“Mother Country Radicals” host Zayd Ayers Dohrn told Podsauce all about his new podcast. In the series, Zayd shares his family’s history and explores radicalism and resistance in America. Zayd explored his personal and political reasons for starting the podcast in 2020, why current activism mirrors the 1960s, how he met political activists (like Angela Davis), and so much more.
Raised underground, Zayd’s radical parents, Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, were counter-culture outlaws fleeing from the FBI. As the Weather Underground’s leaders and activists in the 1960s, the group’s actions ranged from peace demonstrations to bombing government buildings. They hoped to change the country, shape the world, and found themselves on the run for 12 years.
Zayd wanted to preserve his parents’ stories since they’re now in their 80s. In episodes, you’ll hear from Zayd’s parents, other members of the Weather Underground, and more voices from the 1970s. The podcast enabled Zayd to dig deeper into his family’s story and more clearly understand what the Weather Underground was involved in, which laws his parents broke, and more.
Zayd started the podcast during the Trump era and wanted to examine how people can “usefully resist things” and possibly change the world. Alesha asked Zayd what his parents think about current day activism for modern topics. He says they like to see young people standing up for their beliefs.
Zayd explained how much of his parents’ story is similar to modern events and activism. His parents’ activism was sparked by speaking out against police killing Black people in the 1960s and 1970s. Zayd told Dax and Alesha about the turning point that radicalized his parents and what catalyzed their movement.
Dax asked Zayd about his mom’s current status with the government, as a former most-wanted person. His parents eventually turned themselves into the government, some charges were dropped due to FBI misconduct, and his mom went to jail.
Zayd told Podsauce about his parents’ post-Weather Underground life along with some shocking childhood anecdotes. Zayd shared some figures he has met over the years like Angela Davis, Jamal Joseph, and members of the Panthers.