Vocations for Social Change: Promoting a Better Planet

Ray Schwartz shares the history and goals for the organization Vocations for Social Change (VSC), based in California.
By Ray Schwartz
November/December 1970
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Vocations for Social Change is more than an idea. It is more than people. VSC is a living, breathing creation of the generation of youth, peace and love.
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/MANGOSTOCK


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Vocations for Social Change is more than an idea. It is more than people. VSC is a living, breathing creation of the generation of youth, peace and love aimed at social change.

Some three years ago in Nashville, Tennessee, a few students got together and planned an idea to form a group which would collect and distribute information regarding all the great things people were doing across the nation, in order to change society in some way. That idea and dream is now VSC.

A small number of young men and women dropped out of the middle-class bag and dropped into Canyon, California about one year ago. Canyon is a non-existent village some twenty miles from the Bay area. They rented a seven bedroom wooden bungalow and a smaller office, and with a few dollars—but much good will and love—they setup shop.

Why is VSC so unique? Because it is the only major clearinghouse of all types of jobs, vocations, etc., paying or non-paying, which attempt to change our society and make this a better, happier and healthier place to live. And the service they provide is FREE. These listings are compiled in a newsletter published bi-monthly and made available to anyone at no cost. VSC does not charge anyone for the privilege of listing his or her special thing, either. The free newsletter can be mailed anywhere at your request. Should you know of places or jobs, or people needing help, write VSC.

What types of jobs appear in VSC newsletter? Education/research lists, among others, the Aquarian Research Foundation which is interested in finding ways to alter our society without causing violence or civil war in the streets. The Family Store in Oakland needs help in creating fair businesses, not profit-making, exploitative devices. Resurrection City wants people to help make it a city within a city.

Apprenticeships are offered with the Great Speckled Bird of Atlanta, and underground press, to learn the trade. Friends World College is listed under Education, and is an international community of faculty and students seeking deeper understanding of our changing world community. Institute for the Study of Non-violence is also under education and speaks for itself.

Peace/Draft groups include the Chicago Action Community, the Resistance and Draft Help. They need you.

Media are represented by our own San Diego Free Door, the Armadillo Press, and the SF Bay Guardian. Films have an incomplete listing because many underground filmmakers are either unaware or too busy to part with, or share their thing. Communes, co-ops, community organizing, and more await you in the VSC newsletter, all for the price of air.

How can you help VSC? There are many ways. First, do your own thing right where you are. Second, publicize it in the VSC newsletter. Third, publicize VSC and share the newsletter with others. Fourth, arrange speaking tours for VSC in your area. Even if you are only in the thinking and planning stage, VSC wants to know about you, and feels others want to know, too. Lastly, you can attempt to compile a directory of local talent and circulate it in your area, and give a copy to VSC.

VSC could not operate without people. And the people at VSC are a great, wonderful, trying, taxing, strange accumulation of brain power and love from all over the country. I spent a few days with them in Canyon the first of this year—the eleven regulars who make up the staff include, Genie, tony, Cisco, Bob, Nancy, Lang the Inkle-weaver, Ellen, Cathy, Kevin, Suzie Sunsweet and George, one of the original ideamen of VSC, as well as a host of people who visit for a few days, weeks, even months, and help out. They have a great deal of love and respect for each other. Living that close does that sort of thing. But they pull no punches and make no nonsense. Besides the busy work of keeping VSC going, the cooking and the cleaning, they are experienced loom weavers, clothes-makers, candle-makers, health food farmers, etc. Evenings are spent discussing every thing under the sun, playing reeds, woodwinds, strings and percussion, doing Ginsberg's "ohm" thing, reading—living and loving. More recently, VSC'ers have been on a tour of the U.S. They would like to visit your area. Send them a card and help arrange for this by getting them sponsored, and getting them crashpads. They are truly fine people trying to do exactly what they are talking about. They deserve your support.

How can VSC operate if it doesn't charge for listing or newsletters. Not living in a vaccum, VSC needs bread, too. They request donations. They rely heavily on your good will and good sense. To get your free copy of the newsletter to have a listing printed, or for further information, contact Vocations for Social Change, in Canyon, California. Send them some bread for the hell of it. And tell them Ray sent you.


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