In my Hippy History blog I omitted a discussion of a common misconception. The misconception is that the anti-Vietnam War protest movement was a hippy movement. It wasn't and history proves that it wasn't.
The political movement that occurred at the time of the hippies had its own independent origins in the traditional socialist, communist, lefty world. The major organizing force was the Free Speech Movement and the "fuck" speech movement first visible at UC Berkeley. I was at UC Berkeley and I was the founder of the Graduate Student Union of the early 1960s. Mario Savio, later the leader of the Free Speech campaign, was my treasurer. There were no hippies around.
By the time the political movement of the era had attracted the baby boomers entering college and University, the movement was focused on the anti-Vietnam anti-draft issue. At no time were the organizers or leaders hippies. They smoked dope and participated in the hippie scene, the men sought sex from the hippie women, but they didn't engage in the hippy world.
When the first anti-Vietnam War protest marches began, hippies gladly joined in. What created the nearly geometric growth of the anti-war protest parades and demonstrations was the presence of the hippies who brought along vital elements for the marches: hippy music, naked breasts, plenty of marijuana and a celebratory mood. I went to many major marches and they all fit this description. Hippies came for the fun. Hippies were about fun. After five years of marches the crowds in the San Francisco Bay Area had grown to nearly 300,000.
When Operation Iraqi Freedom came along in 2003 the traditional anti-war coalition repeated its old patterns and organized anti-war marches with rallies at the end of the march. The first anti-Iraqi war march in the San Francisco Bay Area attracted nearly 50,000 people. After that the number declined until three years later, the Spring anti-war march attracted 2,000 people. The second Iraqi war was just as unpopular as the Vietnam War, based on public opinion data. The rapid decline in the number of marchers and protesters from 2003 to 2006 in contrast to the growth from 1966 to 1973 is explained by one fact. The first rally in 2003 had no hippy music, had very little in the way of drugs, the speeches were filled with hate, venom, anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and the whole event was angry.
stayed away from the 2003-2006 anti-Iraqi war marches in droves, even though there are still hundreds of
thousands of hippies in the S.F. Bay Area. The size of the anti-Iraq marches has
dwindled steadily, the absence of hippies is evident. No fun, no hippies.