Counterculture, Computing and Participation in the Sixties
Origins of Counterculture The countercultures of the sixties arose as a reaction to the conservative standards of the 1950’s. A generation which grew up with the looming fear of nuclear war, along with the realities of the Cold War and a global repression, became united through this shared experience. Beat generation of New York and San Francisco -Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, Neal Cassidy, William S. Burroughs John F. Kennedy died in 1963
The Old Left Began in the 1930’s Leninists, Trotskyites, and Stalinists Communism gained popularity in the US due to the class imbalances that emerged from the Depression First major student protests in universities Focused on labor issues & social class/bridging the divide between classes.
Emergence of the NEW LEFT Emerged in ‘60s and ‘70s in U.S. and Britain. Came to refer to hippies, college protestors. Inspired by the Black Panther movement SDS (Students for Democratic Society) New Left changed from Old Left’s focus on labor issues-shifted towards civil rights, questioning authority, opposing the Vietnam War. “Anti-Establishment”, Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30 Sought the support of young intellectuals instead of “proletariat” (industrial workers)
U.S. Activists: A time of social change Civil Rights Labor Rights Anti War / Peace Movement Feminism Environmentalism Free Speech Students for a Democratic Society
LSD & the Counterculture Acid played a key role in 1960’s counterculture. Influenced art & music of the time-described as ‘psychedelic’. Timothy Leary was the most famous advocate of LSD Began LSD research experiments at Harvard Joined with hippies to promote LSD “Turn on, tune in, drop out” was the slogan promoting LSD created by Timothy Leary LSD was made illegal in 1966.
Martin Luther King’s assassination triggered violent protests in 115 U.S. cities.
Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in the middle of his presidential campaign.
1968 Democratic Nat’l Convention in Chicago turned into riots when students protested the war; the Nat’l Guard was called in.
Protests worldwide led by students & workers. Campuses became battlegrounds.
France, May of ‘68 Technocracy: Government by technicians; workers controlling their own work. Paris, May 1968 students organized a 2 week labor strike. Goals: abolish class system within the workplace, give control to workers, eliminate management, bring about more technocratic society through direct management and direct profit. This strike marked the largest collapse of an economy in post-industrialized world.
May 1968 Graffiti We want structures that serve people, not people serving structures Commute, work, commute, sleep . . . The liberation of humanity is all or nothing. No replastering, the structure is rotten. Run, comrade, the old world is behind you! Referendum: whether we vote yes or no, it turns us into suckers. Let’s not change bosses, let’s change life Abolish class society Stalinists, your children are with us! Alcohol kills. Take LSD
Media as a Revolutionary Tool Power of pamphlets in spreading of information Independent Newspapers, Journals Television
Disenchantment with the Hippy Movement The counterculture lost its fascination with drugs after the deaths of many hippy icons. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison all died of drug overdoses in 1970-1971. Events of the Altamont Free Concert. 1969 Manson Murders took pace in 1969
The Whole Earth ’LectronicLink Larry's Brilliant idea John Coate, Larry Brilliant, Stewart Brand, Cliff Figallo, Matthew McClure The WELL was a culmination of all these things going on in the 60’s: alternative media, new society, equal rights, global unity, discussions as a form of information
Silicon Valley as a counterculture A new form of migrant workers Collaborative Community Away with traditional hierarchies of the workplace.
Making the well work That it be free. (or cheap) It should be profit making It would be an open-ended universe It would be self-governing It would be a self designing experiment…Early users were to design the system for later users. The usage of the system would co-evolve with the system as it was built. It would be a community, one that reflected the nature of the Whole Earth publications. Business users would NOT be its meat and potatoes