Our Raison d’Être – A. Embree

Originally written on 1 October 2005. rdj

I have loved some of the WRITING lately. Even more, I have enjoyed the THINKING behind the writing. Some of what has been written in the Yahoo group could easily be tweaked into ARTICLES aimed at a general public. What if we tried to do a bloggish Online Rag with occasional volunteer funnels (Thorne, you still afloat?), or coordinators (Alice, Hunter)…

The Rag contained first hand, impassioned, informative, often very fine writing. We have a wealth of impassioned, informed, fine writers among us. We could write about, for example: the March on Washington (Doyle, Cam, Sue); the Houston evacuation (Thorne); the Roe v. Wade panel (Judy, Vic, Barbara); New Orleans (Jeff), the German elections (David M.); the Canadian child care pilot (Vic); Fight or Flee (Dennis, David H., Mariann, and others); unions (Cam, Connie, Alice); reviews of Marilyn’s poetry (Mariann), The Hidden Heart (Gavan), Don’t Think of an Elephant! (Alice) and much, much, more. And it could be posted in a bloggish sort of way, with links, etc. And we could, of course, do it for free because we believe in it. OK, I’m slightly crazed and it is the month for Libras, so indulge me,

Peace Now!
Alice (Scan Do Kid)

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14 Responses to Our Raison d’Être – A. Embree

  1. hank says:

    Your tag line, “Brought to you by the miracle of functioning anarchy” roped me into reading more.
    People get much more supervision than they need, in my opinion. I’m listening. s/henry

  2. Anonymous says:

    It was a lot of fun to see Alice Embree and Thorne Dreyer via cyberspace. This is Allen Young of Massachusetts. I am currently in Florida visiting Katya Taylor (formerly Nina Sabaroff) of Liberation News Service, celebrating 40 years of friendship.

  3. the OB Rag says:

    Wow, this is great.

    I made a similar pitch, last October, to a good friend of mine, the founder of the OB People’s Rag.
    We are now the OB Rag blog.

    OB stands for Ocean Beach, California. The original OB People’s Rag was published from 1970 to 1975. We have several scanned images at our site and was wonderfully surprised to see yours! Maybe thanks to Alice, the Scan Do Kid?

    Great job folks! We’ll be checking back regularly!


  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s great to see a “Rag” site. It brings back a lot of great memories of Austin in the sixties.
    I recently found, Vol 1 no. 18 (March 13 ,1967 15 Cents & 20 Cents outside Austin)that I now keep in my desk.
    Your “Folks” section shows Schann Segal on piano at the Matchbox. What a great little place the Matchbox was; on San Antonio I think.
    What ever happened to “Oat Willie”? That fog seems never ending!
    Phil Sigmund
    Salt Spring Island BC

  5. Mike Hanks says:


    Sincere congratulations are due to you and Richard for the work you are doing on The Rag Blog.

    You are doing what I have hoped for some years could be done which is to lift the discourse of our band of Austin radicals from personal comments in a small room to a discourse about the issues that have universal significance and therefore the power to change our world for the better.


  6. Mark Rudd says:

    Thorne: The RB is getting better and better. You’re the best!


  7. “Anonymous” asked back in May what ever happened to Oat Willie. If you mean the shop, you may have seen news here of the recent 40th anniversary celebration — Oats is now one of Austin’s longest-lived businesses, if you can get your mind around that — it took me a while! If you mean Oat Willie himself, check out this link:


  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow… Danny Garrett just told me about what happened to Alan Pogue, so sad, but he is always and still a VERY brave man. Most of you won’t remember me, I showed up in Fall ’71-72 just as a kid walk-in volunteer because I was only 17 but so fiercely antiwar and looking for My Kinda People.. and I found ’em! I remember lots of late-night rubber-glue & typewriter & scissors layout sessions above that old Rexall(?) pharmacy on the Drag.. and even running down to the Greyhound station at 4th & Congress to get our finished issue on the bus to the printer. (The only printer who would handle us, we couldn’t get one in Austin..) I just did what I could, anything asked, and tried to stay out of the way of the real folks that made it all happen – like you-all.

    I remember that sad day when our offices got trashed very oddly too.. no sign of a breakin, everything thrown all over like a robbery, our typewriters smashed, but the only thing missing was a list of our Staff, names, addrs, tel. nos.. Hmmm! We all smelled the Hoover Bacon that day. COINTELPRO!

    Later on like Judge Steve Russell (whom I admired greatly) I went to THE law school and was the AusChron’s lawyer for its first 9 years … not that they needed one much! My official masthead title at the Chronk was “Mouthpiece”.

    After RAGstaffing I just couldn’t leave the underground-press community.. NO way! WE MADE A DIFFERENCE! In my mind there is a DIRECT lineage from The RAG to the Austin SUN to the short-lived Austin Challenger, to the Chronicle today… god, how many years is THAT?

    But it was at the RAG that I first found MY People when I came to Austin in ’71. I’ll NEVER forget! Battling endlessly over our free-speech right to sell the paper by the Main Building at UT against the Regents… oh yeah! I got teargassed too when some of our kinda antiwar folks occupied the Main Building offices and got half beaten to death… I wasn’t inside, but I got a good taste anyway..

    RAAG! RAAAAG! (sound of blues harp) GETCHA RAAG HERE! RAG FOREVER!

    You who are reading this prob. won’t remember me, but most people called me The Mole… anyone who knows that name knows who I am. After the RAG folded I went to work for Middle Earth…. remember them? It was another way of continuing to help The Community.

    GREAT BLOG! Thanks! Dammit, I miss those years… we were all so young. And now… IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN! But where are our successors?
    I’ve still got a wet bandanna rag for the gas, I’ll put my boots on and borrow a motorcycle helmet.. I’m STILL ready to MARCH! STOP NOW! GO BARACK!

    – The Mole

  9. RON JACOBS says:

    This popped out at me since I saw my name, Ron Jacobs, even though I am pinging the Internet now to spotlight my newest book: OBAMALAND: Who Is Barack Obama? which you can see free online at Amazon. it is usually sold out on Amazon, because it is printed in Hawaii. (808) 848-0711 :: Aloha from Kaneohe on a mellow 2 a.m. in Paradise. The people at the printing plant are on Hawaiian time, so remember:
    Shave Ice, Bra. Cool Head, Main Thing, Almonds move
    backwards in time: Dr. Lyle Zaron, VatOMer Labs.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I am interested in the last days of The Rag. If everyone was having fun and saving the world… well how do you see it, Thorne? I saw provincialism and smelled Cointelpro, but was only in Austin for a couple of years… definitely felt tracking going on… so when I was fired from The Rag, I felt it as an honor!

  11. I wasn’t in Austin in the last days of The Rag. Just the first couple of years. For folks who don’t know, The Rag lasted 11 years, which was a long life in the underground press era.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The failure of the Rag is more evidence that the general public does not want liberal (or progressive, read progress towards socialism) anarchist social change.

  13. What “failure” of The Rag?

    The original Rag had great impact and was a model for papers that followed it. It’s been acknowledged by historians for the significant role it played. Lawrence Leamer called it “one of the few legendary undergrounds,” if I remember his words correctly. And in his book “Smoking Typewriters,” John McMillian called it “spirited, quirky, and humorous,” and said that the community “came to regard it as a beautiful and precious thing.”

    And, boy, what we’re doing here sure doesn’t feel like failure! The consistent positive feedback and support we get is heartwarming and I’m honored to be a part of this whole thing. Feels awesome to me!

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