The Land owes much to the influence of The Resistance (opposing the military draft) and The Institute for the Study of NonViolence.

Winter Dellenbach told this story about The Land's early days at The Land reunion on Saturday, June 7, 2008:

When Allen Ginsberg Came to The Land

The Story of the Land As I Heard It in 72
From The Trail Center

Court Tefft and Patsy Dodd
Communes and Counter-Culture
Rebels with a Cause and Vision
Do You Believe in Magic
Back to the Land Music
Blinded by the Fright (Communes and Print Media)
Mushroom Clouds
Dark Shadows
Dawn of A New Day
Can You Dig It

From Gary Starkweather:

The Story of The Land As I Heard It In 72

This is my recollection of the story of The Land as I heard it (and believed it) in the summer of 1972.
The story of The Land is colorful to say the least.. If we start our history at the turn of the 20th century, we meet Governor Henry Haight.. He owned it and, the story goes, housed fancy women and race horses there for the enjoyment of those he favored or wanted to impress or control.

Friends, patrons, and those he wanted to impress, were given a ride down the SF Peninsula to Leland Stanford's stop, where they were met by carriages for the ride (an all afternoon deal back then) to the ranch.

That explains some of the more unusual aspects of the architecture of the place like the Long House, the huge BBQ outside, the fancy cedar walk in closet Summer Sparrow once lived in, the artistic custom plaster tub in the Main House at the Frontlands.

As Governor he controlled state resources. It was built using convict labor.

Yes, you are not hallucinating, there is serious irony here,.

Skipping a generation or more, it became the Burns Ranch.

They sold to Don Eldridge - a founder of Memorex (one of the first gen high tech companies).

Don let the Institute For The Study Of Nonviolence use it as needed for their ongoing work.

The place became infested with Hippies which caused consternation all over the place, particularly in the front lands.

The rest of the story is, as they say, history.

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From The Trail Center:

"The Land" Lives On:
Exploring the Heritage of the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve
By Elizabeth de Rham
From The Trail Companion - Spring 2003

In the sunny splendor of an incredible Saturday morning, I was ecstatic to be off campus and winding up Page Mill Road to explore the history of Monte Bello Open Space Preserve. As a busy and carless freshman at Stanford, I hadn't managed to get out and into the hills at all. With each breathtaking view following a sharp turn or crest in the road, I felt increasingly grateful that I finally had the chance meet the real landscape of my new home. The preserve, located southwest of Palo Alto, encompasses 2,750 acres of the upper Stevens Creek Watershed from Monte Bello Ridge to Skyline Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Since 1977, the preserve has been owned by the Mipeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) and now offers about fifteen miles of trails, open to the public for explorations on foot, bike, or horseback. Before 1977, however, the land was privately owned and from around 1969 until the purchase, it supported a community of people who were participating in an extended experiment in harmonious living. Striving to live as lightly as possible on the land and maintain a peaceful, loving, practically self-sufficient community, they saw themselves as caretakers of the beautiful mountainside that they came to call "The Land."

The last four miles of upper Page Mill Road was populated by a great extended community who lived in clusters with names such as Black Mountain, Rancho Diablo, Earth Ranch, and of course the original cluster, The Land. About a mile down the road from the head of Canyon Trail, Mark Schneider welcomed me to the only remaining cluster of houses, called Struggle Mountain. Mark joined the community in 1971, lived there until The Land was purchased by MROSD in 1977, and then moved back in 1986 to the Struggle Mountain property that he and others had managed to buy in 1976. The cozy little kitchen where we sat drinking tea had initially belonged to Joan Baez. In the late sixties the owner of the land, Donald Eldridge was looking for someone to take care of the property. He called on Baez and Ira Sandperl, co-founders of the Institute for the Study of Non-Violence, and soon after they moved up to the ridge.

Migration to The Land

The people who migrated to The Land came from all over the place, disillusioned because of the Vietnam War, violence in cities, governmental repression, and the lack of environmental and global con- sciousness in society as a whole. They came seeking a space in which they could thrive, as close to the earth as possible and free from the restrictions and conventional authority of the government. They built their community so that it would blend into the landscape, basing the few regulations of their society around principles of non-violence towards one another and the environment. Using recycled material, they constructed homes beneath the heavy thickets of oak, madrone, and bay trees that line the tributaries of the Stevens Creek watershed. Electricity never spread further than the few original buildings next to the road, they maintained communal organic gardens and had established guidelines to protect the ecosystem services that they observed in their surroundings. Into the early 1960s, the only structures on the property were the original ranch house on Page Mill Road situated immediately to the left as you stand looking south towards the ridges from the trailhead and a large tin barn. The community began in and around the "Big House," but by 1971 the overflow had begun to spread out into the "Backlands,"
with residents living in teepees and tents until wooden structures were completed. Eldridge, who had bought the land in 1968, felt that they didn't mar the natural setting and essentially served as valuable caretakers of his property. At that point, in the early seventies,
there were only 13 other houses on the hill, and though there were property lines, rarely were they heeded or boundaries enforced. "Yeah, people were trespassing all over the place," said Mark. Court, another early inhabitant of The Land now living at Struggle Mountain. He related a story about a couple who began living in an abandoned chicken shed on one of the landowners' property and, when discovered, were simply asked for a little rent and then left alone.

Human and Natural Changes

They explained that the actual landscape has changed very little; the primary changes were just those resulting from the passage of time. As we walked along Canyon Trail, Mark pointed to a particular beloved tree is showing signs of age. Each winter's storms and the ever-dynamic San Andreas Fault are constantly reshaping the gully where one of their friends' had once built a six-sided dwelling. A little further down the path, which they called "Swamp Drive" for the wetland area on one side and its frequently muddy dips and turns, Mark pointed out that the majority of the present trails were cut along pre-existing ones that they and others before them had used. The Bella Vista Trail is a new scar marring the beautiful curves of the Monte Bello Ridge but it makes for an incredible hike that affords amazing views of the surrounding area.

Despite Mark and Court's estimation to the contrary, as we walked and found the former site of the cook shack or a friend's house, I realized there has been significant change. Where there was once a cook shack, there's now a sunny clearing, where there was once two-story dwelling under a gnarled tree along a creek, there's now a secret spot whose shadows beckon a glance from the trail. With most traces of the small, low-impact community disappearing, the area surely feels very different and certainly wilder than in its heyday. I asked about changes in the animal life and patterns of local species, but Mark and Court were less certain about those differences. They thought they'd noticed an increase in animals like coyotes, fox, and deer, but were unsure of exactly what may have caused that rise in populations. During The Land era, the ground squirrels had "a field day" as a result of rich scavenging in the humans' wake, but they
said that the squirrel population had since subsided to normal levels.

From Commune to Open Space Preserve

In 1974 the owner of the property, Donald Eldridge, and the previous owner, Mrs. Alyce Lee Burns, disagreed over the terms of their payment contract after regional downsizing and re-zoning changed the status of property values and land rights. A series of lawsuits followed in which Mrs. Burns held a foreclosure sale on the untitled holdings at the property, bought them back, and began to look for buyers. In January 1977 she began negotiations with MROSD, which had been created in 1972 for the purpose of creating a regional greenbelt of open space lands in order to permanently preserve the natural scenery surrounding mid-peninsula communities. In March MROSD agreed to buy the land, but required that the occupants be evicted. In August 1977 the courts upheld Mrs. Burns' claim to the
land and ruled in favor of the eviction of all occupants from the property. During his recounting of the legal struggles, Mark was careful to note that The Land had supported the formation of the Open Space District and their goal of preserving the vast greenbelt around the
growing metropolitan area. When it became clear that they would be forced to leave their homes, tension arose because they didn't agree that their experimental community was necessarily detrimental to that goal.

Although the displacement of The Land inhabitants was unfortunate, I could appreciate the fact that MROSD's appropriation of the area had allowed for many more people to enjoy the beautiful space. The new trails, improved road access, and regulation of the area that came after the acquisition have made it possible to get into the mountains quickly and easily. In addition, the purchase prevented further development on the ridge, limiting the luxury homes that surely would have sprung up, bringing with them the elements of increased human population that are thankfully absent as one looks out from trailhead. Could all this have been accomplished without evicting the people of The Land? Even in hindsight, the choices weren't easy. Though The Land is long gone, its hills have been preserved so that the greater community of the area can continue to experience and appreciate a magic of a truly beautiful place.

Elizabeth de Rham is a Stanford student, Class of 2005, originally from Portland Oregon. She will probably be studying Anthropological Sciences and Spanish, with an emphasis on Environment and Populations

The Trail Center is a non-profit volunteer organization formed in 1983 to provide and promote quality non-motorized trail opportunities for all people in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco counties. The Trail Center works with government agencies, outdoor enthusiasts and other interested parties to create and manage an interconnected network of trails for the four-county region.

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Communes and Counter-Culture

By Court Tefft and Patsy Dodd

What were they thinking?
(For our kids)

I was watching the History Channel the other night and tuned into a show called Hippies. Peter Coyote, the former Digger with the Henry Fonda like voice was the narrator of the documentary. I’m sure, having read his book on the 60’s and having heard him interviewed on numerous occasions, that Coyote would be appalled by the final cut. The History Channels production falls into the Fox news “fair and balanced” category of being neither.
Hippie History had its dark moments but should not be defined by them as if darkness was the inevitable consequence of dabbling with alternative visions. All societies, groups, cultures, families etc. have their dark sides. Office workers go postal and we don’t do histories implying office workers are by nature insane. Military personnel, following orders from above, torture and abuse…do we condemn all who serve?
The revisionist reactionary forces of the dominant culture have a vested interest in marginalizing, trivializing or distorting the intent, actions and motivations of the counter culturist. The dominant cultures reasons for doing so are always the same…political, philosophical and economic. Fear is one of the weapons they use.

You can’t underestimate the power of fear.
Tricia Nixon

According to this particular documentary many of the “hippies” were Satanists pagan, drug addicts and even worst…potential murders or potential victims of murder. Hippies were overtly sexual, didn’t shave, smelled, and wore funny clothes. Hippies were not only offensive to red blooded Americans but offensive to the ancient spiritual traditions of the east and Far East which they stole from, spat on and often claimed as their own. The hippies have forever tarnished and distorted these ancient, though archaic systems, set in place thousands of years ago.


The good news was the hippies were a momentary blip on the radar screen, a pimple that popped and went a way. The documentary implies that the hippies lasted for about 5 years and then died, or turned into environmentalists, or at best another demonized group, the liberals.
After interviewing several experts on “hippies” as well as some recovering hippies , whose message was always the same…we tried and failed, we rejoined the mainstream…what were we thinking?...silly me. I’m lucky I made it…I could have been electrocuted by the third rail…but now I’m a new man (woman), the documentary threw in some “colmes to go with it’s Hannity”, some crumbs for positive thought…hippies helped bring us the organic food movement.


Anything anybody can say about America is true.
--Emmet Grogan (Digger)

The documentary was particularly hard for Patsy and I to digest and reminded us of how important it is to have the back to the Land story told by the folks who lived it.
In today’s highly technological and business orientated world with its focus on the future where time is of the essence and in short supply, where the gap between the haves and have-nots, and the government and the governed widens, where the world of infotainment dominates the airwaves, history is often de-emphasized. Even Ivy League institutions like Harvard can’t find the time and spare to teach much history.
The other day (2007) I mentioned this to Jim Kerr a former Land resident. Jim told me he used to teach history and the social sciences and the problem is they are soft sciences. Whose right, whose wrong…whose story do you tell…the story of the Roman conqueror or the story of the conquered” Which is the true story…the real story.
I said “if we don’t learn history…if we don’t know history, we will make the same mistakes.” Jim said “Even when we do know history we make the same mistakes!
To me history is not always relativism or opinion based on ideology. Slavery is wrong…Vietnam was a lie…Iraq is a lie…evolution is a fact…gravity is real…Fascism is dangerous. History is important! So tell your story.

There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even tacitly take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working al all.

Mario Savio 1964

Horror grips us as we watch you die
All we can do is echo your anguished cries
Stare as all your human feelings die
We are leaving, you don’t need us

David Crosby
Wooden Ships

There is no escape – either into rural communes or existential mysticism – from the dynamic of world confrontation.

Tom Hayden

According to Timothy Miller in “The 60’s Communes Hippies and Beyond”

“Basic to just about everything most of the 1960’s-era communes stood for was a belief that the United States, and more generally the Western world, had become hopelessly, hideously corrupt-derailed from the lofty goals that the nation had embraced at it’s founding, and now not so much the worlds hope as the worlds oppressor. The nation was owned and operated by a political and economic elite that made war on small countries, oppressed American minorities, perpetuated widespread poverty and had no vision, no ability to embrace nature or to seek real satisfaction, let alone to be open to new psychedelic expansion of the mind.”

After years of heavy duty riots, demonstrations, wars, pollution as well as the FBI, and the CIA spying on people in America and overthrowing governments around the world a lot of us despite our youth had given up on the system. Communes and alternative communities were one way of dealing with stressful times. “In a period of just a few years communal fever gripped the alienated youth of the United States – indeed, of the developed world – and thousands upon thousands of new communities were established throughout the land.”
The vast majority of commune dwellers were white, middleclass or upper middle class with a smattering of the rich and a smattering of the poor. Of the communards themselves, nearly four times as many (52% versus 14%) had college degrees as did all Americans in their age group”. Voluntary simplicity and poverty ruled the day. The Black panthers did start some inner-city communes.

I’m, weak, but together we’re strong.
Huey P. Newton

There is no generally accepted definition of the term commune some communes are cooperatives some are collectives, some are communities.
The communal explosion of the mid 60’s to late 70’s can be divided into three groups.
  1. back to the land
  2. secular – urban intentional
  3. religious and spiritual

Some communities could fit into more than one category ie spiritual land based or urban spiritual. Contained within the back to the land communes were open land communes where “anyone could settle for a season or, theoretically, a lifetime, eventually became a philosophy of which hundreds of 1960 communes were based” Free Rent, what a concept…today especially, how could this be?
The Secular communes tended to have more links to the past, the communes of the 40’s and 50’s, The Fellowship of Intentional Communities. “Many of the secular communes had left learning social and political agendas ranging from liberal to hard radical.” Many subsets fall into the secular domain like Gay and Lesbian, Group Marriage or Environmental.
Most of the 60’s communes were located in urban or suburban homes in the Northwest, Southwest and Northeast. The largest concentration seems to be from San Francisco north to the Canadian border and inland 100 miles from the Pacific.
The religious and spiritual communes tended to focus on a teacher or set of teachings, often the teacher had final say, while the secular communes tended to make decisions based on consensus. Anarchy in the positive sense of the word and movement ie personal responsibility and participation in a non-hierarchical governing body that governs as little as possible with an emphasis on acting locally was the “mo” of most communes.
During “The Land days, it was not unusual to see there’s No Government like No Government bumper stickers. Another bumper sticker with anarchistic roots is Question Authority. On The Land itself a prominently displayed Question Authority sticker had a line through it and underneath it someone wrote, “Don’t tell me what to do.”

We Are The Other People:

Countercultures ebb and flow or wax and wane. They never disappear. They always exist just below the surface or beyond the horizon, doing their own thing regardless of mainstream approval or attention. Though sometimes invisible to the individuals involved counter culturists always have links to past counter culturist movements.
According to R.U.Sirius (Ken Goffman) and Dan Joy in Counter Culture through the Ages, counter -culturists displays three primary defining characteristics:
  1. Countercultures challenge authoritarianism in both obvious and subtle forms
  2. Countercultures assign primary to individuality at the expense of social and governmental constraints.
  3. Counter cultures embrace individual and social change.


Some other nearly universal features shared by counter culturists across the seas of time are persecution by mainstream culture which leads to dropping out or living in exile which often leads to “break- through and radical innovations in art, science, spirituality, philosophy, and living”.
“When persecution fails to stamp out an active counterculture, the dominant culture tends to assimilate it, subtly weakening, distorting or sometimes inverting its memes, robbing them of their subversive power.”
Part of the appeal of counterculture throughout the ages has always been its anti-authoritarian mocking of mainstream culture along with its refusal to take itself or any rigid ideology too seriously. In the 60’s we had the Merry Pranksters on the cultural side of the revolution and the Yippies on the political side, most of us were somewhere in between riding in the wake of these stylistic waves which demanded change now.
For a small minority weary of political injustice and fed up with demonstrations the only alternative was armed insurrection. As John F. Kennedy said “If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution inevitable.”
In a world where nuclear families were exploding, the generation gap was widening, and blood brothers and sisters were splitting up over lifestyle and political issues, Marxist, New Left or tribal like extended families linked by music and collective goals, offered many a new found purpose. Many took on new names and assumed new identities.
Sociological studies from the time showed that 50% of the married couples moving to communes divorced within the first year. The whys of separation included liberated sexuality, expanded emotional intimacy with others, group critiques of your relationship and the changing dynamics of male and female roles in relationships. Couples would come and go, be on and off and were able to pick from a wider selection of potential mates. Those that did split up found a lot of emotional support within their communities.
A lot of kids were raised in part at least on communes. “Parents were frequently convinced that a commune made an ideal setting for child rearing, with its extended family of adults with good values, many other children for playmates, built in cadre of childcare providers, and in the case of rural communes – wildlife to watch, creeks to play in, animals to care for, and all kinds of other positive diversions.”
Some studies indicate what those of us from the communal movement already know, commune kids tend to be precocious, relaxed with adults, comfortable with strangers, self-confident, more mature and self reliant. Some researchers found that commune kids were much less self-centered and quite well behaved.
In interviews with over 500 former or current communal residents the general consensus of the communes Project is that communes bred intimacy. Most look back fondly on those times. Many developed long term lasting relationships with extended family members. Though some can not overlook or forget the stress and strains of living in community most have warm and positive memories. So how about jotting down some of yours and sharing them with us all.

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Rebels with a Cause and Vision

By Court Tefft and Patsy Dodd


(Photo by Ann Mason)

Eve of Destruction, tax deduction, city inspectors, bill collectors,
mod clothes in demand, population out of hand, suicide too many bills,
hippies moving to the hills. People all over the world are shouting, “End the War’
and the band played on
Ball of Confusion

We do not need theories so much as the experience that is the source of the theory
R.D. Lang

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.

Friends…they cherish one another hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams

Skyline area:

The Skyline area was a unique place at a unique point in American history. “By the late 1960’s the United States was well into the greatest epoch of commune building in its history.” When it came to so called “hippie communes” the Skyline Area,( in the hills above Palo Alto Calif.) had it all. Merry Pranksters, Hog Farmers, whole Earth Catalogers, dome building student run communal schools, draft resisters and a wild assortment of artists, musicians and back to the lander hippie type’s intent on creating alternative communities.
For 15 years many of these groups thrived and survived minding their own business and doing their own thing. The Skyline Area communities did not collapse because they were flawed disease ridden, drug infested, socialist nightmares full of impoverished misfits doomed to failure. Instead they were forced or chose to move on due to an increase in population, higher priced real estate and an experimental regional park system intent on acquiring as much land as possible by whatever means necessary.
The back to the land movement of the late 1960’s was a national phenomenon. Not
everyone lived on a commune. “Little enclaves of homesteaders”, sprang up around the country”, more like old-fashioned rural settlements, where independently minded individuals could stake a claim, build a house and mind their own business”, writes Alistair Gordon in his great book Spaced Out.

The movement spawned how to books and magazines via a host of publications like Mother Earth News, and The Whole Earth Truck Catalog; put together by one time Merry Prankster Steward Brand and the staff of the Whole Earth Truck Store at Earth Ranch later known as Rancho Diablo on Skyline Blvd.

The Catalog inspired Lloyd Kahn, and Peter Calthorpe and the students down the road at Pacific High School to create Dome Books I and II which along with the Dome Cookbook became premier manuals for the creation of alternative architectural living spaces at the dawn of the green movement.
Dome at Pacific High School
(Photo by Jack Fulton)

The student run school, communal in nature and by design; built 17 domes on 40 acres. In 1970, Buckminster Fuller the grandfather of the dome building phenomena, showed up at Pacific inspected all the domes and gave the students “a crash course in spherical trigonometry.”
(Photo by Jack Fulton)

The Whole Earth Catalog and The Dome Books were much more that mere how to building manuals, they were strong advocates of creating and building alternative communities and human beings.
The communes in the Skyline area became places to chill out, learn skills, share resources, and ideas, while having a good time, embracing life, and being together.
( photo by Paul Dembski)
(Baba Ram Dass and Bill Garaway)

Hippie Dream Lyrics:

Take my advice
Don’t listen to me’
It ain’t paradise
But it used to be
There was a time
When the river was wide
And the water
Came running down
To the rising tide
But the wooden ships
Were just a hippie dream
Just a hippie dream.
Neil Young
Skyline Resident

The catalog facilitated the dream – made networking possible and empowered the pioneers with its many resources and Statement of Purpose:
We are as gods and might as well get good at it. So far remotely done power and glory—via government, big business, formal education, church—has succeeded to the point where gross defects obscure gains. In response to this dilemma and to these gains as realm of intimate, personal power is developing—power of the individual to conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whomever, is interested. Tools that aid this process are sought and promoted by the WHOLE EARTH CATALOG.” –Portola Institute, Inc., The Last Whole Earth Catalog, 1971.

The Skyline Area became a low key hotbed of counter cultural activity. Joan Baez, David Harris and others affiliated with the Struggle Mt. community hosted seminars at The Land a 750 acre commune on upper Page Mill Rd. (now Monte Bella Open Space Preserve) where the Vietnam veterans against the war held their 1972 national convention.

“A lot of Movement energy passed through the area. For example Daniel Ellsberg attended on of the first workshops on The Land on ecology and nonviolence. This was one of several radicalizing experiences that led him to begin xeroxing the Pentagon Papers just 10 days later.”
The Land would also host one of the first Rainbow Gatherings as well as astronomer Carl Sagans premier presentations that became the highly acclaimed PBS series Cosmos. (See Paul Foxes page under people)

Historian Todd Gitlin writes
“Counter institutions were ways of settling down for the long haul.” “The thousands of communes, underground papers, free schools, food “conspiracies”, auto repair and carpentry collectives, women’s centers and health groups and alternative publishers, required commitment.
(Gilbert Shelton)

Timothy Miller writes in The Hippies and American Values
: The hippies saw themselves as the people of zero, the vanguard who would build a new society on the ruins of the old, corrupt one. They defined their task as bringing to the world a radical change of outlook.”

Land Calendar
In 1974 The Land Calendar captured the collective visions of “the community, friends and family of the Land.” The calendar is a visual feast for the eyes containing many wonderful photographs and illustrations. The following pages contain some excerpts not always presented in their entirety, that I hope in part illustrate and explain the deeply felt and shared collective mind set of the time, that is our legacy and continues to live on to this day.

We have all been led to the Land to help create a culture that we could offer to the world as an alternative to the death which the world is experiencing. Our motives have been good – to live non-violently, in joy and harmony and using our creative energies to the fullest capacity to bring about the dawn of the New Age.

To clarify the union
The alternative life
Of the homesteaders
On the hillside
Wondering how to make a lifestyle
Last in a world
Bent on suicide


(Kathy Bartlett)

Doing what we love to &doing it with love, de-educating ourselves, educating our children to question, to love, to learn, to live with honesty, to search their souls & quiet their minds, to see, TO SEE, to live a life so real & beautiful & shining & true the light will grow & grow until the world catches fire.

Here is the Land and here are the children
Here is the magic, here is the touch
Here is the chance to finally start building
The earthly home that we need so much
Michael Ward

(Drawing by Kathy Bartlett)

What I want is a flexible but right
Organization of material and spiritual resources
On the land on Earth
Working loving dancing singing
Providing for ourselves

If we tune ourselves and help tune each other – we will be better instruments for ourselves and each other to play.

Things that would feel good here for me; growing trust and love amongst us all, firm dedication of all our lives and efforts to God through serving our brothers and sisters.
Not much more physical building on the Land more sharing space together, cutting down on the number of vehicles by sharing.
Spreading of small tribal groups all through the hills as the Land reaches its natural level of population. Everywhere Backlands, Fault of the Earth, Barn Folks, Struggle Mt., Black Mt, Medway Forests, all names, all forms.
Gathering larger groups for more complicated needs – health & dental care, taking care of kids, etc
Gradually ending all possible reliance on the State, giving up welfare and food stamps, by sharing all our efforts and supplying all our needs
Working together more to provide us all with all or most of the money we still need. Expansion of our “Community Enterprise”
Better food cooperation.
Growth of trust and level of awareness to allow us to share our tools and our lives even more harmoniously than we have

The wisdom of Red Fire:
The only changes I can make are those within myself, but those are the most effective.
The more I smile, the more smiles I see, and everyone is smiling. Far-Out.

Praise the Lord. Praise the Land!
Praise each other, long live rock and roll!
We are all bozos on this bus and we can do anything.
Just being here is a statement.
All of us that are here have cast off many shadows of the past, and have joined together as a community based on people rather than material possessions. The Land to me is a catalyst. Just knowing this land is not ours and being able to deal with this fact has caused us to look at each other with the dream and realization that if we can make it here on this temporary land, we can make it anywhere! What an exciting thought – it’s true!
Your friend always,
(Jake Pierre)

This was a co-counseling affirmation (or something like it)
This place is so perfect in every way. I just love living here. The land is only a small part of what keeps me here. It’s the love and communication between people that feeds me the most, So much caring and sharing. Whenever anyone has any problems, people run from all directions to help. Sometimes people know what’s bothering me before I even realize it, we are so sensitive to one another. We can cry or laugh together, sharing all feelings and we all feels so closely connected on all levels. It’s like one big family. Everyone is responsible for themselves and to each other in whatever they do. No one seems selfish; it’s the other person who comes first always.
And the barn is such a beautiful, clean place to work. Creativity thrives in the orderly and positive atmosphere. It’s a real community of people when they all work together, and that’s what we have. We share every thing we have and center our energy in all that we do. Both men and women share cooking and building and children have many parents who love and care for them.
We grow our own food and pick a lot of wild locals. It is truly a fulfilling and lively environment.
Am G F Am
GF Am\
F G Am
G F Am G F Am
(Photo by Court Tefft)


Not everyone was thrilled to death to live on the Land:

Dear Dad
I’ll be glad to get out of here. I’ve become totally disillusioned with the way things happen here and the narrowness of most of these people. The saddest thing is the illusion held by people here that they are doing something special and that they are better than common people. And yet they carry the city with them. We have all the pollution here, the garbage, the waste; everyone has their own car and does for themselves even at the expense of others. These people steal and say that it is o.k. because the people they steal from have too much. Would you believe that some trees (for Christmas) were stolen from Palo Alto?!
There is little communalism here. People talk of all the things they want and how to earn the money to buy them but it all comes down to getting someone or something else (perhaps a machine) to do the work for them. There is talk of tractors and rototillers, chainsaws and bulldozers. There is never any talk of all 30-50 of us coming together to turn the garden over by hand. When I suggest that we could come together more strongly if we abandoned our reliance on machines and built upon our reliance in each other I’m told things like “don’t have the time”, or “not into gardening”. It seems that the human point misses these people. I don’t know why they stay together, except that there is no rent to pay here. I don’t know what they find in this life. I find it a pointless existence, vacuous and empty of love. To people here love can be created by saying it exists. To me it is a vital thing that has to be acted upon or it dies.
Love Elya

40 years later: Well, actually I was thrilled with the land. Mark was making a calender and asked me for something I wrote. I said "Here, use this letter I wrote to my dad!" I wanted us to live on "our" land for our lifetime, terribly naive and idealistic, and was terribly hurt by my certainty that we would lose it. Now, 40 years later, I still am.

I saw Mark again 20 years later when he gave me one of the calenders, and again a couple weeks ago when I visited our land with my small family and Silvia. We had a picnic in the spot where my teepee stood. We walked down the ravine to Silvia's little island where I had helped her build her house, and up the hills and down the road. I told them stories, memories of things that had happened in spots we walked by, and felt a small bit of healing. Even so, I feel the hurt of loss and the freedom we so briefly had, among my strongest emotions, still to this day.

In a few days I'll try to write of all the memories I can bring back, for myself and for you all.

Love Elia (I don't remember why I changed the spelling)


Will rise or chaos will fall

From where we stand we see
How far mankind has come
We have a chance to live above the haze
Away from the grinding hum

We’ve got a chance that very few have
We shouldn’t let it slide
The free land is a place to grow
And not a place to hide

And our ways of walking in spirit
Come at our own chosen pace
Some choose to follow and others not
It doesn’t matter, it isn’t a race

Our spiritual flashes rise and fall
Like the changing tide
The path is wide enough for us all
To walk on side by side

The path is wide enough for us all
To walk on side by side.

Had Enough:

In our quest for spiritual mental and physical health we attempted to create new cultural identities independent of the emergent corporate state and the war machine with its weapons of mass deception and distraction.

They’re beating on you in Chicago
They’re picking you up on the coast
They’re knocking you off in Ohio
They like sending you to war the most
Arlo Gutherie
I Could Be Singing

“By the end of the decade a survey of college youth found that a third were interested in spending time in a commune or collective and almost half wanted to live for a while in a rural setting.”

Folk rocker Cat Stevens would sing:

I’d like to live on a commune
Yes I’d like to live on a commune
I’d like to live on a commune and
People can call me a hippie

I don’t want to live in a barracks
I don’t want to live in a barracks
Oh I don’t want to live in a barracks
And wake up to the bugle tune.

I’d just like to live in a treehut
Yes, I’d like to live in a tree hut
Yes, I’d like to live in a tree hut and
Listen to the sound of the birds.

Romantic Movement

Beyond just communing with nature Jerry Garcia would say, “We would all like to be able to live an uncluttered life, a simple life, a good life, and think about moving the whole human race ahead a step, or a few steps, or a half a step.”
The hippie counterculture and its communal movement have deep roots dating back to the American Romantic Movement of the early 19th century. The New England Transcendentalists are also offshoots of the American Romantics.

(The Lady Of Shallot by John William Waterhouse)

Over the course of time Romantics have pushed the boundaries of political, philosophical and religious freedom with their art, poetry, lifestyles and literature, in the case of the hippies especially with their music.
At their core, the hippie communalists were anarchistic Romantics with very Taoist underpinnings. Romantics tend to capture the imagination of mainstream society when emasse the scientific, political and or religious world views of society are perceived as out of whack.
The Romantics emphasis on the subjective nature and development of the inner man tends to add a little yin to the prevailing yang by once again imbuing nature with a spirit, religion with a heart and politics with a conscience.
(Drawing by Dale Oderman)

In the 60’s and 70’s hippie romantics broadened and energized the scientific communities worldview by popularizing ideas around ecology and holism with an emphasis on non-linear systems theory as well as the theoretical integration of eastern though and western quantum mechanics.
For “the counter culturists, reason had run its course”; the mystical and the intuitional long denied, de-valued, feared and forgotten by mainstream western culture, had created a dangerously de-sensitized, poisonous mechanistic, out of balance world view that might just get us all killed in an instant.
The rural romanticism of the country hippies embraced a hand-crafted past full of folk wisdom where small was beautiful and time was more important than money. Craftsmanship was emphasized over the machine made synthetic and plastic.


As hippies we embraced and popularized that which was organic and free from unnecessary additives. We avoided foods that were leached, bleached, and lifeless. We had to make our own granola and herbal teas, grow our own food and create New Age Markets and health stores. We had to go out of our way to purchase simple things like whole grained breads or brown rice and we had to eat the shit of the main stream media and populace who didn’t understand yet what we were doing.
We were young, full of energy, high on dreams (drugs?) and possibilities. We talked to our plants, saved seeds, grew weed, composted, companion planted, practiced integrated pest management, and preached sustainability and interconnectedness. The idea was to work with nature rather than against it.
‘We tried diets that varied from Macrobiotic, to Vegan to eating only raw foods; we tried fasting, juice fasts, apple fasts, grape fasts, total fasts. On the other hand, we got the munchies and pigged out at the doughnut shop
The hippies looked to the past for renewal in an attempt to get past the veil of over consumption….the chitter chatter of advertisers, pop culture, momentary fads, mindless sitcoms, violent movies, and a status branded mentality that reinforced planned obsolescence. To fully participate in the mainstream made you part of the problem.

We found solidarity and solitude with the Transcendentalists – Men have become tools of their tools.
Most of the luxuries and many of the so called comforts of life are not only indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.

“The hippies offered broad goals for a humane society creativity, decentralization, distrust of bureaucratic and hierarchical structures, freedom, pleasure, anti-authoritarianism, direct and honest contact among persons, and the discarding of restrictions and inhibitions.”

Most of the hippie communalists were: pioneers, experimenters, and idealistic dreamers with an eye on the future, deep roots to the past and an emphasis on the now. Community was a means of reinforcing ones belief structures.

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single, thought will not make a pathway into the mind. To make a deep physical path, we must walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kinds of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

Simplicity was the ticket to a purer heart, better human relations and maybe even enlightenment.
Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.

The way to be free was to be free, to live simply and get out of societies way. To live ones beliefs was a way to turn the world around. No need to fight the authorities…simply ignore them.

(Photo by Jack Fulton)
Tub at Pacific High

Romantic visions of a simpler life in a beautiful peaceful environment of bright stars, whispering winds, full moons, brilliant sunrises and sunsets shared with friends and family while re-connecting with mother earth were real and compelling.

So come all ye rolling minstrels
And together we will try
To rouse the spirit of the earth
And move the rolling sky
Fairport Convention

The magic was strong…the music of the spheres was loud; the creative currents flowed wildly as the winds of change swept the fires of transformation around the globe instantaneously. It was the dawn of the Age of Aquarius with its emphasis on peace, harmony, cooperation and community.
Although many communes predated Woodstock, that festival became the symbol of a new cultural reality in which the call to community was compelling.”
The sentiment expressed by the Youngblood’s popular version of the song Get Together, was real and struck a chord of universal appeal among idealistic young baby boomers.

Com on people now,
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

The hippie communal counterculture embraced a wide range of views and did not always agree with one another on the means of attaining ones personal and societal objectives but all could agree that the time for change was now.
Some universally shared ideals included a belief in the ability to re-program ones self in an attempt to move beyond ones personal and societal limitations. To keep on growing meant attempting to get beyond social class, status, hierarchy, degrees, 9 to 5 jobs, private property and possessions. The idea was to place ones self in a positive experimental environment.
Jackson Browne himself a product of the loosely knit communal music scene of LA’s Laurel Canyon put it this way in his song Before The Deluge:

Some of them were dreamers
And some of them were fools
Who were making plans and thinking of the future
With the energy of the innocent
They were gathering the tools
They would need to make their journey back to nature
And their hands reached for the golden ring
With their hearts they turned to each others hearts for refuge
In the troubled years that came before the deluge

For some the Hippie communal movement took on an Apocalyptic possibility. Timothy Miller writes; “There’s one very widespread idea that Thoreau never thought about the current conviction that civilization is going to self-destruct and that the primitive style is a means of self-preservation.”
After all America was at war at home and abroad. Revolution was in the air, in the streets, and in the countryside.
Many rural communard and back to the Landers were not attached to an ideology they just found themselves in the situation and went for it.


Jesse Colin Young would write Ridge top:

Well, I live on a ridge top
And, Lord knows, I like it just fine
Where its windy and foggy
And quiet most all of the time

Yes, the hill that I live on is steep
And the roads full of ruts
And the people who live in the flatlands
Think we folks are nuts

But the ruts in my road and the curves
Keep the tourists at bay
And its lonesome and peaceful
And you know I like it that way
(Sonny and Susan’s bus on the ridge)

by Court Tefft and Patsy Dodd

Folksinger Kate Wolf sings in Everybody’s Looking for the Same Thing

Outside a country store there’s a board on the wall that’s filled with cards of every size.What the folks are lookin for is written there to see; reading it comes as nosurprise.

Everybody’s looking for the same thing
The same thing is plain to see
Its an old Chevy ,a bass player
A country house on 3 acres
3 bedrooms absolutely free”

Unlike the majority of Intentional Communities in the Skyline area The Land Community was an open land community.It was free…a dream come true; 750 acres, of free land in the golden rolling, oak forested hills above Palo Alto, Calif.

Excerpts from,
A Fable from the Land
By the Watchbird

“Once upon a time (and a very good time it was) some land was discovered by a wandering wood folk who wanted to settle down.”
“These Elves set about building little dwellings in the woods, cabins set at odd angles and huge bubbles you could SEE CLEAR Thru.They liked to experiment with different shapes that blended in with the trees..
“We are moving toward the light” felt the Elves, as they built their dwellings, helping each other.”

1893 Palmer Cox

Some within the Land Community adhered to the philosophical precept of Latwidn or the idea that the earth is part of the commons owned by all the people and open land should be available to those who wish to use it for free

Drawing by Rip King

“At its conception the Land was inhabited by about a dozen people, who lived their peaceful existence secretly – isolationism was a natural consequence of this secrecy and for a while there were attempts made to maintain this status.As we grew, this veil of privacy gradually lifted and we began meeting, helping and sharing things with our neighbors.
Art and Caprice (The Land)

Pacific resident and Dome book I publisher Lloyd Kahn states the reality of Intentional Community in the Skyline area: “(It was) a community forming itself, created with no real plan other than the need to live together”…”An exercise in expanded awareness.”
A larger group dynamic where people enthusiastically consciously and unconsciously shared a series of overlapping values rooted in certitude and hope for a brighter future repeatedly created powerful synergistic and syncretistic experiences on a group and individual level.

“The Land always seemed like a magic kind of place.
Kim Meyers (The Land)


There were always magical elements or belief systems contained within the communal counter-culture as well as the counterculture at large.Magical experiences for example money showing up just when you needed it, were often attributed to one being in harmony with ones self and surroundings.One entry point or tried and true way to access the magic was via Taoism. The I Ching, or Book of changes provided oracular insight into Taoist universalistic principals, while the Tao Te Ching provided us with the wisdom of the ages.


Taoism is a philosophy and a religion.The philosophy permeated the counterculture much more than the religion.The Tao (the way things work)… or the way things are is composed of complimentary pairs of opposites existing together.One extreme causes another to appear.“The opposites get thier meaning from each other and find their completion only through each other.”

When man interferes with the Tao
The sky become filthy,
The earth becomes depleted
The equilibrium crumbles
Creatures become extinct
Tao Te Ching

You poisoned my sweet water
You cut down my green trees
The food you fed my children
Was the cause of their disease
What About Me by
Quicksilver Messenger Service

Haunting songs and lyrics echoing the anguished collective cry of an emergent environmental movement began appearing in the late 1960’s.

It’s natures way of telling you summer breeze
It’s natures way of telling you dying trees
It’s natures way of receiving you
It’s natures way of retrieving you
It’s natures way of telling you
Something’s wrong
Natures Way
By Spirit
Mr. Natural waters the tree of possibility

In Communes in the Counterculture Keith Melville states the obvious “Our relation to nature is more like forcible rape than intercourse between two consenting parties” Melville goes on to assert that“the assumption that many young people are making about man’s place in the natural world is one of the most radical ideas that the counterculture bears.It reverses the typically Western assumption that nature is something inanimate and external to man, something to be mastered and used.”
Many recognized that everything is connected to everything else and began sowing seeds of possibility based on this realization.Harmony with nature rather than power over nature became the ideal as the idea that we are an integral part of nature began to take root.

The giant pine tree
Grows from a tiny spout
The journey of a thousand miles
Starts beneath your feet
Tao Te Ching

On every continent there is excessive urbanization and the world is headed toward ecological disaster. Under these conditions, the young reject authority, for it is not only immoral, but functionally incompetent.They are in historical situation to which anarchism is the only possible response.
Paul Goodman

Drawing by Rip King

When a country is in harmony with the Tao,
The factories make trucks and tractors
When a country goes counter to the Tao
Warheads are stockpiled outside the cities

There is no greater illusion than fear
No greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself,
No greater misfortune than having an enemy

Whoever can see through all fear
Will always be safe
Tao Te Ching

The government is to tyrannical and
The people are too little anarchistic.
Yet there is an underground feeling of hope in me
And I feel in others
Hope and a refined romanticism
That says as knowingly and as forcefully
As Neil’s smile, “accept it all and we shall survive”
Land Calendar

For the most part the 10 best known intentional communities in the Skyline area were leaderless and anarchistic.When the Palo Alto Weekly (2,000) describes The Land Community as an “anarchical community, this is what they are talking about.


Anarchist values are most often associated with decentralization, equality, anti-authoritarianism, participatory democracy, and individual freedom.The ideal, for many in the movement, was to create a network of small self-contained, sustainable, self-governing communities, based on cooperative individualism.

“Counterculture lacks formal structure and formal leadership.In one sense it is leaderless; in another sense, it is leader-full, all of its participants constantly innovating, pushing into new territory where others may eventfully follow.”
Timothy Leary

Everyone was a participant in the decision making process.Sometimes the decision making process was frustratingly slow and cumbersome.Leadership was a shared activity.The prevailing belief, and it turned out to be fairly accurate, was that leaders would emerge spontaneously to deal with specific situations as they arose.

Living The Good Life
The Land is close to my vision that I’m balance between trying to wait for it to happen and trying to make it happen elsewhere.
I believe that community is an integral part of the Good Life.We are an extended family.
I would like to live on a piece of land within one hour of an urban energy place – All of the fair people living in mellow structures of their own design – harmoniously blended into the ecosystem – with a central structure combination multi-media, crafts, gathering place, wired for high energy trips – enough attractive money scenes that we are at least momentarily self sufficient.I think that there will be some sort of common decision making process, which presupposes a common (relatively common at least) agreement of purpose – and as much group action as is comfortable.And I’m sure this future trip is a straight line road from this here now.
Gary (from The Lands Vision Calendar)

At the heart of anarchism lies an unashamed utopianism, a belief in the natural goodness, or at least potential goodness, of humankind.From this perspective, social order arises naturally and spontaneously; it does not require the machinery of “law and order.”
“Although anarchists subscribe to a highly optimistic, if not utopian view of human potential, they are also deeply pessimistic about the corrupting influence of political authority and economic inequality.”

When rich speculators prosper
While farmers lose their land;
When government officials spend money
On weapons instead of cures;
When the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible
While the poor have nowhere to turn-
All this is robbery and chaos
It is not in keeping with the Tao.
Tao Te Ching

Frustrated with a government that resisted change, promoted violence, defended institutionalized racism, big business and sexism, hordes of young people decided to get out of the way…to drop out.
Intentional Communities were shelters from the storm, a move away from the politics of protest and proposal and a move towards or embrace of direct action on a small, personal communal and anarchistic level.
Traditional anarchist values highlight the importance of the individual within community.No man is an island.Personal liberation freedom and fulfillment with harm to none were ideals encouraged by the larger community.Community is seen as an integral part of individuality.Cooperation, it is believed, promotes egalitarian,pluralistic, empathetic bonds and social solidarity.
From an anarchistic perspective local community governance and control is emphasized over reliance on the state which always operates in the interests of the powerful, corrupt, propertied and privileged.


Anarchist’s opt. for local control, independence or autonomy adhering to Thomas Jefferson adage “that government is best which governs least, hence the infamous Land bumper stickers There’s No Government like No Government.
For the most part the anarchistic intentional community members in the Skyline Area did not embrace the extreme anarcho-captalism of the Darwinian libertarian divine marketers nor did they embrace the collectivist anarchism of some Marxist Maoist anarcho-communists.
Most of the communards were in line with traditional anarchistic critiques of society which postulate that a society that overemphasizes competition (male-yang) at the expense of cooperation (female-yin) will promote hierarchal class systems based on dominance and submission which in turn promote selfishness, aggression andthe exploitationof others.
These out of whack values in turn create a need to control via fear and class systems which result in anti-democratic states sponsored oppression and unwarranted government interference.

Those who try to control
Who use force to protect their power,
Go against the direction of the Tao.
They take from those who don’t have enough
And give to those who have far too much
Tao Te Ching

In The Making of a Counter Culture (1969) Theodore Roszak writes: “One of the most remarkable aspects of the counter culture is its cultivation of a feminine softness among its males.It is the occasion of endless satire on the part of critics, but the style is clearly a deliberate effort on the part of the young to undercut the crude and compulsive he-manliness on American political life.”

Gilbert Shelton

If powerful men and women
Could remain centered in the Tao
All things would be in harmony.
The world would become paradise
All people would be at peace
And the law would be written in their hearts
Tao Te Ching

An article on Communes from the underground newspaper Seed states “Together we’ve been working on eliminating the evils of individualism and completive hassles, petty game playing, male chauvinism/sexism.Learning to work together, learning to use our hands, minds and bodies.Men learning to cook, clean sew, women learning to split wood fix cars do carpentry.”

Non-Violent Individualists
Anarchism is a political and moral philosophy.The adoption of anarchistic values in the 60’s and 70’s was a reaction to the misuse of government power.The dehumanization of oppressed people overseas (South East Asia) and at home (women, people of color, draftees), in the interest of the state, fueled the rebellion.
“How do you become nonviolent in your life:That’s the question we were dealing with, that was our politics.It’s the ultimate question, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the only question.If you ain’t living a loving life what are you doing?
Neil Rechline (Struggle Mt.)

Despite the bad rap created by extremists, most anarchists have: been attracted to the principles of nonviolence and pacifism developed by Russian novelist Leo-Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Thoreau.

Thoreau’s anarchism which placed the “individual conscience above the demands of political obligation” and in Thoreau’s words emphasized “That government is best which governs not at all,” were principals embraced by most communards.
Unlike most of the utopians, anarchists stress freedom rather than order:Their consistent theme is an emphasis on the unhindered natural development of the individual.Man is essentially good, but has been warped by political, religious, educational, and economic institutions.The anarchist assumption is that the only .legitimate form of regulation is self regulation.External authority of any kind is illegitimate.”Personal responsibility is the key to collective success.
The anti-authoritarian, small group – participatory in action and decision making Skyline groups were not inherently opposed to ruling bodies and institutions.Bottom-up as opposed to top-down governance was the way to go.

Keeping It Together -Meetings:
A community ideal in which cooperation was good as long as freedom was maximized could be a real balancing act when it came to making decisions.Some groups operated via consensus (unanimous collective agreement) others via majority rule – be it 2/3rds or simple majority.Decision making could take lots of time.


Excerpts from The Digger Creed for meetings:

Meetings Are:

Meetings Are Not:
Putting people down
Listen At Meetingsshhhhh!

Meetings are Confrontation –
Meetings are Relaxation

Beware of Structure Freaks
Beware of Rules

Without Meetings There Is No Community
Community Is Unity

“Love, honesty, patience, tolerance, and the ability to take an incredible amount of shit and let it all pass are among the qualities required to forge a Community. It ain’t easy.”
Commune dweller

Working it out –
Sociologist Hugh Gardner investigated communes and determined that sharing, “supposedly the essence of what communes are all about,” actually tended to shorten communal life spans and that “the level of sharing typically diminished over time if the group survived.In essence, modern communards were always individualists more than communalists.”

Most of the Skyline groups did not pool their assets and income through there was some mingling of finances for large group projects.The land they lived on was commonly owned or shared.

“In some communes a few devoted workhorses would simply do far more than their share, day after day.In a few places a near miracle occurred:things just got done, without schedules or acrimony.In some communities not much got done at all.”

There is no such thing as unstructured division of labor.If a commune survives at all, the work is divided somehow.Somebody does it. An “unstructured” situation will quickly evolve into a structured one where certain people accept a role as workers and do the bulk of the work, while others do very little or avoid it entirely.This is not obvious on the face of it, it has been painfully demonstrated in commune after commune.What the structured commune does is make a decision to do its structuring deliberately.
Kit Kinkade (Twin Oaks)

Bob Dylan explored a darker side of communal living in Maggie’s Farm:

I ain’t gona work on Maggie’s farm no more
No, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
Well, I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
They sing while you slave and I just get bored
I anin’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more

Photo by Don Snyder

Observations and Realizations

Ken Kesey told Rolling Stone Magazine in 1970: “Livin’ with people is hard work; it’s just hard fuckin’ work all the time. It’s interesting there are all sorts of things to say for it, but people got to start out by saying its just hard work.”
After leaving La Honda, Kesey and the Merry Pranksters continued to live communally settling on an 80 acre farm near Eugene,Oregon. Their infamous 1964 bus trip a “communal adventure on wheels,”is now available on film. The documentary entitled Magic Trip (2011) was memorably chronicled in Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
Journey of a Magic bus

Skippin' through the lillyfields I came across an empty space
It trembled and exploded, left a bus stop in it's place
The bus came by and I got on, that's when it all began
There was cowboy neal at the wheel of the bus to never ever land.

The Grateful Dead
That's It For The Other One
Well it was Neal Cassady that started me to travelin.
All the stories that were told I believed them everyone;
And it's a windin' road I'm on, you understand
No time to worry about tomorrow
When you're followin' the sun
Doobie Brothers
Patrick Simmons

Kesey, an acclaimed author, best known for his classic, the ani-authoritarian One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, “lived together with people in a communal situation for five or six years.” “I don’t regret it; I like the whole scene,” he recalls,” it just changed.”
Kesey: I remember delegates from two large communes stopping by once at my farm and negotiating in great tones of importance the trade of one crate of cantaloupes, which the northern commune had grown, for one portable shower, which the northern commune had ripped off a junk yard. When this was over they strutted around in an effluvium of “See? We’re self-supporting.”
Bullshit. A crate of melons and a ratty shower isn’t enough summers output for sixty-some people to get off behind. It was part of a lie that the entire psychedelic community, myself more than most, was participating in.
“There was just a lie in the air. It was not about anything, it was just a lie in terms of our existence. We were all lying to each other, and saying what we were doin’ was righteous, when we didn’t really feel it.
On Kesey’s commune too many people with not enough space and lack of structure takes its toll. The laissez faire nature of it all , the lack of communication and the us and them attitude directed at the outside world and the “straight” people in town doing the best they can to get by in their own communities, begins to anger Kesey.
Despite the fact that Kesey has recently gotten out of jail for marijuana possession, cities are burning, campuses are in upheavals and some “friendly” neighbors have recently burned a cross on his lawn and shot up an out building, Kesey remains positive. “I don’t want the cities to fall apart. I don’t want civilization to fall apart. I want it to keep going. I just want it to find its place. I think that’s where everything is. I don’t want it to fall. I want it to get straight.

(Photo by Robert Altman)

On the other hand, from Kesey’s perspective, his communal experiment was falling apart: “I didn’t want to get into a position of forced management. I didn’t want to have to take over that position, to be a manager. It’s just too hard a work.” “It came down to where people that I was really close to – well, they would have worked if the fantasy had been strong enough to carry em:” I started developing this thing which I called “The Commune Lie.”
Steward Brand printed “The Commune Lie” in The Last Whole Earth Catalog. Merry Prankster and communal veteran Brand had lived at (Earth Ranch- Rancho Diablo) before moving across the street to another commune the Yin Palace, where Steward lived in an airstream trailer on the property “with a dome, log cabin and a converted barn.” Next door to the Palace was another commune in the redwoods called Medway Forest. Both communities thrived in various forms throughout the 70’s.
The Commune Lie served as a “heads up” created by some early pioneers as to the potential pitfalls of communal living. The communal movement continued to grow through the 70’s.

The Commune Lie
One reason we promote communes is that there’s no better place to make the entire wishful mistake, to get your nose rubbed in your fondest fantasies. (Sometimes a mistake works; that’s gravy, and an obligation. The CATAGLOG was a mistake that worked.) Everybody has his own version of The Commune Lie, for example:
We’ll let other people take care of us
We’ll let God take care of us.
Free lunch. (Robert Heinlein)
The Tragedy of the Commons (Garret Hardin)
We’ll all be honest.
We’ll all be selfless.
No rules.
Possessions are bad. Privacy is bad.
We’ve go the answer.

All lovely pitiful lies, and so, surely is their denial. Do you know any better, more rewarding labyrinth? And speculation won’t get you around even the first turn.
Later Kesey would half jokingly say: “I don’t want to knock communes or anything. They’re just not for me. I just don’t think much serious thinking gets done when there a lot of people around. When you live on a commune you can’t have your friends over because they’re already there.”
In the end Kesey evicted all his friends (1969). He had a dream suggesting he turn the free-form commune into a dairy farm, which he did. After asking his extended family to leave, Kesey said, “It was the heaviest thing I had ever done; I kinda reeled around from it for two or three months.”
Some of the Pranksters moved to town and came to the realization that your own place and space offered its own sort of freedom. Others in time realized that participation and integration into ones local community was important and rewarding. Prankster Ken Babs would declare “We don’t want a commune we want a community.”
Ken Kesey believed in a “Neon Renaissance.” He was a non-violent cultural warrior and explorer. He was astutely a political, unlike the settlers of the Struggle Mt. Community. Political activist andStruggleMt.co-founders Joan Baez andDavid Harriswere intent on bringing an end to the war inVietnam.
Folk singer Baez, a symbol of resistance on the national stage, had begun withholding 60% of her income tax-the portion that went to the military, as a protest against the war back in 1965. Along time pacifist with Quaker roots, Baez had marched with Martin Luther King and become a familiar voice for progressivism. Hated by conservative reactionaries like cartoonist All Capp, who branded her as Joanie phony, he of course denied it…Baez had always been able and willing to take on the powers that be.

Baez and her mentor, Ira Sandperl had founded The Institute For the Study of Non-Violence, an educational organization.David Harrishad founded The Resistance – a non-violent anti-war activist group. Baez and Harris married and moved toStruggleMountain.
An ever present fear of the military industrial complex led to a consensus in countercultural circles that vilified “in varied grades of paranoia – the military, police, politicians, all things governmental, and all agencies, institutions, or persons in any positions of authority,” prompting The New York Resistance to delcare:
“The concept of communal living is an important element in the lives of people who see themselves in the struggle for social change on a long term basis. Development of community and dealing with inter-personal relations are very important in facilitating working together. Experiments with new forms of living are crucial to the development of a vision of the new society that must be built.”
The following excerpts, from Coming Out a book co-authored by Harris and Baez sum up the sentiments at the time:
“We can build a society of sharing, instead of profits, of peace instead of militarism, and of power instead of impatience; all that is a possibility.”
(poster by Stanley Mouse)

“We are in the middle of a society that totals men’s lives in dollar and cents. It’s a capitalist society where the work of the many has always been used for the profit of a few. In that process all of our lives have been stripped of any honest or real work. Instead we have paychecks, billboards, and 97 brands of underarm deodorant. We are bought and sold every day and have next to nothing to show for it. We are in a society of slaves and slaveholders.”
“Let’s not ask Bank of America to share the wealth. Because Bank of America isn’t the wealth; the people are. They produce it and it is by rights theirs. Bank of America is the fat. And it got there by using the people. Let’s share the wealth ourselves by not being used anymore.”
“We are talking about going to the roots of society and growing new ones. Nothing else will do. That is no small job. The state we are up against is one big motherfucker.”
“If you want to make sharing a reality, one of the things you do is form farming cooperatives in the country and consumption cooperatives in the city.”

Ira Sandperl would comment on the communal scene in his book A Little Kinder (1974), a collection of letters written to a young girl:
“Hopefully these communes that are flourishing now are not escapist but a part of an authentic nonviolent alternative-a counterculture to the centralized state powers.”
“Those that seem and seemed to do the best are the ones that combine to a high degree explicit common aspiration, good will, tact, discipline, intelligence and space both in the physical and psychological sense.”
“My deepest apprehension, from what I’ve seen and from what I have read, is the swiftness with which the communards became exclusive, tribal and conformist. And all too often these characteristics, albeit unconsciously, are assumed as virtues.
I am all in favor of the experiments. They may turn out to be historically important, although they may be of a brief duration. But when we forget that we are experimenters in a changing world, rigidity sets in.”
The call to communal-collective networking earlier expressed by Harris did become reality for many in the Skyline area. The idea of maintaining and establishing community services that would provide a degree of freedom from mainstream society began to take hold. Services provided included mid-wivery, building trades, schools, re-cycling, auto-repair, gardening, etc. The goal was to build and support a better world via networking.

Mark Schneider remembers:

Back in the ‘70’s we had what we called a food conspiracy. That is, we would all buy food in bulk in order to get the best and healthiest food. Participants would fill out a checklist of what foods they wanted. In those days there were no ubiquitous farmers’ markets. We would drive North of Oyster Point once a week to the large Alemany farmer’s market on the weekends and also buy dry goods from some of the new organic/natural food businesses in San Francisco such as Oh’s Fine Foods.
David Gardner of Pacific High School was the usual trucker and he would drive and drop off at Struggle, The Land, Black Mountain, Aquarian Valley, Pacific, China Grade, Earth Ranch and others.
We called this food conspiracy Sangha, a Sanskrit word meaning association or community. There were over a thousand people involved. I remember standing-room only assemblies in places like Pacific’s largest dome where we debated such things as the merits of fertilized eggs over non-fertilized.
Today all that’s left of that grand world are the dozen or so of us at Struggle Mountain; and we don’t even eat together very often.

Bulldozers, building inspectors, public health officials, corrupt politicians, land speculators, earth upheavals and an aggressive Mid Peninsula Regional Open Space District responding to the needs of a growing population in the valley below brought an end to many of the communal experiments before they could fully unfold – a story we will tell later.

Back to the Land Musicby Court Tefftand Patsy Dodd


Quotes – Back to the Land

Everybody’s going to the country
Everybody’s trying to get some air.
Linda Ronstadt

Politically, country music represented the right wing – redneck people who liked guns.
Roger McGuinn

We hide ourselves in our music to reveal ourselves
Jim Morrison

The best way to get to knowing any bunch of people is to go and listen to their music
Woody Guthrie

The hippies took the all American loner singing cowboy and turned him into the stoner cowboy running with the wind, searching for a rainbow. The doper desperado wheeler dealer smuggler drivin that train high on cocaine would add another dimension to the American folk lexicon.
As the sun set on psychedelia the Frye booted, turquoise jeweled, Quaalude popping L.A hippie cowboy up for another tequila sunrise sound, reached its apex with the Eagles in the mid 1970’s. Today it is known worldwide as the California sound.
Rock Historian Albert Goldman would write at the end of the1960’s “Having assumed a role of cultural authority, rock has not, as was feared, dragged us into the mire of cultural regression.” “Unlike other popular arts, rock has not been forced to spin it’s substance out of itself. Instead, it has acted like a magnet, drawing into its field a host of heterogeneous materials that has fallen quickly into patterns. No other cultural force in modern times has possessed its power of synthesis.”
In the midst of the psychedelic revolution the psychedelic cowboys emerged adding depth and breath to the folk rock pioneers repertoires. The new sounds embraced folk, rock, r&b, country, bluegrass, fuzz and psychedelia.
Gram Parsons sometimes referred to as the godfather of the new sound, would replace David Crosby in the Byrds. Chris Hillman and Parsons are credited as the driving force behind the Byrds groundbreaking album with a country flavor Sweetheart of the Rodeo.


Next Hillmans and Parsons would breakaway from the Byrds to form the Flying Burrito Brothers the most influential of the early rock bands to immerse themselves in the Bakersfieldsound of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Bakersfield, known as Nashvillewest, had been musically transformed by the Oakies traveling west during the dust bowl and Great Depression. Later Gram Parsons and Emy Lou Harris would team up as the Fallen Angels.
The emergence of country flavored rock in the late 60’s and early 70’s was spearheaded by artists like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan recording albums in Nashville. Folkies Ian and Sylvia formed the country sounding Great Speckled Bird (1969 partnering with David Briggs and Ben Keith who would later become sidemen for Neil Young.
Richard Furay formed Poco picking up the pieces of a shattered Buffalo Springfield. Neil Young went solo sometimes much like his on and off life time musical partners and Buffalo alumni Steven Stills. Another offshoot of Buffalo Springfield, Loggins and Messina, would dominate the airwaves throughout the 1970’s.

The best known representatives of the emergent new country blend were the Eagles. At the time all of these bands were known as “hippie bands.”
The Band…formerly known as the Hawks and famously known as Bob Dylan’s bar like sounding backup band as he transitioned from a more traditional Nashville sound to a more primitive and organic country sound; was considered by many musicians to be the highlight of a new musical brew that brought instruments like the mandolin, accordion and fiddle into the rock and roll mix. As rock continued to loose its roll, in the 60’s and 70’s The Band continued to rock and roll.
The Band lyrically enhanced and simultaneously expanded upon a vision of rural Americana while musically embracing the sounds of New Orleans ragtime, country, gospel and the blues. The Bands early off kilter harmonies and drummer Levon Helms southern accented lead vocals helped them create a unique sound all their own.
The Bands lead guitarist Robbie Robertson says Bob Dylan “had a terrific influence on us having the ability to combine The Impressions and The Stanley Brothers into the same flavor.” “Before that we would have been, “That’s like hillbilly shit.”
Commenting on the sudden emergence of country rock The Byrds Roger McQuinn says “I think it was a direct result of psychedelia, the sort of chaotic…the noisiness of it. People wanted to return – this is, I believe, subconscious – but they wanted to return to simplicity that country music presented, with basically three chord songs and melodies and stories,” a sentiment shared by the audience as well.
Country rocks many facets fit well with the back to the land countercultural explosion which honored and exemplified a do it yourself, of the people, lets get and jam traditional musical roots revival. Rather than watching television and zoning out young folks across the nation were making music and getting stoned on weed.

All right with me
Homegrown is the way it should be

Homegrown by Neil Young

The album cover art amplified and reflected the homegrown ethos and countercultural fascination, affiliation and identification with cowboy culture.

Former Butterfield Blues man Elvin Bishop played the country blues and did a great cover of Hank Williams Hey Good Lookin’ on his popular Let It Flow album. Long time session artist Leon Russel released a series of popular albums in the 1970’s, one of which – Hank- payed tribute to Hank Williams. JJ Cales guitar and distinctly smooth jazzey country shuffle would capture the imaginations of Dire Straits and Eric Clapton. Clapton’s big hit Cocaine was written by Cale.
The emergent new mix combined honkey tonk, bluegrass, r&b and rock and roll with a touch of gospel and soul. The Flying Burrito Brothers pioneered the mix. Burrito Brother and former Byrd Gram Parsons called the new brew Cosmic American Music. The Doobie Brothers rolled with it – rocked out – brought in a touch of jazz and by the mid 70’s the San Jose, Santa Cruz mountains rockers dominated the charts.

The baby boomers were the first generation to have grown up with television. The gee wiz swell world of the unrealistic family sit com and the vaudevillian like variety show took a back seat to the western…all 128 of them.


From the frontiers men ethos of Davy Crocket to the overly violent Riflemen; westerns like the Lone Ranger, Annie Oakley and Maverick fueled the American mythical frame of the ruggedly independent, always optimistic, self-sustaining, salt of the earth cowboy who put family and community first. Sometimes they even played the guitar and sang cowboy songs from another era… Like Happy Trails.
The early psychedelic cowboys evolved in harmony with the solo singer-songwriters of Laurel and Topanga Canyons in Los Angeles. The very diverse crowd included artists like Jackson Browne, Neil Young and James Taylor. Included in the circle were up and coming female stars like Joni Mitchel, Carol King and Emy Lou Harris. Early on Linda Rondstadt was known as the Queen of the country sound. The Eagles backed her sometimes. The singer-songwriters with an acoustic feel and country flavor were criticized for being “self absorbed” or confessional. The new persona of the laid back detached hippie country folksinger from L.A. didn’t sit will in some political circles. Vietnam just got worse with Nixon.

Sitting in a park in Paris France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won’t give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had

California by Joni Mitchel (1971)

For many opting out seemed to be an essential, sensible, idealistic and sane approach to an empire in decline. The dream was not over but as the war needlessly dragged on more and more people headed for the hills. Music reflected and fueled the countercultural exodus from the mainstream.

If you go down to the gas powered flatland
Where most of the people think
That they’re free
Remember the peace that you had
On the mountain
Come back to the love that you had here with me

Last Lonely Eagle by John (Marmaduke) Dawson
New Riders of the Purple Sage

The Byrds captured the feeling at the time with Bob Dylan’s You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Down in the easy Chair!)

Clouds so swift
Rain won’t lift
Gate won’t close
Railings froze
Get your mind off wintertime
You ain’t goin’ nowhere

Buzzed not Blitzed and on the road was an all to common reality. Truckin had a real appeal for a hip-counterculture – on the road – settlin for a bit and movin on

Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me weed, whites and wine
And you show me a sign
And I’ll be willin’ to be movin’
Willin by Lowel George

Lowel George – cofounder of Little Feat (1970) after allegedly being thrown out of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention for writing Willin – Zappa was ani-drug. Linda Rondstadt made it famous.
Psychedelic cowboy bands like The New Riders of the Purple Sage, an off shoot of the Grateful Dead, are credited with expanding the lyrical content and musical boundaries of country music.


Jerry Garcia co-founded the group and played pedal steel on the bands first album – NRPS. The album is part of a musical trilogy that includes the Grateful Deads; Working Mans Dead and American Beauty. These albums helped lay the foundation, raise the bar and push open the door for the mass acceptance of the long haired country boy outlaw rock of Waylon, Willie and the boys.

While Jerry Jeff Walker was pissing in the wind and singing about Mr. Bojangles, Charlie Daniels was taking a defiant lifestyle stance in Long Haired Country Boy when he sang: people say I’m no good and crazy as a loon cause I get stoned in the mornin and get drunk in the afternoon
And I ain’t askin nobody for nothing
If I can’t get it on my own
If you don’t like the way I’m livin’
You just leave this long haired country boy alone.

Merle Haggard fired the musical shot heard round the world in Oakie from Muscokie when he slammed war-resistin pot smoking hippies. The hippies fired back with parodies like Hippy from Olema (Youngbloods), Asshole from El Paso ( Kinky Friedman) And Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother (New Riders) which highlighted the friction between rednecks and hippies over the war in Vietnam. Free form FM rock radio played them all.
Even the Beach Boys, minus Brian Wilson would embrace a healing hippie back to the land environmental ethos. English bands like the Kinks sang about Muswell Hillbillies while the Rolling Stones scraped “Shit off their shoes” and sang about Honky Tonk women with Far Away Eyes. John Lennon put on a cowboy shirt and sang Crippled Inside and continued to play with Ringo on country flavored hits like You Know It Don’t Come Easy.
Woody Guthrie’s son Arlo (Alice’s Rest.) became more country than rock.


Musical activist Country Joe, minus the Fish, musically paid tribute to Woody and lyrically helped save the whales along with Crosby Stills and Nash at the same time he lampooned violent radicals and holly rollers. Kinky Friedman released his album They Ain’t Makin Jews like Jesus Anymore. Later he would hideout Abbie Hoffman on hisTexasranch when Hoffman went underground after a cocaine bust.
Friedman would sing:

And dear Abbie
Abbie I just had to write
Dear Abbie
Abbie, where are you tonight

Dan Hicks, formerly of the Charltans, the eclectic psychedelic pioneering band that launched the San Francisco ballroom scene, got together with his Hot Licks and did a country swing old timey jazzy thing filled with humorous ironic, iconic lyrics. Commander (Hot Rod Lincoln) Cody another San Francisco favorite, applied his hippie humor to create a country flavored r&b, rockabilly boogie woogie blues blend. Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen lyrically and thematically pushed the boundaries of contemporary music when they sang about “truckin and fuckin” or “I’m down to seeds and stems again too.”


For the first time in 40 years marijuana was openly celebrated and sung about on the radio. Peter Tosh had a hit with Legalize It. The New Riders country flavored Panama Red became a classic along with one hit wonders like Brewer & Shipley’s One Toke Over the Line and Rainy Daze’s, Acapulco Gold.
Jerry Garcia and David Grissman helped bring bluegrass into the rock limelight by playing with legendary fiddler Vassar Clements on Old & In The Way.


Joan Baez and The Byrds jammed with banjo master Earl Scrugs at the same time the Dillards, a bluegrass band started playing rock.
Credence Clearwater, the east bay garage band turned psychedelic had always cultivated a swampy southern r&b country blues sound. Throughout the 1970’s the gambling rambling man hippie jam bands with a jazzy feel like Marshal Tucker and the Allman Brothers would dominate the airwaves.
Greg Allman in particular is credited with “codifying a new “Southern myth.” “The south Greg was mythologizing wasn’t the clichéd ante-bellum vision of reactionary’s intent on keeping alive slave consciousness through Jim Crow policies.” “The New South,” prided itself on progressive values imbued with an appreciation of its rich musical heritage and of the eternal rebirth embodied in nature’s ability to renew itself.”
The Allman Brothers and other Capricorn artists are credited with raising the money that put Jimmy Carter’s campaign on the national scene. The Allman’s (Carters favorite rock band) in an unusual move were invited to the White House, prompting the Stones to sing – tongue and cheek:

Well now we’re respected in society
We don’t worry about the things that we use to be
We’re talking heroin with the president

By the late 1970’s the drug scene had changed its emphasis from enhancing awareness to killing it. Excess began to reign supreme. The man credited with fusion of R& B and country; Elvis…The king of Rock and Roll; who had famously been invited to the Nixon White House to denounce drugs and stand tall for the days that use to be, had od’d.
The Eagle’s Don Henley sums it up nicely. “We turned from a society that was concerned with our brothers and our fellow men into a society that was very self-centered, self concerned, about money and power.”

Go on Take The Money & Run
Go On Take The Money & Run
By Steve Miller

By the end of the decade (70’s) the nouveau cowboy sounds, habits and styles would morph into the mainstream cultural phenomena of the well dressed urban cowboy. As the boomers and back to the Land folks began to focus on raising children and relationships.

People smile and tell me I’m the lucky one
And we’ve only just begun
Think I’m gonna have a son
He will be like she and me, as free as a dove
Conceived in love
Sun is gonna shine above
And even though we ain’t got money
I’m so in love with you honey

Danny’s Song
Loggins and Messina

Dale Evans and singing cowboy Roy Rogers

Blinded By the Fright
Communes and Print Media

By Court Tefft and Patsy Dodd


Kerouac opened a million coffee bars and sold a million pairs of Levis to
both sexes.Woodstock rises from his pages.
William S. Burroughs

We are stardust, we are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves back
To the garden
Woodstock by Joni Mitchell

Blow up your TV throw away your paper’
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus on your own
Spanish Pipedream by John Prine

By 1967, when the media zeroed in on Haight Ashbury, the experience of gritty city realism once so desirable among bohemians, counter culturists and some college students had become a dead end.The Summer of Love was over before it began.Slumlords, hustlers, runaways, druggies, overpopulation, racial tension, poverty and pollution even in a beautiful city like San Francisco had become overwhelmingly oppressive.The early hippie settlers began to move away.

I’m gonna leave the city
Got to get away
I’m gonna leave the city
Got to get away
Going up Country by Canned Heat

R. Crumb

While “underground papers like the East Village Other and the San Francisco Oracle were publishing back to the land manifestos and reports from the rural front about organic farming, solar energy and the healing virtues of open land,” mainstream media was slamming the movement.By reporting on style rather than substance or attaching non-existent motivations and pre-conceived notions to sets of behavior, straight media with its exaggerations and transparent lies unknowingly romanticized that which it sought to vilify.Colorful outlaw hippie villains may have terrified the “silent majority” and sold lots of newspapers and magazines, but they also intrigued and attracted many of the young to the emergent counter culture.
At the dawn of the culture wars the alternative media fired back by playing on the straight medias irrational fears via parody.The problem was not everyone got the joke.

Because something is happeining here
But you don’t know what it is
Do You. Mister Jones
Ballad of a thin Man by Bob Dylan

Underground Media

Jerrold Schatzberg 1968

The emergent underground media encouraged the young to become active politically and culturally:
S.F. Oracle 67

“There are enough people involved in the scene and enough dissatisfaction with life in America to build parallel, exemplary demi-societies of our own.Everyone should be prepared for our government s flirtation with disaster.Backpacks, sleeping bags, rifles, and knowledge of edible plants and animals found in the wilderness is the next logical step.”

Self proclaimed Digger turned infamous Yippie would write in Steal this Book (1971)
Steal this Book.jpg

“In the city or in the country, communes can be a cheap and enjoyable way of living.” He gives some pointers on creating and maintaining a commune. People of similar interests and political philosophies should live together.” One speed freak can wreck almost any group.” Ground rules for inviting non-members should be worked out before the first time it happens, as this is a common cause of friction.” Abbie emphasizes that “meetings will occasionally be necessary to divide up the responsibilities and work out the unique problems of a communal family.”
“Communes have continually been targets of attack by the more Neanderthal elements of the surrounding community. Remember, not only do you have the right to self-defense, but it is your duty to our new Nation to erase the “Easy-Rider-take any shit “image which invites attack. Let them know you are willing to defend your way of living and your chances of survival will increase.”

Mass Media


The following excerpts are some seriously funny scholarly attempts to on the one hand understand; while on the other hand condemn the counterculture.The time line begins with Time Magazine (1967) and ends with some more recent social histories on hippie communes. (1990, 2008)

“There are hippies of every stripe:city and suburban hippies, who can do their thing only in urban environments, beach hippies and mountain hippies, Indian hippies and neo-Polynesian hippies, desert hippies, and river hippies, musical and political and light and sound hippies, all doing their thing as they see it to be done, some alone and some in “tribes” of like-minded thing-doers”.

“ Whatever their meaning and wherever they may be headed, the hippies have emerged on the U.S. scene in about 18 months as a wholly new subculture, a bizarre permutation of the middle-class American ethos from which it evolved.Hippies preach altruism and mysticism, honesty, joy and nonviolence.”

“Difficult as it is to take precise bearings on hippies, a few salient features stand out.They are predominantly white, middleclass, educated youths, ranging in age from 17 to 25 (though some as old as 50 can be spotted)”

“A major new development in the hippie world is the “rural commune”, some 30 of which now exist from Canada through the US to Mexico.There, nature loving hippie tribesmen can escape the commercialization of the city and attempt to build a society outside of society.”

It is important to note how often journalists, scholars and media whores love to portray “hippies” as lazy mindless victims or followers of diabolical charismatic leaders with a lust for power.Morningstar and Lou Gotlieb were the antithesis of that portrayal.
“An hours drive north of San Francisco, in apple growing country near Sebastopol along the Russian River, some 30 to 50 country hippies live on a 31 acre ranch called Morning Star.The ranch is owned by Lou Gotlieb, 43, former arranger, composer and bassist for the folk-singing group The Limeliters, who has hippie followers hard at work – rarest of all hippie trips – growing vegetables for the San Francisco Diggers.

“That hippies can actually work becomes evident on a tour of the communes vegetable gardens.The new found trip of work and responsibility reflected in the Morning Star experiment is perhaps the most hopeful development in the hippie philosophy to date.Other hippie tribes are becoming aware of the work trip as well.”
“The hippie philosophy borrows heavily from Henry David Thoreau, particularly in the West Coast rural communes, where denizens try to live the Waldensque good life on the bare essentials – a diet of turnips and brown rice, fish and bean curd – thus refuting the consumerism of “complicating wants” essential to the U.S. economy.”

Struggle Mountain and the main stream media

Social historian Barbara Goldsmith wrote an article for The New York Times entitled Life on Struggle Mountain (6/21/87).
“In 1968 Ms. Baez began what would turn out to be a short marriage to the political activist David Harris, whom she had met when they were both arrested for supporting draft resisters. There followed a life on the appropriately namedStruggle Mountainin the Los Altos Hills ofCalifornia, where Ms. Baez gave up her career and tried to convert herself from Queenie into “Wife.” Her recollections of baking bread, serving herbal tea and living among the sprout eaters, children of the dawn of Aquarius, squatters, resisters, and other loyal friends provides a vivid picture of the flower-child life of the 60’s. In the summer of 1969 Mr. Harris was arrested for refusing Army induction and a pregnant Joan Baez began touring the country to protest the war. Her zenith was reached that August when the big-bellied barefoot folk-singing queen performed atWoodstockbefore her minions in the mud.”
Another historian insists that communes give people “an excuse to be lazy and self indulgent.” The one she visited was a place “where people live out their days playing music, drinking, hiking, having sex and talking about their ideals.” Her conclusion, the counterculture “indulges ones own desire rather than changing society for the better”. Over time, the words may change but they are based on the same old prejudices that insist communalists are hedonistic, permissive, lazy, idealistic, socialist dreamers.
Those who have been indoctrinated to fear and distrust anything associated with words like communal, have a tendency to proclaim failure. After all they argue wasn’t it their intention to created a utopian activist alternative to capitalism.
At the heart of the communal experience was “the desire to throw in ones lot with others and put the obligation of friendship at the center rather than the margins of social life” according to communal historian Jeff Lustig who also cites shared purpose and mutual service as reasons for living communally.

Former Digger and Communalist Peter Coyote
“It’s always bothered me that the 60’s have been perniciously redefined. People blame every contemporary social ill on the 60’s as if it were nothing but a collection of indulgent, voraciously greedy, lazy, inept morons trying to take the easiest road. And they blame the 60’s for a kind of permissiveness that has permitted society since.”
Those critics never castigate the permissiveness advanced to capitalism that allows it to grow without limits, eat nations, subsume cultures, oppress people, and create vastly uneven distribution of wealth and access to lifesaving necessities – food, utilities, and water.”

Hippie Women in the mass media:

“As for hippie women, they to, have plenty to do.Their communal duties were dictated with the rigidity of an Amish sect.they included “sewing, cooking, cleaning, or child tending”…but also freely voicing their views and mystical visions. “
“Hippie chicks were also supposed to have lots of babies (the natural way, of course) and to nurse them freely in public showing how uninhibited they were.In the communal world of extended families, to be a hippie chick was to be not only barefoot and pregnant but bare breasted, too.”

“ Hippie girls’ lounge in the Buffalo grass, sewing colorful dresses or studying Navajo sand paintings, clad in nothing but beads, bells and feather headdresses.(Not everyone is a nudist-only when they feel like it.) “ Time informs us” they find an almost childish fascination in beads, blossoms and bells." "The hippie fasination with beads, bright colors and flashing lights had a lot to do with their earnest attemptsto become simpleminded."

“Country paradise, hippie style, was like a vision of Indian life from some old Hollywood movie, in which long-haired tribesman in buckskin fringe sit around their tepees smoking pipes, beating tom-toms, speaking in portentous homilies, while the s squaws (bare-breasted-, natch) tend the babies and make dinner in elegantly primitive huts.” “ A girl just becomes so…so womanly when she’s doing something like baking her own bread in a wood stove,” a Taos communard observes.

Rainbow Gathering 1977
Paul Dembski

The “language of fashion” created and inspired by the counterculture and readily adopted by the youth ofAmericaand ultimately the culture at large, speaks volumes about the mind-set of the times. Though punctuated and accented with numerous dialects, at the root of it all is a predominantly held belief in The Freedom of Expression.
This freedom had to be fought for and ultimately manifests as an anti-fashion fashion statement at a point where politics and fashion overlap to form a powerful anti-status coalition. The rejection of labels as a symbol of success, class or status were at the heart of the bottom up fashion upheaval that turned the designer inspired trickle down – what’s in vogue, gotta have it mind set on it’s ears.
When you have to wear clothes.jpg

As silly as it seems women couldn’t wear pants to work, students couldn’t wear blue jeans to class – though white, light blue, bleached, green, black or jean like cords were okay and by the way good luck getting a job with long hair!

Mikal Gilmore writes: “By 1967 hair length often reached to a man’s shoulders or longer. This progression incurred both public hostility and sometimes violence. Men’s long hair was no small break with twentieth-century style- to some it heralded a suspicious feminization, and to many others it was an emblem of radical beliefs and practices that were seen as affronts to longstanding values. That is, long hair – along with more ornate and flowing types of clothing among young males and females alike –was seen as a deliberate flouting of more uniform postwar standards, as a breach in accepted public manners, as a disavowal of American values. (This is partly what the film Easy Rider was about. People could risk their lives over these differences.”

Almost cut my hair
It happened just the other day
It’s getting kinda long
I coulda said it was in my way
But I didn’t and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly
Yes I feel like I owe it to someone

Almost Cut My Hair
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


Long hair was more than style it was an expression of solidarity with oppressed blacks and other people of color. Aside from the anti-militaristic screw you posture that long hair represented it also represented personal liberation and a move away from the synthetic, plastic, manufactured and contrived styles of the dominant culture.
The human body became an object of beauty to be celebrated, honored and enjoyed regardless of age gender or body type. Digger Peter Berg recalls: We saw the act of taking off your clothes as being social. It said something. It said, “You can walk around naked.” And walking around naked was good because it was expansive. It heightened individual experience. See, what’s social about it, is that society, from our point of view, was essentially repressive. Society wanted you to work, society wanted you to pay, society wanted you to be good, wanted you to repress other people. So, if you weren’t going to be doing those thinks, didn’t you represent an alternative society? That was our point of view. An alternative society is active—it's not- “go sit on the mountain and take your clothes off.” Limited means, simplicity, ease and comfort with an emphasis on creativity led to a lot of embroidered shirts and patched jeans as young men and women learned to sew.
patched jeans.jpg
(Neil Young's pants)

Holly jeans and the light blue work shirts favored by construction workers and prisoners along with vibram soled hiking boots, bib overalls, and flannel shirts were as practical as they were defiant. Army surplus, thrift stores and small boutiques took their toll on Macy’s et. all who tried to get hip by selling shit that nobody would wear.
Colorful.  Rebellious.jpg

Mainstream media took swipes at the back to the land – surely they must be leftists – hippies “playing poor.” Peter Coyote explains the countercultural mind set at the time:
“There’s a difference between being poor and being broke. We were all broke. But none of us were poor. None of us had been spiritually broken to feel that we couldn’t invent our way into whatever reality we wanted.” “Just taking care of yourself seemed like to diminish a perspective.”
Haight Historian Charles Perry explains the origins of thrift store sheik which spilled over into the communal scene:
“In a setting of Victorian moldings and scrollwork, in cheap rooms with stained-glass doors and window seats, a hip aesthetic developed around the art-nouveau not –quite antiques that were going cheap at secondhand stories. There were pads in the Haight entirely decorated in Victoriana, with gaslights instead of electric bulbs; the style carried over into the voluntary simplicity movement.

Dan Hicks captures the feeling with his song My Old Timey Baby:
She plays her old victrola
The lamp is low, kerosene you know
We lie upon her bed,
The patchwork quilt beneath her head,
Or while her wheel is spinning,
She sews some lace or we embrace
Or when we go out strolling the world can plainly see,
That’s my old timey baby, is swell enough, she’s young enough,
She’s hip enough for me…

Psychedelia did have a role to play in the fashion scene at the time – though most folks weren’t that flash – except perhaps on special occasions. The tie dye of today is much better than back in the day.
The emergence of ethnic clothing and clothing with a theatrical bent from the Renaissance flavored to Edwardian seemed to blend nicely with peasant blouses, granny dresses, fringe and suede. Necklaces and Jewelry for men, piercing small tattoos of butterflies and such began to take hold. All in all it was a colorful time.
FormerS.F.Stateprofessor, and author and co-founder of The Farm, a large commune inTennesseethat still exists, had this to say: “Some people still think of hippies in terms of appearance.

photo by Robert Altman1968.jpg
photo by Robert Altman

(photo by Robert Altman)

When I talk about hippies, I am not talking about long hair but about ideals. “Being a hippie is about what you carry in your heart. I love hippie ideals, and there are fine people all over the place who still have the ideals. People say that we are passé, but I don’t buy that. We were a cultural realization, and cultural realizations don’t become passé.. Anybody who’s paying attention knows that the big cultural bubble our movement put up in the sixties is a continuing presence around the world.”

Diet and main stream media:
“If there was one quality shared by hippie food it was darkness.”The authors go on to imply that hippies revere and honor that which emerges from the dark shadows of mother earth including dark skinned people and mysterious foods.
Another historian with a PHD notes that the movie Easy Rider “depicts the commune-dwellers as starving, looking for dead animals on the side of the road and sowing seeds in barren, sandy soil.”
She also notes that; “country hippies weren’t so self-sufficient after all. Members of the infamous Dome building commune Drop City used Food Stamps and begged for stale wonder bread at the local supermarket.”In reality; hippies wondered why they called it bread since all the nutritional l value was sucked out of it to fortify other cheese whizzy chemical flavorized scientific wonders of the world.

Sell, Sell, Sell:

While mainstream media slashed and burned the counterculture with articles on the self destructive and excessive nature of some within the movement, corporate America, hip capitalists, and some not so hip capitalists took advantage of a perceived marketing bonanza..

“Hippies were so the rage that J.C. Penney enrolled its merchandising executives in a two-day crash course titled “Sell It Like it Is “.Each participant received a Day-Glo paper bag containing a kaleidoscope, a poster of a nude girl with flowers in her hair, incense, underground newspapers, and a stash to hold grass.It was hoped that exposing the executives to these items of hippie culture would help them come up with ideas to overcome the store’s square image.”

They are trying to rip off our culture. They are smoking our dope, wearing our clothes, talking like us. They are selling us our culture. They are trying to take the revolutionary sting out of our culture by making it a style. They refuse to admit the truth: that our culture is an affirmation of life, and the negation of the Death Culture.

Jerry Rubin

Paris Belt.jpg
It’s hard not to appreciate the ironic nature of capitalism;
While early hippie purists bemoaned the death of the counterculture and its watering down to such a degree as to be dead on arrival for consumers of mainstream hippiness, the bohemian values at the root of the movement spread like wildfire.
Today so many hippie practices, products and values, are so commonplace or make such common sense that they are considered mainstream.Organic food, yoga, meditation, alternative medicine and sustainability are some examples.

The Summer of Love and The Woodstock Nation brands still sell products and spark the imagination of those outside of the “Pepsi Generation.”From its music and ideas to its clothing and jewelry the counter culture never died despite all the mainstream media obituaries dating back to 1967.It’s hard to kill a good idea especially when it’s been a marketing bonanza for over 40 years.

Mushroom Clouds
By Court Tefft and Patsy Dodd


We have arrived at the point…where there is just no real alternative to peace.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

It is no longer a question of two nations, or groups of nations, devastating each other, vut of all the future generations of all nations, who will forever pay, through disease, malformation, and mental disability, for our folly
Joseph Rotblatla’t , English physicist

Radioactive poisoning of the atmosphere and hence annihilation of any life on earth has brought within the range of technical possibilities…In the end, there beckons more and more clearly general annihilation.
Albert Einstein

2008 is the 50th anniversary of the Peace symbol. Originally designed in 1958 by a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in Britain, the Peace Symbol is recognized today around the world.
The Symbol is known as a semaphore designed from a naval code or flag signaling system. The symbol consists of the letters D+N upside down inside a circle. The circle is said to represent the womb of unborn generations The N + D stand for Nuclear Disarmament. To be upside down is the universal signal of distress
The symbol distresses some far right and fundamentalist groups who falsely claim it’s a communist sign with satanic associations. To them the symbol is an ancient witches or crows foot. (The first (1958) sketches are on display in Britain.
The peace symbol quickly made its way to America where it was used by non-violent activists in civil rights demonstrations throughout the south. In the mid-60’s the anti-war movement began to use it..
As members of the “60’s generation” we grew up in nuclear families in an atomic age. We listened for air raids sirens, ducked and covered. We had air raid drills. We marched out of class single file. We lined up with our heads facing the walls, away from windows with our hands clasped behind our heads for what seemed like an eternity; 10 or 12 minutes of physical pain and discomfort. We were waiting for the “bomb” to fall. In my case it would be on New York City.
By the 5th or 6th grade we knew it was all bullshit…we knew we would be dead. So what was the point? Was it mere ritual…indoctrination…promotion of psychological security? Or just an attempt to offer us a ray of hope within the dark mushroom clouded skies of a nuclear storm?
We were raised and provided for by veterans of World Wars I and II. We were protected by atomic submarines. We went on field trips to missile sites, and built bomb shelters. Cars had fins like rocket ships, drove like tanks and had Telstar playing on the radio.

Science would be our saving grace. We had atoms for peace and atoms for war. We tested above ground and underground. We had radioactivity and DDT in our milk. Nuclear reactors would generate the electrical power of the future. The scientists never mentioned a down side…fission was coming. The govt. told us “Atomic energy can make mankind live more abundantly. We need only work 4 hrs. a day. The rest of the day we can spend time living”. The future was bright.
With the emergence of democracy and global war in the 20th century it had become increasingly important to manage public opinion and manufacture consent. Propaganda is the tool and glue that binds us to insanely absurdist Kafkaesque political, ideological, religious or economic positions. Often aimed at triggering primordial survivalist tendencies in the name of a higher cause the big lies are amplified, perpetuated and repeated in simplistic black and white, right and wrong, us versus them easy to remember ways.
The friendly experts are called in to reassure and arm us with the facts in a straight forward no nonsense way. The funny and often scariest part is they often confidently believe in the information being disseminated despite all the evidence to the contrary.
One such movement historians universally look back on with awe, wonder and a smile is that you can survive an atomic attack genre that the 60’s generation grew up with.
The following excerpts from You Can Survive Atomic Attack are points to ponder and life saving tips that despite the absurdist presentation may prove useful as potential terrorists and the nations of the world defensively and offensively embark on another nuclear arms race.

It has been 5 years since the dawn of atomic energy opened up August, 1945, over Hiroshima. It was a great day. Japanese imperialism was that much nearer to defeat.
Are we helpless against atomic doom? The scientific facts are: you needn’t die! This book contains the key. It is based on the authoritative suggestions of the men of Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Bikini and other experts in Britain.

You can escape the Four Horsemen of the Atomic Apocalypse: Panic, Disease, Exposure and Starvation.
Shelter behind almost any object, even behind a tree can help you avoid direct exposure to the atomic ball of fire.
Take your glasses off during an atomic attack. Don’t wear tight clothing. Don’t wear dark colors. White or light colors reflect thermal radiations, change before the bomb drops
Your greatest danger is if an “A bomb strikes without warning.

Our cities need not crumble – the scientists say

Upon bursting, it will cause:
1.Tremendous blast or air-shock
2.Dangerous radioactivity to break loose
3.Searing bolt of heat flash
4.Widespread fire and falling debris

The government recommends the following procedures to combat the radioactive aftermath of an “A-Bomb burst.
Don’t move. Don’t be a grandstander. Wait until the all-clear signal is sounded.
Remember that radioactivity is deceptive. It’s unseen and tricky, report right away for and examination.
At no time, after you hear the all-clear should you wander about the city.
The all clear signal is not based upon somebody’s guess work. It’s guided by a sensitive instrument which measures radioactivity. The instrument is known popularly as the Geiger counter.
Wash quickly with soap and water. Scrub underneath the nails, inside your eyes. Wash more carefully than you ever have in your life.
The Atomic Energy Commission recommends removal of the danger of radioactivity by:
a. mere change of clothes
  1. burning of clothing
  2. burial of clothing

Watch out for water contamination. If in doubt, wait for the official word from the official monitoring service that will offer an authoritative clinical analysis of the radioactive content of the water.
Avoid all unprotected foodstuffs. Restaurants and cafeterias will have to forego serving of meals being cooked in their kitchens at the time of the blast no matter how expensive the wastage.
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, packed in air-tight wax wrappings, for example, if unopened, would be safe.
When your home is declared mildly decontaminated by authorities it can be saved for future use. It could then be repainted, redecorated, or varnished according to circumstances and personal taste.
Don’t forget to de-contaminate your lawn. Such protection can be achieved by covering the tip soil with the untouched underneath soil
We are informed that, “Housing can follow current events. Some of the most beautiful, turreted castles that bewitch the eye, for example, were not designed solely for esthetic reasons. Rather, they were built for defense, for repelling middle-age marauders and knightly land-grabbers
Later we are warned…Your home insurance policy has an “atomic bomb” clause which protects the insurance firm from liability.
We are assured that “radiation sickness is not a “new fangled disease” Medical circles have long been familiar with the fact that many employees working in huge industrial laboratories, working with powerful X Ray equipment have often gotten ill by over-exposure to radiation:
You have to work fast to combat the “A” bombs radiations
A series of blood transfusions should be given as required]
Some symptoms:
Tendency to spontaneous bleeding
Feeling of discomfort or unease
Loss of hair
We are warned:…”don’t panic…know what to Expect! #1 on the list is complete chaos.
Remember to be realistic…you will see torn bodies and hulks of buildings you once visited. But try not to be hysterical. Panic will not help you.
Automobiles, busses, and cabs are not atom bomb proof


So in conclusion: supposed you are armed with your credit cards, have gotten gas, loaded up the SUV with the kids, kool-aid and duct tape and have made reservations at a distant motel; be forewarned…do not watch the bombs red glare. It can lead to blindness. You may turn into a pillar of salt.
On the way out of town beware of fire storms, hot gasses and Fallout. Fall out consists of radioactive water droplets created when “A” bomb explodes above ground. In case you live in a drought stricken area, “Experts say that the atom bomb though it induces a fall out, could not be used as a rainmaker.
Is it any wonder Bob Dylan wrote: (1963)
Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

By the time President (General) Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his final address to the nation America had shifted focus from plowshares to swords. Eisenhower had become increasingly concerned about the governments “immense military establishment and large arms industry” which had become a self-generating perpetual motion machine.

His visionary speech contained an ominous warning to future generations. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
By 1960 the military received 49.7% of the budget. J.F.K> immediately increased it. “By 1962, based on a series of invented scares about Soviet military build-ups, a false “bomber gap” and a false “missile gap”, the United States had overwhelming nuclear superiority. It had the equivalent, in nuclear weapons of 1,500 Hiroshima- sized atomic bombs, far more than enough to destroy every major city in the world-the equivalent, in fact of 10 tons of TNT for everyman, women and child on earth.”
By 1970 the military industrial complex was global, corporate localized, institutionalized and immense. “Giant industrial corporations, whose main reason for existence was to fulfill government military contracts”, had budgets larger than many a nation state. Today the United States government spends twice that of the nations of the world combined on defense related matters.
Today after eight years of Republican rule in a no checks and balances format we have become a debtor nation in a service sector economy. Large corporations like Exxon are subsidized with your tax dollars while the propaganda machine carries on about “free markets” and prosperity for all. One thing the communists were right about “the capitalists will sell you the rope to hang them with.”


Today Eisenhower would not be at home with Republican Party intent on drowning and privatizing all government infrastructure, even when it means we the people go into hock to accomplish this. His warning; “We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss of their political and spiritual heritage” would be ignored. His rational “We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow” must be headed.

The only use for an atom bomb is to keep somebody else from using his. It can afford only the doubtful satisfaction of retaliation. Nuclear weapons offer us nothing but a balance of terror
George Wald
Nobel Laureate 1969

“When the button is pushed there’s no running away/There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave
Barry McGuire
Eve of Destruction

.Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die
Pauls epistle to Corinthians


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Dark Shadows

By Court Tefft and Patsy Dodd

We are fighting in Korea so we won’t have to fight in Wichita
Harry Truman

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety
Benjamin Franklin

Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against dangers, real or pretended, from abroad.
James Madison

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or a affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment IV
U.S. Constitution

We live in a multi layered mythical reality that generates the rules of life by which we live and the higher ideals to which we aspire. This is true for individuals as well as nation states.
Prior to WWII mainstream American ideals were more in line with our founding fathers belief in an independent, self sustaining, freedom loving, reasonably isolationist, beacon of expanding and experimental democracy.
After WWII Americans had to be convinced that the new Empire and her component parts were worth and paying for. Access to raw materials, markets and profits required a large standing military, something most Americans, for nearly 200 years, had inherently and instinctually opposed.
It became “necessary, in the famous words of the late Senator Arthur Vandenburg, “to scare the hell out of the American people” in order to ensure acceptance of a permanent war economy, peacetime conscription, and an institutionalized nuclear threat. Anti-communism provided the all encompassing ideology needed to cloak American imperialism in the language of freedom and democracy” and to maintain order at home. A new myth was born.
Prior to WWII the American political spectrum was much broader than it is now. FDR had “saved” America and capitalism from the left while rescuing her from the right. His regulatory interventionist economic policies along with a strong working class unionist movement helped create a large and prosperous middle class with a political voice and power. For the third time in American history, we had a middle class. Previously the middle class had been beaten back, eroded or robbed out of existence by laize-faire, corrupt economic royalists or social Darwinists with an elitist sense of entitlement unable and unwilling to respond to unforeseen global economic circumstances climate change and environmental degradation.
FDR was perceived as a traitor to his class, not at all unlike his distant cousin and wife Eleanor’s Uncle Teddy Roosevelt. FDR and Teddy spelled trouble for big business. A pro-business fascist coup attempt in 1933 supported and funded by board members, bankers and Captains of Industry with links to General Motors, Standard Oil, Chase, Goodyear and US Steel and allegedly funded by the Mellon, DuPont, and Morgan families failed when General Smedley Butler became a “whistle blower”. Butler had been enlisted to amass a 500,000 strong army to seize the government and put it back on the “right” track. The govt. investigated and did what they do best – covered their own asses.
The coup attempt ultimately led to the creation of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1938. HUAC would later spark the student movements of the 1960’s. HUAC was created to investigate disloyalty and subversive organization on the left and right.
HUACS mission was to get a grip on how subversive propaganda entered the US and was distributed. In time it would be used as a club to bludgeon to death and intimidate the last vestiges of a labor movement that contained communists, socialists and anarchists.
Eventually HUAC would zero in on Universities, Hollywood and the music industry. There was to be no propaganda by screenwriters, musicians, authors, professors or unionists that might tend to romanticize, organize or popularize leftist utopian visions. Vague information, guilt by associations and hearsay were used to accuse and indict.
In 1947 President Truman issued Executive Order No. 9835, which established an intricate Federal Employees Loyalty and Security Program. J. Edgar Hoover wanted the power to remove those who were politically suspect. All federal employees were subject to loyalty investigations. Disloyalty was never clearly defined. The accused were not permitted to know what the charges were or who was making them. Meanwhile the Attorney General and the Justice Dept. went to work monitoring vaguely defined or suspect subversive organizations relying on files from the House Un American Activities Committee.
By 1951 over 3 million govt. employees had been investigated, 212 would be dismissed and several thousand would resign. Former President Truman would be quoted in the N.Y. Times (1951) “This malicious propaganda has gone so far that on the Fourth of July, over in Madison Wisconsin, people were afraid to say they believed in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. One hundred and eleven of these people refused to sign that paper many of them because they were afraid that it was some kind of subversive document and that they would lose their jobs or be called communists.”
By the early 1950’s American Democracy was at a crossroads. We were at war in Korea. States passed laws against freedom of speech; communists were banned from voting or running for office. “Subversive words” could get you the death penalty in Tennessee or life in prison in Michigan. Though the Communist party was not illegal on the federal level, it may as well have been.
By the time the HUAC Committee “invited” folksinger Pete Seager to testify (1955), Hollywood had been purged of leftists. Charlie Chaplin had moved to Europe. Dalton TrumboJohnny_got_hisr_gun.jpg and 320 others were placed on the infamous blacklist. The Hollywood 10 had been sentenced to prison for refusing to testify or invoking the 5th amendment. Hundreds lost their jobs, changed their names and went underground. You were now guilty until proven innocent…justice had been turned on its head.

Pete Seager took a novel approach to the inquisitors citing the first Amendment to the Constitution (freedom of speech, assembly and press), to ward off the assault. Seager was questioned about the songs he sang…did they refer to leftist historical events, were they satirical jabs at the Constitution or Bill of Rights?
The Hammer Song, first sung by the Weavers in 1949 and considered by many to be “dangerously political”, had been written by folksingers Lee Hays and Pete Seager. The song was a reaction to right wing extremism and in part a reference to the Foley Square trial in a Manhattan Federal Court of communist leaders.

Well I’ve got a hammer
And I’ve got a bell
And I’ve got a song to sing
All over this land,
It’s the hammer of justice
It’s the bell of freedom
It’s the song about love between my brother sand my sisters
All over this land

Not all folk singers called before The House Un American Activities Committee were political but they were forced to choose which side they were on or lose their livelihood and go to jail. The wounds in the Folk community took years to heal and some never did.
Seager would testify before the Committee “I love my country very much. I have sung for pacifists, and I have sung for soldiers.” When the committee wanted to know if he had sung for communist front organizations Seager replied:
“I am not going to answer any questions as to my associations, my philosophical or religious beliefs, or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this. I would be very glad to tell you my life if you wanted to hear of it.”
The 50’s generation was being indoctrinated and groomed to shut up and show up. Known as the silent generation they would later morph into the Silent Majority of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew. The message was clear…fit in! It’s all good.
Later Folk singer Tom Paxton would sing tongue and cheek
What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?
I learned that Washington never told a lie
I learned that soldiers seldom die,
I learned that everybody’s free
I learned our government must be strong
It’s always right and never wrong
Our leaders are the finest men
And so we elect them again and again
And that’s what I learned in school today

While politicians like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Joseph McCarthy were building carriers defending America against the Red Menace, blacklisted, sentenced to jail and later acquitted folk singer Seager continued to sing while out on appeal. He even had a minor hit with Malvina Reynolds Little Boxes:
And they all play on the golf course
And drink their Martini dry
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the University,
And they all get put in boxes
And they all come out the same

Pete Seager kept folk music alive and more than anyone else is credited with spawning the urban folk revival of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The hitchhiking politically aware folksingers of the early 60’s drew inspiration from the “Proletarian Folk Music Renaissance” that had occurred between 1939 and 1942.
Urban folk revivalists like Bob Dylan, Ramblin Jack Ellitot and others became known as “Woody’s Children”. Like author John Steinbeck’s Tom Joad, Folksinger Woody Guthrie had become a powerful symbol for working mans right and wages. Riding the rails Woody was known for “spreadin” the news of the day. This machine kills fascists was etched on his guitar.
Woody was a social activist, countercultural, on the road trouble maker with leftist leanings. As an anti-ideological individualist…singing and writing songs for the folks, he described himself as a “folklore collector.”
Best known for This Land is Your Land, Woody sang and wrote songs about social justice and political pride as well as a lot of children songs. His son Arlo carries on the tradition, often singing with Pete Seager.
“Pete Seager acquired a love of American folk music while traveling through the South in the 1930’s with his father a musicologist and classical composer and as an employee in the Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song”. Later he would drop out of Harvard and do some traveling with Woody.
Traditional or roots music was preserved and archived by men like Alan Lomax, Harry Smith and other musicologists who went to the “backwoods and deltas” to document and record a whole host of folk music,, at taxpayers expense. The music of “the folk” included work songs, cowboy songs, kid songs, spirituals, the blues and bluegrass.
Traditional American roots music had been frowned upon, scorned and ignored by an educated ruling elite who perceived it as representative of the ignorant, often illiterate and unsophisticated lower classes.
Folk music had been a localized, back porch, oral story telling tradition passed down and modified from generation to generation. With its working class roots, union songs, and tales of the underdog at the mercy of uncaring and inhumane bosses; the “people’s music” would become a threat, in some peoples minds, to the established order. Used as a tool for the advancement of progressive causes like civil, workers and women’s rights, folk music kept incidents in American history alive that in the eyes of some were best forgotten.
picture by R. Crumb

By the end of the 1950’s when the urban folk revival took hold. Congress had investigated comic books, rock and roll, censored movies, banned books, and put the House Un American Activities Committee on the road as a congressional sideshow intended to expose communists. When the circus showed up in San Francisco to hold hearings at city Hall the students were ready.
Mark Efron a student at Berkeley recalls that “A lot of students are really pissed off. These are liberals, not commies or com-symps or subversives. It’s all pre-arranged. Invitations are sent to special people to attend the hearing, to the members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion, and the National Rifle Association, whatever. He describes them as “more American than thou. If there ever was a fascist bunch, they’re all there.

I was lookin high and low for them Reds everywhere
I was lookin in the sink and underneath the chair
I looked way up my chimney hole
I even looked deep down inside my toilet bowl
They got away…
Talkin John Birch Paranoid Blues
Bob Dylan

For a growing number of students, something was a miss…it was in the air…people were whispering…finding their voices again, a new day was dawning. The climate of fear, repression, conformity, order at all costs authoritarianism had taken its toll on the psyches of a folk-singing, comic book reading, rock and roll hip swiveling new generation.
In 1959 Truman refers to HAUC ‘as the most un-American thing in the country today”. The largest student organization on campuses throughout America was YAF, Young Americans for Freedom. Barry Goldwater thought they were to liberal though they were sponsored by John Wayne, Strom Thurmond, and Ronald Reagan.
“In general, anti-Communism mobilized the American populace against a shared enemy and upheld the primacy of the status quo over anything deemed “radical” It was one side of a two-sided phenomenon, and the dialectic was built-up as an unbreachable fortress. With issues framed in extremely dichotomized terms of Communist or anti-communist, black or white, radical or patriot, the dialectic tried to force allegiance to one side or the other”.

Well, I was feelin sad and feelin blue
I didn’t know what in the world I wus gonna do
Them Communists they wus comin around
They wus in the air
They wus on the ground
They wouldn’t gimmie no peace…
Bob Dylan

So It came as a bit of a surprise when students in mass from Berkeley, Stanford and other local colleges showed up to attend the HUAC hearings in San Francisco. The seating was supposed to be open to the general public, but in wasn’t. After several days of waiting for seats the students are asked to leave. They refuse. “Then the cops come in with clubs and fire hoses and washed the people down the stairs, into the street. All of a sudden the issue changed from the House Un-American Activities Committee to police brutality.” In an effort to defend its un-American activities and newly tarnished image of engaging in excessive force, HUAC adopts an offensive posture. HUAC subpoenas local news casts and produces a distorted propaganda piece known as Operation Abolition.
A very serious old and stern chairman of HUAC pronounces that the student demonstrators illustrate “a long time classic communist tactic in which a relatively few well trained hard core communist agents are able to incite and use non-communist sympathizers to perform the dirty work of the communist party.”

Well, I wus sittin home alone an started to sweat
Figured they wus in my T.V. set
Peeked behind the picture frame
Got a shock from my feet, hittin right up in the brain
Them Reds caused it!
I know they did…them hard-core ones.
Bob Dylan
The film is quickly exposed by the non-profit American Civil Liberties Union (ACLO) for what it is…a revisionist history of the days events ,fueled by out of context implications and guilt by non-existent associations. The film is a classic piece of historical engineering hyped by the media and aimed at an under informed audience in “Peoria.”
The movie is shown widely around the country in 1960 and 1961. Not only does it inflame and unite students nationwide but it becomes a magnet attracting students to Berkeley and the Bay area.

Later in the decade Peter Paul and Mary would express their outrage with HUAC in their song The King of Names

There’s a King on a Throne taking names
There’s a king on a Throne and he’s taking names
There’s a priest in Flames
And the courts gone insane
And the Kings sittin their taking names
Peter Paul and Mary

The University of Ca. at Berkeley had a long history of working with local law enforcement, Army Intelligence and the FBI to gather and share information on politically suspect students, faculty and administrators.
In the eyes of the Regents it was important to protect the students from being “infected” by radical notions. The best way to do this was to provide a communist-free environment. Controversial speakers were not allowed on campus
As un-American as it seems in the top down Father knows Best reality of the early 60’s paternalism, gender, class and racial hierarchical divisions were institutionalized, reflecting the social mores of the time. Students were knowledge reciprocals being molded into products for sale to the top bidders in a booming labor market.
For many students the depersonalization factor combined with a student is to be seen and not heard mentality was a festering source of deep frustration. On campus, even 25 year old grad students were not citizens, but students without the protection of The Bill of Rights.
Berkeley is a public institution, the crown jewel of the state system. In 1960 its 30,000 students were the best and the brightest from around the nation. The teaching staff was jam packed with Nobel laureates. The joke on campus was the students at Berkeley were being groomed to run the industrial machinery that the Boys at Yale and Harvard would one day own.
The political and cultural environment at Berkeley has deep roots in the progressive activist tradition that had given Americans a 5 day week, 8 hour days and other amenities like vacation benefits that in 1960 the American worker could take for granted.
Ed Sanders poet and member of the Fugs describes an earlier Berkeley community scene this way: “The Berkeley/San Francisco area was a big lure to artists, writers and filmmakers after WWII. The GI Bill provided more or less a free education for those who had been in the service, and there was a great supply of what young artists wanted at the time: a strong radical and union movement, experimental music and film, a moderate climate and extra time outside the rat race.”
Mainstream media had no place for countercultural voices, so the poets and artists of the day took advantage of the latest developments in technology. The “mimeo revolution as it was called or the emergence of the mimeograph machine and other printing advances, allowed poets and artists to sidestep the mainstream publishers by printing and distributing their own work.
The Berkeley renaissance of Poets (1947) would merge with an anarchist pacifist poetry scene in San Francisco that would incorporate the Beat poets and come to be known as the San Francisco Renaissance of Poets (1957). The poets would culturally push the limits of free speech, politics and consciousness.
In 1957 Lawrence Felenghetti the owner of City Lights Bookstore, would be arrested and later found not guilty of publishing and selling the so called obscene writings of poet Allen Ginsberg. The primary reason given by the San Francisco Police Dept. for the arrest was “you wouldn’t want your children to come across it”. The arrest and trial had strong political and cultural overtones.


In America Ginsberg would write:
I haven’t read the newspaper for months,
Everyday somebody goes on trial for murder.
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid
I’m not sorry
I smoke marijuana every chance I get
The subject of the trial was Howl and Other poems written by Ginsberg that the judge ruled were not written with lewd intent and were not without “redeeming social importance.”
In America Ginsberg asks?
Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I read it every week
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candy store
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie producers are serious.
Everybody’s serious but me
It occurs to me that I am America
I’m talking to myself again

Lawrence Ferlenghetti would later write that “Howl became the catalyst in a paradigm shift in American poetry and consciousness.
Since the early 1800’s American Censorship Laws have been shaped by an extremeist minority of fearful religious zealots fixated on sexual and political content in literature and elsewhere. Censorship Law is tricky and often reflects the “values” of the local community. Here is a partial list of authors repeatedly banned in America; Voltaire, Rousseau, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Hemingway, Twain, Wilde, Whitman, Faulkner, Steinbeck, etc. , the list goes on and on.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Poter Stewart had this to say: “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. Long ago, those who wrote our First amendment charted a different course. They believed a society can be truly strong only when it is truly free. In the realm of expression, they put their faith, for better or worse, in the enlightend choice of the people, free from the interference of a policeman’s intrusive thumb or a judge’s heavy hand. So it is that the Constitution protects course expressions as well as refined and vulgarity no less than elegance. A book worthless to me may convey something of value to my neighbor. In the free society to which our Constitution has committed us, it is for each to choose for himself.”


The San Francisco Bay Area has always been on the front lines of the Free Speech and Freedom of Expression Movements in America. Haight Asbury in the lat 60’s and Silicon Valley in the 90’s are later day examples.
Abie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin were drawn to the Bay Area in the early 1960’s. In the latter part of the decade they were repeatedly called before HUAC. IN Oct. 1968 HUAC convened to find the “missing links” between international communism and the anti-war movement.
For years the CIA, FBI, Army Intelligence had been searching for the links. Johnson knew they were there, Nixon knew they were there but they never could find them.
Jerry Rubin “I was first subpoenaed to HUAC in 1966. HUAC was the instrument (meant) to smash the antiwar movement, but everybody wanted to get a subpoena. It’s just totally the opposite of the way it was in the fifties. HUAC became a mean to our end.”
“So when I got a subpoena I started to ask myself what I should do. So I went to a Berkeley costume store and got myself a Revolutionary war uniform. It threw HUAC off balance and I was arrested.
In 1968 many prominent New Left leaders were called before HUAC including Tom Hayden, Dave Dellinger and Rene Davis. This time Jerry Rubin showed up dressed as a bare chested beret wearing world revolutionary carrying an M16 plastic toy rifle which he pointed at committee members. He also handed out copies of The Declaration of Independence.
Jerry Rubin’s girlfriend, Abie Hoffman’s wife and another woman showed up dressed as broom carrying witches. They swept the floors of the hearing room, moaned and burned incense. They also taunted the committee with Nazi salutes. Granted permission to use the bathroom, Abie Hoffman left the room; got to the hall and yelled “Bullshit” at the top of his lungs.
The next day Hoffman’s wife painted a Viet Cong flag on his back. Hoffman showed up at the hearings wearing an American Flag shirt. Before he could make it inside two pissed off policemen ripped the shirt of his back and arrested him for “defacing and defiling “ the flag. Hoffman faced a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. At his sentencing Abie said “I regret that I have but one shirt to give for my country”…he got 30 days.
A few months later Rubin was again called by HUAC. This time he showed up dressed as Santa Claus…”the only true communist…he wears red and gives everything away for free. “By this time (1968), the times weren’t a changing…they’d changed.

Dawn of A New Day

By Court Tefft and Patsy Dodd

The employers will love this generation. They aren’t going to press many grievances. They are going to be easy to handle. There aren’t going to be any riots.
Clark Kerr - President of University of Ca.

There’s never been a good Republican folk singer
Joan Baez

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
Upton Sinclair

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power
Benito Mussolini

There will be no witch hunts at Yale – because there will be no witches
Yale President

Freedom Speech, freedom of thought, freedom of action for men in public life can be compromised quite as effectively by the fear of surveillance as by the fact surveillance.
US Senate Investigation


Students For A Democratic Society (SDS) began in 1959. The Port Huron Statement (1962) their “agenda for a generation” is worth revisiting. Participatory grassroots democracy was their vehicle for change. Propelled by local activism, the organization mobilized thousands of students who en masse removed the roadblocks of injustice placed on the road to freedom and liberty in America by the powers that be.
The emergence of the New Left in the early 1960’s was a ground swell against a politics as usual order that was big on talk and slow to act. Large pockets of impoverished people were locked out of the American dream, living in third world conditions, unable to vote, get an education or find a good job. These folks were symbols of a system in need of radical reform.

The 41 page Port Huron Statement in many respects captures the idealistic hopes and visions of a generation. Contained within the chapter are some highlights from the Port Huron Statement, as well as some commentary on the dawn of the infamous Free Speech Movement (Berkeley) and the parallel emergence of the Folk Music Revivalist Movement.
The “sixties generation” is a composite of the war babies born during WWII and the baby boomers born after WWII. The baby boom in America occurred between 1946-1964. Some say the first wave of activists were born in the late 30’s others say the early 40’s. In any event the first wave attended college in the early 1960’s. They were the point of a spear that would poke and prod the established order in the battle for civil, student and human rights.
The sixties generation is also defined as anyone who turned 18 between 1960 and 1972, in which case the oldest were born in 1942 and the youngest in 1954. They had an enormous and often revolutionary impact on American culture and polities without ever seizing national political power.
Raised in an era of economic prosperity where ideas and principals could come before career, they stood in stark contrast to their parents’ generation who grew up in the midst of a great depression brought on by the failure of an unregulated banking and capitalist system.
Today after nearly thirty years of right wing rule the phrase “sixties generation” in political circles is derogatory code for liberal with leftist leanings. In an Orwellian World where trickle down economics has replaced bottom up economics, the left wing mainstream media is really the right wing mainstream media and Bill Clinton is seen as a Democrat… the real left is an endangered species.
Originally SDS was the youth wing of the League For Industrial Democracy (LID an offshoot of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society. Established in 1905 by Upton Sinclair, Clarence Darrow and Jack London; LID became heavily involved with the CIA in the 1950’s to combat communism. SDS believed the new left should include liberals and socialists. They believed “medical care must become recognized as a lifetime human right just as vital as food, shelter and clothing”…the Federal government should guarantee health insurance as a basic social service:, with an emphasis on preventative medicine. SDS proclaimed as democrats we are in basic opposition to the communist system.”
“A new left must start controversy across the land, if national policies and national apathy are to be reversed.

The new left emerged “amidst the confusion generated by the collapse of the theory and expectations that guided leftist thought for a century”. The brutality of Stalinism in the Soviet Union had taken its toll. The “so called” dictatorship of the proletariat was firmly entrenched, as a murderous totalitarian regime. A “New Man” had not emerged from the new economic model on the world scene. In the eyes of many the socialist experiment had failed. One party authoritarian rule had subverted the democratic ideals and human potential once believed to be inherent in Marxist philosophy. A workers paradise had not materialized.
What had emerged were assaults on private property and western business interests. An iron curtain enveloped Europe. The surrealistic imagery of brainwashed god-less autonamated Chinese ants on the march in Korea and bearded beret wearing revolutionaries in army fatigues, armed with missiles leading peasant uprisings in Latin America, fueled anti-communist fever in America.

SDS observed “The conventional moral terms of the age, the politician moralities…”free world”, “peoples democracies”…reflect realities poorly, if at all, and seem to function more as ruling myths than as descriptive principals.”

“Theoretic chaos has replaced the idealistic thinking of old…and unable to reconstitute theoretic order, men have condemned idealism itself. Doubt has replaced hopefulness…and men act out of defeatism that is labeled realistic.

“We regard men as infinitely precious and possessed of unfulfilled capacities for reason, freedom, and love. In affirming these principles we are aware of countering perhaps the dominant conceptions of man in the twentieth century: that he is a thing to be manipulated, and that he is inherently incapable of directing his own affairs.”

Noted historian, author and former SDS member Todd Gitlin…”in so far as there was an organizational (and spiritual and intellectual) center of the new left, SDS was it, from 1960 through its dissolution into warring Leninist factions in 1969.
Tom Hayden helped draft the Port Huron Statement and in retrospect (2004) had this to say “There were at least two sixties, the utopian period from 1960-1964 when all things seemed possible, and the bloody denouement between the beginning of Vietnam and the fall of Richard Nixon, a period in which America descended into civil war.”

Port Huron observed:
“From 1960-1962, “the campuses experienced a revival of idealism”. “Triggered by the impact of the sit-ins, students began to struggle for integration civil liberties, student rights, peace and against the fast rising right wing “revolt”, as well.


The American political system is not the democratic model of which its glorifiers speak. In actuality it frustrates democracy by confusing the individual citizen, paralyzing policy discussion and consolidating the irresponsible power of military and business interest s.

“The search for truly democratic alternatives to the present, and a commitment to social experimentation with them, is a worthy and fulfilling human enterprise, one which moves us, and we hope, others today.”
Former Struggle Mt. resident and pioneer, author and historian Stewart Burns commenting on the Port Huron Statement in his book Social Movements of the 1960’s states, “it provides a script that would be acted out by thousands, then hundreds of thousands with more or less coherence, until SDS would ultimately toss it into a dustbin.
Stewart explains:
“The Port Huron Statement was a moral critique of American society – especially of racism, militarism, and citizen apathy – a compelling vision of a regenerated society, and a sketch of a strategy for moving forward. It exalted the aspiration for individual empowerment, for community and for personal wholeness and authenticity; urged the translation of private troubles into legitimate political concerns; and exposed the invisible connections in the entangling web of issues that plagued the nation and the world. The heart of its message was the call for a new kind of democracy.”

Tom Hayden elaborates:
“What we, the activists, were about was the resurrection of the decentralized democracy or the direct democracy or the town meeting democracy – there was a kind of element in America of history from the bottom up.”
Former NPR reporter, author and Berkeley student at the dawn of the Free Speech Movement Margot Adler notes that “In the early 1960’s most political scientists believed that American democracy worked only because most Americans were apathetic. Most Americans, we were told; “did not care and did not participate in political activities, they placed their dreams and hopes in the private sector instead. The authors argued that this apathy toward the political prevented extremes and promoted stability.
P.H. Statement:
Attention is being paid to social status (the quality of shirt collars, meeting people, getting wives or husbands, making solid contacts for later on, much too, is paid to academic status (grades, honors, the med school rat race).” But neglected generally is real intellectual status, the personal cultivation of the mind.


Apathy towards apathy gets a privately-constructed universe, a place of systematic study schedules, two nights each week for beer, a girl or two, and early marriage, a
Frame-work infused with personality, warmth, and under control, no matter how unsatisfying otherwise.

Apathy is not simply an attitude; it is a product of social institutions, and of the structure and organization of higher education itself.

That which is studied, the social reality, is objectified to sterility, dividing the student from life.

All of this leads to “the rise of a democracy without publics” where “the vital democratic connection between community and leadership”, has been so wrenched and perverted that disastrous policies go unchallenged time and again.”

As a social system we seek the establishment of a democracy of individual participation, governed by two central arms: that the individual share in those social decisions determining the quality and direction of his life; that society be organized to encourage independence in men and provide the media for their common participation.
“Whereas prevailing liberal assumptions pitted individual against community, this view recognized community as providing support for individuality and indeed providing the context for developing real, effective individuality.”
This kind of independence does not mean egoistic individualism. The object is not to have one’s way so much as it is to have a way that is one’s own. Nor do we deify man. We merely have faith in his potential.
Men have unrealized potential for self cultivation, self-direction, self-understanding, and creativity. It is this potential that we regard as critical and to which we appeal, not to the human potentiality for violence, unreason and submission to authority.

“The core of the movement was a reconstruction of human relationships so that they would not be built on power and domination and exploration but that they would be based on respect and mutual recognition.”
Jane Adams SDS

“The feeling of the movement was human solidarity against the grain of American society’s hyper-individuality”
Mario Savio FSM
Looking back (1995) Mario Savio the most eloquent spokesperson for FSM had this to say:
“Spiritually speaking (our consciousness formed largely) in relation to the 1950’s…”we were reacting to a pretend world.” The fifties are bizarre, but they were the last normal decade, (when) everything was still just in place the way it ought to be.”

It must be noted that in the fifties God was in Heaven, men were men, women were women, negro’s were colored. We had meat and potatoes for dinner, family farms and one worker with one job per family.


As students rents were available and affordable Savio contends “One could afford to be above the material world, and a lot of people at that time really were, and I think fortunately.”
“What is the agenda? The simple version is its anti hierarchy. Anti hierarchy in gender, anti hierarchy in class, anti hierarchy in the empire” “That is the agenda that we began the creation of, and that is today’s agenda , according to Savio.
Free Speach leader and activist Michael Rossman, and others emphasize a spiritual awaking or shift in world view that the new left channeled and sparked. “Mario was an avatar embodying a transcendental signature and force. In so far as the spirits of Democracy and Liberty flowed through us, he was their brightest condoit. Michael Rossman could not imagine events without him.

“I think we were inhabited by spirits larger than ourselves, somewhere between ancestral and primordial in nature. We had no cultural vision with which to recognize them as such, no language to speak of being the vehicles of what flowed through us. All we could say of “the spirit of Democracy” was that this was a metaphor.”
Michael Rossman FSM

It was a spiritual awakening, as if a sprit inhabited our generation and enabled us to do the things that a previous generation should have done or could have done.. There was this feeling that in doing this you were creating some kind of bonds that would last. And that you were actually launching or giving birth to something that would have a lot of energy. People went away changed. It was an organization formed around a spirit or a feeling; it wasn’t an organization in the bureaucratic sense.”
Tom Hayden SDS

SDS identified problems, offered solutions, presented possibilities, took grass roots action and advocated civil disobedience. Participatory Democracy was a call to action. In the eyes of the New Left managerial Liberalism was failing.
The musical spirit of the day was being captured by another former Struggle Mountain resident, Joan Baez. Joan’s first two albums of traditional folksongs stayed on the charts for two years.
The folk revivalist movement was commercially spearheaded by the Kingston Trio formed in Palo Alto in 1957. Palo Alto High School graduate Joan Baez and her guitar would be headliners at the first Newport Folk Festival in 1959. Bob Dylan would soon be by her side.
In 1962 Joan graced the cover of Time Magazine looking oh so hippie in a pre-hippie era. Commenting on her distinctive good looks; “she wears no makeup and her long black hair hangs like a drapery, parted around her long almond face”, Time also informed us;” she usually wears a sweater and skirt or a simple dress. Occasionally she affects something semi-Oriental that seems to have been hand-sewn out of burlap.”


Waxing poetic Time went on to describe Joan’s voice as “clear as air in the autumn, a vibrant strong, untrained and thrilling soprano. In case that wasn’t enough, they went on to describe her voice as “haunted to plaintive”. A voice that evokes “distant reminders of black women wailing in the night, of detached madrigal singers performing calmly at court of saddened gypsies trying to charm death into leaving their Spanish caves”.
Time contends that “as a cultural fad folk singing appeals to genuine intellectuals, fake intellectuals, sing-it-yourself types, and rootless root seekers who discern in folk songs the fine basic values of American life.”
Time informs us that “folk-song albums are all over the best seller charts. In case you were wondering; “The focus of interest is among the young. On campuses where guitars and banjos were once symptoms of hopeless maladjustment, country twanging has acquired new status.”
In the early 1960’s a new sort of tribal generational relationship between the young artists and the audience was beginning to emerge. The staged slickness and separation traditionally associated emphasized and marketed by managers and promoters between the performers and the audience began to dissipate. Rock was in a bit of a decline-folk was a good alternative-filling up concert halls Hootenannies, jam sessions, poetry readings, and coffee houses gave birth to, nourished and spread an emergent subset of political and social beliefs, attitudes and ideas.
In the words of poet Kenneth Rexworth “What started in San Francisco and spread from there across the world was public poetry, the return of tribal, preliterate relationship between poet and audience.” Meaningful, contemporary, poetic lyrics began to displace the traditional and standard folk anthems of the past.
Folk singer song writer Buffie St. Marie commenting on the emergence of a “new songwriting consciousness: in the early 1960’s says “Our early 60’s generation had the great benefit of a network of coffeehouses which attracted students. My songs-because of the special window of student powered coffeehouse communication could be about anything and still have an audience.”

Loosely knit folk communities began to spring up around the country in and around University towns. A whole host of female folk singers would emerge. Maria Muldaur, Carolyn Hester, Mary Travers, Judy Collins and Judy Hinske would all get a bump from Joan Baez’s new found fame.
Joan was the talk of the coffee houses and record industry when her first record came out and became a best seller without a lot of advertising promotion or touring.
In Chronicles Vol. I Bob Dylan had this to say. “There was no one like her; the queen of the folksingers. The Vanguard record was no phony baloney. It was almost frightening – an impeccable repertoire of songs, all hard-core traditional. She seemed very mature, seductive, intense, and magical, nothing she did didn’t work. That she was the same age as me almost made me feel useless. However illogical it might have seemed something told me that she was my counterpart – that she was the one that my voice could find perfect harmony with. At the time there was nothing but distance and worlds and big divides between her and me. I was still stuck in the boondocks. Yet some strange feeling told me that we would inevitably meet up.”
The power of the emergent folk community was such that every weekend in places like Greenwich Villages Washington Square Park all sorts of young people would gather to jam, talk, hang-out and listen to folk music. Bob Dylan would later sing “there was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air.”
Abbie Hoffman would say in 1983, “I’m a revolutionary because I want to see justice for all: I want to see drastic change in the balance of power and the balance of wealth. Reactionaries essentially want peace before justice – peace at any cost.”
Abbie Hoffman a graduate student in clinical psychology (1959-60) at Cal. Berkeley had this to say on the emergence of the student movement:
“I think that the 60’s as far as the students went was a fluke. The history of American student life is not one of revolutionary fever, it’s one of nice little rich white ladies and gentlemen getting “C+ “ educations to go out and become C+ consumers. It’s not a process of challenging the power structure, but of channeling people to fit into it.
“We were taught to believe that we are lonely, isolated individuals. We have no concept of community – it’s really a lousy word in our language. We’re not taught community, were taught, “What’s in it for me, man? I’m number one, you know.” So what goes a long with that is isolation and loneliness.”
The Port Huron Statement addressed the sense of isolation Abbie was referring to:
“Feeling the press of complexity upon the emptiness of life, people are fearful of the thought that at any moment things might thrust out of control. They fear change itself since change might smash whatever invisible framework seems to hold back chaos for them now.”
The Port Huron Statement also addresses the state of educational and cultural values:
“the cumbersome academic bureaucracy” contributes “to the sense of outer complexity and inner powerlessness” that at its worst “transforms so many students from honest searching to ratification of convention” or to a numbness of present and future catastrophes.”
“The actual intellectual effect of the college experience is hardly distinguishable from that of any other communications channel – say, a television set – passing on the stock truths of the day. Students leave college somewhat more “tolerant” than when they arrived, but basically unchallenged in their values and political orientations.
In the early 1970’s John Lennon would echo this sentiment and continue to push the boundaries of Freedom of Speech when he sang Working Class Hero:

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.
They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool
Till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules

Ph Statement:
The university “prepares” the student for “citizenship” through perpetual rehearsals and usually, through emasculation of what creative spirit there is in the individual.
In the early 60’s Lennon had been swayed and inspired by Dylan to write more lyrically meaningful songs.
On May 17 1963 Bob Dylan would perform at the Monterey folk Festival. The west coast audience unfamiliar with his style talked through his set. Joan came out and ordered the audience to listen to the singer who had something to say. He was singing about important issues, and he was speaking for her and for everyone who wanted a better world.” Together they sang With God on Our Side.
David Hajdu writes in Positively 4th St.
Their voices were off together, a mismatch – salt pork and meringue, but the tension between their styles made their presence together all the more compelling.
After their performance, Bob spent a few days with Joan at her home in Carmel, She asked him to go on tour with her. Bob agreed.
Joan would later say “We didn’t need to make love…the music seemed like enough at the time.” When I heard those songs, I melted. They were mana from heaven to me, and he was so shy and fragile. I wanted to mother him and he seemed to want it and need it . He seemed so helpless. I was falling in love.”
Dylan and Baez shared a love for social justice and a sense of outrage with racial politics and discrimination in America. Dylan; “There was a violent, angry emotion running through me then. I just played the guitar and harmonica and sang those songs and that was it.” “When I’m singing my songs, it never occurs to me that I wrote them. I’d find a song like ‘Masters Of War’ to sing and the same thing with ‘Times They Are A-Changin’. “I don’t think when I write. I just react and put it down on paper. I’m serious about everything I write. For instance, I get mad when I see friends of mine sitting in Southern jails, getting their heads beat in. What comes out of the music is a call to action.”
The Free Speech Movement at Cal. Berkeley, in which Joan Baez played an integral role was sparked in 1963 after hundreds of students were arrested off campus protesting the racist hiring practices of local businesses including the Sheraton Palace Hotel.
Throughout the nation racist regional and local politics had led fiscally conservative so called progressive Democratic President John F. Kennedy and his brother Atty. General Robert Kennedy to appease the entrenched voices of intolerance. Kennedy even appointed southern segregationists to Federal Judgeships in the Deep South. The times called out for a change.
Even the liberal wing of the Democratic Party was willing to sell its soul to the devil in an effort to keep a lid on things. Politically Kennedy was getting hit from the left and the right. Ultimately the lid would blow off, and the party would explode.
The P H Statement addressed the problem:
Various movements “have no political expression, no political channels” other than “a Democratic Party which tolerates the perverse unity of liberalism and racism, prevents the social change wanted by Negroes, peace protestors, labor unions, students, reform Democrats, and other liberals. Worse, the party stalemate prevents even the raising of controversy.

It’s easy to forget that throughout the course of the decade, for the so called” radicals”, the liberals were the enemy. After all, Liberal Democrats had started the War in Vietnam, held back in the civil rights arena and let HUAC and McCarthyism run rampant.
Folk singer Phil Ochs would point out the hypocrisy in his song Love Me I’m a Liberal.

Sure, once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin,
Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old
Union hymns;
Ah, but I’ve grown older and wiser, and that’s why I’m
turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.
Phil Ochs

The New left had arisen form the shadow of the old intent on establishing its own identity. SDS played a pivotal, symbolic, educational, organizational and radical role in the student uprisings of the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

“From the beginning of SDS we’d had an uneasy relation to liberals.” “We recognized that they had influence and that they had values that we often approved of. We also thought that they had become corrupted by comfort and power and that they were to cozy with the establishment – or in some cases, were the establishment. So we were on this uneasy knife-edge.”
Todd Gitlin SDS

UC Berkeley President Clark Kerr was a liberal, Quaker and an expert in industrial relations. Under pressure from outside right wing agitators he unwillingly and unknowingly lit the fuse that triggered the big bang of student unrest whose reverberations would be felt around the globe for decades. Kerr’s attempt to ban and limit political expression and activity on campus may have “technically” been legal, but it wasn’t smart. He ignited and united” an unusually broad coalition of student groups – ranging from Goldwaterites and Young Republicans to Socialists and Maoists.”
According to Stewart Burns “when the university – pressured by Oakland Tribune publisher William Knowland and other right-wingers – abruptly extended its ban on political activity to a small strip of pavement on the campus border that had been a haven for political education and recruiting, it unwittingly provoked a public outcry. Activists perceived it as a direct attack on civil rights organizing and felt like they were being treated like Southern blacks, their own civil rights were being violated. “Last summer I went to Mississippi to join the struggle there for civil rights,: said Savio. “This fall I am engaged in another phase of the same struggle, this time in Berkeley.”

Joan Baez would later say:
“The organizers of the Free Speech movement at Berkeley got hold of me, and I went up to sing and speak. Ira Sandperl and I raised the subject of non-violence, and developed a small following. But when I was asked back again and again to take part in these marches and rallies it was not so much because of an overwhelming interest in nonviolence but rather because I drew huge crowds. I understood that fact and bashed on regardless, slipping Gandhi in between songs and winning a few hearts and minds and annoying the “radical” left with my “moderate” ideas.

Robert Cohen commenting on FSM’s non-radical ranks and file states “Because the press had harped on Savio’s agitational eloquence and singer Joan Baez’s alluring musical presence at the rally that preceded the December sit-in as if together they had been the pied pipers who drew entranced students into the protest – some defendants made a special point of emphasizing that neither enchanting song nor crafty oratory had led them into Sproul.”
Commenting on the media at the time senior Kate Coleman states:
They were always categorizing us as dirty beatniks, filthy students and the like. I was dismayed by these descriptions in press and television accounts, since I for one was fastidious and always conscious of my appearance.”
Most students’ participants looked at the University in a positive way and were shocked when they attempted to limit Free Speech. Robert Cohen asserts, “The radicals tended to see the University as a capitalist-dominated and impersonal knowledge factory, one that churned out unthinking technocrats for corporate America, “but” rare were the students who justified participation in the sit-in with anti-capitalist rhetoric.
According to Robert Cohen, who studied the makeup of student participators and found the vast majority to be moderate to liberal, the media was biased.” “Campus officials and hostile editors had sought to weaken the FSM by red-baiting its most prominent figures, depicting it as the brainchild of a small group of manipulative subversives and troublemakers rather than as a mass movement that refelected genuine grievances and mainstream student opinion.”
FBI Director J Edgar Hoover was immediately on Mario Savio’s case. Hoover testified before congress; implying Savio was part of a larger communist scheme to disrupt the nation’s campuses. Hoover knew this was not true.

Curtis O. Lynum the FBI’s special agent in charge of investigating FSM had already informed Hoover that “the demonstrations would have taken place with or without any participation by subversives because of basic grievances.” By Jan. 1965 Lynum acknowledged that the investigation into the FSM “came to focus on political rather than law enforcement aims.”
None the less the San Francisco FBI office proposed putting Savio on its Secret Reserve Index List of people to be detained without judicial warrant in the event of a national emergency.

According to a Senate report and investigation into J. Edgar Hoovers’ FBI more than a decade after the emergence of SDS and FSM, here’s how they operated.
“Typically, a local FBI agent would provide information to a “friendly news source” on the condition “that the Bureau’s interest in these matters is to be kept in the strictest confidence.”
“The Bureau also attempted to influence public opinion by using news media sources to discredit dissident groups by linking them to the Communist Party.:
“FBI director Hoover approved a Field Office plan “to get cooperative news media to cover closed meetings of SDS and other New Left groups” with the aim of “disrupting them.”
“The FBI attempted to influence public opinion by supplying information or articles to “confidential sources” in the news media.”
Hoover issued a directive on how to discredit the New Left. “Specific data should be furnished depicting the scurrilous and depraved nature of many of the characters, activities, habits, and living conditions representative of New Left adherents.”
The United States Senate concluded in 1976:
‘The essence of democracy is the belief that the people must be free to make decisions about matters of public policy. The FBI’s action interfered with the democratic process, because attitudes within the Bureau towards social change led to the belief that such intervention formed a part of its obligation to protect society. When a governmental agency tries to impose its views of what is right upon the American people, then the democratic process is undermined.”
“In its efforts to “protect society”, the FBI engaged in activities which necessarily affected the processes by which American citizens make decisions. In doing so, it distorted and exaggerated facts, made use of the mass media, and attacked the leadership of groups which it considered threats to the social order.”
Bureau officials plotted to “neutralize” Savio even after they determined he was an independent free thinker not afflicted with any subversive organizations. They monitored his day to day activities, collected without court order, personal information from banks, and utility firms while gathering information clandestinely from landlords and employers.
Savios friend Reggie Zelnik said “Savio might have called himself a socialist then, but not a Marxist, and I don’t think that Socialism with a big “S” was a central part of his identity, which was a more of what some Russian Marxists used to call that of a “radical democrat.”
‘Like a lot of radicals his dislike of capitalism was a more powerful internal mechanism than his love of socialism.”
Savio explained in Feb. 1965 to Life Magazine “At Cal. You’re little more than an IBM card…The University is a vast public utility which turns out future workers in…the military industrial complex. “Factories are run in an authoritarian fashion – non union factories anyway - and that’s the nearest parallel to the university.”
According to FBI files released later under The Freedom of Information Act J Edgar Hoover targeted Savio because he was the nation’s first and most prominent student leader. The FBI continued to gather information, often illegally on Savio until 1975.
In Feb. 1965 Mario Savio explained to Life Magazine “I am not a political person. My involvement in the Free Speech Movement is religious and moral.”
The nonviolent direction favored by the new Left, with its moral and spiritual concerns was in stark contrast to traditional left and or liberal political traditions which generally drew sharp distinctions between that which was political and that which had moral or spiritual overtones.
The politics of the 1960’s and 70’s…the democratic idealism of the period was greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was called “Mahatma” or great soul for a reason. His nonviolent nationalist movement liberated India from British colonial rule
and led to the creation of the world’s largest democracy.
Gandhi would write; “Non-violence is a perfect state. It is a goal towards which all mankind moves naturally though unconsciously.” “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”
Nonviolence is not the same thing as pacifism. Nonviolence is active, pacifism is not. Nonviolence is a strategy used by political activists. Tactics include sit-ins, demonstrations, boycotts, work slow downs, street theater, strike, etc. Later in the decade radical pacifism and the philosophy of revolutionary nonviolence would emerge as prevalent threads of political thought and action within the tapestry of the” Movements”.
It’s interesting to note that the flip side of Joan’s first single We Shall Overcome was folksinger Malvina Reynold’s, What Have They Done to the Rain, which addressed the moral and political issue of nuclear fallout.

Just a little boy standing in the rain,
The gentle rain that falls for years.
And the grass is gone,
The boy disappears,
And rain keeps falling like helpless tears,
And what have they done to the rain?

A long time Berkeley resident with a PhD IN English from Ca. Berkeley (1939), folksinger Malvina Reynolds is known as “the Muse of Parker St.” and is former Struggle Mountain resident Trish Hahn’s aunt.

Malvina studied music theory at Berkeley.
As a poet singer, songwriter, and activist Malvina was suspicious of big business, capitalism and large corporations that put profits before people and planetary concerns.
Malvina didn’t just elude in her folksongs, she pointed fingers and named names. Judy Collins would record It Isn’t Nice, Malvina’s song about the Auto Row and Sheraton Park Hotel sit-ins that initially led to the removal by campus authorities of student rights at U.C. Berkeley.
Best known for Little Boxes, Malvina’s daughter Nancy Reynolds explains the origin of the song: “My mother and father were driving south from San Francisco through Daily City when my Mom got the idea for the song. She asked my dad to take the wheel, and she wrote it on the way to the gathering in La Honda where she was going to sing for the (Quakers) Friends Committee on Legislation.”
An unsung folk hero of sorts to many artists like Berkeley’s Country Joe; the Byrd’s and Dillards would record with Reynolds in the late 60’s. Malvina who believed “words corrupted to manipulate others for selfish purposes are as poisonous as polluted water: continued to record well into her 70’s and the 1970’s when she wrote the anti-nuclear power planet song Plutonium:

A whiff of that plutonium
no city can survive
but P R Men can make it smell like Channel #5

Plutonium is only one of many toxic by products generated by nuclear Power Plants.
Named after Pluto the Greek God of Hell, it “is so toxic and carcinogenic that less than one millionth of a gram if inhaled will cause lung cancer”, it remains radioactive for half a million years.” Routine and accidental radioactive releases at nuclear power plants are a common occurrence.
Each regular 1,000 megawatt nuclear power plant generates 30 tons of extremely potent radioactive waste annually.” “The nuclear industry has yet to determine how safely to dispose of this deadly material, which remains radioactive for tens of thousands of years.”
Recently a renewed interest in alternative energy sources has created renewed interest in nuclear power. Fueled by nuclear energy industry lobbyists and their congressional representatives as well as a few renegade environmentalists and a govt. backed insurance plan, the nuclear power pr machine is back in action.
Former Berkeley student Abbie Hoffman:
“No matter what problem you give me – acid rain, nuclear waste, dioxin, PCB, sewage – its political pollution you’re talking about: the pollution of how decisions are made. And this hasn’t changed since 1960.
Metaphorically speaking; “You’re talking about 5 or 6 people controlling 90 % of the decision making, owning the media, owning all the economic facilities, controlling the political system – and all the other people wandering around confused.” SDS leaders were leary of the merger of corporate and govt. interests.
“Will you let your dreams be used? Will you begrudging apologists for the corporate state. Or will you help try to change it – not in the name of this or that blueprint or ism, but in the name of simple human decency and democracy and the vision that wise and brave men saw in the time of our own Revolution.”
Carl Oglesby SDS – 1965
In 1968 interview with Playboy Magazine Ralph Nader speaks up on alternative energy sources and corporate influence on governmental agencies:
“My critics call me a radical, but I think the real radical in the United States today is the corporation manager who, for all his facile prattle about free enterprise, has really helped create an increasingly controlled economy dominated by a few dozen giant corporations.”
“The Department of the Interior serves the oil and gas industries in a host of ways that shield them from public scrutiny and accountability.”
The American Petroleum Institute even prepares “promotional brochures” that are printed free by the Dept. of the Interior and “distributed all across the country as if they were official Government publications.”
The PH Statement also sounded the alarm:

Corporations must be made publicly responsible. It is not possible to believe that true democracy can exist where a minority utterly controls enormous wealth and power.

Before the government can really begin to control business in a “public interest” the public must gain more substantial control of government.

The modern concentration of wealth is fantastic. The wealthiest one percent of Americans own more than 80 % of all personal shares of stock.

Nader states his position “The two essential elements of any healthy capitalist system are the free market and competition”, “many of the huge corporations are in practice opposed to the free market and competition and seek a controlled market.” Unfortunately, the mega corporations are basically anti-free market, and thus actually antithetical to capitalism.”
Remember this is 1968 when Playboy inquires into the future of the automotive industry. Playboy: “One automotive innovation already on the boards is the electric car. How far are we from developing a functional model?


Nader: “Not nearly so far away as the auto industry would like us to believe. The auto and petroleum industries have delayed the technological innovations that would lead to an effective electric car, because such a car would displace their tremendous capital investment in the internal combustion engine.”
Nader goes on to say “the vestigial internal or “infernal” combustion engine is outdated and inefficient, a technological anachronism that should be replaced by either an electric or a steam engine.”
“The main obstacle to getting the electric car into mass production has been the problem of recharging; but General Electric, which has been the leader in developing the electric car, has now developed a very advanced hybrid fuel cell that within two or three years will allow the production of electric cars with a top speed of 80 miles an hour and a range of 200 miles without recharging. The recharging process itself would take only 10 minutes.
Nader continues: “What is most needed now is Government allocations of funds to develop alternative automotive propulsion systems, steam or electric, by private industry.”
The 1960’s were supercharged with a growing concern about the emergence of corporate reign and rule at the expense of individual freedom and democracy. Large corporations may have been founded by risk taking rugged individualist, pioneers with a vision for the future but ultimately many succumbed to the trappings of success. Easy money and access to political power often led to complacency and abuse of power.
The movie Easy Rider addressed the counter cultures suspicions in 1969. Dennis Hooper who wrote and starred in the movie as the David Crosby like character explains:


“Captain America’s Great Chrome Bike – that beautiful machine covered with stars and stripes is America. I’m not sure that people understand but that bike with all the money in the gas tank is America and we’ve got all our money in a gas tank – and that any moment we can be shot off it- Boom – explosion – that’s the end. We go up in flames.”

“At the start of the movie, Peter and I do a very America thing – we commit a crime, we go for the easy money. We go for the easy money and then were free. That’s one of the big problems with the country right now: everybody’s going for the easy money. I think Americans basically feel the criminal way is all right, if you don’t get caught; crime pays, if you get away with it. Not just obvious, simple crimes, but big corporations committing corporate crimes – swindling on their income tax, freezing funds abroad.”.
The 1960’s taught many baby boomers that corporations are not democratic institutions…warm and fuzzy friends with our best interests at heart. Corporations are not oppressed victims of unjust rules and regulations…”who needs them”; put in place by greedy cigar smoking labor leaders, workers and the mean old inept government.…They are the government.
PH Statement:
The influence of corporate elites on foreign policy is neither reliable nor democratic; a way must be found to be subordinate private American foreign investment to a democratically – constructed foreign policy. The influence of the same giants on domestic life is intolerable as well; a way must be found to direct our economic resources to genuine human needs, neither the private needs of corporations nor the rigged needs of a maneuvered citizenry.

The participatory democracy espoused by FSM and SDS were a call to action. It was an effort to bring people out of isolation and into the political sphere of community activism and participation in the democratic process.
For centuries two ruling myths have collided over the meaning of democracy. One vision believes “the bewildered herd” has the right to elect representatives, but that’s it. The representatives are the middlemen between the bewildered herd and the specialized class who are smart enough and responsible enough to chart a course and get things done. The real power resides with the “owners” who employ the specialized class to manage the bewildered.
The idea is for the bewildered herd in a Simon says type democracy to follow their leaders and to be spectators not participants in the action. Traditionally the specialized class and the owners control the dialogue, public discourse, and flow of information via the media…which they own.
Occasionally…historically…the bewildered herd becomes active, restless and may even organize. They may even stampede, which means trouble with a capital T for the specialized class and owners in a trickle down democracy.
The other “conception of democracy has it that a democratic society is one in which the public has the means to participate in some meaningful way in the management of their own affairs and the means of information are open and free.
In the early 1960’s and into the mid 1970’s the bewildered herd of traditionally depoliticized consumers began paying attention to what was going on around them.
I was born in a welfare state
Ruled by bureaucracy
Controlled by civil servants
And people dressed in grey
Got no privacy, got no liberty
Cos the twentieth century people
Took if all away from me.
Kinks 1971 Twentieth Century Man

For many, participation became a mandatory moral response to injustices perpetuated from on high
Margot Adler wrote on 12/2/64
“This afternoon there was an inspired rally where all the FSM leaders spoke, and Joan Baez sang. Everyone called for a tremendous sit-in, and then Joan Baez and Mario Savio led about 2,000 people into Sproul Hall.” Joan Baez led the students singing “We shall overcome” and Savio gave his most famous speech about the “operation of the machine to 4,000 students.
Student’s professors and teaching assistants occupied all four floors of the building and led classes in non-violence, the history of the civil rights movement and political science.
Joan Baez, “I was there when they went into the hall.” I told them to go into that building with as much love as they could muster.” Inside Joan and Iran Sandperl held a seminar on civil disobedience emphasizing “that being nonviolent does not mean that you are protected from a policemen’s billy club.”
It took 12 hrs. for 600 officers to remove 800 protestors most of whom went limp. The arrests sparked more protests.

Jerry Rubin says: “I arrived in Berkeley in January 1964 at the age of 26” as a graduate student in sociology. “I attended ever FSM rally meeting and activity. I listened watched and got my training. The FSM climaxed when thousands of Oakland police invaded the campus to make mass arrests of students who had closed down the administration building with a sit-in. A successful strike followed the police arrest and closed the university. The students ultimately won the battle for Freedom of Speech but the war had just begun.

By Court Tefft and Patsy Dodd

Bedrock One 1.jpeg

I am in favor of absolute freedom. I am in favor of free love, and free lust, free land and free whiskey and free everything else.

J. L Jones
Anarchist 1900

We are at a loss for a frame of reference within which to operate freely, harmoniously and generously.

S.S. Digger

Every Bohemian community has an inevitable coterie of visionaries who claim to know what it is all about. But The Diggers are, somehow, different. They are bent on erecting a wholly cooperative subculture and, so far, they are not just hallucinating, they are doing it.
Warren Hinckle

English Diggers
The original Diggers stated purpose was “to restore the Creation to its former condition…to distribute the benefits thereof to the poor and needy, and to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked.” Concepts the 20th century Diggers embraced.

England 1649:
The king had just been executed. Oliver Cromwell a moderate Puritan had just come to power. On the left Agitators, Levellers, Renters and Diggers were demanding equality under the law. Hot topics were suffrage, religious tolerance, economic security and the vote for non-property owners.
Revolution was in the air. The Great Chain of Being, an oppressive false belief in a divine heretical class structure emanating from a God to a King and down the line was beginning to break down. Some were sailing away to distant lands.
Great Chain of Being.jpeg

World Turned Upside Down

They make the laws
To chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven
Or they damn us into hell
We will not worship
The God they serve
The God of greed who feeds the rich
While poor men starve

Leon Rosselson:

The emergence of the concept of ‘master less men’ coupled with the rise in the new belief of he individual man, led young men and women who prized independence more than security, freedom more than comfort, to drop out of the system. Some believed “the power of love would be enough to bring about a new era of peace and freedom.”

The Diggers got their name because they dug up the earth and planted crops “without hiring or paying rent to any;” on unused commonly held land. The Diggers stated purpose was to feed and clothe the poor, “not to meddle with any mans property, but only to meddle with what was common and untilled and make it fruitful for the use of man…”
The Diggers believed they were laying the foundation “of making the earth a common treasury for all.” The Diggers were opposed to a government “which locks up the treasures of the earth from the poor and not against righteous government as such.” Some historians refer to them as the first non-violent anarchists and others as the first libertarian communists.
The original Diggers settlement lasted about a year before the powers that be put an end to it. The Diggers huts were pulled down, their crops were pulled up and their tools were confiscated. Many of the non-violent Diggers were taken to a nearby church and beaten. Wherever the Diggers went they were burned out and brutalized. By the end of he century only their legend survived.

Haight Diggers
The Haight Ashbury Diggers were initially a small band of politicized cultural revolutionary misfits who emerged on the scene in 1966. The Berkley Barb described them: “They wear wide eyes, tattered clothes and talismans around their necks. Some in their teens, most in their twenties and a few are closing in on 40.”

Taking their name and inspiration from the English Diggers the Haight Ashbury Diggers were theatrical, non-violent anarchist agitators, hypercritical of capitalist morality, exploitation and greed. Wary of the government, imperialist wars and the emergent corporate state, they led by example encouraging others to act.
Best know for the free food they provided everyday at 4:00 in a section of Golden Gate Park that runs parallel to the Haight District known as the Panhandle; the Diggers were much more than a ‘hippie philanthropic organization’ or “hippie salvation army” as they were derogatorily referred to in the mainstream media.
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Sometimes referred to as the “conscience of the Haight,” the Diggers provided a running commentary on life in the district by publishing and distributing ‘street sheets’ and ‘broadsides’ (flyers), filled with provocative thoughts, proclamations and criticisms of the hippie scene.

As political and cultural activists the Diggers gave new meaning to the word Free. The Diggers created free stores, medical clinics and a network of loosely linked communes throughout Northern California and the western states. Their call to collective communal tribalism would take on a life of it’s own.

The Digger Papers (68), which included a blueprint for the creation of alternative services and cities was published in San Francisco for free by the Communications Company (Com/Co.) Picked up nationally by the underground press the Diggers ideas would be expanded upon in widely read books by self-proclaimed Diggers who morphed into Yippies, Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman.
Social historian Iain Beal writes: “The operative term for (their) various enterprises was ‘free”, a word that in the Digger lexicon was used as noun, verb, and modifier, indicating a plan of action. The collective maintained that the desired goal of maximal personal freedom would be realized only when the goods and services essential to social life were provided gratis to all.”
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Media coverage would turn the world into a stage for the Diggers, who “saw that existing media packaged reality in propagandist ways and instead of turning their back on media, they generated their own; believing that “the way to retake the media was to create alternative realities.” The Diggers staged events and political protests that got the medias attention worldwide.

The time has come to be free
Do your thing. Be what you are.
Do it.
This is our secret weapon
This is how to do it
And it’s groovy

The Diggers operated as anonymously as possible behind the scenes to create situations of improvisational free form community engagement. As community builders and organizers the Diggers brought together divergent groups from Black Panthers and Hippies to Hells Angels religious leaders and city officials.
Journalist Warren Hinckle recounts a meeting of Haight hippie community members, pre-summer of love, in which shared visions of an emergent new community were exchanged.” They talked about reducing governmental controls, the sanctity of the individual, the need for equality among men. They talked, very seriously, about the kind of society they wanted to live in, and the fact that if they wanted an ideal world they would have to go out and make it for themselves, because nobody, least of all the government, was going to do it for them.”

The Diggers were an offshoot of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, a radical leftist libertarian theatrical group that still exists. Known for plays that raise awareness and promote discussion of contemporary political and cultural issues, the S.F. Mime Troupe still performs free every summer in public parks throughout Northern California. Rock concert promoter Bill Graham got his start managing the Mime Troupe.
diggers panhandle.jpeg

Former Mime-troopers and Diggers co-founders Peter Coyote, Emmett Grogan and Peter Berg would emerge as leading actors in the improvisational experimental theater district of Haight Ashbury.
On the cusp of women’s liberation in an era where the roles of men and women were narrowly defined, Judy Goldheft would co-create with Peter Berg known as the wordsmith with an historical perspective.
Country Joe McDonald remembers being in an apt. in the Haight where the Digger men were having a heavy discussion about the revolution in the living room. “I was in the kitchen with the women and they were all going “Fuck that revolution shit, who the hells gonna was dishes tonight. I’m so sick of this crap.”
Com/co publisher Claude Hayward notes that the “Diggers could not have done it without the unsung women who stood with them and changed the diapers and washed the dishes and endured the bullshit.”

Photojournalist Gene Anthony:
“Digger women were up and out at dawn searching the produce market stalls, the chicken slaughter houses, the fish docks and the bakeries. The girls could be very seductive; Little Sisters of Christ accepting all offers of food and charity.” Free food in the Panhandle was also provided by donations, theft and dumpster diving. Some merchants were strong armed…others donated freely. “The Diggers made the produce pickups in a 58 Dodge truck that had been provided by a rich friend of Richard Brautigan.”
Digger associate, Brautigan, the author of numerous books including the widely read counter-cultural classic Trout Fishing in America, would later become a columnist for Rolling Stone Magazine which was about to emerge from the San Francisco scene. 11/9/67.
Richard Brautigan.jpeg

For the Diggers everything was a theatrical event, Avant-garde musician John Cage once told Peter Berg – put a frame around anything and it becomes art. Berg saw the Haight as a staging area for transforming society.
Berkeley Barb (66)

For several weeks now the Diggers have been feeding all hungry comers on their impromptu picnic ground in the Panhandle. The backdrop for their daily sharing of the Bread of the Spirit and Fruit of the Soul has been a 25-foot high yellow wooden frame dubbed “The Frame of Reference,” through which participants would pass as part of the general festivity and community of things.

The Diggers passed out 75 smaller Frames of Reference, made of yellow-painted lath about 6 inches square that hung from a neck strap, through which the wearer could look at the various happenings of the scene as they happened putting them in his own frame of reference.. This is theater of an underground that wants out. It’s aim is to liberate ground held by consumer wardens and establish territory without walls. Its plays are glasscutters for empire windows.

Peter Coyotte:
We were on the left but we didn’t want o do socialist plays about heroic tractor drivers and streetcar conductors.

Free Stuff

Berkeley Barb:
“This week the Diggers are renovating a garage in the Haight, where they will open a 24-hour Frame of Reference exchange, which will provide at no charge all kinds of necessities of life to those need them. The only expense thy foresee is the gas for the transportation of goods.”

Peter Berg:
So a store of goods or clinic or restaurant that is free becomes a social art form. Ticketless theater. Out of money and control.
Diggers assume free stores to liberate human nature. First free the space, goods and services. Let theories of economics follow social facts. Once a free store is assumed, human wanting and giving, needing and taking become wide open to improvisation.
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A sign: He’s the Manager
Tell him He’s the Manager.
Someone asked how much a book cost. How much did he think it was worth? 75 cents. The money was taken and held out for anyone. “Who wants 75 cents? A girl who had just walked in came over and took it.
A basket labeled Free Money.
No owner, no Manager, no employees and no cash register.
...The question of a free store is simply: What would you have?

Emmett Grogan:
“What if everything was experienced from a tree frame of reference – what if the rules of the game changed – what if the bosses became the employees and the employees became the bosses. What if their was “no owner, no manager, no employee and no cash register”…can you dig it.” The point of who pays the rent is missing the point.”

The people need to see other people giving It al away, before they can dig the basic absurdity of this goddamn parasitical society! It heightens the human contradictions of existing within this inhuman capitalistic system where the best man wins if he kills his brother or sister or a couple of hundred thousand faceless yellow people in Asia.”
“It heightens the human contradictions to such a degree that a person, if he’s really a good man or good women, will have to refuse to acquiesce to any society that doesn’t fulfill its social responsibility to every human being in it!”

Peter Coyote:
“We were trying to create compelling visions of the kind of society that people would want. So our challenge as performers was how to invent situations and contexts that would expose people to their own conditioning and the expectation held out for them by the culture, and offer them the opportunity to respond in a fresh and authentic way.”

grave stone murdered by Capitalism 1.jpeg
photo by Chuck Slay

Broadsides – Information Wants To Be Free

The Diggers issued broadsides…critiques of everyday life meant to raise questions, piss people off and encourage positive action. The Communications Company –Com/co printed the broadsides, Digger Papers and the first three issues of the Black Panther Party newspaper. Sometimes printing as many as 5 to 10 broadsiders a day Com/co was freely available to anyone who had something to say. Users included beat poets Lenore Kendel, Michael McClure and Richard Brautigan. Com/co had state of the art copy machines which they tweaked to create collages photos and text. The home-based operation was created by Digger enthusiast Chester Anderson and Claude Hayward. Learn more about the Diggers and the Haight in Notes From A Revolution by Kristine McKenna and David Hollander. (2012)
For the Diggers, action led to Freedom. Freedom meant responsibility, initiative and engagement on a local level. Freedom meant moving beyond consumerism, debt, greed and self-destructive environmental relationships. Freedom meant access and equal opportunity, a move away from a nine to five job guaranteed to numb and dumb one down. Freedom meant a healthier balance between being and doing a place where technology gave us the time to move beyond the daily grind.

free city 1.jpeg

The Diggers mocked societal and governmental concepts of freedom:

You’re – Free to vote for the democratic or republican party of your choice
Free to work for a minimum wage
Free to pay sixty percent of your taxers to the military budget
Free to be a compulsory soldier

The Diggers were non-violent anarchist activists as reflected in the following ‘broadside’:
Beware of leaders heroes, organizers. Watch that stuff. Beware of structure freaks. They do not understand. We know that system doesn’t work because we’re living in the ruins…any man who wants to lead you is the man. Think: Why would anyone want to lead me? Think: Why should I pay for his trip? Think: LBJ is our leader – and you know where that’s at. Watch out for cats who want to play the systems games, “cause you can’t beat the system at its own games, and you know that. Why should we trade ones establishment for another?

One Digger Broadside – Time To Forget captures The Diggers disdain for the disengaged hippies:

Forget the war in Vietnam. Flowers are lovely
Forget Americas 3,300 military bases. Make music
Forget FSM, VDC, SDS, SNCC, MARK COMFORT. Big Brother and The Holding Co.
You’re free to forget so forget!
Touch reality only for sex, only to eat –

Berkeley Barb:
“The fame/power money trip is the old story again The Diggers want to know: “where’s the revolution? Longhair? Beautiful clothes? – Reaction is not Liberation.”

Emmett Grogan:
“Who the fuck are you anyway! Sitting there in a lotus and desperately suffering Anglo Entertainment Syndrome. Hungry for ritual and tribal touch…

Peter Berg recalls that Emmett had no political background – disliked the left – “creep communist” would be something Emmett might say very easily. “None the less Emmett would help the Black Panther Party establish their Free Breakfast for Children program. In time despite the chaos and controversy swirling around the Panthers this would become their signature program.
Emmetts N.Y. city working class background enabled him to understand the hippy backlash emanating from mainstream America and in particular from lower class socio-economic white youths.

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Emmett Grogan:
“The poor have no sympathy for these young whites who’re searching out what was kept hidden from them. They have none at all because of the hippies arrogance, an arrogance they wear on their sleeves, an arrogance which mocks the poor for wanting what they’ve rejected, and insolently pities them for not comprehending or understanding the reasons why they left the ‘American Dream behind.”

Peter Coyote:
“Emmitt had an uncanny sense of what a working man street guys reality was, what the reality was of people who did not have a lot of slack in their lives.

Drugs and Gods
Clearly acid-drenched the Diggers saw acid as a tool and encouraged others to look within and initiate change.

Safety lies in the imagination, in harmony, in the resolutions of contradictions between knowledge and action. We have lots of knowledge, but its useless unless it changes acts or frame of reference.

According to Peter Berg the Diggers were more “social orientated than revelatory.” The Diggers people saw drugs in terms of individual personal fulfillment within a social context. “ The Diggers assumed a very Buddhist position in relationship to personal freedom. The ideas that freedom comes from personal and communal responsibility and that imagination pre-cedes action were Digger precepts.
Gods work.jpeg
Digger Wisdom
Things are going well but should go better. They can only go better when we investigate our own directions and see which are outmoded reactions from the past and which are true.
The Diggers were idealistic and issued written proposals for the creation of an alternative society based on a consciousness where individuals recognized and exemplified the Bodhisattvas in all beings. A headspace where people treated a person as a person, “not as a role, not as a uniform, not as a cop, not as a capitalist, not as a communist, not as Maoist, not as Allen Ginsberg”, but as representatives of the One.
The Diggers encouraged people “to do their own thing” and reminded them “today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
The idealistic creed of the Diggers was captured later in a song by radical activist John Lennon – Imagine (71)


Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Digger Richard Brautigan who carried a mirror with him in the Haight that he would hold up to obnoxious gazing tourists and exclaim, “know thyself” would write

I like to think
(it has to be)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brother and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.

Peter Berg would concur:
“The ethics of greed aren’t necessary. Computers render the principle of wage-labor obsolete by incorporating them. We are being freed from machinist consciousness. We could evacuate the factories, turn them over to androids, and clean up our pollution. North Americans could give up self-righteousness to expand their being.”
One Digger flyer exclaimed: Rent computers to call the punches for the revolution or use them I n any constructive way possible.

Harmonic Convergence in Dystopia
The summer of love (67)

Street Sheet:
Our city has become the momentary focus of a worldwide spiritual awakening. The reasons for this do no matter. It is a gift from God which we may take, nourish and treasure…Recall that Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of the city of San Francisco and that therefore Saint Francis is the patron saint of the Summer of Love.

The Diggers do it now, aggressive anarchistic style marked the emergence of what some would call “the psychedelic political movement.” The diggers would establish and operate shelters, restaurants and helpful phone hot lines in preparation for a media fueled invasion of Haight-Ashbury (1967) now known as The Summer of Love.
As the CIA monitored their experiment with LSD gone awry from their office in the Haight, the Diggers worked in cooperation with city leaders, government officials, and the Haight Ashbury ‘hip capitalist’, they were so critical of an effort to bring order to a potentially chaotic situation.
Long time Haight residents were not thrilled with the prospect of an all out invasion. Com/co’s Chester Anderson became disillusioned and captured the feelings of some in Uncle Tim’s Children. (4/67)
storefront picture.jpeg

The HIP Merchants = the cats who have sold our lovely little psychedelic community to the mass media, to the world, to you – are blithely and sincerely unaware of what they have done. They’re as innocent as a busy-fingered blind man in a nudist colony. They don’t see hunger, hip brutality, rape, gangbangs, gonorrhea, syphilis, theft, hunger, and filth. They walk in their own beauty down Haight Street and if they see the shit at all they deplore it and say that somebody should do something about it. Sometimes they complain about shoplifting.
They do not realize that they and Uncle Timothy have lured an army of children into a ghastly trap from which there is no visible escape. They do not see that they are destroying a whole generation of American youth.
And why should they? They are what they are: businessmen, sales-men, money counters. They see what businessmen see: business.
City officials made it clear…don’t come – we will provide no assistance – some wanted to post Hippies not welcome signs of the bridge approaches to San Francisco.” The Chronicle ran a headline Mayor warns Hippies not Welcome. The Diggers took a different approach.

Diggers leaflet from 67:
Say if you are hungry, we will feed you, and if you are tired, we will give you a place to rest. This is to affirm responsibility. We merely provide food, shelter and clothing because it should be done.

The Pilgrimage:
Photojournalist and Haight Ashbury chronicler Gene Anthony would write; “The drama and the spirit of the Haight-Ashbury captured the imagination and fantasies of millions of people around the world, Young people dropouts and seekers of a change of lifestyle poured into the Hashbury with increasing frequency during the spring of 66.”
It didn’t help the situation when in May of 67 folk pop singer Scott McKenzie had a world wide hit with an invitation to San Francisco written by John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas. The largest migration of young people in US history was about to unfold:
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All across the nation such a strange vibration

People in motion
There’s a whole generation with a new explanation
People in motion people in motion

For those who come to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love – in there

That summer (1967) the Beatles release their classic album Sgt. Pepper, The LSD infused salute to an emergent hippie ethos, which included songs like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (LSD) and lyrics like I’d love to turn you on and I get by with a little help from my friends, I get high with a little help from my friends.
Sgt. Pepper was the icing on the cake – an empowering synchronistic, unifying countercultural moment. The impact was huge worldwide, philosophically, culturally and musically. A stereophonic masterpiece designed to be listened to stoned or with head-phones (stereo was still new) The Beatles were peaking along with the Haight.
The Diggers, like the Beatles, had thoughtfully set out to change the world, intent on having fun in the process.
The Diggers staged numerous events including a Feed in at City Hall, a Death of Money Parade and an End of War event at The Straight Theatre where Steve Miller played an extended psychedelisized version of When Johnny comes Marching Home in the style of Hendrix’s infamous Star Spangled Banner. The Diggers also played an important role at the Be -In and the levitation of the Pentagon an anti-war demonstration famously written about by Norman Mailer in his Armies of The Night.
The Diggers most infamous event in the Haight , the one that got the most media attention, took place on 10/6/67, the anniversary of LSD becoming illegal. The Diggers staged a mock funeral for the death of the Hippie and The Birth of the Free Man.
The three-day event included a wake, a candle lit procession down Haight Street and a transformative fire where objects from the past like beads and newspapers were burned. Participants kneeled at the corner of Haight and Ashbury and offered prayers for all the lost souls who had arrived on the scene wishing an hoping they would get it together and head back to Kansas. Prayers for a brighter future were released in honor of the birth of the Free Man..

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St. Sheet:
Life Acts! Acts that can create the conditions of life they describe.
The Diggers attention grabbing media style would be adopted by self-proclaimed Diggers Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, who catapulted Digger techniques into the national media spotlight with the formation of the Youth International Party better know as the Yippies. The Yippies would run a pig for president .
The Diggers built the stage and were the opening act in the psychedelic political movement. The Diggers legacy and contribution to the counterculture can not be overlooked. The Diggers Free Cities program; check it out at www.diggers.org was picked up nationally by the underground press and became a blue-print for many of the urban collective endeavors and experiments that were about to spring up across the nation. The Diggers call to anarchistic collective communal tribalism would soon take on a life of its own.
As the Haight became overpopulated and drugged out (heroin and speed), life on the street once the life-blood of the community became more and more toxic. Parallel reality a vortex of negativity began whirling out of control and many of the original visionary settlers headed out.

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Peter Coyote:
“We were concerned with creating a more durable economic base for ourselves. The practice of doing things “for Free” was fine social theater, useful for highlighting values and relationships to commodities, wealth and fame; appropriate, too for any transactions but not a practice that would support what was now a loose confederation of several hundred people. Further more remaining in the Haight was preaching to the converted.”

Peter Berg:
“Then finally we came to the fact that it’s possible for gangs of young people together to live communally, form their own organization and begin to address themselves to the anxiety ridden outter world.”

Rudolf Rocker captured what was the spirit of the times for many:
“Anarchism is a definite intellectual current of social thought, whose adherents advocate the abolition of economic monopolies and of all political and social coercive institutions within society. In place of the capitalist economic order, Anarchists would have a free association of all productive forces based upon co-operative labor, which would have for its sole purpose the satisfying of the necessary requirements of every member of society. In place of the present national states with their lifeless machinery of political and bureaucratic institutions, Anarchists desire a federation of free communities which shall be bound to one another by their common economic and social interest and will arrange their affairs by mutual agreement and free contract.”
The Diggers began referring to themselves as the Free Family or the Free City Collective as they branched out establishing a loose network of house and communes throughout northern CA. The Free Family became an amalgam of different groups. Everyone wanted to get it together before the shit hit the fan – revolution, economic collapse,- whatever it was gonna be – it didn’t look good – the fog of war had set in.
Early on Self-preservation and idealism in an era of cultural upheaval and environmental degradation provided an impetus for the communal movements move away from the cities. Haight residents were encouraged to call The Diggers coordinating # for information on or about potential or current communal farms, ranches and ashrams. An underground press spread the word.

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One street sheet exclaimed – The haight-ash bury is not where it’s at – it’s in your head and hands. The Digger papers encouraged the search for land in the country and acknowledged it could take a while.
In the meantime, stay healthy. There are hundreds of miles to walk, and lots of work to be done. Keep your mind. We will need it. Stake out a retreat. Learn berries and nuts and fruits and small animals and all the plants. Learn Water.

Peter Coyote:
“We reasoned that as more people became impoverished disenfranchised, and betrayed by the corporate state, our numbers would sell, then we would be prepared with operative alternatives produced b our social research.”
“We were all left wingers, very analytical, very result-orientated. But at a certain point you realize that it’s the culture itself that’s the enemy

Coyote, a self-described radical hippie anarchist environmentalist, recalls, “We weren’t just calling for political change, we were trying to change the culture which operates at a far deeper level than politics.
PS – Peter Burg:
One more frame of reference: Man is a herd animal. Ecologically the herd is a protective device It is also warm and comforting in the dark.

Free Land for Free People
In Sonoma County north of San Francisco one of the most infamous of all the hippie communes, the 31 acre Morning Star was founded in 1966 by Dr. Lou Gottlieb off Limelighter fame. The Limelighters were a popular folk group in the early and mid sixties. Some of the earliest settlers, refugees from the Haight, had ties to the Diggers.
Founded as a home from what Gottlieb referred to as “the age of cybernation economic abundance and teleological unemployabliaty”, Morning Star would become an under the media microscope pilot study in the do’s and don’ts of successful communal living. Originally founded as an ashram of sorts, the goal at Morningstar was to be happy and explore life.
“Morning Star was a w quest for freedom, a pure creative anarchy-hippy dippy, but live and let live, We were formless, which allowed anything to exist. The total freedom gave a person the chance to create new forms. Anything could happen and usually did”, recounts tree house dweller David Lee Pratt.
In April 67 Morning Star, known by some as the Digger Farm, would begin providing food for Digger operations in the Haight. Lou admired the Diggers who he saw as completely selfless people trying to move beyond an economic system based on scarcity.
Morning Star was an open land community. Gottlieb denied access to virtually no one. Morning Stars sister community Wheelers Ranch, also in Sonoma was more rural and family friendly. Founded in 1967 by Bill Wheeler and heir to the Wheeler-Wilson sewing machine Co.. the 320 ranch was an open land community.
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Large tracts of communal land were often provided by wealthy benefactors. In the Skyline area the 800 acre Land community could not have existed without Donald Eldridge nor could Star Hill (The Mill) without Jimmy Wicket.
Many within the communal movement believed what the English Diggers had layed out back in he 1649, “ it’s privately property not unruly human nature which is the principal source of social conflict”. Gotlieb believed the Morning Star was “a training replacement center, or a rest and recuperation area for the army of occupation in the war against the exclusive ownership of land”. Bill Wheeler would say, “I think a lot of us believed that earth in common is owned by all the people.”
Sonoma County didn’t see it that way. Twenty five or upwards of 100 people living on 32 or 320 acres without electricity in teepees lean-tos, trailers, tents, busses, campers or cabins built without a permit, was not on their agenda. Neighbors complained about open fires, poor sanitation, naked bodies and the threat of infectious disease.
Soon Morning Star was subjected to sweeps by the FBI, border patrol, probation officers, sheriffs, health inspectors, county supervisors, reporters and tourists. Bikers moved in. What had once been an escape from “urban induced anxiety “ was becoming a pain in the ass.
Intent on shutting Morning Star down, the county launched what would become a long legal battle Dr. Gottlieb played defense by refusing to ask his guest to leave. Some left, - others chose to stay and fight. Many fled to the more remote Wheelers Ranch, which ultimately would b e subjected to many of the same legal entanglements. Gottlieb employed numerous defenses. Subjected to numerous fines Gottlieb pleased poverty and offered his land to the county as a park if they would let his sociological experiment in voluntary primitism continue. The judge said no. He deeded his land to God saying he’d pay the taxes in Gods name. The court ruled “that God not being a natural or artificial person,” could not accept title to Dr. Gottlieds property, and his guests had to go.
Bulldozers and dump trucks rolled in for the last tine in 1973, for what would become the counties final (search and destroy mission. Some residents set fire to their homes, others dismantled them. The local press would report “not much remains of the dream of a happy hippie colony a dream regarded by local folks as something of a nightmare.”
Wheelers Ranch went thru many of the same legal troubles as Morning Star but still exists in a modified form. Former Land resident and artist Wilder Bentley lives there.
In Time public county and local officials would become more tolerant of the ‘back to landers.’ The initial shock wore off as the hippies learned to be less confrontational, live under the radar and integrate into the local communities and abide by some rules.
David Lee Pratt; “I used to think that – since we all have similar needs – if given the freedom to choose what to do with ourselves, we would choose to take care of the earth and each other. That’s not true. Lots of people just wanted to get drunk and stoned all the time, but that eventually plays itself out.”


That's my experience too. It is, as Sandy seemed to say in "Happenings" about self government. To which I can add it ain't easy! There are so many contradictions, paradoxes. I understand now, as David says above, that in the end it is not about the ideals, but about the people who embody them.