Dinesh D’Souza – a conservative film-maker and author who fell afoul of the Obama administration’s crack-down on certain political donations - recently debated Bill Ayers: the scion of a wealthy family and a political radical who was once a member of the Weather Underground communist revolutionary organization in the United States. In a debate organized by Young Americans for Freedom, the two went head to head to discuss the current political climate.
When the two were asked “Do either of you feel our criminal justice has become too political?” Ayers responded, saying “Our political justice system is a catastrophe and what was exposed in Ferguson that the criminal justice system is powered, the financing of it, is powered by the targeting of poor people.”
Clad in a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, Ayers – who was once Barack Obama’s mentor – said “One of my sons is a public defender in San Francisco,” and added, “He deals with poor people every day who are run through the system for the most petty things and they absolutely are caught up in a vice that really steals from them and purrs along in an oppressive way.”
Ayers mentioned the felony conviction D’Souza on a campaign finance law violation. Mocking D’Souza, Ayers said that he once offered to write a judge on behalf of D’Souza to spare him from prison and instead send him to North Carolina and register voters “which would fit the crime of corrupting the political process in New York,” Ayers said. D’Souza spent only one night in jail, in any event.
D’Souza fired back:
“The inequity of our criminal justice system is on full display right on this podium right here. So, I gave $20,000 of my own money over the campaign finance limit, I got eight months in overnight confinement. You bombed the Pentagon and tried to bomb all kinds of other things. [wild audience applause] How much time did you do in the slammer?”
Ayers participated in the bombings of New York City Police Department headquarters in 1970, the United States Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972, as he noted in his 2001 book, Fugitive Days. His wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was also an active member of the so-called Weathermen.