Quem eram os motherfuckers?
“Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers” was an anarchist affinity group based in New York City. This “street gang with analysis” was famous for its Lower East Side direct action and is said to have inspired members of the Weather Underground and the Yippies.”
Quem é Ben Morea?
Ben is 63 years old now, small and wiry, with a Fu Manchu moustache and jet-black hair that he combs backward. He lives in the Southwest, but still visits New York periodically. So long as we’re indoors, he politely keeps his cowboy hat on the bench beside him. For all his past reticence, he’s an effusive talker and a gifted raconteur. If he’d been born just a little bit earlier, I could imagine him showing up in one of Jack Kerouac’s road novels. Sometimes he recounts past exploits with exactly the type of joyful, stiff-necked pride one might expect from an ex-prizefighter. He smiles easily and impishly.
Right upfront, he tells me what I already know: that but for one recent exception, he hasn’t appeared in public as “Ben Morea” in 35 years. So why the change of heart? His answer unfolds gradually, and betrays a genuine ambivalence. On the one hand, he’s always been reluctant to be singled out. He tells me how he made a point of avoiding the cameras when he was backstage at Woodstock, and how he once turned down an offer to play a part in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film about 60s American youth culture, Zabriskie Point. Yet he regrets that the Motherfuckers remain obscure and poorly understood. The 1960s may be one of the most overwritten decades in American history, but the only scholarly treatment the group has ever received was a 2003 Harvard honors thesis. Again and again, Morea rails against how the counterculture’s values have been domesticated, sanitized and exploited.