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Up Against the Wall Motherf**er: A Memoir of the '60s, with Notes for Next Time Paperback – November 4, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

After a childhood spent in middle-class comfort in the Bronx, OSHA NEUMANN attended Swarthmore and Yale. He became deeply involved with student activism and eventually moved back to New York, where he helped to found the anarchist street gang, the Motherfuckers. Neumann is now a lawyer in Berkeley, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press; Seven Stories Press 1st Ed edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583228497
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583228494
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,264,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Up Against the Wall Motherf**ker: A Memoir of the Sixties with Notes for Next Time
Osha Neumann is a prominent civil rights attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area. His book is a fantastic memoir of the intersection between 60s hippie culture and 60s radical culture, as seen from the vantage of an exceptionally perceptive and erudite attorney who has both achieved great 'straight' success AND stayed true to his roots.

Out of the dozens and dozens of books I have seen in my research for an upcoming documentary on Osha's friend, Alan Steinbach, MD (that deals, at least peripherally, with the legacy of the 60s) - this is by far the best!
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Format: Paperback
I read the book in about a week over the winter break. There is much humor in it and there were times I put the book down to laugh. Much of the book feels uncensored and the author's reckoning with himself comes through again and again. The writing is beautiful - there's a Bob Dylan like quality to it, but even more raw and more political. This is a must read for anyone who lives a life driven by the desire to do good and to fight the good fight. It's medicine.
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Format: Paperback
I have been trying to learn a little more about the New Left, and was interested to see that there was an "anarchist" group, UAWMF, based in New York's East Village. I was curious what the relation between the various "anarchist", Maoist, and reformist movements of the 60s/70s might teach us about today's Left, which is of course heavily dominated through "Occupy" by what David Graeber calls "The New Anarchists".

Tom (Osha) Neumann was a member of UAWMF for just about the duration of their existence (which he admits was "marginal"). He was not the leader, that was an ex-heroin addict and street tough Ben Morea. In fact, Neumann admits in retrospect that the group had several features of a cult, where long-haired suburban malcontents would escape their parents to join "the family" that rebelled against "The System". "When we did well in [Morea's] eyes, he would reward us with a look of intense affection that became the most valued currency of the group."

Despite what I was hoping to find, UAWMF has little to teach us about today's more sophisticated anarchists (despite Neumann's claim that the Black Bloc is "modern day Motherf**kers"). This is the group that coined the phrase "affinity group", which is so used by today's anarchists, but UAWMF were basically a group of street toughs, who thought they were challenging "The System" by vandalizing and shoplifting from St. Mark's - even the Black Bloc looks advanced compared to this. UAWMF were known as a "street gang with an analysis", but the analysis seems to have been remarkably crude.
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