigan in '65. In 1965 when I came back I had never heard of Vietnam.

One hundred years from now we'll all be dead. It's hard to believe. One hundred years from now everyone we see every day will be gone.

I would say for the young: Don't be straight jacketed by ideology. Don't be driven by a structure of ideas.

Imperialism or globalization - I don't have to care what it's called to hate it.

Students for a Democratic Society was founded in 1961.

[Students for a Democratic Society] it's a social democratic program.

My dad was a [Theodor] Roosevelt Democrat.

I voted for Obama and I was delighted that he's been elected.

I think Bowe Bergdahl if he deserted is a hero - I think throughout history we should build monuments to the unknown deserters.

The only path to the final defeat of imperialism and the building of socialism is revolutionary war.

Your body's always going through changes. It's fattening or thinning or wrinkling or blotching and the only thing you really have control over is putting some decoration on it.

Terrorists destroy randomly.

I'm an optimist in my heart - I'm a hopeless pollyanna just like my mother - but a pessimist in my head. I think that's the dialectic we all need to be in.

I get up every morning and think...today I'm going to end capitalism.

Every relationship is an experiment and what one learns from it is so fascinating.

We should open our eyes see what's in front of us and act.

Education is the motor-force of revolution.

If the logic of capitalism is "expand or die " then either it has to die or the world has to die.

I've said for thirty years that capitalism is an exhausted system. But now you can see the handwriting everywhere. And one especially horrifying part is the fiscal crisis.

It's worth remembering that in 1965 something like 20% of Americans were against the war. Something like 70% were for the war. So it wasn't a popular or an easy thing to do.

I wanted a racially just society. I wanted to end wars. I wanted to end white supremacy. I wanted to create a world that was based on egalitarianism sharing racial justice.

I said something idiotic like as [William] Shakespeare says "Action is eloquence " and the judge just frowned at me and gave me a couple weeks in jail.

The US is indeed a terrorist nation. ...It's also the greatest purveyor of violence on earth over the past half century and the foremost threat to world peace today.

In terms of my own behavior and activity the funny thing about regrets and saying "I'm sorry " is that there's so much I would do differently and want to do differently moving forward.

What were the politics of my family? They were mainstream moderate politics.

I went underground. So I didn't see [my father] for 11 years. So that was pretty traumatic time for my parents for sure.

I was a child of privilege and I woke up to a world on fire.

I suffer from a genetic flaw which is that my mother was a hopeless Pollyanna.

You need to find a way to live your life that it doesn't make a mockery of your values.

I find some unity with Ron Paul.

To be a human being is to suffer. But it's the unnecessary suffering it's the suffering that we visit upon one another that really should be stopped.

Hating war in Vietnam in 1965 was minority position.

It felt to me like I was living my life in a way that didn't make mockery of my values. That's what I intended to do. So that became a very radicalizing proposition for me.

Every revolution seems impossible at the beginning and after it happens it was inevitable.

I didn't kill innocent people.

I don't think saying "I was wrong here I was wrong there" absolves you of anything particularly nor does it get you into heaven.

I more or less shared the view that life should be lived.

I haven't been silent. I teach I lecture at universities I write I'm not silent.

Teaching has always been for me linked to issues of social justice. I've never considered it a neutral or passive profession.

I don't buy the whole mythology of the sixties. I think I'm an intergenerational person.

Two thousand people a day were being murdered in Vietnam in a terrorist war an official terrorist war.

I was terrible student at Michigan terrible. Because there was too much else to do. I was learning form too many other sources to go to class.

I don't think of myself as a particularly nostalgic person.

One of the things that's complicated about writing anything is that it's an act of narcissism and then of course once it sails out into the world you have to let go of it.

I wish I had been wiser. I wish I had been more effective I wish I'd been more unifying I wish I'd been more principled.

I think I am a radical. I have never deviated from that. By radical I mean someone trying to go to the root of things.