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“Takin’ It to the Streets” by Bloom

Primary sources are invaluable when it comes to exploring the socio-cultural phenomena of the past. The collection of essays devoted to the new cultural groups of the 1960s compiled by Bloom and Breines sheds light on the historical period’s countercultures and allows keeping track of their evolution. Particularly, the collection provides comprehensive descriptions of three prominent movements, such as the Hippies, the Diggers, and the Yippies.

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A hippie is a term that refers to a member of a popular youth movement of the same name. In his essay dated 1967, Guy Strait defines the Hippies as a wrongly vilified group that uses colorful clothing and accessories with floral motifs (Bloom and Breines 280). Strait views this choice as a symbol of the Hippies’ protest against conventional thinking and people’s fear of standing out from the crowd (Bloom and Breines 280). Another aspect of his definition is the Hippies’ denial of the ubiquitous culture of competition in the U.S. and the philosophies of materialism and excessive consumption.

The book also provides critical information about the Diggers – the members of the radical movement comprised of street actors and activists in California. Based on The Digger Papers, the Diggers can be defined as young social activists who strive to incorporate the hippies’ values into the Bay Area’s political life through coercion (Bloom and Breines 284). The central points of their program are extensive cooperation and the use of organized gangs to manage the area’s life and provide free access to basic and entertainment services (Bloom and Breines 284). These services include hospitals, meals, housing, financial operations, banks, stores, schools, concerts, cultural festivals, and so on.

Finally, the collection sheds light on the Yippie movement’s distinctive traits and goals. Using The Yippie Manifesto and Jerry Rubin’s Do It, it is possible to define the Yippies as radical and anti-authoritarian members of the Youth International Party (Bloom and Breines 289). The Yippies strive to challenge the electoral system and the U.S. political priorities by rather theatrical protests, the mockery of political processes, and pranks to hinder poll places’ operation.

Work Cited

Bloom, Alexander, and Wini Breines, editors. “Takin’ It to the Streets”: A Sixties Reader. Oxford University Press, 1995.

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