Anyone who is exclusively following the "straight" media might get the idea that campuses have changed since the late sixties - "quieted down" from angry demonstrations and political shouting matches. That radical idealism has actually turned to extreme conservatism. Various reports claim alcohol is replacing reefer, and studies are replacing political activism. President Ford and a return to "normalcy" are welcome, Mao, Marx and communism are not. Streaking is supposedly the new excitement in college towns. Fraternities and sororities are, so we're told, growing once more, and any day the news may be reporting the return of the panty raid.
The "straight" media distorted the activism of the sixties, and the reports on what's happening now are proving no better. The only part that is even close to reality is that things have changed.
Yet activism is not dead, and young people are not reverting to the middle class hypocrisy and lack love of their parents. Watergate, growing pollution and crime in the cities, the manufactured energy "crisis" of last (and next) winter, and rapid inflation have convinced more people than ever of the inadequacy of the American economic and political system.
In various places across this country, young people are'as active as ever, but now in a more stable and effective direction. Ann Arbor is in the forefront of this new movement, with a growing alternative community based on communal living and working. Old institutions are facing challenges from the influx of committed young people no longer willing to accept old patterns of discrimination and self-serving profit incentives. New institutions are being organized to replace unresponsive old ones, or to meet the needs of people which have long existed but never before been met. These developments in turn attract more people with similar visions, who help to further build the new culture.
This "Community Directory" is a celebration of Ann Arbor 's unique and growing alternative community. It is both a report on how this community is developing for those unfamiliar with Ann Arbor. and a chance for those who know the city better to catch up on the latest developments and review the accomplishments of the last year. Inside is a report on Ann Arbor politics, culture and entertainment, and short pieces on the growing counter-institutions in such areas as health care, child care, media, women, gays, and third world peoples.
We think that this kind of yearly report can help bring the people living and working in Ann Arbor closer together, as well as help those new to the city find ways to get involved and work for change. Hopefully, this "Directory" will become a yearly institution, growing with our community -- bigger and better each year.