Re: Two questions
Sun, 12 Oct 1997 15:30:45 -0400

From: William A Hamler III (

I believe it refers to a sixties radical/anarchist group in NYC with the
name "Up Against the Wall, Motherfuckers" which was a take-off on the
police term used when protesters and other undesirables were rousted.

Archie Loss wrote:

> What is the source of the "Up against the wall, motherfucker" chorus
> in
> Jefferson Airplane's "We Can Be Together"?
> I have had many guests speak to my sixties class, but have never
> located a Vietnam nurse. I teach at Penn State-Erie (The Behrend
> College) in Erie, PA. I would be very much interested in locating
> someone who had this experience and would be willing to share it with
> my class.
> Archie Los

From: Sandra Hollin Flowers <flowers_s@Mercer.EDU>

I can't speak for Jefferson Airplane, Archie, but see the following for
one writer's comments on this and other expressions of anger in
nationalist writings of the '60s:

Florence Turbee, "Black Revolutionary Language: 'Up Against the Wall,
Mother...." in _Liberator_ Nov 1969.

Sandra Flowers

Sandra Hollin Flowers
Associate Professor of English Voice: (912) 752-2813
Mercer University Fax: (912) 757-4956
Macon, GA 31207

From: Joy Marcus <>

Based in NY City around the East Village there was actually a group of
young (at the time) people who were into challenging and changing the
status quo. They called themselved the "Up against the wall,
motherfuckers." One of them became a friend of mine after he moved out to
the WestCoast. My hunch is that the group name of the erstwhile
revolutionaries might have inspired the song's lyrics or vice versa and,
whichever came first, I do believe the expression was taken from the police
located in (pick a city, any city).......

Have you read Judy and Stew Albert's book, *The Sixties*? There very well
may be a reference in there.......

--Joy Marcus