Ed. Note: As many of you know, Ben talked at 16beaver last year. Eve organized the event, this is a short text from NYpress posted on the Interactivist website:
Title John McMillian, "Ben Morea, Garbage Guerrilla"
Jon McMillian, New York Press
In the late 1960s, Ben Morea was the notorious leader of an unsavory Lower East Side anarchist collective called Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker. As a young historian who studies that period, I'd spent almost three years trying to locate him. All the leads I'd followed went nowhere. It was as if Morea had vanished, every bit as thoroughly as a jet contrail.
Not that this was terribly surprising. Even in his heyday, Morea cultivated an air of mystery. In the early 60s, he was an abstract-expressionist painter who signaled his lack of compromising nuances by dressing completely in black. Later in the decade, he used to strut around St. Marks Place and Second Avenue, longhaired and bearded like any number of hippies, but instead of adorning himself in flowers and beads, he wore a leather jacket, carried a switchblade and peddled manifestos full of cryptic poetry and angry agitprop. The Motherfuckers described themselves as a kind of politicized street gang, but in the media they were known only as "a group with a certain unprintable name." Their general attitude toward the counterculture summons to mind something Patti Smith later said about rock 'n' roll: "We created it; let's take it over!"