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Sacrificing The Hippies.


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US MI: Column: That Hippie Sacrament

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URL: http://www.mapinc.or...1/n298/a06.html

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Pubdate: Wed, 11 May 2011

Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Column: Higher Ground

Copyright: 2011 Metro Times, Inc

Contact:male2('letters','metrotimes.com'); letters@metrotimes.com

Website: http://www.metrotimes.com

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1381

Author: John Sinclair

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.or...n+Higher+Ground

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?420 (Cannabis - Popular)

 

 

 

THAT HIPPIE SACRAMENT

 

On Believing in Personal Freedom and Living Outside the Social Mainstream

 

Larry Gabriel's Higher Ground column last week painted a frightening picture of the atrocities perpetrated by the Oakland County law enforcement community in its last-ditch attempt to preserve and extend the scope of their prosecution of the War On Drugs by persecuting medical marijuana patients and licensed caregivers whose activities are protected by state law.

 

The legalization of medical marijuana by means of a ballot initiative approved by 62 percent of Michigan voters in the 2008 election signaled the end of the drug war that's raged unchecked for almost a half-century without appreciable positive effect. Any fool can see that the use of recreational drugs by our citizens has not been diminished or in any way abated by the efforts of the legions of police, prosecutors, judges and jailers sworn to stop us from getting high.

 

In my last column I surmised that perhaps the War on Drugs wasn't really about drug use per se but was launched as an attack on certain sectors of our citizenry whose commitment to social change was seen as presenting a threat to the dominant order and the political, economic and cultural imperatives established as the foundation of corporate consumer society.

 

During the decade from 1965 to 1975, hippies turned their backs en masse on mainstream America and its perverse value system, refused to fight its wars, and attempted to create an alternative way of life based in sharing, tolerance and self-realization through collective effort and creative production. Their withdrawal from the reigning social contract presented a real challenge to the consumerist system and its operators: Until defecting to the hippie ideal, these young Americans had been expected to inherit and manipulate the machinery of exploitation and control devised by generations of rich white people to maintain their privileged existence at the top of the social order.

 

It's hard for people today to picture the world the hippies populated as our numbers grew from a few isolated pockets of bohemianism and weirdness in disparate parts of the country into a movement of millions of determined young white people demanding a new and better world for all Americans and a swift end to the militarism, racism, sexism, economic exploitation and banal popular culture at the core of the established order.

 

Hippies were united by their belief in personal freedom and its manifestation in the way they looked and acted and conducted their daily lives outside the social mainstream. As a general rule, hippies had long hair, wore funky clothes expressing their disdain for the consumer ideal, opposed the war in Vietnam and increasingly refused to join the armed forces, didn't have a real job and didn't want one, often embraced collective work for the common good and lived as equals in communes and creative groupings, actively appreciated diverse forms of artistic expression and lived with music at the exact heart of their lives.

 

Hippies loved to gather in the thousands at concerts in the parks where the bands played for free and the people danced and laughed and had a ball together over and over again. They also turned out in ever-increasing numbers for rallies and demonstrations in opposition to the war in Vietnam and in support of racial equality and social justice.

 

Hippie musicians created startling new forms and imaginative extensions of the African-American musical idioms introduced into their lives through the magic of repeated radio airplay of 45 rpm records by innovative artists such as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Bo Diddley, Ray Charles, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye. But what bound hippies together above all else was marijuana as a component of everyday life. A hippie smoked weed, everybody knew that, and hippies smoked weed together, in every possible circumstance.

 

Despite the positive and progressive aspects of the hippie philosophy and the hippies' committed social practice in pursuit of its principles, despite the brilliance of their music and art forms, despite their heartfelt visions of a better world based in peace and love and social equality for all, hippies were demonized as criminal narcotics users to be apprehended, brought before the bar of justice, convicted and sent to prison or scrutinized by the narcotics police and courts for years as felonious probationers.

 

Nothing else the hippies did was against the law. Even our protests and demonstrations were protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Our lifestyle, our living and working arrangements, our music and cultural practices, our gatherings and public celebrations, however unusual or offensive to mainstream values, were well within the strictures of the law. Only our mass recreational, medicinal or spiritual smoking of marijuana - which we well knew was at the very least not a narcotic, and very possibly a beneficial natural healing resource with no discernible negative social effects - brought trouble with law enforcement and provided the police with a socially acceptable way to punish these renegades from the American Way whose very presence seemed to violate every established standard of normal behavior.

 

My own case exemplifies this. I was a socially active poet, performer, underground journalist, cultural organizer and community broadcaster who also spoke out for the legalization of marijuana starting in 1964 and actually smoked marijuana on a daily basis. I was arrested by the Detroit Narcotics Squad three times for possession and sales of narcotics - very small amounts of marijuana in fact - and served a total of five years probation, six months in the Detroit House of Correction, and 2-1/2 years of a 9-1/2- to 10-year prison sentence before my legal challenge to the constitutionality of Michigan's narcotics statutes eventually resulted, in 1972, with the existing law declared unconstitutional; marijuana was then removed from the narcotics category and possession of small amounts of marijuana reduced to a misdemeanor with a one-year maximum sentence.

 

My writings and public activities, however offensive or disturbing to guardians of the social order, were constitutionally protected. But my use of marijuana as a righteous component of daily life branded me as a criminal - a felon - subject to the brutal invasion of my life itself by the criminal justice system and its enforcers in uniform or plainclothes.

 

I'm out of space for this installment, but with your permission I'll continue to pursue this line of thought here in seeking a full understanding of the destructive impact of the War on Drugs on harmless marijuana smokers and on the fabric of our social order itself. Our lives - and our national life as well - have suffered immeasurably from the imposition and unbridled growth of the police-state mechanism that's been built up on our backs.

 

Me, I've been sick of this bunny muffin for all of my adult life, and I just hope I'll live long enough to see the War on Drugs dead and buried and the full range of its punitive apparatus dismantled and finally discredited once and for all.

 

Finally, I'd like to say it's been kicks being in the D for the frigid month of April, the Hash Bash and the 4:20 celebrations, but I'm on my way back to London and Amsterdam and I'll be writing more from there. Happy trails!

MAP posted-by: Richard Lake

Edited by greenbuddha
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Although there were many who held on to the ideal of the hippie way, many got disenchanted and sold out. They figured, "if ya can't beat 'em, join 'em," and so they did- they joined up with the very ones they had been rebelling against. For awhile, I had great hopes this world would finally turn around and treat its citizens with Compassion. Back then it seemed we had a chance to make a real difference, and in many ways, we did. It's too bad we didn't go far enough, although we tried. I was too young to really participate in it all, though I sensed the changes and urgency of badly needed change. I too, wanted to be free. Even back then I felt oppressed. All my life, I've known tyranny, and felt its wrath. There was very little I could to to change it, combat, it, or escape from it. Ever hopeful, I truly believed I'd be in a better position to do something about it when I grew older. I was so sure I'd be better able to join the ranks of the other freedom fighters. My freedom-loving ways have never changed, though I don't display my sentiments as boldly as I once did, but occasionally even I tend to break out of the invisible chains and bars, ropes and constraints that bind me, and totally let loose.

 

We should never have to be afraid to express ourselves, as long as we do it without hurting others. True, some people will always find insult or fault with another, especially when they're working so hard to find it. That's what happened to me even as a child. I have to keep reminding myself that it's not my fault.

 

Our beliefs and ideas are not a joke, freedom is nothing to toy with, it belongs to us ALL, not just a select few who tax us to death while living comfortably as we suffer the spoils of their ignorance and abuse. They claim to value all life, yet mistreat its citizens and justify it as necessary, as if they could do no wrong. No one has the right to oppress another, NO ONE.

 

Meanwhile, I can still carry my hippie ideals with Pride, while living responsibly, being careful, and expressing myself in nan acceptable way, to the best of my abilities. By the way, it wasn't just white people who joined the hippie movement, and many of the ideas were taken from various cultures. I also thought they adapted some Native American ideas too, such as living with the land and treating it with Respect. As far as I know, and I'm NOT an authority or expert on this, but I'm fairly sure Indigenous cultures have a very strong connection with the land, because they depended on it. "Care for the land, and it will care for us," I heard them say. I know there are many who aren't as connected as their ancestors were, because of the influence of the so called "dominant society", who do their best to separate people from whatever is most Sacred to them.. They''ll never dominate me! Respect was always at the core of their beliefs, respect for self, the land, each other, animals, plants, air, etc. I think the hippies borrowed from various cultures, including the Buddhists. For anyone who Honors the earth, it's a way of life, a deep, strong spiritual connection. I feel it too, and I also feel painfully aware of my weakened connection to the land and its inhabitants. I like a line in a song about the Woodstock festival in '69, "got to get back to the land and set my soul free", at least that's what it sounds like they said.

 

I wanted to be a flower child. In many ways, I still am, but that doesn't mean I'm an irresponsible bum. It's the same with this community, and of course, it all goes back to marijuana. They, our opponents, have to have an enemy, they thrive on it, they can't live without it, what was that someone around here said about thieves not being able to have something to steal... ? It's so sad, but so awfully true.

 

We in this community are not warriors by nature. The true warrior knows what battles to fight and which ones to walk away from. I believe we are True Warriors. The true warrior knows their fight is Just and Honorable, and when those warriors come home, they are treated with the due Respect and Honor they truly deserve. In medieval times, when soldiers got bored, restless and aggressive, somebody invented the Tournament- a chance for them to keep their skills in practice, show them off, and have fun, while thousands of people watched. There were prizes, and people got to see many interesting challenges. Sword against sword, lance to lance, hand to hand, at least the combatants had a fair chance.

 

The biggest problem today, whether it's about weapons or opportunity, the advantage is unfairly off balance. This is why we HAVE a Constitution, to PROTECT US. Throughout history, there's always been the rulers, and the workers, or "serfs" as we'd be called way back in medieval times. Have we really come so far that we can truly say we're out of the dark ages? There's still rulers and workers, there's still wars, there's still oppression. So how much has changed? DO we not have disease? No. We just have different diseases. To me, the worst disease of them all is ignorance, which all too often seems to also include being abusive. Some people still think being tough is better than being soft. They're so afraid of being soft, as if it were some horrible disease. But they forget, it's not about being one way or the other, it's about BALANCE. But they're too blinded by their ignorance to ever even consider that. Who will they have to profit by and pick on, if everyone's peaceful, healthy, well educated, independent, and not a blind sheeple? Compassion? Not a chance... How sad for them who's closed minds and cold hearts will never know the True Meaning of Life.

 

All You Need is LOVE. :wub:

 

The ideals of the hippie counter-culture came from a desperate need to be Free- free to live, love, be healthy, safe, and happy. Isn't that what all people want, really? WHAT'S SO FUNNY ABOUT PEACE, LOVE, AND UNDERSTANDING? History gives us numerous accounts of how many thousands of years us humans have engaged in war, yet to this day, the lesson have still not been realized, let alone, learned.

 

WAR- WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR- ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

 

Well, the hippie fad has come and gone, yet it still lives on in our hearts, because the ideals of Peace, Freedom, Liberty, Justice, and so on, are not a fad, but a Realistic, Practical, more harmonious way to live on this wonderful planet we call home, our Mother Earth. I would rather be on the fringes of society if it means preserving my Pride, Dignity, Self Worth, Abilities, Talents, Love, and Compassion, than to live in their toxic, hate laden, fear ridden, infested, polluted, greed empowered, selfish, delusional, abusive, oppressive, and hopeless world.

 

Sincerely, Sb

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