Re: Linking Woodstock to antiwar protest (multiple responses)

Thu, 27 Nov 1997 02:47:03 -0500


From: Joe McDonald <>
Subject: Re: Linking Woodstock to antiwar protest

tony edmonds wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chip Hodgkins <cdh3@ACPUB.DUKE.EDU>
> To: <>
> Date: Thursday, November 20, 1997 3:07 PM
> Subject: Linking Woodstock to antiwar protest

excuse me for getting into this a little late i have been off line for a
few dayz.
for the sake of listers i will say that i am Country Joe McDonald the
one that wrote and sang I Feel Like I'm Fixing To Die Rag at the
Woodstock Festival in 1969 and was in the group Country Joe And The
Fish, and was on stage or close by for almost all of the festival from
the beginning to the end.

> Chip:
> I haven't done much with Woodstock in a while, but my impression is that
> it had little to do directly with Vietnam.

for the age group at the time everything had something to do with the
Vietnam War. They wanted all of us to die in Vietnam.

Recall how much trouble
> Joan Baez had getting the crowd fired up during "Joe Hill."

no insult intended, i grew up on that song and consider it a good song.
the subject is very esoteric and it was irrelevant at that moment to
only the most sophisticated labor students in the audience.

> didn't Country Joe have to call the assembled masses "all you fuckers" to
> get them to sing "Fixin' to Die Rag" with any passion?

outside the sound did and always does carry in omni direction so i could
not hear them from the stage but upon viewing the film it was obvious
that almost all of them knew the song and were singing it with me

> The guitar on Abbie's head?

i was sitting right there and will tell you for the sake of being pc no
one in the audience could understand anything he said and he just jumped
into the WHOs set and had to be removed. it was a gentle tap. he got
off easy and he failed to connect. But i sure as fk did! the thing that
you must understand is that no one had said fk yet! and the fact that
1/2 million yng people were so eager to yell that word along with its
attitude then sing that discusting song about the Vietnam War and to
have it imortalized in film and record for the whole world to see and
the whole world to like/love...well...DUH!
i dont want to flame but i dont want to do your wrk 4 u. u people who r
writing papers an such.

> Tony Edmonds
> Ball State Univ
> > Woodstock is most often associated with hippies, peace, free
> >love, drug use, etc., but it also makes an argument against the
> >Vietnam War. What exactly is this argument?
> > I am really searching for evidence, facts from Woodstock, that
> >take a stand against Vietnam. Hopefully, someone can help me out.
> >Thank you for your time.
> >
> >
> >---------------------------------
> >Chip Hodgkins
> >
> >
have you watched the Woodstock Movie? Have you watched old TV shows.
Can you tell that this event is different that other events. Can you
see that the behavoir of the people at the festival is untradtional?
Why are they rejecting the old wayz and so enthusiastic for the new?
Can we assume that these people did not want to go Vietnam? i think so.
the best part of the movie is the toilet guy who says i got one kid here
and one kid in nam and i try to get the toilets clean and nice. He was
a rare mellow dude. There were a few. But i was busted for the cheer
and black listed from every municipal hall in the US. and aside frm what
i read a few dayz bck posted here. Country Joe and the Fish were banned
from every US military PX in the world. And the FBI gave us my parents
files (40 yrs worth) but still wont give me but the two pages posted on
my site because of the peole i hung with etc.

this is all over Woodstock and the Vietnam War. I have often wondered
just what richard nixon said when he was told that 1/2 million young
people yelled fk and then sang a song about how stupid the Vietnam War
was? did he yell fk? did he vow to get us? did he see the movie? did he
listen to the record?
country joe mcdonald

"A captain with a childs heart always commands a happy crew", Linda
country joe Hm Paje <> 
Berkeley Vietnam Veterans Memorial <>


From: Jonah Raskin <> Subject: Re: Linking Woodstock to an

Reply to: RE>>Linking Woodstock to antiwar protest

I think you have a good topic because it can help you explore the relationships and connections between "the movement" on one hand and "the counterculture" on the other hand. One way to get further into the subject would be to try to understand why Abbie Hoffman, who was at Woodstock and part of the anti-war movement - he helped organize the demonstration at the Pentagon in 1967 - and who was also one of the Chicago 8 defendants wrote in "Woodstock Nation:" "When I appear in the Chicago courtroom, I want to be tried not because I support the National Liberation Front - which I do - but because I have long hair...Not because I am against capitalism but because I think property eats shit." Hoffman's list is longer. You might also want to look at "For the Hell of It:The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman" which looks Woodstock and anti-war protest . Thanks, Jonah Raskin

-------------------------------------- [3]

From: "Kevin Cole" <> Subject: Re: Linking Woodstock to antiwar protest

>From: "Evan Morris" <> >Re the first point, I'd maintain a modified "yes." There was a near-total >coincidence between strong antiwar feelings and attendance -- any poll at >the site would have registered 99% opposition to the war.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------

Does anyone know this for sure? Were there surveys done? I was working not far from the event that summer, and knew several dozens of attendees, and they were mostly pretty far from the conventional anti-war formulae of the time. I know that mine was a very partial sample, but then watching a movie of the event is no sample at all. So I dispute that it would be safe to assume anywhere near the solidarity you're asserting.

>Re the second and third, it's impossible to separate the antiwar sentiments >of the attendees from their collective desire for social change in general. >It's like asking someone shopping for a new car if they want tires too.

It isn't necessary to understand the woodstock event itself as a countercultural event. There were lots of rock concerts each summer those years. They were collective concerts. Pretty cool events, many of them. I went to one in Watkins Glenn, and one at Atlantic City (where Joni Mitchell famously left the stage without singing a note because the crowd, too wound up after a 45 minute improvisational piece from the Chambers Bros, couldn't calm down and be quiet) and was an uninhibited participant in each, and wasn't taking in my attendance any political stance. I think everyone knew that at the bottom of it all there were concert organizers making money out of the thing.

The politics of woodstock all occurred **after the event** in the conclusions drawn by various talking heads and cliche-makers and administrators of hubris. I think "1-2-3 what are we fighting for" was the spiritual center of the anti-war vein of woodstock, and it was by no means the thing people most remembered immediately afterward. It wasn't until the advertising folks and the journalists and such got hold of it all and made a stew of propaganda out of it that the whole thing got characterised that way.

The kid's original question was something like " is it safe to say that woodstock was an anti-war protest" and the answer in my opinion has to be no. The coincidence of opinion (if it really existed) is purely accident, it seems to me.

--Kevin _____________________________


From: Barbara L Tischler <> Subject: Re: Linking Woodstock to antiwar protest

The point here is very well taken. Isn't the movie mentioned in drieux's message "Gimme Shelter"?