Americana Game Schema and Plan

Bruce Hartford



MAINLINE PATH, Section 1. Socialization.
Everyone starts at Mainline, Section 1.

Our sardonic view of growing up in the 1950s and early 60s — the lies, myths, distortions, materialist values and corrupt politics.

MAINLINE PATH, Section 2. High School.

Our view of high school from point of view that was somewhat different from that of the school principal and the local P.T.A.

[CHANCE—RACE] Flip a card to discover your future:

[CHOICE #1] on the Mainline. Choose a path:

  1. Continue up the Mainline to college.
  2. Drop out and join the Working Class path (start at the sign with the green balloon).

MAINLINE PATH, Section 3. College.

[CHOICE #2] on the Mainline. Choose a path:
  1. Be a docile student. Follow the Middle-Class path to bourgeois career.
  2. Become a student-rebel activist. Continue up the Mainline.
  3. Fuck the whole thing! Take the Drop Out path.

MAINLINE PATH, Section 4. Student Activism.

Re-cap of recent political struggles on campus (anti-ROTC, demand for Third World studies, Vietnam & draft protests, student rights, etc). Police & arrests on campus, etc. Administration suppression of free speech & thought, etc. Critiques of liberal Democratic Party politics.

[CHOICE #3] on the Mainline. Choose a path:

  1. Continue up the Mainline as a post-college political activist/organizer.
  2. Reform the system from within. Cross-over to the Middle Class path.

MAINLINE PATH, Section 5. Activist/Organizer

[CHANCE—DRAFT]. Now that you're out of college your student deferment has expired. Yikes! Flip a card to learn if you've been drafted.
  • Sorry, you've been assassinated by the cops. Thanks for playing the Americana Game.
  • Sorry, you've been falsely imprisoned. Go directly to Jail.
  • Lucky you! Continue on organizing and struggling.

    Radical organizer/activist continued. Meetings, protests, building grass-roots political power.



[CHANCE—DRAFT]. Now that you're 18 and out of high school, flip a card to learn if you've been drafted.

BLACK/LATINO (GHETTO) PATH, Section 1. Life in the Ghetto.

Life in the ghetto. Poverty. Racism and discrimination in employment & housing. Police repression. "Urban renewal" (AKA "Negro removal"). "Job training" programs that lead directly into the Army.


JUNKIE SIDE PATH, the "high life."

Life as an addict — miserable and short. Where's all this skag coming from anyway? And who's getting rich off it? Effect on your family. Jail. No help or treatment for nonwhite junkies or other social-rejects. Death in an alley with a needle in your arm. Thanks for playing the Americana Game.

BLACK/LATINO (GHETTO) PATH, Section 2. Struggling for a better life.

Racism on the job, tokenism, last-hired-first-fired. Blacks & Latinos in a white middle-class.

[CHOICE] Choose a path:

  1. Affluence, acceptance, accommodation. Turn right down the Lackey Line.
  2. Resistance & change. Turn left up the Resistance Line.


Selling your soul for a home in the suburbs. Becoming the "first of your race to — whatever." Ahhh, the joys of power and affluence, leaving the old neighborhood (and family) behind (way behind). Life as an Oreo.

RESISTANCE PATH, Section 1. Struggling for change.

Fighting for justice, issues great and small. Cops. Repression. Urban uprisings.


  • Sorry, you were killed by cops in a revolt. Thanks for playing the Americana Game.
  • Sorry, you've been sentenced to 20 years. Go directly to Jail.
  • Lucky you! Continue struggling.

RESISTANCE PATH, Section 2. Building a better world.

Continuing the struggle. Community organizing. Building political power. Victories and defeats, large and small. La luta continua.



[CHOICE] Induction.

  1. Step across the line. Continue up the Army line.
  2. Refuse induction. Go directly to Jail.



ARMY PATH, Section 1. Basic Training

The misery and abuse of basic training, and the political indoctrination and socialization that underlies it. "The spirit of the bayonet is to kill" (whoever we tell you to kill). The famous Smedley Butler quote.


GARRISON PATH. You're in the Army now.

Life in the service outside of Vietnam. The world-wide political-economic role of U.S. military. Maintaining the global corporate order.

Congratulations! You've served your country well (or at least the corporate rulers thereof) and gotten a "good" discharge.

As a newly discharged veteran, we welcome you to life in the Unemployment line. Go to Choice #1 on the Working Class line (the sign with the green balloon).

ARMY PATH, Section 2. Vietnam.

Vietnam! Vietnam! Lies. War. Racism. Drugs. The politics behind the war. Our noble "allies." Who dies? Who gets rich?


ARMY PATH, Section 3. V.A. Hospital.

How the government really (mis)treats its wounded heroes.



[Note: The Americana game's definitions of "Working Class" & "Middle Class" were very generalized distinctions of income-level, workplace power, and overall life-style rather than Marxist categorizations.]

Start at the sign with the green balloon, after passing Draft Chance or finishing Army service).

[CHOICE #1] on the Working Class line. Work or don't.


Life as a blue-collar or service worker. Low wages, lack of dignity & respect, speed-up & layoffs. What's this talk about a union, aren't they all rackets run by gangsters and reds?

[CHOICE #2] on the Working Class line.

WORKING CLASS PATH, Section 2. On Strike.

Why strike? Life on the strike line. Scabs & cops. Trying to survive without an income. The union bosses sell you out.

[CHOICE #3] on the Working Class line.

WORKING CLASS PATH, Section 3. Defying the bosses (union & management)

Rank & file activism against both the corporate and union bosses. Organizing a caucus. Snitches & stool pigeons. Struggling for union democracy. Wildcat strike. A long hard road ahead.


Turning your back on your friends and co-workers for material rewards. Learning new words like "Schmuck!."
Acquiescing and copping out. Feathering your own nest. You're at a dead end. Thanks for playing the Americana Game.



HIPPY PATH, Section 1. Turn on, tune in, drop out.

Life on the Streets in the "Summer of Love." Who needs money when you have love — and pot? Living free off the grid ain't so easy. Life as a free-spirit artist/writer/performer. Now you know why they call cops "pigs." Hippy capitalism — dealing dope.


HIPPY PATH, Section 2. "Coming Down is Such a Bummer!"

Syphilis and the Free Clinic. Love turns to violence at Altamont Pass. Uh-oh, you smoked all the pot you were supposed to sell on consignment, your dealer is going to be pissed!


HIPPY PATH, Section 3. Country living, commune style.

Yikes, bean sprouts or pot, this farm work is hard! Say, what's the difference between a collective-committee and a boss? Parents/pastors/teachers all tried to mind-fuck/control you — now that you're free, you got a guru.



MIDDLE CLASS PATH, Section 1. Grinding out that Degree.

Student careerism, kissing the ass of the professor class. "Don't make waves!." It's not what you know but the contacts you cultivate. Student government as career enhancement.

[CHANCE—DRAFT]. Oh, shit! You've graduated and your student deferment has expired, flip a card to learn if you've been drafted.

MIDDLE CLASS PATH, Section 2. Anesthetize, fit in, sell out.

A functionary in a gray flannel suit. Life in the suburbs — bland, boring, and banal. Building that career, conscience and creativity not required.

[CHOICE] Choose your poison.

  • Corporate manager. Take the money line.
  • Government service. Take the bureaucrat line.
  • MIDDLE CLASS PATH, Section 3. The money line: Corporate manager

    Money money money, self self self. Climbing the corporate ladder. Middle management.

    MIDDLE CLASS PATH, Section 4. Government bureaucracy line.

    A cog in the wheels of power — turn, turn, turn, caring-not what the machine is producing. Keep those trains running on time and you'll be safe and secure (though not rich).


    Article copyright © Bruce Hartford

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    (Labor donated)