• Steven Heller

Lethal Print

The counterculture (New Left or hippie) press of the 1960s called itself the Underground Press. It was a reference to the numerous clandestine “undergrounds” that emerged to fight the Nazis in Europe (and occupation forces elsewhere), its contributors risking life and limb. I worked on the 60s alternative newspapers, of which there were many, but they were not literally underground as the European ones were.

Underground Press Near and Far

Like the original undergrounds in Europe, the “neo-undergrounds” played a “crucial role” in informing and motivating resistance across to the government polices and building solidarity. But despite the frequent confiscations and harassment by police and the F.B.I., few in the 60s were subject to the same savage and lethal retribution as the real undergrounds when its makers were discovered and arrested.

Front page of the Dutch paper “The Camouflaged eagle.” “Now that the bird [the symbol of Germany] loses its feathers, its vulturous character appears.” Holland is occupied and the Nazis are loosing the war.

The cover of the Czech BOJ (“Struggle”) representing the occupied Czech resistance and struggle to see the Nazis defeated and floating back to Germany.

A portion of a page from Avant Garde magazine on the American underground press.

“Monocle” was a proto-underground political satiric magazine published in New York City in 1963.

In the 60s Rolling Stone covered politics and the anti-war Movement.