Lessons from Stop the Draft Week 50 years ago

In 1967, protesters filled the streets of Oakland to stop the draft. Seven faced serious charges — and their message still resonates today

With great fanfare PBS is airing a 10-part series about the Vietnam War. Critics charge that under the guise of being even handed, series producers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick say the US and Vietnam share equal blame for the war. Foreign correspondent  Reese Erlich offers a different historical perspective.

October marks the 50th anniversary of Stop the Draft Week, the largest militant anti-Vietnam War demonstration up to that time. Ten thousand people jammed into the streets of downtown Oakland to shutdown the federal draft induction center.

Demonstration organizers, who became known as the Oakland 7, faced an 11-week conspiracy trial. In a major victory for the anti-war movement, a jury acquitted them of all charges…

In October of 1967, the U.S. war effort in Vietnam was failing. In just a few months, Vietnamese rebels launched the Tet Offensive, a political defeat that proved to be a turning point in the US war.

Throughout 1967 President Lyndon Johnson sent more troops to South Vietnam, and that required bigger draft calls. The sons of the very rich and well connected always avoided the draft. Donald Trump received a medical deferment due to “bone spurs” in his heels. They didn’t prevent him from a lifetime of skiing, however…

We didn’t consider ourselves hippies, but the anti-war and counterculture movements were intertwined. Both groups used drugs, listened to rock, dressed unconventionally and engaged in the kind of sex that outraged our parents. But hippies tended to protest society by “dropping out.” We wanted them to “drop in” to the anti-war movement.

We also sought to broaden the anti-war movement by including workers and allying with black, Latino, and Asian activists. Dave Harris and his pacifist allies believed they could do that with an appeal to conscience and traditional, nonviolent tactics.

Others of us argued that working class youth were turned off by traditional pacifism. It was time that anti-war demonstrators become more militant and defend ourselves against police attack.

Our call for militant action was hugely controversial. Of course local politicians, university administrators and business people were opposed. But even most leaders of the mainstream peace movement were hesitant. Our rejection of non-violent tactics ran against the grain of protests at that time. Few leaders and no traditional peace groups endorsed STDW.

But we picked up grassroots support. I still remember walking the streets of Berkeley in early October and seeing scores of houses displaying Stop the Draft Week posters in their windows.

Our timing was spot on. “Our political antennae picked up something out there,” Oakland 7 member Terry Cannon told me years later… (more)

How the mighty have fallen. An unofficial Summer of Love celebration did squeak by with little fanfare in the fall of 2017 in the San Francisco Golden Gate Park Bandshell, with Wavy Gravy and some die hard local bands and their fans.
It is a sad day when San Francisco officials nix the 50th anniversary Summer of Love concert that ushered in the peace movement, especially now that we are dealing with a clash of cultures and political upheaval.
To add insult to injury, Silicon Valley officials and the 49ers Management want to extend a 10 PM noise curfew to allow for later performances to make up for the poor ticket sales at Levis Stadium. Money is king in the the former home of the peace and love movement.
Pay to play or just pay, as California turns itself into the most valuable real estate with the highest rate of poverty and one of the worst education systems in the country.

 

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Danny Kalais

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Danny Kalais performing at Beaux Arts and in his youth at high school. These photos came from the Beaux Arts Collection.

One of the musicians I missed at Beaux Arts was Danny Kalais. Many believed him to be the most creative and talented musician they knew. He had a rather large fan club. This links to the Danny Kalais page: http://www.beauxartsbook.com/Music/Kalais.html

Danny had a daughter with his wife Cheri who never knew him. His daughter, Kim Kerson discovered the Beaux Arts connection and contacted me in hopes of learning more about her parents. I put her in touch with Lynch French, who called Dan Finley. I am sure she would like to hear from others who were close to her parents.

We are so happy to help people connect.

Hi

My name is Kim Kerson. I was born in 1967 and given up for adoption.I have been searching for information on my biological parents for a very long time. I was recently matched to a 1st cousin (Daniel Wiley Kalais’s half sibling, Wanda Heisel) through Ancestry DNA, and found out that I may be the daughter of Daniel Wylie Kalais and Cheryl Dawn Chisholm. Unfortunately his half sister is quite a bit older than him (approaching 89)…and the only information I have found out is through her daughter who did not know him too well. I have learned that he passed away in 1996. I would really like to get to know him…I am hoping that you might have some stories to share or could point me to some of the people that may have known him and are willing to share some stories with me. It would be greatly appreciated!

Sincerely,

Kim Kerson
kersonkim@gmail.com

Llyn’s response:

THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!!! As soon as I got your e-mail, I called Kim. What a miracle!
 
Cheri Dawn and I were pregnant together. My daughter was born 4/29/67 and Kim was born in June. Danny & Cheri were married but just not in any condition to take parental responsibility and (sadly but wisely) had Kim adopted. She said that overall, her adoptive parents were okay. I’ve told her all I know; sent her a photo of Danny from our high-school yearbook and the lyrics to Danny’s song “You Got to Keep Your Madness Magic”; what I and then Nano Riley posted on the Beaux Arts Book Web site about Danny; a newspaper article that I wrote about the Beaux that described Cheri; and info from Dan “Panama Red” Finley, who was in touch with Cheri until she passed on and has some photos if he can find them. I’ll soon send her more from my Beaux history folder. I also sent the lyrics of “Bob Dylan’s Dream” and the following quote:

“Medicine Crow is Tlingit and Haida from Kake. She told a story about a lesson she learned from Polynesian navigators. “The traditional practice of sailing by the stars requires that they set their bow looking forward but they are navigating from the stars behind them because from that they can know the direction their bow is going. I think that is such a powerful analogy about the way our ancestors think about time. And the way we should think about it, too.” “

There’s no getting around it, Danny was the most talented and charismatic of us. To quote Kerouac:
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…”
Every one of us still standing says, “Yes. That was Danny Kalais.” Yes!
Thank you so much, Mari!!!! What a blessing that this child has come home!!!!

Llyn

Dan Finley talked with Cheri Dawn’s husband, Richard Doyle, of Santa Teresa, NM.
Finley’s Facebook page is under his stage name & nickname “Panama Red.” For many years, Finley has been Facebook-friends with Cheri Dawn and her husband, Richard Doyle of Santa Teresa, NM. This morning Finley contacted Richard. Cheri died of cancer on March 22, 2013. Richard’s Facebook page is titled “Richard Doyle” and his Intro says he is “Chairman & CEO at “Dawn Chisolm-Doyle Music Scholarship Fund“…” Richard told Finley that he has known that Cheri had a daughter with Kalais who was adopted out at birth. Richard said that Kim is welcome to get in touch with him. Richard can be contacted through his facebook page.

Patriot Prayer holds news conference in Pacifica after cancelling events

ktvu – excerpt (includes video)

– Free speech group Patriot Prayer held a news conference in a remote location in Pacifica after cancelling their San Francisco events… (more)

Talk about a moving target. We are glad this is over. Or hope it is over. Where are all the new protest songs coming out of our anguish over this worldwide political divide? Are artists so confused they don’t know how to respond? Tommy has one: End this Lies is always appropriate.

The New Yuppies

By J.C. Pan : newrepublic – excerpt

How the aspirational class expresses its status in an age of inequality.

The term “yuppie” now feels so dated that it occasionally seems an entire social class has vanished. If the suit-wearing Patrick Batemans of the 1980s no longer embody affluence, what has come to replace them? “Hipster” reigned, briefly, as the label of choice for certain irritating would-be members of the bourgeoisie. But while hipsters were, like the yuppies before them, young and urban-dwelling, they weren’t exactly professional. Often rumored to be living off their trust funds, they spent their time as layabout musicians or bike messengers, milling in coffee shops and craft cocktail bars. Yuppies, on the other hand, were seasoned careerists who owned yachts and luxury SUVs and talked in public about their stock portfolios. Yuppiedom described a specific oily demeanor and pattern of consumption as much as it implied affluence…(more).

City to throw free Summer of Love concert in Golden Gate Park

Sam Whiting : sfchronicle – excerpt

People signed the banner celebrating the Peace Sign at the 2009 Summer of Love Concert. photo by zrants

After twice rejecting an independent producer’s plan to hold a free concert in Golden Gate Park to honor the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will throw its own free concert on June 21.

The Surrealistic Summer Solstice boasts it will feature members of the Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Chambers Brothers, as well as “over 40 legendary musicians” in a jam that builds to a lighting of the Conservatory of Flowers in mandalas of psychedelic color.

“This is fundamentally a light installation where we are going to have music,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of Rec and Park.

That is not how Mill Valley promoter Boots Hughston sees it. Announcement of the June 21 event comes less than a week after Rec and Park staff rejected his second application for a scaled-down free concert to be held Aug. 27 in Golden Gate Park’s Speedway Meadow.

“Basically, they are trying to steal our event,” said Hughston, who was first denied a permit for a huge Summer of Love 50th anniversary concert June 4 at the Polo Field. In late May, he was offered the Aug. 27 date at smaller Sharon Meadow, pending permit approval, but that, too, was nixed when he allegedly violated terms dictated by Rec and Park staff not to announce the event… (more)

San Francisco City Hall is drenched in controversy over the on again off again Summer of Love Concert. They can’t seem to understand the importance of tradition when it comes to celebrating this event. Hint, it is not about a light show in the Conservatory of Flowers. It is a about Flowers in our hair and peace signs. Remember Peace signs?

 

Mayor Ed Lee – Support the 50 year Anniversary of the Summer of Love

Open Letter to the Mayor of San Francisco:

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Mayor Ed Lee,

So far this concert has had more interference than Super Bowl and it is coming from City Hall. You wasted no time in supporting big sports events that close down major sections of the city for days at a time and cost the taxpayers and small businesses millions of dollars. Why not support a free concert that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love festival when the world needs Peace and Love now more than ever?

Where are all those liberated people who filled the streets with protest when Trump was elected who marched for women’s rights, LGBT rights, human rights and peace? Where are the protests and support for a free music event that celebrates the movement that started it all? Are we so jaded that we forgot all those who fought for our freedom and sanctuary status? Why are there no new protest songs on the top 40 list?

Does San Francisco only support events that involve millions of dollars and walls and fences in SF while protesting Trump’s wall with Mexico? Get with it Mayor Lee. Dig out your 60’s gear, peace signs and pipes and lead the parade for the Summer of Love, or at least kick it into high gear now.

Concerned Citizen of the world

Defunding the NEA Would be incredibly stupid-Here’s Why

By Diana Budds : fastcodesign – excerpt

The National Endowment for the Arts funds local community building, educational programs, job training, housing, and more.

Arts funding has always been under assault, but the Trump Administration, hungry for budget cuts, is now baring its teeth at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in what appears to be the most serious threat to its existence since Reagan’s crusade in the 1980s. Staffers on Trump’s transition team told The Hill that the NEA and its sister organization, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), would be eliminated completely.

Defunding the NEA would be incredibly irresponsible and downright dumb. Federal agencies and departments are nebulous entities, and their responsibilities, scale, and scope are often opaque. The NEA for instance has funded projects related to affordable housing, job training, making sure children have access to playgrounds, historic preservation, resiliency, improving health care, designing better parks, and promoting social justice–along with its mission of funding museums, fine arts, dance, and theater, of course.

If you care about any of these things, you should also care about the NEA… (more)

It is not clear how the president is going to solve the job problem when he is cutting millions of government jobs. Someone needs to mention this job loss issue to him in case it hasn’t occurred to him yet.