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In real life, however, in that Greenwich Village townhouse, Kathy Boudin and her comrades were deliberately building a bomb filled with nails, which they intended to detonate at a social dance at Fort Dix — a dance that would be attended by 18-year-old draftees and their dates. In real life, Kathy Boudin was a calculating terrorist with no mercy for those she regarded as her political enemies. My opposition to her parole then and now is because of the criminal acts she committed and her refusal to face up to them — not because she opposed the Vietnam War.
The only article I ever remember writing about Kathy Boudin’s parole begins with this sentence: “The separate reality of radicals, which made them unable to comprehend their own deeds, was made vivid for me in a New York Times story I read later, about the parole appeal of … Kathy Boudin.” The author of Something You Did never sought to interview me to find out who I was or what views I had of these events before defaming me in his play. He is a perfect example of those radicals who inhabit a separate reality, which makes them unable to understand how others see them and therefore unable to comprehend themselves.
In Something You Did I am represented as a self-serving cynic and a representative specimen of the system I once opposed. My character, “Gene,” cuts million dollar deals on the basis of his fame as a radical turncoat and receives $50,000 speaking fees to spread his noxious views. I wish. Perhaps the playwright was thinking of Cornel West or Michael Moore, who resonate with the prevailing leftwing views of literary and academic culture and who might actually command such contracts and fees.
In addition to being a materialistic narcissist, the character allegedly based on me is also portrayed as an embittered racist, and a xenophobic Jew. I will answer these canards one at a time. In constructing my character as a wealthy cynic the author chooses to confront a radical cliché rather than the reality of the person who was Kathy Boudin’s most corrosive critic. I am pretty much the same individual I was when I was on the left, though hopefully wiser from experience. I am still a missionary and driven by certain ideals, not the avaricious operator represented in the play. My conservative views are driven by what I see as the destructive ambitions and practices of the left, and their negative impact on the very people — blacks, the poor, and the Vietnamese – whom radicals claim to support. Any honest reader of my work would know that. A confrontation between a radical and a former radical who has had second thoughts about the practical results of his commitments would have provided a more interesting center for this play than the progressive melodrama the author has settled on.
But melodrama it is, and therefore the conservative antagonist must also be exposed not only as an opponent of radical terrorists but as a racist, and since he is Jewish, a tribalist – a “reactionary.” In the play my character refers to the murder of “two” civil rights workers in Mississippi deliberately omitting the third, James Chaney, because he was black and in this reactionary tribalist’s mental universe only Jews count. Just on a personal note, my three black grandchildren would not appreciate this artistic license. Those who have followed my career and writings will know that I am more faithful to the civil rights ideals in which we leftists claimed to believe in the Sixties, than the author of this play. The point I made in my autobiography Radical Son about these issues, which the author has grossly misrepresented is that Jewish radicals like Kathy Boudin feel superior to the groups they are claiming to help, in this instance blacks, and so fail to understand them as individuals. The terrorist act, which provides the basis for this play, was committed by a group of violent black criminals whom Boudin mistook for black victims and comrades. Stokely Carmichael, who is a target of the remarks made by the character associated with me in the play was a black anti-Semite and racist whom Jewish progressives mistook for an ally. That very specific point has simply been distorted beyond recognition by the author in order to smear me and all conservatives as racists.
The play concludes with Allison’s plea to the parole board to be released. She defends herself by claiming that whatever she did and whatever mistakes she made were in behalf of the Vietnamese and Cambodians, and that the real criminals are the Americans who supported the anti-Communist cause. In other words, there is nothing she needs to regret about the political views that led her to commit her heinous acts, and besides her adversaries were much worse.
There are two problems with this attempt at an exculpation. The first is that Kathy Boudin and the anti-war left really didn’t care that much about the Vietnamese and the Cambodians. When America left Indo-China in 1975 and the Cambodians and Vietnamese were being slaughtered by the Communists in one of the largest genocides of the 20th Century, there were no protests by the American left of those atrocities, not by Kathy Boudin and not by her comrades-in-arms.
My second problem with Allison’s appeal is that the factual premise on which it is based is a lie. Kathy Boudin was responsible for the death of a black policeman, Waverly Brown (actually first black policeman ever hired by the Nyack police force). But the act that killed him was not and could not have been a protest against the Vietnam War. Officer Brown was killed by Kathy Boudin and her friends in 1981, when the Communists were in power in Vietnam, and the United States had been out of Indochina for six years.
This play is dishonest in its core. It misrepresents the reasons Kathy Boudin committed her crime; it misrepresents the crime itself; and it whitewashes her culpability as a supporter of terrorist acts. Finally, it misrepresents who I am and why I opposed her parole.
 Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey, 1997
 “Clinton’s Pardoned Bombers” in Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey.
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