Oz was a “hip” commune near Meadville, Pennsylvania, which existed until September, 1968. It became known through the article by Robert Houriet, “Life and Death of a Commune Called OZ,” New York Times Magazine, September 15th, 1969.
Local residents complained about both the “immorality” of the communards, and about what they saw as the unsanitary living conditions in the commune. When one communard had to go into hospital due to having hepatitis, a local woman said that she “would let them live there and die.” (Quoted by Houriet)
Later, an injunction was nailed to the front of the commune’s farmhouse forbidding the use of the building for fornication, assignation and lewdness. Local stores refused to serve the commune members.
In addition to the legal harrassment of the commune, it became a victim of an attack by bikers. They beat and tortured the male members of Oz, and beat and sexually assaulted the women there, searching for those who had hidden themselves. One communard managed to call the local police. When the police arrived they did little to protect the commune members. The only thing that they did was force the bikers to pick up the beer bottles that they had scattered round the commune.
The end of OZ:
In September, 1968, the group broke up to avoid the legal and extra-legal repression that they were faced with.
“the new communes” Ron E. Roberts, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1971.
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