Earth People’s Park

Yankee Go Home


Fifth Estate # 101, March 19-April 1, 1970

Note: The Hog Farm is an apolitical commune which has set up shop in New Mexico. A few innovators who had been involved in People’s Park and Woodstock got together with the Hog Farm and kindred spirits and have recently come up with a groovy idea—why not stake out an “Earth People’s Park” in some vast wilderness territory, move in about 20,000 of the beautiful people, and live together in love and harmony, taking good care of each other and the natural environment. The Earth People’s Park developers are trying to collect $1 million to buy about 100,000 acres in New Mexico on which to settle their 20,000 people. Twenty thousand who are not Mexican, not Spanish-speaking, not Indian. Ecology-minded people really dig the idea. Those who can’t stand the rat-race of city life, those who feel they’ve struggled long enough and want to drop out, those who feel they could somehow build a better life away from the repression of the cities, groove on the idea. The Governor of New Mexico, reassured that the Earth People plan to “obey all the laws of the state,” grooves on the idea. The Chicano and Latino and Indian people of New Mexico don’t groove on the idea at all. The following article is from El Grito del Norte, the Chicano paper that comes out of Espanola, N.M. It explains the position of the people who already live on the land that the Earth People want to buy. Earth People’s Park has a mailing address at 1230 Grant Ave., Box 313, San Francisco, Calif 94113, where they expect to receive donations. People might want to write to them to tell them what they think of the idea of setting up their “liberated zone” in an area already brutally “liberated” from its original inhabitants. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The basic message is: PLEASE DON’T COME! At least not now. Stop and think about a few things that you may not have heard about or thought about. Think about the fact that, much as you reject your middle class Anglo society and its values, you are still seen here as gringos. Anglos. Think about the 120-year old struggle by Chicanos and the even older struggle by Indians to get back millions of acres of land stolen from them by Anglo ranchers with their Anglo lawyer buddies. Think about what it means for a new influx of Anglos—no matter how different their purpose from those others—to come in and buy up land that the local people feel to be theirs and cannot afford to buy themselves. Think about the fact that a real estate agent in Taos reports having sold almost $500,000 worth of land to longhairs. Think, on the other hand, about how people have sometimes reacted to hippies who get welfare payments and food stamps. Even though this takes nothing away from poor Raza people, they have felt resentment. It seems like a false identification, when the hippies involved can get money from home or a decent job if necessary. Think about the water problem. Longhairs usually come from the big city, not knowing that water is precious and often hard to get. They see a stream and wash their feet or dishes in it. Hey! That’s our drinking water. We are used to being abused, ignored, scorned—but that’s too much. Think about not only the land and water, but also the culture. Longhairs come, often deliberately unwashed and ungroomed in their rebellion against a sterile, hypocritical middle-class society. They don’t see that, for the Spanish-speaking people, cleanliness is a weapon of cultural self-defense against the oppressor. It is not a symbol of hypocrisy but part of the little pride and self-respect left to them, preciously guarded. So is conventional morality: the tight-knit family is everywhere a source of strength and unity against a hostile environment. Longhair values might sometimes be better—but they cannot be imposed. Especially when you are not joining the struggle of the people against the oppression which is the source of many Raza values. Think about the educational advantages that you often have—whether you wanted to have them or not. You can come here and start a little business, and you will often succeed where Raza people fail (or would not even try). “Son muy vivo.” Raza people say—the hippies are very bright. It is often true, it is not your “fault,” but it is important to remember how many millions of times the Anglo’s education and technology helped to make him a successful oppressor. If you say, “I’ve come to learn from the people,” excuse us if we sometimes remember: that’s what the Anglos said when they came to Sierra Nevada, learned from us how to mine—and then drove us out, even murdered us. Think about yourself, and just how clear you are about rejecting your own society’s values. Recent events here have shown that, when things get heavy, the longhairs sometimes act very much like the society they have fled. When a hippie woman in Taos was raped by a Chicano youth (because the Chicanos don’t understand free women and because they have been taught not to see hippies as human beings) the longhaired men called the cops—THE COPS! In another case, the longhair went out and shot the Chicano dead for supposedly raping “his” woman. And he got off, with a hung jury. Think about this: the longhair has opted out. Most of the Chicanos and Indians have no option—except revolution. People here cannot flee to islands of peace in their nation of horrors, this is their nation. It cannot be said too often that there is a long, hard political and economic struggle in these beautiful mountains, a struggle for land and justice. That struggle calls for fighters and supporters, not refugees with their own set of problems. You may see the scenery as relief from an oppressive America. We see a battleground against oppression. You (rightly) condemn your own society, your own culture strongly, but why not go where it is, and change it? And if your answer to that is “I can’t” or “I won’t” then think about what this answer implies—and whether you are then a person needed by people here, who can be useful here. Now, finally, please think about this: if you must come, wait a while. Wait until things cool off for longhairs, wait until the speed freaks have hopefully left, wait until the longhairs who are already here can develop a better climate—if they can. While you wait, READ and LEARN about this part of the country. Read what has been done to the people here by the white man; find out why they see Kit Carson and those other frontier types as murderers—not heroes; find out what the U.S. Forest Service and Smokey the Bear represent here. Don’t just put on long skirts and beads, and think you understand “the Indians;” too many rich tourist ladies do that too: Learn Spanish, learn about the every day culture, hang around some poor Spanish-speaking families. Learn about the tradition of courtesy, and why you must not presume on it. Learn some humility; look in yourself for unconscious arrogance and selfishness. Ask yourself, what do I know? Do you know how many Mexican-Americans there are in this country? Do you know that, in terms of education and jobs, they are worse off even than the blacks? Can you imagine what it is to speak one language as a child and then suddenly be dumped into a classroom where another is enforced on you—and fall behind in class, then be told you are stupid? Can you see the difference between being poor and being without money? Can you go to a demonstration by poor people and let them run it their way, and not impose your style as did some longhairs in Santa Fe recently? Can you show respect for another people’s culture and not be disrespectful simply because that’s the way you feel toward your own culture. Can you in other words, do some hard thinking? If you think, you won’t come. Not now. And when you come, come as a revolutionary.