Ex-communist leader tied to terrorist eliminated from campaign website
Posted: September 14, 2008
By Aaron Klein
JERUSALEM – The official campaign website of Sen. Barack Obama has
completely scrubbed a series of user-generated blog postings on the
candidate's site by a former top communist activist who is an
associate of former Weathermen terrorist leader William Ayers.
The move has raised questions regarding Obama's relationship with the
deleted blogger, Mike Klonsky, who runs an education organization
that was founded by Ayers and that received a substantial grant from
a group directed by Obama.
Obama's official site allows registered users to form groups and post
content in online "community" blogs. The site boasts tens of
thousands of such community blogs. Obama's spokesmen previously have
stated the campaign does not monitor all content posted on the blogs,
but it promptly removes any content brought to its attention that is
deemed inappropriate or hateful.
Klonsky posted several blog pieces on Obama's site on education
policy that did not contain what can be described as hateful
material, but his postings were entirely deleted in June after
several independent bloggers noted Klonsky's connections to Obama and Ayers.
Klonsky is director of the Small Schools Workshop, an outreach
program founded in 1991 by Ayers with the stated goal of providing
support for teachers who want to create smaller learning
environments. Ayers reportedly recruited Klonsky to head the Workshop.
The Small School Workshop was originally associated with the
University of Illinois in Chicago, where Klonsky previously taught in
the education department alongside Ayers. The group was headquartered
for a time inside the university's department of education building.
In 1995, with Obama as its chairman, the newly formed Chicago
Annenberg Challenge, or CAC, a school reform organization, gave the
Workshop a grant of $175,000. The CAC provided another $482,662 to
the Workshop over the next few years.
Ayers was one of the original grantees of the CAC and was co-chairman
of the Chicago School Reform Collaborative, one of the two
operational arms of the CAC.
Klonsky served with Ayers and Ayer's wife, former Weathermen
terrorist Bernadine Dohrn, in the Students for a Democratic Society
group, a major leftist student organization in the 1960s that later
splintered, with Ayers and Dohrn leading a more activist approach
with the Weathermen. Klonsky reportedly favored less aggressive
tactics, promoting the philosophy that young workers possessed the
potential to be a revolutionary force to overthrow capitalism.
In the 1970s, Klonsky became a top communist activist and leader of
the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party.
He reportedly identified as a Maoist, and traveled in 1977 to
Beijing, where he held friendly meetings with the Chinese leadership.
In a book, "Revolution in the Air," author Max Elbaum, himself a
former Maoist activist, recounts that in Beijing, Klonsky toasted the
Chinese Stalinist leadership who, in turn, hailed the formation of
his Communist Party group as "reflecting the aspirations of the
proletariat and working people," effectively recognizing Klonsky's
organization as the all-but-official U.S. Maoist party.
In a brief conversation with WND yesterday, Klonsky would not state
whether he is still a communist. He did not deny his associations
with Ayers or his communist activism in the 1970s.
Klonsky's blog postings were removed from Obama site during a period
the presidential candidate has been repeatedly questioned about his
relationship with Ayers, who is currently a professor at the
University of Illinois at Chicago and was a member of the Weathermen
group, which sought to overthrow the U.S. government and took
responsibility for bombing the U.S. Capitol in 1971.
Ayers has admitted to involvement in the bombings of U.S.
governmental buildings in the 1970s.
Ayers told the New York Times in an interview released Sept. 11,
2001, "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough." He
posed for a photograph accompanying the piece stepping on an American flag.
Last week, Ayers wrote on his blog he still feels not enough was done
to oppose the Vietnam War, although he clarified, "I don't think
violent resistance is necessarily the answer, but I do think
opposition and refusal is imperative."
In 1995, the first organizing meeting for Obama's state senatorial
campaign was reportedly held in Ayers's apartment. Obama then served
on Ayers' CAC.
In a widely circulated article, WND first reported Obama served on
the board of the Wood's Fund, a liberal Chicago nonprofit, alongside
Ayers from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund's website.
According to tax filings, Obama received compensation of $6,000 per
year for his service in 1999 and 2000.
The "Friends of Barack Obama" campaign fund lists a $200 campaign
contribution from Ayers April 2, 2001.
The two appeared together as speakers at several public events,
including a 1997 University of Chicago panel entitled, "Should a
child ever be called a 'super predator?'" and another panel for the
University of Illinois in April 2002 entitled, "Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?"
Ayers wife, Dohrn, has also served on panels with Obama. Dohrn was
once on the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted List and was described by J.
Edgar Hoover as the "most dangerous woman in America." Ayers and
Dohrn raised the son of Weathermen terrorist Kathy Boudin, who was
serving a sentence for participating in a 1981 murder and robbery
that left four people dead.
The charges against Ayers were dropped in 1974 because of
prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal surveillance.
To interview Aaron Klein, contact M. Sliwa Public Relations by
e-mail, or call 973-272-2861 or 212-202-4453.