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politics

Hippy Activism


What really distinguishes this generation. . . is its determination
to act, its joy in action, the assurance of being able to change things by one’s own efforts.

Hannah Arendt (1972)

The popular stereotype of hippies describes them as lazy, unmotivated,
even apathetic. At times we can be this way, especially when stoned. But
if you look back at history, you’ll find just how many causes we were actively
involved with, and how many great things we accomplished. This chapter
reviews the circumstances that led to the hippy movement, the major causes
that hippies supported, the outcomes of our movement’s activities, and
those causes that still remain to be tackled.

Hippies started the ecology movement. They combated racism. They
liberated sexual stereotypes, encouraged change, individual pride, and
self-confidence. They questioned robot materialism. In four years they
managed to stop the Vietnam War. They got marijuana decriminalized in fourteen
states during the Carter Administration.

Timothy Leary (Chaos and Cyberculture)

Hippies were part of the first generation to face the real threat of
nuclear annihilation as children. We were supposed to be reassured by the
fallout shelters popping up everywhere and the drills we had in school
where we hid under our desks. Nobody wanted to face the reality of nuclear
war. We had to discover that reality ourselves, and bring it to the attention
of our elders. Our parents’ denial of the consequences turned to anger
in our generation as we learned the truth.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority,

it’s time to pause and reflect.

Mark Twain

This was the first of many startling discoveries we were to make as
we matured into young adults. The legacy of WWII and the boom years that
followed was a prevailing attitude that America could do no wrong. Victorious
in war, we would lead the world in peace. Prosperity and optimism was taken
for granted. Hell, we even figured we could walk on the moon!

Southern change gonna come at last!

Now your crosses are burning fast,

Southern Man.

Neil Young (Southern Man)

But all was not right in the land of plenty. At the start of the 1960s,
civil rights was the issue of the day. Black people were demanding equality
under the law. At that time blacks could vote in national elections, but
in local elections, especially in the south, blacks were denied the franchise.
This was only one of many rights denied black people. In theory, black
people had equal rights, but in reality America was still practicing Apartheid.
Segregation was the law in the south.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China,

then take a look around to Selma, Alabama.

Barry McGuire (The Eve of Destruction)

In 1960, black people were taking to the streets in organized protests.
Sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in southern cities were inciting both
blacks and whites to action. College students, many of them white, were
getting involved in these actions and learned a few things about non-violent
protest. This was risky in the south. Some protesters were beaten or murdered
as a result of their activities.

If the button is pushed, there’s no running away.

There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave.

P.F. Sloan/Barry McGuire (The Eve of Destruction)

The anti-nuclear movement started gaining ground in the early ’60s as
well. With more countries testing nuclear weapons, and production increasing
dramatically, the concern was worldwide. President Kennedy urged Americans
to build fallout shelters while Ban the Bomb demonstrations in America
and Europe attracted tens of thousands of students and intellectuals such
as Bertrand Russell.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as
fools.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Civil rights and anti-nuclear protests often included marches, sit-ins,
speeches and songs by famous people, signs with slogans, and chants. These
protests were always marked by peaceful intent. If things got ugly it was
usually due to police tactics or violent counter demonstrations (by such
organizations as the KKK). The SDS, Students for a Democratic Society,
got its feet wet in these early demonstrations. They would later organize
anti-war campus protests around the country.

Why do we never get an answer, when we’re knocking at the door?

With a thousand million questions, about hate and death and war.

‘Cause when we stop and look around us, there is nothing that we
need,

in a world of persecution, that is burning in its greed.

The Moody Blues (Question)

Young people began to get the idea that their government didn’t really
have the interests of the people as their main priority. Just as President
Eisenhower had warned, the military/industrial complex was having undue
influence on U.S. policy making. There were big profits to be made in the
arms race. And the legacy of the McCarthy witch-hunts of the 50s was back,
haunting us as our paranoid government saw the threat of Communism everywhere.

Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

President Kennedy stood up to Premier Krushchev over Soviet nuclear
missiles in Cuba, nearly causing WW III. But it was LBJ (President Lyndon
Baines Johnson) who was to lead America into a full-scale war in Vietnam.
Some believe Kennedy was about to withdraw from involvement in Vietnam
when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for
your country.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

People young and old saw the American dream buried along with Kennedy.
We awoke quickly to face the nightmare of reality. It was only two days
after President Kennedy died that LBJ escalated U.S. involvement in the
Vietnam War.

Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?

Anti-war chant

Eighteen months later, we were getting even more involved in Vietnam.
First we sent more advisors, then we started bombing North Vietnam and
ramped up the draft. In March 1965, American foot soldiers first engaged
the Vietcong on their home turf. Later that same month the SDS organized
the first Teach-In about the Vietnam War at the University of Michigan.
The following month, the SDS led the first anti-war march in Washington
D.C.. Over 25,000 people showed up, including singers Phil Ochs, Joan Baez
and Judy Collins

Hell no, we won’t go!

Anti-war chant

Student deferments and Conscientious Objector status became more difficult
to obtain. Tens, then hundreds of thousands of young people had to give
up their dream of college to go fight a terrible war in a distant land.
Some of them burned their draft cards, others fled to Canada to avoid the
draft. As more and more of them returned in body bags or were termed MIA
or missing in action, it became clear we weren’t winning in Vietnam.

You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin’.

You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’?

P.F. Sloan/Barry McGuire (The Eve of Destruction – Topped the charts
Sept 25, 1965)

On October 16, 1965 a nationwide anti-war protest brought out 100,000
people in 80 cities around the country. By 1967, the opposition to the
war was going full steam. On April 10th, a nationwide protest, Vietnam
Week, started with draft card burnings (now illegal) and anti-draft demonstrations
around the country. On April 15, a huge anti-war protest in New York City
included 400,000 (equal to the number of soldiers in Vietnam at the time)
who marched from Central Park to the United Nations. Speakers included
Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Dr. Benjamin Spock.

Until the philosophy that holds one race superior, and another, inferior,
is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war.

Haille Sellassie/Bob Marley (War)

While the hippies celebrated their freedom with the Summer of Love in
San Francisco, and Flower Power Day in New York, it was a Summer of Rioting
in the ghettos of America. Blacks took to the streets in Chicago, Brooklyn,
Cleveland, Baltimore, Newark and Detroit, where 43 died in some of the
worst rioting in U.S. history. It was just the beginning of the Long Hot
Summer.

Burn, baby, burn!

Stokeley Carmichael

Why did blacks riot? Some saw a race war as the only way to freedom.
Years of peaceful protests had not really changed much for black people.
Despite the passage of various Civil Rights acts, there was still widespread
discrimination, racism and economic inequality. The radicalized elements,
especially the Black Panthers were arming themselves and inciting others
to confront the establishment, violently if necessary.

Our program is cultural revolution through a total assault on culture,
which makes use of every tool, every energy and every media we can get
our collective hands on… our culture, our art, our music, our books,
our posters, our clothing, the way our hair grows long, the way we smoke
dope and fuck and eat and sleep-it’s all one message-

the message is freedom.

John Sinclair (1969) The White Panther Party Statement

The Black Panthers were the inspiration for other groups including the
White Panthers and the Weathermen (a radical splinter group from the SDS)
to use violence against the establishment. This took the form of bombings
of symbols of the military/industrial/economic system like banks.

All we are saying is give peace a chance.

John Lennon (Give Peace a Chance)

The black and hippy protests going on during this period overlapped
(time-wise), but most hippies were still intent on peaceful protest. On
October 21 and 22, 1967, 35,000 anti-war protesters stormed the Pentagon.
They were greeted with tear gas. Eventually all the demonstrators sat down
in front of the Pentagon and the assembled troops (MPs). The standoff continued
while the protesters held teach-ins, sang songs, chanted and listened to
speeches. Many demonstrators went up to the MPs and talked to them about
peace and love. A famous photo shows a young man placing a flower in the
rifle muzzle of a guardsman. As day became night, some of the troops were
won over. The protest was so peaceful at this point, no one felt threatened.
People started fires to keep warm, and a community was forming.

Around midnight, paratroopers relieved the MPs and they started to clear
out the demonstrators with force. 647 protesters were arrested, often after
being severely beaten by the paratroopers and U.S. Marshals. In response,
later that same week, draft deferments were eliminated for those who violated
draft laws or interfered with recruitment, two common tactics of the protesters.

The draft is white people sending black people to fight yellow people

to protect the country they stole from the red people.

The musical, Hair

In December a Stop the Draft movement was organized. It included 40
antiwar groups, and nationwide protests were coordinated. On Dec 5, 1967,
1000 antiwar protesters tried to close the New York City induction center,
where draftees reported. 585 were arrested including Allen Ginsberg and
Dr. Benjamin Spock.

There’s battle lines being drawn.

Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.

Young people speaking their minds

Getting so much resistance from behind.

Buffalo Springfield (For What it’s Worth)

On Dec 31, 1967, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Paul Krassner, Dick Gregory,
& friends pronounced themselves Yippies. On Jan 16, 1968, they founded
the activist Youth International Party which was to organize protest actions
including the famous demonstrations during the Democratic Convention in
Chicago.

The battle outside ragin’ will soon shake your windows and rattle
your walls.

Bob Dylan (The Times they are a-changin’)

For three days, 10,000 demonstrators were met by 12,000 Chicago police;
6,000 National Guard; 7,500 U.S. army troops; and 1,000 FBI, CIA &
other services agents. These government agents then proceeded to riot,
inflicting heavy damage upon the protesters. Outnumbered and outgunned,
the only protection the protesters had was their voices. They shouted the
whole world is watching while news cameras filmed some of the less violent
events. Chicago Mayor Daly (and the U.S. government no doubt) wanted to
teach the hippies and yippies a lesson.

Off the Pigs!

Huey Newton

Meanwhile the level of violence on the streets everywhere was rising
dramatically. After the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April
4, 1968, spontaneous riots erupted in 125 cities across the country. Oakland
Police ambushed the Black Panthers. Eldridge Cleaver was arrested with
a bullet-shattered leg and Bobby Hutton was shot and killed.

Make Love, Not War

Unknown

Days later, hippies held a Love-in at Malibu Canyon, Calif. and the
Spring Mobilization against the Vietnam war began soon after. Students
at Colombia and Boston Universities occupied administration buildings on
college campuses to protest discriminatory academic and financial policies,
and to add ethnic studies to the curriculum.

If we cannot now end our differences,

at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Meanwhile, the Women’s Liberation movement was gearing up. Women were
deeply involved in the Anti-war movement from the start. They helped organize,
contributed money, marched, sang songs and got arrested like everyone else.
But women inspired by the civil rights movement had their own agenda. More
women than ever were leaving the home and entering the work force.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor;

it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tired of being treated like second class citizens, exploited economically,
sexually, and without equal rights, they decided to break from the other
protest movements and get politically active. In 1966, NOW, the National
Organization of Women was founded. By 1968 women groups had multiplied,
demanding the right to abortion, childcare, and an end to economic, political,
educational and sexual discrimination. Women had their work cut out for
them trying to raise the consciousness of Americans taught to see them
only as sex objects or mothers.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of
comfort,

but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

American society had never been attacked on so many fronts, so vociferously,
as it did in the closing years of the 60s. The Women’s movement was just
one more log on the fire of discontent eating away at the white male dominated
social structure.

When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.

Lao-Tzu

During this time, a typical newscast would start with the latest violent
clashes in the streets of some ghetto, followed by scenes of marches and
speeches from some anti-war rally. Then a sobering set of statistics of
dead soldiers in Vietnam, after which some conservative politician would
be interviewed saying how we’re winning the war, and if we would just re-elect
him, it would be over in a jiffy.

One of the greatest casualties of the war in Vietnam is the Great
Society

… shot down on the battlefield of Vietnam.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

As the troop level in Vietnam approached its all-time high of 543,000,
the Vietnamese launched the surprise Tet Offensive, which marked the turn
of the war in their favor. The My Lai massacre of a whole Vietnamese village
including women and children by American soldiers was reported and the
media had a field day. The war was leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth
by now. LBJ deciding his Vietnam policy was a liability and a failure,
decided not to run again for president (perhaps the fact that Robert Kennedy
announced his candidacy had something to do with it), and ordered a partial
bombing halt. Within two months, peace talks began in Paris.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible

will make violent revolution inevitable.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

As 1969 began, students all over the country were taking over campus
buildings and issuing demands. Violence was everywhere. The U.S. launched
the biggest ever bombing campaign against North Vietnam. In New York City,
police raided a gay bar in Greenwich Village, which lead to the Stonewall
Uprising where 2000 protesters battled 400 police, thus starting the Gay
Liberation Movement. Cult leader Charles Manson and his followers murdered
actress Sharon Tate and the LaBiancas.

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Bob Dylan (Subterranean Homesick Blues)

As the Chicago Eight trial got underway, in which the Yippie leaders
were charged with conspiracy and inciting a riot, the Weathermen began
their Days of Rage with bomb attacks against establishment targets. On
May 15, 1969, hippies camping out peacefully in People’s Park in Berkeley
were attacked and forcibly removed by police and the National Guard. On
July 20, 1969, Man set foot on the moon. It seemed that we had to go that
far just to find some peace. Then again…

The important thing that you have proven to the world is that

half a million kids can get together and have fun and music

and nothing but fun and music, and I bless you for it!

– Max Yasgur, owner of the farm where Woodstock took place.

In the middle of all this mayhem, much to their eternal credit, over
half a million hippies managed to have three days of peace, love, fun and
music at the Woodstock Music Festival in August 1969. In a way this was
one of the most political (or apolitical) statements ever made by hippies.
At Woodstock, a huge, virtual city appeared without adequate planning for
such a large group. The only agenda anyone brought with them was to have
a good time, groove on the music and each other. Without leaders, without
police, without government, without violence, they managed to feed, and
care for themselves outdoors despite the heat, rain and mud. The Woodstock
Nation had left its mark on the world.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Oct 15, 1969, another half million people took to the streets around
the U.S. in peaceful protests during the first Vietnam Moratorium. One
month later, 500,000 marched in Washington DC as part of the largest antiwar
rally in U.S. history. Speakers included Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern,
Coretta King, Dick Gregory, and Leonard Bernstein. Singing songs of peace
were Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul, & Mary, John Denver, Mitch
Miller and the touring cast of Hair.

What is the use of physicians like myself trying to help parents
to bring up children healthy and happy, to have them killed in such numbers
for a cause that is ignoble?

Dr. Benjamin Spock

By the end of the year over 100,000 soldiers had died or been injured
in Vietnam, and a draft lottery had begun. A free concert given by the
Jefferson Airplane and the Rolling Stones turned to tragedy at Altamont
as the Hell’s Angels killed a man waving a gun. It was a symbolic end to
a violent year. Some say it marked the end of innocence for the Love Generation.

If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.

Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California, on how to deal with student
unrest.

1970 began in similar fashion with the student riots in Isla Vista,
California and the Weathermen bombing the Bank of America there and office
buildings in five states. Three Weathermen were killed when a bomb they
were working on exploded in a house in Greenwich Village, NY. On March
1, 1971 a bomb exploded in a Capitol restroom. The Weather Underground
claimed responsibility saying it was in response to the U.S. involvement
in Laos.

Turn the earth to sand and still commit no crime!

The Moody Blues (One More Time to Live)

The Vietnam War, wasn’t the only topic that riled hippies. In 1969,
a disastrous oil spill near Santa Barbara, California focused our attention
(again) on the environment. Hippies were frustrated with the lack of government
initiative towards cleaning up the environment and leniency with corporate
polluters. So we organized, protested, and contributed to environmental
groups and by 1970, the Ecology Movement was in full swing. The National
Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA was signed into law and on April 22,
the first Earth Day was declared. This landmark event, involving 20 million
people, raised awareness about how humans were treating the planet and
ways to mitigate the impending dangers to the environment. The Environmental
Protection Agency was soon established to monitor and clean up toxic wastes.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty also went into effect.

Soldiers are cutting us down!

Crosby, Stills & Nash (Ohio)

College protest had become so commonplace by 1970, that it was a horrible
shock when the news reported thirteen unarmed student protesters being
shot, and four killed by the National Guard at Kent State University, Ohio.
Ten days later, police killed two students at Jackson State University
during violent student demonstrations. The very same week, antiwar protesters
in NYC were attacked by construction workers. It was clear that the ongoing
protests were dividing the country and the violence was totally out of
hand.

How many deaths will it take ’til he knows, that too many people
have died?

Bob Dylan (Blowin’ in the Wind)

Despite the peace talks (just how long DID they spend discussing the
shape of the table?), the Vietnam War dragged on, taking more lives and
further alienating us from our government. As more ‘Nam veterans returned,
they brought back horror stories about the war. Soon they were the focus
of protests. Vets appeared at the forefront of the Peace movement, and
they were a powerful ally, since they had the respect of the warmongers.

Many people still think the protesters hated the soldiers who went to
war. Far from it! All of us knew people who served in Vietnam and respected
them. It wasn’t their choice, they were drafted. At the start of the war
many went with a spirit of my country, right or wrong and jeered the
protesters. Some protesters did focus their attention on the soldiers,
since they felt they should have resisted the draft, but that was more
of a media stunt. Once they got there, even the most devout, brainwashed
soldier faced his own apocalypse. When those lucky enough to survive
returned, their attitudes were often similar to those who protested the
war.

I know vets who are so fucked up from their experience that they must
take heavy prescription drugs for the rest of their lives otherwise they
freak out. One vet, a distant relative of mine is denied contact with his
family to this day. Why? Because they’re afraid of him! I spent a few days
with him just before they shipped him to ‘Nam. I found him fun and full
of life. When I saw him next he was close to being a vegetable, yet he
was physically unharmed in the war!

The Vets’ wounds mirror the wounds the country suffered. They still
haven’t healed. Hawks and doves still argue over foreign policy. America
has now taken on the role of World Policeman. Fortunately it appears we
have learned some lessons and now our government seems reluctant to put
American soldiers on the front line, preferring to use our superior technology
as the weapon of choice. Kill them from the air and Americans won’t have
to see the mangled, burned bodies of women and children below.

But the selective service system still exists to register young men
who turn 18 so they can be drafted should the need arise. America can find
it all too easy to justify intervention when ethnic cleansing (Bosnia,
Kosovo, East Timor) is involved, or when its so called strategic interests
are at risk (the Gulf War). The attitude is shoot first, ask questions
later. One should never feel we are at peace when we still have the nuclear
capacity to wipe out (almost) all life on the planet.

There is a Creator.

Look in the mirror and laugh.

Look in the heart and smile.

Look at the Creation and cry.

We are the caretaker of the Creation.

We have forgotten who we are.

We have forgotten why we are here.

The trees speak of the Creator.

The birds sing of the Creator.

The Creation speaks to us.

Are we listening or are we too busy?

Skinwalker (CreeWarrior@webtv.net)

On the environmental front, hippies established and supported such organizations
as Greenpeace, Earth First!, Friends of the Earth, etc. They lobbied Congress
and took direct action against those whose only motivation is economic
gain regardless of the impact on the planet’s ecology. Some of their efforts
are as legendary as they are dangerous. One day we’ll all look back on
these brave activists who risked their lives and freedom and hail them
as heroes. You, too, can be a hero by supporting such organizations that
put the common good above selfish short-term interests. Earth is the mother
of us all, and we must treat her with respect.

I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in
a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by
the content of their character.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Although much has been achieved in the area of Civil Rights, racism,
discrimination and economic inequality still plague minorities in America.
Until we end the cycle of bigotry and fear that one generation passes on
to another, this problem will continue to haunt us. Hippies practice Love
and Tolerance for all beings, and this is an important message to share
with everyone. Remember, actions speak louder than words and hugs are warmer
than handshakes.

Think Globally, Act Locally

bumper sticker

Nuclear, biological and chemical threats still hang over our heads.
Perhaps more than we realize. The technology has filtered down to where
maniacal despots without inhibitions can get their hands on weapons of
mass destruction. We face a challenging moral dilemma dealing with such
people. Our lack of resolve on this issue will come back to haunt us one
day.

The Marijuana Issue

Just say NO to INTOLERANCE!

Hippyland

It does seem that hippies as well as many other groups have a reluctance
to get involved in an issue unless something personal is at stake. One
issue that is getting hot now certainly affects hippies personally. The
issue is marijuana. Everyone has an opinion whether it be to legalize,
decriminalize, medicalize or industrialize. Until we all get together on
this issue, THEY will have the upper hand. It has been politically unfeasible
to discuss this issue with the anti-drug hysteria that has swept the nation
for three decades. Now things are changing. This is one issue that can
unite us again.

Marijuana has been used for millennia to heal, inspire, clothe, and
warm humanity. It can even feed us as it’s one of the best protein sources
known. Yet we have vilified this magical herb to where even innocent children
suffer when their parents are given 20 year jail terms, often on a first
offense. At one point we decriminalized it in many states. Now it’s lumped
in with heroin as the most dangerous kind of drug. Thousands of people
are in need of its medicinal properties and are denied such comfort by
law.

One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust,
and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse
the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing
the highest respect for law.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, we have a War on Drugs which is really a War on Americans. Our
government takes Woman and Children prisoners every day this war continues.
We justify such actions as a deterrent, yet handing out 20-30 year sentences
to (some) first time offenders, is far worse than how we punish many murderers.
PLEASE END THE WAR! PLEASE FREE THE PRISONERS!

With our thoughts we make the world

The Buddha

YOU can make a difference! As this issue heats up, get involved with
your statewide and national organizations. NORML (National Organization
for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) is a good place to start. Remember, all
drugs are NOT created equal. Your mind and your body are yours. No one
has a right to tell you how to use them or how to heal them. FREE YOUR
MIND.

Big Brother is Here!

The purpose of this program is to expose, disrupt, and otherwise
neutralize the activities of the various new left organizations, their
leadership, and their adherents…. We must frustrate every effort of these
groups and individuals to consolidate their forces or to recruit new or
youthful adherents. In every instance, consideration should be given to
disrupting organized activity of these groups and no opportunity should
be missed to capitalize on organizational or personal conflicts of their
leadership…. The organizations and activists who spout revolution and unlawfully
challenge society to obtain their demands must not only be contained, but
must be neutralized.

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in Disruption of the New Left

counterintelligence memo dated May 14, 1968

It’s clear that there has been a coordinated effort on the part of the
federal government, local agencies, even the media to disrupt, discredit
and undermine the legitimate right to protest in the United States. The
extent of this conspiracy has yet to be determined because so many documents
relating to this period are still classified. To justify their actions,
many sought to find communist instigators just as McCarthy did in the 50s.

Big Brother is Watching You!

George Orwell (1984)

Agents infiltrated every student group, every left leaning political
group, and every minority organization, to carry out J. EDGAR’s dictum.
They used every counterespionage tactic available at the time, including
tailing people, informants, tapping phones, keeping confidential records
on individual members’ activities including drug use, sexual liaisons,
and other information that had nothing to do with their political activities.
Is it any wonder these groups lost their leadership, their focus, their
energy? With agents everywhere, who could you trust?

The truth is that this country’s leaders cannot tolerate dissent from
within if it threatens the established order. As a result the great tradition
of protest has come to a grinding halt in this country. There is now an
underlying feeling that if you voice your politically incorrect opinions
in a coordinated fashion you’ll get into trouble.

We have miles and miles of pretty files of your forefather’s fruit.

And now to suit our great computer, you’re magnetic ink.

The Moody Blues

Thanks to the Internet, our government has new methods to pry into our
personal lives. They now can and do intercept any communication transmitted
over the web that they choose. They scan websites for pornography, drugs
and other things they disapprove. They have agents monitoring chatrooms
and postings. They look for keywords. Once they’ve found a suspect they
read his/her incoming and outgoing e-mail. Then they do the same to those
people that person has contact with, and so on. And they cry that this
isn’t enough! They want more power over what is said and done on the Internet.
Our government thinks they should be controlling everything, everywhere.

It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave

…so keep on thinking free!

The Moody Blues

Big Brother is here friends. He is watching, listening, taking notes,
making lists of names. The danger of this is that we will all eventually
have a file. Whether it gets used against us depends upon what we do. It
is another means of controlling us. If a person were to decide to get vocal
about his opposition to government policies, they can just pull his file,
and haul him in on some trumped up charge (perhaps statements made out
of context, or an agent-provocateur can lead the person into some illegal
activity). I’m sure writing this book will put me on an enemy list in some
government agency (if I don’t have a huge file already!). What I wonder
is, will anybody care when I’m hauled away for speaking my mind.

Posted by: skip
Views: 44410
Topic:9

The US and Middle East Oil

Hello old Hippy –

My question is – is the purpose of the manufactured wars in the Middle East simply to remove any resistance to US control of oil reserves?

I look forward to your answer.

Peace, Ravenstar


I would have to say the oil reserves are a very important part of middle east policy as always. But I don’t think the US has control over those oil reserves, yet their presence in the region does give the US leverage if push comes to shove. However much of what is happening now is a very complex power play involving not just the obvious players like the US, Britain, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, etc., but also China and Russia figure prominently.

First off the US has just accomplished a number of secret goals despite missing Bin Laden and Mullah Omar. It now has several bases in Afghanistan, and more in Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The last two places represent part of a new oilfield that may be as big or bigger than Saudi Arabia’s fields. But the real strategic interest may be not only securing those fields for Western use, but also having those bases available to be used against Iran, Pakistan and even China should the need arise.

But I think the US and its allies will have their hands full just dealing with the Taliban and Al-Queda which still present a threat.

Another strategic issue which can’t be overlooked is that these new bases are also smack in the middle of the biggest opium growing region in the world. The opium/heroin trade is estimated to be worth over $50 Billion annually, with very high profit margins for everyone involved (unlike oil!). The CIA has been known to traffic in illegal drugs as part of its dealings with rebel groups, clandestine arms shipments, and to obtain secret money for secret projects. So having the CIA back in the region means of course they’ll be siphoning off millions from the drug trade while the US government officially tries to stamp out opium production (yeah, as if).

As any think tank can tell you, the real enemy these days isn’t Russia or the Taliban or even Saddam, it’s the Chinese. All these incidents involving spying with the Chinese are reminiscent of the height of the Cold War when US and Russia were constantly stepping on each other in their quest for military secrets. This is a very real danger.

China would now rank as the #1 most powerful enemy of the US. And while we trade with them, and become ever more dependent upon their cheap goods, they become much more independent and wealthy and powerful. And of course they also are becoming even more repressive of human rights, with regular mass executions for things that would easily be dismissed with a good lawyer in the USA.

China has so many people, rapidly diminishing resources, soon to be unliveable cities (the pollution is horrendous – 700 million people are now drinking water unfit for human consumption). And within a few years their needs will be overwhelming as they become a country of consumers following the American model. Can you imagine a country with a billion cars? It’s going to happen. And it won’t be pretty. And there are either going to be some major changes in China, or China will bring about major changes to the rest of the planet. It’s only a matter of time.

What happens between the US and the Middle East is very important to China too, as it becomes more dependent on oil to keep its economy running smooth. If the US hadn’t gone into those countries, we would have NO presence around that new oil field, only the Russians and Chinese would. So now we are all there, and I say, LOOK OUT!

-The Old Hippy

Posted by: skip
Views: 14792
Topic:14

Where do I start?

Dear Old Hippy,
Ever since I was small, I have felt extremely attached to life. I was a
really big tomboy so I am not one to get all mushy like some girls but
does no one else get emotional when they are given their factory
processed meat on a styrofoam plate? Does no one else get furious when
they see all those starving babies on the news? Does no one else want to
scream at the rich, What do you need all that for? Give a little, you
selfish bastards? Does no one else see all the mazes of wonderment in a
tiny leaf or a piece of grass? Does no one else cry when it finally hits
them that they are not God and cannot save the world? Am I crazy? I used
to think that the fact that I feel SO MUCH was a gift, like a reminder
that I was put here for a reason and that reason was to change the world
but lately, I think of it as a curse. It is pointless to feel because it
is impossible to accomplish such enormous dreams. I hear people all the
time talk about how the sixties were so great because of the drugs and
music and hugs but it was more than that. It was the fact that you all
DID something about the bad things in life. I mean, you had a bloody war
and a lot of discrimination but at least you stood up. My generation
has even more reasons to band together (the ecology, the economy, a
bastard president, crime, starving children, etc.) but we do not. We
have no desire to- we are apathetic, do not care, are too lazy. How am I
supposed to save a world that will not listen? Where do I start? And am
I alone, just some crazy fool who is arrogant enough to think that she
was chosen out of millions to be given such a mission,someone who is
stupid enough to cry at the beauty of a tree? In your time, you did
something but instead of leading us, the hippies have quieted when we
most need advice from those with experience. Why will they not help us?
Maybe they just realize how futile it all is.
A lonely fool who calls herself Pixie


Dear Pixie,
You appear to be a very sensitive being. You are aware of what is going on around you. You are passionate about doing something to change it. You are a hippy!

Unfortunately, some of us have been co-opted by the establishment and have become part of it. Some of us have realized that it’s all Maya – the illusion, the veil. Beyond Maya is the truth of reality. In which case all you can do is your dharma, live out your life according to your inner rules.

Don’t get caught up in the play to where you feel like your role is scripted for you. You are the actor, the writer, and the director in your own play. Your role is one you choose. You can be the hippy who sets out to change the world. Whether you succeed depends upon how true you are to THE TRUTH. Go with the flow and you will have a much easier time of it. Your dharma will guide you. If these concept appeal to you, or for more information about them, check out Be Here Now or Grist for the Mill, both by Ram Dass. These ideas help you deal with the inner turmoil and make sense of the suffering inherent in the world.

Lest you think we’ve all dropped out or are living in caves in the Himalayas, we old hippies are still around and are eager to lend a hand. Yes, we are dis-“illusioned”. We are aware of the futility of “fighting the system”. But we do support organizations like Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Earth First! and Norml. We help out in our communities in our own ways by recycling, community organizations, volunteering, etc. The key to all of this is ORGANIZATION. The hippies were never really organized. Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman tried to organize the more radical hippies into Yippies and they got thrown in jail. The Weathermen, an extreme organization that bombed banks and corporations blew themselves up and the rest went underground for decades.

Unfortunately, it seems without a major issue to unite us, most hippies would just as soon lay back, turn up the Zep, and light a doobie. But if YOU feel strongly about something and want to get involved, read some of the articles we have posted here under the Activism topic. You can also check out our Activism page, which has links to some of the best activism sites on the net. You can discuss activism in our Hip Forums (see the Protest Forum, the Politics Forum and others.)

Posted by: skip
Views: 15927
Topic:9

Communism vs Religion and Culture

my dear friend is a Communist. a ‘marxist idealist’ she calls herself. we often have debates going on the matter; she was telling me that one of the policies of the Communist system is to discourage and get rid of all cultural and religious differences. this is done with the intent that it will create a higher level of peace between the many different peoples of the world if they have no such differences between them; wars over religion, culture and race will cease to be. i argue that although this may be true to a certain extent, religion and culture are too great a price to sacrifice. she asks me what kind of a hippie i am, that i would not consent to this for the sake of world peace? but i could not give this up, even for the sake of more peace. what would this world be without its differences?

thanks a lot for the time!
love,
–carolyn

This is a good involved question. In theory, the communist utopia envisioned by Karl Marx was a vast improvement over the impoverished conditions prevelant in the industrialized world in the early 1900’s. Indeed in Russia and China, the systems that existed prior to communism were very exploitive of the people.

The problem lies in the practice of communism because failable humans must setup the system and enforce it. The one thing that communism neglects to address is some of the most basic human traits including GREED (Capitalism certainly takes it into account). What happens is those who attain power within the system get corrupted – this is the truism; power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. In all the communists systems that have appeared on the planet, each has had an all powerful dictator to run it. So that means one person, and one person alone gets to decide what is best for the millions of people living in the system. And since that one person is corrupted absolutely, everyone has to bow to that person’s vision, whether they like it or not! And the usual penalty for opposition is either exile or death.

To make the communist system work, they must eliminate cultural, ethnic and religious differences. We see how it’s done today in Kosovo (Milosovich learned well as a communist). It’s been done in similar fashion in Russia and China. Not a very good system, in my opinion.

Hippies rejoice in our differences. We respect and celebrate diversity, it’s what makes life interesting. Imagine if you went traveling, and everywhere it was the same. The same dreary buildings, the same slogans on banners, the same language, the same mentality, the same laws, the same music for god’s sake! This is life under communism (yes I know capitalism puts McDonalds everywhere, but at least in France it’s not a big mac, its a Royale). Is this what we want our lives to be? If this is the price of peace, I agree, it’s far too high.

Once upon a time, the communist system in it’s idealized form was an improvement. But now that we’ve seen it’s limitations, we can bid it farewell. What we need is a new, better system, one that takes into account human nature, especially the need for self-actualization. This system should encourage individuals to expand their minds and talents. We have yet to do better than the ancient Greeks who gave us the radical form of government called democracy.

Now that technology has enabled us to all communicate efficiently, to be well informed, and to easily express ourselves we have available the means to achieve something far greater than ever before. We need only to organize this into a self-governing system, one that will totally replace the existing one. It’s already beginning, our only obstacle is removing from power those who place such a high value on it (power). I hope it will be an evolution, not a revolution, that will accomplish these goals.

In the meantime, wars over political, racial, ethnic, and religious differences will occur, perhaps even more frequently! It’s totally natural to remove competing genetic material, whether you’re human or bacteria (sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference). That’s the bottom line. Each person protects his own DNA, first starting with himself, his family, his extended family, the group he identifies with, his ethnic, or religious group, then his nation. It’s completely instinctual.

What we need to do then, on an individual basis, one person at a time, is come to an understanding that our entire race is facing a mass extinction if we don’t change our attitudes. Isms and differences between people only keep us apart if we let them. We must get beyond our FEARS or genetic bias, and realize that we are all the same. We need to recognize our common inheritance, this planet, as being a sacred place and start showing it some respect (Communists seem unable to do this).

I believe it is possible for people to get beyond their differences and to display a higher morality that respects all life. All it takes is a good example for people to see how easy it is to live in peace and harmony. All it takes is a hippy.

-The Old Hippy

Posted by: skip
Views: 24558
Topic:14

Where Is Marijuana Legal?

hey what’s up old hippie,
first I’d like to say thanx for existing. I don’t like to break the law so I don’t smoke pot anymore or any other illegal subtances (actually i’ve never used another illegal substance) . Besides, pot is impossible to find , if you try all you find is crack. and other nasty nasty disgusting stuff. That’s urban life in 1999 no weed to be found anywhere, and abundant crack and alcohol on every corner.

People are violent around here, and is increasingly becoming a police state. If you go out dressed like a hippie, your in big trouble.
Street thugs will harass you, and police will openly violate all you rite in the daylight and in front of hundreds just because of the way you look..

This environment is not very friendly to me and i don’t like it back, so i saved a couple of thousand dollars and am enbarking on a nice long search for a hospitable environment where I can smoke a joint in PEACE.

I was wondering were besides the Netherlands (everyone knows about amsterdam) is Marijuana legal? Oh yeah and were are their friendly people, are there any left in this world?

Sincerely,
Young Mr Nobody amongst the masses


There are NO places left where it is legal to smoke, thanks to AmeriKKKa’s
insane Drug War and International laws and condemnations. It is even illegal in Holland, but tolerated there.

That’s the key, where is it tolerated (where you won’t get busted)? The
answer is many places! There are places in Australia, India, Nepal,
Afghanistan, Morocco, etc. In the U.S. I understand California is very laid
back about it, especially SF, and places north (the Emerald Triangle, where
they grow most of America’s best sinsemilla). I’m told Humbolt county is
the phrendliest place to smokers. The cops there look the other way
because without the green economy, the area would be in a bad depression.
So there’s lots of places where smoking is tolerated, sounds like you’re
livin’ in the wrong neck of the woods!

By the way if you can make it to Amsterdam, it will be the high point of your life!

As far as friendly people goes, they seem to be everywhere except big cities. But I’ve always found that the poorest people are usually friendliest cause as Janis sang When you ain’t got nothing, you ain’t got nothing to lose. I guess most hippies qualify.

Of the places I’ve traveled, I’d have to say that the New Zealanders and Balinese are the most friendly people I’ve met. They go way out of their way for strangers.

-The Old Hippy

2002 Update!
Things are changing at last in Europe! Several countries have decriminalized possession and use of cannabis including the UK, Portugal and Belgium. In fact in most of western Europe you’re only likely to get your stash confiscated or a small fine (as long as you don’t have a large quantity). Of course selling cannabis is still very illegal. Just another hypocrisy due to be changed.

2008 Update:
Things are still changing. California’s prop 215 has allowed hundreds of cannabis dispensaries to open around the state, selling marijuana over the counter to medical patients. The dispensary business sells more than one billion $ a year of high quality cannabis.

Spain has become the new haven for Europeans fleeing their own countries harsh drug laws. The socialist gov’t of Zapatero has loosened up laws and enforcement against those who use cannabis.

Meanwhile the Netherland’s conservative gov’t continues to crack down on growers and coffeeshops, sending chills through the cannabis business community there. Coffeeshops can no longer sell marijuana alongside alcohol. So many have started to open up straight restaurants/cafes alongside their coffeeshops, where they can sell alcohol and people can smoke the cannabis they just purchased next door.

The UK lowered the classification of cannabis one category, but now they’re reconsidering thanks to pressure for anti-drug forces. The UK is awash in contaminated cannabis thanks to Dutch drug gangs adding glass beads to pot to increase the weight and make it look resinous. Nobody is sure of the health consequences of such contamination, and the British gov’t is only now thinking about doing something.

Posted by: skip
Views: 359703
Topic:10

Marx & Communism

Dear Mr Hippy
Love the web-site, but there’s one small thing that I’ve just gotta
correct….

Communism is opposed to the state in any form – unlike your answer to the
‘Stinking Hippy says.

Marx never actually provided a blue print for how a communist community was
supposed to look like or how it was specifically to act. The big idea was
for people, who are all equal, to work together in a harmony that was absent
from any great overarching power (like when French students and workers took
over an area of Paris and created their own artisan style community in
protest against oppressive politics – your own fellow hippies!). By not
leaving a blue print, Marx thought that people would be able to create a
communist community free from the prescriptions of an antiquated era, that
people would eventually evolve away from capitalism once it had reached its
peek and instead search for a better way of living where there was no
discrimination based on material wealth, race, colour or gender (the sort of
equality of living that resembles Star Trek I guess, no ones got a higher )
Unfortunately, by not providing a blue-print he left his ideals open to
interpretation by some pretty nasty guys (i.e.. China, Russia, Serbia etc.).
But that’s the problem with art – it generally can be interpretated by
people in line with their own self interest.

Basically he just saw a lot of corruption, poverty, inequality, bulling and
unnecessary pain in the 18th Century ( very anti-hippy behaviour!) and
wanted to motivate people to change things. Unfortunately the world was
still quite barbaric in those days and so Marx’s revolution was portrayed in
a way that people could associate with – namely a bloody uprising (aka
Russia, French revolution, China, Serbia etc.). I think that Marx gets
picked on a bit too much – after all he was only a guy with a concept that
the world needed to be improved for the benefit of all. And that is
something that were all familiar with (and remember there were a lot more
scary people in history with worse ideals than that).

So fellow hippy – do not judge those who you have not met – and never listen
to gossip coz it poisons your head.

Peace, love and mushrooms
Sarah


Sarah,
What you are describing is more like anarchy than communism. Anarchy is anti-system, where as Marx just saw replacing one system with another. Much of Marx’s focus was on the economics of society, and even though he took a sociologist’s approach, he completely ignored human psychology (a new field at the time). And I was discussing communism in practice, more than theory. Communism in it’s pure form is something completely different, most closely resembling the communes of the 60s till the present. But just like chickens, humans tend to establish a pecking order which then invests more power in the hands of a few who then control the masses. It’s inevitable as long as humans remain self-centered and greedy.

By not providing a blueprint (which would always be unworkable anyway),
Marx copped out. He just put down the existing system without really
offering a viable alternative (as did many hippies). Fortunately many
hippies did explore alternatives, but these were limited to very small
communities of mostly like-minded individuals. And as you can see most of
these have failed for one reason or another. The only ones that remain are
those that launched capitalist enterprises that could bring in revenue
from outside the commune to keep it alive. And the politics of communes can
be just as fucked as those of the greater society. I know of many where the
leaders took advantage of their fellow communers, and exploited them –
these sometimes but not always had some kind of religious bent.

And if you think the world ISN’T barbaric anymore, you haven’t traveled
much, and aren’t keeping up with what’s happening in the world. In fact why
not look in your own backyard at the ANIMAL HOLOCAUST that is occuring just
for economic reasons. It’s completely unnecessary. This is capitalism
showing its true colors. Just wait until it’s a disease affecting humans.
You can expect a similar response. Unfortunately, THAT day is coming….

-The Old Hippy

Posted by: skip
Views: 13753
Topic:14

Confused about Communism?

Hey My Old Hipster!
I think it’s such a great thing your doing ’cause there’s so many
confused young hippies out there like me! I’m quite interested in communism but I
can’t quite make my mind up.I think I know the very basics ( equal rights,
power to the people etc) but I can’t figure much more out. You only get 2
types of info about it that which is too small (ie. encyclopedia) and
that which is too long (I read a book about Marx and just got so confused I
had to go for a smoke to clear my head!) I think it could be quite a good
idea.

If you could explain to me what the basics are so I can make my mind up
I’d be well chuffed! Also do you know anything about the Young Communists if
I like the idea I may join.

Cheers bro,
Peace, Love and Happiness
The Stinkin’ Hippy.

P.S. Why is it every one I know who smokes pot is a dick a bout it ( the
most get high must get absolutely wrecked on any manky shit in any manky
way in the same way as people drink to excess as appose to me who does it to
chill out listen to tunes and OPEN MY MIND, why can’t there be anyone cool
around?


Dear Stinkin’ Hippy
Once upon a time, many hippies embraced communism. It’s a great theory
proposing that everyone should have equal power and wealth. But that’s the
problem. It’s just an economic theory that lacks respect for individuality,
creativity, spirituality. By forcing people to conform, yield to the power
of the state, which then determines what’s best for you and everyone else,
you end up with the worse totalitarian systems. Don’t think so? Look at
the former Soviet Union, Red China, North Korea, even Milosovich’s Serbia.

The problems inherent in communism become apparent when power becomes
consolidated in the hands of a few. Power corrupts, absolute power
corrupts absolutely! That statement pretty much sums it up. In practice
communism concentrates all the power, thus corrupting those on top and the
whole system. The other failing is that humans aren’t just needy, they’re
GREEDY. The failure of the communist regimes was that those with the power
were the only ones able to satisfy their greed, while the rest could barely
meet their needs. So far from creating a worker’s paradise, communism in
practice was nothing more than a huge slave camp, with the workers toiling
away for the benefit of a few powerful comrades (party members).

Capitalism succeeds because it rewards any individual who contributes to the
system, regardless of their political status. It is caters to human greed
rather than ignoring it. So the more you work the more you prosper. Of
course those who refuse to contribute still expect to be rewarded, and can
get awfully upset when they don’t. But the real problem that inspired
communism is the exploitation of workers. And this persists under
capitalism, because the prevailing business model is one where executives
see maximizing profits as the holy grail. Thus workers are often paid a
poor wage, especially in third world countries, given as few benefits as
possible, and can be abused in many ways. This is a major failing of the
capitalist system and could be cured very easily.

Another big flaw is the exploitation of resources, and pollution of the
environment (the communists were REALLY good at this!). This problem is due
to the fact that the economics of diminishing resources, and the destruction
of ecosystems do not get factored into every Nike or Ford Expedition that
gets made. Instead the world is left absorbing that cost while reckless,
irresponsible businesses profit from it. This is because governments are
now beholden to the multi-national business interests that help the leaders
get elected. Politicians get pressured by lobbyists to allow them to
continue their exploitive ways. Again it’s individuals receiving bribes (oh
excuuuuuse meeeeeee…. campaign contributions) that make these decisions
that benefit corporate interests at the expense of their constituients (the
voters).

But your question was about communism, no? Forget it! And though
capitalism may be more successful, in the long run, it’s almost as bad.

And as far as smoking pot is concerned, the problem you mention is the
difference between use and abuse, respect for a sacred herb and disrespect
for one’s own body. There’s lots of cool people around, you just need to
find some new friends (perhaps some older ones).

-The Old Hippy

Posted by: skip
Views: 23949
Topic:14