Preface to Violence Sequences

        From the FSM till the Haight, as the edge of our political action was moving "from Protest to Resistance," we revealed in public theater our rejection of Amerika's institutions and ways and our first experiments with new ones. The message got across to the whole nation through the media, variously distorted. Complex responses began in every class of people at these inescapable signals of impending death and birth  -- not simply of one nation's social and political order, but of an entire human culture. Everyone is still caught up in the surge of first reaction; its rich conflicts have barely begun to sort themselves out.

         But this much was clear instantly: the reaction of Amerika's established order would be violent. When we started behaving weirdly around the San Francisco Bay, the first skirmishes began. After two years of local rehearsal, in 1967 the conflict began to be acted out across the whole country. Amerika began turning openly violent against the young of her dominant class. First the Vietnamese; then the blacks. Now her favored children. The War was coming home in truth -- though only after it was openly declared at the 1968 Democratic Convention, where Amerika's Liberal mask slipped off completely, did the Weatherpeople spring up to say so.

On the Road

        In 1967 I began a schizy life. For three years I spent half my time living in Berkeley, and half traveling around the country, trying to see what was going on, learning how to help it along where I could. Mostly I worked on cmapuses with students, for our new communities were just beginning to form. Mostly my work was organizing and training in the political action of education, with a little general agitating thrown in here and there. Many were at work in similar ways, I moved with some and crossed the wakes of others. Our work developed and changed as quickly as did our lives and the times.

        Here are some notes from this period. They bear only vaguely on the work I was doing. What they have in common is a climate of consciousness, mark of the violence weather on one who was watchful and active. You will notice, I seem paranoid. Why not? (You will also find many examples of male sexism. In this my consciousness was typical of most who were called "leaders" then, before Women's Lib arose to develop the language and basic analysis for us to begin dealing with sexism.)


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