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Les Diggers de SF

A People's History of the Sixties

To assure that our history survives the inevitable tendency of revisionism, it's critically important that we grow our own versions of what happened and why. This page is where we will publish recollections, memoirs, histories of the Digger movement and the rise of the Sixties counterculture.

We have six chapters from Peter Coyote's memoir of the Sixties (published as Sleeping Where I Fall, here as Free Fall Chronicles). We also have Ramon Sender Barayon's Home Free Home, a detailed and beautifully written history of the Morningstar and Wheeler's Ranch free land communities. There is an article on the Artists Liberation Front, and a section for Oral Histories.

For any social movement, there is a buildup, a prelude. The San Francisco Bay area provided a fertile ground for the growth of new movements: artistic, political, social, and cultural. The Diggers seemed to combine all these elements in their ideas, and presented a message that appealed to hippies and revolutionaries, to priests as well as poets. The following topics mark the digger movement's birth and rise in the midst of the turbulent social history of the mid-to-late sixties. 

Seeds (1955-65)

  • North Beach and the Beat Poetry Renaissance
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Berkeley Free Speech Movement
  • The Merry Pranksters
  • San Francisco Mime Troupe
  • Haight Ashbury Rising
  • Vietnam and The Anti-War (née Peace) Movement

Sprouts (1965-66)

Flowers (1966-68)

New Seeds (1967 on)

Digger Resonance

Historical Praxis

  • Thucydides
    • With reference to the speeches in this history, some were delivered before the war began, others while it was going on; some I heard myself, others I got from various quarters; it was in all cases difficult to carry them word for word in one's memory, so my habit has been to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by the various occasions, of course adhering as closely as possible to the general sense of what they really said. And with reference to the narrative of events, far from permitting myself to derive it from the first source that came to hand, I did not even trust my own impressions, but it rests partly on what I saw myself, partly on what others saw for me, the accuracy of the report being always tried by the most severe and detailed tests possible. My conclusions have cost me some labour from the want of coincidence between accounts of the same occurrences by different eye-witnesses, arising sometimes from imperfect memory, sometimes from undue partiality for one side or the other. The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest; but if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future, which in the course of human things must resemble if it does not reflect it, I shall be content. In fine, I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession for all time.
  • Serendipity
    • To authenticate a reminiscence, to ferret out small facts and make large inferences, to see connections, to ambulate mentally — these are the tasks of detectives who work with books. The wider their frame of reference and the keener their skills, the more productive their detection.

      They need two guardians as well: a firm and unwavering skepticism at their right hand and the Prince of Serendip at their left. Then their adventures will be all but limitless, for the books that possess them are the record of life itself.

      —"Adventures of a Literary Sleuth" by Madeleine B. Stern
  • Ringolevio by Emmett Grogan.
Cover sheet for the first of the Free City News compilations. The Free City Collective used the same Gestetner machines that the Communication Company had been printing on from January to August, 1967. They published Free City News from Fall, 1967 to Spring, 1968.
 
Last updated December 15, 2013
Home page located at: http://www.diggers.org