By James “Hollywood” Macecari Opinion Columnist
Last weeks Biker Angle talked about how the modern era biker has its roots in the Vietnam Era. Boy did that set up a firestorm of rebuttals. In my opinion, I do not think people were paying attention to what I was saying. So I‘ll be throwing out some references from one of the Legends of the Motorcycle Club Community. Sonny Barger.
The man who took the obscure Hells Angels, formed from an offshoot of the Piss Off Bastards of Berdoo in 1948. – (Source Life and Times of Sonny Barger.) To the legend that exists today as the Big Red Machine.
As I suggested in the last video titled ” So you want to be a biker?”. The origins of the motorcycle club scene started after World War Two. But the protocol most recognize in the club scene came after. Actually, those protocols developed in the 60’s or the Vietnam Era. A passage out of Sonny Bargers Book ( The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club which you can purchase through the link ) says it all.
“The Hells Angels in So Cal, San Francisco, and — before they became defunct — North Sacramento was loosely affiliated. Technically, if we went by the rules of today, the Oakland Chapter would’ve been considered illegal.
Oakland HAMC was founded on April 1st, 1957. It wasn’t until 1958 that Sonny took over the President spot of the Oakland Chapter and started instituting some of the rules clubs follow today at the chapter and charter level. It was 1966 when the Hells Angles started growing and spreading out of California.
” By The middle 60’s, we began to grow quickly. Once we sanctioned each official Hells Angels Charter, it became their responsibility to keep anybody from starting up an illegal charter in their part of the country.“Sonny Barger The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
Take a listen to the Motorcycle Madhouse Promo
Before the expansions of motorcycle clubs in the 60’s. Motorcycle clubs were just ragtag bands of rebellious guys wanting to blow off steam. Ever wanted to know where the protocol of seeking the dominant club blessing to form your own club came from? It started off with the dominants policing themselves. What was the purpose of expanding sanctioning to smaller clubs? Because they would act like ass-monkeys and bring heat down on the bigger dominant club. Don’t take it from me. Click here to buy the book and get it from the man himself.
To further the argument protocols as we know today have their origins in the Vietnam era. The Bandidos MC was established in 1966 in Galveston Texas Founded by Don Chambers an American Marine. He founded it after returning from Deployment from Vietnam. Ronald Jerome Hodge ( another Marine) ran the Bandidos after Chambers went to Prison for killing two drug dealers.
Barger puts the Outlaws as we know today starting out in 1959 as well as the Pagans in 1959. The Outlaws would argue they were apart of the McCook Outlaws that formed way earlier than 1959. In regards to the Outlaws M/C (According to their very own website) it wasn’t until 1963 they became the first true 1%er club East of the Mississippi River. It was 1964 when the Outlaws M/C formed the first out of state chapter in Milwaukee. Again the big four as we know it today didn’t start expansions until the mid 60’s.
One interesting note before going onto more protocol stuff.
According to Barger. The Chicago War in the 1990s occurred because the AOA put in a chapter in Brockton Mass. To balance out the Angles put charters in Rockford and Chicago Illinois. This led to a fierce war in the Chicago area in the mid 90’s.
The protocol as we know it was a result of the expansion period in the mid 60’s. Exactly what I was trying to say in the previous video. Notice I said ” Protocol as we know it today.” something that I stated the same way in the previous video. So here is my question to all the naysayers and know it alls that were not even born yet. How could the protocols we know today exist if clubs before the year of 1959 were just a bunch of ragtag groups carpeting the country? The answer is simple. There was none. Nothing was fully organized until guys like Barger, Chambers, and others instituted the structure of clubs we see today. And that happened during the Vietnam Era.
One of the policies I found extremely interesting and something these pop-up clubs can learn from. The HAMC have a policy. It’s pretty much universal in the Big 5. They do not accept former members of other dominant clubs. Why? Because it caused nothing but issues for them. Maybe these foreign clubs might want to take note. Seems like all they do is take members out bad from other clubs. They wonder why they have all the problems they do.
Hopefully, this cleared up my position concerning protocol and the Vietnam era. Once more; don’t take it from me. Take it from someone who actually lived the life and set up a lot of the things we know today. The problem with people is they do not carry out the research on a subject. They hear something on the internet. Or from people not even there during the 60’s.Then take it as gossip and want to argue until they are blue in the face how wrong someone is.
Let’s examine this question. If the protocols we know today were in force back in the early days like many say they were after world war two. Why then were motorcycle clubs unorganized? Just like Sonny Barger said in his book. Oakland would be considered illegitimate? To answer the question you have to put in context the way society was back in those days. The Hollister party that led to the term 1%er happened in 1947. A time when people were just getting back to their lives after the fiercest war in human history. Motorcycle Clubs was not what we would recognize them today as. MC’s were formed out of motorcycle racing teams. They were not these prominent organizations we see today. Hollister fostered in the rebellious age yes. But it wasn’t until another decade that clubs would start to form as we identify them today. People in the late 40’s and 50’s were more worried about the rise of communism, the cold war and raising families than concentrating on getting highly organized clubs going.
When did the Vietnam Era Begin? Well, it officially started to boil in 1954. But it wasn’t until 1964 Johnson let loose.
In August of 1964, after DRV torpedo boats attacked two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, Johnson ordered the retaliatory bombing of military targets in North Vietnam. Congress soon passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave Johnson broad war-making powers, and U.S. planes began regular bombing raids, codenamed Operation Rolling Thunder, the following year.
In March 1965, Johnson made the decision—with solid support from the American public—to send U.S. combat forces into battle in Vietnam. By June, 82,000 combat troops were stationed in Vietnam, and military leaders were calling for 175,000 more by the end of 1965 to shore up the struggling South Vietnamese army.
Despite the concerns of some of his advisers about this escalation, and about the entire war effort amid a growing anti-war movement, Johnson authorized the immediate dispatch of 100,000 troops at the end of July 1965 and another 100,000 in 1966. In addition to the United States, South Korea, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand also committed troops to fight in South Vietnam (albeit on a much smaller scale). Source History.com Vietnam War
Most of those who served before 1969 were completely volunteers. The first use of the draft didn’t come until December 1st, 1969.
366 blue plastic capsules contained the birthdays that would be chosen in the first Vietnam draft lottery drawing on December 1, 1969. The first birth date drawn that night, assigned the lowest number, “001,” was September 14 Source History.net
The Vietnam Era was one of the most chaotic periods in American History next to the Civil War. While the country was dividing itself from in. A few people in motorcycle clubs bonded together to make history. The one thing America can claim out of all it’s subcultures. Motorcycle Clubs is the one thing that America cornered the export market on. Bikers from all around the world model themselves after the American Biker. They model their clubs after the ones here in the states. Some even enjoy wearing the patches that initially started here in the states. Most important. We all raise a beer to those who started the expansions of the 60’s and gave us the clubs and structure we see today. Those fellows that started the expansions are in their later years now. Hopefully, as they pass on the motorcycle club community can come together and honor their efforts. Regardless of patch or who they were with.
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