[Bughouse Square debates]

CAN-TV coverage of the Bughouse Square Debates at Washington Square Park in Chicago in July 2001. The event, a free speech forum, traces its history to the early twentieth century when soapbox orators, beatnik poets and radicals gathered at the park to rant and rave. Generally, the video is a static shot of the podium with occasional cutaways to the crowd.

00:00Copy video clip URL Franklin Rosemont, of the Bughouse Square Committee, introduces the event and its dedication to free speech.

02:33Copy video clip URL Joffrie Stewart, who was the 1960 candidate for vice president on the Beatnick Party ticket, addresses the question, “Can nonviolence really be implicit?”

10:24Copy video clip URL Dianne Kampinen comments on modern society’s “conscience.”

13:19Copy video clip URL Irena Knezevic, a Yugoslavian who led a student protest in her home country against Slobodan Melosevic’s government, talks about nonviolent protest strategies.

16:04Copy video clip URL Dave Nasty, “a kid from the ‘burbs,” complains that political parties and the news media prevent American youth from participating in government.

22:20Copy video clip URL Keith Ammann speaks about the Chinese philosopher Confucius.

28:04Copy video clip URL Mark Robbins gives opinions about class warfare and corporate power in national politics.

32:05Copy video clip URL Jeffrey Creath talks about the overabundance of messages and media in what he dubs the “age of confusion-ism.”

35:35Copy video clip URL Rosemont returns to the podium to comment on the state of free speech in America and the history of Bughouse Square.

42:30Copy video clip URL Rosemont’s speech is interrupted for a station ID and other programming.

42:46Copy video clip URL A segment on the Newberry Library’s William M. Scholl Center, a repository of Chicago’s social history. Toby Higbie explains the Center’s functions and programs and shows several historical artifacts.

47:37Copy video clip URL Station ID.

47:45Copy video clip URL Pilsen Diaries by the Casa Aztlan Youth Video Program. 1997. Video diary by Pilsen youth. Over footage of the neighborhood, the kids recount their experiences.

1:03:24Copy video clip URL Alcoholics Anonymous ad.

1:03:40Copy video clip URL Station ID and promo.

1:04:26. Back to the event. Closeup of the sign announcing the main debate, then musical entertainment by The Viper and His Famous Orchestra. The band’s unique songs use humor to criticize capitalism and gentrification.

1:20:13Copy video clip URL Bagpipe player and accordionist Tim Yeager performs some “radical music.”

1:32:57Copy video clip URL Poet Carlos Cortez performs.

1:44:23Copy video clip URL Pat Butler, who describes himself as the “ringleader” for the event, announces the day’s schedule, gives a history of the debates, and introduces Studs Terkel.

1:49:30Copy video clip URL Studs Terkel talks about civil disobedience and compliments the other guests. He describes his first memory of Bughouse Square, from the summer of 1926 when he was fourteen years old. Back then the neighborhood was rough, but on every warm night there would be five soapboxes with disparate individuals holding court. He shares the story of a frequent denizen of the square, a World War I veteran who lost his arm.

1:56:57Copy video clip URL Pat Butler introduces the guests who will speak on the five soapboxes. He says that topic of the main debate, to take place later, is “Does God exist?”

2:00:00Copy video clip URL On one of the soapboxes, Matt Galloway advocates for a “return to cumulative voting” in Illinois, which would remove the delegate system.

2:03:39Copy video clip URL Tape runs out.



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