I've met a lot of interesting people doing this Web archive. One day, I received a feedback message from Etan Ben-Ami. It turns out that he and I share a number of parallel life paths, including starting an oral history of the Diggers. Etan was a youngster in the late 60s, so by the time he heard about the Diggers, they were already history. Except they weren't, in the sense that the history of the hippies, the Haight, the Diggers hasn't been written. Why? Perhaps in some parallel universe the Summer of Love never ended. To write a history about something assumes that it is over. But for everyone who believes in Digger Free, the history is still playing out, stretching back to Winstanley, Everard and the gang that planted those seeds in our collective imagination 300+ years ago. Perhaps the best history we can do is to collect the stories, and retell the tales that inspired us. This is not the history practiced in the Academy, this is People's History.
Etan Ben-Ami wrote that:
Etan is worried that people are upset that he hasn't finished this project. But, Etan, I don't think anyone can really be upset, especially if you agree with my premise that the Digger history really cannot be written. All we can do is preserve the stories that our elders told us gathered around the proverbial communal fire, and pass this collected body of knowledge onto the next generation.
So, Etan, thank you for this project. Know that you have a home for your transcripts, and they will be cherished.
Interview of Peter Coyote, Mill Valley, 1989.
Interview of Judy Goldhaft and Peter Berg, San Francisco, 1982.