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Tensions between scientists and ACT UP didn't disappear, but they did decrease.
The impetus for the street theater tactics for which ACT UP would become known originated in two spheres committed to social justice: public protest and traditional theater.
On March 24, 1987, ACT UP hit the streets with a demonstration wherein approximately 250 activists sat down in the middle of traffic on Wall Street and hanged an effigy of Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Frank Young in front of Trinity Church in order to "protest against drug-company profiteering from the exorbitantly priced AZT" drug.
Sixteen months later when the United States went to war in the Gulf, ACT UP seized and closed the Golden Gate Bridge, spurring a militant war resistance movement in the San Francisco Bay Area that christened a new generation of peace-with-justice activists.
Until I encountered ACT UP in 1989, I truly never imagined that a joyful, life-affirming movement could be born of such darkness and death, but ACT UP was such a movement.
Through Health GAP and GTAC, ACT UP has built alliances within the antiglobalization movement.
Although these statements now come with a racist vision of Africa as the dark continent, in a sense they're nothing new to ACT UP members, many of whom recall similar statements made years ago when official AIDS policy was to hammer home the message of safe sex while ignoring treatment.
They seem to believe that Gran Fury was a group of artists who contributed to AIDS activism or to ACT UP, but in fact it's the other way around.
The enthusiasm with which we had approached what we were doing in the early years of ACT UP couldn't be sustained, because death was taking too great a toll.
ACT UP at its height, between 1988 and 1991, was an extraordinarily diverse group.
Early on ACT UP adopted Robert's Rules of Order for its procedures.
ACT UP was founded in New York City in 1987 by novelist and playwright Larry Kramer.
Somewhere along the way, though, ACT UP lost its political and sexual edge.
But my unease also comes from an awareness that the contradictions that drove ACT UP forward and eventually splintered it still rend our movement today.
ACT UP was driven by the pressure of survival to adopt an ends-justify-the-means mentality.