By Anthony Ashbolt
The San Francisco Bay region used to be a gathering element for radical politics and counterculture within the Sixties. formerly there was little figuring out of what made political tradition the following special. This paintings explores the advance of a local tradition of radicalism within the Bay quarter, one who underpinned either political protest and the counterculture.
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Extra info for A Cultural History of the Radical Sixties in the San Francisco Bay Area
A rigid dogmatic line against racism, sexism and homophobia had become entrenched to the point where dialogue was impossible. PC operated on two levels – in the university administration which imposes absurd affirmative action quotas, enforces authoritarian speech codes and funds radical feminist, black and gay student organizations; and in the 22 A Cultural History of the Radical Sixties in the San Francisco Bay Area classroom where politically correct views about race and sex are being imposed upon students, and if the students dare question their teachers, they may face disciplinary action.
This is demonstrated clearly by the public projects involving manual labour and art under Franklin Roosevelt. Many artists were employed by the New Deal administration in the 1930s and among their most memorable works in San Francisco are the murals in Coit Tower. 61 Needless to say, workers’ battles became a central motif for many, but by no means all, of the murals. Interestingly, the communist painters followed no national correct line. 62 The Roosevelt public works programme not only commissioned projects like dams, art works like the COIT murals but also the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
Tear gas, street battles, states of emergency, massive campus disruption, the National Guard patrolling the streets, the slaying of one white man and blinding of another during the People’s Park conflict, would all have catapulted the Bay Area, in particular Berkeley, into a position of international significance if it had not already had one. To be sure, not everything happened first or even happened at all in Berkeley during the 1960s. The fact that some commentators seem to assume that it did is itself a significant testimony to Berkeley’s actual and symbolic roles.