The underground press were the independently published and distributed underground papers associated with the counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and other western nations.
The term "underground press" is also used to refer to illegal publications produced against the wishes of oppressive regimes. In German occupied Europe, for example, or the samizdat and bibuła in the Soviet Union and Poland respectively.
This movement borrowed the name from previous "underground presses" such as the Dutch underground press during the Nazi occupations of the 1940s. The French resistance published a large and active underground press that printed over 2 million newspapers a month; the leading titles were Combat, Libération, Défense de la France, and Le Franc-Tireur. Each paper was the organ of a separate resistance network, and funds were provided from Allied headquarters in London and distributed to the different papers by resistance leader Jean Moulin. Allied prisoners of war (POWs) published an underground newspaper called Pow wow. In Eastern Europe, also since approximately the 1940, underground publications were known by the name samizdat. Those predecessors were truly "underground," meaning they were illegal, thus published and distributed covertly. While the countercultural "underground" papers frequently battled with governmental authorities, for the most part they were distributed openly through a network of street vendors, newsstands and head shops, and thus reached a wide audience.
The underground press in the 1960s and 1970s existed in most countries with high GDP per capita and freedom of the press; similar publications existed in some developing countries and as part of the samizdat movement in the communist states, notably Czechoslovakia. Published as weeklies, monthlies, or "occasionals", and usually associated with left-wing politics, they evolved on the one hand into today's alternative weeklies and on the other into zines.
The underground press offered a platform to the socially impotent and mirrored the changing way of life in the UK underground.
Police harassment of the British underground in general became commonplace, to the point that in 1967 the police seemed to focus in particular on the apparent source of agitation: the underground press. The police campaign may have had an effect contrary to that which was presumably intended. If anything, according to one or two who were there at the time, it actually made the underground press stronger. "It focused attention, stiffened resolve, and tended to confirm that what we were doing was considered dangerous to the establishment", remembered Mick Farren. From April 1967, and for some while later, the police raided the offices of International Times to try, it was alleged, to force the paper out of business. In order to raise money for IT a benefit event was put together, "The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream" Alexandra Palace on 29 April 1967.
On one occasion - in the wake of yet another raid on IT - London's alternative press, somewhat astonishingly, succeeded in pulling off what was billed as a 'reprisal attack' on the police. The paper Black Dwarf published a detailed floor-by-floor 'Guide to Scotland Yard,' complete with diagrams, descriptions of locks on particular doors, and snippets of overheard conversation. The anonymous author, or 'blue dwarf,' as he styled himself,' claimed to have perused archive files, and even to have sampled one or two brands of scotch in the Commissioner's office. The London Evening Standard headlined the incident as "Raid on the Yard". A day or two later The Daily Telegraph announced that the prank had resulted in all security passes to the police headquarters having to be withdrawn and then re-issued.
By the end of the decade, community artists and bands such as Pink Floyd, (before they "went commercial"), the The Deviants, Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, Michael Moorcock and Steve Peregrin Took would arise in a symbiotic co-operation with the underground press. The underground press publicised these bands and this made it possible for them to tour and get record deals. The band members travelled around spreading the ethos and the demand for the newspapers and magazines grew and flourished for a while.
The flaunting of sexuality within the underground press provoked prosecution. IT was taken to court for publishing small ads for homosexuals; despite the 1967 legalisation of homosexuality between consenting adults in private importuning remained subject to prosecution. The Oz "School Kids" issue, brought charges against the three Oz editors who were convicted and given jail sentences. This was the first time the Obscene Publications Act 1959 was combined with a moral conspiracy charge. The convictions were, however, overturned on appeal.
A 1980 review identified some 70 such publications around the United Kingdom but estimated that the true number could well have run into hundreds. Such papers were usually published anonymously, for fear of the UK's draconian libel laws. They followed a broad anarchist, libertarian, left-wing of the Labour Party, socialist approach but the philosophy of a paper was usually flexible as those responsible for its production came and went. Most papers were run on collective principles.
In the U.S. the term underground newspaper generally refers to an independent (and typically smaller) newspaper focusing on unpopular themes or counterculture issues. Typically, these tend to be politically to the left or far left.
More narrowly, in the US the term "underground newspaper" most often refers to publications of the period 1965-1973, when a sort of boom or craze for local tabloid underground newspapers swept the country in the wake of court decisions making prosecution for obscenity far more difficult. These publications became the voice of the rising New Left and the hippie/psychedelic/rock and roll counterculture of the 1960s in America, and a focal point of opposition to the Vietnam War and the draft.
In the period 1969-1970 a number of these papers grew more militant and began to openly discuss armed revolution against the state, printing manuals for bombing and urging readers to buy guns; but this new trend of the pacifistic underground press toward violent confrontation soon fell silent after the rise and fall of the Weatherman Underground and the tragic shootings at Kent State. By the end of 1972, with the end of the draft and the winding down of the Vietnam War there was increasingly little reason for the underground press to exist. A number of papers passed out of existence during this time; among the survivors a newer and less polemical view toward middle-class values and working within the system emerged. The underground press began to evolve into the socially conscious, life-style oriented alternative press that predominates this form of weekly print media in 2013 in North America.
A 1971 roster, published in Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book, listed 271 UPS-affiliated papers; 11 were in Canada, 23 in Europe, and the remainder in the United States. According to historian John McMillian, writing in his 2010 book Smoking Typewriters, the underground press' combined readership eventually reached into the millions.
Many of the papers faced official harassment on a regular basis; local police repeatedly raided and busted up the offices of Dallas Notes and jailed editor Stoney Burns on drug charges, charged Atlanta's Great Speckled Bird and others with obscenity, arrested street vendors, and pressured local printers not to print underground papers. In Austin, the regents at the University of Texas sued The Rag to prevent circulation on campus but the ACLU successfully defended the paper's First Amendment rights before the U.S. Supreme Court. In an apparent attempt to shut down The Spectator in Bloomington, Indiana, editor James Retherford was briefly imprisoned for alleged violations of the Selective Service laws; his conviction was overturned and the prosecutors were rebuked by a federal judge. The offices of Houston's Space City! were bombed and its windows repeatedly shot out; similar drive-by shootings, firebombings, break-ins and trashings were carried out on the offices of many underground papers around the country, fortunately without causing any fatalities. In Houston as in many other cities the attackers, never identified, were suspected of being off-duty military or police personnel, or members of the Ku Klux Klan or Minuteman organizations. Some of the most violent attacks were carried out against the underground press in San Diego. In 1976 the San Diego Union reported that the attacks in 1971 and 1972 had been carried out by a right-wing paramilitary group calling itself the Secret Army Organization, which had ties to the local office of the FBI.
During this period there was also a widespread high school underground press movement circulating unauthorized student-published tabloids and mimeographed sheets at hundreds of high schools around the US. Most of these papers put out only a few issues, running off a few hundred copies of each and circulating them only at one local school, although there was one system-wide antiwar high school underground paper produced in New York in 1969 with a 10,000 copy press run. And Houston's Little Red Schoolhouse, a city-wide underground paper published by high school students, was founded in 1970.
Most papers operated on a shoestring budget, pasting up camera-ready copy on layout sheets on the editor's kitchen table, with labor performed by unpaid, non-union volunteers. Typesetting costs, which at the time were wiping out many established big city papers, were avoided by typing up copy on a rented or borrowed IBM Selectric typewriter to be pasted up by hand. As one observer commented with only slight hyperbole, students were financing the publication of these papers out of their lunch money.
During the 1960s and 1970s, there were also a number of left political periodicals with some of the same concerns of the underground press. Some of these periodicals joined the Underground Press Syndicate to gain services such as microfilming, advertising, and the free exchange of articles and newspapers. Examples include The Black Panther (the paper of the Black Panther Party, Oakland, California), and The Guardian, New York City; both of which had national distribution.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted surveillance and disruption activities on the underground press in the United States, including a campaign to destroy the alternative agency Liberation News Service. As part of its COINTELPRO designed to discredit and infiltrate radical New Left groups, the FBI also launched phony underground newspapers such as the Armageddon News at Indiana University Bloomington, The Longhorn Tale at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Rational Observer at American University in Washington, D.C. The FBI also ran the Pacific International News Service in San Francisco, the Chicago Midwest News, and the New York Press Service. Many of these organizations consisted of little more than a post office box and a letterhead, designed to enable the FBI to receive exchange copies of underground press publications and send undercover observers to underground press gatherings.
The Georgia Straight outlived the underground movement, evolving into an alternative weekly still published today; Fifth Estate survives as an anarchist magazine. The Rag—which published for 11 years in Austin (1966–1977) -- was revived in 2006 as an online publication, The Rag Blog, which now has a wide following in the progressive blogosphere and whose contributors include many veterans of the original underground press.
Free Your Mind
Your experience of life begins and ends in your mind. Begins, as everything you see, feel, and experience will be colored by your thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Ends, as your interpretation of events will determine your response, your memories, and your enjoyment or displeasure.
How much of this process is truly yours, and how much has been predetermined for you? Do you live life on your own terms, or have you been programmed to follow the herd? Think about how your last twenty-four hours was spent. Then think about the month, the year, and the decade that preceded you reading this paragraph. How much of it was spent thinking and doing that which is truly important to you? How much of it was stolen, or merely frittered away? Ever wondered if there was another way?
There is another way, but you won't find it by entering a church, watching a ball game, reading the newspaper or haunting a shopping mall. Your mind has abilities it has never imagined, and has accepted limitations it would be well served to reject. Myriad influences have taught you to live in submission, often in ways you do not consciously realize. You are free to reject these limitations, but only if you awaken to your predicament.
There is no freedom in submission, no dignity in obedience, no self-respect in servitude. The much-maligned concept of anarchy is not only inherent to individual freedom, true mental freedom is impossible without it. The demand for submission to external authorities which so many take for granted, including the all-too-common belief that external control of our minds and lives is good or even necessary, is one of history's greatest cons. Some have even been deceived into believing that even the anarchist movement has leaders to which anarchists must submit. Nonsense.
Although great value may be gained from their words, a person does not have to read and agree with Kropotkin, Goldman or Bakunin to be an anarchist. The phrase "anarchist leaders" is not only an oxymoron, it is an abomination. Nor are most anarchists bomb throwing arsonists. Most anarchists are simply self-aware humans who have outgrown and abandoned the need for others to tell them what to think and how to live.
From: Mental Anarchy
Welcome to the Underground
The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century enslaved people of African descent in the United States in efforts to escape to free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. The term is also applied to the abolitionists, both black and white, free and enslaved, who aided the fugitives. Various other routes led to Mexico or overseas. An "Underground Railroad" running south toward Florida, then a Spanish possession, existed from the late 17th century until shortly after the American Revolution. However, the network now generally known as the Underground Railroad was formed in the early 19th century, and reached its height between 1850 and 1860. One estimate suggests that by 1850, 100,000 slaves had escaped via the "Railroad".
The escape network was not literally underground nor a railroad. It was figuratively "underground" in the sense of being an underground resistance. It was known as a "railroad" by way of the use of rail terminology in the code. The Underground Railroad consisted of meeting points, secret routes, transportation, and safe houses, and personal assistance provided by abolitionist sympathizers. Participants generally organized in small, independent groups; this helped to maintain secrecy because individuals knew some connecting "stations" along the route but knew few details of their immediate area. Escaped slaves would move north along the route from one way station to the next. "Conductors" on the railroad came from various backgrounds and included free-born blacks, white abolitionists, former slaves (either escaped or manumitted), and Native Americans.
Using biblical references, fugitives referred to Canada as the "Promised Land" and the Ohio River as the "River Jordan", which marked the boundary between slave states and free states.
A Brief History of the American Indian Movement
By Laura Waterman Wittstock and Elaine J. Salinas
In the 30 years of its formal history, the American Indian Movement (AIM) has given witness to a great many changes. We say formal history, because the movement existed for 500 years without a name. The leaders and members of today’s AIM never fail to remember all of those who have traveled on before, having given their talent and their lives for the survival of the people.
At the core of the movement is Indian leadership under the direction of NeeGawNwayWeeDun, Clyde H. Bellecourt, and others. Making steady progress, the movement has transformed policy making into programs and organizations that have served Indian people in many communities. These policies have consistently been made in consultation with spiritual leaders and elders. The success of these efforts is indisputable, but perhaps even greater than the accomplishments is the vision defining what AIM stands for.
Indian people were never intended to survive the settlement of Europeans in the Western Hemisphere, our Turtle Island. With the strength of a spiritual base, AIM has been able to clearly articulate the claims of Native Nations and has had the will and intellect to put forth those claims.
The movement was founded to turn the attention of Indian people toward a renewal of spirituality which would impart the strength of resolve needed to reverse the ruinous policies of the United States, Canada, and other colonialist governments of Central and South America. At the heart of AIM is deep spirituality and a belief in the connectedness of all Indian people.
During the past thirty years, The American Indian Movement has organized communities and created opportunities for people across the Americas and Canada. AIM is headquartered in Minneapolis with chapters in many other cities, rural areas and Indian Nations.
AIM has repeatedly brought successful suit against the federal government for the protection of the rights of Native Nations guaranteed in treaties, sovereignty, the United States Constitution, and laws.
The philosophy of self-determination upon which the movement is built is deeply rooted in traditional spirituality, culture, language and history. AIM develops partnerships to address the common needs of the people. Its first mandate is to ensure the fulfillment of treaties made with the United States. This is the clear and unwavering vision of The American Indian Movement.
Witold Pilecki, a 39-year old veteran of the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1921 who fought against the initial Nazi Germany's invasion and a member of the Polish resistance, voluntarily allowed himself to be captured by the Germans and sent to Auschwitz in 1940. Pilecki's mission was to allow himself to be arrested and, once inside Auschwitz, to collect intelligence for the Polish resistance in the country and the government-in-exile in London, and to organize a resistance from inside the camp.
During the next three years, Pilecki was involved in one of the most dangerous intelligence-gathering and resistance operations of the war. And began recruiting members for an underground resistance group that he organized into a coherent movement. He began sending information about what was going on inside the camp and confirming that the Nazi's were seeking the extermination of the Jews as early as 1941. Pilecki used a courier system that the Polish Resistance operated throughout occupied Europe to channel the reports to the Allies. Documents released from the Polish Archives that provided details of these reports again raised questions as to why the Allies, particularly Winston Churchill, never did anything to put an end to the atrocities being committed that they learned of so early in the war.
By 1942, Pilecki's resistance group had learned of the existence of the gas chambers and began work on several plans to liberate Auschwitz, including one in which the RAF would bomb the walls or Free Polish paratroopers would fly in from Britain. In 1943, when Pilecki realized that the Allies did not have plans to liberate the camp, he escaped with two other prisoners after he voluntarily spent 2½ years at the camp smuggling out its darkest secrets to the Allies. The documents released from the Polish Archives also included a Gestapo manhunt alert following Pilecki's escape.
In 1944, Pilecki was captured while fighting in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 and spent the rest of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp. He joined the Free Polish troops in Italy in July of 1945 and agreed to return to Poland and gather intelligence on its takeover by the Soviets. Pilecki was caught by the Polish Communist regime, tortured, interrogated on his espionage, and executed following a trial at which he was given three death sentences. Note that relatively high number of the communist judicial system in Poland were Jews. Pilecki was executed on May 25, 1948 at Warsaw's Mokotow Prison.
Michael Schudrich, the Chief Rabbi of Poland, said that Pilecki was “an example of inexplicable goodness at a time of inexplicable evil. There is ever-growing awareness of Poles helping Jews in the Holocaust, and how they paid with their lives, like Pilecki. We must honor these examples and follow them today in the parts of the world where there are horrors again.” He authored three reports about life inside the camp for the Polish resistance. During his incarceration, Pilecki witnessed from the inside Auschwitz's transformation from a detention facility for political prisoners and Soviet soldiers into one of the Nazi's deadliest killing machines.
The details of Pilecki's bravery could not truly emerge until after the collapse of Communism in 1989. He received posthumously the Order of Polonia Restituta in 1995 and the Order of the White Eagle, the highest Polish decoration in 2006.
An English translation of Pilecki's third and most comprehensive report -- a primary source for this article -- was recently published as a book titled The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery . It is a fascinating first-hand account of virtually all aspects of life inside the camp. The original document is in the custody of the Polish Underground Movement Study Trust in London.
THANK YOU for stopping by Underground America Inc.
Do yourself a favor. Think for yourself. Be your own person. Question everything. Stand for principle. Champion individual liberty and self-ownership where you can. Develop a strong moral code. Be kind to others. Do no harm, unless that harm is warranted. Pretty obvious stuff...but people who hold to these things in their hearts seem to be disappearing from the earth at an accelerated rate. Stay safe, my friends. Thanks for being here.
How to Protest / End Slavery
LEAKED College Textbooks
Who's Constitution? Are you safe? Are you happy? Are you really free?
Don't ask for your privacy back, take it back
(How to) Openly FIGHT the Emerging Police State
Police Brutality is as American as Apple pie
How to File a Complaint against a Police Officer
Victims of Free Speech
Police Arrest People for Facebook post
Top Ten Reasons Not to Talk to the Police/FBI
No Warrant No Problem
Know Your Rights: Police Brutality
Know Your Rights: Police Dogs
Know Your Rights: ICE
COINTELPRO (then and now)
US Justice System IS Racist
NYPD: Racial Profiling IS a part of the system
Local Police are also members of the KKK
Over 46,000 citizens are in US jails who never committed a crime
Police Tactics and How to Beat them
Police Torture and Interrogations
Take Direct Action against the Police
5 Ways to beat Police Brutality
Torture Inc. America's Brutal Prison System
11 Ways that US jails/prisons are cruel and unusual
Solitary Confinement IS Torture
There's now a website that snitches on SNITCHES
What is / How to Darkweb
Beat ANY DRUG TEST for FREE
How to BEAT Stingray, NSA, DHS, and FBI surveillance
CENSORED by US GOV from Internet
Heroin Do's and Don'ts
By Christopher R Rice
This is a short history of the Underground. In light of today's political climate an underground is more important than ever. But first, what is the Underground? The underground is not right wing or left wing, black or white, in the 1800's the Underground railroad helped to free the slaves, in 1940's Germany the Underground worked to free the Jews. And yet the Underground has no religion.
The Underground believes that no one is free until we are all free.
Freedom is believed to be God given because we are not born into bondage or debt. The Underground sees everyone, black, white, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist or atheist as sons of the same God. The Underground fights for everyone's freedom and will not stop until everyone is free. Here is a very brief history of the Underground:
“To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality."
General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century, translated by John Beverly Robinson (London: Freedom Press, 1923), pp. 293-294.”
― Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
“Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.”
― Edward Abbey
"If this is the price to be paid for an idea, then let us pay. There is no need of being troubled about it, afraid, or ashamed. This is the time to boldly say, “Yes, I believe in the displacement of this system of injustice by a just one; I believe in the end of starvation, exposure, and the crimes caused by them; I believe in the human soul regnant over all laws which man has made or will make; I believe there is no peace now, and there will never be peace, so long as one rules over another; I believe in the total disintegration and dissolution of the principle and practice of authority; I am an Anarchist, and if for this you condemn me, I stand ready to receive your condemnation.”
― Voltairine de Cleyre, Exquisite Rebel: The Essays of Voltairine de Cleyre-Anarchist, Feminist, Genius
Spirit of the underground: the 60s rebel
By Barry Miles
What we consider the British counter-culture began in the mid-60s. There had always been a bohemian underground, a discreet gay scene and a community of artists, but they kept their heads down. Full employment had enabled the growth of youth culture – Mary Quant, the Beatles – but many young people wanted to be more than the youth section of the establishment. In LA, they called themselves freaks; in San Francisco, they were hippies; in New York, they were the underground – it was this term we used in London, despite Fleet Street's attempt to dub us Flower Children.
The underground was a catch-all sobriquet for a community of like-minded anti-establishment, anti-war, pro-rock'n'roll individuals, most of whom had a common interest in recreational drugs. They saw peace, exploring a widened area of consciousness, love and sexual experimentation as more worthy of their attention than entering the rat race. The straight, consumerist lifestyle was not to their liking, but they did not object to others living it. But at that time the middle classes still felt they had the right to impose their values on everyone else, which resulted in conflict.
The counterculture was apolitical, as far as party politics was concerned because most politicians were seen as lying hypocrites, serving vested interests, not the people. However, it was active in issue-based campaigns: CND, which many of them were involved in during the early 60s, and the anti-Vietnam war campaign which grew out of that. After 1967 came environmental issues, the gay liberation front and the women's movement.
My involvement came in 1965, when my flatmate John Hopkins (Hoppy) and I looked round the audience at the Albert Hall International Poetry Incarnation – a Beat generation event featuring Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, among many others – and realised that there was no publication that even remotely catered to the interests of this community: 7,000 people at a poetry reading! We thought we had better start one ourselves, and after a few trial publications, Hoppy and I launched International Times (IT). We began as an arts paper, with theatrical reviews and interviews, but we also catered to the real interests of our readers. We had a gay column written by "Elizabeth" – homosexuality was still illegal, so a nom de plume was required – and a drug column (for which ditto) giving the price of pot in various cities and outing known undercover cops. It was not long before we were busted.
Can there still be a counterculture in the age of the internet, when a flashmob can assemble in a matter of hours and the latest cutting-edge art event is watched simultaneously across the globe? The strongest remnant of the old underground is the dopers, but as there are an estimated two to five million people regularly smoking marijuana in the UK, they can hardly be regarded as a countercultural phenomena; more as a major component of the multicultural society we live in.
The underground of IT, and later of ecstasy and raves, ended in the early 90s. You can't have a counterculture when the culture itself is multifaceted, but you can still have an avant garde and you can still drop out. Ultimately, the establishment feeds off the avant garde: street fashions inspire luxury brands, just as the advertising industry trawls the art world for ideas.
The underground papers were produced entirely for idealistic reasons, often communally, and the staff were frequently not paid. The same spirit applies to many experimental art events today. There are still musicians who don't want to be discovered by Simon Cowell. These people are at the cutting edge, breaking the rules of practice and taste, and sometimes the law. But it is more likely to be Saatchi and Saatchi that raids them than the police.
I like to think that Wikileaks is in the tradition of the underground press, particularly as the US is attempting to suppress it, just as it tried to undermine the underground papers that led the anti-Vietnam campaign. Wikileaks combines an old-fashioned "publish and be damned" ethos with the slightly reckless traditions of the underground press, though IT was far more reckless in its naming of undercover cops and informers than anything Wikileaks has done with its carefully redacted releases.
So is there a counterculture? The police certainly think so: infiltrating environmental groups and no doubt the student protest movement as well. Though the travellers are probably the only true countercultural group left in Britain trying to live a life free of interference and surveillance, the spirit lives on in the student protests, animal rights groups, environmental activists and the anti-globalization movement. The establishment clamps down on resistance with one hand, while ripping off the underground arts with the other. In that respect, it's just like the 60s.
London Calling: a Countercultural History of London since 1945, by Barry Miles, is published in paperback by Atlantic Books.