Adding to my recent posts about San Francisco in the 1960′s, I think it’s important to look at the hippies themselves — who were all these long-haired freaks? The question matters for anyone interested in understanding where more recent counter-cultural movements have come from, and it’s one that reveals surprising answers, offering deep, novel veins to be explored, rediscovered and sifted through.
The long-haired kids all over the Bay Area came from many backgrounds for many reasons. I can’t begin to address all of them here, but let’s look at a handful: The New Left, anti-war protest movement was based in Berkeley while their militant, black brothers fought for civil rights out of Oakland. Many of the kids were there for the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, making claims to interest in higher-consciousness with various levels of commitment. Of course, there was a lot of overlap. Of course, I’m forced to generalize in a brief blog post.
The group that most interests me, stood apart from all the others in important ways while simultaneously engaging the city’s culture with provocative performance, theater and art experiments. The Diggers began as a mime troupe that decided that political change was only possible through cultural change so they set about living as if the revolution had already been won.
This is their story: