Mike Davis
The Ray Charles Riots

FE Note: Mike Davis’s captivating new collection of essays, Dead Cities, and Other Tales (New Press) chronicles many facets of the long-running anti-authoritarian struggles to reclaim public spaces. The book includes a 2001 article for on teenage riots in California before 1965, “As Bad as the H-Bomb.” Police, professional Red baiters, and Hearst’s newspapers warned that California’s teenage riots, illegal drag races, beatniks, and heavy petting at drive-ins was a dangerous pattern of subversion orchestrated by ingeniously sinister Communists.

...

Mike Davis
“The Hippie riots” & other youth rebellions Excerpt

In Southern California, the wild summers of 1960 and 1961 were a prelude to a series of famous youth insurrections: the watts riot of 1965, the so-called “Hippie riots” on Sunset Strip between 1966 and 1970, and the Eastside high school “blowouts” of 1968–69. [In the early sixties], Black youth in Los Angeles and elsewhere began to fight spontaneously for substantive control over community space—a thrust that would later become enshrined in the Black Panther Party’s program for “self-determination.”

...