Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Yes! Counter-Culture can be revolutionary

In the past I’ve used a few items of interest from Mike Ely and his site the Kasama project. Kasama focuses mainly on political strategy and the various revolutionary movements in the world today. But I rarely use a political article from there on this blog. That is because Otto’s War Room is mainly for political commentary and actual news. This site is more for cultural affairs, music, videos, poems (mostly my own) artwork (some of it by me) and my own commentary on culture.
It just so happens that this article is perfect for this site. I have kept my artwork and non-political writing radical in the sense that it is not conventional, it is in-your-face often offensive (although my politics have done that from time to time). But I have largely kept features on cultural issues here and not elsewhere. It just so happens that Ely has covered a topic I’m keen on; the overlap between counter-culture currents and political rebellion. Here Ely talks about the New Left or new Communist Movements of the 1960s and 1970s and how the smart leftist joined in with the youth movement while others shunned or criticized it. -សតិវ អតុ

Youth Culture & Reefer: Subversive Lessons for Future Breaks
Posted by Mike E on August 4, 2010

“If we (as a new revolutionary movement) are not prepared to ‘get it’ when some new wave of alienation breaks, and if we are not prepared to see the positive factors within cultural explosions (and their intimate connection with political possibilities), and if we are not prepared to fuse our communist insights with such new radical social divergence emerging within growing pockets of new generations — then everything else we do now is a waste of time.”

by Mike Ely
Dave Palmer kicked off this discussion by saying:
“I didn’t live in the 1960s, but it seems to me very tragic that Abbie Hoffman and people like him promoted the idea that drug use was somehow revolutionary. (To his credit, Hoffman discouraged the use of heroin and methamphetamine — but on the other hand, he also claimed that cocaine wasn’t addictive). Abbie Hoffman seemed to truly believe that the 1960s youth culture, including (and maybe even especially) the aspects revolving around drugs, presented a radical challenge to capitalist society. In fact, the 1960s youth culture was easily co-opted by capitalist society, and continues to be sold today. Meanwhile, I can’t help but think that the widespread use of marijuana and other drugs may have seriously reduced the revolutionary potential of US radicals in that time period.”
I think it is hard for post-60s generations to “capture” for themselves the social meaning and impact of various 60s cultural forms.
In themselves, long hair, worn clothes, smoking pot, public dancing, new forms of music (especially Black music and its descendants), traveling instead of careers, experiments with communal living, erosion of traditional sexual mores, saying fuck in public, the sense of getting back in touch with the natural …. they don’t all look sharply subversive , or that obviously connected with a revolutionary overthrow of an existing empire.
But that is (in part) because they had a huge impact on the subsequent culture, and so (now) don’t look that shocking. You can’t recapture the shock of the new two decades later. It always just looks old. But we live history going forward — and we have to anticipate that there will be new, shocking and highly attractive ruptures (that in their initial content often don’t seem literally revolutionary).
It is hard to re-capture today how threatening the Temptations could be. Or the idea of young white girls listening to Little Richard.

And while we are at it let’s not forget that my first novel is over a person who drifts through the counter-culture, from a life of hedodnism, to becoming a political activist. This books is about the very subject of this article.
The book; Memoirs Of A Drugged-up, Sex-crazed Yippie ---Tales from the 70's Counterculture: Drugs, Sex, Politics and Rock and Roll, can be purchased Direct from the publisher, for $ 12.25. It is a 300 page look at a counter-culture freak who learns about the working class and the left. Here are some review of the book from;

This is honest and riveting. It drew me in right away. Backed, with pleasure.


I love books like this and this is set in a time period I am a little obsessed with! The music was at it's best, and so much was happening in our history. I think you've captured that perfectly! I like the way you write, it's fitting for the subject matter. I think a lot of people are going to identify with this whether they lived through these times or not. I've really enjoyed reading your book ...... it's exactly the kind of thing I read out in the 'real world'!


Fantastic pitch, for starters. I love the raw honesty of your narrative. This truly was utterly fascinating. This is the sort of story that many people in similar situations or who've survived them, I should say, can really relate and connect to on a very personal level.Backed with honor.

C. L. Freire (DAVID THORNE: The Golithian Orbs)

Abbie Hoffman

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