Monday, 16 February 2009

A Trumpet to Arms: Alternative Media in America

by David Armstrong

The underground press augmented its dispatches on the war in Vietnam with reports on the war at home--the repression of peace demonstrators by authorities, maps and guides for major marches, notices of upcoming meetings and rallies. In 1967, folksinger Phil Ochs wrote an article for the Los Angeles Free Press announcing a "The-War-Is-Over" rally directly across the street from a $500-a-plate dinner for Lyndon Johnson in Century City. Ochs planned to charge a one-cent admission to his rally, at which radicals would celebrate the spirit of resistance and look to the day when the war was really over. When Los Angeles police, swinging nightsticks, broke up the demonstration, the event made national news. The following year, Ochs recorded his song "The War Is Over," which became one of his best-known efforts, pointing up the intimate connections among underground media, radical musicians, and the peace movement as a whole.

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