Skip to comments.Bill Ayers Venezuelan Speech
Posted on 10/09/2008 7:22:12 AM PDT by GOPbabe
Speech give at World Education Forum in Venezuela by Bill Ayers
Centro Interncional Miranda Caracas, Venezuela November , 2006
President Hugo Chavez, Vice-President Vicente Rangel, Ministers Moncada and Isturiz, invited guests,comrades. Im honored and humbled to be here with you this morning. I bring greetings and support from your brothers and sisters throughout Northamerica. Welcome to the World Education Forum! Amamos la revolucion Bolivariana! This is my fourth visit to Venezuela, each time at the invitation of my comrade and friend Luis Bonilla, a brilliant educator and inspiring fighter for justice. Luis has taught me a great deal about the Bolivarian Revolution and about the profound educational reforms underway here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chavez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution, and Ive come to appreciate Luis as a major asset in both the Venezuelan and the international struggleI look forward to seeing how he and all of you continue to overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane. Thank you, Luis, for everything youve done.
I also thank my youngest son, Chesa Boudin, who is interpreting my talk this morning and whose book on the Bolivarian revolution has played an important part in countering the barrage of lies spread by the U.S. State Department and the corrupted Northamerican media. On my last trip to Caracas I spoke of traveling to a literacy classMission Robinson in the hills above the city along a long and winding road. As we made our way higher and higher, the talk turned to politics as it inevitably does here, and someone noted that the wealthyhere and everywhere, here and in the US surelyhave certain received opinions, a kind of absolute judgment about poor and working people, and yet they have never traveled this road, nor any road like it. They have never boarded this bus up into these hills, and not just the oligarchy or the wealthythis lack of first-hand knowledge, of open investigation, of generous regard is also a condition of the everyday liberals, and even many of the radicals and armchair intellectuals whose formulations sit lifeless and stifling in a crypt of mythology about poor people. Everyone should come and travel these roads into the hills, we agreed thenand not just once, but again and again and again if they will ever learn anything of the real conditions of life here, surely, but more important than that, if they will ever encounter the wisdom and experience and insight that lives here as well.
We arrived at eight oclock to a literacy circle already underway being conducted in a small, poorly-lit classroom. And here in an odd and dark space, a sun was shining: ten people had pulled their chairs close togethera young woman maybe 19, a grandmother maybe 65, two men in their 40seach struggling to read. And I thought of a poem called A Poor Woman Learns to Write by Margaret Atwood about a woman working laboriously to print her name in the dirt. She never thought she could do it, the poet notes, not her this writing business was for others. But she does it, prints her name, her first word so far, and she looks up and smiles for she did it right.
The woman in the poemjust like the students in Mission Robinsonis living out a universal dialectic that embodies education at its very best: she wrote her name, she changed herself, and she altered the conditions of her life. As she wrote the word, she changed the world, and another world becamesuddenly and surprisinglypossible.
I began teaching when I was 20 years old in a small freedom school affiliated with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The year was 1965, and Id been arrested in a demonstration. Jailed for ten days, I met several activists who were finding ways to link teaching and education with deep and fundamental social change. They were following Dewey and DuBois, King and Helen Keller who wrote: We cant have education without revolution. We have tried peace education for 1,900 years and it has failed. Let us try revolution and see what it will do now.
I walked out of jail and into my first teaching positionand from that day until this Ive thought of myself as a teacher, but Ive also understood teaching as a project intimately connected with social justice. After all, the fundamental message of the teacher is this: you can change your lifewhoever you are, wherever youve been, whatever youve done, another world is possible. As students and teachers begin to see themselves as linked to one another, as tied to history and capable of collective action, the fundamental message of teaching shifts slightly, and becomes broader, more generous: we must change ourselves as we come together to change the world. Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions small and large. La educacion es revolucion! I taught at first in something like a Simoncitocalled Head Startand eventually taught at every level in barrios and prisons and insurgent projects across the United States. I learned then that education is never neutral. It always has a value, a position, a politics. Education either reinforces or challenges the existing social order, and school is always a contested space what should be taught? In what way? Toward what end? By and for whom? At bottom, it involves a struggle over the essential questions: what does it mean to be a human being living in a human society?
Totalitarianism demands obedience and conformity, hierarchy, command and control. Royalty requires allegiance. Capitalism promotes racism and militarism turning people into consumers, not citizens. Participatory democracy, by contrast, requires free people coming together voluntarily as equals who are capable of both self-realization and, at the same time, full participation in a shared political and economic life.
Education contributes to human liberation to the extent that people reflect on their lives, and, becoming more conscious, insert themselves as subjects in history. To be a good teacher means above all to have faith in the people, to believe in the possibility that people can create and change things. Education is not preparation for life, but rather education is life itself ,an active process in which everyone students and teachers participates as co-learners.
Despite being under constant attack from within and from abroad, the Bolivarian revolution has made astonishing strides in a brief period: from the Mission Simoncito to the Mission Robinson to the Mission Ribas to the Mission Sucre, to the Bolivarian schools and the UBV, Venezuelans have shown the world that with full participation, full inclusion, and popular empowerment, the failings of capitalist schooling can be resisted and overcome.
Venezuela is a beacon to the world in its accomplishment of eliminating illiteracy in record time, and engaging virtually the entire population in the ongoing project of education.
The great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote a poem to his fellow writers called The Poets Obligation in which he instructed them in their core responsibility: you must, he said, become aware of your sisters and brothers who are trapped in subjugation and meaninglessness, imprisoned in ignorance and despair. You must move in and out of windows carrying a vision of the vast oceans just beyond the bars of the prison a message of hope and possibility. Neruda ends with this: it is through me that freedom and the sea will call in answer to the shrouded heart.
Let those of us who are gathered here today read this poem as The Teachers Obligation. We, too, must move in and out of windows, we, too, must build a project of radical imagination and fundamental change. Venezuela is poised to offer the world a new model of education a humanizing and revolutionary model whose twin missions are enlightenment and liberation. This World Education Forum provides us a unique opportunity to develop and share the lessons and challenges of this profound educational project that is the Bolivarian Revolution.
Viva Mission Sucre! Viva Presidente Chavez! Viva La Revolucion Bolivariana! Hasta La Victoria Siempre!
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Thanks for posting.
[We have tried peace education for 1,900 years and it has failed. Let us try revolution and see what it will do now.]
Ayers apparently ignores the successful example of Gandhi’s Free and Independent India - and also ignores the failure of the utter failure of the “revolutions” in Russia.
Ayers is a Quisling POS with a taste for Milk and Apples - and he probably sleeps in beds (wif sheets!), too.
This traitor should have been hung long ago.
And we elect Obama we will get our own Hugo Chavez
That IS the William Ayers I know!
Time to pin 0bamalamadingdong on this; either he knew what Ayers is and always has been, and is both lying to the American people AND shares Ayers’ views, OR
0bama is a clueless idiot. In 0bama’s case, it is even possible to achieve the trifecta.
This aging Marxist lunatic is educating your kids. If that doesn’t make you mad, I don’t know what will.
Was Kathy Boudin the mother of his son? If so, Wow! Murderers on both sides. Should fetch a pretty penny at the Commie bloodstock auction.
Obama must not be allowed to become president, vote McCain.
Yes, Chesa was the spawn of Kathy Boudin, who copped a plea in the Brinks robbery/cop killing. Willy became legal guardian when she went up the river.
While they say “Chesa” is a swahili name, it most likely is a homage to another cop-killer (and current resident of Fidel’s worker’s paradise), Joanne Chesimard.
Bump for later
the little boudin bio (down near the end of artcle)
You notice Obama and Biden say McCann hasn’t said anything about Ayers “to his face” and O’Reilly tonight echoed that school yard BS. What would Obama do? Punch McCain in the mouth?
No, but he’ll come up with some focus group tested BS., like “Your mama wears combat boots.”
I saw a clip of Hillary raising Ayers and the Weathermen at a Dem debate, and Obama came back with, “Well, your husband pardoned some members of the Weather Underground”. bada bing. end of story.
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My response to Bill Ayers:
Kiss my GRITS !!
Well ... you KNOW what I mean! :)
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