What is 'the Underground'?
"Grove sought to merge literary and political understandings of the term ‘avant-garde’ in the belief that reading radical literature could instill both the practical knowledge and psychological transformation necessary to precipitate a revolution." - Counter-Culture Colophon, Stanford University Press
The Underground is a counter-cultural movement in the United States and United Kingdom and typically, though inaccurately, associated only with the hippie phenomenon. Over the decades, the Underground has generated its own magazines and newspapers, bands, clubs and alternative lifestyles and social movements of all kinds. Along with a strong sociopolitical revolutionary agenda, to create an alternative society and generally denounce and dismantle the status quo of the day. With all its trappings of bigotry, racism, sexism, and anything else restrictive of the human race and freedom of expression.
"The company was the central node in what could be called a colophonic network. If you owned book by Grove Press, if you read Evergreen Review, you were hooked into this network." - Counter-Culture Colophon, Stanford University Press
Many in the blossoming underground movement were influenced by agencies such as Grove Press est 1951. Which fought hard won battles against censorship, bringing landmark cases to the Supreme Court. Their tie-in periodical Evergreen Review encouraged readers to 'Join the Underground', and introduced the youth of the 50s-60s to Beat generation writers such as William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg, along with such voices as Malcolm X. Subversive materials in paperback form, that paved the way for the hippies, feminists, LGBT activists, and the Black Power movement.
"By the end of the 1960s, the avant-garde had in essence become a component of the mainstream, and Grove Press, more than any other single institution, was responsible for this fundamental transformation of the cultural field, the consequences of which are still with us." - Counter-Culture Colophon, Stanford University Press
All of these Movements and visionary thinkers directly or indirectly, influenced the Youth Culture Movements of the following decades. The 1960's psychedelic and funk musical groups, The antithetical late 70s east coast Punk scene/west coast Skater scene; the No Wave Cinema scene; the rise of Hip-Hop/Graffiti Culture, which utilized samples from funk albums, during the Reaganomics afflicted 80s, now considered a “global musical epidemic” by National Geographic; the Riot Grrl Movement of DIY feminism, which underpinned the independent music scene of the early 90s; as well as the late 90s Rave scene which adopted Tom Wolfe's the The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test as their 'bible'.
Yesterdays rebellious youth became today's world builders. Counter-cultural figures shaped the information revolution, according to their aspirations. To break down the boundaries of individual experience, and embrace a larger collective consciousness.
Stewart Brand who used to run with Ken Kesey and went on to create the Whole Earth Catalog  and the first Hackers Conference . John Perry Barlow; The Grateful Dead lyricist and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Douglas Englebart, father of the mouse and email, envisioned the personal computer as a mechanism to "augment human intelligence". [see What the Dormouse Said, Penguin Books]
These figures and others like them, developed the Internet as we know it, the software that runs it, the hardware in all our homes and pockets, and fight the battles that continue to keep the internet open and free from censorship and hegemony to this day.
"In the opening months of 1966, "Join the Underground" appeared in full page ads in Esquire, Ramparts, New Republic, Playboy, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and the Village Voice and on posters throughout the NYC subway system. Grove also distributed tens of thousands of free stickers to subscribers that began to appear on public benches and in public bathrooms across the country." - Counter-Culture Colophon, Stanford University Press
Now thanks to the Age of Direct Communication we all live in, via the Internet. The Underground is staging a massive uprising and take over all around us. Not only of the Cultural Landscape, by acquiring the means of production and adopting of new distribution systems available online. But a complete take over of the Political/ Economic/ Environmental systems. A seizing of the Mental Landscape we all dwell in, both online and off. In short, asking permission is no longer required.
We are the dream dreamers and music makers on a long strange trip into a future of our own design.
Join the Underground