|First published in International Times, February 1972|
Did you believe in the idea of
an alternate culture whose evolution could undermine and finally break the
stranglehold of capitalist death culture on our planet?
Did you also believe that the situation of a minority holding authority and deciding the behaviour of the rest of us was a destructive one?
Did you think that a society that was sufficiently plural to contain a number of different beliefs existing in harmony was a preferable situation to a regime that permitted little or no variation on a single lifestyle?
Did you ever express the idea that a person should be free to do what she or he desires providing it harms no one?
Did you feel that social change and a change for individual consciousness was so linked as to be indivisible?
As you read this are you feeling embarrassed about the fact that a lot of these concepts are naÔve hangovers from flower-power? This embarrassment could be the result of a trend in underground media that has lately made it fashionable to dismiss the good olí hippie idealism as childish and impractical, and suggest a concentration on solid, sensible adult political solutions.
The retreat from a hippie, illogical revolution to solid Marxist Leninist good sense is possibly another symptom that social change toward a free human environment on this planet is losing ground.
Ė a symptom similar to finding too many people too wrecked on downers to even think.
Ė similar to us all getting drawn into various consumer capitalist shucks.
Ė Similar to the increasing poverty in freak communities everywhere.
The freaks attacked capitalism where it hurt. (You who are laughing at this statement should now explain to yourselves why our rulers bust hippie rags like Nasty Tales and Oz and not, say, the Socialist Worker). The capitalist system is unable to cope with the active freak on any level. It can be the level of the lone Viet-Cong who rode into Saigon on a motorcycle, machine-gunned a lot of US officers and split, or it can be the level of a bunch of freaks who, stoned on acid, start painting the High Street dayglo. The system which works on a killer logic is mortally afraid of the freaky, joyous act. They are afraid of homosexuality because it is an act of love, of joy that has no hypocritical bullshit about families, children and apple pie. Itís joy, and thatís it, and so it had to go.
The first response of our rulers was to repress the freaks with physical and psychological brutality.
It was failure.
It merely brought us together and gave us strength and energy.
Then they tried to contain us by destroying our energy.
And they are getting more successful every day.
All Godís children having clap should not demoralise us, but it does, it is as though we had been promised it was going to be easy.
Capitalism, over the last five years, has made great efforts to replace most manifestations of freak culture with sad, rip-off imitations that seek to destroy communal energy and isolate the individual. They also demoralised us by deceiving us into judging the products of our own culture by capitalist standards.
If a rock festival attracts a million people who watch a whole bunch of superstars but feel isolated and lonely, it is generally acclaimed as a success. A festival where ten thousand freaks show up, watch other freaks make music, get high and joyful, is put down as a failure.
A band like Emerson, Lake and Palmer seek to impress the audience with the fact that they (the audience) lack the ability to do what the musicians are doing: their end product is that the audience feel inferior and isolated. (Think about the groupie reaction and read that again).
A band like David Peel and the Lower East Side seek to impress the audience that any one of them are able to do what the band is doing. The audience can take part and create a total joyous event.
The problem is that we are encouraged to view ELP as a success and David Peel as a failure.
We are being forced to think of our culture in commercial terms.
We are being re-conditioned to think like capitalists.
Even concepts like success and failure are being used to undermine our confidence that we are able to organise our own culture and society.
Say you wanted to provide the freaks in your neighbourhood with some of their material needs; so you want out and conned some old capitalist to put money into a "hippie store" in the hope of his making a load of bread. Say the store went broke in six months because you had been giving the stock to people who had need of it.
Would that be success or failure?
The only person who could call it a failure would be a capitalist.
There is a fashionable saying: - Freaks canít get anything together. It was invented by the system to bring you down.
When you are down, the system has another set of answers: -Here, man, have some downers. Here, man, get into sensible, serious politics. Here, man, buy a Grand Funk album.
Have you ever had some far out idea that your friends have laughed at and called you crazy? Have you felt frustrated because of it? Your friends are reacting to this kind of pressure.
To be called crazy should be a compliment.
Blow up a bank as a revolutionary protest or blow up a bank to see the flash? Or does it matter?
The system seems very afraid of colour, of flash, of high joyful energy. It is afraid of people coming together. If you hide in your pad or freak ghetto, if life becomes drab and quiet, it means the pigs are winning.
A new summer is coming and it can either be a hard time or a series of weir, colourful, joyful events that jar the confidence of straight society.
They may react in hysteria and fear. It will require strength.
It will, however, generate itís own energy and strength once it begins.
If it does not begin, we move closer to being parasites on the system, begging for crumbs, dependant on them for our food, homes, clothes, music and our very lives.
We come closer to accepting the drab, lonely, frightened existence of our parents. We will join the system that is killing our planet.
The stoned fantasy is in vain, unless it becomes the absurd reality.
Remember Fuddís First Law of Opposition: - That which is pushed eventually must fall over.