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November 03, 2007

Terrorism vs. Activism

A few days ago the guy who preemptively set fire to this year's Burning Man was arrested for trying to blow up Grace Cathedral with some explosives tied to his chest.

This is the point when a harmless kook becomes a deadly terror. I'm never great at reading this, which is why 2 wks ago a man in the Mission called me a "flat ass Jap" and then wanted to fight. We didn't, but judging by the fact that he was high as a kite and 120lbs, I'd say it'd have been a fair fight.

I'm reading a book entitled, "The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground". Before now, I just assumed that apart from the Black Panthers, everybody was a drug-loving peacenik during the sixties. Not so. There is a whole camp that went out looking for a fight in the perestroika/tumbling regimes sense. The book starts slow with a backgrounder to civil rights but things have just gotten bad and Cathy Wilkerson has killed 3 friends by blowing up her parent's Greenich Village home. Bombs do that.

When I was 20 everything was black and white. Capitalists WERE pigs, the system WAS corrupt and I was gonna build a universe composed completely of sunshine, found-object art and hippie feminist zines. I just needed to either tumble the system or get off the grid. After reading this book, I've been looking into sixties factoids. Did you know that in 1967, while the Grateful Dead were popularizing the Haight-Ashbury "turn on, tune in, drop out" experience, Dr. Ted Kaczynski was teaching mathematics at Berkeley? Imagine Unabomber tutorial sessions. I'm beginning to realize that the activists in the sixties were just as atomized as we are today. I'm also beginning to realize that the really hardcore ones were kinda freaky.

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