Now Your Town Can Have a 'Professional Riot!'

Alert Americans Association (Creator)
Now Your Town Can Have a 'Professional Riot!'
Dating to 1965, the Alert Americans Assocation's poster pictured here incisively expressed the derision that many conservatives felt for political protesters during the mid-1960s (see Go to College: Learn to Riot). Distributed in California, the Berkeley Free Speech Movement of circa 1964-1965 may have been a direct influence (note that the mock order sheet lists that "college degree-types are extr a cost for educational disturbances"), but the poster's designer seems to have had a host of other events on his or her mind. The note that "suicide by fire" will be added to their services seems likely to be a reference to pacifist Norman Morrison's self-immolation at the Pentagon in November 1965, while regional disputes, labor activism, and civil rights protests are all specifically mentioned. The satirical dismissal of these movements as the result of an unprincipled group of "professional" protesters who artificially inflated their own numbers betrays the belief that such radical movements were not only dangerous but failed to accurately represent the will of most Americans. In the specific context of the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon later similarly spoke of a vocal minority opposed to the "great silent majority" of patriotic Americans.
Collection Name
Group Research, Inc. Records
Archival Context
Series III: States. Box no. 411, Folder no. California, 1965
printed ephemera
printed ephemera
Library Location
Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Browse Location’s Digital Content
Also In
Choosing sides
Persistent URL