The Digger Concept of ‘Free’ by Peter Coyote

Diggers Free City News proclaiming the “Death of Hippy” on October 6, 1967

“The original Digger movement began in England in April of 1649. Oliver ‘Ironsides’ Cromwell, executioner of King Charles I, was now the protector of the empire. Cromwell had participated in the great insurgency that established constitutional monarchy in Britain. For many of his followers, however, this was not enough, and Gerrard Winstanley, a London cloth merchant and dissenting Christian, published a pamphlet, Truth Lifting up Its Head Above the Scandals, which established what became the basic principles of anarchy: that powercorrupts; private property and freedom are mutually exclusive; and only in a society without rulers can people be free to act according to their consciences. His pamphlet The Law of Freedom in a Platform was dedicated to Cromwell. … The San Francisco Diggers originated in the conjunction of the visionary acuity of Billy Murcott, a reclusive childhood friend of Emmett Grogran’s, and Emmett’s own genius as an actor and his flair for public theater. Billy had intuited that people had internalized cultural premises about the sanctity of private property and capital so completely as to have become addicted to wealth and status; the enchantment ran so deep and the identity with job was so absolute as to have eradicated inner wildness and personal expression not condoned by society. … From the Digger perspective, ideological analysis was often one more means of delaying the action necessary to manifest an alternative. Furthermore, ideological perspectives always devalue individuals and serve as the justification to sacrifice them when the ideology is threatened. As a case in point, consider Robert McNamara, sacrificing a generation of youth in Vietnam after concluding that the war was pointless, because he did not want to tarnish the dignity of the nation’s leaders by criticizing them. We used to joke among ourselves that the Diggers would be ‘put up against the wall’ not by the FBI or other forces of domestic oppression but by our peers on the Left who would readily sacrifice anyone who created impediments to their power and authority. …”
Found SF (Video)

The Digger Free Store

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Hippie, Street theater, Vietnam War and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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