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Author: Steven M. Finger (page 2 of 37)

Mort Sahl Speaks

Sure, we know this isn’t the 50-Year Throwback story our headline proclaims. But it IS our Front Page article from back then… and touts one of our own, Ron Cobb.
His work first appeared in the pages of the LA Free Press in 1965, and by the time of this interview he was known as one of the finest political cartoonists of the time. Interesting, hey, in that he, himself, here says that’s not his role… cartoonist, yes, political cartoonist… not so much. Good thing we kept that to ourself till then. (We also hadn’t said much about his moonlighting, so you might not know about such side projects as the cover design of After Bathing at Baxter’s, Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 album.)
Even after his compilation was published, he was still ‘our’ cartoonist, with his work better understood from what is said here. Too, a piece like this one – which resulted in one of the first symbols of the Ecology Movement (and seen by more than 200 million people!) – was given context.

Ron left, then came back, then went on to design work in the film industry… with a body of work that you’ll recognize!

Now with the help of hindsight, and in light of current events… onto this year’s ‘featured’ story:

We Need to Talk About Peace & Freedom Instead

50 years ago, today, our featured story began with a question, though it was clearly a clue as to what was coming. In fact, most of us – by most, I mean the white majority – already knew something was up, whether their position was at the top or at the bottom of the economic scale. Looking down, it was apparent the other colors were climbing, and looking up – wait! – how was it that whites could be on the bottom? But that wasn’t the only conundrum. There was a real puzzlement as to how Whites could regain stature without being like ‘them’ – all those other colors that had taken to the streets – without, outright, admitting that they, too, were beset by many of the same problems.

Hence, they were the long-suffering silent majority, quiet on many issues – but surely not about to point to the elephant in the room lest it be realized that it, they, had, indeed, lost ground. A humiliation for many for whom all that talk of equality was only salt in the wound – they were held, by their own hand, to a stand still as they claimed to admire what was, without a doubt, their loss of privilege.

But what of poverty… that stark reality of truly being equal to the other coloreds? When those who can escape it, do… and don’t look back… and those who don’t? The question here is only a shade different from the first – CAN White Americans riot? Is that even ‘acceptable’ to them… to rebel against a government whose policies to contain the poor – read ‘those other folks’ – have caught them in the net, too? Or is it ‘beneath’ them to even admit that the others in the net are their equals? Or, perhaps, their riot is still years away… because they firmly believe that Democracy (read as ‘majority rules’) will keep the problem, for them, from getting any worse?

This was a simmering, frustrating dilemma, the finer points, and the possible outcomes of which are discussed in ‘Prelude to Riot’, the book – published by Random House – by our friend and fellow LA Free Press Writer, Paul Jacobs. A respected social critic, a chapter had been published in Atlantic Magazine, and another in Harpers Magazine; it is our honor to reprint the book’s ‘Conclusion’ and, thus, bringing to you, our reader, the gist of its entirety.

However… a Whites’ Riot, here, en masse, against the government’s programs ‘for’ the impoverished did not follow the publication of Paul’s book though it was LA-centered, and our own publication was central to LA. Frustrations did, however, boil over then and again, but still it seemed that a riot ‘wasn’t our thing’. While, without a doubt, the thoughts and their foresight merited a place in the Freep, this time around, we’re featuring a different one within this same Issue.

It’s the parallel path taken, one that was quintessential of the era, our choice for this 50-Year Throwback because, in hindsight, it not only was representative of the 60’s, it’s the one that gained momentum at that moment. And, too, as always, it is one that relates to the here and now.

A final note ~ as to the aformentioned book, ‘Prelude to Riot’, we expect to be adding its final chapter, the one that is part of this Issue, to our A Unique Perspective section in the near future – right about when we see that riot acomin’.

LA Free Press Helps Push Peace & Freedom Party onto Ballot

It’s ‘now’ 1968(!) and there is no denying that true political change is upon us!!

Fortunately – in this first week – the downturning and disappointing news that the American Independent Party ‘qualified’ George Wallace as a Presidential Candidate here in California has been upset with the news that the Peace & Freedom Party has also garnered enough signatures for ballot status. And, we say proudly, with the largest total of new signatures of any city in the state, the endorsement of Art Kunkin, our Publisher, surely had something to do with that!

The P&FP was the beginning of many things that you might not remember nor heard of in the time since, but now, remarkably, you are hearing about once more. For instance, Merriam-Webster’s ‘new’ word for 2017 was feminism, due the search for its definition. It was first included back in 1841, rose to the Top Ten Lists in 2014 and 2015, and finally reached #1 with the push of events that closed out 2017.
Originally, the word was very simply defined as ‘the qualities of females’ but now known as an entire range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes. This includes seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men. The P&FP was, to a significant degree, made up of those who had thoughts closer to our present understanding of this term along with the specificity of (and it may be coming back)… socialism.

As the Party is just getting into gear, here, at this point in time (in 1968), we’ve much more to talk about as it further incorporates and promotes progressive cultutral values to prospective voters.

If only we could turn the clock ahead 50 years to, say, 2018 to see how it all unfolds… now that would be something, wouldn’t it? I’ll place my bet that when that time comes, the LA Free Press will again be among the first to make that report.

A Personal Statement by The Editor

…the Orginal Editor and Publisher, Art Kunkin(50 years ago, today!) herewith employed his rarely invoked “right to speak to the community as any other Free Press writer might do…”.
And what moved him to that unusual action?

As you can read here, it was his dismay of the success that the American Independent Party had in registering voters in California. Which, in turn, qualified George Wallace to have his name on its ballot for President of the United States.

Surely that was appalling… especially if those registrations were, indeed, an endorsement of the man. However, there was a real draw to that Party’s name. Even today people check it off on the Registration Form… and it’s likely, then like now, the thought is simply that it allows an ‘Independent’ vote, one for candidates of any of the Parties.

And while it may seem like it was a ruse only to place him there so anyone – of any party – could vote for him in the general election, there’s little doubt that there was a core who supported his ‘anti-political norm’ policy, and outright discrimination against the Rights of the minorities. Again, just like those who supported a similar candidate, intentionally, in the last presidential election.

Remarkably, they both had a similar plan to take a devoted minority to bypass an other-minded voting majority. Hadn’t heard of that?  Well, back then, neither had Art…  but he did publish it when Wallace revealed it about a year later.  And we re-published it in our A Unique Perspective section so that you could see how that almost 50-year old plan actually worked! Here’ that article:  http://losangelesfreepress.com/how-wallace-trump-canwill-be-elected-president/

It’s a validation of Art’s concern.  And, too, of his recommendation of supporting a Party that was willing to listen to the views of a wider public. Had Wallace deployed that plan, either we would know right now how our present President is likely to change history… or we may have been forwarned not to have elected him at all.

[The LA Free Press – A newspaper to have been read then for what was happening as it happened, to be read now for another unique perspective on what may happenThe LA Free Press – It’s a real trip for smart minds.  And why – you – should consider becoming a Subscriber.  Click HERE for some other reasons… including our New Year’s Special.]

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