|First published in International Times, March 1970|
"DO GOODERS SUCK!"
yelled the ungrateful freak as he was ejected from the psychedelic soup
There is a feeling, when you attend the VD clinics of all but a few enlightened hospitals, that you had no business screwing in the first place, and that a dose of clap serves you right. A similar stigma-trip can be found inside the ministry of Social Security, the pawn shop, and in discussions on the subject of drug addiction. A similar situation can be detected at times within the underground.
"Rubbish!", you mutter. "What is this creep putting on us now?" you say. "Bullshit." But observe however the attitude of say the organisers of a rock Ďní roll concert who make impasssioned statements to the effect that a few irresponsible dope smokers are spoiling the environment for the rest of the law abiding audience. Observe also the thinly veiled contempt expressed by those who have to deal with some freak who has collapsed on barbiturates at a gathering. Notice how pleased we all are when the Home Secretary announces that the penalties for using dope are to be reduced while the penalties for dealing are to be increased; as if we really believed that the dealers are all evil mafiosa in trench coats and shades, who push dope in between multiple gangland slayings.
Observe also how this type of attitude is fucking the underground in the arse.
In the golden(?) summer of 1967 thousands upon thousands of us turned on, tuned in and (most important) dropped out. The philosophy on the most general and broadest level became "Get stoned, get laid, do your thing and donít make waves." As a result of this we occasionally got the clap, some of us got busted, others sometimes suffered various drug bummers and a lot more got too stoned or too into being dropped out that they had difficulties surviving on a material level.
Individuals and later organisations came into the scene to help out in these cases of drop-out hazards and self-help became another facet of the underground. It was unfortunate however that the helper gained a certain amount of status, first within the underground and later in the straight world, while the helped, due to the general poverty in the underground, gained little or nothing and this is where the trouble starts.
Underground is a blanket term that is applied both without and within to a bunch of dissatisfied individuals who seek to express themselves across a broad spectrum of ideas that range from Hare Krishna to the Hells Angels. There is often little relationship between the various parts, except insofar as that we are lumped together by external forces. It is an inescapable fact that the present system is dead nervous lest we survive, prosper and multiply, and will do literally anything to stop us: the forces which they apply to us being in direct ratio to the nuisance we make of ourselves.
This would indicate that we need some kind of binding ethic if we are to survive in any kind of manner acceptable to ourselves. And we need it now.
The only really necessary ethic that we need is one of total acceptance of each otherís philosophy. Plus an open responsibility to help anyone else who seems in difficulties. This should function on both an individual and organisational level, without any kind of bullshit ideas of obligation or gratitude. Sure, you may get ripped-off now and then but the vicious circle of theft and paranoia is the underlying motivation of western democracy and this in itself is a standing object lesson.
It works like this: the Hells Angels see the Hare Krishnas being beaten up by a bunch of drunks; the ethic indicates that they step in and deal with the situation. The Hare Krishnas meet some hungry Angels; the ethic indicates that they feed them, thus this ethical relationship helps the survival of both philosophies and also assists in some kind of mutual understanding. Mutual understanding, however, will not happen if either group attempts to place the other under a moral or material obligation. In a similar way, if you have two organisations, one that is in a fairly sound position and another that is going under, the ethic would again indicate that the former should place some of its facilities at the otherís disposal.
Underground organisations cannot operate in a watertight situation, the entertainment operations need the press, the press needs the social workers who in their turn need entertainment as a potential source of revenue. In the present state of things it would seem that all organisations might find some value in an interrelating body that in some way could provide a liaison and forum for organisations, groups and individuals. (A possible use for a bit of Implosionís two grand Ė Hey).
MORAL:- Old fashioned do-gooding does not make it, we have to begin to interrelate or we are dead.
And I, for one, am very into living.