The Digger Papers

“… In a more recent manifestation, the Diggers reappeared in 20th-century San Francisco. Challenging modern industrialization, they referred to it as bureaucratic excess, or garbage. Norman Cohn makes note of the original Diggers in the appendix of his book, The Pursuit of the Millennium. He recognizes the 17th-century Diggers as contemporaries of the Ranters, another very interesting group of ‘spiritual libertines.’ The Ranters were associated with the doctrines of the ‘Brethren of the Free Spirit,’ a millennial movement from the Middle Ages. In giving the background of the Ranters’ formation, Cohn references their contemporaries, the Diggers, a fairly interesting group in their own right, and one that would turn up again in history, in a much different time and place. … Fast forward about 300 years, and cross continents to San Francisco, California. We find evidence of the second coming of the Diggers in an electrifying and remarkable collection entitled BAMN (By Any Means Necessary): Outlaw Manifestos & Ephemera 1965-1970. The book’s editors, Peter Stansill and David Zane Mairowitz, recognize the modern Diggers not only as a reincarnation of the original English communal farmers, but also as a part of the major consciousness shift of the times — ‘the result of a curious international tendency towards parallel thinking which operated throughout the late ’60s’ — another period of social and political instability similar to that of the 17th-century Diggers. The Diggers (including actor Peter Coyote) responded to the 1966 influx of free-thinking young people of the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco with a necessary infrastructure: Free City. Established on the simple premise of providing free services to people who needed them, Free City included a Free Health Clinic, a Free Store, Free News, and later, a Free Bank. The San Francisco Digger manifestos and flyer reprints that appear in BAMN vary quite a bit in content and style (and are rarely attributed to individuals).  …”
The San Francisco Diggers and the Garbage
W – The Digger Papers
The Digger Papers – August 1968
The Harvard Crimson: The Digger Papers – From the Shelf

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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