---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2001 22:48:21 -0700
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Anti-war press cranks up
Anti-war press cranks up
Peace News offers alternative view
James Sullivan, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, September 28, 2001
A coterie of veteran underground newspaper publishers is printing what the
contributors believe is the first special-edition anti-war publication in
the country since the terrorist attacks.
"We realized we had to do something," said Allen Cohen, publisher of the
Oracle, the leading psychedelic paper of the Haight-Ashbury heyday. "We
couldn't stand by while the world hurtles over the waterfall of desperate
Peace News is scheduled for print later today, with many of the first copies
set for distribution tomorrow at an 11 a.m. anti-war demonstration in San
Francisco's Dolores Park.
Cohen and John Bryan, who has worked at various daily newspapers and was
managing editor of the L.A. Free Press, say they bumped into each other the
day after the World Trade Center attacks at the Mission District bookstore
where Bryan works. In an instant, they both realized it was time to crank up
the old counterculture presses.
"I looked at him and he looked at me," said Bryan, "and we said, 'Holy s--,
what are we gonna do?' "
The 12-page broadsheet features contributions from a who's who of contrarian
commentators, including Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Lawrence Ferlinghetti,
Diane di Prima, Paul Krassner, Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic and cartoonist
Some of the poems and essays were written for Peace News; others, such as
Moore's moving piece about his recent return to New York, have also appeared
on the writers' Web sites. There's a piece by the late Charles Bukowski,
onetime associate of Bryan's Open City Press, titled "Peace, Baby, Is Hard
The overall purpose, say the editors, is to express concern about further
violence and the erosion of civil liberties in America.
"We better get this out fast," Bryan said Wednesday, shuffling around the
bookstore in his stocking feet while a friend pasted up pages on a table in
back. "They're not going to let reporters cover the war. Bush is talking
about 'secret victories.' "
Bryan, an old-school newspaperman who often found himself at odds with the
hedonistic staff members of the hippie papers, couldn't help needling his
colleague, Cohen: "He believes in peace and love and all that s--," he said
with a cranky smile.
Despite their differences, he said, their alarm over potential privacy and
free-speech issues has united them.
"Is this the second Reichstag fire?" Bryan asked. "It's not that far out an
Cohen said he is beginning to sense a mobilization of anti-war voices, after
a period after the attacks in which nearly all criticism of the Bush
administration or U.S. foreign policy was suppressed.
"If you pay close attention to what's happening on the talk shows, we're
getting a second wave now. People are thinking about the dangers involved in
too violent, too destructive an act."
After an initial run of about 17,000, the editors of Peace News say they
will reprint as many copies as they can afford through grassroots fund
Future editions are doubtful, though Cohen said contributors have been eager
to participate. "We already have more than we can use."
Bryan said it's up to others to carry on with similar projects. "I think
we're the first. We won't be the last, though. That's clear."
E-mail James Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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