Underground newspapers were the voice of protest in the sixties

 Demonstrators taking to the streets across the globe may have you thinking about that surreal time in the 1960s when the streets were the place to be. This was the time before social media and underground newspapers helped turn out supporters for marches and demonstrations.

Now former Lansing resident and veteran of the Vietnam era underground press Ken Wachsberger will tell stories from the period and do a book signing for his book “Voices from the Underground” at a launch party at EVERYbody Reads, 2019 East Michigan Avenue, Lansing, 7 p.m., Thursday, March 3.

Wachsberger is the editor and visionary of the landmark four-volume Voices from the Underground Series (published by Michigan State University Press), an anthology of histories of underground papers from the Vietnam era as told by key people on each of the papers. Volume 1 has just been released and will be available for purchase at the signing.

According to Wachsberger the underground press was the independent, antiwar press of the Vietnam era that told the true story, which the corporate papers suppressed, of what our government was doing behind our backs to the Vietnamese people in our name and with our tax dollars.

Stories in the series represent the gay, lesbian, feminist, Black, Puerto Rican, Native American, military, prisoners’ rights, socialist, new age, rank-and-file, Southern consciousness, psychedelic, and other independent antiwar voices of the era as never before told, according to Wachsberger.

Wachsberger was one of the principals of the Lansing area’s Joint Issue, one of a long tradition of local underground papers beginning with the legendary The Paper in 1965 that are included in Ken’s history, which appears in the newly released Volume 1. In appendices, he tells why being in jail is like finals week and opens the Red Squad files on East Lansing’s underground press.

Forewords are by Chicago Seed veteran Abe Peck, attorney William Kunstler, and Markos Moulitsas, founder of dailykos.com, one of the most important progressive blog sites of today’s new media.

 “With our country bankrupted by two wars, the timing couldn’t be better to read these stories. Markos’s foreword connects yesterday’s underground press generation with today’s blogger generation. It’s time to listen again to the poets and visionaries of the independent, alternative press,” Wachsberger said.

The book was called “the most important book on American journalism published in my lifetime” by the reviewer for In These Times and was named one of the five most important books in the field of communication for 1993 (Choice) when it appeared in an earlier version in 1993. The Los Angeles Times reviewer said it “comes closer than anything I’ve yet read to putting the sights, sounds and texture of the ‘60s on paper.” “… and it’s fun,” said Erwin Knoll, former editor of The Progressive.

Wachsberger is a long-time author, editor, educator, political organizer, public speaker, and consultant who has written, edited, and lectured widely on the Vietnam era, the Holocaust and Jewish resistance during World War II, the First Amendment, and other issues.

The Voices from the Underground Series has been celebrated by Susan Brownmiller, Bill Ayers, Tom Hayden, Ben Bagdikian, Charlotte Bunch, Barbara Tischler, Country Joe McDonald, Noam Chomsky, Peter Werbe, David Du Bois, Barbara Grier, Art Levin, Paul Krassner, and many others. 

To learn more about Voices from the Underground, read many more testimonials, and view the entire four-volume table of contents, go to www.voicesfromtheunderground.com.

Read more about the  book and its contents.

Bill Castanier has been an award-wining weekly newspaper editor, advertising and public relations executive in his 40 year career. In addition, he has been an executive with a newspaper trade association and founded Michigan’s first technology association, I-TE@M. He writes a weekly newspaper feature on Michigan authors and is on the Board of the Kerrytown BookFest and the Michigan Notable Book Awards. He has the only daily blog on Michigan literature (Mittenlit) and founded Spartanpodcast.com.

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