? The sixties were turbulent times for America, both domestically and abroad.
During thesixties America witnessed the assassination of a president, the assassination of a civil rightsleader, a ?conflict? in Vietnam, and a counterculture revolution among the youth. Thecounterculture would peacefully protest and rally against the government early on, but as thedecade progressed, the counterculture would split into various factions. Some of these splintergroups would carry out violent measures to make themselves, and there opinions, known. Whilethe violent actions were carried out by a strict minority, they attracted much attention from thepress. The purpose of this paper is to establish a connection between the peace movement andthe violence perpetrated by the counterculture. I feel that it is important that we find out how amovement that was peaceful in the beginning could end up being so violent.
The fact thatAmericas youth could get caught up in such a frightening and violent situation should be ofconcern to all of us. The music, and music festivals, of the era are also worthy of consideration. Did the music contribute to the violence, or was it a just reflection of the turmoil felt during thesixties? In order to understand the violent groups and their connection with the counterculture, wefirst need to understand what the counterculture was. The sixties were full of groups which livedoutside of the norm, one of the earlier and most famous groups to form were the hippies.
?In1965, Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle labeled these people ?hippies,’ as if they wereapprentice hipsters. The young insurgents called themselves ?freaks’ or ?heads,’ and they calledtheir ?here and now revolution’ a counterculture. ? The hippies were into living a communal life,a life of peace and tranquility and they were blowing the world’s mind. According to Stern, ?Thedazzling thing about them was that they were so happy. They did not reject the perkiness thatsuffused the early sixties. They smiled and danced and got high and loved everybody.
Theywore flowers in their hair and painted their bodies like freaky Easter eggs. Their program for abetter world was one where everyone was mellow. ? The hippies embraced music and drug, especially marijuana and LSD. The hippies feltthat LSD would help free their mind, and they embraced the effects of the drug. Burton Wolf, acontemporary of the hippie scene, wrote, ?Several times, I saw barefoot hippie girls in a big pileof dog excrement, calmly walk to the curb, and scrape it off like you would from your shoe, ?Iused to worry about things like that before I took LSD,’ one of them told me.
?Now my mind hasopened, and I see that it’s all part of life: dirt, feces everything. Feces are groovy. ‘? The hippieswere peaceful people who were trying to make the world better, this, however, would change. Alarge portion of the hippies would be brought into radical groups and unknowingly be turnedtowards violence.
1967 marked a change in the way of protesting. ?After 1967, countercultural activistsfollowed two major paths: the revolutionary ?magic politics’ of the Yippies, and the ?here andnow’ revolution of rural communes. ? The break from the hippies way of thinking is in part dueto the ineffectiveness of their ?here and now? revolution. They were tired of peaceful protests asthe means to their end and they were sick of the interminable theorizing of the New Left. Theywanted results. The Yippies (an acronym for the Youth International Party),?.
. . were conceivedby Abbie Hoffman, Paul Krassner, Dick Gregory, Jerry Rubin and friends on New Years Eve in1967 to coax, goose, entice and dazzle thousands of freaks to Chicago for the August DemocraticConvention, create there a ?Festival of Life’ against the ?Convention of Death,’ a ?blending of potand politics. . . a cross-fertilization of hippie and New Left philosophies.
? The Yippies were a radical group, a group that wanted to shake up all of the ?straight?people. Be it the way they looked or the way they spoke, they wanted to challenge theestablishment. Jerry Rubin describes the prototypical Yippie, ?a street fighting freek, a dropout,who carries a gun at his hip. So ugly that middle class society is frightened by how he looks. Alonghaired, bearded, crazy mother*censored*er whose life is theater, every moment creating a newsociety as he destroys the old. ? Yippies favorite way to alienate the majority culture was bysaying ?*censored*.
? Rubin explained the power of profanity by complaining that the establishment hastaken all the good words and destroyed them. ?Love, how can I say, ?I love you’ after hearing?Cars love Shell?’ Fuck is the solution. It’s the last word in left in the English language. Amerika cannot destroy it because she dare not use it. It’s illegal! Fuck is a dirty word becauseyou have to be naked to do it.
It’s also fun. ? At the ?68 Democratic Convention, the Yippies put forth a plan, they were egging on?Chicago with threats, such as slipping LSD into the cities water supply, setting off smokebombs in the convention hall, having sex in the parks and on the beaches, releasing greased pigsin the hotels, drugging the food of the delegates, etc. . ? Most of these threats were hollow, butthey did carry out the smaller actions, such as the smoke and stink bombs, and the spreading offeces on the floors of hotels. The Yippies received the response they wanted, the city delayed,and refused permits to the Yippies and other groups, and ?Mayor Daley had the entire 12,000man police force working in twelve hour shifts, five to six thousand National Guardsmen weremobilized and put through special training with simulated longhair rioters.
A thousand FBIagents were said to be deployed within the city limits, along with innumerable employees ofmilitary intelligence. Six thousand U. S. Army troops, including units of the crack 101st Airborne,equipped with flamethrowers, bazookas, and bayonets, were stationed in the suburbs.
? Theactions of the Yippies and the response by Mayor Daly and Chicago set the tone for what was tocome. . While out on recruiting trips, Dave Dellinger, a member of the editorial board forLiberation magazine, wrote, ?. .
. the two questions I was always asked were: (1) Is there anychance that the police won’t create a bloodbath? (2) Are you sure that Tom and Rennie don’twant one?? Tom Hayden, the founder of the SDS, wanted exactly that, a bloodbath. DavidHorowitz explains why, ?One of the conspirators, Jerry Rubin, admitted a decade later that theorganizers had lured activists to Chicago hoping to create the riot that eventually took place. Thisfit with the general strategy Hayden had laid out in private discussions with me. When people’sheads are cracked by police, he said more than once, it radicalizes them.
The trick was tomaneuver the idealistic and unsuspecting into situations that would achieve this result. ? The move worked, ?After the convention, tens of thousands of applications for membershippoured into the ramshackle building on the West Side of Chicago that served as national SDSheadquarters. ? With a dozen activist in 1962, the SDS grew to over 8000 members at it’sheight in 1968. The SDS, or Students for a Democratic Society, also became very active at this point.
They were a leftist student organization, an offshoot of the Student League for IndustrialDemocracy. The SLID was a socialist organization that dated back to 1905, after dying out in thefifties, it was reconstituted in 1959 and then renamed the SDS in 1960. The SDS of the earlysixties were using civil disobedience, sit-ins for civil rights, demonstrations at the nations capitalthat questioned military spending. As the sixties wore on the SDS began entertaining ideas ofviolence and became infatuated with the Black Panthers.
Both the SDS and the Panther felt aconnection with the third world revolutionary movements that were against Americanimperialism. While the SDS deteriorated, the most militant and destructive movement of thecounterculture emerged, the Weatherman, which later became the Weather Underground. Roszak laments that while he is against such groups, the counterculture stands for letting peoplemake their own decisions, and take their own actions, no matter how muddled or ill-conceivedthey may be. The New Left by what they stood for could not turn away militant members. While the Weather Underground was known for causing general chaos, ie.
fighting, disruptingbusinesses, breaking windows and the such, they were better known for their terrorist actions. Between September 1969 and May 1970, the Weather Underground could be linked to at least250 major bombing attempts, and according to government figures the number could be as manyas six times as great. On August 24, 1970, the Weather Underground planted a bomb in thearmy’s mathematic lab at the University of Wisconsin. The bomb ended up killing a graduatestudent who was working late. Roszak feels that the tendency towards violence was not due tothe counterculture, but instead due to the extremist Black Powerites, he felt that the factions ofthe counterculture were romanticizing the black militants guerrilla warfare. The Panthers were supported by white radicals, and their motto was ?By any meansnecessary,? this included riots, fights, and murder.
They modeled themselves after the GreenBerets, their bylaws were strict and required that all Panthers be well educated in the everchanging political structure under which they live and be fair and polite to their fellow blackman. ?Big Bob, a Squad member in the Black Panthers, confided to a former Panther that inthe three years he had been in Oakland, the Squad had killed a dozen people. ? Bobby Seale,former leader of the Black Panthers, had close ties with Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman as well asthe other leaders of the left. They were all tried together during the Chicago Seven Trial after theChicago riots. It was this connection that saved Seale’s life when he disappeared; his friendswould not disclose where he hiding. The music of the era, along with the music festivals played a heavy part in the shaping ofthe counterculture.
The Monterey International Pop Festival, held in 1967 was one of the firstmajor music festivals held, it marked an end of top 40 music and the beginnings of underground?acid? rock. Monterey along with Woodstock, which followed two years later, created amythical society, as Abbie Hoffman would call it, a Woodstock nation. The Woodstock nationwas a state of mind, an anarchy realizing itself in the act of anarchic rebellion. Shortly afterWoodstock, Hoffman’s dream was badly wounded if not destroyed by the Rolling Stones and theHells Angels at Altamont.
The Stones had hired the Hells Angels as security for the show, andfrom the start the vibes were bad. Gitlin recalls that the majority of the crowd was on acid andhaving bad trips. This along with the Angels fighting and shoving anyone who got to close tothem or the stage caused a riot to break out during the Stones set. During the riot, a black manwas stabbed and killed, all because the Angels took offense to him being there with a white girl.
In response to the Altamont disaster, Jefferson Airplane released ?Somebody to Love,? a plea tothe people to bring back the love and peace. Jerry Hopkins tells of Jim Morrison, of The Doors, inciting riots during their shows. InChicago, Morrison wanted to conduct an experiment with the crowd, he wanted to see if he couldinvoke them to riot. The Doors performed all of their ?violent? music at the show, playing songssuch as Unknown Soldier, The End, Five to One and others. Morrison’s experiment was asuccess, he had caused a riot in Chicago. In the lyrics to Five to One, released in 1968, the message of rebellion is clear, Five toone, baby/ One in five/ No one here/ gets out alive/ Now You get yours baby/ I’ll get mine/ Gonnamake it, baby/ If we try.
The old get old and the young get stronger/ May take a week and it maytake longer/ They got the guns but / We got the numbers/ Gonna win/ Yeah, we’re takin’over/Come on. This song demonstrates the idea behind the youth movement, it clearly statesthat while the establishment has the power to oppress the youth, the youth have the sheernumbers to overcome. Morrison also uses this song in The Doors infamous Miami concert of1969, where Morrison is arrested for inciting a riot among other things. The Doors Box Set has arecording of this performance where Morrison egged the crowd on, he mixes statements like thiswith in the already militant song, ?Your all a bunch of slaves! You’re a bunch of *censored*in’ idiots! Letting people tell you what to do! What are you gonna do about it?! What are you gonna doabout it?! What are you gonna do about it?!. ? Morrison is calling for the people to rebel, hewants them to become violent in their ways, and that is just what they did. While most musicwas a social commentary, a few songs were inciting.
It is these few inciting songs that theradicals in the New Left adopt as their themes. As Roszak stated, the violent radical groups, no matter how much you were against them,were still a part of the counterculture. They may not be representative, but they must beincluded. I would like to continue my study of this fascinating era by going through transcriptsof speeches given by the leaders of the counterculture movement and reading articles writtenabout them at the time.
I am searching for diaries of members of the counterculture, so I maytake a look into what they were thinking and feeling at the time. I also plan to meet with some ofthe musicians of the time, and interview them in regards of how they feel their music effected theyouth movement and whether or not they had regrets over what their music did or did not do. I have not yet been able to find interviews with Abbie Hoffman or Jerry Rubin as I hadhoped, but I plan to continue searching for them. I would also like to read more into the historyof the militant groups, such as The Black Panthers and the Weather Underground. My fatherwent to high school with a member of the Weather Underground who was involved in some ofthe bombings that took place, I intend on locating her and interviewing her to find out what kindof influences caused them to become violent.
Bibliography?BibliographyBessman, Jim. ?Rhino Compilation Recalls Monterey Fest? Billboard. vol. 104 August 29, 1992. 10-12. Bromell, Nicholas.
?Both Sides of Bob Dylan; Public Memory, the Sixties, and the Politics ofMeaning,? Tikkun (July-August 1995): 13-21. Burner, David. Making Peace With The 60’s. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1996. Thisbook allows the reader easily find out about radical movements of the sixties.
It tracesthe path of the movement of the silent majority and the counterculture. Collier, Peter and Horowitz, David. Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the Sixties. New York: Summit Books, 1989.
This book provides valuable information on theextreme radical parties, Horowitz was a member of various factions and helps the readerto understand the mind frame of the people at the time. One also needs to keep in mindthat Horowitz is now a right wing believer, so his views may be biased. Diggins, John P. The American Left in the Twentieth Century. New York: Harcourt BraceJovanovich, Inc.
, 1973. Diggins provides an up close look at the history of the Leftistmovement throughout the 20th century. Dowling, Claudia. ?Kent State,? Life (May 1990): 137-143. Farrell, James. Spirit of the Sixties: Making Postwar Radicalism.
New York: Routledge, 1997. I have used the extensive bibliography in this book to help find additional sources. Farrell also investigates the counterculture lifestyle in a thoughtful and effective manner. Foner, Philip S.
The Black Panthers Speak. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1970. The Black Panthers Speak tells the Panther story in their own words, it tells you theirbeliefs and their actions from their point of view.
Garofalo, Reebee. Rockin the Boat: Mass Music ; Mass Movements. Boston: South End Press, 1992. Traces the path of music in revolution, does not cover sixties very well, makes thisa weak source.
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edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Chicago7/Ginsberg. html. This allows thereader to better understand the riots at the 68′ Convention. Gitlin, Todd. The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980. Shows how the media helpedshape the counterculture, and how they were viewedGitlin, Todd. The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage. New York: Bantam Books, 1987. Thisbook provides vast information on the sixties, Gitlin focuses on all of the factionsthroughout the decade.
His views seem unbiased, and he provides a number of footnotesand sources. Harrison, Benjamin T. ?Roots of the Anti-Vietnam War Movement,? Studies in Conflict andTerrorism (April-June 1993): 99-110. Hayden, Tom. Trial.
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Hoffman, Abbie. Revolution for the Hell of It. New York: Dial Press, 1968. ——————— Steal This Book.
Worcester, Mass: Jack Hoffman Presents, n. d. ———————. ?Abbie Hoffman on the Chicago 7. ? Woodstock 69 Program Guide.
A printing of Hoffman on riots/conspiracy to riot taken from the Woodstock Program. ——————— ?Testimony of Abbie Hoffman in Chicago Seven Trial?www. law. umkc. edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Chicago7/Hoffman. html.
This allows thereader to better understand the riots at the 68′ Convention. Hopkins, Jerry. No One Here Gets Out Alive. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1997.
JerryHopkins provides a look into the life of Jim Morrison, in this look he demonstrates thepower that music holds over the people. Horowitz, David. Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey. New York: Free Press, 1997. Horowitz, David. ?Scenes From the 60’s: One Radical’s Story,? The American Enterprise (May-June 1997): 28-37.
In this article, Horowitz discusses some of the more controversialevents of the sixties, he discusses the Chicago riots, the Black Panthers, and more. Thisarticle provides a look into the radical movement not normally seen. Must be read withcaution, Horowitz may be biased. Kimball, ?The Project of Rejuvenilization,? New Criterion (May 1998): 4-12.
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Voirst, Milton. Fire in the Streets: America in the 1960’s. New York, New York: Simon andSchuster, 1980.History Essays