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on Vortex I
I was a member of the People's Army Jamboree that summer. As such I only spent one afternoon at Vortex. A group from the PAJ organizing group drove out to see if we could make stage announcements or otherwise encourage people to come back to the city for the main march through downtown. It was clear that the landscape was too vast and the sense of euphoria too great to really move people back to Portland. I had been at the PSU Strike and, frankly, I was pretty scared about violence because I'd seen it up close. There were people who were advocates of violence not just in Portland but regionally. But there were strong and respected voices like Mike McCusker from VietNam Vets Against the War who warned that we, the protestors, would only play into the hands of the opposition if we were violent. The PAJ had an office down on West Burnside in the weeks before the event and one of the regulars 'staffing' the office was (though we didn't know it then) an undercover police officer. When all was said and done, PAJ folks did march and there was no violence.
In those years I went to SkyRiver, Seattle Pops, and many other festivals. But as someone who believed that the 'counter culture' was more about a rejection of materialism and less about getting stoned, Vortex was living proof that the system could buy and co-opt the trappings and that most of the people who looked like 'hippies' were not much different than frat boys and sorority girls trying out a new lifestyle.
This weekend The Who performed at the major cash cow of Twenty First Century media materialism and sang "We won't be fooled again". Rings pretty hollow I gotta say.
posted 3 years, 3 months ago
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