The Diggers Papers No. 32: "To the Free World"

DiggersPapers32a

DiggersPapers32b

DiggersPapers32c

Click on each image to enlarge.

About these documents:
By late March 1967 the Diggers and their allies in the Haight were being overwhelmed by the influx of newcomers to their neighborhood, many of them runaway youths attracted to the district by mainstream news accounts that had exaggerated the availability of Free: free food, free housing, free music, etc. When they spoke about it, the more authoritarian part of San Francisco’s Establishment—the police and the mayor’s office, the mainstream press—reacted with horror, fear and threats regarding the incoming hippie invasion, rather than dealing with the logistics of the impending housing crisis. “Trip Without a Ticket” was the name of the Diggers’ free store. “To the Free World,” summing up the fears and suspicions of the Diggers and associates, is a prime bit of Diggers analysis; it was probably written by com/co’s Chester Anderson.

Previously posted Diggers Papers:
http://www.arthurmag.com/contributors/diggers

About this series:
Arthur Magazine is proud to present scans of essential documents produced by and about the San Francisco Diggers, who were in many ways the epicentral actors in the Haight-Ashbury during the epic, wildly imaginative period from late ’66 through ’67. The Diggers’ ideas and activities are essential counter-cultural history, sure, but they are also especially relevant to the current era, for reasons that should be obvious to the gentle Arthur reader.

Most of the documents that we are presenting are broadsides originally published on a Gestetner machine owned and operated in the Haight by the novelist/poet Chester Anderson and his protege/sidekick Claude Hayward, who used the name “Communication Company,” or more commonly, “Com/Co.” According to Claude, these broadsides were then “handed out on the street, page by page, super hot media, because the reader trusted the source, which was another freaky looking hippie who had handed it to him/her.”

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About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in JTHomesteader.com with Stephanie Smith.

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