The Progress of Cesar Chavez

Back in 1939 Carey McWilliams, then an official in a liberal California state government, asked a Senate committee under Robert LaFollette, Jr. for national legislation that would “substitute democratic processes for shotgun tactics in California agriculture.” McWilliams’s language on this occasion was controlled, neutral, almost chaste. For the LaFollette subcommittee …

An American Army

Through the late spring and summer of 1973, while Huey P. Newton dreamed of getting training grants from HEW and Bobby Seale was putting together his campaign for mayor of Oakland, a handful of young, mostly white, radical men and women were preparing to launch guerrilla war against the United …

George Jackson and His Legend

He was the revolutionary warrior sans peur et sans reproche; fierce to his enemies, gentle to those he loved and to all of the oppressed. He was gifted, handsome, powerful of body; fighter, poet, critic, philosopher, lover, brother, son. He was the baddest black man in any “joint” that tried …

Schlockology

Reyner Banham’s book is a lighthearted and affectionate tribute to Los Angeles. That’s right, Los Angeles, everybody’s favorite horrible example, Mumford’s “anti-city,” Reaganland, the Ur-city of the plastic culture, of Kustom-Kars and movie stars, nutburgers and Mayor Yorty and The Monkees, the Dream Factory, fantasy land, Watts and the barrio, …

A State of Catastrophe

Long ago Carey McWilliams, among the wisest commentators on California, said that “the time has not come to strike a balance for the California enterprise. There is still too much commotion—too much noise and movement and turmoil.” There is still plenty of commotion and turmoil but, if several of the …

The Berkeley Takeover

On the eve of the Berkeley municipal elections on April 6, Ronald Reagan and other conservative spokesmen in California officially lamented and denounced what they called “an impending radical takeover” in that volatile city. As soon as the election was over and before its somewhat ambiguous results could be analyzed, …