San Francisco has been home to an unusual number of progressive thinkers and movements; from the Digger movement of the late 1960’s to the current culture of back-to-the-land and alternative urban renewal, this area is a hotbed for unconventional and creative thinking. Morgan Fitzgibbons is amongst the most remarkable of the current generation of progressive innovators, and has become known for his forward thinking and historically conscious projects and initiatives. Morgan is deeply influenced by the Diggers, a San Francisco group that enacted guerrilla style political theater by simply doing things they deemed necessary. Specifically, they had a vision for a ‘free city’ that they implemented with free services and care for anyone.
Currently Morgan teaches environmental studies at the University of San Francisco, he is a contributor to the Huffington Post and is a founding member of three San Francisco initiatives: the Wigg Party, the Wiggle and Freespace. The Wiggle—the focal point of much of Morgan’s work—is the only bicycle route that connects the eastern and western sides of town without forcing riders to traverse the enormous hills that this city is known for.
On November 17th Morgan led a historic and cultural bike tour on the Wiggle called The Ride of Resistance in partnership with Alternative. The tour traversed original areas of Digger based social programs in upper and lower Haight and culminated in the Hayes Valley neighborhood. In Morgan’s words: “The Ride of Resistance is about resisting the prevailing societal notions of how and where our society is moving by proactively creating an alternative that will prepare the community to deal with the challenges that are coming. We don’t need to change the political atmosphere so much as we need to change the culture.”
It’s easy to be inspired by the warm and enthusiastic tone in Morgan’s voice when he speaks about his interests in history, social change and resilient community organizing. The Ride of Resistance, like a brief conversation with Morgan, offered no shortage of inspirational stories and ideas from one of this city’s most interesting thinkers.
Written by: A. Will Brown
Photos by: Dave Medal