Emmett Grogan


Emmett Grogan (born Eugene Leo Grogan, November 28, 1942 – April 6, 1978) was a founder of the Diggers, a radical community-action group of Improvisational actors in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. The Diggers took their name from the English Diggers (1649–1650), a radical movement opposed to feudalism, the Church of England and the British Crown. The San Francisco Diggers were a legendary group that evolved out of two radical traditions that thrived in the Bay Area in the mid-1960s: the bohemian/underground art/theater scene, and the New Left/civil rights/peace movement. The Diggers combined street theatre, direct action, and art happenings in their social agenda of creating a Free City. Their most famous activities revolved around distributing free food (‘Free because it’s yours!’) every day in Golden Gate Park, and distributing ‘surplus energy’ at a series of Free Stores (where everything in stock was without a price tag). The Diggers coined various slogans that became part of the counterculture and even the larger society, such as, ‘Do your own thing,’ and ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life.’ … Grogan shunned media attention and became increasingly suspicious of those who sought publicity. In Ringolevio, Grogan discussed the 1967 Human Be-In, criticizing counterculture luminaries Timothy Leary, Jerry Rubin, and especially Abbie Hoffman. Grogan thought the HIP (Haight Independent Proprietors) merchants, led by Ron and Jay Thelin, who had sponsored events like the Human Be-In, were the primary beneficiaries of the events: ‘The HIP merchants were astounded by their own triumph by promoting such a large market for their wares. They became the Western world’s taste makers overnight…’ He objected to the ‘Summer of Love‘ enticing of young people to the Haight-Ashbury to experience hippie life, noting that an influx of residents would cause an ‘immigration crisis’ and the kids who came expecting an already-formed Utopia would end up living a desperate hand-to-mouth existence on the streets. …”
Wikipedia
NY Times: The man in charge of free‐of‐charge (1972)
The Diggers (Video)
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This entry was posted in Civil Rights Mov., Happenings, James Baldwin, Jerry Rubin, Street theater and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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