Radical Leftist Bill Ayers Sees Chicago as Using Similar 1968 ‘Rope-a-Dope’ Strategy to ‘Deny’ DNC Protests

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march during a rally in Toronto, Ontario on April 13, 2024.
Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu via Getty Images

Radical leftist Bill Ayers, formerly a leader of the Weather Underground militant leftist group, sees the city of Chicago as using a similar stalling strategy to deny protest permits at the Democrat National Convention in August as it used in the lead-up to the 1968 convention.

Ayers’ comments surfaced in a Politico article Monday that highlights repeated denied permit requests for one group looking to protest the Israel-Hamas war at the convention, called The Coalition March on the DNC. The group, whose main “demand” is for Democrats to “Stand with Palestine” and stop U.S. aid to Israel, has had three permit requests to march on the United Center during the August convention denied by Chicago’s Department of Transportation, per Politico and the group’s website.

NYPD confronts Pro-Palestinian demonstrators a few blocks from Radio City Music Hall during President Joe Biden’s fundraiser on March 28, 2024 in New York City. (Alex Kent/Getty Images)

Ayers recalled that in the build-up to 1968 — which saw an estimated 10,000 protesters take to the streets and nearly 700 arrests, as Time reported — then-Mayor Richard J. Daley’s “strategy was to keep the protest groups talking and negotiating, and then to deny, deny, deny. It was rope-a-dope plus delay, then deny.”

“The goal was to divert attention and energy from planning a protest, Ayers, who lives in Chicago, recalled,” wrote Politico reporter Shia Capos.

In one denial letter to The Coalition March on the DNC, the Chicago Department of Transportation (DOT) “proposed a second route for the march that is nowhere near the DNC,” the group said. They also emphasized, “This is not Richard J Daley’s Chicago,” and were steadfast that they would get a permit through grassroots efforts to overcome the “Democratic Party machine.”

Joe Biden pro-Palestinian

A man holds a sign depicting President Joe Biden as the devil as people rally in support of Palestinians in Brooklyn, New York on October 21, 2023. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Politico, the group has taken legal action, filing “a lawsuit claiming their First Amendment rights are being violated.”

What is more, Politico reported the number of demonstrators at this year’s convention could be 30,000 — that would be three times the volume of protesters who descended on the Windy City in 1968, as reported by Time.

The brewing tension between the city and those who wish to demonstrate near the convention serves as just one inflection point of a larger happening on the left, where pro-Palestinian Americans — including many Arabs, Muslims, radical leftists, and young voters — have rebuked the Biden administration’s handling of the war.

US Israel Palestinians

Activists protest outside of the White House during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Washington on November 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

While hundreds of thousands have taken to essentially meaningless Democrat nominating contests to vote for some variation of “uncommitted” in protest of the Democrat president’s policies, numerous raucous and even violent protests in the streets have rendered many on the left worried about widespread convention protests.

Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted Biden’s glitzy elitist March fundraiser in New York City with former Democrat Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Days later, demonstrators hurled profanities at Clinton and his wife, twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, outside of a Broadway fundraiser for Biden:

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These were preceded by protests at the White House — one which saw monuments to heroes of the American Revolution desecrated and a violent protest outside the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in Washington, DC. Protesters also shut down the motorcade route Biden was originally set to take to the State of the Union address in March, forcing the Secret Service to take an alternate route.

A taste of what could occur in Chicago happened Monday morning, the Daily Mail reported, detailing how pro-Palestinian protesters “shut down Chicago’s O’Hare airport as they blocked the highway and left passengers frustrated.”

“On Monday morning, the protestors sat in the middle of the road, linked to each other with PVC pipes, as people left their taxis and cars stranded and walked 20 minutes to their terminals,” the Mail’s Emma Richter wrote.


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