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Planetedge Posters

Final Digger Series
1969, Onward to the Planet

Context for 1969

After the Summer Solstice events of 1968, Digger and Free City energies continued to disperse out of the city into country communal living situations. Some stayed back. Peter Berg and Kelly Hart worked on editing the Diggers' homemade film. NOWSREAL had been shot during the spring of 1968 (from "equinox to solstice") and the Berg/Hart edit was ready for viewing in late 1968. It was shown at community events and underground gatherings occasionally over the next decade.

In 1969, the People's Park movement in Berkeley and subsequent street battles saw the involvement of many who had taken part in Digger activities. People's Park represented the idea of creating and defending land dedicated to public commons. As the Digger impulse first coalesced around free food in the Panhandle that strip of public space adjoining and nurturing the emerging Haight-Ashbury in 1966 so too People's Park was the nesting ground for a countercultural ecological awareness in 1969.

Also in 1969, Kaliflower began publication in April, as the first free intercommunal news magazine distributed by hand to a network of communes that by 1972 numbered over 300. Kaliflower was published by the Free Print Shop commune on Sutter Street. Several of the Digger communal households would become regular stops on the Kaliflower route. Each Thursday, communal members would gather at the Sutter Street Commune to help bind then deliver that week's issue. Each delivery route would entail a dozen or so communes. Samurai Bob, one of the Diggers, became the inveterate Kaliflower deliverer for Marin County which included stops at the Red House in Forest Knolls and Olema in Point Reyes. [Lew Welch wrote a poem about his visit to Olema. Peter Coyote reads and discusses Lew's poem here.]

All of this is to show how wrong is the traditional narrative of historians and pundits who claim that the Haight-Ashbury was dead by the end of the Summer of Love. Police harassment was crucial for driving the counterculture back underground. For a brief moment, the politics of ecstasy had bloomed in city streets and parks, even in the face of police harassment from the earliest stirrings. Far from the tolerance that is now considered a hallmark of San Francisco's image [for example, the introductory dialogue in the film San Francisco 2.0 by Alexandra Pelosi] the history of the Haight-Ashbury shows that public intolerance was instead the Establishment's initial and ongoing response. Pitched street battles on Haight Street between the San Francisco Police Department's Tactical ("Tac") Squad and the hippies during the Summer of Love was a crucial factor that prompted the dispersal out of the Haight. But the counterculture didn't disappear. It wasn't, as one writer would have, "sadly ephemeral" [*] The history of the Haight-Ashbury counterculture parallels the arc of the Digger movement. The Diggers emerged out of the San Francisco Mime Troupe which had evolved from indoor performances to outdoor commedia dell'arte shows in the parks. From the Mime Troupe's outdoor stage in public parks, the Diggers jumped into the public streets to carry out their notion of agitprop and guerrilla theater. The Haight (and the nearby Panhandle) was a stage for the Digger visions of a Free City and alternative society. After the tidal wave of young visitors and the City's subsequent crackdown, the public face of the scene collapsed. But instead of fading away, the Diggers shifted their energies and carried on. Even after the series of posters on this page, Diggers continued to collaborate in the following decades.

Planetedge

The posters on this page represent the final series of Digger manifestos published in 1969.  Each poster was double-sided. The six images (below) would be published as a series of three 17" x 22" posters. The series would be known as the "Planetedge posters" for the title of one of the posters in the series. Also included below are two subsequent posters written by Peter Berg. The Planetedge (and subsequent posters) are part of the continuum of deep ecology that can be seen from the early Digger days sharing hot stew in the Panhandle while singing about the evil of automobiles; to the articles in the Digger Papers warning of climate apocalypse; and, continuing with the production and distribution of the early Planet Drum bundles to connect disparate outposts of ecological consciousness. [**] This arc of social movement would lead to the spawning of the bioregional movement.

Citations for the references mentioned:

[*] Cole, Tom. A Short History of San Francisco. With a foreword by Malcolm Margolin. Berkeley: Heyday, 2014, p. 141.

[**] Barb, Oct 21 1966, p 3, Panhandle free feeds; Digger Papers, Aug 1968, "Final City Tap City," "Dialectics of Liberation"; www.planetdrum.org for the Planet Drum bundles and subsequent writings on bioregionalism.


Last Digger / Free City event, Summer Solstice 1968

Kaliflower, v1, n1, April 1969


Title screen for Nowsreal, 1968

 

 

Gallery of Planetedge Posters

 
Click on images for expanded view.
 
Poster 1, Side A, Title:

PLANETEDGE

 

Poster 1, Side B, First lines:

"if you look at the style of life and the orientation of the Pacific Basin people / they're much more alike than you would think of from the way they've divided up"

Poster 2, Side A, Title of poem:

Song of the Soul to Itself on a Rooftop

 

Poster 2, Side B, First line:

"all of our ships will come in, he said"

 

Poster 3, Side A, First lines:

"planet earth is much more far out than the human brain | three billion human brains"

 

Poster 3, Side B,

[Unnamed artwork]

 

   

After Planetedge ...

 
Single sided poster, Title:

Automated Rites of the Obsolete Future?

Poster by Peter Berg, distributed at the First United Nations Conference on the Human Environment which took place in Stockholm, Sweden, 1972.
Note: Peter signed this manifesto, the first time he took credit for the long line of Digger sheets and manifestos he had written.
Poster, Side A,Title:

Amble Towards Continent Congress

Planet Drum Bundle 1976
Written (and signed) by Peter Berg

 

Poster, Side B, Title:

Amble...

(continued)

 


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