Skip to main content
You are not a member of this wiki.
Pages and Files
Black Mountain Journals
In Memory Of
Trials and Tribulations
Stories, Pictures & Video
Choir of Angels
Pacific High School
About this site
photo by Judith Keenan
Click here for David's article on Sierra and The Land
which appeared in the New York Times Magazine on June 11, 1978.
Click Here for an article from the San Francisco Chronicle.
: Summer of Love: 40 Years Later
From “The 60’s Communes, Hippies and Beyond “
By Timothy Miller
compiled by Court Tefft and Patsy Dodd
THE RADICAL RESISTANCE COMMUNES
“The unpopularity of the war in Vietnam led directly to the organization of a number of communes. One of the earliest began to take shape in 1966 when David Harris (the radical president of the student body at Stanford University) and a few friends began to organize for draft resistance and started a commune as a residential organizing center. That commune, which had around a dozen members, only lasted a year or so, but its legacy was the spread of draft card burning and other frontal attacks on the military draft throughout the Bay area and eventually around the country.”
From “AND A VOICE TO SING WITH’ by Joan Baez
“We were ready when they came to arrest David on July 15, 1969. The resistance community seemed to have moved into our front yard. I spent the days baking bread and making pancakes and fruit salad for endless numbers of friends and well- wishers. Their hero would soon be gone, out of reach for the daily coffee and cigarette he was so willing to share with any of them. The day we suspected the sheriff would come for him, we were awakened by the sound of a flute floating to our bedroom windows on the warm, hazy morning air. One of David’s loonier devotees was sitting in a tree like Pan, playing for us. I was tired and edgy and told David I wished the guy would drop dead, but David said, “He’s a good guy, a little whacky, but he means well,” and I softened, only because of David’s kindness. So I got up and began, with the help of Christy, to cook breakfast for the tree dwellers, sun worshippers, sprout eaters, children of the dawn of Aquarius, squatters, resisters and other loyal friends. I stayed in the kitchen, turning hot and cold at the sounds of each passing car and using myself making coffee and herbal teas.
Mid-morning one of our spies came roaring into the driveway and announced that the patrol car was on its way up the hill. David had that big smile on his face. The waiting was about to end, and his life would become much easier after there was a reality to deal with and not just fantasies to wake him in the night. The sheriff and his assistant were baffled by us. We were friendly, welcoming them with offers of coffee and juice and homemade bread. They declined everything. David, seated on the couch talking with a small group and protected by flanks of welcoming committees, rose and greeted them with a warm handshake which made them feel more sheepish and silly than they already did. David went around the group and hugged everyone. I stood at a distance until the last minute. They put handcuffs on him and he held up his hands in the victory sign just before climbing into the back seat. I hugged him and said something, but I don’t remember what they were. When they drove off in the heat of that pretty day, the sheriff’s car had a draft resistance bumper sticker plastered just above the license plate. We had our last laugh, and I felt quieter and quieter until I just decided to go for a walk. I walked a long time over those hills, a long time in the heat of that fine, pretty, lonely day up on
GAIL ZERMANO, DAVID AND JOAN ON THE EVE OF HIS ARREST AT STRUG, JULY 69
photo by Neil
HANDCUFFED DAVID LEAVES STRUGGLE FOR PRISON, JULY '69
photo by Robert Stege
David's book written while he was in jail and Joan was still living at struggle Mountain.
DAVID SPEAKS TO PACKED "CONNIE STAY HOME" RALLY, SEPT '71
DAVID, LACEY AND THEIR DAUGHTER SOPHIE AT LAMBIE'S WEDDING, SEP '85
photos by Neil
Complied by Court Tefft and Patsy Dodd
Excerpts from David’s book “Dreams Die Hard”
As a couple the David Harris’s have brainstormed colleges and universities all over the country, singing, rapping and organizing. It has been an effective combination. David’s skill as an organizer has put the Resistance on its feet in many states and his wife has contributed half or more of the money earned from many concerts to help sustain local Resistance groups.
Rolling Stone 12/7/68
How did you get the idea for Resistance?
As early as 1965 Jefferey Shurtleif and I were having discussions about non-cooperation and I think he had already filed his CO and so the question was first getting up enough personal steam and then in the summer of 66 I sent my own draft card back and then the following spring – several guys that I knew from Mississippi came down here and we were talking about what the movement needed to do next and we were talking about what we need to do is organize civil disobedience against repression and so-we created the Resistance.
We needed leaflets, posters and printed literature desperately but could not afford them. As the organization’s most visible representative, I had the responsibility for finding a donation large enough to rescue us, and I arranged to meet Joan Baez.
She had long since become the nations leading folk singer and listening to her records was one of the elementary steps towards joining the “counterculture.” On the cover of
Magazine before she was 21, she had been elevated to the archetypal image of young, longhaired, bare-foot, guitar-toting hippie. Her pacifist politics were famous, and she was on public record as saying in regards fo the draft that “girls should say yes to the boys who say no.” I made an appointment to visit her in Carmel Valley where she lived and supported her Institute for the Study of Non-Violence.
For my part, I found her more than a little impressed with her own self and culturally distant as well. She didn’t smoke dope or live close to the ground; more than that, she carried herself with a celebrity’s air that made me uncomfortable. Seeing her fancy house confused me. At that point, I only knew it didn’t jibe with her record covers.
Even so she gave The Resistance a check for $3,000. It was the largest block of money I had ever seen. When I returned to the commune (Cooley Street), everyone cheered and wanted to look at it.
On March 26, 1968 Joan Baez and I were married in New York City. We flew a number of relatives and friends out from California for the ceremony and put them up at an expensive Midtown hotel.
There was no Honeymoon.
On March 28th, according to FBI field office file 25-6892l7, JOAN BAEZ AND DAVID HARRIS, now married, addressed an 8:30 p.m. meeting at Harvard University.
Are there FBI files on Struggle Mt?
They followed me around. I never saw anything about Struggle in my files, they arrested me at Struggle Mt.
My own options narrowed considerably on January 17, 1968. At 6 A.M. I reported to the office of the San Mateo County Draft Board, where I and some 50 other inductees were loaded on a bus and driven to Oakland.
At the induction center, a crowd estimated as ”approximately 150 to 200 people” by the FBI had already assembled to demonstrate sympathy and support for DAVID VICTOR HARRIS….The inductees walked single file into the building, through the crowd….When HARRIS stepped for the bus, he immediately left the line of inductees and walked directly to a group of assemble newsmen with microphones and news cameras. HARRIS spoke for approximately five minutes, stating that…he was pleased that he had finally been ordered to report because he now had the chance to set an example for other persons engaged in activities against the war in Vietnam and the Selective Service System…Photographs were taken of HARRIS as he spoke. HARRIS then left with a large number of demonstrators and the crowd disbanded.
Thirteen days later, after a flurry of memo exchanges among the FBI, Local Board 71, and several federal attorneys in different jurisdictions, a federal grand jury for the Northern District of California indicted me for “refusal to submit to a lawful order of induction.” The trial date was eventually set for the last few days of May.
On May 27th 1968, the trial of David Victor Harris for violation of Title 50, United States Code, Section 462, commenced in the federal court for the Northern district of California. From an attorney’s point of view, I was a great handicap as a client. I expected to be convicted and pleaded not guilty solely to make the most direct political statement I could.
I appeared for court in a new brown suit with Joan on my arm. Cameras whirred and interviews were given. The spectator section was full of local peace movement and Resistance members, including Dennis Sweeney and Rodney from the Cooley Street commune.
Guilty as charged;
I made a short statement about how, though I accepted the judgment of the jury, history too would judge, and it would judge the law, not David Harris, guilty. My only crime had been not to commit an even greater crime.
The sentence (3 years.) was twice the length of any handed out in the Northern District of California for the crime of draft refusal in the last ten years.
The Resistance, I claimed, would carry on its struggle in jail and out. Our bodies might be locked up, but we would continue to organize. I claimed that when I was taken off to serve my sentence, that others would pick up my work where I left off.
That last statement was typical of the well-intentioned but hollow rhetoric that seemed to overtake much of the Sixties that fall. On November 4, 1968, The Resistance managed to turn in about the same number of draft cards as the previous December.
If 1968 was the year when everything seemed to come together, 1969 would be a year in which a lot of it seemed to come apart.
During the second weekend of January, I attended my last organizational meeting of The Resistance. It was supposed to be a conference of chapter representatives from all over California. I arrived with Joan when the conference was well into its second day. By then, the conference had split into two mutually antagonistic camps.
The first faction, the proto-Leninists, wanted to give up draft resistance organizing and turn something more “militant” and “working class.” They were now into theories of “oppression” and “imperialism.” The second faction, the space cadets, wanted to give up draft-resistance organizing in favor of “alternative life-styles.” They talked about founding communes in New Mexico and co-ops in Mendocino County and commencing the new world immediately. The space cadets had complicated everything even further by ignoring the conference rules. Each Resistance group was supposed to send only two representatives, and all of them had compiled except this new-age lobby, virtually all of who we from Los Angeles. They brought up two dilapidated school buses full of people who spent much of the conference either consuming immense amounts of brown rice, chanting “oooooommmmmmmmm” in unison, or piling on top of each other as a means of emitting “peace vibrations” into the atmosphere.
I knew right then that 1969 would be a crazy year. After six hours of conference, Joan and I split.
“At least I don’t have to worry about the organizations falling apart after I go to jail,” I joked during the drive home.
Like her husband, Joan is a political animal by nature. To be otherwise is to be spiritually dead. Political action was a catalyst which brought them together and it will soon be responsible for their physical separation.
At 10 A.M. July 15th1969, two federal marshals showed up at our cabin (on Struggle Mt.) in the Santa Cruz Mountains with a warrant for my arrest. I had been up since early morning, watching the rocket blast off carrying the first men to the moon. The marshals padlocked a chain around my waist, attached a pair of handcuffs to the chain, and then put the handcuffs around my wrists. For having fought my own kind of war instead of theirs, I was now embarking on my own kind of journey into space.
“I was paroled on 3/15/71” – “Joan Baez and I separated and began divorce proceedings three months later.” “After the Paris Peace Agreements were finally signed in 1973, I began a career in journalism which with the exception of standing as the Democratic party’s unsuccessful nomination for Congress in California’s Twelfth Congressional District in 1976, I have pursued ever since.
Gabe was born 5 months after David went to prison.
Ten years after it ended. David Harris’s romance with Joan Baez is for me indistinguishable from the politics of the moment.
We were public creatures. Sweet-voiced heroine of a generation joins with young knight advancing the battle for peace in our time. Without the intoxication of those roles and the image they fostered, I doubt whether the relationship would ever have come off.
On a personal level I began it heavily overmatched. Not quite 22 and still chasing visions of myself, I was tying my life to a woman five years older than I who had already made more of a name and fortune that I could hope to equal. I found the disproportion of that arrangement intensely frustrating and still hold it responsible for much of my private craziness over the remainder of the decade.
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"