JOHN WILCOCK: First Meeting of the Underground Press Syndicate

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A history underground. Lipstick traces in beautiful art.


I’ve seen in recent years that Rolling Thunder may not be native, or at least is selling new age stuff rather than anything traditional. If so, he took in a lot of people, and maybe influenced the counterculture the wrong way.

But many were. Greenpeace embraced “warriors of the rainbow” which later turned out to come from Europeans, a pamphlet Bob Hunter (the other one) had.

Though that first voyage to Amchitka in 1971 had on board Bob Hunter of the Vancouver Sun, someone reporting to the CBC and Bob Cummings who wrote for the Georgia Straight, vancouver’s underground paper. Bob Cummings was part of an obscenity trial against the Straight.

Michael Bowen was a psychedelic ranger, involved with the Oracle and organizing the Human Be-In in Jan 1967. So maybe this explains why the poster had a plains indian on it.

Ironically “it’s an American dream, includes indians too” probably was cultural appropriation, but maybe gave them a boost too. So Mickey Dolenz wore a headdress at Monterey Pop, but maybe the counterculture set atone tgat ended with people occupying Alcatraz starting on Nov 20 1969.

I seem to recall reading that the Oracle was on the Digger’s list, it being too detached from reality. But then the Digger’s publishing arm, ComCo, was way more underground than weekly papers.

I’ve read that during the Alcatraz occupation, they had a ComCo like system to distribute news.

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Ham radio may be relegated to a punch line for the internet-addled masses, but, a little-known underground network of hippie ham radio operators indeed existed in those days. Many of the operators were denizens of the San Francisco Bay Area, which even then, was a hotbed for electronics enthusiasts who were doing more than just “turning on, tuning in, and dropping out”.

That hippie farm ham radio net went on to provide significant links for underground news between some counter-culture spiritual communities and communes in the late 1960s through the 1970s.

Greenpeace was also using ham radio for its Atlantic anti-whaling campaigns with the ship Rainbow Warrior. When the ship and most of its crew were captured in international waters by Icelandic naval forces and brought to Reykjavik harbour, the navy sealed off the communications room and helm of the Rainbow Warrior, imprisoning some of the crew to their quarters. Iceland effectively cut off their ability to contact the outside world… or so they thought. Nonetheless, the world found out due to a secret ham radio transceiver that was hidden under the radio operator’s bunk. The resourceful hippie radio operator cut a short length of insulated wire from a lamp and used it as a 21 MHz HF SSB antenna, drooping it out of his cabin’s porthole. He was able to contact that original hippie ham radio net, which phone-patched him to Greenpeace HQ and to various news reporters from establishment and underground news organizations. As a result of those front page headlines, Iceland immediately released the ship and crew.


Really? Wow, want to learn more now.

Women Maybe not such a progressive group!

Of course it was progressive. That was the norm at the time.

If it isn’t, obvious there was a book about forty years ago showing tye link between the women’s movement and the civil rights and antiwar movement.

Things changed in part because women were already more out in the world, and fhey got tired of being told their place was in the kitchen and bedroom.

It’s not unsimilar to the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, where people who’d been out in the civik rights movement went to university and felt they were being treated like children.

The status quo pwrpetuates itself. A bitof change is often enough toncause people to question it.

So you can’t really look.back and call something unprogressive, since in the context of the time it wasn’t. But yiu can look back and see the change. We have the advantage of that change.


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