Never Trust a Do-Gooder (or How I Lost Faith in Utopia)

Summerhill School

In the mid-1960s, there were thousands of kids like me who weren’t quite fitting in. We became noticeable right away when we stopped cutting our hair. In the mid-Sixties males were expected to sport looks straight out of Marine Corps boot camp, so bangs or even ducktails were radical, much less hair over the ears. We skipped school often as possible and got into trouble due to our bad attitude concerning authority. But there was a mecca beckoning to us from across the sea, a heaven-on-earth called Summerhill, a boarding school in England with no grades, no bells, and no rules, run by students, who were allowed to do whatever they pleased all day long. Founded by a psychologist in 1921, the school proved children flourish when provided with tools and access to educational materials, and they learn faster on their own when immersed in subjects over long periods. Today, I realize Summerhill isn’t that far off from home schooling, although in the Sixties few realized home schooling was an option. In case you didn’t know, it’s been proven home schooling works better than traditional schooling.

Suddenly, hundreds of attempts at Summerhill “freedom” schools were launched, some of which survive to this day. Our established school methodology of constantly ringing bells and rotating subjects on the hour seems to have been devised in Germany for the purpose of conditioning youth to happily accept a meager factory environment and always obey authority for the remainder of their lives. Strangely, it seems possible some Summerhill experiments could have been experiments in mind control, which would be the exact opposite of what A.S. Neill had intended.

Bill Ayers was a rich kid in Chicago who attended the Lake Forest Academy before graduating from the University of Michigan in 1968. He joined the SDS in college and upon graduation went straight to The Children’s Community, a recently-created Summerhill-type school in Ann Arbor. Almost immediately, he was named director of this school. His girlfriend Diana Oughton worked there too. She was from an even more privileged upbringing than Ayers, and his upbringing was pretty swank. She’d recently spent a summer in Germany, where she was apparently “radicalized.”

These two swiftly become the leaders of the violent Weather Underground, which has all the markings of a counterintelligence operation designed to destroy the student youth movement by driving it toward violence. And that wasn’t easy to do since the student youth movement was almost universally non-violent at the time. By the late 1960s, this movement had become centered on stopping the war in Vietnam, but it had begun by supporting the Civil Rights movement and the growing realization among the young that racism was a serious problem being overlooked. The freedom school movement of the 1960s was the first large-scale attempt to integrate schools, so the most intense opposition came from racists.

Soon, however, Oughton would blow herself up while fashioning a bomb intended to be set-off at Fort Dix, a shrapnel device designed to murder dozens of cadets and their dates at a social dance. This unplanned explosion in a ritzy Greenwich Village townhouse was the only surfacing of the Weather Underground since they had declared war against America and gone underground. Suppose a group of students today announced war on the United States and started murdering innocent people? How much support would they achieve? Somehow these rich kids from privileged backgrounds joined forces with America’s known enemies in anticipation of a coming Communist revolution they claimed would leave millions murdered or put inside Stalinist concentration camps. It would have been laughable had they not been able to supply so much c4 and automatic weapons to so many psychopaths, or had they not garnered dozens of mind controlled robots, all of whom were gradually reprogrammed during LSD-fueled sex orgies, or had they not generated so many contributions from within the National Lawyers Guild.

What I find interesting is the CIA and FBI were terrified of a rise of a black messiah capable of uniting the Civil Rights and student youth movements. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X were both obviously assassinated for this reason, and in the wake of those assassinations, an activist named Fred Hampton emerged in Chicago, someone who created the phrase “rainbow coalition.” Pretty soon, however, Hampton was assassinated while sleeping in bed, and the next morning Bernadette Dohrn gave press tours of the killing zone while deploying the event as her fulcrum to drive the SDS toward violence as the logical response. Her instant appearance on the scene and manipulation of information that day should be viewed as a possible counterintelligence psyop anointing Dorhn as Hampton’s successor, much the same way Jesse Jackson was anointed immediately after the murder of King. Dohrn was soon portraying psychopath Charlie Manson as her culture hero, while Ayers was doing the same thing for Sirhan Sirhan. It should be noted Dohrn attended the prestigious University of Chicago and became the first student organizer for the spook-infested National Lawyers Guild.

Bernadette Dohrn

After Oughton’s death, Ayers and Dorhn became the ruling couple inside the Weather Underground, and they remained in hiding for decades, living in beachfront homes under fake IDs. But after Watergate, when Cointelpro’s illegal activities were unveiled, all records of the Weather Underground’s devious alliances with America’s enemies were suddenly scrubbed from all FBI offices, while Ayers and Dorhn moved swiftly into tenured positions at major universities. Since every counterculture-leaning grad student with long hair was sacked during the Sixties, it’s hard to fathom how our highly conservative education system would give high-paying salaries and pensions to two admitted terrorists who’d been responsible for hundreds of bombings and numerous deaths, several of which involved law enforcement officers. Unless, of course, Ayers and Dohrn were spooks all along, which seems the most logical explanation.

There’s another thread to this story that involves the history of freedom schools in America, as well as my old friend Don Henderson, who was sent to one of the earliest freedom schools in Florida, a school located through Paul Krassner’s Realist magazine.

Paul and George

“Did you know about Rev. George Von Hilsheimer’s background in military intelligence when you met him?” I asked Paul recently.

“No,” was the terse reply. “I remember I did fund his operations for a while though.”

Shortly after the Realist transformed Krassner into an important influencer and surveyer of the emerging zeitgeist, Krassner was visited by an energetic fellow with aspirations of becoming an influencer for the counterculture generation himself. He’d already established himself as minister in a religion of his own devising when he came up with the idea of establishing an American version of Summerhill and enlisted Krassner’s support.

Interestingly, if you believe what you read on the Internet, Hilsheimer had previously been posted to military intelligence in Berlin. Krassner had recently begun acting as a referral service for women seeking doctors willing to give abortions, so spooks and subpoenas were raining down on him.

Hilsheimer convinced Krassner to fund the school to the tune of around $50 a month, and deployed the magazine to recruit students and staff. His first attempt (Camp Summerlane, Rosman, North Carolina) ended with the entire camp fleeing in terror from gunshots and explosions instigated by the local townspeople, who’d been enraged by rumors of nude swimming in the lake. Or maybe it was the inclusion of one girl who was half-black on the student roster. The town attack took place on July 11, 1963.

There were a few schools through the decades, up and down the East Coast, but in 1973, Hilsheimer was arrested by Volusia County deputy sheriffs and charged with practicing medicine without a license at his Green Valley School for emotionally disturbed children in Orange City, Florida. The charges were dropped after a raid of the property was deemed improper by the state attorney’s office. So Hilsheimer skipped (just like Ayers and Dohrn).

Meanwhile, kids from the school have come forth over the years with tales of hypnosis, forced injections, electroshock, psychic dreaming, sex with adults, rampant drug use and other weirdness…

“The place was supposed to be a school for troubled kids but it was really a dumping ground for kids who were too much trouble to their parents. The place was crazy – drugs, prostitution, spaced-out “teachers” that had sex with some of the kids and / or supplied them with dope – something out of a nightmare. For me, the problem is that there are folk who think Green Valley was some sort of countercultural utopia. Either nobody knew, or they’re not willing to acknowledge, what an insane place it was.”  Former student commenting online

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