2. The Diggers - 1
3. Crisis Files
This is a Nederlog of Saturday, May 27, 2017.
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment
I have several problems with my computer, my modem, the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible, and my health.
It may be that I'll be off for a few weeks, that is, I will publish nothing or little for a few weeks. I don't know yet, but I will keep you informed in Nederlog.
what I will do for the moment - since I am still looking at 35 sites
every morning - is to list the items I selected, but without any of my
comments. Today I selected four items, and they are below and link to the originals, but on the moment I have no comments, basically because that takes too much work on the moment.
There also is this:
And for the moment there are two more sections:
The Diggers - 1 is the first part of a series on the San Francisco Diggers, who florished fifty years ago, in 1967, in San Francisco, and the Crisis Files are just that: Four items on the crisis selected from browsing 35 sites every morning.
2. The Diggers - 1
I was born in 1950 in Amsterdam (Holland) in a quite radical, quite
leftist and very courageous family and lived the first 20 years of my
life in Amsterdam.
Because I did have a radical background and education, and also because I lived in Amsterdam, I did
notice the Diggers in in their heighday, in 1967, but since so much was
happening in Amsterdam at the time, and also because I was 17 in 1967,
I did not pay much attention to them: I knew they existed, and I knew some things about them, but not much.
But - at long last, I admit - I did inquire into the Diggers
starting in April of 2017, and I found quite a lot of quite interesting
(recent) history and interesting ideas, that I intend to unravel at
least a little in the coming time, in several files that will carry the
name "The Diggers - N" where N is a natural number.
This is the first of these files, and in it I give the background of the San Francisco Diggers, in six items (most of which comprise a lot of text/videos):
First, who were the Diggers? In fact, there were two sets of man and women who were called "Diggers", one around 1650 in England, about whom the last link gives some information, and second the San Francisco Diggers, who took their name from the English Diggers, and who arose in 1966 from the Mime Troupe in San Francisco:
This is from Wikipedia, and I will quote a fair amount from it, because this is the shortest way of introducing the Diggers:
Second, while the above was just a brief introduction to the Diggers, there is a quite large site about the Diggers, which provides many backgrounds, and that is both well-arranged and clear:
The Diggers were a radical community-action group of activists and Street Theatre actors operating from 1966 to 1968, based in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. Their politics have been categorized as "left-wing"; more accurately, they were "community anarchists"
who blended a desire for freedom with a consciousness of the community
in which they lived. They were closely associated and shared a number
of members with the guerrilla theater group San Francisco Mime Troupe.
The Diggers were formed out of after-hours Mime Troupe discussions between Emmett Grogan, Peter Coyote, Peter Berg, and Billy Landout.
The Diggers took their name from the original English Diggers (1649–50) who had promulgated a vision of society free from buying, selling, and private property.
During the mid- and late 1960s, the San Francisco Diggers organized
free music concerts and works of political art, provided free food,
medical care, transport, and temporary housing and opened stores that
gave away stock. Some of their happenings included the Death of Money Parade, Intersection Game, Invisible Circus, and Death of Hippie/Birth of Free
The group sought to create a mini-society free of money and capitalism. One of the first Digger activities was the publishing of various broadsides, which were published by sneaking into the local Students for a Democratic Society office and using their Gestetner
printer. The leaflets were eventually called the "Digger Papers," and
soon morphed into small pamphlets with poetry, psychedelic art, and
essays. The "Digger Papers" often included statements that mocked the
prevailing attitude of the counterculture promoted by less radical
figures like the Haight-Independent Proprietors (HIP), Timothy Leary, and Richard Alpert.
The first paper mocked the acid community, saying "Time to forget
because flowers are beautiful and the sun's not yellow, it's chicken!"
The Digger Papers rarely included authors, although pseudonyms were
sometimes used like "George Metevsky," a reference to the "Mad Bomber" George Metesky.
After some HIP members tried to find out who the Diggers were, Grogan
and Landout responded with a telegram that read, "REGARDING INQUIRIES
CONCERNED WITH THE IDENTITY AND WHEREABOUTS OF THE DIGGERS; HAPPY TO
REPORT THE DIGGERS ARE NOT THAT."
The Diggers provided a free food service in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park in Haight-Ashbury
every day at four o'clock, feeding about 100 people with a stew from
donated or stolen meat and vegetables that was served from behind a
giant yellow picture frame, called the Free Frame of Reference, which
people were required to step through before being served.
They opened numerous Free Stores
in Haight-Ashbury, in which all items were free for the taking or
giving. The stores offered discarded items that were still in usable
condition. The first Free Store, in a six-car garage on Page Street that
they found filled with empty picture frames that they tacked up on the
side of the building, was called the Free Frame of Reference and was
later superseded by the Trip Without a Ticket on Frederick Street. It
was unclear how the stores were funded.
They threw free parties with music provided by the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane
and other bands. They also staged street theater events such as driving
a truck of semi-naked belly dancers through the Financial District,
inviting brokers to climb on board and forget their work. On December
17, 1966, the Diggers held a happening called “The Death of Money” in
which they dressed in animal masks and carried a large coffin full of
fake money down Haight Street, singing “Get out my life, why don’t you
babe?” to the tune of Chopin’s “Death March.”This was a precursor to the happening “The Death of Hippie,” staged in
October 1967. In “The Death of Hippie,” also staged in the
Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, masked participants carried a coffin with
the words "Hippie--Son of Media" on the side. This event was meant to
mark the end of the era of Haight-Ashbury.
The Diggers skillfully used this technique for media relations. Their own publications, notably the Digger Papers,
are the origin of such phrases as "Do your own thing" and "Today is the
first day of the rest of your life." The Diggers fostered and inspired
later groups like the Yippies.
While the Free Food and Medical Clinics were responses to necessary
conditions caused by the enormous influx of young people during the
heyday of the hippie scene, conditions that the San Francisco government
was ignoring, the Diggers' central tenet was to be "authentic". Running
soup kitchens and medical clinics was not the authentic, long-term
concern of the Diggers' founders. After passing those institutions on to
a local Church and Dr. David Smith to continue, the Diggers moved out
of the City, creating various land bases in Forest Knolls, Olema, Covelo, Salmon River, Trinidad, and Black Bear Ranch, California. In those places they integrated with other groups: The Free Bakery, the Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers,
and the Gypsy Truckers, creating The Free Family. That larger group
still exists informally, and many of the Diggers' children and
grandchildren remain close and in contact with one another, and many
(children included) are still involved with progressive causes.
is both a large and a great site, and I have so far not read all of it.
If you are interested in the San Francisco Diggers, this is the first
place to go to, perhaps after reading the first above item.
Third, while the Diggers existed from 1966-1968 in San
Francisco and since then in some communes, their heighday was 50 years
ago. Happily, there have also been made some films about them.
The best film I have seen is the following one:
This is originally French and was made in 1998. It takes 56 minutes and is very
well worth seeing, even though the English comments are spoken by a
French lady who speaks Franglais, and especially her sound was a bit
difficult to follow on my system.
But this seems a quite honest and well-intentioned documentary, and it
also shows quite a lot of former Diggers talking in the Nineties.
Fourth, there is a film that seemed to have been made
by some of the Diggers themselves, and that overlaps some with the
Basically, this is a series of sequences shot while certain things were happening in 1967 or 1968. It is considerably less systematic than the previous item, and if you watch it you should pay attention also to the sound.
Fifth, while quite a few of the Diggers meanwhile have died, and notably Emmett Grogan and Peter Berg, one leading Digger from then is Peter Coyote
and he is still alive, and meanwhile has become a Zen master and a
prominent actor. He is also still an anarchist and maintains a quite
quite a lot of quite interesting material on his site, but he revised
the site the last few days, and while most things I found on the
previous incarnation are still there,
this seems now a little less well organized than the site I read in
April and the beginning of May. (Most interesting written bits now seem
to be here: Coyote in Print.)
Sixth and last, the best story about the Diggers is by one of them, Emmett Grogan:
This is a very
well-told story about the Diggers from Emmett Grogan's point of view.
The link is to a pdf-file of 30 MB that gives the pages 209 to 498 of
his semi-auto- biographical novel "Ringolevio", that was first
published in 1972, and since then twice more.
It is very well worth reading and it is a quite
interesting story, most of which is very probably quite true.
Unfortunately, Emmett Grogan died in 1978, age 35, after an overdose of
heroine. He certainly was a bright man.
All of the above - yes, it is a lot of reading and viewing - serves as an introduction to the San Francisco Diggers.
I like them because they were quite interesting, real leftists, and
anarchists, and because they had quite a large number of interesting
ideas (and indeed more so than other radical leftist group from the Sixties, like the Provos and the French and German student movements) but I do not
quite agree with them and I also think that, while the experiment they
did between 1966 and 1968 was quite interesting and worth doing, it
And there will be soon more files on the Diggers in Nederlog, for they definitely were interesting.
3. Crisis Files
have been writing on the crisis since September 1, 2008 (Dutch) and
with considerably more attention since June 10, 2013 (English).
If you check out the crisis index you will find that I wrote in over eight years nearly 1600 files, that nearly all consisted of a reference to one or more articles that were partially quoted and mostly commented.
I will continue with that, simply because I think the crisis is a very important social, political and economical event, but meanwhile I have turned 67 and need a little rest,
so what I'll be doing the coming weeks (at least), is selecting 3 to 6 files from the 35
sites I consult every morning to see what's happening in the world of politics and econonomics, and present them, but now without comments.
Here is today's selection
1. Dilma Rousseff on Her Ouster, Brazil's Political Crisis & Fighting
These are all well worth reading.
2. Jeremy Corbyn Praised for Denouncing Failed ‘Global War on
3. Believing the Russian ‘Hacking’ Claim
4. Making America Meaner