Slingshot published its first book in 2009 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of People’s Park in Berkeley. People’s Park Still Blooming is a 200-page, full color coffee table book edited by activist and park gardener Terri Compost. It was particularly appropriate for us to publish the book since Slingshot traces its roots to the struggles surrounding the Park — grassroots street level radicals vs. The Man.
The book uses hundreds of photographs as well as interviews, news clippings and book excerpts to tell the story of People’s Park past, present and future. Since a diverse coalition of activists seized a vacant lot to build the Park in 1969, the Park has been a model for do-it-yourself direct action. In the years since 1969, generations of activists have fought to permit the users of the Park to decide how it should be developed, operated and maintained — embodying the principal of user development — in the face of constant police repression. Amidst all the riots and protests, the park still blooms as a community garden and native plant repository in a dense urban area; as a liberated zone for concerts and political rallies; and as one of t
he few places open to all people — rich and poor, homeless and housed — in an increasingly consumer-dominated Berkeley. Daily free food provided by Food Not Bombs and others draws a constantly shifting band of punks, travelers, elders, artists and marginalized people to the Park.
The book is neither a dry historical text nor mere picture book — its conception and actualization are intimately tied to a living struggle with implications far wider than just Berkeley or just a park. The struggle for the Park is the same as the global struggle for freedom, cooperation and ecological balance over hierarchy, corporations and a throw-away world.
We still have copies of the book available and we’re looking for help getting it out to the world — particularly beyond Berkeley and California, where its mostly been passed around so far. It retails for $24.95 — a lot of money but it’s worth it. Please help us clear out all these boxes of books! Check our website for mailorder or bookstores that carry it. Let us know if:
• You know of a library or bookstore that might want a copy;
• You can publish a book review.