Title: The Seattle Group Bulletins
Author: Seattle Group
Date: 1965-1971
Source: Copied from site no longer available on Web
Notes: Copied from website no longer available on the Web

    The Seattle Group's Introductory Statement

      Editor's Note

  About the Authors

    1. Statement of Principles for an Anarcho-Socialist Committee—Stan Iverson

    2. The Adolescence Trap—George Crowley

    3. Theory of Dual Revolution—Louise Crowley

    4. Text of a radio talk given by Stan Iverson over station KRAB-FM, Seattle

    5. Notes on the Man Question—Louise Crowley


    7. An Open Letter to Mayor J. D. Braman, of Seattle—George Crowley


    8. Thieme and Variations—George Crowley

    9: Four Parodies—Gloria Martin, Barbara Tomlinson, Louise Crowley

      Sing To "Home Of The Brave"

      The New "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"

      Drinking song, to "The Dutch Company"

      Sing to "The Three Kings" (which you may know as the Farandole from "L’Arlesienne")

    10. The Balkanization of Utopia—from Solidarity, London

    11. Thoughts on the Seattle Group—Gloria Martin

    12. Greetings to CAMP—George Crowley

    13. Dear Comrade—Louise Crowley

    14. "Chaos"—or Else—G and L Crowley

    15. Letter to My mother—Sandy Lanz

    16. What It’s Like Down There—Mary Gibson

    17. More Thoughts on the Seattle Group; America Viet Nam; and the ABC Syndrome—Tomi Schwaetzer

    18. Further Notes on the Man Question

    19. Electoral Action, the Fulbright-Morse Opposition, and the Anti-War Movement—Tom Warner

    20. Anti-war Action as Individuals—Mason Taylor (reprint)

    21. Return to Anarchy—Larry DeCoster

    22. If the Peoples Wants Freedom—Louise Crowley

    23. Notes on the MFDP Leaflets—Mary Gibson

    24. On Self-Respect—Louise Crowley


    25. Transition Period—Mary Gibson

    26. Peace and Party Politics—Gloria Martin


    27. Lyndon and the Acid Heads—Dave Wagner

      Additional Materials, following Bulletin 27

      Information Exchange on publications received

    28. From One General (Ret.) To Another (Ret.)—Herbert C. Holdridge (Reprint)

    29. The Last Indian War, Part I—Janet Mccloud and Robert Casey

    30. The Last Indian War, Part 2—Janet Mccloud

    31. You Really Want to Know Why Johnny Can’t Read?—Louise Crowley

    32. Revolutionaries: Write About Life!—Jim Evrard

      About the Seattle Group & New Publications Received

      About The Seattle Group

      New Publications Received

      Comment On Bulletin #32:

    33. Season’s Greetings—Tomi Schwaetzer

    34. The M/W Question, Again—Louise Crowley

    35. Immigration to Canada—Vancouver Committee to Aid American War Objectors

    36. Learn Some Economics—J.E.

      Two Poems

    37. Accept No Substitutes!—Louise Crowley

    38. The Situationists (Translated By Jim Evrard)

      Finally to Create the Situation Which Renders Return Backwards Impossible

    39. The Provos—H.M.

      Provolution—The Evolution of the Provo Principle

    40. The Grating Society—George Crowley

      Compilation 5: New Publications Received

    41. Deathwatch—J.R.

    42. The Edge—Where It's Really At—J.T.

    43. Anatomy of A Frame-Up—Louise Crowley

    44. From The Commune—Rainer Longhans

    45. Provo for Council—Stan Iverson

      Promised Report on the Free Prisoners Bail Fund:

    46. Letter to "The Movement"—Gloria Martin

    47. Upon the Reported Death of Che Guevara— Stan Iverson

      From Peng, The Magazine Of The Frankfurt Provos (Translated by J.E.):

    48. The Trial—Stan Iverson

    49. The Death of A Precedent—J.A.


    50. The Yoga Of Sex—Thad & Rita Ashby

      NOTICE (1967)

    51. Society As A Totality—G.N.

    52. Two Comments on Bulletin #49, And A Further Observation—L.C.

    53. Excerpts from The SCUM* Manifesto—Valerie Solanas

    54. Now That the Tear Gas Has Cleared Away—George Crowley

    55. Excerpts from a Projected Tract on Urban Warfare—Stan Iverson

      APPENDIX A [titles only]

    56. The Moral Implications of Anarchism—Davy Jones

    57. What Does it Take to Stop a War—1969—George Crowley



    58. Their Revolution or Ours!—Barbara Garson


    59. Untitled Critique #1—G.A.N.

    60. Interview with an Anarcho-Pacifist


The Devil to Wicked John: "Here—Take a Chunk of Fire and Start Your Own Hell"

The Seattle Group Bulletins were published between 1965 & 1971.

The Bulletins were issued separately and then collected into compilations. The same stencils were used for the compilations as for the individual Bulletins.

The original Bulletins were signed only with initials, but the compilations listed authors’ names on the cover (Table of Contents). The covers of the compilations were hand lettered.


The Seattle Group's Introductory Statement

Bulletins: 1-8 1965

Bulletins: 9-17 1966 Spring

Bulletins: 18-27 1966

Bulletins: 28 - 32

Bulletins: 33-40 1967 Winter / Spring

Bulletins: 41 - 50

Bulletins: 51-60

The Seattle Group's Introductory Statement

The Seattle Group is very small—not because we’re elitists (far from it!) but because the function we have set for ourselves can best be done by a little band able to act with maximum spontaneity and flexibility, either independently or in voluntary cooperation with other groups. When we grow, it’s time to split. Our goal is freedom: we do not intend to negate it with a ponderous organizational structure.

Nor will we be bogged down in a morass of secretarial and organization-maintenance routine. There just isn’t any time for it. Revolution must be soon, or never.

The Seattle Group was formed in October, 1965. It meets every two weeks, alternately at the Id, now 1408 N.E. 42nd Street, for discussion and at the home of a participant for planning and ways-and-means. The group has no organizational structure, and anyone who takes part in its activities is considered a member. In the first year of its existence, its most sustained activity has been the publication of its Bulletins.

Seattle Group Bulletins come out irregularly, whenever anyone writes one. It seems to average a little over a Bulletin every two weeks. They are of varying lengths, up to eight legal-size pages. Each is initialed by its writer, who alone is responsible for it, the group simply providing the media and the milieu.

Each quarter we re-run the quarter’s bulletins and compile them in a booklet, along with notes on publications received and excerpts from correspondence; these quarterly compilations sell for 25¢.

Bulletins are free for the asking. But we can’t afford to waste postage sending them to the Dead Letter Office or to people who don’t really want them, so periodically we enclose coupons for readers to fill out and return, to verify addresses and spellings, to confirm interest, and to add new readers.

Then we revise our mailing list on the basis of the returns. The Seattle Group wants a live readership.

We’ve stubbornly resisted putting a subscription price on the Bulletins, for two reasons: (1) we don’t want to inhibit the growth of readership, and (2) we don’t want to divert our own efforts to keeping track of sub expirations. And because we know that most Bulletin readers are activists, already deluged with fund appeals from causes at least as worthy, we minimize our requests for financial support. Most of our readers know that ink and paper and postage cost money, and we trust them to send us what they can.

The Seattle Group has produced one pamphlet, and expects to issue others. We’ve issued leaflets for mass distribution; unlike Bulletins and pamphlets, these are undersigned by the group as a whole and express a unanimous position. Since they are of mainly local interest, we haven’t included them in our mailings.

(Of course we’ll send on request any that are in stock, as we do with back issues of the Bulletins.)

One of the things—the main thing, really—that we hope the Seattle Group’s propaganda will do is to spark similar efforts from others. There’s something forbidding about a printed, regularly scheduled periodical—somehow, its very format suggests that its staff and contributors have to be professionals, or at least to have some academic or experiential qualifications for expertise, and this tends to discourage just anybody from turning a hand to it. But a mimeograph machine is a really free press. It doesn’t intimidate by hinting that what’s turned out on it has to be slick and professional, and it’s available to anyone; the old machine the Seattle Group uses was bought for five dollars at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop. A wide exchange of this sort of informal dialogue, with no force beyond the appeal of ideas, is the logical means of co-ordinating the diverse libertarian groupings now springing up all across the country (and elsewhere!) and the fit carrier for an imperative resurgence of anarchist thought and action.

For the scarcity and the need for constrained labor that have in all times past removed the vision of a functional anarchy to the realms of utopia become obsolete with the advent of cybernated production. However desirable an envisioned state of society, even the most brilliant and dedicated efforts to bring it to reality cannot but fail while the material preconditions for its viability are lacking. Hence the spectacular defeat of past anarchist movements presages nothing. Anarchism is on the rise again, and this time no valid economic need precludes its victory.

This is an entirely new state of affairs, and one for which the existing body of anarchist theory is unprepared. Earlier anarchist thinkers devoted themselves, in the main, to the questions of the desirability of an anarchic society, and of its compatibility with human nature; the tough tactical problems of the anarchist revolution received little attention. Three main streams did emerge: nihilism—simply bring the social structure into crisis by terror or whatever means, and see what happens; communalism—withdraw in small groups from the authoritarian society and build ideal communities, hoping that as their virtues are demonstrated the example will be followed; and syndicalism—by direct action, supplant the present state apparatus with a structure representing the workers and based upon the workers’ organizations. The new anarchist trend appears to lay greater stress on individual behavior—live as freely as you can within the existing society, seeking a personal emancipation from its shibboleths and taboos. None of these theories, in their present state of development, is adequate to the task of overthrowing the power structure of an entrenched capitalist nation. And that is what must now be done.

In this situation, the widest possible dialogue among activists becomes of critical urgency. Somehow, among the diverse forces now striving for freedom, the prototype of a free society’s organizational forms must emerge—forms of wholly voluntary association flexible and potent to pool the efforts and realize the desires of each of the infinitely varied individuals in the family of man.

Let all the rebel voices be heard!

Editor's Note

[This pamphlet is not dated, but was produced during the last quarter of 1966. It is mimeographed. The pamphlet was created on 8 ½ X 14 inch mimeograph paper, folded and stapled. The cover is red in color and it is designed as a mailer, so that one side has the title, hand lettered on the stencil with “ABOUT” in outline and “THE SEATTLE GROUP” shaded, and on the reverse the mailing section with the return address hand lettered (onto the stencil) and a space outlined for a postage stamp. The covers are printed in black ink on regular colored (red) mimeograph paper; the interior pages on white mimeograph paper are printed in green. On the inside of the front cover is a hand drawn graphic, which is a variation on the wicked John outlined with the words REVOLUTION, SPONTANEITY, FREEDOM, FLEXIBILITY included in the outside ring. The text, which is typed (with a typewriter set on “stencil” ) is paragraphed as is shown above; however, it is hand justified into columns (this means that the producer counted the letters in each line so that they would line up equally on each margin to the right and left). There are no page numbers. There are four internal (green ink on white) pages, which are actually one 8 ½ x 14 inch piece of paper, printed on both sides, cut in half, and then each page is a half of this. The last internal white page is a coupon to clip. On the front, a hand drawn request “I LIVE IN OR NEAR SEATTLE AND WANT TO BE NOTIFIED OF MONTHLY DISCUSSION MEETINGS” and “PUT ME ON YOUR MAILING LIST”; on the back a hand drawn request “SEND SAMPLE BULLETINS TO” and the inside of the back cover reads :To introduce your friends to the Seattle Group, send for additional copies of this brochure: 5 cents (symbol) each. And at the bottom “Labor donated, as always.” On the bottom of the white page before the coupon page is a hand drawn graphic announcing the coupons. It is extremely likely that the pamphlet was produced by Louise Crowley—only Louise would have had the patience to hand justify—but she may have had some help with the graphics, or maybe she did them herself. The writing style in most of the piece is also Louise’s, but not all of it, so it was likely a group effort of some sort. “Legal size” refers to U.S. standard legal paper size 8 ½ x 14 inches.

Typewriters had a symbol for cents that looked like a small c character with a / through it. If the typewriter didn’t have this symbol, one simply made it by backing up and overstriking. – Editor]

About the Authors

J. A.

Thad & Rita Ashby

Robert Casey

George H. Crowley

Louise (Anna Louise Gregg) Crowley

Larry DeCoster

Part of a group which published Rebel Worker

Jim Evrard

Evrard was part of a group which published Rebel Worker, a mimeo'd magazine started by young members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Chicago, 1964. Inspired by the hobo wisdom of their Wob mentors, and also by surrealism, these young men and women also drew on a wide range of anti-capitalist thinkers; critics derided them as ‘the left wing of the Beat Generation’. See Franklin Rosemont’s Dancin' in the Streets!: Anarchists, IWWs, Surrealists,

Situationists and Provos in the 1960s.

Frankfurt Provos (Translated by J.E.)

Free U. Mirror (Sent by J. E.)

Barbara Garson


Mary Gibson

Herbert C. Holdridge

Internationale Situationniste


Stan Iverson


Davy Jones

Rainier Langhans


Sandy Lanz

Janet McCloud


Gloria Martin

Wrote Socialist Feminism; the first decade, 1966 - 76, published by freedom socialist publications, Seattle, Washington, first printed in 1978, 2nd edition 1986.


Hans Metz

G. N.


J. R.

Tomi Schwaetzer


Valerie Solanas


Solidarity, London


Joffre Stewart


J. T.

Mason Taylor

Barbara Tomlinson

Vancouver Committee to Aid American War Objectors

Dave Wagner

Tom Warner

1. Statement of Principles for an Anarcho-Socialist Committee—Stan Iverson

The Seattle Group is a little aggregation of old and new leftists of various generally independent tendencies, held loosely together only by personal rapport—and by the availability of a mimeograph machine. It has no organizational structure and no ideological line. Some of us think of ourselves as anarchists, some as libertarian socialists, and there are others on whom it’s impossible to pin any of the standard labels. We believe we can function together, open in our disagreements, and that the dialogue thus produced will contribute toward realizing the things that do unite us. What those are we’ll leave to the Bulletins to elucidate.

[Originally hand written. This is Bulletin #1 below.]


We stand not so much opposed to other organizations of the Left as aside from them. We have joined together in a loose federation to struggle for social justice in a manner we believe to be best suited to us. This federation is leaderless in the sense that there are no leadership bodies, there are no disciplinary committees, there is no centralism of either a democratic or a monolithic variety. We are an organization of leaders in the sense that each member is expected to be a fountain-head of ideas, the inspirer of actions, the initiator of struggles.

We reject both the cumbersome, stifling organizational methods of "democratic" organizations and the stern, semi-military formations of the Leninist parties. Our emphasis is upon liberating the creative power of the individual thru his direct individual action, and his voluntary co-operation with others in small groups. Our war is not only with the formal institutions of society—the oppressions of the state, the ugly power wielded by private and corporate capital—but also with backward and anti-human attitudes. We immodestly propose, albeit in a small way, to attempt to win "the hearts and minds" of men, to win them from views and beliefs which in reality are almost as antiquated as the superstitious faiths of our savage forebears.

We are internationalists, rather than nationalists; we recognize the fundamental brotherhood of all people. We oppose all oppressions, whether that of a minority over a majority, or that of a majority over a minority. We agree with Lord Acton that all power corrupts. We take our stand against the pompous Soviet bureaucrat as well as the American capitalist, against all who harness the free spirit and turn man into a beast of labor, a victim of famine, depression, want and war. We reject racism of all varieties, whether that of an "Afrikaner", a redneck, or one of those curious white radicals who ardently embrace black nationalism.

At the same time we support all movements which lift even a part of the harness off man—the Chinese revolution in so far as it has driven famine from the land, the Cuban in that it has given status, dignity, and education to the most lowly of Cubans, etc. We align ourselves with the outcast and the disenfranchised of the world. We take as issues not alone the great primary problems—war and peace, colonialism and anti-colonialism—but also the irritating, endlessly troublesome secondary problems—the legalization of abortion, the freedom of women, the rearing of children to be whole human beings, etc. Our object is a world in which "man is no longer wolf to man", and our method is that of a shadow war—of picket lines, sit-ins, civil disobedience, resistance to authority, a rallying of those beyond the pale of "accepted society" to resistance in all the many ways that will occur to their ingenuity.


[Handwritten and typed on a standard upright typewriter on mimeograph stencil. Transcribed September 28, 2011 by Dotty DeCoster.]

2. The Adolescence Trap—George Crowley

The "Folk Rock and All Cause Protest Music Festival" held at Civic Center Arena on October 1st was a commercial venture conceived by professional entertainers to make a fast buck. The social force, the political need, that made this venture profitably possible is a crisis of paramount import to the radical position of both right and left.

A fundamental socio-political axiom is "The mass base of any radical (i.e., oriented toward changing the existing order) political solution must be established among those dispossessed by the old establishment". The accomplished bourgeoisification of the proletariat raises the need to evaluate and understand the potential of the currently dispossessed sectors of the population.

Understanding and winning the support of the "adolescent" is critical not only because it is adolescents who have the historic dynamic exuberance of youth. Nor because members of all other dispossessed sectors enter their political life as "adolescents". The main attraction of the radical to studying the mores and institutions of adolescents lies in that these kids are the victims of the most advanced sophistications of scientific oppression.

Adolescence may be defined as the age between natural maturity and legal emancipation, during which our culture imposes a special dehumanizing regimen upon most youth.

Historically, this period in life has in all urban cultures been an open-ended apprenticeship in living. The developing child began a process of supervised participation in community socio-economic life from which he passed into acceptance in the adult community as soon as he displayed a capacity to make his own way, quite independent of chronological consideration. The fact is that most of the world’s truly great people made their most significant contributions either during or shortly after the age at which we trap our youth in adolescence.

Actually, this traumatic experience begins with the child’s entrance into the new public school, but we are here specifically concerned with the decade from the eleventh to the twenty-first year. Already the more independent-minded child has been singled out and been broken by "special" classes, or is still incarcerated in them. The child’s early confidence in his own senses has been replaced by respect for "authoritative" guidance by a host of demigods called "experts". Significantly, the first school-valued achievement is no longer the skill of reading but is the "kindergarten position"—square in seat, hands folded on desk, eyes front.

With his personality thus undercut, the child tumbles without warning into an uncontrollable, unfeeling sociological tumbler manipulated by a distant and unreachable establishment that has already made robots of the faculty. His heretofore natural curiosity becomes "lack of respect"; former "personality development" becomes "marked lack of discipline"; heretofore "childish exuberance" becomes "juvenile delinquency". Every social force becomes a grating, grinding shove to the hapless adolescent; his every effort to fend one harassment brings a multiplicity of new pressures to bear on his defenseless person. There is no apparent escape, hence the rising rate of insanity and suicide in this age group.

Upon those who shatter under this experience society places the label of "juvenile delinquent" and commences a process of patching and repairing, the climax of which is found in the sadistic Pavlovian conditioning center Buckley, the operation of which was recently brazenly reported.

The survivors of this traumatic cauldron emerge as adjusted ticky-tacky, equally suited for use by the Expert Society as a "piece" in the social mosaic or as the Universal Soldier; but warped and deformed to where they have little chance of living truly human lives.

Above the lowest levels of poverty the physical needs of our young are probably better provided for than in any previous society. The mores of our culture actively work at conditioning the young to expect physical security divorced from any responsibility on their part. This is done as a means of destroying any development of their personal sense of responsibility, and as a means of inducting them into the world of conditioned consumerism. Indeed, the first concern of the "Great Society" is that such conditioning shall not be negated by poverty.

The real evil of institutionalized adolescence lie not in its physical but in its psychological effects. It produces, with disastrous uniformity, a number of characteristics:

Foremost, by destroying self-reliance or control over one’s future it produces a state of hopeless fatalism. Since planning is futile, it is "square"—to be shunned because efforts to implement one’s plans may bring bruises, and because the disappointment of failure can best be avoided by not hoping for success. Hence comes the privatization of such ideas as there are, because one’s thoughts are free only so long as they are one’s own.

Because planned effort is futile, it is better to seek immediate gratification within the prescribed limits. The product of this view is a narrow hedonistic behavior pattern that abhors commitment.

Corollary to this rejection of reason is the tendency to evaluate in absolutes—to consider everything as all right or all wrong.

Since these kids are in the main healthy, exuberant young animals, the constant and meticulous repression produces a characteristic state of near-hysteria. The phenomenon is perhaps more commonly associated with the "giggling female" in cultures where the woman’s world is similarly constrained. More ominously, it leads to the "lashing out" tendency which produces the constant rise in the rate of irrational crime, so deplored by the police because of its unpredictability.

The constant hazing inflicted on adolescents produces a state wherein the whole adult world seems to be against them, which manifests itself in the familiar withdrawn pose these kids assume in the presence of adults—which becomes an "idiot act" when pressed. The whole performance closely parallels the characteristic pose of minority peoples held in permanent servile suppression.

Deprived of opportunity to develop reasoning power, these kids too often develop the desired total response to the conditioning of the mass-communication media. Probably more significant in the long view is the tendency to rely more and more heavily on the tag-end residue of humanity’s instinct-controlled past, the emotions. Then forced to live an existence totally divorced from the culture’s productive activities, more and more emotional gratification becomes the goal of actions. The widespread experimentation with mystical and mechanical manipulation of emotion flows from this need. It seems quite probable that this field contains the means of developing an auxiliary communication method, but at the moment it principally adds to the already too-abundant confusion.

The quest for emotional understanding should not be abandoned, for development of the communication potential is I believe an essential step in the imminent human revolution. Yet we cannot allow ourselves to be blinded to the pitfall so vividly demonstrated by the affair under review.

This school of professional entertainers, with their substance of half-articulated suggestion for lyrics and with melody carried upon an emotional response to rhythm, is highly susceptible to producing a blind followership. The dangerous potential exists for harnessing the group’s emotions to conditioned associations of the manipulator’s choosing.

It is in this light that the highlight of the event gains its political significance. The evening was moving along in an air of ersatz reality typical of the artificial sub-culture—hinting at true aspirations, no war, no police harassment, a vague hope for independence skillfully blending with an adequate dosage of meaningless superficiality, in just the right balance to confuse the matter into inaction—to provide a safe and harmless blowing of steam.

Four skillfully prepared signs wielded correctly within the previously advertised scope of the affair threw the whole symphony into confusion. How great was the threat can be measured by the prompt and decisive appearance of the power structure, i.e., mass police. The correctness of such a tactic of exposure was attested to by the cordon of police cars surrounding the whole area as the "festival" broke up.

The younger generation will make its rapprochement with the social environment we have stuck it with. The "Old Left" must face up to the fact that, flushed with the successes of the New Deal, the CIO, United Fronts, and the greater "Victory" over fascism, we smothered into subordinated oblivion the post-WWII generation of youth. Our callous "firm guidance" made a major contribution toward creating the Beat generation post Korean War. We must accept the real basis behind the new generation’s folk wisdom of "Don’t trust anyone over thirty". The break in continuity to streams of radical thought cannot be accepted, because to do so would leave a catastrophic breach in the body of radical knowledge. The "Old Left" must utilize the vaunted "wisdom" of our august "maturity" to learn the aspirations and ways of the new generation so this continuity may be reestablished in reality. No longer is it possible to regard this New Left as an amorphic aggregation of directionless activists. The decades-long rebellion in the Civil Rights field, the growing experience of the resisters against militarism and (more embryonically) the student movement have already developed a core of veterans whose "rich experience" is every bit as great as that upon which we a generation and more ago staked out our claim to leadership. We must find ways to meet the New Left with the same open-minded peer-ship that our generation received from our own Wobbly-oriented elders.

The younger people will bring the pragmatic orientations of their special causes with them just as surely as we will retain our own different schools of emphasis. Many of the views will be obsolete, some will even be wrong; so be it. Together we can build a cosmopolitan viewpoint broad enough to provide a political starting point.

These adolescents and pre-adolescents are a different breed of cats. Their undirected protest covers a much broader canvas than the left of the recent past. A few short months from now their voices and actions will be felt.

If we today heed their cries of outraged distress—if we now build the kind of open radical community to which they can turn for assistance without fear of being compressed into causes not their own—then we may turn toward the future with a renewed confidence in a better tomorrow. This can not happen unless we beat back, today, the violence-in-the-street propaganda that would crush these kids before they find their direction—toward anarchy we hope but do not insist.

G. C.

A Bulletin appears whenever anyone in the group writes one; so far, that’s been about every two weeks. We don’t expect any consistency of line in the Bulletins, so each is initialed by its writer, who alone is responsible for it—the group providing the media and the milieu. Correspondence for any of us may be sent c/o The Seattle Group [address withheld by transcriber] Seattle, Washington. If you would like to receive future Bulletins, please let us know and we’ll send them as our haphazard finances allow.

Back issues of any particular Bulletin are another matter—some we have, some we don’t. We’ll fill requests while the supply holds out; but with this compilation, the stencils for the first eight Bulletins are expended. We’ll probably follow a similar procedure with future issues.

[The Bulletin was typewritten on a standard typewriter on stencils and then mimeographed on white 8 ½ x 14 inch mimeograph paper. The additions added for the compilation were handwritten onto the stencil before mimeographing again by Louise Crowley. Transcribed September 28, 2011 by Dotty DeCoster.]

3. Theory of Dual Revolution—Louise Crowley


The basic and essentially contradictory streams of social evolution (technological and humanist) grow out of the two great biological modifications of hominids: (1) the reorganization of musculature that evolved a hand capable of precise manipulations, and the reorientation of perceptual mechanisms to permit development of manual skills; and (2) the evolution of the higher nervous system which added to the animal’s ability to perceive things the peculiarly human capacity of conceiving ideas. The former line of development tends toward modification of the environment; the latter line tends toward modification of man himself.

Whenever society is thrown out of equilibrium by acceleration of either of these lines of development beyond the capacity of the other to absorb it, a crisis of the first magnitude results. Synthesis of the two streams constitutes an epochal revolution. Unlike lesser revolutions, an epochal revolution, once launched, is irreversible.

The known epochal revolutions are few: the earliest, long lost in the mists of prehistory, converted a dextrous, intelligent primate into a human being. The Neolithic Revolution and the Urban Revolution were such epochal transformations; in modern times, synthesis of the humanistic crisis of the Renaissance-Reformation with the technological crisis of the Industrial Revolution produced our own dynamic epoch.

As long as technological revolution can be resolved within the framework of existent understanding, even though it involve reorganization of social structure, or as long as humanist revolution can be satisfied within the framework of existing technology, even though that involve redistribution of goods, there occurs a revolution of the second magnitude, a revolution in the usual sense.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Concepts of individuality and rational enquiry had for some time been in crisis with the social relations of feudalism—itself an unstable variant on the main line of social evolution—when the opening of new lands to trade and conquest provided a direction of escape. then impending revolution (revolution of lesser magnitude, involving only the humanist line of development) took the form of mercantilism, liberating the class most advanced in those concepts but permitting retention of feudal institutions to fester in the body politic. Further development of man’s consciousness of self led to the radical demand by people of all classes for ever greater control over their own lives; thus the humanist contradiction was not resolved by the mercantile revolution. Fanned by the wider and more rapid communication made possible by the printing press, it built toward new crisis.

Except for iron-working (advances in which grew out of the emphasis on weaponry), the basic technology that had developed in ancient times was little elaborated in the early feudal period. Reasons for this technological stagnation lie in the counter-revolutionary nature of feudalism. Rise of the aforementioned spirit of rational enquiry prompted resumption of technological advance, and the commodity and transport needs of mercantilism accelerated its development. An elaborate muscle-, wind-, and water-powered technology emerged. Regaining ground lost in the Dark Ages, mercantilism expanded commodity production for trade—the foundation of classic urban societies but of minor importance in regressive feudalism—to a point where it exhausted the potential of that technology.

The application of steam power touched off an explosion of productivity not encompassable within the already strained social order. In the typical bourgeois revolutions the two streams of development reached crisis almost simultaneously; shifts in the rationale of political power catalyzed their fusion, and the resultant upheaval transformed the very base of society.

The socialist revolutions, then, are seen as an offshoot of this most recent epochal revolution. Peoples not affected, or little affected, by the humanistic development of the Renaissance and Reformation faced the Europe-based onslaughts on their cultural (and physical) integrity with quite different values. Their development had proceeded along other lines—toward communalism, for example. Stable old cultures with relatively static technology had tended less in the direction of changing environment than in cultivating the mind’s ability to achieve detachment from it—a course entered upon, but cut short, in the West. Such impulse toward individual self-assertion as came to these peoples came from outside, and had taken no deep roots before technological crisis was thrust upon them. Many succumbed: were annihilated or swept into backwash. The Russians, and later the Chinese, effected within the scope of their existing consciousness a social reorganization conducive to development of the new industrial technology.

That is why, despite all the vicious exploitativeness of capitalism, no advanced nation has ever opted, nor should opt, a socialist alternative. To do so would run counter to the stream of humanist development.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

With cybernation, technological crisis is upon us, and the imminent advent of practicable nuclear power will swell it to revolutionary magnitude.

Movement in the humanist field has until recently been slow or even regressive. The once-promising Women’s Rights movement sold its birthright of full freedom for a vote, a right to hold property, and a niche in the Establishment. Commitment to personal liberties declined as an entrenched capitalist class leveled against it the punitive power of the state and the persuasiveness of its increasingly efficient opinion-control apparatus. Mind that had achieved a measure of freedom from the stranglehold of religion fell victim to an equally blinding conformism and acceptance of expertise. As a rising standard of living in an increasingly ordered society obviated many of our gross physical fears, induced fear eroded the drive toward self-assertion: we learned to play it safe, not yet realizing that the very substance of safety had already disintegrated in a mushroom cloud over Hiroshima.

Now we are learning to live with Overkill. When safety is unattainable, fear becomes useless. That motion has resumed in the line of humanist evolution is indicated by a complex of current developments: pursuit of non-coercive solutions to problems of human relationship; broadened concepts of libertarianism; withering of religion as a determinant of behavior; positive confrontation of prejudice; and most important of all for good or ill as we use it, scientific unveiling of mysticism’s special provinces—the cosmos, the "soul", and the nature of life. They combine to augur another critical advance in our not unchangeable human nature: the abandonment of fears. Should this motion accelerate to fuse with the crisis in technology, the resultant upheaval cannot but be fatal to political power as we know it, for all government subsists only on the fears of the governed.

In the Janus-headed biological revolution lies the means by which the power structure can put a stop, indefinitely, to this line of humanist development so resistant to social control. In it lies also the potential for expanded and intensified communication, through which can be achieved that interpersonal understanding by which diverse individuals can function together without imposed discipline.

It follows, if only from the technological crisis, that revolution is certain, and near. Still to be determined is whether it will come as a revolution of the second magnitude, altering distribution of the fruits of a more prolific production complex—perhaps transferring control of the complex itself—or whether it will come as an epochal transformation, sweeping away the very foundation of authority, and with it the only hitherto functioning force for social cohesion.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The tragedy of our time is that the Left—Old and New—could sincerely but shortsightedly espouse a limited revolution. With the enormously expanded productivity soon to be available, most of the Left’s aspirations could be met within the framework of an ordered society. Even what we have traditionally called "freedom" could now be achieved by a revolution of the second magnitude. Yet if society takes this path, retaining—in whatever hands—institutions of social control, those institutions will thereafter direct the course of human evolution; man may never be truly free to face his environment with a multiplicity of choices.

For man, freedom its broadest sense must include emancipation from all restraint, whether imposed by others or by his own limitations, on the exercise of his capacity to reason. As progressive liberation from environmental restrictions is the direction of technological development, so progressive liberation from instinctual determinants is the direction of humanization. The goal of both is freedom—freedom not partial, but complete.

While fear restricts thought, that goal lies beyond comprehension. While fear influences behavior, we shrink from pursuing freedom past the charted fraction of its course. It lies further, where mastery of external nature joins with mastery of those diffuse and wayward vestiges of instinct-determined behavior, our own emotions. Even for its most conscious vanguard, epochal revolution is a leap into the unknown; but it is the peculiarly human dynamic of progress.


We greatly appreciate the correspondence and reciprocal literature the Seattle Group has received to date. From it we are building a file and library informative to ourselves and valuable in furthering that communication so sorely needed in the resurgent left. Many of these contributions should eventually find their way into the dialogue of the Bulletins. In particular, we welcome the permission to reprint other groups’ material, and the requests from other groups to reprint our own. We plan to take advantage of this cooperation to bring out, in one of our next Bulletins, an excellent article from London’s Solidarity.

[Handwritten comments were added by Louise Crowley to the compilation after the Bulletin was initially distributed individually. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, September 30, 2011. Please note that the original spelling has been maintained.]

4. Text of a radio talk given by Stan Iverson over station KRAB-FM, Seattle

Libertarian Socialism, or if you please, anarcho-socialism, makes as its point of departure from orthodox socialism, its criticism of orthodox socialism as relying too heavily upon centralism, leadership concepts, parliamentarianism; and as depending too heavily upon the experience of socialisms which are striving to emerge in underdeveloped countries where the major economic problem is to carry thru what has already been accomplished in capitalist lands, an industrial revolution. That task requires in those countries a tremendous mobilization of all resources, material and human, with a high degree of discipline to achieve what is after all merely the industrial foundations of socialism. Anarcho-socialism holds that too often those disciplines and regimentations which may be necessary for this purpose, or in a resistance army or in an anti-fascist underground are elevated into being a good in themselves—which rather neglects, to say the least, the old socialist ideal of the maximum liberty for every human being.

Therefore anarcho-socialism takes as its special province the re-introduction into the socialist movement the idea of a vast expansion of individual liberty and an unremitting hostility to bureaucratic formations of all kinds. In its approach to contemporary problems anarcho-socialism recognizes that a revolution is a revolution in mind and attitude, as well as institutions and power structures, and it therefore supports such movements as the sexual revolution and the "beat" movement, for, if successful socialism were to result in the suburbanization of the world, it would be a material success, but a spiritual catastrophe. Many persons imagine that anarchism and socialism are opposite, and yet anarchism shares with socialism many of the same progenitors. Before bitter factional strife and strategic differences effectively split the two movements, anarchism was regarded as one of the main tendencies within socialism.

The impact of anarchist thought upon orthodox socialism is illustrated by Marx’s reference in the Communist Manifesto to the withering away of the state, while his co-thinker Engels in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State traces all three repressive institutions to a common foundation, and Lenin in his most optimistic and gentle book, State and Revolution, envisages with the final achievement of communism a state which has withered away, the administration of things having replaced the administration of people, and a society in which minorities do not tyrannize over majorities nor majorities over minorities.

Today, in the bulk of the Marxist-influenced socialist movements these ideas have been forgotten, save for an occasional academic reference, and as these parties move in the direction of a kind of glorified welfare statism—with the notable exception of movements like those of China and Cuba where the revolutionary fervor has not yet been smothered by hordes of place-hungry bureaucrats and careerists—the truly revolutionary Marx has been replaced by a half-shadow of himself, a kind of insurrectionary Sidney Webb. As for the non-Marxist socialists of the parliamentary, loyal opposition type, these parties on the whole are not and have never been revolutionary.

Their goals are the rather modest ones of improving public services, socializing medicine, rationalizing production somewhat, and increasing unemployment and retirement pay. They have about as much sense of identification with the oppressed majorities of the world as does the skilled white northern worker with the Negro sharecropper—and that’s damned little. Many of their objectives are doubtless laudable in a meager, social-workish way, but they are totally lacking in that sense of moral crisis which is inseparable from a truly revolutionary movement. I stress the term "moral crisis", for every true revolution has been preceded and accompanied by a moral crisis.

A moral crisis is in one sense nothing more than the subjective search for truth and meaning, and a rebellion against the false, the pretentious and the outmoded. The high tide of the Russian revolution is in a way symbolized by the ease with which marriage and divorce was obtained—then a long step towards sexual freedom—(in each case it involves the mere filling out of a short form in a government office)—while the ebbing of the revolutionary flow was accompanied by a tightening up of divorce laws, and official campaigns against divorce and "moral laxity". As Charles Beard pointed out, this resulted from a certain failure of the revolution—the re-introduction of inheritance, not it is true the old inheritance of property, but the passing on of influence and educational opportunity, which ensured for his father’s son a place in the bureaucratic over-caste, and therefore a new stress upon that singular property and contractual relationship, the family.

In our own country to find that the reactionary almost instinctively rallies to the defense of the family whatever his personal sexual habits may be—even if he is a member of a suburban wife-swapping circle, or regularly goes to cat houses—and this with good reason, for he feels that this anachronistic, often hypocritical and repressive institution is organically connected with and symbolizes his anachronistic, often hypocritical and repressive state and property relationships—and so it does! Today America, or at least a section of the American population, is going thru a moral crisis and that in a way which is often as baffling and disturbing to old-line socialists as it is to arch-reactionaries. This moral crisis is search for the free and meaningful, and involves among other things a sexual revolution. This sexual revolution is specially pervasive among the "beats", the younger radicals, the university fringe element, and the younger civil rights workers, but is not restricted to these groups and has extended into large groupings which are non-ideological and non-political, and promises as its influence grows to give a shattering blow to rotten Judeo-Christian morality with its sexual shame, its guilt, and its personality-destroying repressions.

It is probably safe to say that in every major campus in the United States there are men and women living together, shacking up for a night and engaging in other even more interesting sexual combinations—and all of this openly and with the approval of their contemporaries—upon a scale never before realized. It is a conspiracy of youth against age, of the generous spirit of developing life in combat with the narrowing, conservative influence of decay and slow death which is, sadly, the most common single characteristic of the adult world, of parents, teachers, bureaucrats, the official governors of society who lack the raw spiritual energy to expand themselves recklessly and, sunk in the sloth of narrow personal aims and routines, fear and resent the explosive energy of rebellious youth. They resent the brave youth, they who lack the capacity for rebellion, just as they lack the capacity for true passion, for the shadow of death already lies lightly upon them and they have lost that part of life which belongs to children, and poets, and other growing things, and never to bankers, and generals, and establishment politicians. Anarchy, the least codified and least institutionalized of ideologies—hardly even an ideology—supports with enthusiasm the sexual revolution as it supports with zeal all movements tending to increase every man’s personal freedom—this in counter-distinction to the cash-register crusaders of the far right whose yammerings about freedom often turn out upon examination to be the bellyache rumblings of shuck artists who feel that their legalized piracies are subject to too much state restraint. The sexual revolution is more than simply good because in its result it will add much to human pleasure.

It is necessary, if the generality of women are to be free, and by being freed have their brains and energies liberated in what may be one of the greatest cultural revolutions in human history. The professed friends of women no less than avowed male chauvinists (and some of these wear skirts) are recalcitrant and hostile when confronted by the declaration that the liberation of women will only be achieved when there is widespread and socially-accepted promiscuity—when what we call promiscuity is the norm. While the open and blunt male supremacist regards woman as an inherent inferior whose function is to be a combination body-servant and erotic object to him, and becomes bitter and angry when his preconceptions are violated by life, and while his more sophisticated brother will say that men and women are equal but different (anyone can see that their plumbing is different Ha Ha), that women are passive and men are active, that the greatest satisfaction is gained by each doing what each is best at—woman was created with one hand for a baby carriage and the other for a broom—the more liberal friend of woman, and this includes many advanced socialists, admits her equality in all areas of activity but asserts a sentimental monogamy which is just as repressive and just as false as the religious and legal monogamy of church and state.

This sentimental monogamist will often pledge in the flowering of his ardor full fidelity to its object and extract from her a similar pledge—and can any extraction be more cruel. But love for one does not exclude love for others, not all sex is love, and there does exist a simple lust or horniness which involves sex that is more impersonal than a handshake with a stranger in a bus depot. The oppression of women is based upon the vagina just as the oppression of the Negro is based upon skin color, and the freedom of one depends upon vaginal freedom just as the freedom of the other means the absence of color discrimination. This is a truth which cuts deeply at the embryo and unevenly-developed socialist world as it does at the decaying and palsied capitalist areas.

My Marxist-Leninist friends will tell me that the liberation of women depends upon equal wages for equal work, and that the unleashing of woman’s creative and intellectual potential depends upon making it possible for her to freely enter all areas of physical and intellectual effort. And this in its way is true—and in a way false. But part of the reason it is true is that woman must be economically independent in order to be liberated from that vestigial property relationship in which she, at least historically, was chattel, and from which our moral codes and restrictive sexual laws and attitudes derive. However, I find that the "socialist" countries are much more successful at liberating women for all kind of labor than they are from archaic sexual restraints. Hardly full freedom! Would it be cynical to suggest that in countries where capital reserves are very meager that the greatest possible use must be made of the available labor and that this is why women are rather more liberated in this sphere than in the other.

Probably no human liberation will be accompanied by more self-appraisal, more agonizing, more ego conflict, more emotional hurt and pain than this liberation, for it cuts across some of the most sensitive areas of human existence; ego, vanity, virility feelings, emotional security, the desire for stability are all involved, yet it must be. That intelligence and education are no guarantees against subjectivity in this field is illustrated by recent reviews of Simone de Beauvoir’s latest book, Force of Circumstances. Without exception the reviews I have read—including Nelson Algren’s sour grapes review—were hardly reviews of the book at all but were attacks by sneer and snigger upon de Beauvoir, not because she is promiscuous, for many broads both well-known and obscure are promiscuous and this can be passed off as an amiable or even an admirable weakness in an otherwise good person, but because she has made such a powerful theoretical defense of her position that the critics are left gape-jawed, and because this defense is an attack upon their value system which because they cannot reply to with good reason they are driven to snide and yahooish attacks upon her. But there are far more women who acquiesce in and even defend their own oppression. They are trained in these attitudes from earliest childhood and accept them, even as primitives do fire, flood, and famine, as part of the natural order of the world. Just as a girl learns at an early age to control her legs so that she will not expose her crotch, so she learns a little later that she has one great marketable asset which she should sit upon, guard carefully, and not release except in return for a sound long-term contract.

With the development of modern birth-control methods this disgusting commercialism has lost even the slightest rational excuse. Far more women oppose their repression by their living acts than do in theory, and I have known highly promiscuous chicks who were theoretically monogamous; but happily not only is this changing as more young men and women engage in a common and accepted promiscuity, but the tide of sexual freedom is reaching into the high schools and junior high schools at such a rate that possibly Bertrand Russell’s desire that students should gratify their sexual desire to the point that they can concentrate on such comparatively dull subjects as mathematics and history, will be resolved.

—S. I.

[Transcribed from "Seattle 1965; The first eight Bulletins of THE SEATTLE GROUP" where it is listed as "4. Text of a Radio Talk—Stan Iverson". This is a reprint in compilation of the original Seattle Group Bulletin #4. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, October 1, 2011.]

5. Notes on the Man Question—Louise Crowley

In Bulletin #1 of this series, S. I., revolutionary though he is, still regards the freedom of women as of secondary importance—and presumably would relegate it to its usual "secondary" (which in this sense always meant "tabled indefinitely") place on the agenda. He didn’t, though; in Bulletin #4 he takes up an aspect of women’s liberation—but incensed by those "chicks" and "broads" (as Weldon Boylan said at the coroner’s inquest: "He should have known I was going to hit him when he called me a nigger") I must take issue with #4 too. His approach to the question leaves me wondering whether his real beef with the "moral" restrictions on women’s sexual activity isn’t that they limit his own freedom—and now I’ve talked myself into a box, because that’s a valid beef too; of course.

They do. They limit his freedom, and mine, and yours, and everybody’s; and that’s bad. But I can’t share his optimistic expectation that more sex will set us free. (Though the converse—more freedom, etc.—would be true.) The fact is, it’s precisely women’s sex roles that are used to justify their subordination—both by the "blunt supremacist" and by his "sophisticated brother" (and sister). Let’s face it: the only valid differences between men and women, by which all that mythology of passivity, activity, etc. is rationalized, are physiological variants as irrelevant to the worth of a human being as are the physiological variants on which racial mythology hangs its pointed hat. General realization of their irrelevance would solve the problem—at least, it would make women as free as men are, which isn’t very free; but that’s a different question. (The Negro will find, too, that equality is not yet freedom.)

Perpetuation of any myth hinges on the obscuration of reality. Certainly religion-based "morals" have obscured reality very well; but they’re not the only tool for the job, and as a matter of fact are already obsolescent and being superseded by new opiates. Even sexual freedom—desirable as it may be in a context of general freedom—could serve the purpose, since it’s precisely in the acts of sex that those otherwise irrelevant differences assume importance.

No: the oppression of women is not "based" on the vagina (nor that of the Negro on his skin color) but just rationalized by it. Its base (but even so, not its real roots; they lie deeper) is to be found in the historic—and prehistoric—dichotomy of society’s work into men’s and women’s fields, and the gulf in experiences and understanding that developed as a consequence of it. The motive for its perpetuation is inextricably connected with the maintenance of social power as such: when one man and one woman face each other in disagreement as free equals, who will break the tie?—an alternative to power must needs be found, and lest we find it, the standoff had for God’s sake—and Country’s, Home’s, and Mother’s—better not be allowed to occur!

There’s another point: while the Poor White’s pitiful (to another White) toehold on a measure of self-respect depends on there being someone even lower than he, no demonstration of the Negro’s equal humanity is going to impress him (except perhaps unfavorably). He needs that "nigger"; and he’s got to be weaned from the need: there really isn’t any reason except his own emotional immaturity that he should have to measure his worth against another’s. But he’ll probably have to be weaned at gunpoint, figuratively if not literally, and however traumatic the weaning, he’s not likely to get much sympathy from the Negro. Fortunately for those similarly benighted men (and that’s nearly all men) whose egos reside in the penises they were haphazardly born with, most women have been trained from babyhood to an indiscriminate, promiscuous sympathy which will probably make their reappraisal less agonizing than it might be, at that; but in any case, I can’t summon up any tears for them—they should have had better sense. Being human is reason enough for self-respect, at least until we learn it isn’t necessary to our egos to lord it over our other fellow-creatures. Why all the fuss about learning what any rational, responsible human being should know: that there’s no cause for either pride or shame but in our own conscious acts!

- L. C.

[Transcribed October 2, 2011 by Dotty DeCoster]


Last November, an article my husband and I wrote was printed in Monthly Review. Regularly published writers may smile at our naivete, but nothing like that had ever happened to us before, and we hadn’t the slightest idea what to expect. As it turned out, we got almost everything, from anathemas to praise; but of all of it, what confused me most were the honest workmen who rose indignantly to defend their addiction to work. Mostly, they came to us in a spirit of good will, sincerely puzzled that we could defend anything as indefensible as sloth, and condemn anything as laudatory as industriousness. Their sincerity merits a thoughtful answer.

Yet confronted in person, I always found it hard to give one. That work—-i.e., the labor one is constrained to perform in order to "earn" the right to food, shelter, and clothing—should be a good-in-itself is a concept impossible for me to grasp; I’ve sold a great deal of my life in eight-hour slices, and always got the worst of the bargain. If I had been more highly paid, or worked under less unpleasant conditions, I’d still have been cheated, because life, even by the hour, simply cannot be compensated with money. All that can be said is that lack of money can terminate life sooner in our society, so that in order to prolong our years, we sell our days—no: no matter how I phrase it, it just doesn’t make sense. Whether a life is sold in toto on an auction block or piecemeal in personnel office, it’s still life that’s being sold. Maybe if I accepted the salability of life, I could comprehend the virtue of work; but I don’t, and can’t.

But if people didn’t have to work, our diligent critics tell us, they wouldn’t do it. That may well be true, we agree; and they smile in satisfaction, confident they have won their point. Then it’s I who’s puzzled: what point? That idle people would waste their lives? But how can lives be more wasted than in a steel mill or a laundry? What could they do that would be worse? Watch television all day? That may be bad, with the programs we get, but it’s not as bad as feeding punch presses. Get drunk? But they do that anyway when they can, and with desperation instead of joy.

Maybe the point is that society needs their labor. That has been true in the past, but at the moment, with over 40,000 jobs being lost to automation each week, it’s a rather anachronistic proposition. Besides, our critics seldom argue society’s need; their fear is that society will demonstrate the dispensability of their labor, any minute. If that fear has decreased somewhat in recent months, it’s only because the government is now thoughtfully providing make-work jobs in the murder industry. That can’t be it.

You see, I have been thinking. And defining work as labor performed under the duress of economic need or social custom, I cannot find any valid defense of it except as a dubiously necessary evil. For pay, the human workman degrades himself into an adjunct to an inanimate machine or into a brute beast of burden; and that act is a prostitution of his humanity.

There is, however, a thoroughly plausible explanation for this proletarian devotion to the cult of Work: it’s a pathological condition, an industrial disease, one of the more malignant manifestations of that endemic Timeclock syndrome with which the modern working class has been inoculated. Consider its history, from the beginning:

For Jehovah God, the labor involved in creation consisted simply of saying, "Let it be so"—and it was so. (Of course, there was really more to it than that; He must have had to think things out; but that part would have been fun, and so not to be classed as work, anyhow.) He said, "Let it be so", several times over a period of six days, and by then He’d had enough work to last Him the rest of eternity. Thereafter, He sat back to enjoy watching the drama He’d set in motion for His gratification, intervening only when He felt like it, and then only for kicks. When Adam and Eve got out of line, He visited upon them the two most devastating curses He could think of: death, and work. And in these less sophisticated days, only vigilant cherubim with flaming swords could drive a man to labor or subjugate a woman to his will.

The exiles went forth then, while Jehovah’s host guarded from their effortless seizure the fruits of this abundant earth; and they worked because they had to, but found no joy in it, nor did God seek to delude them as to the nature of their punishment. They had two sons, and of them, one sought the relative freedom of a herdsman’s life, and the other tilled his fields in the sweat of his brow; and they both brought their first fruits to Jehovah. (He had commanded it, and they well knew how His commands were enforced.) Jehovah made no bones about His preference: only the herdsman’s offering pleased Him. When the embittered farmer murdered his brother in resentment, he was but running true to form—as a despicable slave to work. It is significant that when he in turn was exiled, he went and built the world’s first city.

In the cities, work proliferated, and so of course did degradation: slavery became a mass phenomenon, for who would voluntarily mutilate the human spirit that urged him to art and the pursuit of knowledge, to love and letters and sport and joyful conviviality? No free human, obviously; so work was for oxen and slaves. Thus it remained, without hypocrisy, through the classical period; and while slaves were expended to dress stone and bake bricks and grind barley, free men restfully gave their lives to living—and voluntarily created, as the by-product of their emancipation from work, all we most prize of ancient civilization.

Even for free men, however, large-scale slavery has a fatal weakness: the manpower required to wrest involuntary labor from slaves who still retain human instincts, and to keep them in subjection, makes ever-growing demands upon the body of freemen. It becomes essential to their continued freedom that the slave be taught to maintain his own chains and wield his own lash. So they foisted upon him the cult of Work.

It began ingenuously enough, with little hint of the monstrous perversion it would later become. Even the new Christian preachers didn’t have the unmitigated gall to proclaim that work was good; they just convinced the slave it was the lot due him on this earth for his sins (and all have sinned, if only prenatally) and that ungrudging labor in this brief life was prerequisite to enjoying an eternity of blessed idleness in heaven. There, freedom and equality would reign, for those who earned the privilege of entry; here, bondage to work and station were decreed—but only briefly, after all, and behold how much greater are the worker’s opportunities to earn forgiveness through labor and privation. Envy not the rich, therefore—for their short happiness on earth, they have sacrificed the endless joy you may earn by your labors. So work! Work, you suckers, without even a whip to drive you to your masters’ fields! Stay in your place, you deluded fools, without even a chain to bind you!

And they did, most of them, all through the Dark Ages. That’s what kept those ages dark.

The light of reason dawned first upon those whose unburdened backs granted them stature to see it. Did these, free from work, waste their lives in idleness—those two precursors of a new era, the nobleman’s son Abelard and the kulak’s daughter Joan? Wealthy Roger Bacon? Leonardo the bureaucrat’s son? Albertus Magnus, Gutenberg, Galileo, Tycho Brahe, all of noble parentage? Copernicus, son of a rich merchant? Indefatigable Trevisan, unstintingly pouring into his flasks and alembic a patrimony that could have assured him a life of luxurious ease? Cutpurse Villen, who so hated work he lived by knavery? Where serfs caught the vision, manors rose in flames, for revolt was the serf’s only means of asserting his unextinguished humanity. Old values were tumbling, and new ones not yet consolidated; in the momentary loosening of religious bonds, the serfs rediscovered in themselves bright Lucifer, that rebel spirit of intellectual freedom and fleshly joy, implacably hostile to work, who had once, under an evil spell, been oxen but were again men. Before new industry arose to reclaim the once-docile serfs for wage-slavery, they had cast off their unnatural attachment to work. They sported free in the forests and feasted abundantly on the fields, working no more than they had to, and holidaying every chance they got. Fine, healthy people they were, too: Rubens and Jan Steen painted their pictures. The cult of Work, in its early naive form, had been pretty well debunked. Heaven couldn’t hold a candle to Cockaigne, anyway.

Life was harder in the rabbit-warren cities, but the aversion to toil was as great, and poor folk lived by their wits—the calamity worse than Tyburn to be drugged or slugged and shanghaied to work. The labor demands of rising mercantilism were filled from the taverns and back alleys and debtors’ prisons, with miserable wretches dragged off against their will. But stern Protestantism had come into its own, and was diligently persecuting the partisans of Lucifer while it sought a new rationale by which the discredited cut of Work might be revived and revamped to serve the new ruling class. It hit on the formula no one til Hitler was mad enough to own up to: when a little lie loses its credence, tell a big lie. And this new lie was a real whopper, beside which the promise of pie in the sky appears as an innocent fib: work was not only good for the soul, but needful to the body and beneficial to the mind. That this grotesquerie was actually sold to miners coughing their lungs out with silicosis, to ironworkers prostrated by heat exhaustion, to parents who watched their children sicken and die in the textile mills gives us some insight into the intellectual benefits to be derived from work. It did induce a state of mind beneficial to the bosses.

The nineteenth-century socialists did not fall victim to this madness, by then as rampant among the working class as consumption and rheumatism. They recognized clearly enough that love of work was a monstrous perversion of the worker’s human instincts, and they took the proletariat of their day roundly to task for allowing itself so to be corrupted. Note this, from Paul Lafargue’s The Right to be Lazy (1880)

And meanwhile the proletariat, the great class embracing all the producers of civilized nations, the class which in freeing itself will free humanity from servile toil and make of the human animal a free being,—the proletariat, betraying its instincts, despising its historic mission, had let itself be perverted by the dogma of work. Rude and terrible has been its punishment. All its individual and social woes are born of its passion for work.

"Shame on the proletariat!" he added; and went on to propose a three-hour workday as the maximum compatible with human health and welfare, and entirely feasible given France’s level of productivity in 1880; but to be reduced as new machines were invented:

Our machines, with breath of fire, with limbs of unwearying steel, with fruitfulness, wonderful inexhaustible, accomplish by themselves with docility their sacred labor. And nevertheless the genius of the great philosophers of capitalism remains dominated by the prejudice of the wage system, worst of slaveries. They do not yet understand that the machine is the savior of humanity, the god who shall redeem man from the sordid arts and from working for hire, the god who shall give him leisure and liberty.

Engels noted the corruption of the British proletariat, but the housepainter-writer Robert Tressell describes it best:

In Lay, as the jobs increased and the days grew longer, they were allowed to put in overtime; and as the summer months came round, once more the crowd of ragged-trousered philanthropists began to toil and sweat at their noble and unselfish task of making money for Mr. Rushton. Papering, painting, whitewashing, distempering, digging up drains, repairing roofs, their zeal and enthusiasm were unbounded. Their operations extended all over the town. At all hours of the day they were to be seen going to or returning from jobs, carrying planks and ladders, paint and whitewash, chimney pots and drainpipes, a crowd of tattered Imperialists, in broken boots, paint-splashed caps, their clothing saturated with sweat and plastered with mortar. The daily spectacle of the workmen, tramping wearily home along the pavement of the Grand Parade, caused some annoyance to the better classes, and a letter appeared in The Obscurer suggesting that it would be better if they walked on the road. When they heard of this letter most of the men adopted the suggestion and left the pavement for their betters.

In America, the Wobblies had a word for such workers, and they spat it out with utmost scorn: Scissorbill!

Yet even socialism’s resistance broke down, then after the Soviet Revolution of 1917 it was exposed to a new and more virulent form of ourgomania, the pathological addiction to work. Contrary to expectation, socialism had come first to a backward, agriculture-based nation, and the urgent need of the new socialist state was development of an industry that could hold its own in competition with the capitalist countries. Of necessity, work became the order of the day. If it seems a bit ridiculous that the poor devils who had fought a revolution to lighten their labors found themselves toiling harder than ever to sustain their revolution—well, ourgomania is a madness, by definition. At any rate, it happened; and as capitalism’s necessity had been elevated into a Good, so too did socialism’s. In the Soviet Union, diligent scissorbills got Stakhanovite medals. Glorifying the working class, Soviet ideologists found themselves glorifying Work itself—they had to, for their heroic working class must continue to work, else descend to hooliganism and bourgeois decadence, and fall prey to the capitalist enemies that ringed it round. So the cult of Work was sold to socialist workers too, and soon they surpassed all others in their zeal. Working like piss-ants, they consolidated their socialist society, caught up with capitalism both industrially and militarily—and have become so addicted to work they now strive even harder, aiming for a twenty-percent advantage. When they get it, they’ll undoubtedly raise the ante, for the malignancy atrophies the faculty of imagination, and afflicted workers become unable to conceive a life free from toil.

Indeed, they suffer from the most fearful depression at the very suggestion of it; and any real threat to deprive them of their work, or even to reduce the hours of its duration, is quite likely to bring hysteria and may precipitate suicide. That it is fear of idleness and not that of pay loss which so obsesses the ourgomaniac is demonstrated by his desperate resistance to all proposals for his emancipation, even those which carry with them provisions for the continuance of his income. He clings tenaciously to outmoded methods of production, that he may work the harder. Fearful that in a moment of unwonted clarity he may be tempted to revert to his natural inclinations, he often sets up elaborate precautions, enmeshing himself in debts for no other reason than to reinforce his need to work. In one serious form of the malady, the ourgomaniac whose job does not reduce him to the utter nothingness he apparently craves may remove himself to a distant suburb, in order to lengthen his unsatisfactorily short workday by several hours of strenuous freeway driving, and add yardwork to his extra-vocational chores. The advanced case needs (most often a childless worker with relatively well-remunerated skills, who least needs the additional pay) seeks another job, and moonlights. When this occurs, the crisis may follow quickly, and the worker who escapes death recovers with a high degree of immunity.

(I speak from experience. After a period of youthful moonlighting in World War II, I contracted tuberculosis, which lurked unrecognized in my lungs to lay me low at pregnancy a few years later and I’ve hated work literally with a vengeance, ever since.)

The more sophisticated worker is apt to exhibit somewhat different symptoms. He claims that he himself would welcome his freedom from work, and is quite certain he could use it wisely and well, yet suffers from the delusion that he is alone, or nearly so, in his capacity for living. Other[s], he feels, would surely find a workless life unendurable, and be only corrupted thereby—blindness to their present corruption, and his, being a universal concomitant of the disease.

-L. C

P.S.: That book, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, is a gem. Tressell wrote dialogue like a tape-recorder, and the lunchtime sessions in which the socialist Owen beat his head against the stone wall of his workmates’ scissorbillism are a delight to any Old Leftist, and should be an eye-opener to New ones. Monthly Review Press rescued the manuscript, written about 1905, and published it in its first complete and accurate edition in 1955. The book costs about six bucks, steep for a novel, but worth every cent of it, and more. (Monthly Review Press, 333 Sixth Avenue, New York.)

The Seattle Group has issued two leaflets to date, and plans more. Since they are intended for local mass distribution, they aren’t normally sent to the readers of the Bulletins. With each collection of Bulletins, we’ll list recent leaflets and/or other material; if you’re interested, write us a note and we’ll send copies as long as we have them. The first two are:

"You don’t have to be drafted!" (issued for Vietnam Day demonstration)

"Legalize Marijuana (on arrests in the University District for "possession:")

[Transcribed October 3-4, 2011 by Dotty DeCoster, from the compilation SEATTLE 1965; The first eight Bulletins of THE SEATTLE GROUP.]

7. An Open Letter to Mayor J. D. Braman, of Seattle—George Crowley

Re: Topless Go-Go Girls

Dear Sir:

I am aware that we personally disagree on the merits of the shirtless female. Nevertheless, as a citizen I ask you to veto the newly-passed cabaret ordinance for basic constitutional reasons.

Our government, in all its subdivisions, is an organ of limited, delegated powers. Undelegated power resides in our constitutional source of sovereignty, the individual citizen.

The charter and ordinances of the City of Seattle constitute such a limited block of power. The most fundamental essence of personal freedom requires that within the bounds thus established the citizen may move with complete freedom. You have been advised by your principal constitutional advisor, Mr. Alfred Newbold, as well as by your chief enforcement officer, Mr. Frank Ramon, that the "topless" dancer and her associates were protected by this right.

As a citizen you could "...want it understood that I thoroughly disapprove of this kind of activity coming to Seattle", but as a constitutional executive you had assumed duties that took precedence over personal opinions. You are required to protect any lawful activity regardless of unpopularity of such lawful conduct or your own personal feeling regarding the matter. Moreover, you have a duty to protect by word and example the functioning of orderly due process.

Your public statement (Seattle Times, November 13, 1965) that, "We can’t wait for a long period of time while legal questions are thrashed out", was a startling expression of contempt for legal due process, conducive to inciting both the vigilante mob and irresponsible legislative stampedes. It was also a clear breach of your oath of office.

Properly, the constitutional remedy lies in defining what is "bad" or "wrong" with this form of exhibition. If such fault can be found, then orderly legislation may be enacted against the specific wrong. You chose to propose an outrageous legislative vendetta that would, unamended, have put all waitresses and female patrons of restaurants and bars into Mother Hubbards.

As this matter now rests we have an ordinance punitive in effect, clearly directed against two places of business for a heretofore legal action. Clearly, this is a tyrannical action, for by no stretch of imagination could the topless dancer constitute a clear and present danger to public safety. The dance placed neither person nor property in any form of physical jeopardy. There existed no opportunity for influencing or corrupting dependent persons because they had been previously barred from the premises. In fact, the only witnesses were legal adults previously informed of what was to take place, who elected to spend their time and money to witness the exhibit. Clearly the only issues here involved were esthetic and "moral", clearly reachable only by the most extended of extended interpretation of legislative powers.

For those reasons I earnestly urge a flat veto of this enactment as the remaining remedy from this emotion-propelled mis-legislation.

Your action to date on this matter falls distinctly outside a constitutional explanation, yet your previous record indicates a desire to function as a constitutional civil servant; hence I hopefully assume you have in this matter acted under the "Nuremberg Rule", i.e., that when duty completely conflicts with an individual’s basic concepts of good and evil, the person is responsible for any wrong that may spring from allowing such a violation of his principles. I agree with this principle and believe it should be a part of every civilized constitution. Let us consider the topless issue from this point of view.

Our constitution was predicated upon a set of libertarian concepts drawn mainly from the eighteenth century humanists and set forth in the Declaration of Independence and The Rights of Man. Essentially this point of view held:

1. That man is essentially good.

2. That men are rational creatures, each quite capable of guiding his own destiny by reasoned confrontation of his environment.

3. That all men are born essentially equal and should share equally certain inalienable rights of person.

4. That man’s basic purpose is the pursuit of happiness and that society’s best interest is served thereby.

5. That the best form of state is that which governs least.

6. That the will of the majority shall prevail in all circumstances except that it is subordinate to the inalienable rights of the individual.

At the same time the new society inherited as a "common law" the Judeo-Christian ethic which holds:

1. That man is essentially sinful.

2. That man is a promiscuous and evil creature who could be combined into communities only on the basis of compulsion, constraint, and mortal terror of divine wrath.

3. That man exists in various states of earned and congenital inequity consistent with the caprice of a divine autocrat; that any equity that does exist constitutes an indulgence granted for complete self-degradation on the part of the "favored" individual.

4. That man’s purpose in life is to bolster the self image of the inferiority-complex-ridden deity, by drenching himself in his own excretions and working himself to death amid the stench, that the divine autocrat may feel good and gratified.

5. That because of man’s evil nature and base purpose, he functions best bereft of his reason. His happiness lies in pliant and servile conformity to the capricious dictates of the divinity and his self appointed viceroys. That is, man should incorporate himself as a molecule into the body politic.

6. That there is no majority will; just an emotional conglomerate to be bent and swayed to the divine will by ritual and pageantry. That the very life of the individual is an expendable resource of the body politic.

Had it been thus clearly drawn, I am sure the contradiction would long since have been resolved—in favor, I believe, of libertarianism-humanism. Such, however, was never the case, for at the founding convention itself there was a contingent of demagogues who eclectically intermingled components of these two tendencies to promote their own particular interest groups. Unfortunately, this set a pattern that became the precedent for most subsequent American politicking.

Today we as a society stand at an epochal crossroads on the long climb of civilization. Such demagogic methodology becomes untenable. The affluent technology renders the toil-wracked body of the drudge as redundant as the Industrial Revolution made obsolete the lash-scarred back of the chattel slave. The last rationalization, the last pseudo-justification for not promptly accomplishing the libertarian-humanist goals has vanished.

The capacity of total kill currently residing in the political power complex, the potential for human manipulation inherent in the emerging biological revolution, render intolerable a single step further toward the Ant-hill, theocratic or elsewise!

The case of the shirtless dancing girl by the very simplicity of the issue becomes a clearcut milepost in this conflict.

Let me demonstrate. Clothes, as a matter of comfort, become redundant in a heated building. They may be worn for ornamentation, which is a form of personal expression completely outside the field of political perusal. The only remaining justification is concealment. But, if man is essentially good, then the healthy, well-muscled body necessary for health and long life is good also. Hence concealment becomes a matter of personal taste or camouflage of blemishes, both personal matters outside the scope of political perusal.

That viewing a healthy, well-formed fellow-human is a pleasant experience is testified to both by reason and by the heavy gate at the exhibition in question. If pursuit of happiness is man’s most valid goal, then certainly restrictive legislation here is, to say the least, improper. Indeed such viewing and being viewed seems reasonable even on the public street. None have to look!

If all mankind is essentially equal, by what right do we decree that one-half of the population must put their mammary glands in purdah unless they themselves elect to?

To those who raise the question of over-emotional stimulation or supposed pathological attraction, I must suggest that a more rational more that removed the speculative qualities from the phenomenon would be a swifter and healthier road to the end of such a problem, if it exists.

If humans be reasoning, self-controlling creatures whose right to seek their individual destinies takes precedence over mob prejudice and superstition-charged emotionalism, then by what formula do we deny this woman the right, in a milieu screened from dependents, to make a living by exhibiting herself in part or in toto? If she prefers being an exhibit instead of a drudge, is not this her personal privilege?

Finally, a word on the "exploitation of sex" angle. Sex association as a trade stimulator for a pleasant meal and relaxed evening is certainly more appropriate than in its everyday accepted use in press, radio, and TV to push everything from mechanics’ tools to garbage cans. If it sets a suggestive atmosphere there is a fine line of degree and an unbridgeable gap of quantity between these exhibitors and Gre[a]ter Seattle Incorporated with its Seafair cheesecake. If we draw the line between "producing the goods" and convincing suggestion, I refer you to the bunco statutes.

Therefore from the broader moral point, I reaffirm my plea for veto.


George H. Crowley [signed]



In Bulletin #6 we stated that Monthly Review Press published Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists in 1955. Sorry, we got our editions confused; the 1955 publication was by Camelot Press Ltd. In England. MR rescued it for American readers in 1962. An excerpt—from which I took the quotation—had been included in The Cry of Justice, an anthology edited and published by Upton Sinclair in 1925. LC

[Transcribed from Seattle 1965; The first Bulletins of THE SEATTLE GROUP, this was Seattle Group Bulletin #7. Dotty DeCoster, October 5, 2011.]

8. Thieme and Variations—George Crowley

Ben Thieme puts squarely the socio-economic crisis of the day. If we join with him in denying the abundant society we plead guilty to mismanaging the potential of our advanced technology. To promote the general welfare, governments are forged among people; if we fail this mandate the revolutionary remedy must surely and swiftly follow.

Realistic acceptance of society’s abundant potential dictates that none shall want for the basic necessaries of life. Anything less is a travesty of justice and equity. Indeed, to deny this simple truth makes mockery of any rational accounting of man’s worldly goods. The people of the state of Washington recognized this as early as 1938 in the enacted preamble of Initiative 141. In 1963 President Johnson, speaking upon the data available to his high office, registered the fact that our nation’s productivity requires the erasure of poverty up to the standard of health and decency, as a current matter of simple justice. In this context, the charge of "fraud" is redundant and repulsive. The criterion of Washington State welfare is basic need, when the nation’s proclaimed social right is a standard of health and decency. The alleged "fraud" where practiced becomes an expected and humanly mandatory effort on the part of weak and remediless victims to snatch the crumbs from a social banquet at which they are entitled to a seat. The revulsion to this atrocious spectacle is what prompts the alleged misbehavior of the caseworkers. Thieme would indict these civil servants for being humane, civilized human beings.

When, in the state of Washington, we compound denial of the due considered just by national standards with the preposterous "ratable reduction" in the base ration of survival, the elemental animal "will to live" dictates the victim’s actions. The tort lies not with the "chiselers" but upon the shoulders of our administrators. Thieme notes that there are categories of recipients too weak or too meek to resist this outrage against life. In their behalf we must indict this state for the crime of slow genocide and cite Thieme as a complaining witness.

We can dismiss the obvious exaggeration of established statistics as adequately challenged elsewhere. We may accept the "half-truth" nature of Thieme’s "documentation" for his allegations as a barometer to his intellectual capacity. Indeed, we can even dismiss Thieme himself as an Old Hand intoning his swan song to the dying order of Poor Farm, Orphanage, and Potters’ Field.

The Seattle Times is another matter. The Times is a social institution to which the plea of senility is denied. Therefore let us direct further attention to those portions of the report to which the Times (December 1, 1965) has lent an editorial second.

The Aid to Dependent Children program was not and is not now a "relief" measure. The base concept upon which this program is predicated states the rising generation to be any society’s most valuable resource, worthy of such financial and social support as is requisite for maximum conservation. Losing sight of this fact has led, over the years, to many legislatures being stampeded into burdening this effort with a multitude of misguided and crippling enactments.

The human conservation task set forth by this program could not, cannot now or ever in the future be accomplished at an animal subsistence level of economics. The cited failures flow directly from the vacilations and inadequacies of our social commitment.

The ADC approach was never purported to be the most economical way to produce a physically healthy and socially adjusted generation. The Hitler Jungend pointed the optimum route to economic efficiency. The hideous expenditure of that generation carries its own judgment. Our nation, under the New Deal, was carried to a crest of cosmopolitan development from which the evolutionary validity of the independent petite family was grasped. This validity’s only relation to the ritualized mores or assigned "responsibilities" that upset alike Ben Thieme and the Times’ editor is a coincidental proximity. The actual validity had its own unrelated basis in introducing the factor of diversity into youth apprenticeship-in-living essential to achieving the tolerant society. No great family or other institutional environment could supply this critical ingredient to the youth development of society. Hence, the added cost in effort and money becomes not a frill or luxury but a valid investment in promoting the humanist individuality that is the very cornerstone of our society’s contribution to social evolution.

Further, as is so often the case, the new concepts of the ADC program introduced their own unique factors of human progress into our society. By placing a floor, however inadequate, under the economic dependence of the female member of the pairing couple, ADC allowed the interrelation of mated pairs in all classes partially to escape the complete economic entrapment that clings like a festering placenta to poison most marriages not within the emancipated class. Perhaps the greatest social return on the total ADC investment is not even what is accomplished by the rolls, but in the proved quality of the marriage relationship for that multitude of couples for whom ADC remains an unclaimed insurance.

There gather on the rolls the women who have offspring but for whom, for one reason or another, permanent mating has not succeeded. If "Rodger the lodger" strikes a persistent discordant note in the expected function of the program, is it not time we recognize that, at least in part, he is a manifestation of a real inequity in current ADC administration? A vain effort to enforce archaic concepts of sex differential has arbitrarily excluded valid male candidates from the ADC program. The children these men would cherish are grossly discriminated against. The only basis on which the program will assist them is to provide institutional care or, as is too often the case, near-institutional foster home shelter. The program is thereby deprived of the bi-sexual orientation which must be an essential ingredient of any role ADC might play in assisting healthy sex adjustment. The inverse of this same misreasoning is that the female recipient is a helpless incompetent needing legal guardianship and chaperonage—abandoned for other women in the early years of this century.

Ideally, by the more of this barbaric perversity, once a woman is trapped by the vicissitude of chance or misjudgment, she must don sackcloth and retire to a future of dehumanizing celibate, solitary drudgery in her inadequate kitchen until she is drained of all physical and intellectual attractiveness, fit only to wither to an early grave on her pauper’s dole (for the good of her soul). Should any man be so indiscreet as to discover her as a woman, then the Welfare Department must assume the role of the outraged backcountry parent, shotgun and all, and provoke another mismatch. More often in the urban situation it assumes the role of diligent pimp bargaining outrageously over the price of her favors. Indeed, only the non-involvement of state boundaries would protect the caseworker who followed Mr. Thieme’s advice from coming under scrutiny of the Mann Act.

Fortunately, for the good of society, most women firmly resist this "guidance". The woman, assisted by most rational social workers, seeks the best solution she can achieve within the barriers erected by Mr. Thieme, the Times’ editor, and their sanctimonious following.

The ingenuity with which these women exploit even a precarious toehold on security as a base from which to seek their own fulfillment is a reassuring testimonial to human good sense. Some find absorbing interests that impel them to live without a mate, others find satisfaction in completely promiscuous contacts with the opposite sex, while many are comfortable in a variety of brittle relations. Reasonably enough the pattern bears a close correlation to the pattern common among people of independent means or people who elect not to rear children. These patterns taken collectively with the peculiarly suburban patterns of group marriage and selective adultery blend into a total mosaic consistent with the urbane tolerance that is the hallmark of all human relations in the emerging cosmopolitan culture.

Occasionally an unlicensed birth occurs. Leaving aside as outside the scope of this paper the preposterous presumption in attempting to license either birth or death, the simple fact remains that any form of prenatal judgment passed upon fellow humans is the greatest travesty of justice ever spawned by warped minds. To differentiate between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" children represents an ethical bankruptcy outside of civilized dialogue.

Actually, one must wonder if most of the pious tirade is not a circumlocution to avoid coming to grips with what may be really upsetting Thieme and the Times’ editor. Thieme mentioned in passing but had little to say about what might rightly be called "fraud"—-that is, willful misrepresentation—against the ADC program. To add clarity to the whole question let’s now look to the causes of the manufactured ADC claim.

World War II with its incalculable destruction of resources and mass extermination of "surplus" people momentarily produced our last period of full employment. Since the end of that holocaust the number of productive industrial jobs has steadily shrunk both absolutely and relative to the population. The productivity of the remaining labor force has skyrocketed at a rate adequate to increase production in spite of the shrinkage.

A casual scrutiny of recent census abstracts reveals the vast proliferation of "services" which have been artificially escalated to "jobs", and the enormous growth in non-productive categories of neo-police functions—the investigators Thieme so dearly loves, for example.

We have revamped the school system to offer in twelve years what was in many cases previously handled better in eight-year courses. Today we are in transition toward teaching substantially this same body of knowledge in fourteen years, thus removing the young from the labor market and a wholesome place in society for six years beyond the average age of sexual maturity. We are working rapidly toward all youth spending this time in state-supervised training, whether they are learning anything or not. We are requiring college degrees for entry into a majority of jobs which once hired any literate person.

These tactics will accelerate, but in spite of all efforts a large contingent of each recent age-class reaches mating age with no hope for a rational economic relation to society. Hence, the young people find no legal method to raise a new family at the natural age. There is no even semi-dependable relief for the healthy young couple; therefore they mate unlicensed and the young female must immediately become pregnant to claim the life-sustaining ADC. What should be one of the happiest and proudest periods of the couple’s lives becomes a perilous bootleg activity carried out in stealth.

Society by gross failure in social responsibility has made fraud the price of a rational life to these young adults. If we would prosecute this form of fraud then justice demands that all the legislators, bureaucrats, and callous opinion-formers who made the fraud mandatory be included as accomplices.

Today the fantastic gap between the vast productivity of our society and the miserable subsistence allotted our citizenry, even those who consider themselves to be participating in the Good Life, is difficult to calculate. Suffice to say, our social organism has been "hooked" on militarism. Without our endless flow of federal grants to refine the art of overkill, our scientific centers would bankrupt overnight. Our vast industrial complex has become totally dependent upon building systems of human destruction that become obsolete before they are completed. More billions are spent to dismantle the current system while the next multibillion-dollar system is being developed. Our political campaigns are keyed to the rise and fall of national fortune in current brush wars, revolution prophylactics, and "defensive" aggressions about the globe. All the while the whole mad crescendo is but the slip of a button away from a thirty-minute Armageddon that would reduce the Earth to a cinder.

The agent that produced this toboggan to self-destruction is Political Power. Self-preservation demands we kick this monkey off our backs.

The first step to a rational disengagement is to provide a functional alternate. Days after President Johnson made his "War on Poverty" proposal the National Economic Planning Council responded by pointing out that his $1500 per year per family could be provided without new appropriation by simply utilizing the Treasury’s income-tax machinery to pay the so-called "reverse income tax". The funds would come without further cost from the elimination of administrative bureaucracy accomplishable with existing computer capacity.

The figure ($1500) proposed by Johnson is obviously inadequate, but a more rational starting figure already exists in the minimum wage, which is now set at $1.25 per hour. If this be the minimal income for one person to maintain health and decency, then none should work for less. The surest way to enforce the minimum is to make it the basic reverse-income-tax payment. Add to this, as supplements on the basic rate, the head-of-household allowance and dependents’ deductions now in use by the Treasury Department. With this floor under consumption, the economic stability for the next step would then be provided.

The greatly reduced necessary national workload should be broadly distributed. Again, a sound proposal for using existing mechanism has already been offered. If we abandon the current chronological age of retirement in favor of an equivalent number of covered hours of employment; if we then reduce the workweek to thirty hours and adjust the above figure to this shorter week; then most people now over forty-five years old would be eligible for immediate retirement while they still have enough vitality to utilize their freedom. Future adjustment in the size of the needed labor force could be made by manipulating the gross time load.

Several long strides toward human freedom would be immediate. The individual could plan how he wanted to perform his life’s work. Some would elect to work long hours for an early retirement, while others would elect the shortest workday; there would be others who would elect to vary their work patterns from time to time to dovetail with other life interests. Such a varied pattern of individually possible relations to the labor force would at once alleviate the galling burden that participation in the labor force now is for most people. Socially, productivity of all labor would rise because it would be rendered with greater interest and enthusiasm.

The rewarding features of private lives would be greatly increased when those lives were planned and lived at a parity with public effort. Just as fuller and richer personal lives would make for more effective social effort, so more individually purposeful social participation would broaden rather than cripple the development of the individual.

Recognition of the equal value and validity of both the social and private lives of each person would make commonplace for most people the pattern now followed by some women, of leaving and re-entering the labor force several times during life. As the biological revolution pushes the life-span toward infinity more and more people will have several careers.

The very first fruit of this new freedom might well be that a few—-particularly of the mature people already hopelessly distorted by drudge life—would just lie in the sun and vegetate, or drink themselves to death. If this is their desire, this is their right. The cost must be borne by the community like other industrial disability.

For the overwhelming majority, happiness is doing what they want to do, at a rate of effort and consistency compatible with their personalities. Some may be dilettantes; society can afford to sustain them; more often than not their uniqueness will carry its own social compensation.

Diligent and productive pursuit of their own specific interests would be the unfettered way of life for the vast majority of mankind. That the methods and directions of their efforts might not coincide with what current self-styled planners feel optimum is beside the point. The socially essential workload is already reduced to where it would be adequately performed in most areas of endeavor by organizing the random efforts of people pursuing their own interests. Where tasks exist so dull or distasteful that they remain undone, the unfinished tasks would provide direction and incentive for the still-growing science of automation.

Probably the first discovery of such liberation would be how really ineffectual and to a large degree unnecessary much that today is called "planning" really is; all too often "planning" is merely escape from doing. Closely allied is the question of incentive. Only when we "plan" our society into a position where we require the individual to act in a manner that is self-destructive does incentive become a compelling question. Modern technology renders totally unnecessary the degrading of any person to a beast of burden. The imminent possibility of artificially-created food sources as well as more and more synthesized environment makes ridiculous the Malthusian argument for either destructive compulsion or incentive to self-destruction. Man’s future lies in populating the universe. How little part "plan" and "incentive" actually play in human progress is demonstrated by the actual lives of people who push forward the frontiers of achievement. They usually act contrary to accepted mores. Their fields of endeavor have usually been declared barren by contemporary experts. These individuals have "wasted" their energy. For disrupting the planned stability by their audacious achievements they have been meted out near-universal persecution as an "incentive".

Incidentally, to those of use who see stable monogamous mating as an important and rewarding forward step in development of interpersonal relations, such an open society is the optimum environment. To those who differ, I feel their experiments to be an essential antidote to the historic hand of compulsion, so well represented by Thieme, upon the whole mating question.

This brings us to the other critical question to be dealt with: the liberating process for the only remaining large number of dependent persons, the young.

The paradox posed here is that at last we have arrived at a category of truly dependent individuals. The infant cannot in any manner provide for himself, and the young child can do little better. Our problem is to bring these new people safely to a state of self-reliance without either warping them into permanent dependence or converting the process of childcare into a training ground of oppressive thinking for the whole community.

The emergence of the petite family was a great leap in the right direction. An adequate ADC program or reasonable equivalent form of financial assistance goes a long way toward providing needed backup support from public resources to replace the lost role of the great family in the field of supplementing parental effort.

When all this has been accomplished, we are still faced with the hard fact that the relation of the child to the adult world, whether the adult position is represented by parent, expert, or the state, still remains a tyrannical relation. It can be truly said that upon the resolution of this problem hinges the future of the human race. This is the modest beginning of the stream of events which produces that handful of power-maddened adults who can conceive of no alternative to their deadly clash of wills short of incinerating the world.

A clue to the road to a solution exists. An impressive proportion of the world’s strongest and most humanitarian-oriented individuals have come from "broken" (that is, one-parent) homes. The reason seems to lie in the fact that the parent (usually a woman) in quest of frustrated gregarious needs crosses the barrier of the generations to find companionship in rapport with her children. Either the result is an utter failure, or else she rises to the ability to lead rather than drive her children to self-reliance. Then the result is immensely stronger, more rational new people, but the experience usually destroys the personality of the adult participant. For this reason the approach remains a dead-end solution. The illuminating point is that by developing conscious direction of her imagination she can perceive in terms of a different generation whose values and interpretations are unlike her own. If she can learn to control and manipulate her own emotional responses into a communication medium that gives mature interpretation and direction toward solving the juvenile problems she perceives, she has developed an alternate to coercion. The self-destructive factor grows from the magnitude of the task. For most people the length and degree of effort is sufficient to turn it into what is commonly known as work—that is, repetitive chores in a narrowed field that distort the mind and personality as calluses and arthritis distort the body.

Fortunately for our generation a much broader and more general field for examining these same tendencies has been opened.

Humanity’s most ancient form of oppression, the men’s and the women’s world, is collapsing before our eyes. Historically these institutions had validity as the probable genesis of the whole concept of coercive power upon which past civilization was built. Over the ages they have played a major role in promoting the social division of labor with its allied effect, specialization. But since the advent of the Industrial Revolution the "two worlds" idea has been economically useless. It has hung on to social organization only as a regressive generator of coercive tendencies and other manifestations of the "basic evil" of mankind. To make the little boy a "man" we must make him vicious. To make the little girl a "woman" we must convert her into an oxygen-breathing vegetable.

As far as current fads among young people, such as dressing alike, wearing similar hairstyles, etc., represent an attempt to breach this sex-built barrier between people, they are to be commended.

A perhaps more critical part of the demolition process is occurring in the industrial structure itself. The industrialist was early attracted to womanpower as a labor source because of its cheapness and efficient pliability. Over the last two centuries a decisive sector of the female population has been brought into some degree of individual, direct relation to social production. Although women have made many gains in their productive status over the years, the patterns of employment remained well within the socially-prescribed subordinate role assigned the female.

The sudden combined impact of automation and cybernetics upon the social structure has been profound. The social and economic values of old labor categories have been hopelessly scrambled. More and more women are finding themselves in "out of order" placements in the social structure. Coincident with this, large masses of men being cast out of the productive process are rapidly bringing to sexual parity the expanding mass of economically detached people. Alarmed professional sociologists, whether calling for preservation of the woman’s feminine identity in the industrial world or building the father-image in the Negro community, are advocating new props for an already crumbling anti-humanitarian order.

The "war on poverty" must and should turn from vain efforts to mummify the old, toward succoring the emerging new non-violent, yes, non-compulsive, rationale between people. Emphasis must shift from constructing things people "ought" to have to assisting the development of things people want to do. The proposed economic floor is critical, as are the suggested libertarian principles.

Regarding this, we must fan freedom in the slums. ADC should not only become a part of the universal floor to community economics, but should be liberalized away from concepts of supervising and reforming people, children and adults alike, in directions they have no desire to go.

Roger the Lodger must be accepted as the Humphrey Potter of the new society, inadvertently ushering in the new order by naive pursuit of his own pleasure. Not only should the free mating of independent peers be encouraged, but need must be recognized for intellectual courtship and honeymoon as well as a period of sexual exploration and adjustment.

If there are children present or if new ones are born, they should not be allowed to become a burden. Every community of socially compatible people should be encouraged to develop a center where any child would be welcome for an hour, a day, or a year. The operation of this center should be a community project of all participating parents. It should offer a stable base to the unattached child, from which he could become acquainted with the whole adult community—a place to develop until he found a mutual attachment with a particular adult. Generally, this should be within the pattern upon which nearly all of the so-called service functions are managed within a community: completely outside of economic organization.

The school must reorganize from a training center for the power establishment’s views into a center of knowledge for citizens of all ages in the community it serves.

In line with this, socially compatible communities must develop centers for emancipation, where the emerging child can find welcome escape from his family whether overnight to cool off, for a week of independent solitude to wrestle with a crisis in his own development, or as a transition base from which to find his individual basis to become a participating citizen of the world. As a part of this function the group must formulate mechanisms independent alike of arbitrary mileposts and of parental will, whereby the dependent child becomes a participating adult on the sole basis of his demonstrated maturity.

All of these endeavors must diligently resist the directive efforts of the "professional". The professional must accept the role of technical advisor until such time as he has demonstrated his capacity for, and won acceptance as a leader in group affairs. If possible such acceptance should be the only reward tendered or sought.

To those who throw a financial convulsion at this point, we must firmly state that these human aims have prior claim on every dollar now diverted to the military, its adjuncts, and its adventures. A humanistic reorganization has a right to every cent now directed to police and quasi-police functions. In the unlikely event that this does not provide adequate resources we shall insist that new revenue be sought with the same diligence and priority with which we now fund a war, a new highway, or a world’s fair.

The cosmopolitan society based on diversity of universal tolerance rather than coercive conformity will be built in the remainder of this century because humanity has no other rational direction in which to go.

Mankind will not be diverted, because here, at the very heart of world power, cannon fodder in increasing numbers is saying, "I won’t!"

The embodiments of force, from L. B. Johnson to Chief Ramon, will learn the lesson of Birmingham’s bloody streets: when a community says NO and means it even the police lose stomach for killing them all.

Freedom will move forward because we will take it. Even a cracker is reluctant to kill a man for eating a hamburger.

Watts has shown the disposed a more effective weapon than mere rioting; either the establishment will move in the direction of plenty or its ill-gotten gains will burn, baby, burn!—and the lumpen have nothing against which their enemies can retaliate.

A new generation, who will not be punched, folded, nor mutilated, are on the move for abundance and freedom now; the capacity of our masters’ jails is finite.

-G. C.

[Seattle Group Bulletin #8, from SEATTLE 1965; The first eight Bulletins of THE SEATTLE GROUP, transcribed October 5, 2011 by Dotty DeCoster]

9: Four Parodies—Gloria Martin, Barbara Tomlinson, Louise Crowley

Sing To "Home Of The Brave"

(If you don’t know the tune; ask a teenager.)

The generals say he has to go to war

And Johnson says he can’t study his books no more.

How can he get an education if he has to die in a foreign nation

Land of the knave,

Home of the slave,

When will we make this land what it ought to be

For everyone of us —

When will we make this land what it ought to be

The Ku Klux Klan don’t want the Negroes in school

And they don’t intend to practice the Golden Rule.

How are we gonna get integration if the Ku Klux Klan can

run this nation

Land of the knave,

Home of the slave,

Why don’t we make this land what it ought to be

For everybody in it —

Why don’t we make this land what it ought to be

The people of Watts are sick of poverty

And they lit a fire so all the world would see.

"Burn, baby, burn!" was their favorite slogan and they

don’t want just a lousy token.

Land of the knave,

Home of the slave,

Why don’t we make this land what it ought to be

For everybody in it —

Why don’t we make this land what it ought to be

Yes, it’s way past time for women to be free

And if they aren’t free then the men will never be.

But who just wants equality with men who live in wage-slavery

Land of the knave,

Home of the slave,

Why don’t we make this land what it ought to be

For everybody in it —

Why don’t we make this land what it ought to be

Oh, religion isn’t what it’s cracked up to be

And the churches help enforce our slavery.

How can we forget our superstition if we’re keepin’ alive

old time religion

Land of the knave,

Home of the slave,

Why don’t we make this land what it ought to be

For everybody in it —

Why don’t we make this land what it ought to be

Oh, I ain’t gonna study their kinda war no more

And I’m gonna figure out what’s worth my fighting for.

Maybe we gotta have a revolution before we can enforce

the Constitution

Land of the knave,

Home of the slave,

Why don’t we make this land what it ought to be

For everybody in it —

Why don’t we make this land what it ought to be

- G. M.

The New "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"

Mine eyes have seen the torture of another nation’s men;

We have gassed them and napalmed them and then bombed them

once again;

We have burned the peaceful villages, but we’re losing in the end,

For this war CAN NOT GO ON!

Bury, bury MacNamara!

Bury, bury MacNamara!

Bury, bury MacNamara!

For this war CAN NOT GO ON!

We are teaching our young men, and theirs, the terrible

ways of hate;

We’re allowing military minds to let this escalate;

We’re tottering on the brink, again, for we won’t


But this war CAN NOT GO ON!


Drinking song, to "The Dutch Company"

Oh, the Knights hate Negroes and the Klan hates Jews

But old John Birch even hated good booze.

Oh, the Birch company is the worst company

That ever came over from old Germany!

Then here’s to old John Birch, down a shot, may he rot.

Then here’s to old John Birch, may he rot.

O’er the carcase of John Birch all the buzzards kept

their perch

Lest their good name they besmirch

He should rot.

Oh, the Russians drink vodka and the Cubans drink rum

But old John Birch just sucked on his thumb.

Oh, the Birch company is the worst company

That ever came over from old Germany!

To hell with old John Birch, drink a toast, let him roast.

To hell with old John Birch, let him roast.

"Don’t you know me" asked John Birch; Peter said,

"We’ve done research",

And they left him in the lurch

For to roast.

Oh, the donkey’s red and the elephant’s pink

But old John Birch never took a drink.

Oh, the Birch company is the worst company

That ever came over from old Germany!

Then mourn for poor John Birch, lift a glass, woe, alas,

Then mourn for old John Birch, woe, alas.

The Devil told John Birch, "Go and start another church".

Bottoms up to old John Birch —

Up his ass!

L. C.

Sing to "The Three Kings" (which you may know as the Farandole from "L’Arlesienne")

Yankee, see The world is done with night!

The East’s aglow and dawn to us advancing

Kindles veldt and deepest jungle bright —

See Cuba radiant in the morning light!

Must we still sleep while yet others keep

The steel we forge and the golden wheat we reap

Still be their slaves Must our white-crossed graves

On alien shores extol our masters’ wars!

Yankee, see the Emperor is bare!

Of naught but lies whole-woven were his garments —

Feigning freedom, Freedom’s sons to snare,

And vaunting power now dissolved in air!

By hours, behold, all our years are sold;

Our days of youth for another’s gain unfold.

To what be loyal To the needless toil

The subtle chains that bind our hands and brains

Comrade, no! Heed Truth’s exultant call

All wealth by right is ours whose work creates it

None need labor, to his want in thrall.

No one need hunger; there is food for all.

Then know your worth! Rise and claim the earth!

This is the day of humanity’s rebirth

We’ll take in hand all this fruitful land

And raise our eyes to the awaiting skies!

10. The Balkanization of Utopia—from Solidarity, London


(Reprinted from Solidarity, 197 Kings Cross Road, London)

The Press, the police, and representatives of the established political parties must share a certain incredulous surprise on occasions like Aldermaston. For there, surfacing into broad daylight, emerging from the anonymity of their daily lives, are literally dozens of different political (or anti-political) groupings, scores of rank-and-file papers, subversive to various degrees of the Established Order, and thousands upon thousands of individuals—with strongly felt opinions of their own—united only in their opposition to the Bomb and their determination to take responsibility for their own actions.

What vision of the future do these people hold! The categories of traditional politics are quite inadequate to define them. These crowds are unlikely to be demonstrating for either Mr. Wilson’s or Mr. Gollan’s ‘alternatives’ to the established order. This mass of humanity on the road, ‘hellbent on the balkanization of utopia’ must be a bureaucrat’s nightmare.

The procession—as is well known—is filmed and photographed from every angle, dissected, enlarged, submitted to the most refined techniques of identification known to the Special Branch. This rabble, this horde of potential troublemakers must be identified, their affiliations established, the files kept accurate and up to date. How much easier it would be to treat them all as ‘reds’ or ‘pacifists’, as ‘communists’ or ‘anarchists’, without having to worry about the finer shades of doctrinal difference, without having to document this massive dissent.

But that wouldn’t do in this scientific age! The clerks and computers must be kept busy. Tagged, the rebels must be. Who is ’dangerous’ and who is ‘daft’. Who owes allegiance to Moscow and who to Transport House? Who lives in the past and who in the present? Who believes in non-violence and who doesn’t? Who believes in Parliament and who does not? Who are the ‘resolutionaries’ and who the ‘revolutionaries’? And how the hell can we make sure their beliefs remain static, and that they won’t split, and shift allegiance, and bugger up the card index? Who are sheep? Who are goats? And in which pigeon-hole do we put the hybrids?

The politicians must view it much as the police does. Why don’t all these people just stay at home and leave it to us? Why don’t they trust their elders and betters? Why aren’t they happy just to vote for us every few years? Why do they argue so much—and in the streets too!

And is all this just the top of the iceberg? How many others, today, think as they do? How many will, tomorrow? Could this scruffy lot be the ‘don’t knows’ of the Gallup polls? Are these the solid core of non-voters? How often does their ‘don’t know’ mean ‘won’t tell’? And how often does ‘won’t tell’ mean ‘fuck the lot of you’?

Why, oh why, won’t all these people accept our ‘realistic’, parliamentary alternatives? Why don’t they leave complicated things—like their own life and death—to the professional politicians? If they must have their utopias, why can’t they accept our standard models, prefabricated, provided and priced by official society itself? We may bemoan their apathy, but surely this is better than having them turn up in hundreds at May Day and shout us down, or make awkward comments about ‘Vietnam’ or ‘MPs salaries’ or ‘old age pensioners’ or other unpleasant subjects.

The press—although aware of the newsworthiness of the esoteric—is less concerned about getting facts straight. They worship at the altar of power. They are the mouthpieces of those who have arrived. And these marchers are getting nowhere. They are all ‘weird’ anyway. Why bore our readers (and tax our own grey matter) by going into their beliefs more fully? Our political vocabulary is limited, our knowledge of sects anatomy more limited still. We have so consistently got things wrong when venturing to the left of the Communist Party that we had better keep to safe ground. So let’s tidy-up reality a little. Let’s just call them all ‘beatniks’, ‘anarchists’, the ‘lunatic fringe’. After all Gaitskell called them ‘peanuts’.

And what about the demonstrators themselves? The ‘balkanization’ of their respective utopias is too obvious to deny. Geography and history get muddled. For some Mecca is Moscow, for others Peking. Some live in Petrograd (in 1917)—others in Barcelona (in 1936). Internationals and ideologies interpenetrate. Revolutionary Gods (Marx, Bakunin, Luxemburg, Maletesta, de Leon, Lenin and Trotsky) jostle one another on the narrow summits of a revolutionary Olympus. The truly godless are also clamoring for room to breathe.

For some, this fragmentation has solely negative aspects. These groups echo the view of the powers-that-be: dissent should be centralized, coordinated, channeled along the lines of one particular orthodoxy. For these comrades there is a preordained pattern for revolutionary development, which they alone, of course, have grasped. Everything else is diversion and irrelevance. They alone are the conscious agents of an Almighty Historical Providence. They alone have understood the ’laws’ of history. They alone are carried forward by the historical floodtide. Such groups are elitist to the core. They (and they alone) are potential leaderships. Other groups are dangerous competitors in the permanent auction for revolutionary clientele. The masses, by themselves, can do nothing. They are but an amorphous infantry at the disposal of a self-appointed general staff of revolutionary generals. That ordinary people could themselves make history—and could make it in ways unforeseen and unsuspected by the professional revolutionaries—would never occur to the residual legatees of Bolshevism. History is thus turned upside down. Monolithic conceptions of the road to ‘utopia’ foreshadow utopias in their own image, i.e. monolithic to the core.

For others in the movement ‘men make their own history’—and in ways much wider and fuller than is usually conceded. There is no one road to utopia, no one organization, or prophet, or Party, destined to lead the masses to the Promised Land. There is no one historically determined objective, no single vision of a different and new society, no solitary economic panacea that will do away with the alienation of man from his fellow men and from the products of his own activity.

For groups holding such views the ‘balkanization of utopia’ need convey no disparaging overtones of incapacity or futility. Established society is being corroded at many points, in many ways, here and now. Hundreds of thousands are contributing to the process, both consciously and otherwise: brick-planting policemen and lying Labour politicians, young people rejecting traditional sexual morality and students questioning the categorical imperatives of death ‘for Queen and Country’, train robbers and ‘Spies for Peace’ evading arrest month after month, and well-paid trade union officials pontificating about the merits of an ‘incomes policy’ for their members. All are playing a worthy part in a vast and essential process of demystification.

So are South Bank clergymen de-godding God and Catholic priests acting as salesmen for Durex. So are Trots still building left-wings in the Labour Party and calling on Labour leaders to legislate for workers’ control, while Labour MPs vote themselves a £30 a week wage increase and thunder against those who ‘rock the boat’. So are French Stalinists supporting de Gaulle and Chinese Stalinists supporting the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution, Negroes exposing the whole fraudulent nature of the American judicial system and White House politicians showing the world their notion of the ‘rule of law’ in the Dominican Republic. So too, finally, are the workers at Paisley using sit-in tactics and having to be carried out by the police, while Labour leaders lambast latent Luddites, confer baronetcies on the Brockways and Sopers of this world and encourage the half-pissed platitudes of ‘brother’ Brown.

For those who hold that mass consciousness rather than a change of leadership is an essential precondition of social change, the events of the last few years can be viewed with reasonable satisfaction. Starting from very different premises, various groups are making fundamental critiques of established society. Some have been through the mill of traditional ‘left’ politics, others not. Some start from their experience in production, others from their experience in the anti-Bomb movement, some from the total crisis of culture and values in the mass society, others still from the void of their own daily lives. These critiques are slowly converging. They are literally ploughing up every acre of established thinking, including the so-called revolutionary ideologies. They are preparing a resurgence of libertarian thought and action, based on more genuinely socialist objectives than at any previous period of history. The era of closed ideologies (including totalitarian ‘revolutionary’ ideologies) is slowly coming to an end. The cults of efficiency, or hierarchy, of production for production’s sake, of consumption for consumption’s sake, of organization for organization’s sake, of ‘ever more’ (of the same) are slowly being subverted and replaced by genuinely human values.

The ‘balkanization of utopia’ bemoaned by bourgeois and Bolsheviks alike is therefore neither tragedy nor farce. It is the sole guarantee that ‘utopia’, if we ever get near to it, will be worth living in.

If you like this reprint, 10/- (made out to Solidarity and sent to 197 Kings Cross Road, London WC1) will get you their next 12 issues or pamphlets. They’re very interested in furthering their communication with libertarians in the US.

And 10/- (ten shillings) is only $1.40. L. C.

11. Thoughts on the Seattle Group—Gloria Martin

In a conglomerate organization such as the "Seattle Group" it seems to me necessary to write an individual statement of some of the ideas which have led me to where I now stand. Constant growth and change are the essence of life, consequently the fact that I have certain convictions now does not mean I have always had them, nor does it mean I shall ever refuse to add to them or subtract from them.

If it were not for "The Seattle Group" and the pervading idea of individual free expression I might have no voice at all, for I have found it increasingly difficult to align myself in the so called "radical parties" as they now exist. If it were not for new organizations some of us might at this moment be trying to follow a "party line". We might be fighting a national office, or each other, for organizational supremacy, with paper swords, otherwise known as internal bulletins. Little would even a small part of the world know what we are thinking. We might be spouting cliches about "the working class" in the language of left-sectarian parties, which often become a substitute for thought.

Freedom will deteriorate if not constantly and wisely used, and I know of no better way than this. Each bulletin bears the initials of the writer, speaks only for the author. Individual members may agree or disagree, no matter, we have I think this obligation to express our own opinions in our own words. For older members of "the Group", who have in the past been bound by organizational fetters, this freedom has a special meaning. For younger people it means the precious nurturing and maintenance of free ideas, freely expressed, acceptable to all, not because of agreement, but in spite of disagreement. As an older radical (do not read elderly) I find this exchange vital and challenging. Freedom of expression ought never to become an abstraction, a "thing" which will appear magically after the revolution, but it should mean freedom now. In spite of my age and many vicissitudes, here I stand, a "swinging member of a swinging group", in the lingo of my swinging fellow members. My poor bones ache, I grow more sleepy while young compatriots drink endless cups of coffee, meanwhile soaking up ideas like exuberant sponges (if there is such a thing).

Many older radicals in half-dead political parties are standing back watching the various and multiform procession of change. They have become wallflowers. No one is going to demand that they loosen up their thinking. These radicals exude disapproval which has engulfed them like a miasmic fog. I had my chance in one of these parties when it was vital and young, but the party failed and I with it. Now I have a chance to show that I meant all the while to change the world. I am part of this tremendously vital, as yet largely amorphous mass of people who are what many call "the new left". It might rather be called the young left. No older radical need plead for a second chance, but they need to accept the challenge of today’s youth. Together we might bridge the abyss between youth and age, rigidity and flexibility.

Without purpose, free expression is fun, rewarding, and all that, but at this time in history how much time do we have? No one knows of course, but I think we must mean something which will perhaps contribute to the general and constant dialogue among people, among radicals of all persuasions, old and new. We can now hope for a meeting or fusing of ideas, perhaps a common ground which will enable us to join forces in order to carry out the mandate we have accepted. The atrophy which often develops in radical organizations must not be allowed to develop here, and freely flowing dialogue may spur us on to more productive activity. An extension and change in the thinking of traditional socialist parties may be more possible. As Ruby Dee said (and I can’t quote exactly) "It’s something different, it isn’t socialism as we know it, I don’t know what to call it but it’s in the air". And so, the dialogue with each other and world must go on.

Because of lack of rapport with new thought the so called radical socialist parties, try as they will, seldom find themselves in the place they most need to be, "where things are happening". They have taken on the protective coloring for instance of the church or the Democratic Party, they have tried to become part of Negro nationalist groups, or attempted to get such groups started by having Negro leaders do the job for them. I do not pretend to know of the maneuverings of these parties but there seems to be little influence exercised. Groups like the Deacons in the South developed out of need, springing from grass-roots leadership. The kids of Berkeley rebelled against scores of the establishment’s mores, making clear that they eschew formal radical theory. Thousands of people in peace groups, whose impact is far reaching and profound, seem untouched by old style radicalism. Further I have seen time after time, one or two people rock the establishment’s boat enough to make civic leaders seasick.

Long having festered beneath the surface, the revolt of women is pushing upward. Perhaps we do not agree that sexual freedom is the panacea for women’s rights, but this sexual revolt is a sign that young people are thinking in terms of freedom and equality. Radical parties have long put this question into the background: "wait until the revolution". Many young people are not waiting. I think radical men should put the freedom of women high on the priority list of problems requiring solution, for their own attitudes toward women need drastic revision.

The old parties will I hope review and reform their outlook toward labor unions and the idea of "work". The organized working class going along with the ruling class seems a poor vanguard for the revolution. The sharecroppers, farm workers and dirt farmers of the South, and the people in ghetto slums like Watts seem more reasonable candidates.

Labor unions in their usual reactionary role fight automation to keep jobs for the chosen few in unions. These people cannot imagine a world without men sweating in steel mills, or women slaving in laundries. This kind of work is degrading, stupid, and no longer necessary. Work, in the context of growth, and self-fulfillment of the individual, should be the goal.

While demonstrating against United States aggression in Viet Nam I think we should keep in mind that revolution is "WAR". Nationalistic militarism should be fought with every weapon available, but a stony problem develops when we consider the implications of pacifism in relation to revolution. How will revolution come about in our complex society? Civil disobedience, any breakdown in law and order, is anathema to the establishment. We can expect no mercy when we aid or abet this breakdown. The revolt in Watts is an example: most of the people killed were shot down in cold blood by the police for that most dastardly crime against property rights—looting. A thief in the night has a good chance of survival even if caught, but the open flaunting of the "sacred right to own property" is too flagrant to be countenanced. Comparatively few murderers are executed by the state, but the punishment for looting (read a breakdown of law and order) is swift, sure, and fatal. This kind of activity causes profound consternation, even real agony, in high places. It’s admitted (see Business Week) that thirty simultaneous situations like Watts would engage the entire United States armed forces including those overseas. To me this means war if and when such a situation were to develop. A further extreme yet very real example is the aura of crime and wrong-doing attached by the police and others to the play and pranks of children. A juvenile delinquent of today was in my day a quite normal child. But nothing must disturb the surface quiet of established law and order. Every person must fit, a slight jar throws the machine out of order. Perhaps revolution will take the form of the many-faceted jarrings of this beautifully oiled machine of state. Whatever form revolution takes, it seems to me that action of any and all types brings now and will continue to bring a declaration of war from the ruling class with ever-increasing brutality and inhuman retaliation. How can it be otherwise?

Finally, I think it should be made very clear that a world without deadening labor, a world without war and famine, is impossible of achievement under capitalism. It should be made clear that the people must organize by all possible means to make the world what they want it to be. Meanwhile, new hope arises in grassroots organizations such as the Freedom Democratic Party which has the raw material to develop a dual power structure in the South. I believe we should offer aid when and where it is needed. Further, we can assist in the development and establishment of new ways to solve old and new problems. We can define and articulate what we believe them to be. This of itself would be of great value to the combination of forces which will be essential to the establishment of the kind of world we want.


12. Greetings to CAMP—George Crowley

[CAMP = The Central Area Motivation Program in Seattle]


With great hope and many best wishes we welcome the opening of the new CAMP (Central Area Motivation Program) Center. The many services, offered and planned, will prove welcome additions to the resources of the community. Whether this center either in whole or in some of its projects becomes "ours" to some or all of the interest-centered communities that are the true "neighborhoods" of the center city remains to be seen.

I hope that as the new organization gets into its work there will be a learning process. It is to be hoped you will discover that the center city has its own valid standards. You will find that the need to "attract good people" is minimized by the fact that the people who now live here are "good" in the deepest, most civilized meaning of the term.

Rightly, we are concerned with our "ghetto" problem. I hope our zeal for working with this issue does not disastrously blind us to a far more fundamental issue.

We have a ghetto because we are a cosmopolitan community. That is, we are a community that has made the most profound shift in man’s approach to civilization, we have learned to replace harsh, force- and violence-ridden conformity with mutual tolerance.

Millenia ago the cosmopolite learned the fallacy of provincial mores which depicted man as evil and sin-ridden. Man is good. Each human is a different person; in a tolerant community the degree of that difference bounds each person’s capacity to make a distinct contribution to the whole. Out of this understanding has grown the truism that the city is the place of refuge. The city is the goal of flight for the oppressed, ostracized, and outcast of all descriptions. The city has accepted them all and from their effort built civilization in spite of the provincial hinterland. Let us not make war on tolerance.

Historically the concept of the ghetto itself is not bad. When victims of conforming societies fled to the city they have often come in large groups. They have often lacked the time or inclination to adjust to the cosmopolitan concept. The tolerant solution has been the community of "strangers within the wall". Thereby the new group could preserve its values while the group effort made its contribution to the cosmopolitan society.

Before we are stampeded into "putting away" this time-tried wellspring of tolerant growth, let us diagnose its current illness; let’s consider the possibility of cure. I submit that there is a threefold complex to this illness, each aspect requiring its own treatment.

First let us consider the change in our national society. Rapid advance in technology and mass communication has given a new balance of power to provincialism. Orderly growth of the cities as tolerant communities has been thwarted by conquest of the suburbs by intolerant, crippling communities of conformity, while during the whole of the current century the cosmopolitan community itself has been under a ruthless and unrelenting bloodbath by Bobby Peel’s diabolical invention, the metropolitan police. Central police, with their substitution of authority for reason, constraint for freedom, and fear-inspired conformation for tolerant, understanding acceptance as the social rationale, are an alien and incompatible army of occupation. If we have a goal to win from City Hall let it be the right to tolerance. Take the police off our back.

Secondly, with the city weakened by the first injury, orderly assimilation of newcomers was constipated by the influx of a new wave of refugees from an oppression the cause of which the cosmopolite finds nearly impossible to take seriously. That man would be damned for the distribution of his skin pigment is as difficult to swallow as goblins and unicorns. Yet our failure to take it seriously has nearly been our undoing.

Race concepts like other intolerances are recent and alien intrusions upon the cosmopolitan crossroads of the world. My own antecedents contain, normally mingled with their caucasian component, accepted and honored contributions of mongoloid from the Indian hinterland, Polynesian from those who chased whales for a living, and the full treatment from mercantile and military adventurers. Even in the slavocracy of the South in the cosmopolites of New Orleans, Savannah, and Charleston, the orderly blending of people was only inhibited. Yet, because race fallacy has created a real and deadly block to urban life, cosmopolites of every skin blend must take a serious view of the problem. We must insist as a now-to-be-taken first step and example that the negro cosmopolite be allowed the freedom of the city. We must negotiate seriously and in all urgency with our hinterland that it accept back into its communities the negro suburbanites and rurals now under siege in our city.

Then, and only then, will the now swollen Negro Ghetto find itself.

I suspect that it will go the way of other irrational communities and simply vanish. Perhaps in his long night our black neighbor has developed a true subculture. If so we shall have a "ghetto", but it will be a normal, healthy urban organism. The cosmopolitanized among its young will leave it. Its own internal subculture will assimilate what it considers of worth from the city. People of cosmopolitan background will be attracted to its particular values and I hope be free to enter. In time, a remarkably short time really, the ghetto will become a community of culture and of culture only: an accepted and valued cosmopolitan phenomenon. If you despair of this possibility I urge you to join me in observing the year-to-year shift going on without fanfare in the Bon Odori festival. So, this year, urge your racially "incompatible" friend to move into the vacant house next door. If you are a cosmopolite in suburban exile, come back to the city—not to "uplift" us, but to join in the good fight.

Which brings us to the third ill, poverty. Poverty in the community is like fever in the individual: an urgent symptom of other disease of the body politic. We have poverty because of the two major ills noted above. We have poverty because we are in economic and social crisis from the changes in our technology incident to automation and cybernation. We have poverty because of a crisis in changing social mores. We do not have poverty because people are bad or irrational, nor because they cherish the right to be themselves.

The cure of the causes of poverty lies outside the scope of this paper. The only remedy for poverty itself is to provide enough income to the pauper that he becomes something else.

Let us consider the need for this simple uncomplicated remedy. You mentioned $20 a week that most of you spend on a weekend and "don’t think about": I earn $100 a week take home, somewhat over the mean of the neighborhood, yet I find it hard to locate this loose twenty. Fifty dollars, or one-half of my income, is spent on food; not because we eat what we need but because six people times three means times seven days equals 126 meals per week. Fifty dollars becomes thirty-nine cents per meal; have you tried shopping retail for 39-cent meals lately? Then there is the other $50. Well, let’s see: there is $17.50 for the house; fixed utilities (most public owned) add up to: oil for heat, plus electricity, plus telephone, plus garbage collection, plus sewage fee, plus water, plus taxes on the house—a total of $20 pro-rated per week.

That comes to $37.50 of that remaining $50; adult recreation consists of apportioning the last $12.50 into six persons’ incidental expenses: union dues, transportation and other job incidentals; medical and dental expenses; incidental household expenses; four person’s school expenses; appliance replacement and house maintenance; together with six peoples’ clothes. It cannot be done. I sink just about that elusive $20 a week below need. So long as premium holidays and overtime work balance against the tolerance of my creditors, and so long as we have none of the inevitable financial disasters that hit all families, we manage to live a Perils of Pauline existence on the ragged edge between subsistence and health—decency, if by that is meant "trees, painted houses, trim lawns, etc.", being a luxury we cannot afford. So for me, that twenty dollars with which you are so loose would spell a much-needed stability—only after which could I turn to improvements. Perhaps I live too elaborately; but have you found housing for six recently for less than $70 a month?

But I grossed $6500 last year. What about those who made the minimum wage of less than half that amount? Where do they find this twenty dollars? But you don’t really recognize poverty until the income falls below even this. Twenty unmissed dollars indeed!*

You must understand about $20 with the poverty people. $20 will feed a family of six for three more days. $20 will feed three people a week. $20 will pay our family’s housing and taxes. $20 a week would provide the family with a car. $20 a week would mean the whole family could have minimal dental care. Let’s be more realistic: consider how we can achieve your standards of consumerism on a possible $2 a week "surplus":

Now you will point out that there are some among us who do spend $10 or even an occasional $20 on a weekend. I must concede their existence. They know, I know, and you should know that this money comes out of basic survival requirements. Why do these people thus "squander" the food from the mouths of their children? My friends, when you have faced the chore of trying to divide $32.50 into $12.50 so that the quotient is a whole number, you approach a crisis in sanity itself. You must be very thick-skinned and very lowly-motivated not to take one of two more reasonable outs. Either you go steal what you must have, or you make use of the safety valve of a so called "good time"—that is, you anesthetize yourself for a few hours as the only alternative to going mad. Hence if you should succeed in separating these people from their "wasted" money, be prepared to care for them in Walla Walla or Western State.

Now let’s consider that elusive twenty dollars from another angle. The $20 bill which you drop with little note and the $20 bill with which the poor sustain life have different quantities of buying cents. The poor by definition have neither reserves nor credit in the conventional sense. Therefore the poor do not shop for specials to hold in pantry or freezer; they cannot shop month-end sales unless the commodity is needed immediately and the sale coincides with a payday. Hence the five to twenty percent you save this way is the poor’s surtax of poverty, subtracted from the value of that twenty dollars.

Actually, this is only the first reduction. Because the poor have no financial reserves, in any but the most petty and routine transaction they must indulge in "easy credit". This most deadly of modern narcotics takes a far greater toll than does heroin from the lives of the poor, yet its pushers are never molested. It begins modestly enough with the five to ten percent that regular department stores add for the "added risk" of servicing their "special" (read "for the poor") accounts. These charges escalate through a maze of calibrated extractions, to the merchants who frankly prey upon the destitution and hope of the very poor. These vulture concerns loan merchandise they never intend to sell, under fantastic "plans" that may subtly extract up to 50% of the original cost. They depend upon their horde of commission-paid pushers to unload their junk on the poor. Once the victim is hooked by the carefully-induced need created by mass-media consumerism, an evil complex of contract, garnishment, and summary small claims court proceedings squeezes the last available penny from him. When this has been achieved the goods are repossessed (quite often after both their actual value and a reasonable profit have been paid) and resold as distressed merchandise to the slightly more affluent. So you see this $20 of the poor may well buy less than 1500 cents of goods or service; like the sales tax, "easy credit" is another inverse levy upon the poor to sustain your trim lawns and neat paint jobs.

There was a time when mass gross destitution was most commonly associated with the young household. Even in the depression of the ‘30’s, the established family with a full complement of tools and appliances could expect to run at least a year without major breakdown. Many families nursed their washer, sewing machine, refrigerator, and car clear through the decade of misery with all the original equipment still working. Consumerism with its built-in obsolescence concept has drastically altered this. Today’s family that finds its income seriously curtailed can only go a few short weeks before unmaintained equipment begins to falter. Do-it-yourself repair becomes less and less realistic as more and more appliances are unitized so that repair must consist of expensive unit replacement.

Since the money for these parts replacements is seldom available, the task for which the appliance was acquired in henceforth performed by more primitive means, with a consequent drop in the productivity of the householder’s effort. Any improvements or even repairs to the home are contingent upon painful, time-consuming scavenging operations, or theft. So, the family in the culture of poverty is rapidly reduced to a near stone-age level of productivity. Every waking hour is involved in scrounging for existence.

This is the characteristic "flat life" of the "good", "adjusted" poor. Life becomes an endless round of simple, stupid, repetitious petty chores—endless in quantity, unvarying in quality, and devoid of any measurable positive achievement. If the victim had interests, aspirations, or just plain curiosity, those qualities sink into a distant bye-and-bye under the press of routine. If the person once had appreciation of beauty and uniqueness, it is obliterated by the unceasing demands of the treadmill. The victim becomes a boor—but he causes no "trouble". Such an "adjustment" must be defined as mutilation of the central nervous system.

So CAMP looks at this nearly quarter-million people trapped in deadly and deadening lockstep of depersonalizing monotony. You see those things that disturb the "good, stable people" who live elsewhere! We see those factors which crush us. Our empty purses have conspired with our deadened senses to produce a drab and rundown appearance that offends the passerby’s sensitivity. We are more concerned with unfettering our personalities; esthetics will follow. The Cherry Hill project sought to demonstrate the way to change the rundown look. It restored a model house, but when its proponents wrote their descriptive folder extolling the experiment, they found it necessary to break the remodeling into nine projects, each involving a loan that approximated your $20 per week. They did not add the total, but those who did discovered that the result would be a load equal to one-fourth of my "adequate income". So actually you are not asking that I depress my not-quite-adequate living standard to restore my home to its former solid comfort and simple beauty; that is no $20-a-week matter. What you want is my investment in a shoddy camouflage to ease your sensitivity, a brightly painted false front of tin or asphalt to conceal the mouldering structure. I merely want a home. Or, take the trim, shrub-accented lawn you ask for; those few square feet of bare earth are far more valuable to me as a play area for my children and their pets than as a look-but-don’t-touch display for the satisfaction of Broadmoor residents. My yard’s bare ground clutter has esthetic parity with any blacktop parking lot.

By my even less affluent neighbors the case could be more simply stated: "Hell, man, if that’s what it takes to bring property values down [which it doesn’t], why, let ‘em fall. If they fall flat enough perhaps I can get a corner for my own."

As for telephone lines: we don’t care what kind of lines they are if only we could hook on to them. Far better that the City Light surplus be used, even if that embarrasses the private power trust, to cut domestic rates for our own benefit. The offended outsider can squander his means on such dubious beautification if he chooses.

If concealment be your goal, better you build pairs of Lady Bird’s nine-foot fences along 23rd Avenue and Madison Street. Commission the city’s art advisers to plaster the fences with photomurals of the good folk’s aspirations and spare us further investigation and documentation.

If we now turn to the problems of the community behind that fence, the starting point has to be the essence of the problem: the Gross Community Product of the central area is not adequate to sustain its population. As a functional organization CAMP must do more than note, "Sure, we need good jobs to help get all these things, and CAMP is working on securing better jobs".

Like any depressed area we need massive capital infusion, enough to approximate that $7,000 standard of health and decency. Interestingly, the arithmetic calls for about $1 1/2 billion, just about our pro-rate of the 1966 projected $722-billion GNP.

Nor would the mere expenditure of this sum radically alter the status quo. The amount must be fluid within the community. It must be available at the two or three percent interest rates we apply to foreign loans all over the globe. First we must arbitrarily, by grant if need be, enable our destitute to begin living human lives. Second, once people satisfy the base animal needs and start acting constructively, there must be finances for internally-based enterprises and activities. Perhaps it will be necessary to restrict the outflow of our resources to Bellevue, The Highlands, and Normandy Park, as it has become for "backward" nations to restrict the extractions of their former masters.

We are a one-crop economy: that is, we produce cheap labor for the whole society. This must end! When we talk jobs we must exclude housemaids, handymen, laundry workers, infantrymen and nurse’s aides. If this results in a breakdown in these areas, well—let them be upgraded into compensated categories or let the pressure of need find other ways of filling them.

Correctly, you have assessed the educational factor; but where are we going with this crash program in our schools? We must reaffirm the purposes of education to be teaching the techniques of logical reason; providing each individual with a wide and general body of factual data upon which he can base a reasoned confrontation of his environment; that in the process of making this position each individual shall come to know himself—i.e., shall become a full human being.

Toward these ends we must break decisively with current misconceptions now all too prevalent in the OEO generally. We must firmly reject the concept that man’s most valid purpose in life is to work in the sense of quantum gross effort. Nor can we accept the thesis that the virtue and value of such work lies not in productivity but in the psychological effect on the worker—to wit, the thesis that he needs the training in discipline and obedience that work experience offers. The devil does not make work for idle hands! The need for work-warped persons is already unwarranted and is rapidly being eliminated, so let us concentrate on building whole people who do not need imposed discipline because they have the reasoning ability with which to find self discipline.

G. H. C.

[Seattle Group Bulletin #12 from Seattle 1966 Spring; Bulletins 9 through 17 of the Seattle Group. Published by The Seattle Group. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, October 30, 2011.]

[*$20.00 in 1966 would have been $132.88 in 2010 according to the online inflation calculator www.westegg.com/inflation.]

13. Dear Comrade—Louise Crowley

Excerpt from a letter from a very dear and respected friend:

... I am a potential Anarchist in the historical meaning of the term. Anarchy will logically follow Communism, as Communism will follow Socialism. So let’s have first things first in a chronological order, and all this vaunted "freedom" your group throws around so generously, may I rise to ask: Just where the hell are you going to practice it? Here, under Capitalism? Or tomorrow under socialism? It should be obvious that it will be tomorrow. First we have to educate the human race to that point of intellectual understanding that they can even define the term. Freedom is the absence of all restraint, and the recognition of necessity.

Until all necessities are recognized, social economic and cultural, some restraints will have to be levied on the individual by society. Man will eventually evolve such a social and moral consciousness that no restraints will be necessary whatever. (Anarchy) But man as he exists today, morally is below the savage American Indian when first discovered by the white man. Vicious, corrupt, bestial and conceited. I would sooner turn a pack of wolves loose than to turn these savages loose unrestrained....

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear Comrade:

Re practicing freedom tomorrow under socialism: I think that’s just the trouble: we’ve been putting freedom off till tomorrow too damned long already. As Langston Hughes said when some moderate told him you can’t stop Jimcrow overnight: "It’s been a long night".

It’s been a long night for all of us. And when we put things off til tomorrow, tomorrow never comes.

Socialism—communism—anarchy. Maybe they’d come in that order, sometimes. I don’t think always, and never without struggle. Let me try to explain why:

First, historically: Modern capitalism arose as a response to the needs of the Industrial Revolution. Commodity production for profit had existed long before of course, but not as the very basis of society, which for the bulk of pre-industrial populations remained land- and barter-based. Individual handcraftsmen sold or traded the products of their labor; slaves worked for subsistence (or less); but only wage-slavery was able to make use of the tremendous productive potential unleashed by the advent of steam power. In those countries where the Industrial Revolution got its start, society reorganized along capitalist lines to consummate it.

It worked. But at an awful cost in human misery and in loss of human life; in the mills and the mines and along the stretching railroad tracks, it expended workers as it expended the natural resources of the land. Well, capitalism dug the coal and forged the steel and wove the cloth, and built the roads to market it all—and in the process, wasted workers like water.

And forced industrialization on the rest of the world. Again, at tremendous cost, shattering the values of whole societies, sometimes killing off whole populations that got in the way.

To those nations that were behind in the race, socialism offered an alternate and infinitely preferable road to the same end. Only they were able to take advantage of it; the advanced countries, saddled by a powerful capitalist ruling class, have never been able to get a socialist revolution off the ground. Not even when socialist parties have been in a majority. There’s good reason for this, which boils down essentially to the fact that socialists have disastrously underestimated the strength of a ruling class long enough entrenched to have developed subtle and sophisticated means of maintaining its power. When Liebknecht was ready to call for handing over all power to the soviets, he found that the soviets were dominated by the Junkers. Time after time since, capitalist rulers have countered every effort to launch a socialist revolution. They manipulate the economy, they corrupt the working class with a share of imperialist profits, they control the workers’ organizations, they manipulate the news—what-all don’t they do? And today, in advanced capitalist countries, we’re further from socialist revolution than ever—because the capitalist ruling class isn’t stupidly inflexible as we thought it was. We saw it as subject to unalterable laws of history—but forgot that it was in a position to make the laws. And if the capitalists ever do have to commit suicide, they can take us with them now. Don’t think they won’t if it comes to that.

Where capitalist power is new and still not thoroughly consolidated, or where it is an alien overlay with no deep indigenous roots, or where it has been weakened by military defeat, socialist revolution has been possible. And socialism meets the needs of industrialization with much less misery—there should be no question of our agreement on that, or on the fact that it covers the ground faster. It works, too, and works a lot better. But what it does is essentially the same thing: it consummates the Industrial Revolution. And to do it, it builds a strong national state, which is no more inclined to wither than the capitalist state itself.

If communism is to follow socialism, it’ll have to do it with a revolution too. It won’t just come. Socialist state power will see to that. And I suspect that in strong socialist states, communists will be in much the same position as socialists are under capitalism—they will find that socialism just can’t be overthrown by their neatly blueprinted plans.

Now: where socialism did come (except in eastern Europe after military defeat: an exceptional situation) capitalism itself had never really entrenched itself. I think communism will come where socialism isn’t very well entrenched, for the same reasons. If it comes.

We should have been warned that our thinking was off the track, ‘way back when socialism failed to come according to Marx’s expectation in the advanced countries, and cropped up instead as a vital—and viable—movement in the very places he’d least have expected it. Well, socialists accepted Lenin’s facile explanation for that. We should have analyzed, not just accepted; because in just accepting, we failed to learn from it.

Not that I believe it’s too late to learn. None of what I said about the power of an entrenched capitalist ruling class—and how ours is entrenched!—should be taken as defeatism; I wouldn’t be banging this typewriter and cranking that mimeo machine if I thought our mistakes were irremediable. But time is running out, and fast.

If we’re to knock over our own ruling class, it’ll have to be for more than socialism. To a "backward" nation, socialism offers a rapid and relatively painless route to industrialization, which is its crying need. But that’s not what we need; we’ve already got it. Socialism doesn’t offer us much more than the exchange of one oppressive power structure for another somewhat less malevolent. It would undoubtedly give us more equity than we have now, but not a whit more freedom than its professional experts and bureaucrats think is good for us. That’s not worth asking anyone to get his head busted for.

Now from another angle: you say that man as he exists today is not only incapable of living in freedom but is actually (and I assume you mean American man, in general) morally below the pre-Columbian American Indian, etc. A fine argument for waiting till tomorrow, if we’re getting worse all the time!~ You say man will eventually "evolve" a moral consciousness compatible with anarchy; but how, if he’s evolving backwards? So what makes us such a vicious, corrupt, and bestial lot? I say it’s the vicious, corrupt, and bestially dog-eat-dog society in which our ruling class forces (and beguiles) us to go on living. And as long as the economic structure keeps making us worse, socialists can educate and educate, and it’s like walking up a fast down escalator. We’ll only improve substantially when we begin to create an environment conducive to improvement—and in pockets in our society where people have managed to break out of the rat-race, they have improved. Your argument sounds altogether too much like the classic imperialist’s rationalization for holding onto the colonies: the natives aren’t ready for self-government.

On this question, can’t we learn something from Watts?—law and order certainly broke down there. But it wasn’t your "savages" who killed people; it was the cops. All the mob’s violence was directed against property, and alien exploitative property at that; Negro stores weren’t harmed, nor, from the reports of the White witnesses George has talked to, were the businesses of Watts-based Whites with a reputation for fair dealing. Even such gunplay as the "bog" engaged in was only to protect its fires—it couldn’t have been aimed at killing Whitey, or more Whites would have been dead. I don’t think people are as damn’ bad—just as bad as they have to be, to live in a bad society. When social order broke down in Watts, they seem to have behaved pretty well, everything considered.

And don’t tell me that’s because they were Negroes. There isn’t that much difference.

So: I say we should practice freedom here and now, and let the chips fall where they may. After all, that’s just what Rosa Parks was doing when she sat down on a bus, and what David Mitchell did when he burned his draft card. Some of us will go to jail. Some will get killed. Well, people go to jail and get killed in any struggle—as often as not, just for preaching freedom, let alone practicing it. Hell, we might as well be hanged for sheep.

You say revolution won’t resemble a WCTU picnic, and I agree. But it may not resemble, either (and especially in its opening stages), any revolution we’ve ever known. It’s a different kind of revolution, this one we’re already into, and it doesn’t look much like its predecessors. A lot of the freedoms the power structure hasn’t allowed to us—like the Negro’s freedom to sit on a bus—are ones it could (and will have to) grant if people just start practicing them. The civil rights movement found that out, in that case, and finding it out built their confidence no end. The Berkeley students did about the same thing—just took a freedom the administration had refused to give them, and made it stick. It all adds up.

Sure, at some point the ruling class calls a halt: no further; here’s where we hold the line. But if these early skirmishes have built up the momentum, we can sweep through that too—and that’s a revolution, no matter what it looks like, or whether or not your workers are in the vanguard of it.

I don’t think it’ll bring socialism—and I’ll be damned disappointed, and promptly start trying to foment the next one, if it does. Our society doesn’t need a socialist transition to anarchy; it’s already covered most of the ground socialism is capable of covering, and all the ground it could cover without building a power structure as hard to overthrow as the one we’ve got now. The job here, in this most predatory of advanced capitalist states, is to get rid of the power structure altogether. Not to reform it, though some reformation may occur in the process. Not to replace it, though parallel power structures may develop. Just to smash it, to annihilate it, once and for all.

If that’s oversimplifying—well, some oversimplification appears to be necessary here, in delineating the aim of this revolution. That in the process of revolution certain things will have to be done, that the productive complex continue to function, is of course true. But the fact is that capitalism itself, now, is braking the productive complex, for fear of the social disorder that would result from more rapid cybernation, with a concomitant increase in unemployment so great no expansion of war-industry could begin to absorb it. Yet it is precisely such an explosion of productivity that is needed to provide the want- and coercion-free milieu to which anarchy could flourish. We’re accustomed to think of revolution in terms of a specific date and act: the Fourth of July, Bastille Day, the seizure of the Winter Palace, etc., rather than as a process. Looking at it as a process, though, one can see that a lot of things get done in the course of it—not everything must or can wait on its completion. That in the course of this revolution the productive potential of cybernation will have to be realized, and people will have to learn to be responsible human beings—well, that’s no argument for waiting. Let’s get on with it.


Louise [signed]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Another parody: (But we’re not sure to what tune; if any reader can figure it out, please tell us)

Oh, Give Me My Rockin’ Chair

I had me a job

At Chevrolet,

But automation came

And they turned me away.

I found me another

A-diggin’ coal;

But couldn’t make a livin’

To save my soul

I can pick cotton

And pick it clean,

But now they pick it

With a machine.

So, I went down town

To draw my rockin’ chair;

Here’s what they told me

When I got there:

"We looked up the record

When you applied;

But you didn’t make enough:

Your claim is denied."

With all my troubles

And worldly care;

I’ve got to get a job

Or some rockin’ chair.

Chorus: I’m sad and I’m blue,

I’ve looked everywhere

So give me, Oh, give me

My rockin’ chair.

J. and M.

[Seattle Group Bulletin #13, from Seattle 1966 Spring: Bulletins 9 thru 17 of the Seattle Group. Published by the Seattle Group. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, October 30, 2011.]

14. "Chaos"—or Else—G and L Crowley

Recently a desperate and exasperated citizen asked through the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s "Personals" column: "In the name of God what can be done to end the senseless sacrifice of human lives in Vietnam". That paper refused to accept our ad toward a constructive answer.

Two days later, a Sunday, a young man jumped to his death from the Freeway bridge. The note he left behind stated that he no longer wanted to be a part of the life into which he had been born.

Monday the United States resumed indiscriminate bombardment of the cities and people of North Vietnam.

There is a common denominator that bonds these events. It is frustration - a deep, demoralizing sense of futility which springs from our power-mad executive’s forward divergence from that steam of tolerance and humanism now in explosive upsurge around the world.

Quickly let us review the facts. The Kennedy administration built an enormous body of good will by backing away from the mess it inherited in Cuba. That administration’s apparent efforts to disengage the Cold War and withdraw from brinkmanship created a great resource of hope and popular favor which it bequeathed to LBJ and his government.

The Johnson campaign was based on what to millions of Americans sounded like a firm promise to make war on poverty instead of on people. In his maiden address to the UN, Johnson, with true insight, equated imperial adventurism with the rampant domestic exploitation that preceded the disaster of 1929. His promise to promote a world New Deal was taken at face value by millions both at home and abroad.

The current government (both the administration and its loyal opposition) have wantonly betrayed that mandate. No action great or small, real or imagined, can alter or justify that fact.

Thus have we arrived at this momentous hour of personal decision. We cast our ballots in overwhelming mandate and were repudiated. We protested to proper channels by millions and were ignored. We demonstrated in the streets by thousands and have been scornfully denounced although counter demonstrations couldn’t raise a corporal’s guard.

Hundreds of young men, faced with the insufferable demand that they join in the monstrous genocide of a weak and inoffensive people far, even, from the traditional spheres of Yankee dominance, have laid their futures on the line and said NO! and have been persecuted therefore.

Several persons, despairing completely of impressing a callous government by any means within the American tradition of petition and protest, have by demonstration in deeds given up their lives in horrible immolation like the Buddhists of Vietnam. The administration has mocked and ridiculed their sacrifice. Where can you go beyond this point!

Historically the area beyond, the transition to tyranny, was left to the revolutionary solution. Time was when this sufficed, but revolution (or the threat of revolution) in the classic sense is no longer a functional deterrent to tyrannical contempt for public will. The evolution of scientific police technology renders next to impossible the success of a revolution of other than coup d’etat nature in any advanced country. The concepts of human engineering and the technology of managing social forces were already well enough developed in 1919 that when the state completely collapsed in the three Central Powers nations, the "new", "revolutionary" governments were organized and directed by personnel and mores of the old society. In the Hungarian sector of the Hapsburg empire, the paralyzed aristocracy invited the socialists to rule; yet the internal cohesion of the old order forestalled their building a governing consensus, and they held power but a mere three months.

Following World War II the same phenomena reoccurred. In West Germany where authority collapsed for a period of several weeks, enabling spontaneous anarchic forms briefly to exhibit their possibilities, the firmly entrenched secondary organizations of power were able to re-impose themselves with but slight assistance from Allied military government.

Historically the stricken citizen could draw solace from a certainty that his tyrant would in time raise a community of opposition as his ambitions clashed with other sovereign states, and that an alliance would be raised to abate the horror. The coalition against the Third German Reich was the last such example we have. Reasoned hindsight suggests serious reservations as to whether the awful price of that war had any valid compensation to humanity.

But all such considerations became moot in the holocaust that was Nagasaki and Hiroshima. With the advent of the nuclear age the question of war and peace ceased to be a matter of game probabilities; "victory" and "defeat" now have the same meaning: the end of the world. Indeed, the last US and USSR "tests" came closer to this gruesome finality than any disciple of authority and force is prepared to concede.

The matter does not end here. Advanced weapons systems are so failproof, so intricately interlocked, so linked to the response of the opposite or "enemy" equivalent, that the slightest mishap could unleash a fatal chain reaction irreversible by any human act. Life on earth remains an accident away from extinction until the overkill mechanism that is the insane glory of our power structure has been dismantled.

Just as the reign of the despotic state was traditionally transitory, so was the capacity of any state limited in its control over its subjects. The state could kill the individual against his will; but any other action, even imprisonment, entailed a degree of acquiescence on the part of the victim. Such acquiescence is always conditional and to a large degree temporary. Therefore, to the extent that the tyrant eliminated the will of the populace, to relax his vigilance was to risk destruction.

Further, to the degree that the state used death to quiet opposition or to cow its populace, it cheapened life value and thereby raised the readiness to rebel.

Because such oppressions were transitory and because they effected no permanent modification of his nature, man was able to adopt several rationalizations to make them tolerable. The nihilist could completely surrender his control over an environment to which he ascribed no reality, and could still rationalize a freedom of thoughts. This becomes untenable now in the face of the burgeoning array of pharmaceutic modifiers of the central nervous system. The stoic, accepting all events including death as governed by divine law, could do as he would with calm assurance that thus did he fulfill his destiny. This rationalization now comes to naught with the development of clinical modification of will. The theist and revolutionary alike could bear up with grim fortitude, each confident of his own forthcoming day of reckoning. Today this line of thinking offers no comfort in the face of imminent prescribed genetic modification, and the threat of a premature Armageddon.

Thus the crisis is joined not in the 21st century, not tomorrow, but here and now. Each must ask, and answer, in all seriousness.

Could any conceivable chaos be more awesome or deadly than that first, and last, globe-encircling flash of nuclear incineration? Could any "setback" to human progress be comparable to the finality of extinction?

Could any degree of "security" be an equitable or reasonable exchange for surrender of man’s free will?

We must end this war. We must dry up its sources of compliant manpower. We must cut its channels of supply. We must halt production of the goods that sustain it. And whatever bald and imaginative new means must be taken to achieve this, those means we must take. Johnson, MacNamara, Rusk and Company must be left alone to fight, without a shred of civilized support, this war that they alone want and that their decisions alone are perpetuating.

Since our government has ceased to be responsive to lawful and traditional expressions of the public will, it is futile and self-deluding to continue to limit our resistance to forms appropriate to a democracy but which the willful obstinacy of the Johnson administration has rendered ineffective.

Each of us must live, and die, with himself. Ultimately, it is to our own consciences alone that we must answer, to ourselves that we must be true. If today in the United States to live in accord with one’s principles has become treason for all thoughtful and informed people of good will, then with full consciousness we must make the most of it, for there is no other honorable course. The present administration came to power by murder, and holds power by lies. We owe it no allegiance. We do owe, to ourselves and our otherwise doomed posterity, whatever endeavor may be needed to restore our country to humane and responsible citizenship among the nations of the world. Only deceit and despotism enjoin the young men of America to become hateful predators in an Asian jungle, to be killed from ambush like other beasts, in a dishonorable cause. Only ignorance, servility, or malice could accede to such debasement. The extent to which we resist is the measure of our humanity, not to be compassed by conformism nor limited by law.

Each of us must do these things, and more, now. No longer can we delude ourselves with faith in the gradual processes of education and organization, slow at best and now invalidated by the impact of controlled mass media and the abrogation of constitutional safeguards. No longer can we depend on the organizations of labor, corrupted now by a share of the profits of war; nor do we have time to build new ones, even if the workers were at all inclined to accept them. And they are not; for war, after all, sustains the present high rate of employment. It is in the collapse of such hopes, traditional, familiar, and warmed by human comradeship, that the present frustration has its roots. Yet to succumb to despair is equally fruitless; and moreover, beyond this crisis, if we but survive it, an infinitely better life awaits us. Let us then assert the resiliency of the human spirit. If an era has passed, let us not futilely seek to recall it nor nostalgically mourn its passing, nor burden ourselves with its now useless baggage.

To protest this war, to refrain from all direct or supportive participation in it, to obstruct its continuance by all possible means - these are necessary but no longer enough.

Conventional forms of resistance to despotism, up to and including revolution, have been wrestled with the manifestations of force. Against force, they have posed counterforces, without seriously attacking the premises of authority as such. Where the basic premises have been shaken, they have been shaken only incidentally and new power has promptly entered the breach. Thus successful revolutions have but brought to power new governments, lacking only time themselves to become despotic. In the interval the populace could enjoy a welcome respite from oppression, and be gratified that much of benefit had been accomplished by overturn of the old regime.

For many millennia, acceptance of authority provided a functional method of harnessing human activity on behalf of an evolutionary direction counter to nature’s line of least resistance. Societies that took other paths developed no adequate defenses against the incursions of authority-organized expansionist peoples, and had little or no opportunity to contribute their values to the line of societal evolution that has now culminated in overkill force. Authority is so prevalent as to seem eternal and universal; shaped as we are by our authority-oriented culture, most of us imagine the dominance of man over man to be rooted in immutable natural law, or at least to be the only viable instrument for civilization. The organs of authority have of course found it advantageous to perpetuate this view, and suppress, denigrate, and smother any questioning of its validity and any exploration of alternatives. Even revolution has been kept within its bounds.

In this new era, resistance so limited is bound to fail. The administration’s intransigence over Vietnam is but the focal point of a multifarious campaign by which all organs of authority seek now to solidify their power against the imminent obsolescence of the props that have hitherto sustained it. The last vestiges of supernaturalism are condemned by the current scientific revolution, and in the normal course of events other forms of unreason could not long survive their loss. Economic scarcity, the whiphand of power, becomes untenable with development of cybernated productive complexes virtually unlimited in their capacity. At this juncture the war in Vietnam provides the domestic "affluence" needed to maintain stability while unshakable new props for a totally ordered society are being shifted into place.

Between the Scylla that would destroy the planet and the Charybdis that would negate our humanity there is no safe passage. The current crisis is thus a dilemma irresolvable within the framework of an authority-motivated and force-implemented society. Our efforts must now be directed toward shattering the basic premises upon which authority rests. We must expose the myth of its indispensability; we must discredit its claim to social worth; we must strip off its false cloak of natural law and proclaim its nakedness for all to see. We must dispel fear of the void by making manifest the outlines of the new anarchic society.

We must propose a viable alternative to authority in adjusting the relations of man to man.

A critical first step has already been taken in acceptance of the principle of Nuremburg: that each is accountable for the social consequences of his own acts, and cannot beggar that responsibility by shifting it to those in authority over him, for the decision whether to obey is his to make. Though refusal entail personal disadvantage, the individual can weigh that against the social results of the action demanded of him, and choose the course of human welfare. This alone sanctions the rejection of military service and the refusal to participate in any way in the conduct of aggression. The same principle, stated positively, justifies all humane resistance to the US government’s present hellbent course. It needs but a logical and obviously proper extension of the Nurenburg principle to conclude that since governmental authority is to be repudiated when its dictates contravene the general good (of which, vide the example of the Third Reich, the government cannot be judge), the due functions of government itself become merely advisory and administrative. It is thus by dint of force and custom only, and not by right, that government usurps the prerogative of individual conscience to regulate human behavior.

Carrying this line of reasoning further, those of us reared in the tradition of ordered authority inevitably arrived at a point where all of our prior conditioning had erected a wall of taboo. Behind that wall, we had been led to believe, rampaged the monster Chaos, avid to engulf us. But now we have seen the shape of Overkill, and all other fears are annulled. Taboos must no longer deter us; let us examine Chaos.

We are not bereft of data on which to make this examination. From their bottom layers, our evolving authoritarian cultures have for ages been casting off a stream of "surplus" people - people adrift, denied any compensated role and scavenging their subsistence outside the bounds of social order. Ever since the Urban Revolution, when super-exploitation of its hinterland made the new urban community immensely wealthy by any previous standard, the city has provided relative stability of subsistence to its own human surplus and to the castoffs of the famine-prone countryside. Each of these individuals develops his own system and style of maintaining his existence, and in the process develops his own rationale and goals. In the pursuit of his own ends, each finds his neighbors’ efforts generally irrelevant to his own, and all can therefore go about their affairs with mutual indifference and tolerance. Out of their free associations - of sheer gregariousness and of mutual backscratching - have evolved non-coercive communities within but not wholly of the authoritarian cities.

Several factors have worked to blind our perception of the enormous potential inherent in the tolerant subculture of the center cities:

Historically, the resources to which the tolerant community has been limited have been the crumbs and offal of the ordered society. Its rate of development has been severely restricted both by absolute lack of means and by inability, because of the essentially non-predatory nature, to concentrate and channel the meager resources at its disposal.

Its human material has been of a peculiarly ambigenous [ambiguous] nature. The tolerant community attracts on one hand the most free-spirited and resourceful of people, and gives asylum on the other to the human rejects of the authoritarian society that surrounds it. The scorn which the ordered society heaps on those who disown its values or fail its demands tends to distort the community’s image.

The dynamics of tolerance is incapable of accepting restraint that does not have an internal rationality, and therefore comes repeatedly into conflict with the taboos that bond the ordered society. This has led to an historic outlawing of the tolerant community, forcing its evolution to take place under the handicap of constant and ever-increasing persecution.

Yet this very persecution should alert us to the fundamental nature of the conflict: the irreconcilable antagonism between two methods of achieving group coordination, each of which depends on, and promotes, a different and contradictory factor of human motivation.

The authoritarian community has built upon the organization and manipulation, by external agents, of the essentially biochemical emotive responses of the organism. Utilizing the reward-and-punishment techniques of conditioning, it replaces the fractured instinctual links of perception -> emotion -> behavior with such artificial linkages as serve its purpose, thereby providing a socially manipulative substitute for instinct. The capacity to expedite responses by making new links to newly-significant stimuli probably played a major role in giving free rein to the development of man’s higher nervous system. But throughout all historic time the socially conditioned behavior pattern has served as an inhibitor and restraint on the development of reason, and a device for self-mutilation. That man must hang on to this conditioning for social cohesion today is as ridiculous as that the adult mammal remain entrapped in its prenatal sac. In perpetuating and fostering it, authority now serves only to retard the further evolution of man as a reasoning being.

The tolerant community functions through the reasoned self-interest of its individual members. Its motivation is their infinitely diverse individual goals; hence community goals remain free and open with no tendency to form constraining taboos or binding ethics, other than those of fellowship engendered by common persecution. When in pursuit of their personal interests individuals find that their activities converge, there occurs neither the fear-activated confrontation of primitive peoples nor authoritarian compulsion to form stultifying ordered institutions. Rather there develops a free association held by the common specific interest. If the coalescing interest grows in magnitude or urgency the interest-group will grow in proportion. If the impetus for forming a group is a task to be done or a problem to be solved, the group will dissolve upon accomplishment of its aim, for its purpose remains always specific and an end in itself. It is such groups, forming in as many areas as there are motives for social effort, that give cohesion to the tolerant community. Their size, scope, and the degree and quality of their activities vary as their needs require. Each member of the community finds involvement in such groups as affect his interests, and commits himself to each in the degree that group interests affect him. Thus participation overlaps and though influence and even existence of groups rise and all, come and go, shift and change, a community of interest remains - a community held not by external authority but by internal reasoned self-interest, associated in mutual attraction but in no way bound.

Because individuals act upon each other only at those points where their interests coincide and are otherwise separated by mutual indifference, and because groups function in different areas and at many levels of activity, the community is resistant to ordered organization but still capable of enduring without ill effect a high degree of spatial congestion. Its crowd tolerance is the prerequisite for a concentration of resources and facilities that, given reasonable abundance, could provide the rich and satisfactorily varied environment for each of its divers personalities to live his life to the fullest.

The tolerant community thus furnishes a minimum of socially-conditioned behavior patterns to its individuals, and fosters their capacity for independent reasoning as a basis for their actions. To the degree that the individuals become indeed reasoning beings, associations within the community are free of the authoritarian tendency to develop into centers of power, for reasoning people are not prone to social manipulation. Demagogues may rant; the reason-governed individual simply is not swayed. A community of such individuals is proof against authoritarian control, and from the rise of power-resistant enclaves in our center cities those who would impose a totally ordered great society quite rightly feel imperiled. They, and we, see in these communities the germination of a functional anarchy.

When the reason-governed individual scans his environment he sees it not as a wasteland of irrelevant form, sound, and motion spotted with recognizable fixed phenomena to which his responses are keyed, but as a panorama of empirical fact out of which he must sort what is significant toward solving the problem or filling the need before him. Unlike his condition-motivated neighbor, he finds no cause for confusion and hysteria in environmental change, because his reactions are not dependent on fixed symbols. Any given set of phenomena is suitable basis for reasoned response.

For this reason he is the creator and innovator of society in a manner and to a degree that the ordered folk can never be. But because most of his efforts are of a personal nature and socially irrelevant, they bring the reasoning individual into collision with the taboos and mores of the ordered community, which he feels to be irrational, restrictive, and more often than not harmful to him. So he resists, and for his resistance is branded "criminal" (or psychotic) and destroyed for the good of "order". When such resistance becomes massive and widespread, it is "chaos".

This is essentially what happened last summer in Watts. That the cold-sober mother of a drunken driver not be allowed to bring home the young man’s car was an outrage to reason that focused all the community’s long-standing grievances against authority. Chaos ensued; and chaos burned Safeway stores, but it was the forces of ordered authority that killed people. For human beings, though not for Safeway stores, chaos should then and there have been divested of its terror, for it is not we whom it threatens. It had been supposed that chaos was blind, but the patterns of destruction in Watts testifies to the clarity of its perceptions.

The reasoning community might long ago have been stamped out were it not that historically it alone could supply a resource essential to the vital functions of the ordered society. The completely orderly people being by definition incapable of original thought or of pursuing new lines of action, a trickle of creative individuals bred in the reasoned communities was contracted as intellectuals and artists to solve problems and to program the mores by which ordered society conditions its more passive members - an arrangement which was to be rendered untenable by the far-reaching chain of events that followed the Reformation. Rise of the Protestant concept of the individual, as a free agent, making his own direct compact with God (or the Devil) set in motion a wave of reasoned behavior that swept even over the ordered sections of society, sufficiently loosening authority that a new ruling class could take power when called forth by the Industrial Revolution. In its dynamic, robber-baron phase, with the need for creative services in explosive expansion, capitalism’s liquidation of the petit bourgeoisie and the independent yeomanry released a flood of castoffs to supply its demands, and in this free-wheeling period some of them found entry into the ruling class itself. With the so-called managerial revolution, the power elite, having consummated the institutionalization of its holdings, freed itself from the administrative duties that had tied it to ordered society and became itself anarchic - and hence able to produce within its own class the cadre of reasoning individuals needed to manage its affairs and engineer the social order. It was then free to begin phasing out a dependence that had always been both risky and distasteful.

An early manifestation of this new drive was the rise of the element we dubbed "egomongers" - people contracted, at first mainly from the non-productive elements of other classes of ordered society but now largely self-replicating, to perform the secondary functions of the old-style free intellectual, for which service the elite was unwilling to sacrifice its new freedom. Unlike his predecessors in this role, the egomonger does not merely undertake to perform a specific task, but consigns his entire capacity to be used at the discretion of the institutional entity to which he has sold himself. His privileged position is contingent on total sacrifice of his individuality. His alienation is complete: not only are his manners and activity prescribed, but his recreation, habitat, spouse, and the upbringing of his offspring all fall under the scrutiny and guidance of his corporate master. The monstrous mutilation of the egomonger’s personality has been made possible by development of the cult of the expert - the modern extension of the theologians’ discovery that if the appropriate condition-blocks are early instilled, a person’s reasoning power can be focused so as to become enormously productive in specialized areas, but non-functional in assessing the totality of experience and governing his life thereby.

In the modern Think Tank, which coordinates the efforts of a varied team of these manageable experts to an externally predetermined end, the ordered society has found a working substitute for the untrustworthy free intellectual. No longer needed, the free intellectuals can now be denounced and discredited, as Einstein was before his death; and the social milieu that produced them can at last be eradicated or brought under authoritarian control.

The developed egomongery rendered needless a time-honored but risky practice of earlier society: the education to functional reasoning of a too-random quota of each generation. The early advocates of the "total education" concept which supplanted its concisely defined its weakness: our public schools, they explained, had produced an oversupply of people educated beyond any probable use the society had for them and beyond any return to insensitive drudgery, who had become a discontented and therefore socially dangerous element - i.e., the organizers of the ‘30’s’ mass resistance.

The subtly instituted shift in public education has been unspectacular in application but devastatingly effective. Systematic cataloging of information has been replaced by massive and stultifying doses of random fact (and myth) - a suitable base upon which to build conditioned uniform responses to mass-media stimuli but nearly indigestible by critical reason. For training in logical thinking the "educators" have progressively substituted elaborate conditioning programs in every facet of social behavior. Reading has been converted from a vital tool of the reasoning person into a low-level rote-instilled device for uncritical reception of data; writing has virtually been eliminated from the curriculum, presumably with the intent of making written communication a one-way street. Rapidly the schools are reinforcing their regimen by defining attempts at rational self-assertion as pathological, the excuse for constructing an elaborate clinical plant for suppressing emerging individuality in the name of "adjustment". Perhaps emergence of the Hell’s Angels type of mobile communities with their savagely selfish motivation, their near total lack of more or ethic, is a harsh but necessary catalyst essential to breaking with these directions.

Meanwhile, first rationalization of industrial production, then automation, and new cybernetics render the human draft animal socially useless. He is swiftly following the footsteps of the Percheron horse, although the shrinking residuum of our heritage of enlightenment still imposes need for more subtlety in dealing with his propagation. Beginning with the invention of the junior high school and now continuing through the "community college", society has sought to keep pace with the increasing surplus of new entrants into a closing labor market by creating an artificial state of psychological adolescence and using this invention to justify the induction of each child growing up in the ordered community into an ever more prolonged ersatz existence, as a substitute for normal apprenticeship in living. The males among these socially deep-frozen youth can be slaughtered at any time without loss to the productive capacity. The female are early immured in ticky-tacky doll’s houses.

Now the great society is transforming what was fought for as retirement into personal freedom to a similar spectator-oriented, socially insulated form of premature senility.

Justifiably, the human in us is in rebellion, from the school kids’ insistence on long hair to the older citizens’ diligent propagation of "sunlighting" to evade the choice between social isolation and the meaningless activities of the retirement communities. A generation of egomonger-trainees is rejecting the fate in store for them; their Berkeley battle cry "Do not punch, fold, or mutilate me" has a starkly literal urgency. Likewise the slogan "Make love not war", spreading out from the peace-motivated youth, articulates an elemental step in reversing the process of alienation by forcefully turning volition to personal rather than ordered ends.

The outrageous drive to "dry up the ocean" (that is, to exterminate the populace of Vietnam, in which the guerrillas have their habitat as fish do in the sea), with its open declaration of genocide and the overtones of euthanasia implicit in reclassifying the "mentally unfit" 1Y’s for slaughter and deliberate coercion of the articulate students, has become the focal point for resistance. It is right that this should be so, for war-pled absolutism and a war-booming economy form the crucial buttress of our government’s momentarily vulnerable power. When - closer than we have been allowed to know - genetic modification bends human character permanently to the demands of an authoritarian social order, it will no longer be in our natures to rebel. Now is the time, because there will be no other.

G. and L. C.

[Seattle Group Bulletin #14 from Seattle 1966 Spring; Bulletins 9 thru 17 of the Seattle Group, published Seattle, Washington. Transcription by Dotty DeCoster, October 31, 2011.]

15. Letter to My mother—Sandy Lanz

Letter to My Mother

I must write now my very serious feelings about

the war in Viet Nam. It’s hard to find my own

words. I wish that I could write a poem

and have you see crystal clear all I try to say.

My eyes see through the bluest sky


But so many words must resolve

Themselves with words

Before you and I can stand

Quiet in this truth.

So the dialogue trudges thru the

Mazes of fact, of history, of honor, of commitment

And perhaps my debating isn’t up to par.

In the jungle I falter,

Sit lost on a stump crying words to the earth.

"don’t you see don’t you see

my bastard son laughs like a miracle

the children of Viet Nam hug tight too

my father builds refrigerators to bring home our dead

America, land of fresh dead!"

Others have written poems:

— a seventeen year old boy:

The soldiers run through mud

Dodging bullets

The rain falls

And God cries

— another:

I’m seventeen years old

and I’ve never been responsible

for a war,

you have

When you bomb a village from the sky

you see no faces you hear no screams

I saw a small boy burned black by flaming napalm

What did you and I have to do with that?

Oh mother

listen to my conscience

listen to my love

with the totality of my being

I abhor this war.

For babies and seagulls and tickled toes

Shiny hair and Christmas eve.

For Sandy and Jonny

Can you honestly send your son into this?


your brother fought for America.

Lyndon Johnson is not America

America is truth and love

I am fighting for America

Do you understand?

Sandra (signed)

[hand printed on stencil and mimeographed. This is Seattle Group Bulletin #15 from Seattle 1966 Spring; Bulletins 9 thru 17 of the Seattle Group. Published in Seattle, Washington. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, October 31, 2011.]

16. What It’s Like Down There—Mary Gibson


"The Movement" is essentially a religious struggle—one could even say that it is a struggle between good and evil, bearing in mind that all men are partly god and partly devil.

Since the church was in the early days of life in America the only organization allowed to Negroes, the only place where they could congregate and interchange ideas, the fact that churches are still meeting places for the Movement is not surprising, nor is the fact that many of the words and phrases distinctive down there are religious in tone. For instance, the old hymn, "Let Your Light Shine" is sung in the Negro churches. The idea in this song is that you should let your goodness be seen, a beacon to lost souls in the darkness. One of the common expressions is, something "turns you on", makes you come alive, lights you up.

The Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee is a tax-exempt branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. Its function is to provide legal defense for the demonstrators and for the Negro communities. Most of the lawyers are Jewish. The function of LCDC should not be underestimated: we are not the saints of the Movement as are the SNCC demonstrators and the Negroes who put their bodies on the line, but this revolution, the Negro Revolution, is being fought in the courts, with words, not guns, and while the words of the organizers who do the door-to-door work are the primary source of the Movement, the legal work is absolutely necessary. In the southern courts, the Movement hardly ever wins, but provided enough time and the highly skilled work of the cream of America’s trial lawyers are provided, almost any of our cases win in federal court.

The lawyers, mostly very warm human beings, do more than just the legal work: in Montgomery one of the cases concerned Luther Johnston, a sharecropper from a little town called Luverne (the little towns are always the most violent—big cities are comparatively safe). Luther Johnston had been shot at four times. Later his son was wounded in the leg and stomach so badly that no doctor in Crenshaw County could perform the necessary surgery—all of this violence because of civil rights activity. While the boy was taken to a hospital in Montgomery, the family lost their land. When he was released from the hospital, the family was living with a sister of the husband; there was no bed for the boy. The lawyers got him one.

In July, the Movement was so quiet in Montgomery that the LCDC office was closed and staff transferred. But in the week that I was there, I helped distribute sample copies of a paper known as The Southern Courier, put out primarily by law students. It deals with demonstrations, cases and activities in the Negro communities across the South. The NAACP Inc. Fund students took sample copies to the Negro churches and were allowed to recommend the paper during regular services.

In New Orleans, where I was sent after Montgomery, the main kinds of cases in the Southern Regional Office of counsel for CORE were cases dealing with kids in jail in Bogalusa, cases involving the Deacons for Defense and Justice and cases involving school integration.

Romantic, fascinating New Orleans has authentic jazz and at that time had the Free Southern Theatre, but a Negro man is still not safe walking past the striptease bars on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. White men in the South could not bear a Negro man seeing a naked white woman.

New Orleans practically melted us Northerners, although the office of Collins, Douglas & Elie has air conditioning and an electric typewriter. It is housed in an old frame building which was slightly bombed in August. The library sometimes has lawyers and students crowded in so closely that one can’t get past them to the pot with its chicory coffee.

Collins, Douglas & Elie told me I should go to "Mecca" while I was in New Orleans—to Bogalusa. We drove over in a heavy old car, without a Deacon escort, as the lawyers go over almost every day and know how to take care of themselves. Only at one point crossing a bridge at the outskirts of town did we lock the doors and roll up the windows. At the courthouse, my white roommate, Judi Nusbaum, and I sat on the Negro side. The courthouse was Greek revival, clear green walls with white woodwork, the walls lined with pictures of sweet and shallow Southern judges. About fifty to one hundred spectators were waiting for their police court cases to be heard. Fifteen to twenty big tough cops stood around the front of the room while the whites gave us hate looks. A Negro friend of Judi’s turned around to whisper to her and was thrown out of the courtroom. She was also ordered into the anteroom, not outside the courthouse, which I found ominous, since the Klan headquarters were down the street, and Judi had told me not to take pictures in that direction. At the recess I went out to see how Judi was. A big cop at the door would not let me return to the courtroom, although I had been with the lawyers. Our men told me later that I could have insisted, at which point I would probably have been arrested, and we could have then made a test case. But since the LCDC handbook instructs us that we are there to work and not to be arrested, I kept quiet. While Judi and I were waiting in the anteroom, we inspected the toilets which were still segregated. The "white" and "colored" signs have been taken down, but "women" is in heavier print on the Negro one. It has an arch and door rather than two doors, no mirror and the toilet door wouldn’t shut. The drinking fountains, too, were segregated, but the Coke machine was not.

Our good men got the defendant, Henry Austan, released and he returned to New Orleans with us that night. Henry Austan, a Deacon, writes poetry and is far more elegant to look at than the belligerent beefy whites. Here is one of this poems:

Well now black boy wit de head so big,

De brain so small, and da pretty processed wig,

What yah gonna do ‘bout them thing down south,

Where dey hand a black boy for opening his mouth.

Is yuh gonna run and hide like yuh always done,

And let dem good white folks hang your son?

None of your kin folks would blame yuh if yuh did,

I mean, who gives a damn ‘bout some black kid.

Yeah, always talkin’ ‘bout the way he beats yah back,

And how yah shoulders blisters from dat cotton sack,

But yuh let him go right on havin’ his way,

‘Pending on da lawd to give him his pay.

Yah damn work-out body should be hung from a rack,

Dying for de white man in form of a cotton sack.

You’re damn dumb fool who never went to school,

Yah never was a man, just Mister Charley’s tool.

Tell yah, black boy wit de mouth so big,

De brain so small, and de pretty processed wig;

Though your head is big, and yah mouth is bigger,

From head to toe yah just’s the white man’s nigger.

... Henry Robert Austan

The office in Jackson is a nerve center for the little towns throughout Mississippi. It was called the night Rev. Daniels was shot in Alabama. The phones, costing $2,000 a month, at the LCDC living quarters and office ring constantly.

Cases may involve a Harvard philosophy student being forced to drink glass after glass of milk of magnesia and being beaten senseless by cellmates informed by jailers that he was a civil rights worker, or may concern a student who had been arrested on a felony charge for driving a child, a Negro, to a formerly white school to register. $300 was needed to bail him out. He was accused of trying to register the child in the first grade knowing that she had completed it (she had failed to pass), and impersonating a federal officer (because he had made remarks about Supreme Court rulings).

At the time Rev. Thompson was shot going into his apartment house, a Negro woman lawyer, a white man lawyer and I were desegregating restaurants. At one seafood place white people moved to sit farther away from us, but the hostess told us, "You all come back, now," as we left. We looked into the kitchen through the plate glass window which separated it from the dining room, and the Negro employees practically cheered. The fringe benefits more than offset being followed by a car one night coming home from a poverty program meeting and artificial lilies (funeral flowers) left on our front steps.

Religious people talk about being born again: I’d like to think I was born again half Jewish and half Negro like the Movement, but the truth of the matter is that although I was a servant of the Movement and no doubt made a contribution, I was not a part of it in the same way as the kids who put their bodies on the line or the lawyers who go alone into the little towns to bail them out. I expect I am still a guilty old white person trying to be saved.

Can a guilty white gentile be saved in the North?

Is the Movement needed in the North?

Is the death of Robert Reese so different from deaths in Alabama and Mississippi?

To be continued...


[Seattle Group Bulletin #16 from Seattle 1966 Spring; Bulletins 9 thru 17 of the Seattle Group. Published Seattle, Washington. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, October 31, 2011.]

17. More Thoughts on the Seattle Group; America Viet Nam; and the ABC Syndrome—Tomi Schwaetzer

I once, many years ago, spent some months in Seattle. Since then, I’ve traveled quite a ways, but somehow, from time to time, I’ve found again contacts with my Seattle friends. So it’s been my pleasure to read, in Montparnasse (Paris), the Seattle Group’s Bulletins. Yes, frankly, my pleasure.

Having delivered these flowers, here come the brickbats. Brickbats not for what Seattleites write about, but what they don’t: My dear friends, I wonder if you, much more than Americans in general, realize to what extent today’s USA—at least seen from the outside—can be described by one single concept: VIET NAM.

All the "rest"—the Negro, the Sexual, the Campus "revolts", not to mention the New Left, the "great society" (!!) or the "war against poverty" seem to us outsiders secondary, or just plain superficial.

Frankly, we do NOT believe that increasing freedom for Negroes, women, students or teenagers, nor even better pay, better working conditions, will, by themselves, stop the war in Viet Nam. Let’s go even further: It’s not impossible to suppose that certain "Equal Rights" can be won more easily because—Negro soldiers are needed in Plei-ku.

Domestic progress - or let’s call a spade a shovel: "keep-you-quiet" bribery—is not incompatible with imperialist war abroad. The French working class obtained the third week of paid vacations, back in ’56, just as the war in Algeria was shifted into high gear and the attack on Suez * started.

But the USA is not France. Defeat of American imperialism may cost us all, here in Paris, more than just a French Republic.** However, this defeat is unavoidable. The basic problem facing the world today is how to avoid that this defeat turn into a mad dog’s rage, or, if you prefer more elegance, a Samson act, into a nuclear world war. Negro, Sexual, Student, and Labor problems would then become somewhat academic. Equality in the fallout shelters, or: ALL MEN—EQUALLY CREMATED.

Am I doing you wrong? But sometimes the Seattle Groupers, seen through their Bulletins, seem to consider Viet Nam an incidental, not THE basic, problem. ‘T AIN’T SO, McGEE:

This off my chest, I’d like to tell you a fable, pose you a quiz:


"A" is rich and powerful. "B" is poor and weak. A has been sitting on B for so long that everybody thinks it’s normal. A sometimes exclaims: "What luck for poor B that I am sitting on him! What would he do without me!" But most of the time A feels no need to say anything to B at all.

"B"—B is weak, his face is in the mud. B—he says nothing. Or if he does, nobody hears him.

One day, B tries to get up. This disturbs A. He hits B, just a little, for his own good. B, however, has his face out of the mud. He cries. A hits him harder. B finds A’s leg in front of his teeth. Timidly, unsure of whether t his is done, for after all he’s had mud in his mouth for years, B bites A in the leg. A is more surprised, more outraged, than hurt (he has good quality trousers). "Ungrateful bastard, after all I’ve done for you!" He ups and kicks B in the head.

This proves to be a mistake, for B, mostly to protect his head, gets up too. Blood running down his face, he goes for A. To everybody’s surprise, after a hell of a fight he licks A. A leaves. B feels very proud and washes his face.


* For young readers: Suez: In 1956 a French "Socialist" government teamed up with the British conservatives, used the Israelis as "chestnut-puller-outers" and attacked Egypt to (1) get back the Suez Canal, dastardly stolen by the Egyptians, (2) overthrow that Fascist dictator Nasser (read press of the day) and (3) stop the Algerian revolt (see also quiz question #9, to follow).

** For even younger readers: In 1958, the Suez deal having backfired but good, and the Algerian revolt hotter than ever, the French Black-feet (see quiz question #9) and the fascists decided to win the Algerian war in Paris. They did get the Fourth French Republic (RIP), but Algeria is now independent.

And "C"? What about C? Where is C?

Oh, yes, C. Well, you see, all during this fight, and for years afterwards, A I crying out loud (and being rich and powerful, he’s got a good voice): "C, stop, stop it immediately! How dare you stir up poor B! He was lying there so happily, and now look at him—bleeding all over. All your fault!" And, right in the middle of the fight, A is looking all the time for C. Sometimes he even tries to poke at this C too, if he can find him and get at him.

Funniest of all, A really believes B would still be laying in the mud if there were no C’s to stir him up. Sometimes A, his hands full with B (yes, he’s stronger, but it’s hard to make a fellow lie down in the mud once he’s stood up), well, this A, he’ll go and take a poke at some bystander, who up to then’s been doing no more than looking on. Actually, you might consider A’s behavior just downright irrational, plain stupid. But you’re forgetting that A has been sitting on B for so long he really believes that B likes being sat on. And even if A isn’t as dumb as all that, he can’t admit, not to his friends, not even to himself, that poor weak B is licking him, big A, all by himself. So there’s just got to be a C.

End of fable. Now comes the quiz. Answers—a la programmed texts—are printed in the grey panels; disagreement (or call it: independent thinking) is encouraged, but don’t peek til you’ve answered the questions for yourself.

[The quiz below is in a table format within a box and the Answer blocks are shaded. This was accomplished by hand drawing the box and using a textured surface under the stencil and rubbing to make the shading (much like a half-tone screen) then typing over it.]

1. A: the British (also then known as Lobsters).

B: some rag-taggle farmers, in thirteen colonies on the eastern seaboard of North America.

The date (if you need it): 1776.

Who is C?

The French. (Never heard of Lafayette and Co.?)

2. A: a Southern Gentleman.

B. "his" Happy Southern Negroes.

The date: most anytime in the last 200 years.

Who is C?

Outside agitators, Northern, Black or White. (Incidentally, the answer "outside agitators" will get you ½ marks for almost all these questions.)

3. A: This is a hard one; it’s a multiple-A, single-C


A-1: the Russian Tsar; A-2: a fellow called Kerensky; A-3: the "Allies" (by which, at that time, were meant England, France, the USA and other less important friends.)

B: the Russian people.

The date: April 1917 to October 1917, plus a long time after.

Who is C?

The Germans. There was a paid German agitator called Ulianov, who later became quite well known under the false name (agitators often have false names) of Lenin. The Germans sent this guy to Russia, to stir up the Happy Russian People, who wanted nothing better than to continue to die (there was an imperialist war on) for their Tsar, for Kerensky, and later for the above-mentioned Allies. After this Ulianov/Lenin stirred up the Happy Russian People and told them they were unhappy and wasting their time and guts fighting for the Tsar, Kerensky, and for the Allies, then Tsar, Kerensky, and Allies all got chucked out. Of course, this kind of behavior had to be stopped, but fast, so the US Army and the Marines went to Russia to establish order, rescue Russian people from Bolshevik (equals "Red") dictatorship, etc.

If you didn’t get this one, don’t feel bad. It didn’t work out as planned, so A-3 (the US Army, Marines and history teachers) are trying to pretend it never happened.

4. A: Hitler.

B: the rest of the world.

The date: 1933-1945, though one might go back further.

Who is C?

The Jews. The Jews are very favored candidates for the C role, generally.

5. A: the Germans

B: the (somewhat occupied) French

The date: 1940-1944.

Who is C?

Multiple answer: DeGaulle, the British, the Jews (again, see #4), the pluto-democratic (that was a swearword of those days) Americans. You get full marks for any of these.

6. A: Chiang Kai-shek (now a Formosan peanut, but at the time one of the big 4 or 5.)

B: the Chinese people.

The date: 1945-1949, but as in #4, one might go back further.

Who is C?

The Russians and a fellow called Owen Lattimore. Either one will do.

7. A: the colonizing (not to be confused with the somewhat occupied) French.

B: the Vietnamese (already they’ve a long history as B’s!)

The date: 1945-1954.

Who is C?

Multiple answer: the Japanese, Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Tse-Tung. As you can see, there’s no need for C-1, C-2, or C-3 to be friends; all that A needs is some explanation for the fact that B doesn’t like mud in his mouth any more.

8. A: the Boss.

B: the Happy Loyal Employee. ("Worker" is a dirty word.)

The date: almost anytime.

Who is C?

The outside agitator(s), as in #2. But we warned you, this answer will serve for a lot of questions. In the old days, the 1930s, one might have said: the outside union agitator.

9. A: the Black-feet. No, that’s not an Indian tribe,

that’s the name for another type of French. The French have a habit of coming in all shapes and types, even at a given period; that’s one of the reasons why life in France is often very interesting.

B: some people then known as "Bicots" or "Ratons", now as Algerians. (B often changes in name when he stands up.)

The date: around 1956 or so.

Who is C?

Fellow called Nasser. The "Paris Intellectuals" will do, too.

10. A: the USA. (Now, we might quarrel over this term, but when we stick a label on a group, a nation, this does mean something—one must take his responsibilities for the group to which one belongs—even though one doesn’t agree with it); as we were saying, A: the USA, bringing happiness, television, and napalm to

B: the Vietnamese.

The date: Now till ??

Oh, you read the papers, don’t you! You know as well as Johnson that the Vietnamese were happy, carefree, singing all day long, until this bunch of (where did they come from?) Viet Cong Pekinese stirred them up. Or Hanoiese, or just Saigonese Viet Cong, but in any case there were we poor Americans, minding our own business, peacefully sitting on B (excuse me, saving them from communism) when they started biting us in the leg; of course we had to put a stop to it. If only C hadn’t stirred up poor B—look at him now, all burned with napalm; and he won’t lie down!

[Seattle Group Bulletin #17, from Seattle 1966 Spring; Bulletins 9 thru 17 of the Seattle Group. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, October 31, 2011.]

18. Further Notes on the Man Question

The rediscovery, by this current generation of radical youth, that revolution must be sexual-social as well as economic-political is a healthy development, long overdue. It isn’t, as many of them seem to think, a new idea; but it’s been badly neglected. Even accidental circumstances seemed to conspire in that neglect, as when, during the Boer War, Olive Schreiner’s magnum opus was forever destroyed in manuscript. Read her fragmentary (and too narrowly titled) Women and Labor, and imagine what the comprehensive study must have been. You’ll weep for the lost years.

Today’s young people come at the question under tremendous handicaps. The boys are, of course, boys—which is like saying, in regard to Negroes, that Whites are white: they just don’t know, they can’t know, the most they can do is imagine. And imagination has been so stunted in this generation that the kids use consciousness-expanders. (Consciousness-expanders. Good grief. When our consciousness is constantly at the breaking-point, without any help at all.) And the girls—the girls have grown up in the era of the feminine mystique and the sexual sell, warped to Madison Avenue’s self-seeking sex-image of them, and looking for freedom in a change of cages.

But they have one great, material advantage. Before this, when feminists and their radical allies thought of liberating women, the only real alternative to dependence they could offer was competition with men in the industrial rat-race. That’s not freedom—even with social provision for maternity, it would only be equity in bondage. Whether or not women articulated the spuriousness of that "emancipation", they rejected it in the main, and chose to retain their relative freedom from timeclocks, even at the cost of remaining the second (read second-class) sex. Now cybernation holds out the prospect of freeing all people from unwanted labor. In the society now within sight, women can break with their traditional dependence without giving up as much as they would gain. It has become possible to think in terms of equity in freedom.

So now we have to define that.

The earlier feminists were absolutely correct in their recognition that its first prerequisite was removal of all legal and social inequities. Equality before the law has now largely been achieved, though in the area just beyond it—legal recognition of women’s special needs, e. g., re abortion, etc. —our laws remain obdurate except when, as in the so-called "protective" labor legislation, they have added new disabilities. Social inequity is but slightly abated. Women of all social classes do lead more active lives nowadays than in the past, and dress with somewhat less torture to their bodies, with a consequent improvement in health. Few fields of endeavor remain utterly closed to them, but many are still difficult of entry and discriminatory in remuneration, upgrading, and prestige. The lack of confidence from which most women suffer is a valid response to the discrimination and danger they face, in a still man-dominated culture. Their too-often-characteristic servility merely reflects that culture’s prejudiced valuation of them as but sex-gratifiers and homemakers, trouble-some when they assert their own wills. And in the area beyond that, we’re still Victorian: one of several stupid dissentions currently splitting our local peace movement concerns whether the movement’s young mothers "should" nurse their babies" in public"!

Modern apologists for the feminine mystique make much of the real and imagined differences between the sexes, and seek to define a satisfactory role for each. They are supported by clinical studies aimed at discovering, in a culture-free laboratory environment, what actual behavioral differences do exist in animals that can be subjected to such observation. This approach can sound very scientific, but it’s fraught with pitfalls for a generation lacking in historical perspective: the human species functions only in society, therefore society itself must be our lab. Only in a society that allows free play to the varied inclinations of its individuals can the true natures of men and women emerge. To compress persons of either sex into a predetermined role simply invalidates the experiment. And this is what all known societies have done, in greater or lesser degree, through all known time. (The subculture of today’s radical youth, for all its self-conscious sexuality, is no exception.) It no longer matters that sex-linked roles may have had valid biological roots in a distant past when women’s usual smaller size and lesser muscular strength were relevant to productivity, and when the infant’s long dependence on nursing and low resistance to exposure tied its mother closely to the tribal campfires. There is no objective reason to deplore the observed lessening of civilized women’s sense of total fulfillment in bearing and child-rearing; it may well be the normal and healthy atrophy of a function no longer conducive to the species’ evolution. Given high survival rates, the purposes of preservation could be adequately served as a part-time and entirely voluntary pursuit, by those who wish to engage in it. Let’s dispense with the playing of roles and concern ourselves with reality.

Of course there are differences. The only important thing about them, other than procreation, is that they should be a source of pleasure to both sexes, not grounds for domination by either. The objective basis for making them so exists now in pushbutton production, tampons, and effective, esthetically inoffensive birth-control methods. Except for the widely variable mop-up still to be done on their own inhibitions and the disapproval of some prudes whose opinions scarcely matter, modern girls are free to fuck. The real question now is, are they equally free not to? And to retain their individual identities, as human beings as well as women, both in and out of the sexual relationship? Or do the young men with whom they mate merely find in increased sexual accessibility an excuse for further narrowing their one-sided valuation?—the proliferation of disparaging slang terms for women suggests it, and certainly I see no lessening, in these young males, of the prejudices I’ve suffered for forty years; nor do I see any great number of young women being attracted to the revolutionary movement, over-all, as they would be if parity of personal esteem and intellectual scope were to be found there along with the fucks.

The prime and central fact is that woman, as such, is simply the female of the human species. Yet all the attributes of that species upon which its hitherto dominant males place a high valuation they have claimed as "masculine" virtues: courage, honor, intellectual excellence, etc. Those of which they are ashamed, or which they fear, they have relegated to women: e.g., inertia, guile, timidity, and those mysteriously subtle mental processes called intuition. By a neat linguistic trick, then, any affront to their egos disparages not their humanity, but their "manhood"; and any exercise by a woman of the common human characteristics they value diminishes her "femininity", and makes her "mannish"—which by a further juggling of language then becomes, inconsistently, a term of contempt. The psychological ramifications of such semantic sleight-of-hand are incalculable. And where language fails to denigrate women, it ignores them: the singular pronominal substantive for "human being" is "he"; the general term for the species is "man". People can’t even communicate without reinforcing the prevalent bias, yet generation after generation anyone who broaches the need for reforming this aspect of language is dismissed, even in the left, as a blithering crackpot. Without such reform neither freedom nor equity can come about, for the relationship between language and thought is reciprocal; language reflects existing thought-patterns, then reinforces them and conveys them to new young speakers, insuring their extension and perpetuation. Thus elimination of any prejudice demands a conscious attack on its verbal expression, however habitual or devoid of ill-will in any given speaker.

Ever since industrialization revolutionized the economic base of society, men have resisted—with reason, for there were never enough to go around, and besides, someone had to darn their socks—women’s entry into those jobs and occupations which, because of better pay or other relatively desirable features, they early staked out for themselves. As new forms of labor developed, those were assigned, usually on the basis of relative ease, interest, or remuneration, and on the size of the available labor pool, to one or the other sex. They rationalized women’s exclusion from the more desirable jobs by finding the requirements of those jobs incompatible with their concept of the feminine nature, or particularly suited to their image of themselves. The common humanity of both sexes remained lost in the shuffle. It was this common humanity that the feminists sought; and if in the search some sacrificed the specifically sexual aspects of their lives, their willingness to make that sacrifice testifies to the urgency of their need for recognition as people. Only prejudice could scorn this as a "negation of femininity"; in truth, it was a magnificent assertion of the primacy of being human. But all that the blindly male-centric men could see is that it removed those women from the pool of conveniently available lays.

I suspect that extension of that pool is the chief interest today’s young men have in the current sexual revolution. It’s a valid interest, and I’m not knocking it. The question of men-women relationships has been opened again, for whatever reason; that’s great. But this time let’s not close it prematurely by settling for coition the way our grandmothers settled for the vote!


[Seattle Group Bulletin #18 from SEATTLE 1966 SUMMER; Bulletins 18 thru 27 of the Seattle Group, published Seattle, Washington. Transcribed January 5, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

19. Electoral Action, the Fulbright-Morse Opposition, and the Anti-War Movement—Tom Warner

In order to evaluate proposals on how to deal with the electoral machinery which is widely believed to be the agency for settlement of national policy, it is necessary to have an understanding of the class nature of the drive to war in the U.S.

It is necessary to evaluate the role of the dominant business houses in the field of electoral politics, and the basis for division among them on many questions of policy including foreign policy.

It is necessary to analyze the reasons for, the direction of, and the conditionality of disagreements between these business forces. For these forces are all that exist in the structure of the U.S. government.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The main cause of the war drive and total subjugation of the country to hot and cold war militarism is the disintegration and decay of world capitalism. The U.S. has outstripped all its international rivals and is finding it impossible to hold in control all ends of an antagonistic world population simultaneously.

The decisive new factor is the tremendously accelerated and determined drive of the colonies and semi-colonies toward independence from the exploiting metropolitan centers. This struggle brings into motion many levels of the colonial population in attempts of national unity to show a common face to the oppressing imperialist power.

It is this upsurge breaking out into armed confrontations with one or another link in the chain of oppression, that causes the U.S. ruling class to have an $80 billion dollar war budget, McCarran acts, Peace Corps, CIA, etc.

Within this orientation there is a dim hope on the part of the dominant group of overturning those revolutions which have resulted in workers’ states in former semi-colonial areas such as Cuba, China, and Russia.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The important thing for us to understand is that all camps of U.S. business profit from the domination of the colonial world, whether they are the Western grain, shipping, and timber interests represented by Morse, Church, and Gruening, or whether they are the oil, mineral, rubber, fiber, and chemical interests of Rockefeller, Du Pont, and Morgan as represented by Johnson and the overwhelming majority of the Congress. A very noteworthy consideration in relation to the war in Vietnam is that as yet the U.S. ruling class is not united around this war and opposition is still possible within legal bounds. When they unite one may expect to see another Rosenberg-type trial, more Smith Act arrests, or a Humphrey-type bill, etc., as was the case in World War I and II and the Korean War. We still have time.

Some conflict of interest does arise within the business policy circles out of differences in the area of investment and over questions of tactics, usually dealing in the particular situation relating to particular markets for specific regions, specific labor problems, whether investment is predominantly at home or abroad, and such self-serving motives, as well as questions of judgment and tactics.

The mild rivalry of these powerful forces gives the illusion of more antagonism than actually exists. There is little hint of how conditional their opposition is, nor any hint of how deeply rooted these oppositionist (at the moment) social forces are rooted in the privilege of great power dominance. This, of course, is not surprising when Johnson and the mainstream do a pretty good job of concealing their cross motives and couch them in terms of "freedom, democracy, self-determination, deterring aggression," etc.

However, some inkling of the mildness of the opposition might be noted in a few significant byplays recently in the news.

Wayne Morse, the most consistent opponent of the Vietnam war, at the time of the opening of the Senate hearings, more or less turned the opposition over to Fulbright, this undoubtedly because of Fulbright’s position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Within weeks Fulbright led the oppositionists before Humphrey to receive an "explanation" of U.S. foreign policy. (At this point it is well to note that until recently Humphrey wore a halo of the same brand as Morse, Stevenson, Fulbright, etc. Of course Humphrey is recognized to be the representative of Johnson now.)

Another note. During the Senate hearings, when the "oppositionists" were talking about "government by secrecy", when they in full knowledge of the fact the bombing of North Vietnam would resume the next day, not one of them would let the cat out of the bag before the television viewers.

Senator Gruening, whom many liberals regard as a Don Juan of anti-imperialism, was marked by the Movimiento Pro Independencia of Puerto Rico, one of the outright U.S. colonies, as the man who engineered the massacre of peaceful demonstrators in Puerto Rico for Roosevelt on the 21st of March 1937.

Such insights can give a token of understanding of the character and nature of existing opposition to the war in the U.S. Congress. In order to build an effective opposition to the war machine we must be independent of these forces. We can applaud their opposition but not depend on it. We can use the information which they are willing to reveal in their limited fight while being independent of them. We must be independent of them because at the ninth hour, when the deals are made, they will capitulate. If we have illusions we will be disarmed.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

There are those who have a perspective of building a bloc of anti-war forces in the Democratic Party of Washington.

No concept could be more erroneous or fraught with danger.

Let there be no mistake about who controls the Democratic party. In every decisive contest the fangs of the real controllers have been bared.

One can look at the election of Lenus Westman, several decades ago, as a progressive Democrat and the refusal of the Democratic party to seat him. (Lenus is an active member of the Seattle Committee to End the War in Vietnam. If you meet him ask him.) Shades of Julian Bond, who experienced the same thing this year in Georgia.

One of the most clear examples of the utter impossibility of swerving the state Democratic party from its solid course of plying the policies of the national bourgeoisie occurred at its 1939 convention.

This was after a period of mass upsurge, when trade unions were built, and community action groups of an anti-fascist and anti-war character were very strong. These included the Washington Commonwealth Federation, Washington Pension Union, Workers Alliances, Leagues Against War and Fascism, as well as the new CIO and the AFL, more militant in that day and especially in the state of Washington. The progressive forces are said to have controlled the Democratic party at the precinct level, and certainly they had more force than they ever did before or since.

The upshot of all this is that on the question of opposition to the war, Tom Rabbitt could not even get the floor. I don’t know how many old timers remember this, but it is a matter of record in the newspapers of the day.

Lots of other examples could be called forth.

Still, it is argued, the primaries in the state of Washington are open and anyone can run. So be it. But for what purpose?

The task of the anti-war movement is to unmask the real relationship between the profit-hungry power structure and the major parties, not to stand within major parties and urge support for them.

In any event, campaigns of this sort generally conclude by rendering objective assistance to the war machine, as witness the recent campaign of Alice Franklin Bryant, who intended to campaign in opposition to the horrors of nuclear war and wound up with pictures of Johnson in her headquarters and "All the Way with LBJ" stickers all over the windows. She became part of the machine, and her radical supporters as well.

Yet it is true that there are a significant number of persons (few from the blue-collar working class or significant Freedom forces from the black community) who are in the Democratic party, and are "sincere" opponents of the war drive. What can we do to work with these people?

I say, work with them outside the Democratic party in organizations like the Seattle Committee to End the War in Vietnam and Seattle Youth for Peace in Vietnam and show them who is against the war and who is for the war, and how integrally all significant forces in the two capitalist parties are bound to each other.

We should encourage groupings like those in Alameda County, California, who walked out of a party convention recently, not to just walk out but to leave the party for good and look to the streets for an effective opposition to the war.

And while defending Julian Bond’s right to be seated as a representative of the embattled black people of Georgia and as an opponent of the war, it is not at all necessary to be in the Democratic party of Rankin, Sparkman, Eastman, Long, and Talmadge.

No. Better to stand aside and show the inevitable lessons of the course of ruling class parties and urge independent action against these arms of oppression.

Only in the case of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, where it is in headlong collision with the REAL Democratic party, would it be permissible to enter and urge this split along. Here there is a mass plebian base which is entirely different than any situation anyplace in the country, let alone the state of Washington.

The cry will undoubtedly go up of "left sectarianism", but certainly not on the basis of Lenin’s conclusions. At no time did Lenin ever advocate anything, anything but the most stringent opposition toward the bourgeois parties. For that is how he characterized parties, according to the class they represented. And this in a country where significant sections of the capitalist class were restive under the yoke of a tsarist feudal government.

Lenin in his treatise "Left Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder," was addressing himself to syndicalist elements who would abandon using the congressional races for the purpose of electing COMMUNIST candidates, who would use their seat or the very campaign as a platform to organize and inform the working class and the masses of the real state of affairs, and raise the level of the struggle as it would take place in the streets and factories.

The understanding of this important work has been deliberately twisted by the CPUSA and other revisionists to mean that it is leftish, or childish, or counterrevolutionary to refuse to enter the parties of the warmongers, and by your presence shield them from the criticism of the masses.

The crux of the question is dealt with by Lenin on Page 47 of Left Wing Communism: "You wish to create a new society and yet fear the difficulties involved in forming in a reactionary parliament a good parliamentary fraction CONSISTING OF CONVINCED, DEVOTED, HEROIC COMMUNISTS."

This is quite different than supporting liberals in the Democratic party. This is the only electioneering ever proposed by Lenin.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As things stand now, a "left" fraction in the Democratic party around the candidacy of a liberal, Guardianite type, would almost certainly follow in the tail of Morse-Gruening, and would simply add a "left" tail to the chain of capitulation, to wit left liberal to Morse to Fulbright to Humphrey to Johnson to Goldwater. Such is the course of collaborationist politics in contemporary U.S.A.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Our task should be to organize the resentment of the people of the U.S. who are asked to sacrifice their sons, negotiation power at contract time, school lunches, endure spiraling inflation, increased taxes, etc., and much more if U.S. involvement becomes deeper. We should organize this resentment into an avalanche of action in defense of their own interests, which conflict with the interests of the profit-hungry warmakers.

We should explain as well as we can the justification for the rebellion against imperialism in the colonial and recent colonial world and why the major powers are so hostile to the independence of these people. We should constantly place the onus of responsibility for the cold and hot war on our own objectively responsible houses of finance whether Republican or Democrat.

We should hold our hand out in solidarity with the embattled peoples of Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Congo, Puerto Rico, and everywhere that the ruling class of the U.S. perverts self-determination and prepares the groundwork for plunder by the huge U.S. investment houses. This in our name, and with our blood and our labor skill and taxes.

None of these tasks can be done and maintain a semblance of loyalty to the political parties responsible.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

By way of contrast, however, if the united forces against the war in Vietnam sponsoring the local March 26 demonstration were to launch an anti-war ticket (to secure the qualifying signatures would be a snap), then the parties of the Establishment could be challenged and all the tendencies could enter candidates for one or another office.

The critical statements of Morse, Gruening, and Fulbright could be utilized in such a campaign, and it would give the left liberals, recently disaffected from the camp of Johnson, Jackson, and Adams a place to go.

Such a campaign should, of necessity, maintain the presence of all the pacifist, Communist, and socialist literature, which characterize the united front which exists. All anti-war slogans and buttons should vie for prominence. Freedom of leafleting and analysis should prevail.

Such an open popular electoral forum should be a big step in cutting through the ice of intolerance and McCarthyite and Birchite feelings of the working class and intermediate layers. The march toward fascism could be pushed back a couple of miles. And finally, such a campaign is likely to meet with significant successes because there is not a firm unity in the ruling class in all of its sections.

Such a campaign would not, as did the Bryant campaign and the DeBerry campaign, detract from the picketing and other street protest, but would rather enhance it, the two forms going hand in hand. Such a campaign would be a fitting answer to the Red-baiting assault by the Seattle Times.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In any event, if such a united front campaign with the most uncommitted sections of the anti-war movement supporting it and playing a key role cannot be arranged, then short of a breakaway of COPE from the Democrats, or a serious and deep rift between the capitalist parties and the Afro-American community, it will be necessary to abstain from the electoral arena for the time being.

Therefore, outside the parties of the warmongers, we should organize the maximum resistance to the war machine, until one day there will again emerge a mass socialist party (Debs got the second most votes for president in the state of Washington in 1912, with the Republicans first and the Democrats third), or a new Farmer-labor party with mass roots, or a united front ticket of the tendencies in the anti-war movement with freedom for the tendencies to agitate and propagandize in their own way.

The support of or merging with the Democratic party leads inevitably to defeat and failure, and to betrayal.


Tom Warner

The foregoing is the text of a paper presented to the Pacific Northwest Regional Conference to End the War in Vietnam, reprinted at the writer’s request.

[Seattle Group Bulletin #19, from SEATTLE 1966 SUMMER; Bulletins 18 thru 27 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, January 1, 2012.]

20. Anti-war Action as Individuals—Mason Taylor (reprint)

Text of a paper presented to the Pacific Northwest Regional Conference to End the War in Vietnam, reprinted by S.I.’s and B.T.’s request:



You don’t have to join a committee to be a pacifist. There are many things you as an individual can accomplish to end war.

A. Start with yourself. Are you just against the Vietnam war? Or do you oppose all wars? Are you just against nuclear war? Or do you oppose all wars? Are you just against wars? Or do you oppose violence wherever it’s committed whoever commits it? How much do you know about non-violence? How much about other countries? Do you believe everything you read in the hometown newspaper? Or do you balance your reading diet by subscribing to the Nation, New Republic, Liberation, I.F. Stone, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists? These publications are highly respected and reliable. Publications like Spark, Challenge, Free Student, Workers World are less objective. Mainly, they are radical left propaganda. Read the books in the American Friends Service Committee bookstore and the Turn Toward Peace library. Try to attend the events that the TTP newsletter advertises. Inform yourself. You can participate in discussion groups without joining anything.

B. Next work at home. Work on your wife, husband, cohabitator, your john, your brother sister father mother aunt uncle cousin grandchildren! Work on your friends, fellow workers, acquaintances. Get them to read Let There Be a World ($1.00 available from author), persuade them to buy a copy.

Write a letter to your draft board. Express your doubts about using violence. Refuse to pay the 50% of your income tax going to death and destruction, or at least inform IRS you pay your tax hesitantly and enclose a CNVA peace yen. (I did) Wear a peace button. When people ask, "What is that?" seize the opportunity to enlighten them.

Give away "Make love—not war" stickers. Instead of talking about the weather, talk about putting an end to war. When they ask "How are you?" don’t complete the ritual with "Fine how are you". Say, "I’m worried." When they ask, "Oh, what are you worried about?" reply, "I’m worried about all the innocent Vietnamese women and children we’re burning to death with napalm." And go from there.

Buy leaflets ($6 per 1000) from Student Peace Union and distribute them on street corners. Do all the high schools and junior high schools have the Handbook for Conscientious Objectors? It only costs 50 cents. Buy five copies and donate them to the school libraries. Give copies to high school counselors.

Work as an individual. Too many people join a group and then do nothing. Develop your individuality, your responsibility. Mass loss of identity may be one of the causes of war!


Of course there are advantages to forming or joining clubs or peace committees. You will meet colorful individualists (Fringies or Beatniks to our squares) in peace work. Being with people you can really talk to and learn from is a good thing. You can make many friends—and girls. There are some good looking broads in piece, or, peace work. If everybody makes an effort, your organization will achieve more than the sum total of individuals could.

Most clubs no matter what their declared purposes fulfill the basic needs of gossip and sex. Motorcycle clubs, the Birch Society, Rotarians, Coin Collectors: the same thing. So don’t be discouraged if your newly formed club wastes time gossiping about Ed’s new pink peace pin. In fact you should make sure the need to have fun IS provided for by, perhaps, parties after the meeting. If your group completely neglects or avoids picnics, drinking, dancing, mountain hikes, pot or the beach, your group will last no longer than a junkie soliciting a Narco agent on First Avenue.

Here are some national peace organizations, very loosely organized, so there is lots of room for individuality in your local area. They have very broad principles. They are the source for books, leaflets, speakers, buttons, booklists and newspapers.

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Box 271, Nyack, New York.

American Friends Service Committee

814 NE 40th St., Seattle, Wash. 98105

Committee for Non-violent Action—West

P. O. Box 5983, San Francisco, Calif. 94101

Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors

2006 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Penna. 19103

Student Peace Union

5 Beekman St.

New York, N. Y. 10038

War Resisters League

5 Beekman St.

New York, N. Y. 10038

Turn Toward Peace

4235 Roosevelt Way NE

Seattle, Wash. 98105


A. Advantages: Exposure to new ideas is one advantage of allowing communists to join your local group. You also learn that there are many varieties of communism: Progressive Labor Party, Workers World, Communist Party, Chinese Communist Party, Socialist Workers Party (Trotskyists), Young Socialist Alliance (Trotsky youth group). You see that they often disagree. They are by no means monolithic! You see them as people instead of demons. Believe it or not, many are generous and friendly. Even if you dislike their politics, you can like them as human beings. Many of the Marxists (especially older ones) have had long experience in organizing, demonstrations, fund raising. Don’t worry about being "used" by communists. It’s a two-way street, Baby. You, as a pacifist, can "use" them. Make sure that your literature, your buttons, your slogans are used.

B. Disadvantages: 1. There is constant squabbling among communists, and between communists and non-communists. Dissension slows up decisions. You waste too much time arguing about the wording of a leaflet. 2. Since the radical leftists are trying to set up parallel institutions, they often refuse to cooperate with other peace programs or the institutions already in existence. 3. The radicals constantly degrade the United Nations, negotiations, the churches. Any suggestion to support an exclusionary march or activity is hooted down and loudly ridiculed. You may get tired of being made fun of, of being called "conservative" or "stupid". 4. The presence of Marxists scares away many people who would otherwise participate in a demonstration or discussion group. You may get 5 Marxists to join but scare away 10 liberals. 5. Some youthful Marxists know nothing about Marxism. They are immature, exhibitionistic, unstable personalities who take an extreme political position to rebel against their parents. Of course such people are attracted to any radical movement. 6. Marxists oppose certain wars only for political reasons. They are not opposed primarily on humanitarian or moral grounds. This makes them seem rather cold.

In working with communists remember that economics is not the only cause of war. There are cultural, historical, psychological causes also. Please remember that the "means" in social change affect the "ends" or goals. You can’t use violence to achieve peace.


A lot of fuzzy minded peaceniks and liberals participate in one march per year to appease their consciences. It doesn’t take much effort to walk two miles. A moron can walk. Just one demo per year really doesn’t do much for peace in the world. It helps but if that’s all you do, you are not doing enough. Reread section one of this paper if you can’t think of other peace projects.

A demo is a device to pressure political leaders. The USA hasn’t had many demos large enough to exert significant pressure. Demonstrations fail to convert or win over the general public. In fact most people are completely turned off, because they resent the "holier-than-thou" attitude inherent in any public demonstrations.

When I marched last month I felt that bystanders were becoming even more alienated from me. It increased the gap of misunderstanding. Of course every effort should be made to proselytize the open-minded few who come up and ask questions. Don’t stop the line of march to talk! Keep moving and get them to walk with you while you converse. This helps the demo grow. Standing still would also give the Fuzz an excuse to arrest you for blocking traffic (even if there is none).

When you have a march tell the cops about two weeks before, so they can (grudgingly) protect you. If your town cops are real Birchers, hire Bully-Boys or longshoremen or lumberjacks as protections. They should not march in the parade or be associated with it. They should be only near enough to come when called for. They should give the impression (when stopping hecklers) that they are completely independent individuals.


The Worried Man’s Guide to World Peace, Arthur Waskow. Doubleday Anchor. 1963. This $1.25 paperback is an introduction to peace work... excellent bibliography.

Let There Be a World, by Felix Greene. Photographic essay, $1.00

The Art of Loving, and May Man Prevail! By Erich Fromm

Anything by Albert Ellis.

Tao Teh Kingby Lao-Tzu in Mentor paperback.

The Power of Nonviolence by Richard D. Gregg. Revised 1959. Author had many discussions with Gandhi.

The Upanishads, Mentor paperback.

Psychiatric Aspects of the Prevention of Nuclear War.

Walden and On Civil Disobedience, by Thoreau, available in Mentor.

Many men hesitate to be nonviolent advocates, because in Western society being a fighter is considered a manly attribute. They are afraid of being sissies. This outmoded idea of what-is-a-man must be destroyed or phased out. Courage is a manly attribute. Doesn’t it show more courage to refuse to be drafted than to go like a lamb to the slaughter? There are other ways of proving your manhood besides carrying a gun or working in an organization dedicated to destruction of life. Prove your virility in athletics for example. MAKE LOVE NOT WAR.

[Seattle Group Bulletin #20 from SEATTLE 1966 SUMMER; Bulletins 28 thru 27 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcription by Dotty DeCoster, January 1, 2012.]

21. Return to Anarchy—Larry DeCoster

Radicalism needs a new orientation toward a society essentially different from that observed by Marx. American bourgeois society under its new material conditions demands the reintroduction of the "ideal" consciousness and "utopian" anarchism to destroy the bourgeois anachronism which, though more powerful than ever, is yet very unstable and liable to shock from heretofore most improbable sectors.

Bourgeois society, as established by the Reformation and Parliamentary Revolutions, arose, as all systems before it, in a state of scarcity, with an inability to adequately supply the wants of all. Capital production, viewed anthropologically, sought to produce abundance while providing a system of authority (not unlike its predecessors in any manner which might affect the non-rulers, beyond its new class basis). Exploitation, the divine command to work, and police coercion were unavoidable. In this situation, Bourgeois society was a living entity, necessary to evolution, though decidedly inferior in efficiency to the Marxist alternative which arose with the expansion of production. This inferiority is evident in the incredibly rapid technological development of Russia et al, especially when contrasted to an India. There is no longer any reason, anthropologically again, for its further existence.

An understanding of bourgeois morality (a system of values which makes this society, despite any of its advances, particularly obnoxious to me) is particularly important for understanding the present situation. Complementary to an unequal distribution of material products is an unequal distribution of knowledge in terms both of societal position and age—knowledge of a particular variety necessary for the cumulative process of production and control. At the apex are the planners, leaders, teachers—the experts—and at the bottom, the criminals, malcontents, and radicals whose orientation is outside the bounds of bourgeois knowledge. Negroes, for example, are sub-bourgeois because they are "shiftless", "lazy", and "immoral" (the sexual mores cannot be overlooked); or, translated, as a group, follow a personal orientation because socially they have been rendered obsolete in terms of production and therefore are beyond the pale of bourgeois morality.

Concomitant to the system of knowledge is the system of control. There are not just cops, courts, and soldiers in this network but social workers, supervisors, teachers, priests—a cop for every activity which can be organized. Therein lies the traditional dislike of anarchists for organization, organization on the bourgeois standard of control, not mass expression. Such a morality has objective basis only in a situation of scarcity, not one of abundance.

Not only does a state of abundance now exist; but, under the impetus of World War II, Korea, and now Vietnam, cybernetics and automation in the field of production now can allow this society to dispense with most, if not all, production workers. The prospect of the removal of man from the realm of production and therefore to a great degree from the realm of necessity, would seem to necessitate a suitable celebration, e.g., a social revolution. But this bourgeois society quite naturally has other plans, namely its preservation and consolidation.

If the development of abundance ends the necessity for this society, it also gives this society the chance to stabilize itself. In the ‘30’s, it dispelled the anarchy of the market to prevent, or at least at the time postpone, depression; and instituted measures to ameliorate the situation, such as the acceptance of labor unions into the Establishment. Since then, the process of exploitation, as practiced from the late 1800s on, was ameliorated at the cost of a great number of people who were cast out of the bottom of the societal structure. Now, to reintroduce these troublesome people into society, new programs like the "War on Poverty" have been introduced, which, though quite inadequate to the task, like any pilot program, and hampered by political corruption, has the potential to achieve its goal. Fortunately, many of these people have not the slightest interest in the moral value of work or in being educated into an essentially alien society.

This consolidation requires a police state to standardize life within described limits and to isolate and ultimately destroy anti-social patterns. This process demands universal controls and a totality of information. Education and employment are the traditional, not to mention ritualistic, controls. Information began its systematization with Social Security and the Selective Service System and has expanded with auto titles, deeds, credit, diplomas etc., now beginning its centralization through state police records among others. In California, the most "progressive" state of the union, a driver’s license—the basis of all identification here—can within a few minutes detail not only all police records and traffic information of its owner in the western states, but further yield information on credit and employment. This activity is but the beginning of a trend which must necessarily inhibit all deviant behavior. The state does not, however, have to be too rigid in its restrictions and can at times absorb protest which can reasonably be replaced by presidential commissions and their ilk. Though the technique of establishment usurpation of protest activity, from union struggles to civil rights, is a known quantity, still it has hardly gone so far as President Johnson’s "We Shall Overcome". This does not mean there will be no change but rather that the change will not be disruptive to the system. Any grievance which can be removed by wealth will be removed. This attempt at absorption of protest and the rapidly developing police techniques to quiet, isolate, and finally destroy protests are illustrative of the ever-expanding control techniques of this very conscious apparatus.

In a general view, we have a society attempting to stabilize itself in a hierarchical form; a government of experts and institutions unquestioned as to their necessity or value; a social dialectical (non-Marxian) framework for the stabilization of the bourgeois system of reason. Within this framework, economic equality and abundance for all are not only possible but distinctly probable. All radicals who base their radicalism on these factors must inevitably join the establishment, in glory like so many of the chief personnel of the unions or government agencies or obscurely like many others, or stubbornly cling to the superiority of a Lenin or Mao to a Lincoln or Johnson—a patently silly orientation.

The inadequacy of the "socialist" states as the basis of any radical activity is not based in a "revolution-betrayed" attitude. Stalinism and Stakhanovism were natural outcomes of the economic situation—even if they could have been avoided. The real inadequacy of the "socialist" states was indicated at different times, Kronstadt in Russia, Hungary in 1956, the "100 Flowers Campaign" in China. The "permanent revolution", outside the halcyon days of the revolution itself, is denied by the "revolutionary state" whose morality and police structure are counterparts of bourgeois society.

Radicalism has, on the whole, not attempted to fit itself to a new set of objective conditions. Consciousness, not material determination, is most important. That the U.S. could ride through the ‘30’s with the bourgeois structure intact when a socialist revolution alone was the answer; and now that man the toiler is rapidly losing objective significance though bourgeois morality remains, can only be accounted for by a consciousness of society beyond the material conditions. To find the yoke of work removed but the cop remaining is a particularly grotesque feature. Social Revolution in all its millenarian splendor must be reasserted, that is, the revolution of consciousness must be reasserted in the same manner as the Bourgeois Reformation. Bourgeois culture, values, morality, institutions and authority must be attacked with radical fervor. Anti-social behavior which particularly highlights the discrepancy between society and its material base must take our attention as the pre-war union struggles did an earlier generation’s. Those who cheat on welfare, drop out of school, attack cops, smoke pot or take acid, sabotage, riot and burn must be recognized as the only ones now capable of shaking society because it is they who attack the bourgeois system of reason which alone holds society together. The establishment already recognizes their worth and is strenuously counter-attacking. Watts scared the establishment by it size, militancy, and, especially, its lack of leadership. The knowledge that the rioters were not led into the situation but rather went en masse is disturbing to them. Their major call in the McCone report was for the introduction of leadership into the ghetto to stop another such occurrence. It is the individual anarchic act which shakes society and we must aid in its proliferation.


With this compilation, the stencils for the first 27 Bulletins of the Seattle Group are expended. We’ll send back Bulletins on request while supplies last. To receive new Bulletins as they come out, just send your name and address to:

The Seattle Group

[street address removed]

Seattle, Washington

This is Seattle Group Bulletin #21 from the compilation titled: SEATTLE 1966 SUMMER; Bulletins 18 thru 27 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington in mimeograph. The handwritten comments under the bulletin were written by Louise Crowley who made the compilations. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, January 1, 2012.

22. If the Peoples Wants Freedom—Louise Crowley

This spring, a friend brought from Mississippi two crudely mimeographed Ku Klux Klan leaflets, threatening violence against civil rights workers and replete with misspellings and vulgarisms—"buisness", "nigger", "thier", etc. Seattle readers’ reactions were predictable, and most bluntly expressed by our teenage son: "No wonder they’re prejudiced, the dumb-ass bastards. Don’ even know how to write. Shit, they ain’ got enough sense to know better." And when he saw my eyebrows rise he added quickly, "Well, hell, I don’t write that way!"

The boy had a point: he doesn’t. He speaks, like most of us here, a lower-class northwestern dialect, influenced by residence in the Negro ghetto; he writes Standard American English, spelled in accordance with the lexicographers’ preferences. He doesn’t see any conflict in this, and neither do I. It’s the entirely logical result of normal linguistic and historical processes.

Whatever diversity of regional speech may exist in a language area, the advent of a written literature familiarizes all its readers with the dialect of the writer. They continue to speak their own until further influenced by other factors, but the literary dialect becomes thoroughly familiar to their eyes and hands, if not to their tongues. It becomes a second, and within the literate population a universal, language. Standardized in dictionaries and textbooks, it comes to bridge the dialects within a language region as Latin bridged the barriers of language among scholars of the Middle Ages; and this is a useful and desirable function, permitting ease of communication over a wide area without unduly suppressing the varied regional cultures therein. Speech remains flexible, and particularly expressive spoken usage may find its way into the literature, to enrich the written language—a process unfortunately retarded by prudes and purists, but in no way inimical to the genius of language as such.

Radio and television have familiarized speakers of all dialects with the spoken form of Standard American English, as well as with other regional and historical dialects, often inaccurately reproduced. Even in regions of low literacy, Standard is now a well-understood though not widely spoken language. Written deviations from it are generally considered evidence of ignorance or unconcern, and the contempt consequently aroused by such deviations tends to impede communication—which after all is the whole purpose of language anyway. Literate people thoroughly rooted in a regional and class culture simply accommodate to this by limiting their vernacular dialect to speech, and writing in Standard. To do so does not even involve much conscious thought: the child learns his spoken language in a colloquial form from older speakers, and his written language in standard form from the printed page, so the dichotomy exists from the very beginnings of his learning to read. Where literacy is high and acquired early, this seems a perfectly normal development, casting no slur on the colloquial speech patterns and arousing no defensiveness about their use. But a people of low and painfully-acquired literacy, not accustomed to unselfconsciously shifting, according to the media and the social milieu, from one dialect to another almost equally familiar, may find in the demand that they use standard forms an aggression against their native dialect, and against their culture of which it is an integral part.

The Ku Kluxers’ misspellings and non-standard usages were the result of ignorance; it was obvious from the leaflets’ style that an effort had been made to write "properly" (and from that that the writer accepted the propriety of Standard) but that doing so was simply beyond the abilities of the Ku Klux leafleteers.

In yesterday’s mail, the Seattle Group received a packet of election material from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. It too contained numerous non-standard expressions, but clearly these expressions were purposefully used to indicate identity with the dialect and culture of the Mississippi Negroes to whom it was addressed. The Jackson staff of MFDP is certainly capable of correcting inadvertent errors, so we must assume that consistent use of the non-standard plural "peoples", apparent confusion of tense-forms, and certain dialectical deviations from standard usage were not unintentionally overlooked "mistakes". Besides, the tone of the brochures reminded me unmistakably of one consciously composed for southern use by my civil rights worker friend, a White northerner very proficient in Standard English and able to write it well at almost any vocabulary level. Since the wide spread use of low-vocabulary Standard as an understood language precludes any need to discard its spellings and usages as unintelligible to Mississippi Negro readers, I can conceive no reason for avoiding it other than to give support and encouragement to a beleaguered ethnical dialect, and through doing so to bolster the self-respect of its users. Irish and Welsh nationalists took a similar approach to English encroachment on their native Celtic, and the Scots, who had long since lost that battle, still defended their regional form of the English that had prevailed. There’s impressive revolutionary precedent for MGDP’s resistance, but a very poor record of success. That to the Negro the pressure for use of Standard appears to come as another manifestation of White racial prejudice only obscures the real linguistic process here involved.

There is actual communicative validity in the acceptance of a widely understood and used language capable of transcending regional, ethnical, and national impediments to interpersonal understanding. A truly free world will have at least one globally universal language; meanwhile, each broad national/cultural area tends to develop a dominant dialect to bridge the lesser difficulties in communication that still exist within it. Best qualified to serve that function is the dialect already most widely known—historically, that which was disseminated by the trader or the conqueror; now, that disseminated by the printing press and the radio wave. Of course the American English that has become dominant is the dialect of the class which controls these media; and to be sure, that class is White. But language, as a phenomenon, has no color and no class—only a function, which people of any class or color may turn to their own ends in the degree that they acquire skill in its use. And the acquisition of skill in the use of any particular language or dialect need not and should not imply derogation of any other. That which is useful will be used, whatever its origins and whatever the process by which it gained its utility. We may consciously or unconsciously speed or hinder it, but language will go its own way, seeking communication as is its nature, and heedless of our sensitivities.

American English—the Standard I write and the non-Standard I usually speak—is not only "my" language, subject in some degree to my will and limited by my verbal proficiency and ingenuity; equally, I am its user, unable to communicate in any depth except through its patterns, and then only with those of my fellow-humans who also know and use it. No amount of provincial pride in "my" language could compensate for the limitations that almost complete reliance on it imposes. Yet I’m far less limited than I would have been had my vernacular dialect not been supplemented by acquaintance with literary English. If the Movement, in its commendable effort to reclaim for oppressed Negroes a degree of the self-esteem that White America has mutilated, should discourage any possible broadening of language use, the result would be not increased freedom but further continuation of one aspect of their entrapment.


The Seattle Group’s first pamphlet is "The Urban School—a proposal to Seattle" by George H. Crowley. Forbes Bottomley, Seattle superintendent of schools, who himself has called for far-ranging changes in our approach to education, assures us it will be "a valuable resource document for our citizens committee as it studies our Continuous Progress Center idea.

With local modifications, George’s proposal would apply to any metropolitan school system plagued with de facto segregation and deteriorating scholastic achievement. Copies are still available, 35 cents.

[This is Seattle Group Bulletin #22, from SEATTLE 1966 SUMMER; Bulletins 18 thru 27 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. The handwritten note was made by Louise Crowley who published the compilations of the Seattle Group bulletins. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, January 1, 2012.]

23. Notes on the MFDP Leaflets—Mary Gibson

LC criticizes the MFDP leaflets because of her appreciation of the English language.

But two questions need to be asked:

1. Why does the MFDP write the leaflets the way they do?

2. Do the leaflets communicate the thoughts intended?

So the C children may speak the language of the ghetto but do not write it. The C children may be financially, but are NOT culturally deprived; their parents are not average ghetto dwellers. A classical education in the English tongue is not often easily come by in our society. A really sound grounding in it "absolutely classifies you" as Professor Higgins would say. It can be and usually is a symbol of class.

The Negroes in the South are growing into maturity: you join them, they don’t join you. What they are saying is the important thing; I believe their messages come through the language of the leaflets.

One might say that for an English teacher like Liz Fusco or a man with a law degree like Don Jelinek to use the language of the Southern Negro is a phony thing to do: what they are doing is symbolic, like the SNCC workers wearing overalls and one of our friends refusing to wear shoes to a conference in a Southern church (because too many of her fellow-workers do not own shoes). What Don Jelinek and Liz Fusco are doing is a little like what occasionally happened in concentration camps: a gentile husband might say he was Jewish, too, to go with his wife to the gas chambers when he was about to be sent to the labor battalions. Life is a precious thing; the English language is a beautiful thing, but sacrifices are sometimes worth the blood.

When the South wins its revolution, which "the beautiful people" as Dick Gregory calls them, are sure to do because they are so strong, then they may decide to indulge in luxuries. Otherwise until they do, maybe we poor old white people had better take them as they are.


We boo-booed: with the Spring compilation we forgot to list Seattle Group leaflets as we’d promised. In that period we issued three:

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO STOP A WAR? (Excerpts from Bulletin #14, distributed at the March 26 peace march.)

DON’T JUST STAND THERE—GO TO A FREEDOM SCHOOL (in support of civil rights school boycott, distributed at high schools and junior highs.)

SUPPORT THE SCHOOL BOYCOTT (addressed to parents)

Leaflets issued this summer:

THE FUZZ vs. THE FRINGIES (meeting announcement, University District)

And a second distribution, at the International Peace Arch on Hiroshima Day, of WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO STOP A WAR?

Other new Seattle Group publication:

PAMPHLET #1: THE URBAN SCHOOL—a proposal to Seattle by George Crowley.

[Seattle Group Bulletin #23, from SEATTLE 1966 SUMMER; Bulletins 18 thru 27 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. The handwritten note was made by Louise Crowley who published the compilations of the Seattle Group bulletins. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, January 2, 2012.]

24. On Self-Respect—Louise Crowley

Diverse as you Bulletin readers may be, there’s probably at least one thing you have universally in common: you’re a pretty sophisticated lot, and most of you are confidently aware of it. You don’t take on faith what any of us say; when you disagree, you’re not likely to react with shocked or injured feelings; and you probably feel perfectly free to tell us off, which is as it should be.

There’s another thing, too: I doubt if our readership includes (if it once did, they’ve left us by now) any proponents of the doctrine of Original Sin, berating themselves with guilt over the mythical perversity of Adam and Eve. Few of you believe the story, in the first place; any who do are inclined to see in their disobedience less of sin than of commendable intellectual curiosity; and in any event they were two other people, millennia removed, for whose acts you quite sensibly refuse to feel responsible.

But more people believe in Heaven than believe in Hell, simply because Heaven is more pleasant to believe in. And people sensible enough not to accept blame for the real or alleged depravity of their ancestors are often quite willing to take equally unearned credit from the forebears’ positive achievements, and to bolster their own egos thereby. Until recently, this course has been virtually denied to the American Negro, because so much of the affirmative in his race’s history has been distorted or simply expunged from the record. The current revival of Negro history and the new data on the early evolution of man in his racial homeland are now beginning to make available to the American Negro the same spurious pride of ancestry that has corrupted other segments of humanity through all recorded time.

Well, he has as much right to it as any of us have. But just how much is that, really? Perhaps my complete ignorance of my own antecedents facilitates perspective in this matter: on physical evidence I infer that the overwhelming majority of my ancestors were white, and economic evidence suggests that they were not, for some generations at least, rich; but whether they run to lumpens or industrious toilers, pirates or stable tradesmen, serfs or free peasants, thinkers or clods, I have no grounds for guessing. So I’m neatly spared any temptation to feel guilt for their depredations, pride in their accomplishments, or shame at their statistically more probable insignificance. I’ve had nowhere to look for my identity except the only place it could have been found, anyway: in myself. Admittedly, that simplified the search, and in retrospect it makes the false paths that might have been there—and are, I suppose, for most people—easily identifiable as such. Pride in race and/or heritage is one of them, as invalid as Original Sin, and for essentially the same reasons.

Certainly the human need for self-esteem is such that an individual becomes dysfunctional when deprived of it, and whatever balm can soothe his battered ego may give him the sense that his life has purpose. It may be Salvation by the Blood of the Lamb or Spiritual Revelation via LSD; the euphoria of opium or the Good Life of consumerism; the camaraderie of arms or identification with an alleged Master Race. All, being false, are pernicious; it’s not a revolutionary’s role to condone the peddling of quack nostrums for society’s mortal wounds.

Yet another of the things I’m sure Bulletin readers have in common is the conviction that no one should arbitrarily be denied the right to think well of himself, and in the case of the American Negro this urgency of the need may tempt us to accept pragmatic measures. Racism, so successfully used to belittle the Negro’s self-image, can be equally efficacious in rehabilitating it, given only a reversal of the relative race-valuations that white supremacy has imposed. That American Whites are by their political dominance immune from pressure to accept the reversal is irrelevant for the purposes of psychological therapy: if an individual be convinced that the set—race, nation, voluntary association, or whatever—to which he belongs is in some significant manner Great, then he as a member of it may partake of that Greatness and feel, howbeit on false grounds, the needed sense of his personal worth. The reasoning here’s fallacious, but on the surface there’s nothing really evil about it—in this instance, there’s even a certain poetic justice; and it does work, as the Black Muslims and others have dramatically demonstrated.

The catch is that people insist on thinking of worth as relative, and on claiming it only at another’s expense, in accordance with that competitive and covetous bent of mind our dog-eat-dog society fosters. Even the fallacy of seeking worth through identification would do little harm to others if the set with which one identified were the set of Homo sapiens, or better, the set of all sentient beings. Narrowed down to a race, a nation, an age-group, the adherents of a particular creed, etc., it produces snobbishness at best and rapacity at the worst. Black racism, running true to form, already mirrors all the evils of its white counterpart, except power. And as might be expected, power is what it now seeks.

White proponents of human freedom have become very hesitant of late to criticize trends in the Negro movement, since Negroes have now clearly articulated their long held belief that most if not all White advice and criticism, however well-intended, is simply unrealistic to them and inapplicable to their problems. Aware as they are of the great disparity of experiences between Whites and Negroes in our society, sensitive Whites can readily concede that this must be so, and they tend to hold their tongues, or even to accept a position on the basis of its Negro origin, without objective evaluation. In this, too, their most characteristic feature is their good intentions.

I hold that power is evil in essence, evil whoever wields it: that it was as evil in Ethiopia as in Babylon, as evil in Carthage as in Rome, as evil in Dahomey as in Napoleonic France. Our maturity as a race—the human race, that is—will begin only when we have learned to relate to each other as free individuals, and can look back on our history of political institutions as that of a regretted, though possibly unavoidable, stage in human development. If the now deprived Negroes in America (and there are plenty of deprived people of non-African ancestry here, too) were to achieve power, as they realistically might in areas where they constitute a clear numerical majority or have strong fraternal support, the achievement could not bring freedom, for power is by nature opposed to freedom. Negroes could exercise their new power to effect real material improvement in their living conditions; such improvement is certainly to be desired, but let’s not confuse it with freedom. They could, with sufficient power, claim the legal, economic, and social equity that has unjustly been denied them; let’s not confuse that with freedom, either: it merely encompasses a wider range of kinds and degrees of bondage, under subtler but no less effective restraints. Insofar as Negro goals are limited to gaining what scant and mostly illusory good the bulk of Whites now have, they too are unrealistic and inapplicable to the problem of freedom.

And the problem of freedom—the question of whether real freedom is attainable and/or desirable—is corollary to the question of Original Sin. If a thirst for knowledge and for life, overriding the inertia that makes us tend to accept arbitrary authority, be a sin, then man is indeed sinful, and the Lord took only a necessary security measure in stationing an armed guard at Eden’s gate. It’s interesting, though, to note that while this first cop prevented further encroachment on the Lord’s prerogatives, he didn’t do the human Abel a bit of good; nor has the existence of other cops and armies eradicated any strife since.

But if the human urge toward life and knowledge be, as I’m sure you believe, good—then the trouble started not with Eve’s disobedience but with God’s irrational prohibition, backed up as it was by his angel’s flaming sword. And from this point of view the biblical myth becomes a very cogent allegory on the nature of power: however paradisiacal the condition, power corrupts, for he who has it must needs exercise it on others, if only in vain and troublemaking display.

And if man himself be neither bad nor good, but just an intelligent, omnivorous, and behaviorally adaptable animal trying to get by in the world with minimal pain and maximal pleasure which, being intelligent, he finds in a great variety of ways, (usually including fellowship with others of his kind), then the optimum conditions for human life would allow free play to all his individually varied inclinations. Insofar as one person’s activities became detrimental to others, those others, if equally free, could act individually or in concert to curb them, and each would find that a course of goodwill would be the most conducive to his happiness. The serpent in this garden is not the supposed viciousness of man, but the real viciousness of authority; and our ancestor’s primal error, activated simply by his lack of self-confidence in a world he little understood, was the forbearance that led him to tolerate its rise.

Well, it’s time people got over that. For all the coercive force that appears to uphold it, power in the long run exists only by our distrust of ourselves and of each other—actually, by what remains of the outmoded belief in the sinfulness of man. That’s all that holds the whole structure together; without it, the cops and soldiers would have no purpose in continuing to perform their unpleasant and unwelcome functions, and could quite easily be deterred from doing so—whereupon all pretenders to authority would be stripped of their power to compel, as they have already been stripped, for those of us now free from that primitive self-shame and confident of our individual worth, of the power to traduce. Of course if you and I are wrong about ourselves and our fellow-humans and people really are just naturally ornery, the removal of effective authority would indeed be followed by strife-wracked chaos. Even so, I think I’d prefer a free-for-all melee to the organized butchery of authoritarian war, and it couldn’t possibly extinguish the species any faster than the course down which we’re now headed. Relative to what we’ve got, there’s nothing to be lost either way. And if our belief in man be justified, there’s infinity to gain.

The key obstacle to the attainment of freedom being prevalence of a belief that man neither deserves nor could tolerate it, the libertarian’s prime task becomes that of raising the self-confidence of his mistrustful fellow-men. He can’t afford, though, to seize any available means to do this, because an illusion-based confidence is too likely to fall in the pinch. Whether or not there are any atheists in foxholes, on the barricades must be people whose trust is solidly grounded in life and in themselves as living beings, asserting it here and now on their own good feet, without crutches of any kind.


[About half this page is taken up with a drawing of "a man on the street" appearing to speak to the reader and the following text]




DW and JL

[Seattle Group Bulletin #24, from SEATTLE 1966 SUMMER; Bulletins 18 thru 27 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington in mimeograph. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, January 2, 2012.]

25. Transition Period—Mary Gibson

LC forgets the growth which must develop before integration can become a reality. The white man has had all the power in America since its beginning; the black man, none. But the black man has done more than his share of the work.

"Black nationalism" seems to scare or infuriate too many people. To me a certain period of black nationalism seems inevitable: like in physics, politics has action and reaction. So, if one person hits another and the second strikes back, a vicious circle results. But here is such a thing as retribution and reparations in politics like everything else. The black man will have a little reparation before he can accept integration. Judge William Hastie: "You know, all Negroes spend a least a little time hating white people". To cool this hatred, they must have a little power and a little luxury.

Can’t this be done without black nationalism? "Black nationalism" is a term flung around quite a bit now. If "black nationalism" means political power and/or self-defense, what is so fearsome about it? Stokely Carmichael: asking the Negro to participate in the Democratic power structure is "Like asking a Jew to join the Nazi party".

The black men are seeking their own identity; the need to know what it is like to hold political power. Much fuss (Alsop’s column in the PI last week, for instance) is made over urban centers becoming the black man’s land. What is so bad! Can they do worse than the white has done? They need the experience of actually doing the work. A new political structure will have to come. It won’t come from the poor whites. The Negro population is increasing faster than the white; they have the drive to power that the whites have lost; you join them, they don’t join you. Or rather, you join them if they let you. Too bad I can hardly pass for anything but the Scot I was born rather than the half Negro, half Jew I would like to become. Any white can, about now, end up on the wrong side of the barricades.

Perhaps there is no need to fear: the black man has the capacity to love, witness his art forms. Of course his growing rebellion is the result of his emerging self respect, i.e., self love. This is his country, he has sweat blood over it; one becomes possessive and careful of land over which one has sweat blood. The black man had had too much of torture, killing, insults, and degradation. When he was shown the white man (talking is nothing but the beginning, most people have to be shown), that there will be no more of the old way, then integration and the new human being of Teilhard de Chardin will become reality. Violence or nonviolence depends on how easily the white man will allow himself to be shown, let’s put the responsibility where it belongs.



1. L. I challenge you to write me on the common interest of the poor white and the Negro in fighting the Establishment and a plan for how this could be done.


2. L., you say you have never had any power either; not true: both you and I have held jobs no Negro woman would have been considered for, not to mention superior education. We’re both guilty white persons who owe reparation.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1. M., give me time!


2. M., it’s power, to sell your life in 8-hour slices? I call it wage-slavery. We’re not guilty, any more than a Negro is, for being what we were born—and after all, we’re both doing our damndest to end the inequity that, through no, I repeat no fault of our own made it advantageous to us.


[Seattle Group Bulletin #25, from SEATTLE 1966 SUMMER; Bulletins 18 thru 27 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, January 2, 2012.]

26. Peace and Party Politics—Gloria Martin

It seems that we should not need to go back into history to recount again, or to delve for events to prove a point. These events are such common knowledge that one recoils with boredom when a constituent thinks it expedient to muster them in support of an argument. The obvious ideas would be that we have already hammered out the past, have made evaluations and assessments of past mistakes and successes, and that more of the same is redundant. Now a revolutionary party has been born which we hoped could pick up the reins and forge ahead with such evaluation behind them. But this is the ideal, and apparently in real life not so.

Do we need more examples than we have already catalogued in the past? For instance, the now well known tragedy of the Communist Party, that sent its members into the Democratic Party, into churches and other middle-class organizations and institutions, including the army. These often innocent and sincere members joined these organizations, and the tragedy of their experience exists to this day, for instead of revolutionizing the organizations they joined many became the most fervent supporters of the organizations they were supposed to radicalize. How many do you know who remain in the very churches to which the CP assigned them long ago! These activities contributed to the virtual death of the once powerful Communist Party. It deradicalized its own membership instead of radicalizing the mass organizations.

What had been the lifeblood of the CP (its rank and file) remains within the Democratic Party and this party, in spite of campaign speeches expressing noble sentiments and of high-sounding party platforms, remains the party of imperialist wars. This party is the party that supports Johnson. This party is the party that refused to seat the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegates at the convention of 1964, and this party is the party that is attempting to save capitalism by welfarism.

When these CP members entered these organizations they were to push the party line, but it was the soft line of opportunism, reformism, and capitulation; otherwise they could not have been there in the first place. As a consequence of the well-established, organized machine of the Democratic Party and the soft line of the Communist Party, the CP made hardly a dent in over-all policy.

From these tragic examples, from these mistakes which certainly hastened and aggravated the emasculation of the CP, we have learned, I hope and trust, that any revolutionary who feels a responsibility to join or support a "peace" organization will be well aware of the pitfalls. A revolutionary cannot, it seems to me, participate in any organization at the price of capitulation. One of the main tasks of a revolutionary party is to put forward its line at all costs to popularity and respectability. It is this task that is of the utmost importance. This is the time to put forth every effort to establish radical, revolutionary ideas, to impart and implant in every movement—peace, civil rights, civil liberties, and all social, economic, and political movements, organized and unorganized—the revolutionary theory of how, why, and what is to be done. This, it seems to me, is hardly the time to collaborate with the middle class to the point of giving up one principle.

The critical and crucial question of "peace" in the context of non-violence, the idea that all war is bad and immoral, must be dealt with summarily by radicals, who should make it clear that "peace" in this context is counter-revolutionary. A revolutionary giving a "peace" candidate even critical support must do just that, un- compromisingly pointing out that the solution to the "war" in Vietnam, for instance, is simply for the US to get out. Our demands cannot go further, but war support of the Viet Cong is implicit, as they most compellingly it seems represent the people of Vietnam.

In the late ‘60s an attempt was made in Seattle to unite liberals and socialists within one party for the purpose of getting on the ballot. This became a fiasco of compromise and negotiation in which I can not again participate. The liberal candidate seriously compromised the radicals and remained a silent but threatening presence throughout the campaign. Then as now middle-class liberals turned back from a truly revolutionary position and often from even a mildly radical one. They have much to lose; their whole way of life is threatened. They are humanitarians with a short view instead of the long view radicals possess. The middle-class liberals will not fight for peace; their way is the way of negotiation and compromise with the capitalist system in which they are thriving and have found their place. They cling to nonviolent concepts, but their very position in society has been and is bought by and dependent upon war, oppression, and tyranny, which they profess to abhor. The ruling class with which they collaborate is the most violent class of international thieves, killing and plundering the whole world to maintain their position of power and wealth. Even "peace" demonstrations are protected by armed police—violent tools of the state but acceptable to pacifists.

Peace is an optimum condition which we hope to achieve in a new society, but we cannot compromise nor pay the price of revolution in exchange for a mere armed truce between nations committed to the concept of power.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Several readers have expressed puzzlement or disagreement over the apparent contradiction between our theoretical rejection of political power and our tactical willingness to make use of such Establishment institutions as the welfare apparatus, the franchise, and the War on Poor People. Clarification is obviously needed. Disagreement may remain, but perhaps we can dispel the confusion.

A ridiculously extreme example may help explain it: if we refused completely to co-operate with the State, we wouldn’t be sending these Bulletins through the U.S. Postal Service, and of course if we didn’t send them through the mail we’d have no way to get them to most of you, at all. That Government is the only existing agency through which we can practicably distribute them doesn’t mean it’s the only nor optimum possible one; but it’s what we’ve got now, and the most zealous of anarchists are among those who make most use of it.

Certain now authoritarian institutions only parallel those which free people would organize voluntarily, to facilitate communication and transportation, to provide desired goods and services, to determine the popular will in matters of common concern, etc. Tinged (or more) as they may be with the repressiveness of authority, their base functions would be valid in any complex society. We see no reason to cavil at taking advantage of them, while attacking their shortcomings.

Other institutions perform a temporarily needed role in compensating, however inadequately, certain deficiencies and abuses of the present social system. We cannot write these off on the heartless and demonstrably invalid proposition that only unmitigated wretchedness can motivate people to rebel. We use them; we seek to extend their usefulness; and we don’t kid ourselves nor con anyone else into thinking that they can ever make acceptable a basically rotten social order. In the case of the so-called War on Poverty, while it is yet fluid much can be done within it, both to alleviate material distress and to provide avenues through which people can gain experience and self-confidence in dealing with the power structure. Admittedly this path is strewn with the remains of former revolutionaries who fell victim to its snares and illusions; but who knows a safe road to revolution? You skirt the pitfalls, reject the mirages, and climb over the corpses; only, you don’t compromise. No coalition or alliance you enter into and function in that openly will tolerate you for long without demanding compromises. That’s when you leave it, having accomplished what you could and, it is to be hoped, having recruited others to carry on in the same spirit. You don’t get involved in this arena at the expense of direct action, and you stay mobile; as soon as you sink roots in any such institution, you’re a vegetable.

A third category of Establishment institutions is purely repressive—the draft, for instance. We can’t see any point in trying to "reform" the draft, either to make its dragnet "more equitable" or to narrow its scope; we oppose it absolutely; and we encourage anyone faced with seizure to make use of whatever means he can, within or outside its provisions, to escape it. The same principle guides our relation to all such simply repressive institutions.

We could still argue over the category to which any particular institution belongs. OK. That kind of argument is all to the good, because the concomitant analysis and exchange of ideas serve to elucidate the nature of the power structure. Let’s have plenty of it.


[Seattle Group Bulletin #26, along with editorial comments by Louise Crowley who created the compilations of the Seattle Group Bulletins. This is from SEATTLE 1966; Bulletins 28 thru 27 of the Seattle Group. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, January 4, 2012.]

27. Lyndon and the Acid Heads—Dave Wagner

While in the Pentagon computers whir and the basement of the Rand Corporation hums to the tune of a thousand brains thoughtfully calculating the death of people, the President happily pursues his course of drumming canned phrases and cliches of escalation into the mass communication systems. The cannon fodder, the bones and blood that make up the warm bodies of the country called 1A, the dedicated martyrs of Democracy go off happily to Vietnam, content in the knowledge that motherhood will be perpetuated.

Duty, Honor, Country has the same profound and moving, lump-in-the-throat ring as does Liberty, Fraternity, Equality—what difference does it make as long as we don’t have to think and though die at least our death is respectable! So that when we find out that guns are more than shiny precise machines! That bullets go through bones and muscle and then we are dead!

It was all such a happy world with congressmen falling over one another to supply more guns to our boys in Vietnam. There were some embarrassing moments, like some of the friends Mr. Johnson made: the Nazi Party, the Hell’s Angels, Barry Goldwater and the Ku Klux Klan. This was no real problem; nobody really cares if those people are for you; all it means is that maybe they aren’t so bad after all. Then there were those others, even less of a problem: the Vietnam Day Committee, the International Days of Protest, the Teach-ins—very easily taken care of with a few well chosen labels like Beatniks, Commies, Cowards, Queers, Draft-dodgers. These are happy symbols. The flag is also a happy symbol. Mr. Johnson can look out his window and see happy symbols flying proudly from the tops of every building and feel secure that every one of these pieces of colored cloth is a logical argument to prop up anything that he has to say to his fellow Americans.

Now Mr. Johnson has his own war with an enemy and guns and butter and whole cities that he can, in all humility and with heavy heart, wipe off the face of the earth, his own little war that nobody can take away from him, one that he can play with as long as he wants to. He is making new friends too, friends like the ones who own corporations, who are captains of Industry, real solid American rugged individuals who make such useful toys as Saran wrap and napalm and Helicopters and Airplanes.

It was all such a beautiful world, with bombs and freeways and bullets and Batman and then along came the goddamn acid head Tim Leary and nobody knows what’s going to happen. So far he’s nothing but something that nags and makes respectable citizens nervous, like a headache that may develop into a tumor or may disappear. He used to be such a nice person, with a good education, the product that ultimately must come forth as success in our cybernated society according to the formula Education equals a good job and stimulation of the economy. He could have fit into the Great Society so comfortably. But then he started talking about symbols and how they aren’t really so important and non-verbal communication which nobody in his right mind understands and realization of the true self which is ridiculous. He talks to trees and smokes marijuana, rehabilitates convicts and alcoholics. He wouldn’t be bad at all even with this except for the fact that people are starting to believe him. He sounds suspiciously like the Antichrist the way he talks about certain Eastern philosophies which could only mean bad things for the war effort. If people start to think that Orientals are people—what then? Are Viet Cong also people? Oh no, Mr. Leary, you’ve got to be kidding!

Then to show his true face and the anti-social basis of his reasoning he makes a damn fool statement like, "Turn on, tune in, and drop out!" Why does he say things like that? Is he unpatriotic? Is he a Communist? No, he makes the Communists as nervous as the Pentagon. The only possible solution to this problem and one that Mr. President has already alerted the Cabinet and the Surgeon General and all the forces of righteousness, two platoons from the American Medical Association. "Goddamn you," he says, "You all get busy and find for me unless you want your balls chopped off, you find for us a definite, sound and conclusive link between LSD and cancer!"

What sort of world will it be when LSD becomes the only way to fly? What will happen to Boeing? The countryside will be riddled with huge stacks of discarded airliners. With Boeing gone and God dead, the middle class a thing of the past and 200 million Zen poets roaming around the hills, we will all spontaneously forget that there is such a feeling as giving a damn about the economy or that there is such a place as Wall Street. Mr. President being curious will turn himself on, realize what an ass hole he is and tune with the cosmos in an historic and glorious nose dive from the peak of the Washington Monument to a great feeling of oneness with the concrete below.

Sic semper tyrannis.

Then comes the final manifestation of Kerouac’s rucksack revolution. The world of words will be the world of feeling, of identifying completely with a flower and the realization that Being is synonymous with Loving.


[Seattle Group Bulletin #27 from SEATTLE 1966 SUMMER; Bulletins 18 thru 27 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, January 4, 2012.]

Additional Materials, following Bulletin 27

It is always exciting to get mail (except bills). We in the Seattle Group find it stimulating to get your comments on our Bulletins. If you don’t agree with one of us, it just gets us all to thinking harder, reviewing and re-evaluating our arguments. Continuous dialog is one of our functions. We like not only your comments in letters to us, but contributions to radical thought in the form of Bulletins.

Below are some samples from mail we’ve been getting. It’s a new feature and we hope you find it as challenging as we do.

Excerpts from Correspondence from Bernard Marszalek, Solidarity Bookshop, Chicago:

… my uneasiness in dismissing large portions of the working populace is also reflected in my criticism of your essay “chaos—or else” [SG Bulleting #14]—i think it perfectly legitimate to divide-up the society into reasoning and authoritarian groupings for certain purposes but i think your models fall down when one puts upon the shoulders of the “reasoning community the task of serving as a guide in the freedom of all. i see no clear distinction between the great masses of people, into these two polarities; rather i think elements of authoritarian and free ways of behaving are both manifest, contradictorily, of course, but dynamically. Cardan is important here, though he doesn’t appreciate the changes that could take place with automation, etc., and your views towards these problems initially attracted me to your analysis—but i still have reservations regarding the too-clear-cut polarity.

Further, naturally, i don’t dig the use of “reasoning” in regards a community which follows its desires and unconscious much more freely than the model authoritarian family of community. i feel uneasy criticizing this society as irrational, when it in fact is perfectly rational to millions upon millions; i prefer to seek the overthrow of reason which produces the same elements that cradled the most barbaric excesses of the church, not to mention the state….

from P. S. MacDougal, Despite Everything, Berkeley:

A couple of your recent Bulletins, No. 23 and one other [#22] discuss the matter of the language of some MFDP leaflets.

There is an interesting piece extant on this subject, called “Stokely’s Speech Class”, dating better than a year ago and dealing, of course, with a class headed by the present chairman of SNCC.

…MTG and LC can find this as one of the things included in a book just published called “The New Radicals” by Paul Jacobs and Saul Landau, and I recommend it.

from Larry DeCoster, Huntington Beach:

...my reactions to George’s pamphlet [THE URBAN SCHOOL—a proposal to Seattle] . . . I can’t agree with the concept of a modern city with an organic core—speaking about a lost city not the socially evolving city-aim of either us or present power. Evolution, unless clearly itemized, can’t really be upheld either. But on to page two and anarchy. Though I think some of the proposals could well still be used for de facto authoritarianism, it does propose a facet of movement toward human freedom. The interpretation of history does the most for this, with explanations of proposals coming a good second. You still put kids down too much. I can’t really see the resurrection you find in adulthood or its advantages over the free, unprejudiced experimentation of childhood. And adolescence is, to me, the most revolutionary natural period in its fullest personal meaning....

from Murray Bookchin, New York Federation of Anarchists, NYC:

We function just as you do: no structure, no apparatus, no leaders—we’re all leaders and, then again, we’re all not—and when we get out our magazine (not periodically, but spontaneously), there will be no “line” and everyone will be responsible for what he or she writes. I guess the thing is we want to put it together in one piece, with political and “sub-cultural” articles, poems, satires, discussions on human ecology (a big thing with us), communitarian articles, collages, good photos and of course a full expression of any differences that arise in our views with an unimpaired right to discuss them before whatever public we reach. Some of our people—and others who are only indirectly connected with us—went to form communes so that they can pull out of their middle-class environments and become people to the degree that it is humanly possible....

from Joyce Gardner, New York Federation of Anarchists, NYC:

... my response to Stan’s radio talk [SG Bulletin #4]. Curiously enough, I responded quite differently than Louise did. I take exception to your [Louise’s] statements about the “more sophisticated brother”. That is, I do believe that there is a certain amount of truth in the idea that women are passive and men are active, that the greatest satisfaction etc. I feel that the role of man and the role of woman are quite distinct, even though these roles are almost entirely culturally defined. But we cannot deny that we are creatures of our cultures and that, in fact, it meets for us to fulfill the roles which we have chosen for ourselves. That is, I do not accept the role of women which my society has given me. But in order to reject that role, I have had to define an entirely new role for myself—one which I feel is more true to my own inner nature. I have devoted much time and thought to trying to understand what it means to be a woman, in my own terms. And I have found that the more I discover and accept about my own feminine nature, the more I am able to love and be loved. I firmly believe that much of the unhappiness which exists among women today is a result of their being unable to accept the female role which society gives them, and equally unable to fulfill themselves in the masculine roles which they assume instead. I would like to see women try to discover and define their real role—for certainly they are not the same as men. Certainly the physical difference between men and women has its accompanying emotional and intellectual differences. Certainly the ability to give birth and the recurrence of the monthly period, has its accompanying effect on the woman....

from Jim Evrard, Bischofsheim, West Germany:

... You are absolutely right in pointing out that sexual repression is only part of a larger system of oppression, in which women, as a weaker group, like children, teenagers, and Negroes, get a bonus….Since Stalinism got the upper hand in Russia, knowledge in the fields of non-“Marxist” sociology, psychology (particularly that “decadent bourgeois claptrap” psychoanalysis), social psychology, and cultural anthropology has been suspect in radical and revolutionary groups. It’s high time we brought this to an end. If Americans social science is to a great extent the ideological handmaiden of the ruling class, this is in part due to the fact that not only the vulgar Marxists, but the revolutionary movement in general, left them the field uncontested….

... In communicating to women about their oppression, and their own acceptance of same, I believe we come much closer to them by explaining what “insignificant” thinks like the statement to six-year-old Mary, “You’re just a girl, you can’t do that” have done to them than by pages on sexual freedom and promiscuity. The principle for which I stand is “Your body belongs to you”. But I think present advertising for deodorants and such is more subtly and more effectively inimical to this principle than all the open “sexual” repression together....

and from another letter from Jim:

... It seems to me that your definition of work [that is, Louise’s, in SG Bulletin #6] stays within the framework of the status quo. Granted, growing up and living in this society, it is hard to conceive of the possibility of work being other than you define it, “...labor performed under the duress of economic need or..” (This is true for all conceivable societies if you with Marx and those Marxists who deserve to be taken seriously define economics as the process of production of wealth.) You could define eating, if you will, as “the intake of digestibles under duress of nutritional need or social custom”, but eating remains libidinized. An oppressive society whose inhumanity consisted in making the theoretical definition I have given the social reality would consequently delibidinize eating (or tend to), as our society delibidinizes work. The party in Orwell’s 1984 does a similar thing with sex.

A similar error victimized the agrarian utopianists like Catholic Worker. Starting from the premise that it was the material determination of industry, factories and machinery, and not its social form in our society, that caused the inhumanity of industrial society, they concluded, logically correctly, that industry must go if you want a human society. Not their logic was wrong, but their premise. And so we have another case of the dictum: “There’s nothing as practical as good theory” (Kurt Lewin). An (unformulated) theoretical premise led to conclusions which in turn led to activity that left groups practically isolated and irrelevant who wanted to be revolutionary. For most peasants, like me, want to keep their electricity and running water and radio and TV, and have more of same. Despite the propaganda put out by the Soviet ideologists, desire for wealth and luxury is as much proletarian as it is bourgeois—see the texts of Ray Charles’ best songs. It is in this spirit that I am writing to you what may appear to be a purely theoretical letter, as I will explain later on.

To bring us further along, may I suggest a redefinition of the term work, namely work is purposeful productive human activity (or meaningful p. h. a.). This has the advantage over yours in that it is:

a) Positive in terms of human needs and human development and self-realization,

b) Negative in a revolutionary sense, in that it negates the empirical reality of labor (which second term I would use in your sense) in our oppressive society. The very concept is an indictment of capitalist society.

This definition gives us admission into an important truth; that work, as defined, is a healthy and basic human need. Few distinctions are at the same time so crassly ideological and so anti-human as that between work and play. (Ideological if used absolutely, I mean; as an empirical generalization from our present society, the distinction is of course valid, and is one of the fundamental indictments of our society.) If you stay within the conceptual framework of our society, this is admittedly hard to see, but actually, in America, it shows itself quite clearly in the prevalence of do-it-yourself kits and “constructive hobbies”. Deprived by an inhuman society of the possibility of doing human work in their (wage) labor time, people go to market again after 5 o’clock, this time as buyers, and spend their hard-earned money to buy the wherewithal that they may work. In Kommen wie in Geheen beachissen!. . .

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Information Exchange on publications received

The Agora

5880 Delmar, St. Louis, Missouri, 63112

They sent us their newsletter, The Local Forum, in exchange for Bulletins. Regularly 10 cents an issue, $2.00 a year; publication address of The Local Forum is 5836 Clemens, St. Louis

Alexander Berkman Clubs of Northeastern Minnesota

James W. Cain, co-ordinator

P.O. Box 455, Duluth, Minnesota

They send us a weekly newsletter, BLAST!, for which they haven’t quoted any subscription rates, so we suppose it’s free. But they’d undoubtedly appreciate a contribution toward mailing costs.

appeal to reason

29411 12th Avenue S.W., Federal Way, Washington

Youthful newsletter devoted to punching sacred cows. Monthly; $2.00 a year, $1.00 for students.


Box 3015, GPO, Sydney, Australia

Published cooperatively by the Sydney Libertarian Society, every second month, more or less. They’ll send it for a check (made out to “Broadsheet Committee”) to cover postage, and let you know when your postage contribution is exhausted.


Box G, Norton Union, State University of New York at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York, 14214

A very ambitious experiment “not merely attempting to reflect an intellectual revolution, but also to bring one forth”. Biennial, 50 cents a copy. The current issue contains 93 pages of solid articles. Catalyst is published by the Sociology Club of the university.

Centre International de Rescherches sur L’Anarchisme

Beaumont 24, 1012 Lausanne, Switzerland

Publishes a continuing bibliography of anarchist publications. Multilingual. We don’t know how much this costs because they send it in exchange for our publications. Write them for further information.

Despite Everything

1937½ Russell Street, Berkeley, California 94703

Polemical quarterly, plus supplements. 50 cents a copy, $2.00 a year.

Direct Action

34 Cumberland Road, London E. 17, England

Monthly paper of the Syndicalist Workers’ Federation. $1.00 a year. Bills are preferred to checks because there’s a steep fee for check-cashing.

The Movement

447 14th Street, San Francisco, California

Published monthly by California SNCC. Subs are $2.00 a year.

News and Letters

8751 Grand River, Detroit 4, Michigan

Marxist-Humanist monthly newspaper—monthly except in the summer, anyway, when June-July and August-September issues are combined. $1.00 for 12 issues. They get out pamphlets too, and a book, “Marxism and Freedom” by Raya Dunayevskaya.

Peace Plans

c/o J. M. Zube, Wilshire Street, Berrima, N.S.W., Australia

“Gradual publication of an encyclopedia of all peace plans, in digest form, gathered from all available sources.” New price 12 issues $2.00


c/o James Kepner, 2142 Baxter Street, Los Angeles, California 90032

A new slick paper gay magazine for men. Its first issue was sent to us together with a copy of Bag One, a newsletter by the same publishers, and Concern, the newsletter of the Southern California Council on Religion and the Homophile. Pursuit is bi-monthly, $1.00 per copy, $7.00 a year; Bag is apparently irregular and free; Concern is monthly, 10 cents a copy plus 21/2 cents for mailing.

Rebel Worker

1947 North Larrabee (but not for long; they’re moving) Chicago, Illinois

“...an incendiary and wild-eyed journal of free revolutionary research and experiment”. Six issues for a dollar; publication is theoretically quarterly. They also publish pamphlets; write them for a list. The Solidarity Bookshop catalog of radical books-in-print (same address, for now) is excellent: 50 cents.


197 Kings Cross Road, London, England

Ten shillings ($1.40) will get you the next 12 issues of this lively shop-oriented “monthly” or of its reprints or topical pamphlets, in whatever order they’re published. The Solidarity Group is much interested in expanding its readership in the United States.

Besides the above periodicals, the Seattle Group has been sent pamphlets and occasional papers by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, and leaflets and other material from a number of organizations and individuals. This is the nucleus of a library; our thanks to all who contribute to its. Local participants and friends: feel free to browse and borrow.

[These several pages are at the end of SEATTLE 1966 SUMMER; Bulletins 18 thru 27 of the Seattle Group. The materials were compiled and published by Louise Crowley in Seattle, Washington. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, January 5, 2012.]

28. From One General (Ret.) To Another (Ret.)—Herbert C. Holdridge (Reprint)

(Reprinted by GM’s request and General Holdridge’s permission)

General Hugh B. Hester

1074 23rd Avenue North

St. Petersburg, Florida

Dear Hugh:

I am entranced by your article in the National Guardian of June 25, 1966: "On the inequalities of the Draft", in which you have put your foot into a bear trap and are still unconscious of the fact that it has been sprung.

Relative to the illegality of the war in Viet Nam, not only is it "in violation of the US Constitution, the UN Charter, and President Eisenhower’s Pledge not to interfere with the Geneva Agreement", it violates the SEATO Charter; is a flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention regarding Viet Nam; and its violation of Eisenhower’s acceptance of the Geneva Agreement on Viet Nam constitutes a planned genocide in violation of all rules of civilized warfare—"scorched earth"—"scorched people"—NAPALM!

Had you dug a little deeper into the basic principles of psychiatry and of our own history your "studies" would also have proven conclusively that these crimes are perpetrated by a homicidal maniac in the White House, (surrounded by legions of homicidal maniacs); whose entire political life constitutes felonious frauds against constitutional, legal elective processes; his elections never legally consummated; and his present status one of total outlawry; his every act null, void and criminal. Your own knowledge of the Constitution (presumably) should tell you this. If not, I suggest that you consult the attorneys of the ACLU readily accessible to the National Guardian. Note particularly the definition of "A Republican form of government"—of, by and for the people—not for criminal political puppets doing the dirty work of international powers who operate behind the scenes. Translate this requirement of government into terms of LBJ’s political career and you still have before you a national outlaw, an international monster, of the first order.

I like particularly your conclusion: "failure to stand up and be counted"... constitutes a greater crime than was committed by those Germans who were silent under Hitler... for we know and can speak out!! (emphasis supplied) Just to "stand up and be counted" like counting sheep to induce sleep, Hugh—just to "speak out"! To rise from your slumbers, scratch your stomach, type an article for the National Guardian as your interpretation of "speaking out", and return to your slumbers! Is this your interpretation of your oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against outlaws openly committing murder, genocide and treason, as you must conclude from your "studies", as our GIs drown in the Mekong delta and women and children of the Viet Namese are butchered by napalm! Have you forgotten military law and doctrine that any military personnel, witnessing a felonious crime (surely one of the gravity of treason), who fails to intervene is guilty of that crime as accessory, and is subject to punishment? Especially if, as you say, "we do know"?

Not good enough, Hugh. Since your retirement I have probed your acts to try to discover the presence of intestinal fortitude, but thus far in vain. You are not alone, for the crime of sedition is epidemic at all levels from the top brass to the lowly GI, only a few brave ones of the latter having the guts to buck the outlaw’s "Establishment". This is equally true of my West Point classmates indoctrinated in "Duty, Honor, Country" who settle for cocktail parties and plugging for increased retired pay. General D. V. Bennett, Superintendent of West Point, goes so far as to involve himself in a "conflict of interest" in accepting the bribes of millions of dollars of Richard E. Melon to pay for an amphitheater on Trophy Point, an enduring monument to "Nazi-like" Mellon Oil—a major factor in inciting the Viet Nam War... inciting to sedition in time of war. You compromise our honor and duty to "act out" by a listless, futile, finger-shaking "speak out" article on the draft, in the National Guardian. I would presume that the Pentagon cleared this luke-warm "speaking", for it would incite only to slumber.

In the face of nation-wide disloyalty and sedition, I have acted now to assume command of the defense of the Constitution when it "hangs by a thread"—not of wool, but of steel. I hold the Constitution and Government in my clenched fist until victory is won on the home front against "domestic enemies", and the guilty brought to justice... a mass production job of "due process" for legions of "Nazi-like" General and Admirals. I had hoped that you would join me, but you will still be shaking an uncertain finger in articles appearing in the National Guardian and like periodicals, still as accessory to the crimes.


(signed) Herbert C. Holdridge, Brig. Gen. UW Army (Ret)


P.O. Box 404, Wells, Nev.

29. The Last Indian War, Part I—Janet Mccloud and Robert Casey

The Indians of the Pacific Northwest are engaged in what may well be called the last Indian war. They are taking a stand against the never-ending encroachment and aggression of their white neighbors within the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The Indians’ fishing stations on the rivers of these three states are coveted by powerful politically-minded sportsmens’ groups, who are pushing the State officials to get the Indians off the rivers.

Along the banks of the Nisqually River the spotlight is focused upon a band of pathetically outnumbered Indians who are waging a series of bitter and bloody battles against the police power of the State of Washington. Equally small bands of Indians are springing up all over Washington State to fight for the last shred of the rights guaranteed to them thru numerous treaties with the United States Government.

Governor Dan Evans, one of the nationally publicized new faces of the Republican Party, is brutally wielding the police power of this state in an effort to force the Indian people into submissive compliance with his demand that the Indians give up their fishing stations for the exclusive use of the sportsmen.

It all began in 1854, when the President of the United States sent his official emissary—Isaac Stevens—to negotiate treaties with the Northwest Indians on behalf of the federal government. (Actually, his mission was to spread a thin layer of legality over the theft of Indian land, which was already occurring in the Oregon Territory as it had everywhere else in the country.) It was necessary to do this prior to the granting of statehood in Washington and Oregon, for no state constitution can be formed, or any legal foundation arrived at, until title to the land is securely vested in the hands of the federal government. Americans have always displayed a fine hand for legality—no matter how you steal a thing, in the end make it look legal.

These negotiations followed the usual pattern of making treaties with the unlettered Indians, a blanket take-it-or-leave-it choice. The whites drew up the so-called sacred documents and used interpreters to give the Indians an entirely different version of the treaties, which needed the Indians’ signatures to make them legal and binding.

In the Oregon Territory on December 26, 1954 [1854], the first treaty was negotiated on the banks of the Medicine Creek with the Nisqually, Sqaxin, Puyallup and allied tribes. The Indians protestingly gave up their homelands—millions of acres, today worth billions of dollars. They were allowed to reserve a small reservation to live upon, more for the purpose of isolating the Indians than as a concession. When the Indians learned that they were going to be confined they became very worried, for these were fisher-people and nomadic in their fishing habits. Stevens assured them over and over that he wanted only the land; he further stated that all the fish and game belonged to the Indians, and would belong to them forever. The right to fish was more important to these northwest Indians than the land. The Indians reserved their fishing rights unrestricted.

The current assault on the Indians who are living a way of life that is natural to them was legally triggered by an injunction prohibiting Indians from fishing in their ancestral fishing stations. Judge John Cochran, Pierce County Superior Court, Tacoma, set aside the hundred-year-old treaty commitment of the federal government and forbade Indians to fish on the Nisqually River in Washington State. This was done at the behest of the state’s Game and Fisheries Departments, which in turn are carrying out Governor Evans’ program.

It is extremely questionable whether any state judge has the legal power to set aside or nullify a treaty drawn up between the federal government and the "Indian Nations" (as designated in the language of the treaty itself, which was written solely by the whites and upon which the very foundation of Washington statehood is based). Legally only an act of Congress can revoke treaty obligations and commitments, but the letter of the law never seems to apply to Indian land and rights as it does to others. (To illustrate: just imagine the furor that Governor Evans would create if he took the same attitude to the treaty commitments the federal government has made to various Saigon regimes, as they applied to the State of Washington.)

Following this injunction a series of clashes occurred between the protesting Indians and the state wardens. To cite a few of the most notable ones: On October 7, 1965, two Indian fisherman, Billy Frank and Alvin Bridges, were tending their nets when state wardens came up the Nisqually River in a big power boat and rammed their frail canoe without any warning. It was a dark, rainy night. One of the fishermen was spilled into the ice-cold, dangerous river. Fortunately, despite being dressed in heavy winter gear he made it safely to shore—right into the arms of the wardens waiting there.

The next clash was more serious. On October 9, 1965, also late at night, wardens cornered two teenage boys on a log jam in the middle of the Nisqually River. Word flew out somehow, and the Nisquallies came flying from every direction. The wardens were now the cornered ones, and the enraged Indians would not let them go. Fights erupted everywhere. Indian warcries cut through the still night air, causing the wardens to suffer paroxysms of fear. They sent out a frightened call for reinforcements. Before the night was over every available unit of the Thurston County Sheriff’s office, the Pierce County Sheriff’s office, the Fort Lewis Military Police and Governor Evans’ newly formed and specially trained State Troopers was at the scene. Some cars were busted up as well as some people. Finally Thurston County Sheriff Clarence Van Allen withdrew, and no Indians were arrested. However, the wardens did get away with an Indian’s canoe, allegedly to use as court evidence. Though no one was arrested and no court case came of the incident, the canoe still has not been returned.

Then on October 13, 1965, the Survival of American Indians Association held a protest fish-in on the Nisqually River. It was highly publicized and was intended as a protest to the continued night raids of the state wardens against the Nisqually Indians. Fish-ins had been used in the past by Indians as their way of protesting the State’s encroachment on their treaty fishing rights. It has been a peaceful way to vent the Indians’ growing bitterness and hostility at the whites’ never-ending invasion of their land and rights. That ended on October 13! Those who volunteer to go fishing in violation of the court injunction usually end up sitting in jail. Their purpose is to try to obtain a writ of habeas corpus from a higher court, as this is the cheapest, and the hardest, way to overturn a lower-court ruling. It is the only way that these poverty-stricken Indians can go. To this date the higher courts of Washington have flatly refused even to hear these writs—another violation of their court rules.

The October 13th fish-in turned into the bloodiest conflict of all, due to the sadistic actions of the wardens and their very evident hatred of the Indians. This battle took place at Frank’s Landing, which is Federal trust land, posted with NO TRESPASSING signs as required by the Federal Trespass Law. Local news media sent their photographers and reporters to cover the story. Interested organizations sent their qualified representatives to observe the fish-in demonstration. The cameramen set up their equipment long before the fish-in was scheduled to begin. State wardens watched impassively from behind bushes on the other side of the river, the exact number of their forces well hidden from the Indians and non-Indian observers. There were about twenty-seven Indians, eight of them men and the rest women and children; there were more reporters than Indians. Later it was learned that the State’s forces consisted of about 100 strong; game and fisheries wardens had been called in from all over the state, and Governor Evans’ special unit of the State Patrol was waiting bout a half mile from the scene, with all the weapons of war to use against the unsuspecting Indians.

The Indians’ boat contained eight occupants: two Indian fishermen, Donald McCloud and Alvin Bridges; one teenage boy, Dorien Sanchez; two boys under ten years of age, Dan McCloud, Jr. and Jeffery McCloud; the family dog, Tex; and three newspapermen. At the preannounced time the boat proceeded out on the Nisqually River, and the Indian fishermen set their net. From the other side of the river shouts were heard: "Get ‘em!" "Get the dirty S.O.B.’s!" In the twinkling of an eye, three big powerboats emerged from the underbrush, were quickly launched and used to ram the Indians’ boat. No attempt was made to secure peaceful arrests, and at no time during the entire riot, which lasted only twenty minutes, were the Indians told that they were under arrest.

The Indians on the beach, now thoroughly incensed at the actions of the State wardens who had turned their intended peaceful demonstration into an excuse to beat up and terrorize the Indians, began pelting the state’s forces with anything they could lay their hands on. A large force of wardens, who had been hiding on the Indians’ side of the river, then closed in on the Indians, and the fighting became general. The Indians, though badly outnumbered, gave a good accounting of themselves—even the children.

After the dust cleared, six Indians found themselves under arrest, charged with resisting arrest. (Alvin Bridges, 41, and his wife Maiselle, 41; Don McCloud, 39, and his wife Janet, 31; Susan Satiacum, 23; and Don George, Jr.). In the squad cars the fighting continued, but here newsmen were kept away and could verify nothing. When one of the women was questioned after her release she said, "The way they were acting, we were afraid they were going to take us somewhere and kill us. They can do anything they want to, because they wear a badge."

Later that evening there was another clash on the Nisqually River banks. Two more Indians were arrested, Joe Kautz and Harold Gleason. Small boys were hauled in, but Sheriff Van Allen refused to book them, and they were released and sent home. Indian mothers and fathers looked far into the night for their young boys, who were hiding in the woods from the now drunken wardens (they had been celebrating their victory) who were chasing Indian boys with pistols and clubs. One of the guns was knocked out of a warden’s hand by a young Indian. A search was conducted until it was found; according to Washington state law, wardens are not allowed to carry firearms.

The State’s actions were directed by Walter Neubrich, game director, and Robert Josephson, fisheries director. Later Mr. Neubrich proudly told the reporters, "Our men are not trained in riot control, but I was sure proud of the way they handled this".

Thor Tollefson, State Fisheries Director, had told newsmen before the fish-in that "no unusual law-enforcement measures were to be used against the Indians". Therefore everyone assumed that the wardens would take down the Indians’ names and ask the local judge to issue warrants, with the actual arrests to be made by the sheriff’s department; this was the way it had been done in the past.

The next day, fully aware of the improper procedure of his departments, Governor Evans told the worried public that the entire blame was due "to the irresponsible elements of the Indian population"; he further stated, "The Indian treaty is nothing but a worthless piece of hundred-year old paper and it isn’t even worth the paper it’s written on".

Fortunately for the Indians, the battle was well watched and photographed by a small army of competent observers. They told of the arrival of a large force of wardens, carrying nightsticks, long seven-inch flashlights (totally unnecessary in the bright sunlight, but a formidable weapon well known to them) and at least one blackjack, which the Indians got away from them.

State Representative Hal Wolfe of Yelm, a Republican, arrived on the scene after the Indians had been taken to jail. After he had talked to the crying and bruised children, he immediately went to the jail to find out what had happened. He told the press, "Governor Evans assured us that no on-the-spot arrests were going to take place. Frank’s Landing has been used as a fishing site by the local Indians for as long as I can remember, I’m not sure, but in my mind Gestapo methods were used against the Indians today."

Parris Emery, a 69-year-old television cameraman, was one of the few to be in a good position to take pictures of the riot. He obtained good shots of two young Indian boys being systematically worked over by wardens; when the wardens spotted Emery photographing them, they turned on him, knocking him around, twisting his arms, and trying to break his camera. They did succeed in dumping him into the river, but he saved his film. It was Emery’s unedited film that was seen nationwide.

Another newsman, Darrel Houston of KIXI Radio, was threatened with arrest by Ed Sarardov, fisheries warden, when Houston attempted to get the name of an officer who was seen striking an Indian boy with a steel pipe. This warden officer refused to remove his hand from his jacket pocket, when surrounded by newsmen and witness demanding to see what he had concealed. One witness, however, did get movie film of this incident, and another got pictures of the same warden hitting an Indian girl in the mouth and pulling her long hair. The girl was Valerie Bridges, who was trying to help her mother Maiselle. Other children displayed marks that were obviously made by something harder than a man’s fist. While an arrested Indian was being held by two wardens, another officer was seen striking him in the small of the back with his nightstick, but when a photographer tried to get a picture of this the wardens forcefully stopped his efforts.

One bystander, after watching the brutal manhandling of women and children, told a reporter, "I think I’ll go home and throw up."

Two men from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (which is universally hated—despised—by the Indians) were seen sitting in their car, a safe distance from the scene. When questioned by reporters, they refused to give their names, stating, "We’ve been instructed not to get involved". They were identified by the Indians and by one reporter as A. G. Risswick and Charles B. Allen. They had talked to Janet McCloud before the fish-in began, and had asked her to take pictures of everything for them. They said that they had been sent by their superiors to observe. Later they tried to get statements from the Indians, but the Indians refused to give them any because they were furious at the cowardly actions of these federal officers. An Indian told them, "You were sent here to watch and you were too scared to get out of your car; why should we do your job that you’re getting paid to do!"

Even the later encounter that evening was witnessed by a capable observer. Dr. Evan Roberts, Jr., of the American Friends Service Committee came to try to learn more of the day’s events. He went with some of the Indian parents who were worriedly looking for their young boys. When he arrived at the scene where the night battle was taking place, he was hit in the stomach with a nightstick and told by state officials that he had no right to be present. The Quaker doctor stuck to his position that he had every right to be present. After he had taken in the scene, which was lit up by the wardens’ flashlights, he told of wardens flashing pistols around and of smelling alcohol on some of the wardens’ breath. He accused them outright of being intoxicated; he told them he was a doctor and therefore an expert on the subject. Later he made a statement to the press and a report to Governor Evans.

In another sworn statement, a qualified observer said, "They were like animals that smell blood. Their whole treatment of the Indians was cold, premeditated and cruel, whereas the Indians’ reaction was normal. In the face of a situation where their legal test was being used as an excuse to terrorize them."

This statement pinpoints the basic difference between the current Negro revolt and the ever-continuing Indian struggle. The Negro faces discrimination which sometimes turns into race hatred as he struggles for assimilation. The Indian on the other hand has always faced unreasoning race hatred from the very first. Indians fight desperately to retain an Indian way of life in the face of all the forced assimilation policies of the United States government. In fact, they despise much of the white culture and the values of an avaricious and aggressive white society.

While the fishing war simmered on the banks of the Washington rivers, the legal machinery in the courts continued to grind. In Tacoma five Indians were convicted for illegal fishing and were sentenced to sixty days, suspended on condition they abide by the court injunction. In Olympia the same afternoon six Indians pleaded not guilty to a charge of interfering with a police officer in the performance of his duty.

On October 26, 1965, in Seattle, the embattled western Washington Indians staged a protest march in front of the Federal Court House. Only about fifty people turned out for the march which had been widely publicized. The Stillaguamish tribe sent a banner, and a few eastern Washington Indians were present. (Once more the total absence of liberal, progressive, or left-wing whites underlined the basic difference between an Indian demonstration and a Negro demonstration—whites simply do not support the Indians’ struggle; they all, whether left or right, reside upon Indian land, and they don’t intend to return any part of that land or to make restitution.) The marchers passed out pamphlets explaining their just cause, to all who would accept them. Their flyer contended that the Washington officials, in their persecution of the Indians, were violating the United States Constitution, existing federal laws, and also the Washington State Constitution and existing state laws. It went on to accuse the state’s game and fisheries departments of deliberately enacting fish-conservation laws which are at variance with existing federal treaties and therefore unconstitutional.

Reuben Wright, a dedicated tribal council leader of the Puyallup tribe, was doing a sixty-day jail sentence for contempt of court in violating the fishing injunction. In the same jail on the same charge was the controversial self-styled chief, Bob Satiacum. Both of these Indians had been volunteers at an earlier fish-in demonstration on the Puyallup River, which had been led by the well-known movie star Marlon Brando, who had come to the state with the National Indian Youth Council. Brando was not arrested for his fishing activities, but later many Indians were. Mrs. Reuben (Elaine) Wright and her six children and Mrs. Bob (Susan) Satiacum and her children led the marching demonstration at the Federal Court House in Seattle.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs then announced that only the federal government had legal power to regulate the Indians’ treaty fishing rights, although all three major parties involved in the dispute (the Indians, the states, and the federal government) now said that they would welcome an early ruling by the US Supreme Court. That is what the Indians have wanted all along.

The Indian people have always known that it is not their fishing activities that cause the dwindling of the salmon supply. They have stated over and over that the cause is the evils attendant on white society. The Indian people account for less than 1% of the total salmon catch. To understand the causes of depletion, it is necessary to take into account the entire life cycle, from the time the spawned salmon eggs hatch and the fish leave for their long journey to the arctic icecap, til they finally come back to their native riverbeds to spawn. The salmon fingerlings that start down the rivers face many dangers, both civilized and natural. Industrial water pollution, hydroelectric dam turbines, irrigation silts, trout season, and natural predators are just a few of the causes of salmon fingerling depletion. There is an immediate need to eliminate or to control more effectively the civilized causes of salmon depletion instead of pointing an accusing finger at foreign fishing nations and American Indians.

When and if the salmon reach their destination and maturity, they start their long, perilous journey home. As the salmon leave their comparatively safe refuge under the arctic icecap, the first danger they encounter is the never-ending mass of international fishing nets. The big commercial fishing nations are the United States, the Soviet Union, Canada, Japan, and Norway. What salmon survive to reach Puget Sound waters are followed by the Americans who take another large number of them. The salmon, tired and hungry, are unfair prey for the baited hooks of sportsmen, whose boats literally blot out the waters of Puget Sound.

Finally, the survivors reach the mouth of their native river, where they become rejuvenated by the fresh water. (Indians say that they become like intoxicated people, full of fight and power.) The salmon’s instincts and perceptions are sharpened—an Indian fishnet does not last for long, for in the salmon’s fight for survival they can easily break the strongest net, and those that follow go thru the holes. The salmon travel a roadway in the rivers, which of course cannot be seen; yet if the Indians cannot find this roadway they cannot catch even one fish. It is a hard struggle for the majority of Indian fishermen to earn a decent living at their much-loved occupation. The few fish that survive to reach the Indians fishing stations are either too strong to be caught, or too puny [colloquially, the condition of salmon weakened, battered and emaciated from their journey, as they near the spawning grounds where their lives will end—editor’s note] to sell for food fish. It is indeed a struggle for survival for both the salmon and the American Indians.

Nevertheless, it is a fact that the Indian people have never been despoilers of nature; they are the first and original conservationists. They have never contended that there is no need for stringent conservation laws, for they realize that non-Indians do not seem to understand the need to obey Nature’s conservation laws. As the Washington Fisheries Department is under the control of the large fishing industries and the Washington Game Department is under the control of the large, politically-minded sportsmen’s clubs, the Indians have a just fear of being placed under their control. For it would in no way assure the survival of the salmon—all it would accomplish is the destruction of the Indian fishing industry, which has been in active existence for 800 known years.

On November 4th, a jury deadlocked over Chester Satiacum’s trial in Tacoma for illegal fishing. The foreman told reporters that after three hours of deliberation there were still some "who said they would be willing to hold out for a week if necessary". The Puyallup Indian was freed.

On November 9th Mrs. Chester Satiacum was given a thirty-day suspended sentence for illegal fishing. She did not have funds for an attorney and had to speak for herself. Attorneys are hard to find who will take the Indians’ fishing battle, because too much pressure is brought on them by the state.

In November the Survival of American Indians Association staged another fish-in on the Nisqually River. While some fifty Indians cheered them from the beach, Don Matheson, Survival Association president, Janet McCloud, woman warrior, and Alvin Bridges entered a boat that went fishing. Again state wardens were on the other side of the river, but this time they did not interfere. As before, the event had been well publicized. When Governor Evans was questioned by reporters on what action he intended to take, he stated, "There aren’t any fish in the river this time of the year anyway". So the Indians took particular delight in displaying their net full of fish. (At the October 13th fish-in, the net that the Indians tried to set was not capable of catching fish, as it had no leadline.) Among the observers this time were two Episcopalian clergymen, a college professor, and for the first time some Negro sympathizers—who didn’t permit anyone to doubt whose side they were on.

On December 7th the Survival of American Indians Association secured the services of Mr. Jack Tanner to represent them in court. Sisters-in-law Clara and Susan Satiacum (wives of Chester and Bob Satiacum) were found guilty of a series of charges stemming from a wild boat ride on the Puyallup River on September 21st. The two young Indian women had led eighteen Tacoma police a frenzied race, for an hour and a half, up and down the river before they were finally cornered and arrested—and roughed up by the police. Susan wore the marks from the handcuffs for a long time. The judge sentenced them to sixty days and thirty days respectively. Mr. Tanner immediately gave notice of appeal and they were released on bond.

On January 29th the angry and embittered Indians held a night rally at Frank’s Landing. It was really more of a war party. This time over two hundred Indians attended, and about fifty non-Indians, though the weather was rainy and cold. Indian leaders from all over the state spoke over a loudspeaker and protested the Gestapo actions of Governor Dan Evans’ departments. This all took place around a huge bonfire—the light from the fire could be seen for miles. A large party of Indian war dancers came from the Yakima tribe, led by Alex Wesley. Don Matheson introduced the speakers, who included Bob Satiacum of the Puyallup tribe, Janet McCloud, of the Tulalip, Frank Allen of the Stillaguamish, and many more. Satiacum likened Evans to Hitler and his methods used against the Jewish people. Mrs. McCloud told the crowd that they intended to burn Governor Evans in effigy because of the way "he unleashed the police power of the state to come down on us like a bunch of mad dogs". The climax of the demonstration came when the Yakima did an authentic war dance around the fire and two young Indian girls threw a life-size effigy of Governor Evans into the flames, while the Indians cheered and emitted war whoops. Reporters and cameramen had turned out in large numbers to cover the event. An Indian leader told a reporter that "this state is the Mississippi of the West" for the Indian people. State men were observed walking around with walkie-talkies and a large force was seen across the river. The Indian leaders did not want to be accused of another massacre, so they ignored their presence.

February 6, 1966, Negro comedian Dick Gregory joined the Indian fight and offered his services to the Indians. The Indians invited him to fish-in with them on the Nisqually River, and he accepted the invitation. Two Nisqually Indians, Leonard and Louis Squally, went in the boat with Gregory, who caught two steelhead. State wardens watched, but as in the case of Marlon Brando, did not arrest him. After the fish-in Gregory told in a news conference that the Indians’ treaty fight was one of the most important civil-rights fights going on in the nation at this time. He went on to define the civil rights movements as a campaign for human dignity for all men, not just for Negroes.

The next day Governor Evans branded Dick Gregory’s participation as "just another publicity stunt".

Meanwhile Gregory sent for his wife Lillian, who came west to join her husband. Soon they were both in jail. Although they could have bailed out after entering their plea of not guilty to the charge of illegal net fishing, they both remained in jail to publicize the case.

On February 17th Dick Gregory bailed out of jail in order to join Janet McCloud, Bob Satiacum, Frank Wright, Puyallup tribal chairman, and the state’s man Robert Lasseter, fisheries warden, at a nearby Catholic college in a discussion about the fishing controversy. Gregory stated that he intended to sue the state for false arrest. Mrs. McCloud denounced Evans’ charge that Gregory was seeking publicity: "All Dick Gregory is doing is casting a spotlight upon a problem that’s been here for over a hundred years, and it’s well known that people who do dark deeds don’t like light cast upon them". Bob Satiacum bitterly denounced the whole history of Indian and white relations and concluded by stating that "almost every word that the state puts out is a lie". Some students booed this, but it’s a historical fact nevertheless. While all the Nisquallies were at the campus, the state made a raid and took the fishing nets from the river.

March 1, 1966, four Indians refused to show up in Tacoma Superior Court to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court for violating the fishing injunction. In these rigged show-cause cases the Indians are not allowed a jury trial. Judge John Cochran issued arrest warrants for Alvin Bridges, Herman Johns, Jr., and Louis and Leonard Squally.

It reminded one local writer of Irish rebel days, when someone on the run was described as "a man on his own keep"—meaning that the English were hunting him. A strong strain of Irish and Scotch blood is present in the Washington Indians, the legacy of early fur traders, so the allusion to the moors and bogs of Eire is not so farfetched. Only now their descendants are in hiding along the thickly forested streams and hills of the Nisqually reservation. However, both areas are extremely wet and cold.

While Mrs. Gregory was sitting it out in jail the Indians held a protest march which started in front of the Justice Building at the capitol grounds and proceeded to the jail, where they took up flowers and candy to Mrs. Gregory in appreciation of her efforts. From there the marchers went to Governor Evans’ mansion to protest his persecution of them. The governor didn’t show his face but he had a large force of his special unit there and they were very nervous. Again only a small group showed up to participate in the protest march.

Now the Muckleshoot tribe said that they intended to have a fish-in on the Green River. They also have a fishing injunction against them; in fact, they were the first tribe to be hit. They asked Dick Gregory to join them, and he accepted. It was decided by both the Muckleshoots and the Nisqually Indians that they would have two fish-ins on the same day, the first to be held on the Nisqually at nine in the morning and the second on the Green at one in the afternoon. The press was not informed until an hour before the first fish-in, so at the Nisqually only ten people and two newsmen showed up. Dick Gregory had decided to fish in both of the demonstrations. When the wardens saw how small the Nisqually force was, they moved in on the Indians in large numbers. Edith and Janet McCloud, sisters-in-law, tried to order the wardens off the federal land, when the wardens came in to arrest Gregory. A pushing match started and the two women were arrested and again charged with interfering with a police officer in the performance of his duties. They entered a plea of not guilty, and their case was set over for a jury trial. Gregory was charged with illegal net fishing, and all three stayed in jail on a hunger strike.

Meanwhile, on the Green, the Muckleshoot had a large turnout of Indians and non-Indian spectators, about three hundred people in all. When the large force of game wardens descended on the Green River fish-in and started to rough up a young Indian girl the assembled Indians promptly turned on them and stoned them—men, cars, and everything in sight. The wardens left the scene and made no on-the-spot arrests. Later four Indians who had gone fishing were arrested and their bail was set at $1,000 each. Their attorney refused to have anything to do with them; the Survival of American Indians Association went good for their bail bonds. And the American Civil Liberties Union finally took a stand for the Indians and provided an attorney to represent the four Muckleshoots. Mr. Bill Hansen, attorney, promptly filed a writ of prejudice against the judge who issued the arrest warrants, and it was granted. The Indians have been victims of political-minded judges since this state was formed; it’s about time attorneys took a direct stand against this discrimination with a legal cloak.

J. McC. And R.C.

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The balance of this page contains a line-drawn cartoon by Wagner with the following caption:

"Mr. President, Premier Kosygin is on the hot line; Mr. deGaulle is arriving at Friendship Airport. There has been an assassination in the Congo, and..."

"Quiet, Boy, Fulbright’s at the door!"

30. The Last Indian War, Part 2—Janet Mccloud

[The conclusion of a two-part report by Janet McCloud, a leader in the Nisqually River fish-ins, and editor of the newsletter of the Survival of American Indians Association.]

In January of 1964 the Nisqually, Puyallup and allied tribes formed the Survival of American Indians Association for the purpose of channeling their energies into a united fight. It is this group of Indians that has been the leaders of resistance. Other efforts of the association have been to raise much-needed funds for legal assistance when requested by an Indian or Indian tribe to provide bail bonds, food and moral support to battle-weary Indians.

The Indians have relied largely upon their fish-in demonstrations as their direct action program, as the few marches they have staged have been unsuccessful for lack of support by the public or by the Indians themselves. The main reason for the Indians’ reluctance to march is that many people tend to lump the Negro problem and the Indian problem into one barrel when both use the same tactics. Indians want the distinction understood: the Indians are dead set against assimilation into the white society, contrary to the Negroes who appear to welcome assimilation. It must also be remembered that the Indian people are large property owners, and most of their problems come from the illegal attempts of the whites to take the Indians’ property—against his will.

The State’s confiscation of thousands of dollars worth of fishing gear (allegedly for future court evidence) was done as an economic blow to the Indians because of their resistance to the State’s injunctions. It is hard for these people to replace the hand-dug-out canoes, boats, outboard motors, and fishing nets, which have either been handed down from their fathers or bought with their life’s earnings. In fact, the dug-out canoes are irreplaceable. These confiscations are just a way to beat the Indians down, identical to the policy of shooting the buffalo in an earlier time.

The hostile attitude against the Indian people by a large percentage of the general public is reflected by statements made to the Indians by judges of Washington courts.

Judge Jacques, Pierce County Superior Court, who over two years ago issued an injunction against the Nisquallies, told the Indians, "They never meant for you people to be free like everyone else".

Pierce County Assistant Prosecutor Harmon in Justice Court said, "We had the power and force to exterminate these people from the face of the earth, instead of making treaties with them. Perhaps we should have. We certainly wouldn’t be having all this trouble with them today."

Federal District Judge Boldt told one Indian tribe’s attorney, who was seeking a writ of prohibition against the State, "I don’t want to hear any more about these damn’ Indian fishing cases".

While Governor Evans tries to deny that any racial undertones are present in his actions against the Indians, the fact remains that within the past two years about one hundred Indians have been arrested and many of them have been denied jury trials. On the Nisqually River where the greatest resistance has been put up, all the arrested Indians’ fishing gear has been confiscated. There have been no court hearings on the taken gear as required by law. The few attorneys who are brave enough to take the Indians’ cases have been harassed and intimidated by state officials and sportsmen’s groups. Moving pictures of a few Indians net fishing are shown to clubs across the state to stir up the public against the Indians. For example, in Concrete, Washington, where the Skagit Indians fish, the State used these tactics so well that the mayor of the town led a mob to the river, saying, "Let’s get those god-damned Indian nets out of the river". And in a small town near the Makah Indian reservation, after the State showed its "hate-the-Indians" pictures another mob gathered to demand that all the Indians be run off the rivers.

Of course, not all the Indians are agreed on the methods being used to fight the State of Washington. A few of the tribal council leaders, who are strongly influenced by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, criticize all the demonstrations held by their brothers. These Indian tribal councils generally occupy the same role that the paramount Chiefs and their councils did in colonial Africa, that of stooging for the whites against their own people. The fighting Indians call them "Uncle Tomahawks" (the Indian equivalent of "Uncle Tom").

The Yakima Indians, like the Nisquallies, are also divided over the issue of treaty fishing rights. The controversy within the tribe is simple enough—those who are ready to fight, and the Uncle Tomahawks who would rather switch. The group spearheading the fight formed the "Five Man Fish Commission of the Yakima Nation". (Fourteen tribes, the Yakima among them, compose the Yakima Nation.) The Nation is actually the superior power, but the Bureau of Indian Affairs, having found it not willing to sign away its people’s rights, managed through illegal chicanery to set up the Yakima tribe as the superior power. This has caused much suffering for the Indian people, who are unable to stop the sale of their land to whites or to prevent the corrupt Uncle Tomahawks from wasting the tribal funds. The tribe picks and chooses whom it will protect in legal fights, including actions to defend the tribal fishing right. Since its formation the Five Man Fish Commission has actively campaigned for honest Indians on the Tribal Council and backed them up when they get into office. Last year the Commission managed to get three Indians elected to the fourteen-man council. Needless to say, the Bureau of Indian Affairs uses every method to hinder its activity.

The Yakima fight for their fishing rights on the banks of the Columbia River, boundary between the states of Washington and Oregon. This river is fished commercially by whites at the river mouth, using drift nets. The Indians fish with set nets in their old waters. Where ancient sites have been terminated by dam construction, new fishing stations have been designated for them by the Federal government. One such site is Cooks, above Bonneville Dam. Here, at about four o’clock in the morning of April 21, 1966, three Indian fishermen were tending their net in a howling wind. The water was rough, and the Indians fought desperately to get their net into the boat before it was dashed against the sharp rocks. One was running the outboard motor and attempting to control the boat, while the other two managed the net; all three were too busy to be aware of anything but their battle with the river. Without warning, a big power speedboat filled with plain-clothed wardens rammed their boat. The wardens were armed—one jumped into the Indians’ boat and order the fishermen to shore, threatening to blast them out of the water if they disobeyed.

At the camp site, other Indians were awakened by the sounds of running feet and barking dogs, and ran to the beach to see what was happening. What they saw churned their fighting Indian blood—game and fisheries wardens armed with high-powered semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and seven-celled flashlights had invaded their fishing site. The Indians asked to see the wardens’ required federal permission permit—none was produced. They asked to see the wardens’ credentials, as many of them were in plain clothes—again, none was shown.

By this time the boats had reached shore. The Indian boat was owned by Madeline Alexander Weeks, who testified later that she had loaned it to her brother. When it touched the dock, she waded out to secure it, wrapped its towline around her waist and was pulling it to shore when she was jumped by a game warden, Gene Whittem. A diminutive woman, she fought a gallant fight to protect her property—but Whittem had a knife; he slashed the rope around her waist, cutting her and her coat. Other Indians were to testify to equally harrowing experiences in this terroristic pre-dawn raid.

Brought into Skamania County Court on illegal fishing charges, the Indians faced the usual prejudiced judge and jury, and were found guilty in a few short minutes.

The trials that Indians are subjected to in the name of "Equal justice before the law" are the hardest pills to swallow. The judge in Stevenson, where these fishermen were tried, is not even a lawyer. The Indians are not allowed to enter the treaties as evidence—nor to enter any evidence at all, for that matter. In the Nisqually cases, state attorneys found it hard to secure convictions when the treaty was introduced, so now jurors must leave the jury room whenever treaty rights are mentioned. The state attorneys also found that juries would not swallow their conservation pleas, so now they use an old type of plea to get the juries to decide against the Indians: PREJUDICE! And it works! The fact is that few of the white invaders have forgiven the Indians for their original crime of being here first. The television westerns, the movies, and the school history books all teach that "the only good Injun is a dead one"—still today. The only thing that these stories apologize for is that the whites couldn’t wipe all the Indians out and so had to make treaties with them. So it is a relatively easy thing to play on an all-white jury’s anti-Indian feelings. If this sounds like hogwash—sit down tonight and watch the children’s programs.

Yakima Indians took up firearms to protect themselves and their gear against the combined forces of the states of Washington and Oregon. In the early morning hours of July 27, armed Yakimas arrested five game wardens at Cooks Landing and held them at gunpoint until they could be turned over to the State Patrol, which assured the Indians that the wardens would be available for trespass charges to be filed in Federal Court. Delmo Hoptowit, 22, a Yakima, explained to the press: "They claim they are trying to stop us to save the salmon. The commercial white fishermen below the dam take more fish in one night than all the Indians can take all year. We have to fish now, before the white commercial season starts, or starve. Once they start, their 1500-foot nets literally block the whole channel of the river. In a couple of days they will clean out all the fish."

Before the Yakima took up arms, over 32 Indians had been arrested in night raids. After the Indians retaliated, Robert Robinson, chief administrative officer of Washington’s Fisheries Department, told the press that his department "will enforce the law where able to, but will not risk the lives of its enforcement agents. There is no use running full force into these people. We are not going to risk our lives for a few fish." The night arrests ceased. After that, Indians were arrested when they went to the store, one by one.

The hostility of the public is shown in an Oregon newspaper editorial: "it has been many generations since the last armed conflict between white men and red men... But bullets could fly and blood flow, if rifle-toting Yakima Indians are so brash as to use their weapons to back up their claim to the treaty rights to string nets across the river... American Indians learned to their sorrow the folly of trying to defeat the whites by force of arms."

Last year Malcolm S. McLeod, attorney for the twenty Indian tribes in western Washington, had told the public in a television interview: "There is likely to be bloodshed. You can’t deprive a people of their livelihood and expect them to take it lying down." His prophecy would seem to be bearing fruit.

Another way the State of Washington whips the Indians economically is to deprive them of markets for their fresh salmon, by harassing and intimidating the fish buyers. Last year the Survival of American Indians Association did a hit-and-miss survey of markets where the Indians usually sell their salmon. When asked why they had refused to buy from Indians, buyers stated that every week the fisheries and game wardens come in to check their receipt books. Although it is not against any state law to buy from Indians, the state wardens intimated to the buyers that they could make things "hot" for them. As one buyer stated: "You guys are right. Those game wardens act like Gestapo agents. They came in here and demanded to see my books. I ain’t buying any fish from the Indians, but those guys made me mad, the way they acted." When he was asked if he would buy fish from the Indians, he said, "I know you guys are right but I’ve got a business to run and I need fifteen state licenses to keep it open. They said they’d suspend one of my licenses and close me down. I can’t afford to buck the State." Others were told that if they bought any Indian fish they would be jailed and fined one thousand dollars; even if the State couldn’t make charges stick, the buyers would be saddled with expensive attorney fees and court costs.

Halvorson’s fish market in Tacoma could not be intimidated by the state wardens. So wardens came to the market every day, checking fish receipts and trying to scare away business. He continued to buy fish from the Indians.

Danny Newton and his wife Alice, both Indians, armed with a federal trade license and $7,000 in cash from a timber sale on their allotted land, decided to buck the state of Washington and buy fish from the Puyallup Indians. In July of 1964 they set up a fish-buying camp in the seven-acre plot of land owned by the Puyallup tribe within the metropolitan area of Tacoma. The state immediately put their camp under 24-hour surveillance. Newton’s trucks were followed everywhere by both city and state police. He got thirty traffic tickets in one week alone, for everything from driving an inch over the dividing line to driving too fast or too slow. The Newtons were investigated by both the Health and the Welfare departments, constantly persecuted by Washington State officials.

Newton bought the Indians’ fish for cash, and sold them to bigger markets on a consignment basis. He bought fish from his Indian brothers for over three months, until his ready cash gave out. One market which owed him about $7,000 (an amount approximately equal to his original capitalization) refused to pay him. He obtained a lawyer who did get back a small amount of the money, but Newton took a big loss. Without resources to investigate, the Indians can never be sure, but they feel that the state was involved in this swindle.

Newton and his wife were arrested five times for illegal fish buying, but as he had a federal trade license, they never lost their case. Yet they never won: after all attorney fees, traffic tickets, and all the other forms of harassment, the Newtons lost all their money and suffered severe mental anguish. Today the Indians list them among the casualties of the war between the Indians and the State.

Another fish buyer who is on the state’s blacklist is Roy Stritmater. Roy owns a fish market in the town of Hoquiam, Washington. He bought fish from the Washington Indians for at least forty years. This is only a sideline, as most of his fish come from non-Indian commercial fisheries. Roy’s brother Lester Stritmater is an attorney and justice of the peace. Roy not only buys salmon from the Indians, but the controversial salmon-like steelhead trout, which the state of Washington has declared a game fish.

Roy has been branded a renegade by the state officials, even though he is officially licensed to do business. He has been arrested numerous times and has had to pay large bail bonds. He has had hundreds of tons of fish confiscated. He has been chased on wild rides by wardens threatening bodily harm. Yet he refuses to bow down to the state. He fights inside and outside the courts. Of course, there is a world of difference between Stritmater, a non-Indian with an already thriving business, and Newton, an Indian just starting his business, and with no attorney brother to defend him. The state is hurting Roy’s business by using propaganda: they tell the white commercial fisherman that Roy is an Indian-lover and a renegade. He has lost a lot of his fishermen.

The Sko-bobch (literally "Green River") tribe was concentrated on the Muckleshoot Reservation after the signing of the Port Elliot Treaty in 1855. The Sko-bobch have never lost their ethnic identity, but are more commonly known today as Muckleshoot Indians. Formerly the Green River ran through reservation land, but it has been diverted by dams and waterways; the State now has a fish hatchery on the river, and claims ownership by squatters’ rights. The Muckleshoot Reservation lies somewhat east of a line drawn about midway between Tacoma and Seattle, in what has become the most densely populated region of the state. The Indians arrested after the big fish-in on the Green, in which Dick Gregory participated, were descendants of the Sko-bobch tribe. Their trial was scheduled to take place at a local justice court.

The American Civil Liberties Union, entering the case on the Indians’ behalf, delegated Mr. Bill Hansen to represent the arrested fishermen. He filed a writ of prejudice against the local judge, and the case was removed to Federal Way Justice Court. The Muckleshoots announced their now historic treaty trek. Old and young Indians along with non-Indian sympathizers trekked for fifteen miles from the reservation to Federal Way, to present the judge with a copy of the Port Elliot Treaty, as a protest of the state’s encroachment of the treaty rights. The Judge hurriedly had the case removed from his court before the Indians finished their trek. When the judges finished their game of passing the buck around, the Indians ended up in Seattle District Court, before Judge James J. Dore.

At the trial it was apparent that the State had pre-rehearsed its witnesses. Almost all of them used exactly the same words on the stand, and were cool, calm, and deliberate in their testimony. The Indians were unrehearsed and emotional in their defense. In their attempt to show the jury that the Indians are savages and incapable of understanding the need for conservation laws, state attorneys stressed over and over how the Indians catch and kill the fish, as though the Indians were being tried for murder of the fish rather than violation of the state game laws. "After they caught the fish", the deputy prosecutor said, "they used big rocks and clubs on the poor fish and their eyes flew out and the blood flew in the air". (Unlike whites who let the fish suffer a long and agonizing death, Indians are taught early to hit the fish on a certain spot to kill it instantly.)

The U. S. Attorney’s office sent an attorney to represent the Federal Government’s defense of its treaty commitment with the Sko-bobch Indians. Bill Hansen, of the ACLU, represented the Indians, Cecil Moses, Robert Moses, Sherman Dominick and Larry Maurice. Their defense was that since their ancestors were signatories to the Port Elliot Treaty, which Chief Seattle signed in their behalf, that the state had no jurisdiction over their common and accustomed fishing stations on the Green River. The state was not in existence at the time of the treaty agreements, and is therefore an interloper trying to establish ownership of the Indian fishing stations. It is true that the Indians ceded the land, but they specifically retained ownership of all the Washington waters—legally speaking, they are the riparian owners. Tribal elders took the stand to defend the young fishermen and to identify them as tribal members.

Mike Johnson, assistant to the State Attorney General, and Donald Skinner, King County Deputy Prosecutor, represented the State of Washington. They sought to block the entering of the treaty as evidence in the Indian defense, but were overruled. Nevertheless, they were able to convince the jury that there were no such Indians as the Sko-bobch. [Few white Washingtonians have any concept of the complexities of Indian social organization in this region. Early settlers dubbed all the Indians by the derogatory term of "siwash" (>French sauvage = savage) and most whites, even now, think of all western Washington Indians as "Siwash Indians"; I’ve even seen this libel in school textbooks—Editor’s note]

The Indians, of course, lost. Their attorney gave notice of appeal.

The Muckleshoots have been a source of inspiration to Indians all over the United States (and outside it) because of their unity and their fight. No other tribe in this state (there are 37 in existence today) has staged such a fight outside of the courts as this tribe. They have literally no money, and are few in number—yet this summer they had a treaty trek, a canoe trek, and another march in Seattle. Old and young alike, fisher people and non-fisher people, Indian and non-Indian. Only those who have an accurate knowledge of the Indians’ history understand or realize the importance of this feat. It marks a new page in the Indians’ future history.

The Survival of American Indians Association, mostly composed of Nisqually fishermen, has been busy this summer with its Operation Re-education Program—especially in the Nisqually area, where the children who have been victims of state raids are most ready to learn. This program is to teach Indian children their almost lost culture, history, and language. The sad fact is that Indians in this state don’t know as much about their culture as the Boy Scouts do. In the early days of white settlement, the western part of the state was Catholic territory; the state was divided in half, the eastern part being Protestant. The division was necessary as the churches were paid so much a head to de-Indianize the Indians, and religious wars were erupting in their fight to get more heads. The first thing the churches did was to burn all the Indian’s clothing and dress them in white clothing, then they forbade all Indian dancing, singing, teaching of moral customs to the young, etc. After suffering the worst indignities that one (so-called) human being can inflict on another, the Indians in eastern Washington killed the missionary Marcus Whitman in 1847. The vast majority of Washington Indians today suffer from mass social disorientation as a result of the government’s policy of cultural genocide. Unable to accept the avaricious whites’ materialistic culture in place of their own, Indians have resorted to the bottle in an attempt to forget. The AA, which helps alcoholics by seeking individual causes of a person’s alcoholism, has been unable to help the Indians, for the causes of an Indian’s alcoholism are social, the result first of being addicted by corrupt whites to get Indian land and later of the brainwashing being used to de-Indianize the Indians. Operation Re-ed seeks to teach the young these lost treasures, knowing that it is a fact that "the truth shall set you free".

The Lummi tribe near Bellingham ran into difficulty with the state over the demand that the Indians give up their best waterfront land for a new scenic freeway that the state wants to build. The Indians refused to sell their land, but the state will not take no for an answer. Every method is being used to pressure the Indians into selling. The method the state has found most effective is an attack on the young children: the state has discontinued school buses on the reservation. Until the Indians give in, they must get their children to school themselves. Lack of transportation is not accepted as an excuse for absence. If the children are not in school, parents are taken into court as unfit to retain their custody. The Lummis also have problems over their fishing rights, and many have been jailed. The Lummis are one of the most peaceful tribes in the state, but their patience is bound to run out.

The Skokomish tribe, like the Muckleshoots, allowed the state to build a fish hatchery on its river above the fishing sites. Now the state claims it owns the whole river, because the Indians gave permission to build a hatchery. The Skokomish is a fighting tribe. If the State keeps up its demand that they move off their river—watch for fireworks! The Skokomish tribe has another fight with the state, over the sale of real fireworks on the reservation, contending that the state has no jurisdiction on reservation land, and that its ban on fireworks sales is therefore void. This case has not yet been brought to trial.

Every tribe in the United States is involved in a legal battle of one sort or another—illegal taking of Indian land, hunting rights, human rights, oil leases, uranium, gold, timber and fishing rights. Every government official states that these matters must, and can only, be settled in the courts. Court battles have been going on since Andrew Jackson was President and the Cherokee fought his Indian Removal Act. The United States Supreme Court ruled for the Indians, but the Cherokee were removed anyway. The fisher Indians have been in court fighting since 1905, and the federal courts have ruled for us, yet what good are these federal court rulings? The courts cannot enforce their decisions and never will be able to. The American Indians who are under the guardianship of the U.S. are the richest people in the world—and still the poorest. When the Indian people finally come of age and can manage their own estates, will there be anything left to manage?—the Great Spirit and everyone else knows that America’s once poverty-stricken immigrants (who flocked over here from Europe with literally nothing) are now the richest people in the world. No wonder—they are the executors of our estates.

As it was in the past with the Cherokees, so it is today with the Negroes in their battle for civil rights. MISSISSIPPI! Cherokee country. The rich red American blood of the Cherokee flowed freely over the country and fertilized it. Today, the Negroes trying to make this nation’s people live up to its courts’ decisions, and to the laws of Congress, and to the claims it makes to the world about "Life, Liberty, and Justice for all", are fertilizing the soil with their blood. No: the quest for justice will never find fulfillment in American courts.

The only solution to the American Indians’ problem lies with the United Nations, for the following reason: treaties! No matter what tribe is fighting, the fight is over treaty rights. The fact is evident that the Indians are getting nowhere—merely being drained of their funds for legal expenses. If the Indians must be under a guardianship, they should be placed under a United Nations trusteeship, which would not be in a position to make a profit from Indian resources as do our trusts today. The first thing the U.N. would have to do is review all the treaties between the new United States and the American natives. What every Indian tribe is fighting for is only what was stipulated in those treaties. All the land that was reserved should and must be re-established under tribal ownership, for the majority of Indians are wandering homeless on this land. The whites who live illegally on reservation land today (for treaties stipulated that no whites would be allowed to reside upon Indian land) should be amply paid for their removal. Those Indians who prefer to follow the road of the whites should be free to do so, but those who are sickened of the whites’ way of non-life, as many are, would reside within the safety of the reservations. All this would be watched over by a United Nations trusteeship, which would also help the Indians with their economic, health, education and welfare problems until the Indians are capable of doing these things themselves—which would happen much faster than under the present system.

J. McC.

[Bulletin #30 of the Seattle Group, republished in SEATTLE 1966 FALL; Bulletins 28 thru 32 of the Seattle Group, from which it has been transcribed. The editor mentioned in the text was Louise Crowley, who published the Seattle Bulletins in Seattle, Washington. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster, January 8, 2012.]

31. You Really Want to Know Why Johnny Can’t Read?—Louise Crowley

[Transcriber: In the compilation, a cartoon appears between Bulletins 30 and 31. The cartoon is a "portrait" of a gentleman smoking a pipe, wearing glasses and an upper garment that looks like an ecclesiastical robe. The cartoon is signed Wagner and contains the following caption:]

Q. Sir, what is your judgment on the present Fundamentalist vs. UW English Department case upon whether the Bible should be taught as literature?

A. I don’t understand all this business about church and state.

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We have a friend I’ll call Johnny, who is now eight years old. We met him first when he became our next-door neighbor, a few weeks before his third birthday.

Even in the context of the ghetto that surrounds it, the duplex next door to us is an impossible place to live. Its heating plant functions irregularly, more often in summer than in winter. Its roof leaks, and so does the gas. From the sink taps to the toilet, its plumbing is a rusted-out mess. Its doors are off their hinges, but there is no point in rehanging them, because the doors are cracked and warped anyway, and no longer fit their frames. Its cellar, dug out of the loose sand and gravel of this glacial hill and subject to frequent cave-ins, provides a precarious haven for the neighborhood’s unwanted ground-living fauna. Termites live in its timbers, and the torn siding of the upper storeys allows pigeons and bats to find shelter in the attic. Human tenants come and go; most are Negro, and none stay for long.

Myrtis and Bill and their three small children moved in in the spring, after the rains, when the discomforts of the place were least apparent. Bill was ghetto-bred: tall and lean, sparing of speech, distrustful of Whites, and with whatever interests or ambitions he might have had crushed by the dead-end culture of poverty. Myrtis came from an almost color-blind farm village in Idaho, where her family had been the only Negroes, and on an economic par with their White neighbors. A severe injury in early childhood had sentenced her to years of intermittent hospitalization; she became the pet of the hospital staff, and grew up as friendly and trusting as a spaniel pup. Maybe that’s why she found herself pregnant by Bill and married at 16, and at 20, with three children and expecting a fourth, living in the ramshackle tenement next door. Johnny is their oldest son.

Myrtis and I became friends immediately; Myrtis has a delightful quality of making friends at first sight. The kids, Johnny and his two little sisters, toddling Sharon and baby Vicki, were equally outgoing. Our boys fell easily into big-brother roles, teaching Johnny to throw a ball and to hunt pollywogs in the nearby Arboretum ponds, and passing on to him their outgrown books and toys. They were proud of him: he was a bright, well-coordinated little boy, learning the arts of childhood easily and enthusiastically under their tutelage. Even though the rigors of life on welfare forced a token separation between his parents that summer, Johnny’s now dimming recollections are of an idyllic dream. Myrtis and the kids moved in with her parents in the fall, after the rains set in; an alert caseworker cut them off ADC when Bill found brief employment, and the family reunited to resume the common pattern of moving from one tenement to another as the rent came due. We continued to keep track of each other, but the close relationship was broken.

They settled at last at the intersection of two of the ghetto’s most heavily traveled arterials, where traffic confined the children almost entirely within the walls of their drab apartment. Bill was again unemployed, but the state had restored its ADC-E program, so the family was eligible for welfare; it paid the rent. Johnny was now five, due to start kindergarten with the beginning of the next school year. Already the confidence he’d had at three had been shaken by poverty, transiency, and the ghetto—the curiosity discouraged, the eagerness dulled. He spoke seldom and shyly, no longer with Myrtis’ clear articulation, but with the hesitant, almost unintelligible slur of the drunks who lounge always on apartment-house doorsteps. But one evening, when George and I visited Myrtis together, Johnny brightened and ran happily to George’s arms, words tumbling out too fast for our ears to follow, then muffled as George sat down and the boy frantically burrowed his head into George’s lap. When he quieted, George took his head between his hands and raised it; there were tears in Johnny’s eyes, but the boy’s face was shining with delight. "You’re my friend", he said, "You came back!"

And then I remembered that my visits with Myrtis had been during the day while George was at work, unconsciously in the pattern of housewives, and that Johnny had not seen George since he’d moved from the duplex next door. His remembrances began pouring out: the time he’d eaten all the candy-flavored aspirin and George had carried him to the hospital; the stories George had told, "reading" picture-books with him before the fireplace; the pollywog hunts in the Arboretum; the time the bulldozers tore up our street and he and George had sat together on the front porch to watch them. We stayed late; it was George who tucked Johnny into bed that night.

We heard from them next after school started. Myrtis phoned one morning early that September, to tell us that Johnny, after three days in his neighborhood school, had been transferred to a "pre-adjustment kindergarten". Myrtis didn’t know what that meant, but it had an ominous ring, and she was calling us for information and advice. I said I’d check into it.

The pre-adjustment kindergarten was in another ghetto school a couple of miles distant from Johnny’s home; he was to be transported by taxicab, as part of a contract with the School District. The principal of the neighborhood school—which is the same one our boys attended—told me that Johnny’s teacher had reported that he was "incapable of fitting in" to the regular kindergarten program. "After three days?" I asked, remembering the little White girl I’d known who sat mute and uncommunicative in kindergarten for two months, while notes passed between her home and school about the possible reasons for her apathy. I spoke with the teacher, a new one I didn’t know. Tight-lipped, she told me only that Johnny "wouldn’t co-operate"; she seemed affronted by any interest in him. I tried to explain that Johnny’s mother, with three younger children and a new baby, couldn’t get around as freely as I could with my kids all in school; and that I was simply trying to help her understand the reasons for Johnny’s transfer and the effect it would have on his schooling. She appeared puzzled then, and briefly interested, but on determining that I was acting as Johnny’s friend and not as a social worker, she dismissed my concern as beyond understanding, and terminated the interview.

The principal of the school in which the pre-kindergarten was located had taught Bill, over fifteen years before. He said he knew Johnny well enough; he’d known his father, and that was enough for him—the father was no good either, a troublemaker all through school, and you can’t expect anything from people like that. It’s seldom I’m shocked into speechlessness, but the only appropriate response I could think of wasn’t verbal—nor legal, either.

So I didn’t have much information to report that evening. Johnny, taciturn as he had become, seemed a better source, so we asked him what he knew about it. We learned that the teacher told him to do things. That he didn’t do what she told him. That he didn’t have to, because she never said please. So they’d sent him to another school. The teacher there didn’t say please either. So he wasn’t going to do anything for her, ever. You don’t have to mind people who aren’t polite enough to say please or thank you. To hell with them. This was a long speech for Johnny, who by that time had almost given up talking altogether, except in moments of severe emotional stress. I found its logic irrefutable, but that wasn’t going to help him in school. There’s no place in the curriculum for the children to teach the teachers.

Well, Johnny’s past eight now. He’s made it to a pre-adjustment third grade. He can’t read, and I can scarcely understand his speech. His school work consists of making things with coat hangers and bits of colored paper, and he’s pretty good at it—much better than he was five years ago, when our boys were first teaching him things like that. Though Headstart came along between him and Sharon, her "education" and Vicki’s are following a similar pattern. There doesn’t seem to be anything anyone can do about it; Myrtis enrolled them in a mostly-White school under the voluntary transfer program, but the kids only found themselves in the black "low achievement" tracks of it, as segregated as ever. Even if Bill and Myrtis had the skills to teach the kids at home, they couldn’t counter the negativism of that compulsory 9-to-3 school environment, or the flatness of life on a welfare budget.


With this compilation, the stencils for these Bulletins are expended. We’ll send back Bulletins on request while supplies last. To receive Seattle Group Bulletins as they come out, just write:



SEATTLE, WASH., 98122*

For inclusion on our regular mailing list.

*zip code essential for bulk mail!

[Seattle Group Bulletin # 31 from SEATTLE 1966 FALL; Bulletins 28 thru 32 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcription by Dotty DeCoster, January 9, 2012.]

32. Revolutionaries: Write About Life!—Jim Evrard

After all the drivel written by revolutionaries these many decades, is it any wonder that people still prefer Jesus?

What’s the matter with revolutionaries, that they can’t communicate?

"Western Culture" is a shambles. Our society is corrupt from the bottom up. Modern philosophy can no longer define Truth. Kids who can stand their parents will soon be nine-day wonders. Black seeds of revolt have the mayors of our cities pissing in their pants, and are sucking all white kids worth their salt in their wake. Even industrial psychologists, advertisers, etc., faced with the impossible task of at once giving pseudo-information and convincing themselves and their victims that they are giving real information, are beginning to balk. No one believes a single one of those values "on which our republic stands". We are killing, gassing, burning, torturing, starving—all in the name of freedom, justice, equality, democracy and motherhood. And "the enemy" is doing the same in the name of freedom, justice, equality, socialism and motherhood. In the face of all this, the majority, however, are still at least half-afraid of the revolution.


This question cannot be fully answered in less than a book. I will limit myself to one single aspect of it. Since this is directed primarily at radicals and revolutionaries, the relevant question is: in what way are we responsible?

Some time ago, I was in England talking to some libertarian socialist friends, and I brought up what I consider to be a fundamental question for any revolutionary. Whatever differences we may have among ourselves, we revolutionaries, at least theoretically, agree on one point: our society is fundamentally inhuman. This proposition separates us from the "social reformers". We do not believe that the inhumanity we see all around us is a set of defects in an otherwise "good" social order. Since Marx and Freud, we know inhumanity to be the essence of our social order, not its defects. The model of Auschwitz was a Ford factory. (This point of view, of course implies the denial that the official descriptions of our society—most sociology books, etc.—are true. We consider them rather to be studies in ideology formation and mystification.) I mentioned all this to my English friends and, getting their agreement, concluded I thought logically: that we should look for the damage in ourselves as well as elsewhere. Had I been one to believe that logic was a motivational force for human beings, I’d have been surprised at the reaction. They didn’t want to hear anything of that sort of argument.

I was present when the same matter was brought up among some revolutionary socialists in Paris this summer, and saw the same negative reaction. This reaction is the symptom of an anti-introspective disease common among radicals. My point is: if radicals would spend more time admitting to themselves their own needs, wishes and motives, a lot of the petty strife within the radical movement would stop by itself. And radicals would finally begin to learn to write stuff ordinary people can read without throwing up.

Is this, or does it imply, a put-down of radicals? No. Why should it? Radicals are products of the same lousy society as everyone else. If anyone singles them out as if they were the only damaged neurotics, he is merely an ideologist for the establishment. But radicals should not fall for the illusion that their "revolutionary consciousness" exempts them from the shit. Capitalism stinks! And it is totalitarian!

Does this mean that radicals should spend the rest of their lives in morbid soul-searching excavating the vomit from their unconscious? Sure, baby. The very fact that this type of question keeps arising is only a further symptom of the general disease. Paint the world blue red green yellow purple, not black and white! Reality is a diamond, not a block of wood.

The point is: we have to realize that, whatever ideologies people may concoct to justify their actions to others and to themselves, the driving force for their behavior is not the theoretical ideas they give, but their needs as human beings. Since Marx and Freud, we no longer need stress the fact that the concept need includes far more than just hunger. If we want to talk about the revolution to ordinary people, we will have to drop all lifeless abstractions and talk about concrete human needs, about concrete human misery in our society, and about the concrete possibility of another and better society. We will have to start realizing that it is our fault that "the masses" have rejected us so long. Much of the shit we have written has had little to do with their lives, with their needs. The emotional tone of much of radical literature has been rather to reject people’s concrete human needs, and to demand they replace them with abstractions or a revolutionary morality.

Some of the best recent examples of this can be found in pacifist literature. In our society, almost every single basic human need is systematically frustrated and stunted from infancy to death. This means that any normal human product of our society is filled to bursting with aggression and hate. (When we turn this against our rulers and their society, instead of against each other, we become revolutionaries.) Under the inhuman conditions of our society, this aggression and hate represents a real human need. The abstract and absolute "Thou shalt not kill" of some pacifist writing denies this need. This denial represents a lack of basic respect for the needs of real people. But when pacifists criticize or attack people for hating or violence, they are not only ignoring need; they are doing something worse. They are condemning this society by criticizing its victims. It doesn’t matter at what level of consciousness people perceive this. The fact is: it gets through. Pacifist arguments, however convincing they may be to their authors, have not changed the world. The question is: why? And that line about "good and bad acts" has worn a bit thin.

To answer this question, pacifists will have to admit more of their own needs and motives to themselves. Personally, many pacifists are in fact what they are out of "neurotic" motives. As I said, you grow up in this society shit on from get up to go to bed. This holds for all of us. In addition, many of us get an extra goody. They get batted into their heads the idea that the aggression they develop under these conditions is immoral. "Johnny, you shouldn’t hate Tommy; he’s your little brother." Ha! Can you think of any better reason to hate him? The world of these children is not enviable (though smaller doses of it were probably there in the lives of most of us). Every aggressive impulse they show evokes horror and hurt in their ever-"loving" parents. "No sane, normal, decent persons could ever think of hurting a close friend or relative." O, Mama! Can’t you deposit your ass on the city dump! Grow up long enough under these conditions, and you begin to accept these values. Then you develop an internal cop who punishes you for and makes you afraid of your own impulses of aggression and hate. Put up with this for a while, and you stop becoming conscious of these impulses in yourself. The repression is complete. (The path outlined is not the only way to get this problem, but it’s as good a one as any.) As individuals, such people are often very gentle and loving people, but they chase others out of the peace movement, because they communicate their anti-vital attitudes in many subtle ways. Others see in them a threat to their own individual needs. After all, we don’t all have the same problems.

IMPORTANT. This and similar "psychological" arguments are usually misused by establishment ideologists as an argument against the pacifists’ case itself. This is prostitution. The arguments of the pacifists must stand or fall on their own merits as arguments, not on the basis of the mental health or disease of their proponents. The psychology of the pacifists bears no relation to the validity of their arguments, but it is relevant to the pacifists’ motives, and these in turn have to do with the reasons for their isolation. Their psychology is relevant to this, and to nothing else. But that is exactly what we are talking about here.

Similar things could be said about socialist literature. Directly or indirectly, most serious modern socialist thought is the intellectual grandson of Karl Marx. Marx, like Freud after him, knew that the motive force in human history was man’s needs, and not the abstractions he invents to explain his behavior. The socialist writers themselves tended to lose track of this. The picture of this society they presented degenerated to abstractions like exploitation, surplus value, mass poverty, etc., and their presentations buried concrete, suffering, emotionally crippled, alienated, intellectually stunted, mentally tortured individual human beings (who after all are what constitute this society) under this pile of abstractions. For our purposes here we can ignore the CP apologists, because their banality has long been exposed. But even the libertarian socialists have not addressed themselves to concrete human needs. The "puritan" tone of such socialist literature, the un realistic idealization of a mythical "working class", a clean muscular bare-armed smiling statue standing on a pedestal in the clouds—these may have been fine ideals, for the person who holds them already. But the average "peasant" does not long for the world of noble austerity which was the (emotional) promise of socialist literature. In our society today, real human beings, as opposed to "socialist" statues, are full of hate and aggression, not nobility, are physically and mentally gnarled and stunted, prefer fucking to Mozart, beefsteak to oatmeal (though they may be willing to put up with dry bread instead of both rather than admit the full explosive force of their own desires), and comic books to "literature". On those occasions where socialist literature did take cognizance of all this, however, it became even worse. It developed a disgusting tone of condescension, as if the working class were a pack of children. Let’s face it. The working class is a pack of barbarians. But only in the same sense that the "intellectuals" in our society are a pack of barbarians. Because this society we’re living in reduces all of us, intellectuals or boobs, to a fraction of our humanity.

This is what the socialist intellectuals forgot. They grasped the fact that this society is fundamentally rotten. But they would not accept the consequences of this for themselves. Having no understanding of their own (alienated) needs, they of course had none for the needs of others. This helps explain another seemingly contradictory phenomenon on the left, the vacillating attitude to the "working class". At one phase, the working class was a set of idealized statuettes, noble and true, suffering under the indignities of capitalism, but pure of heart, needing but to throw off their capitalist masters to become Superman. At the other phase, workers were brutes incapable of attaining a true socialist consciousness except if fed it by their generous middle-class intellectuals. These two sets of stereotypes are only apparently contradictory. Both develop quite naturally out of the alienated position of the intellectual.

One of the salient effects of the division of labor in our society is the creation of antagonistic compartments out of pairs that in a more human society would be complementary and integrated: head work vs. manual labor, theory vs. practice, reason vs. feeling, spontaneity vs. reflectiveness, introversion vs. extroversion, etc. The intellectual in our society is quite typically victimized by this structural principle. Empirically, intellectuals are often people with a quite inhibited emotional life. They are very often individuals who developed their "intellectual" bent as a compensation for inabilities in other more fundamental areas. This correlation has been observed so often that apologists for the status quo tend to believe that there is a natural, eternal and irreconcilable enmity between reason, or intellect, and the vitality principle of human beings. This is pure ideological nonsense, of course, accepting people’s victimization at the hands of an inhuman society as a law of nature. But as an empirical statement, it rightly describes the state of affairs in the lousy society we are forced to grow up in. Upbringing and schooling in our society tends to isolate the intellectual not only from the rest of society, the non-intellectuals, but also from the "non-intellectual" part of himself, his own feelings and his basic needs as a human being. Normally, our society allows you to develop the one only at the cost of sacrificing the other. "If the kids really enjoy school, they mustn’t be learning too much."

The radical or revolutionary intellectual is no exception to this. Isolated from an understanding of his own needs, of the active forces in himself, how can he have any real grasp of these forces in others? On the other hand, revolutionary intellectuals rightly sensed that they themselves would never attain freedom except in a mass movement. Besides, they had glimpsed, even if only dimly and in an alienated way, the real possibility of a future emancipation. After this, they badly needed ideals to carry them through the sordid world of reality in which they were actually living. The working class served this purpose. This was not even so stupid as it may seem at first sight, for oppressed masses, in their great moments in history, have in fact shown all the great noble and glorious characteristics of their idealized representations. Moreover, our potential salvation will in fact come either from "the masses", or never. There are no real islands of freedom in an unfree world, nor will intellectual elites ever free the world, and these revolutionaries, at one level of their tortured psyche, knew this.

This ideal picture of the noble working class was fine for bedroom contemplation, but revolutionary intellectuals couldn’t completely avoid contact with ordinary people in everyday life. And there they met not their porcelain statuettes, but dirty, stinking, fearful, stupid, short-sighted, hate-ridden, narrow-minded brute human beings—human beings who, potentially noble perhaps, had in real life all the characteristics which have been the trademark of the oppressed since the beginning of oppression. They met in these "masses" the same brutalization and dehumanization they were suffering in themselves, but they would not recognize themselves in it. They saw in them the victimization an inhuman society inflicts on all alike, but could not recognize it as such, for to do so would have meant to admit the extent of their own degradation. And this was too much to ask of them. Understandably, but unfortunately none the less. Unable to face themselves in the horror mirror the working class held up to them, they had no recourse but to concoct theories in which they attributed to themselves a "higher consciousness"—an alienated consciousness which the working class patently could never achieve except from without. This of course makes their isolation complete, and then irrelevant. (A variation on this theme is seen among those who refused to admit their own barbarization, but at the same time resisted the temptation to constitute themselves as an elite. They did this by denying the empirical fact of the brutalization of the working class. For these people, almost anything ordinary people do is almost automatically all right, and intellectuals have no right to criticize. This position is of course as absurd as any other uncritical position.)

In their splendid isolation, these revolutionaries developed analyses of our society which were quite correct and even profound, as far as they went. But they remained nailed up high as abstract generalizations with no relationship to the day-in, day-out preoccupations of ordinary people. There remained an unbridged gap between the mundane needs and misery of concrete people in an inhuman society and the abstract generalizations offered by the radicals. Almost nowhere in radical literature is there any real attention to the unconscious or only semi-conscious motivations or chains of motives and associations which their writings might unlock in a normal reader. How could there be? These writers had no clue to these things in themselves, if they didn’t out-and-out deny their existence. "Don’t talk about it and it’ll go away." How, then, could they possibly attend to these things in others?

How, then, could their writing have been other than what it was? A set of fairly accurate and to some extent even profound generalizations divorced from real life. Even some who took on concepts like need, motive, desire, remained either theatrical or abstract. It is not need or desire in the abstract to which we must attend, but to the specific needs, motives, or fears, unconscious or not, that may be awakened in readers by what we write. There is more attention to (alienated) motives in a single well planned and conducted advertising campaign than there is in most of the radical literature in print.

I am not of course suggesting that revolutionaries should copy the advertisers, whose job is to destroy not to form consciousness. But I am suggesting that we at least recognize a few basic principles that even the ideologist Ernest Dichter with his banal bourgeois "common sense" recognizes (even if in a distorted way). People are not moved by abstractions and generalizations. They are moved by their immediate conflicts and miseries, even if the nature of their motives is unconscious to them. (This statement applies to intellectuals as much as it does to "ordinary people".) Generalizations, or theoretical statements, are a real motive force in us only to the extent that we grasp their essential relationship to our concrete and immediate needs and motives. This is not because we are blunt, but because we are human animals. But in the "education" process our schools inflict on us, we are trained not to try to grasp connections between individual misery and the society at large. If the socialist intellectuals have any useful function at all, it is to work against this trend, to help people learn the kind of integrating thinking our schools try to beat out of their heads. But these generalizations will remain lifeless and irrelevant if not clearly related to the needs and frustrations of living people. People have been so well conditioned in school and beyond to regard critical generalizations about our society as the enemy of their desires. (Think of them "critical generalizations" you got in church from moralistic preachers, from those anti-vital schoolteachers, or from moralistic editorials in the conservative press.) that they quite naturally and properly reject those socialist theoreticians who speak to them on the plane of abstract general morality.

We didn’t ask for the world we live in, but it is characterized by a division of labor in which intellectuals by specialized training (not by birth or "native talent") have particularly cultivated abilities to draw generalizations from everyday experience. (In this article I do not distinguish between intellectuals by profession and intellectuals by "hobby".) This does not mean that they always do it better than others, nor that they are always to be trusted when they do, for it is not only how well you do the job that counts, but also in whose interest. It simply means that they have a certain amount of particular "training for the job". It is simply a fact in our society of division of labor that some people are trained to use social connections better than others. Those who are revolutionaries will do all they can to end this state of affairs as fast as possible.

If revolutionary intellectuals want to have any relevance, therefore, they cannot set themselves up as an elite, or as an isolated caste apart. The practical criterion for the value of their analyses must be simple: are they accepted by ordinary readers? In the face of what I’ve already said about the barbarization of our society, this may seem a stiff statement. Sure is. Life is rough in a shitty society, and if you don’t make it, tough titty. Intellectuals are simply going to have to adopt a new rule: if I didn’t convince, what was wrong with my arguments and my presentation, what motives, feelings, needs, fears, etc. of my readers did I overlook? And stop trying to dodge responsibility by appealing to the stupidity or dullness of others. You cannot change others by fist; you can change yourself by work and self-examination. Begin with the knowledge that the damage this society has inflicted on you is only specifically but not generically different from what it has inflicted on everyone else. Admit your own brutalization, your own spiritual and intellectual poverty. And above all, learn to hate passionately this society and those who gain from it, and not its victims (except those in the cop category, of course—let’s not be meek and humble Jesus Christs).

Do all this, start writing about life, and you might make it.


[Seattle Group Bulletin # 32 from SEATTLE 1966 FALL; Bulletins 28 thru 32 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcription by Dotty DeCoster, January 9, 2012.]

About the Seattle Group & New Publications Received

[Transcriber’s note This document, including the "New Publications Received", form the first document in compilation #4 "Seattle 1966 Fall; Bulletins 28 thru 32 of the Seattle Group". Formatting for these pages—two legal sized pages—were typed in hand justified columns on a standard typewriter on mimeograph stencils. The brochure was in three-column format; the last piece of the brochure took space only on the left column and the space of the two columns on the right because the space for the publications list. To accomplish hand justification, one counted all the spaces in a line in advance, then hand varied the spacing through the line so that both margins, left and right, were flush. This is not possible for web reproduction, so I have simply typed the text, changing the font where handwritten text is inserted. In the original, all the headers are hand printed in outline characters; the word "cents" is designated by a symbol found on typewriters. Dotty DeCoster, November 12, 2011.]

About The Seattle Group

The Seattle Group is very small—not because we’re elitists (far from it!) but because the function we have set for ourselves can best be done by a little band able to act with maximum spontaneity and flexibility, either independently or in voluntary cooperation with other groups. When we grow, it’s time to split. Our goal is freedom; we do not intend to negate it with a ponderous organizational structure.

Nor will we be bogged down in a morass of secretarial and organization-maintenance routine. There just isn’t any time for it. Revolution must be soon, or never.

The Seattle Group was formed in October, 1965. It meets every two weeks, alternately at the Id, now 1410 N.E. 41st Avenue, for discussion and at the home of a participant for planning and ways-and-means. The group has no organizational structure, and anyone who takes part in its activities is considered a member. In the first year of its existence, its most sustained activity has been the publication of its Bulletins.

Seattle Group Bulletins come out irregularly, when-ever anyone writes one. It seems to average a little over a Bulletin every two weeks. They are of varying lengths, up to eight legal-size pages. Each is initialed by its writer, who alone is responsible for it, the group simply providing the media and the milieu. Each quarter we re-run the quarter’s Bulletins and compile them in a booklet, along with notes on publications received and excerpts from correspondence; these quarterly compilations sell for 25¢.

Bulletins are free for the asking. But we can’t afford to waste postage sending them to the Dead Letter Office or to people who don’t really want them, so periodically we enclose coupons for readers to fill out and return, to verify addresses and spellings, to confirm interest, and to add new readers. Then we revise our mailing list on the basis of the returns. The Seattle Group wants a live readership.

We’ve stubbornly resisted putting a subscription price on the Bulletins, for two reasons: (1) we don’t want to inhibit the growth of readership, and (2) we don’t want to divert our own efforts to keeping track of sub expirations. And because we know that most Bulletin readers are activists, already deluged with fund appeals from causes at least as worthy, we minimize our requests for financial support. Most of our readers know that ink and paper and postage cost money, and we trust them to send us what they can.

The Seattle Group has produced one pamphlet, and expects to issue others. We’ve issued leaflets for mass distribution; unlike Bulletins and pamphlets, these are undersigned by the group as a whole and express a unanimous position. Since they are of mainly local interest, we haven’t included them in our mailings. (Of course we’ll send on request any that are in stock.)

One of the things—the main thing, really—that we hope the Seattle group’s propaganda will do is to spark similar efforts from others. There’s something forbidding about a printed, regularly scheduled periodical—somehow, its very format suggests that its staff and contributors have to be professionals, or at least to have some academic or experiential qualifications for expertise, and this tends to discourage just anybody from turning a hand to it. But a mimeograph machine is a really free press. It doesn’t intimidate by hinting that what’s turned out on it has to be slick and professional, and it’s available to anyone; the old machine the Seattle Group uses was bought for five dollars at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop. A wide exchange of this sort of informal dialogue, with no force beyond the appeal of ideas, is the logical means of co-ordinating the diverse libertarian groupings now springing up all across the country (and elsewhere!) and the fit carrier for an imperative resurgence of anarchist thought and action.

For the scarcity and the need for constrained labor that have in all times past removed the vision of a functional anarchy to the realms of utopia become obsolete with the advent of cybernated production. However desirable an envisioned state of society, even the most brilliant and dedicated efforts to bring it to reality cannot but fail while the material pre-conditions for its viability are lacking. Hence the spectacular defeat of past anarchist movements presages nothing. Anarchism is on the rise again, and this time no valid economic need precludes its victory.

This is an entirely new state of affairs, and one for which the existing body of anarchist theory is unprepared. Earlier anarchist thinkers devoted themselves, in the main, to the questions of the desirability of an anarchist society, and of its compatibility with human nature; the tough tactical problems of the anarchist revolution received little attention. Three main streams did emerge: nihilism—simply bring the social structure into crisis by terror or whatever means, and see what happens; communalism—with-draw in small groups from the authoritarian society and build ideal communities, hoping that as their virtues are demonstrated the example will be followed; and syndicalism—by direct action, supplant the present state apparatus with a structure representing the workers and based upon the workers’ organizations. The new anarchist trend appears to lay greater stress on individual behavior—live as freely as you can within the existing society, seeking a personal emancipation from its shibboleths and taboos. None of these theories, in their present state of development, is adequate to the task of overthrowing the power structure of an entrenched capitalist nation. And that is what must now be done.

In this situation, the widest possible dialogue among activists becomes of critical urgency. Somehow, among the diverse forces now striving for freedom, the prototype of a free society’s organizational forms must emerge—forms of wholly voluntary association flexible and potent to pool the efforts and realize the desires of each of the infinite variety of individuals in the family of man.

Let all the rebel voices be heard!

This is the text of a brochure we’ve written (mainly because we’re tired of writing the same letter over and over again to be sent, henceforth, to people inquiring about the Seattle Group. The brochures are illustrated and much prettier, and have coupons to get on our mailing list. If you want to introduce your friends to the Seattle Group, send for some. 5¢ each.

New Publications Received


13 REDCLIFFE RD., LONDON SW10, Untied (sic) Kingdom.

A new magazine, akin to Chicago’s Rebel Worker, but if the promise of its first two issues holds true, with better international coverage. Quarterly, $1.00 a year, 25¢ an issue.


Internationale Situationniste, B.P., 307, Paris, France

A terrific analysis of the Watts insurrection. This was sent to use by Bernard Marszalek of the Rebel Worker and we don’t know what it costs, but it’s worth it.


Solidarity Bookshop, 1644 Meyer Ct., Chicago, Ill.

Two recent RW pamphlets, the first an observation of mutual aid in the New York power failure, the other an anthology of surrealist texts and manifestoes. Blackout, 15¢; Surrealism & Revolution, 35¢.


P.O. Box 512, Cooper Station, New York, N. Y.

Dedicated to total revolution, starting with aesthetics. Two issues to date: 5¢ each.


P. O. Box 719, Tacoma, Wash.

Newsletter of the Survival of American Indians Association. No subscription rate, but please send a donation.


Solidarity, 197 Kings Cross Road, London, WC1

A pamphlet based on a talk by Paul Cardan.


Agora, 5880 Delmar, St. Louis, Mo.

Poems by Chuck Miller, published by Friends Press, St. Louis.


Two new independent student papers: Boss (no address) is published by students of Garfield High School, Seattle; Speakeasy, Box 3335, Midway, Wash., comes from Highline Jr. College.


P.O Box 24282, Los Angeles, Calif.

Newsletter of the Constitutional Liberty League of Southern California.


Box 4068, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Magazine of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Sample copies of Center publications are free on request; the Diary is distributed to members. Send for a catalogue of publications.


Steve Wagner, P.O. Box 1761, Seattle, Wash.

First issue of an as yet untitled, irregularly published successor to Steve’s Appeal to Reason.


114 Rue de Vaugirard, Paris 6e, France

Newsletter of the Paris American Committee to Stop-war. Sub goes with membership, at F.20 per year.


P.O. Box 302, New York, N. Y.

First issue of a new paper edited by Robert Steed. 10¢ per issue; donations needed.

Comment On Bulletin #32:

Comment on SG Bulletin #32:

Simple obscenities are as inane, as tools for expressing negative qualities, as "swell, "neat", "lovely" are for expressing positive ones. If J.E.’s purpose is clear communication of ideas, not "shit", nor "stinks", nor "stuff", nor "lousy" will take us exactly where he wants us to go. These words are far too general to convey anything except the most gross impression of personal feelings. I doubt that the author’s purpose was so trivial.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

NOTE: The enclosed button list is the product of an associated group of young libertarians based in the suburban sprawl now blending Seattle with Tacoma. They seek to build a Tacoma Group and have asked us to help by disseminating their catalog of fund-raisers.

Also we have produced a group answer to constantly recurring questions, and enclosed a sample for your use.



[This material is added to the end of Bulletin #33 in the compilation. —DD]


J.E. makes a number of telling observations about radicals and revolutionaries (#32), for which I am grateful. Before setting out to give lessons to other writers, however, I wish that J.E. had read L.C.’s lucid and instructive Bulletin article (#22), in which were drawn some sensible, necessary distinctions between formal writing and informal speech. J.E. might then have set himself the task of finding the precise words required for his various meanings, instead of writing down "shit" whenever his mind failed him.

Simple obscenities are as inane, as tools for expressing negative qualities, as "swell, "neat", "lovely" are for expressing positive ones. If J.E.’s purpose is clear communication of ideas, not "shit", nor "stinks", nor "stuff", nor "lousy" will take us exactly where he wants us to go. These words are far too general to convey anything except the most gross impression of personal feelings. I doubt that the author’s purpose was so trivial.

The use of these vacuous conversational words is perhaps intended to display the liberated attitudes of the author; instead, it succeeds in displaying that poverty of language which is one of the chief triumphs and supports of the social system J.E. so deplores.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


NOTE: The enclosed button list is the product of an associated group of young libertarians based in the suburban sprawl now blending Seattle with Tacoma. They seek to build a Tacoma Group and have asked us to help by disseminating their catalog of fund-raisers.

Also: We have produced a group answer to constantly recurring questions, and enclose a sample for your use. More are available, at 5 cents each.

[Bulletin #33 from SEATTLE 1967 WINTER ’66 & SPRING ’67; Bulletins 33 thru 40 of the Seattle Group, transcribed January 11, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

33. Season’s Greetings—Tomi Schwaetzer

(Reprint from a mimeographed holiday letter from an old friend, who has faithfully sent me Christmas cards all the years since I’ve seen him. —LC)

Dear __________:

Season’s greetings.....Season’s greetings! This is the time I usually send (and receive) Christmas, Chanuka, New Year’s cards—pretty, cheery pieces of colored cardboard. Often I (and you!) have bought them from the UNICEF, to benefit the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Oxfam Famine Relief, the Appeal for the Blind....

But I’ve just read that Mr. Johnson will need 20 billion (yes, twenty Billion!) dollars for Viet-Nam this coming year. That’s $650 for each Vietnamese, man, woman, child, even for the napalmed blind. And all at once I decided that this year I won’t send you any X-mas or New Year’s cards—I shall give the money to the Vietnamese. In a way I’m sorry, I liked sending the cards, a yearly contact with distant friends, but I feel they need the money more than we need the cards.

Then I realized—it isn’t enough. And I tried to put some of my thoughts on paper, straighten them out, send them to you instead of the card—try and explain—why no card this year. It may, perhaps, be of interest to you why, why my money to Viet-Nam, why and what for. If not, don’t bother to read on—go back to the presents, the tree, menorah, dinner. Good appetite!

Mr. Johnson says: South Vietnam has been attacked by North Vietnam. We are helping defend the South against North Vietnamese aggression.

If true: Why should 15 million South Vietnamese need half a million American soldiers (more coming) to "defend" them against 15 million North Vietnamese?

Even if true: By what right are the American Army, Navy, Air Force killing, bombing, in a war between North and South Vietnamese? Did Britain and France help the South against the North? Queen Victoria’s Britain, Napoleon III’s France, Jeff Davis’ South against Lincoln’s North?

But the US is resisting oppression!

Do you mean the Americans have always defended weaker victims? Like, for instance, Algeria against France, maybe Pakistan against India, or (way back) Ethiopia against Italy?

This is different—this is COMMUNIST aggression!

But who are the Communists Johnson’s fighting in Vietnam? Russians? No. Chinese? Well....er, no. Vietnamese? Yes.

But, after all, we must stop Communism somewhere. If not today in Vietnam, tomorrow (the dominoes will fall) in Thailand, Australia, maybe California.

Adolf used that argument too. Also: Lets hit them first. And look where we wound up. As for saving from communism, that reminds me (well, not me, I wasn’t around yet, but LBJ, he should remember when the US Marines, the Army, went to Russia, to Murmansk, to Vladivostok, to....save the Russians from Communism. Didn’t work out so well, did it?

Thailand, Australia, California won’t become communist unless and until a lot of Thais, Australians and Californians think this is a good idea. Are you trying to convince them, LBJ?

Think your bombs, your napalm, will make the Vietnamese less red? Or don’t you give a damn, as long as they’re just dead?

You lie, Johnson. Your war-aims, in the South, in the North, are to destroy Vietnam’s will to resist.

The South Vietnamese also thought at first that it was "accidentally" your bombs fell on their schools. Only bitter experience taught them you had decreed: "Better dead than red" for South Vietnam’s children.

Schools in the liberated areas taught them "communism", so bomb schools.

Johnson: We feed the hungry, heal the sick....

Liar, Murderer. You burn "captured" rice. Your planes spray the rice fields, to kill the crops, to starve the people.

In North Vietnam at least we (try to) destroy only concrete, steel....

Really? Why do your planes drop so many "ball-bombs"? Bombs throwing out little balls, designed to tear flesh, harmless against steel and concrete?

Without Chinese, Russian, aid, the war would soon be over. China, Russia are responsible. (John Steinbeck)

The Vietnamese fought and liberated their country from Japanese, French and American domination when they had only blowguns and pitfalls; they have fought the cream of the US expeditionary force to a stand-still and their long-term victory is certain. Their suffering, and the length of the war, will depend to some extend on their friends, in Russia, China, but also in France, England, and America...Their friends: all decent people, all people who know they are their brother’s keeper....Some help Vietnam with arms, others with blood, some only with money, sympathy, words...(They count, they count; a little is always more than nothing.)

Do you want to help Vietnam? What will you do?

For a Free and Peaceful Vietnam

[signed] Tomi


[Bulletin #33 from SEATTLE 1967 WINTER ’66 & SPRING ’67; Bulletins 33 thru 40 of the Seattle Group, transcribed January 11, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

34. The M/W Question, Again—Louise Crowley

[The class had been seeking to reconstruct the origins of women’s subordination. In the session previous to that in which this report was given, a leader of the Freedom Socialist Party (local offshoot of the SWP) had very ably expounded the classic Marxian position (see F. Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State and had extolled the pioneer work of L. Morgan and J. Bachofen, with praise for Briffault and others who followed their lead, and severe castigation of "academic anthropology" (her words: I’m not sure what was meant) for revising or rejecting it.

The thesis advanced below was much distorted in the summary prepared by the class coordinator at the completion of the first quarter’s worked. Reproved by most of the students, she agreed to rewrite it, but the amended summary has not appeared. L.C.]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Now let’s drop the wishful thinkers and the authorities on conjecture, and try to build up a view of primitive society from what facts we do know. Once a pre-literate society has passed from existence unobserved by literate reporters, its non-material culture is simply lost. To attempt to reconstruct it from analogy with existing primitive societies is a very risky business at best: each society is the product of its own line of social development and the cultural contacts that impinge upon it, which once lost is lost forever except as it is reflected in surviving culture traits and in the archeological record—if a society left fishhooks behind, we can safely bet that some of its people went fishing. So let’s see what really is reflected there, in the physical make-up of Homo sapiens, and in the social behavior of the primates most closely related to us. Each of us is as free as any other to theorize for herself on that basis, and the more that zoological, ethnographic, and archeological research provide us with data, the better basis we have for theorizing. In that respect, we’re all better off than Morgan and Engels. With the materials available to him, Morgan could postulate generally-successive stages of cultural evolution, which he correlated with changes in the economy. His work formed the basis for Engels’ projection of the origin of the family. Engels was well aware of the need for more data, tho he confidently expected it to bear out his thesis.

Take our anthropoid cousins—Engels considered them, but regretted that his knowledge was limited to hunters’ reports. We know more now about their social life; the chimp at least has been studied, in the wild, for several years, and material from that study is readily available. Jane Goodall’s observations may be relevant.

The chimps she’s studying live in a band, which she believes to be biologically related. Their mating is promiscuous, seriatim with any female in heat. (This is also true of baboons, but baboons’ mating is much rougher, with real danger of the female’s being torn limb from limb.) Close family ties exist only between mothers and their pre-adolescent offspring, the adults of both sexes are somewhat solicitous of all juveniles, and in the main friendly with each other. Aggression is ritualized, and doesn’t result in physical injury; but females give way to males, who are considerably bigger. I think that’s of key significance.

Now these wild chimps are apparently closer to man, psychologically, than had been supposed. Goodall tells about one mature male who came with the rest of the band in the late afternoon to gather pawpaws for dinner, but got distracted by a particularly beautiful sunset and passed up his meal to watch til it faded. She tells of a female whose baby was dying of an infected injury; the mother worried but clearly knew of no way to treat the wound; when the baby died, she carried it around, grieving, for days, then took the body to a remote part of the band’s range, and buried it. These chimps use tools, and even make a couple: straws for getting ants from anthills, and leaves, made more absorbent by chewing and crushing, to sponge up the last of the drinking-water trapped in depressions in logs or tree limbs. Individuals exhibit a wide personality range, and Goodall observed specially close friendships among compatible males. Chimps dance; they make use of objects as toys in play; older, more sedate ones seem to enjoy sitting together watching the youngsters. One chimp (the same one who watched the sunset) even managed to bridge the communication gap between the species: in the course of his developing friendship with Goodall they had exchanged tidbits of food, and one day when she offered him something he wasn’t hungry enough to want, he pressed her hand affectionately as he refused it—which Goodall interpreted as a gesture of appreciation for the offer, and concern that her feelings not be hurt by his refusal. She noted instances of similar sensitivity in the chimps’ behavior toward each other—but the males showed it less to females. Even so, one of the females, a mother of several children, appeared to be generally accorded more respect than the others. (Reading between lines, I find that Goodall seemed to think her a particularly likeable individual; maybe the chimps did, too.) Close observation of this female and her offspring led Goodall to the conclusion that one adolescent male who had passed from his mother-child family circle to the company of his age-mates was also a son of this mother; he showed a little deference to her not common to the other young males, and occasionally sought out her company. But this relationship only became apparent on close acquaintance. Mostly, the adolescents were pretty much indifferent to the older females, and this is the only case where Goodall was quite sure of a relationship beyond the offspring’s puberty. She’s keeping birth records of this band of chimps, and plans a long-range study of the relationships.

The band doesn’t appear to function either as an economic or a defensive unit—each individual scrounges his own food (mothers helping children) companionably but not cooperatively; and there don’t appear to be any contacts with chimps outside the band, or conflicts over foraging range. Other bands exist in the same general area, but all are some distance apart.

A study of wild chimps whose range bordered on a cultivated plantation disclosed interesting personality differences. Some of the chimps, with their offspring, were in the habit of regularly raiding the plantation for their evening meal, and the youngsters thus accustomed to an assured food supply were far more self-confident, less dependent on their mothers, than the youngsters raised in a less stable economy. New individuals took to foraging the favorable area and were not repulsed by the chimps already there, but they remained shy and deferential toward the older bands, their offspring only gradually losing their timidity.

One other thing: chimps are much more carnivorous than had formerly been supposed. They catch and eat smaller animals, including monkeys and young baboons. There is a distinct enmity, incidentally, between chimps and baboons—they fight at every encounter.

So much for the chimps. Just this: the more we learn about them, the more like us they appear to be. Their social life, as Goodall describes it, does not seem in conflict with human psychology, except for the greater aggressiveness in man that seems related to the acquisition and defense of property, and may not predate the property concept. And the males definitely lord it over the females.

As for our fossil relatives: the toolmakers and fire-users, Pithecanthropus and Sinathropus, have recently been reclassified, more realistically, into the genus Homo, with ourselves. This pushes the existence of our genus back to over a million years, when some pretty apey-looking characters were behaving in distinctly human ways—making tools, using fire, and keeping numerical records on notched tally-sticks. The tools we have from this stage of development are all stone cutting or pounding implements—tho of course that doesn’t exclude the possibility that other kinds were made of more perishable materials. There’s no way to assign their use to one or the other sex, tho it’s generally assumed that the spearheads and such were masculine, and hide-scrapers feminine. Of course there’s a long period when tools are too generalized to be classified as to their function, and neither spearheads nor hidescrapers can be recognized. Once hunting replaced foraging as the dominant economy, it does seem probable that any wide-ranging search for game was a masculine occupation, simply because adult females would be too burdened with dependent offspring to participate effectively. (The young of our ground-adapted ancestors probably didn’t cling as well as the largely arboreal chimps, for one thing.) Hunting and fishing weapons would have skyrocketed and productivity of what must formerly have been only an occasional relished supplement to an essentially vegetarian and insect diet, as meat is among chimps; and this in turn would have made possible the support of larger populations, which once called into being would be dependent on the new food supply. This for the first time would have given the males an economic as well as a physical advantage over the females. There is no reason to assume any sexual division of labor (apart from the mother’s "extra" responsibility of child care) before this early revolution to a dominantly predatory economy—in scrounging for fruits, roots and termites the sexes are on an equal footing. But with the able-bodied men out hunting, the women and kids would subsist during their absences by the older foraging techniques. As the economic orientation of the sexes diverged, their psychologies would diverge accordingly; the women would probably become the conservators of the Old Way, the guardians of traditions which they were in a position to pass on to their kids, and the human potential for adventurousness and risk-taking would be developed almost exclusively in the men. (But nota bene: tho learning in any generation does apparently augment the transmitted capacity of subsequent generations to learn, there can be no sexual differential in such genetic transmission, nor any inheritance of the learned behavior itself. It must be learned anew with each generation, and the greater ease of learning is inherited without regard to sex.)

There’s no evidence on which to conjecture a form or forms of family life for this stage of society in paleolithic times. Stone-limited societies existing into modern times show no such consistent patterns as Morgan—relying too heavily on his own excellent fieldwork—supposed. While it’s true enough that in the absence of formal paternity recognition kinship can be traced only through the maternal line, and in primitive societies often is, there’s no need to read anything into that fact. Genealogy assumes significance for four distinct reasons, only one of which Morgan much considered, and that from the light of his own cultural prejudices: (1) the incest concept, however and whenever it arose, would prohibit the mating of certain classes of kin (but the fact is that incest prohibitions vary widely from society to society, with marriage of close relatives even being obligatory in some cases); (2) a generation is a handy time-span on which to hang events in an orally transmitted history, and genealogy a handy way to keep the characters straight; (3) preservation of class or caste status; (4) inheritance of property. Until the invention of agriculture, only in limited areas rarely favored by nature could a society amass enough surpluses to support a wealthy and unproductive elite; that would pretty much rule out any general applicability of reason 3 to early times. Similarly, property would be too meager for reason 4 to have much force; moreover, insofar as items of property were differentiated by the sexual division of activities, it would seem reasonable for women to pass their needles and hide-scrapers to their daughters and for men to pass their spears and hunting-knives to their sisters’ sons, if those were their closest recognized younger male kin. None of this implies any high respect for women as such, especially since in hunting societies children are not so valuable that women would normally receive special regard on that account for producing them. Where it has existed into historical times, matrilineal descent has only rarely—rarely enough to be coincidental—correlated with a high status for women. Even in Morgan’s beloved Iroquois, the chief was always a man. Generally in matrilineal societies the maternal uncle is the head of the family. He’s a man.

What does appear quite consistently in social life in hunting societies is that the men’s and women’s spheres are distinct, sometimes so far so that beyond sexual intercourse there is little contact between them. A few societies have even developed separate languages for the two sexes, and an elaborate structure of avoidance taboos is common. This holds in one or another degree for all societies in which men’s and women’s fields of labor are sharply defined, as they probably have been since the hunting revolutions. A distortion of this phenomenon could easily be construed as "feminine dominance": in their own field—in early child care, maintenance of now more-or-less permanent housing, the sedentary activities of the community, and the preservation of traditional wisdom—women would be supreme, as men would be in the field of their more venturesome activities. But the more that the returns of hunting men came to dominate the economy, the more its developing traditions would impinge on social life, and supplant those of the women where the two were in conflict. Something of this sort seems to have happened to religion, for example, leaving behind, apparently, an underground of women’s traditions to be revivified by the next great economic revolution.

At this point we have to narrow our view. Hunting man spread over most of the earth, and developed many different patterns of culture. The ancestors of most of us found themselves coping with a glaciated Europe. Earlier species of the genus had been unable to survive glaciation without physical adaptation: the evolution of stocky, compact bodies with a thick fat layer, possible (tho skeletal remains can’t show this) a heavier coat of body hair like other cold-adapted mammals, etc. But those efficient hunters who had developed clothing of hides and lived in permanent or semi-permanent, relatively weather-free habitations (of key importance to infant survival) got through the last glaciation without gross physical change. This would hardly have been possible without a form of social life that utilized both the men’s and the women’s activities for the advantage of the whole community. An ice-cap situation conduces to this very neatly: hunting expeditions in extremely severe weather are perforce short; cold-adapted animals—the game—run large, each providing meat for many persons and requiring the labor of many persons to process for eating and preservation. The home—the settled, weather-protected base of operations for an economic unit—assumes greater importance. By a quirk of animal evolution, a good part of the risk-element was temporarily removed from hunting: during the long winters, the staple food of many European Ice-age groups was the hibernating cave bear, which had only to be approached quietly and killed in its sleep. The sexes would have spent more time together, possibly still at their separate occupations, but in close proximity in the sheltered home, probably a cave capable of housing a fair-sized group, similar perhaps to a chimpanzee band. Domestication must have got a big boost. Probably most important for the development of the family, adult males would under such circumstances be thrown into prolonged association with children as well as with women—and this association would be close enough for the paternity of at least some of the kids to become apparent, as well as for attachments of affection to develop across age and sex lines. There would be more conscious male participation—that is, beyond the providing of a common food supply in which the children shared—in child-rearing, if only to divert the kids from scribbling on the murals. It seems probable that by the time the ice-sheet retreated, some form or forms of family would have evolved within the larger domestic group. Remember, tho, that hunting was more than ever the dominant economy, and probably more exclusively than ever the province of men, since the Ice-age environment would have heightened the force of the physical factors that made it so.

With a technology enriched by the experiences of the Ice Age, more clement weather would make feasible the survival of smaller economic units, while at the same time, by allowing for more open housing, it would equally make feasible the aggregation of larger ones in villages. The archeological record can’t tell us for sure which of these courses were followed, or whether they were at all mutually exclusive—obviously, the largest sites are the easiest found. As far as we can tell, tho, settlements did become generally smaller; perhaps this happened with the extinction of the cave bear and the huge herds of big herbivores. Post-glacial man left more bones of deer and such-like, more scattered game. Recent stone-limited societies have tended toward a village, or where mobile, a band, economic group, within which either matrilineal or patrilineal (or both) nuclear families form smaller units for the care of young dependent children, and which itself may be allied by kinship to other villages or bands with which it has formalized social relations. What we do know, largely from new techniques of shit-residue analysis, is that cereal foods soon became a significant part of the diet—a development Morgan didn’t foresee; he thought that would only come much later. Within a couple of millennia after the retreat of the Wurm ice sheet, agricultural communities arose From here on, we’re on much more solid archeological ground. But the origins of this epochal revolution are still conjectural.

A number of historically primitive peoples have regularly harvested natural patches of vegetation; others have promoted the growth of such patches by clearing adjacent timber, and have protected them from weeds and from animal and unauthorized human predation. But the hallmark of the agricultural revolution is a complex that includes the planting of grain, the preservation and storage of seed, the cultivation of crops, and the processing and storage of cereal foods. It is commonly held that this was women’s invention. Domestication of food animals, less associated in the tradition with women, is also part of the complex.

Here we must digress again to Morgan, who considered that domestication of herbivorous animals preceded horticulture, and that horticulture arose to supply the animals’ needs. That seems to be putting the cart before the horse. It must have been precisely because his hunting efficiency provided a scrap meat surplus by which scavenging canines were attracted to his campfires that paleolithic man was able to domesticate the carnivorous dog. (If lions had the desire and the mental capacity to do it, they could domesticate the jackals.) The same principle must have brought herbivores to the early Neolithic grain-patches. The key to domesticating an animal is the ability to provide for it an easier food supply than it can get for itself. Paleolithic man’s—not woman’s, probably—familiarity with animals would be conditioned by his function as a hunter; those traits of the animal relevant to his efforts to kill it would have significance to him and be intensively studied, but other traits would be ignored except by guys with more than the usual intellectual curiosity. The beasts that took to hanging around the grain fields tho, would become generally familiar; once productivity allowed a few of them to be tolerated, everything about these animals would become known, and to women and children also. I suspect it was one of the kids who first hit on the idea of raising an orphaned calf. But in any event, it couldn’t have happened before people had an abundant supply of calf-food. Morgan was apparently misled here by his insistence on sequential evolution from "lower" to "higher" forms—since a more advanced culture arose on the sedentary horticultural base than on pastoralism, he conceived pastoralism as an earlier form, rather than simply as a specialization. That such specialization can actually be economically "retrogressive" by Morgan’s scheme is demonstrated by the Plains Indians’ return to a hunting base with the spread of horse culture. (Of course, he can’t be blamed for missing that, because no archeological evidence for the earlier sedentarism in the Plains was available to him.) And in the archeological record, evidence of horticulture does predate, and considerably, any evidence of animal husbandry—another fact not available to Morgan.

Now, if women did invent agriculture, and it seems probable as an outgrowth of women’s continued gathering activities and more sedentary habits, they did so in a society already dominated by men—a dominance originating in men’s physical advantages of greater size, strength, and freedom from pregnancy and nursing, and reinforced by their existing economic supremacy in a hunting culture. If that was threatened by this new development, their entrenched position enabled them to counter the threat; agriculture did not long remain women’s province. As early as it becomes a subject for surviving art, the labor of agriculture is largely masculine.

The early agricultural communities are typically villages of about twenty nuclear families living in separate but neighboring habitations. Burials from this period tend to be in nuclear-family-sized groups, tho clan-sized burials have been found. Instances of a man and a woman being buried together are common enough to suggest that the woman may have been put into the grave along with the guy’s other possessions—in at least one case, the woman was definitely murdered, perhaps for that purpose. Before the invention of writing, there’s no way to trace kinship-reckoning customs, but home and burial sites strongly suggest a form of nuclear family—that is, parents (either biological or social) and immature offspring. Such family units may exist of course within a larger matrilineal or patrilineal group, as in the familiar Biblical patriarchy. Family-sized houses in clan-sized groupings are familiar in the archeological record, and so are family-sized graves in clan-sized cemeteries. Probably the augmented inheritance potential of the more productive agriculture-based society would have called into being more concern with the reckoning of descent than had been customary before. The men seem to have extended their dominance pretty universally to this field formerly irrelevant to them and left to the natural factor of clearly demonstrable parentage. Matrilymy may have given way to patrilymny, and patrilymy become patriarchy—at least, patriarchy’s what was there by the emergence of the earliest written records. But from a woman’s point of view, what’s to choose between a patriarchate and an avunculate?—husband or brother, they’re both men.

But that feminine underground comes close to the surface here. There’s a proliferation of artistic representations of pregnant women, generally interpreted as religious objects. These things had been around in small numbers for a long time, but they became very common in Neolithic sites. Phallic symbols appear later. Goddesses were at least as popular as gods. The female principle in fertility was worshipped, and women were its priests and prophets—in the cave-paintings of the earlier hunters, religious practitioners were apparently all male, and later, after the dawn of literacy, the male principle had asserted supremacy again, and even the female divinities had come under the thumbs of their spouses, except as they exercised "feminine wiles" to circumvent their husbands’ wills.

But at that period just before the self-sufficient agricultural-village economy gave way to specialized production for sale—in Morgan, the eve of "higher barbarism; in European archeology, the Early Bronze Age—the status of women seems to have risen. Women were not naturally so handicapped in tillage as they had been in hunting, and innovations in productive technology were as much their concern as men’s—pottery and weaving may well both have been feminine inventions growing out of women’s housekeeping role, and the grindstone (originally for grinding grain) almost certainly was. Surely the sort of domestic activities to which women had become habituated were critical to efficient utilization of agriculture’s productive potential—agricultural products may require extensive processing. Women were too essential—and too capable of self-sufficiency, which is probably more to the point—to be treated with utter contempt. The turning point may have come with male pre-emption of title to the available arable land and to the flocks and herds, which would have reduced women to economic dependency. Or perhaps not: in the often-quoted example of the Masai cattle-breeders, women’s traditional ownership of the herds didn’t preserve them from masculine denigration—the men’s consciousness of superiority, even without economic justification, was enough to keep them on top. In any event, by the dawn of written history only traditions remain of this period of women’s higher prestige.

But those traditions do not bespeak any widespread early gynocracy, which is what the term "matriarchate" implies. History was written by men, and men are inclined to view any degree of self-assertion on the part of women as a usurpation of their privilege. Let women exercise their wills ever so slightly, and men will assert they’re running the show. All that seems to be indicated here is a relatively higher status than women had enjoyed before or were to enjoy later.

In an agricultural society, even young children can contribute more to production than they consume; innumerable useful chores can be performed by kids who would still be an economic drag on a hunting culture. Easier living must have extended the life-span (this is not only to be expected but it is confirmed by skeletal evidence) and grown offspring are security in one’s old age. Childbearing is thus a more valued activity than it usually is among hunting peoples, and women’s reproductive function would come in for more respect—augmented, probably, by the neat tie-in with an agricultural people’s general concern for fertility. In a Neolithic (Morgan’s "lower barbarism") society with common or clan tenure of land, or without real-property concepts, or with tenure determined in sexually irrelevant ways, as by claim-staking or squatters’ rights, women were at no great disadvantage. If they wished to assert themselves, they had the means to do it. In some societies they did, either individually or en mass; in a few, they may have pushed all the way to gynocracy. That seems remarkable only because we’re so accustomed to male rule.

Basic traditions, such as those of common ownership of natural resources, are tenacious—even in our highly private-property-oriented society that tradition survives in a widely held (tho more widely violated) principle that the public lands are but to be held in trust for posterity, to be available meanwhile only for non-injurious use, but not for actual ownership and its unbridled right of despoliation. It seems therefore only natural that common or sexually-irrelevant ownership, surviving in certain societies, might preserve there a greater participation of women in public affairs (even to the extent of gynocracy, rarely, if the classical legends of women-dominated societies are to be believed.) Other people already past the dawn of literacy, in whom the resubjugation of women was already well advanced, would find this both strange and reprehensible, and be sure to record every instance with which they were acquainted. The early references to areas (always suspiciously remote) ruled by women, defended by female armies, etc., suggest only that the familiar historical economic type of male dominance may not have been established in those areas very long before they adopted writing.

But archeology (with which, as a test of accuracy, all armchair theorizing must conform) doesn’t bear out claims of matriarchy in the "high barbarian" cultures of Europe. In the Bronze Age, evidences of a decrease in women’s social importance build up: the female figurines disappear; more women are buried with men, like other funerary property—Vere Gordon Childe saw a strong case here for suttee. Weapons of war proliferate, and in burials are nearly always associated with male corpses—war and piracy apparently became common ways of increasing a society’s wealth. (Since acquisition of this manner would be more sudden and dramatic than by the slow accumulation of surplus tradable agricultural products, it probably carried higher prestige.) Trade gets regularized; these high-barbarian societies learn to use the weights-and-measures systems current in the already civilized cities of the south. Far-ranging traders would almost undoubtedly be men, as would the itinerant metal-workers who appear early in this period—that they were itinerant is inferred from the absence of settled smithies in early Bronze-age sites.

As the Bronze Age progresses in northern Europe, grave furnishings get poorer, tho wealth obviously increases. Apparently fewer possessions got buried with their owners, but survived as heritable property instead. Also, more got thrown away, into bogs and ponds, presumably as religious offerings to some water-spook. A little later even these sacrifices get poorer, and graves more so, the housing, granaries, and cattle-stalls all get bigger and better. Presumably the spooks and dead men are losing out to the live heirs.

Mesopotamia provides the fullest archeological record we have of the transition from barbarism to civilization, and for late pre-literate Greece the archeological findings can be checked against the cultural evidence of the Homeric narratives. Neolithic sites in both areas have lots of those female figurines. In both, early Neolithic settlements consisted of a cluster of family-sized houses. But in Mesopotamia, Neolithic sites are sparse. By the time our sequence there begins, the Mesopotamian farmers have metal. Houses then were also family-sized, and grain was stored in them, suggesting that each family owned the produce of the fields it cultivated, if not the fields themselves. Seals on jar-lids also suggest private ownership. Such seals were definitely used to signify ownership in early historical times, tho then most things (and the land) belonged to the God/State, and were simply allotted to the people for use.

In early settlements in Mesopotamia a single building in the cluster—the temple—stands out. In Greece, where the archeological record goes back further in culture but not in time, such individually prominent buildings don’t occur in Neolithic or Early Bronze Age sites. They turn up later, and then appear to be palaces—Schliemann, digging from the Homeric evidence, unearthed what he believed to be the palace of Agamemnon, and his tomb complete with the royal treasures. Only just before the first written documents do apparently secular palaces appear in Mesopotamia. Burial in Early Bronze Age Greece was in community cemeteries in which each vault appears to hold successive generations of a single family—like Abraham’s Cave of Machpelah. Later, in what corresponds to Homeric times, clusters of such vaults were grouped around the citadels of Mycenean towns, suggesting that each cluster might be that of a separate clan or gens.

The Bronze Age, the period between the introduction of metallurgy and the introduction of writing, is in both areas the age of developing specialization of human activity—the rise of the full-time farmer, artisan, fisherman, merchant, priest, etc., able to buy with his specialized labor those things outside his specialty that he no longer produces for himself. But this vitally important specialization pretty much passed up the women; except for the witches, midwives, and whores, most women seem to have remained Janes-of-all-trades within their women’s sphere. It was the age of expanding trade, and of expanding warfare—masculine activities both. Archeology indicates less about religion, government, and family structure; but when writing first appears in Egypt and in Mesopotamia government is already fantastically institutionalized, and with a religious rationale. And the family may be monogamous or polygamous, but it is definitely patriarchal in all cultures that passed through the epochal revolution characterized by the rise of city-states, concentrated economic and political power, specialization, and writing. Beyond this point, anthropology gives way to history—and male dominance is older than the historical record. I think it’s older than the species.

And I don’t think that matters a damned bit for us today. Our species has proved capable of molding its environment to suit its desires, and is quite as capable of consciously altering its own attitudes. The conditions that gave men their advantage are irrelevant in a pill-and-pushbutton society. That an injustice may always have existed is no excuse for not righting it when the means to right it becomes available.

We’re agreed on that conclusion. Unless we demand absolute unanimity in all particulars, there’s no need to belabor the routes by which we’ve reached it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[This ends the report as given. Later sessions of the class were to take up the biological aspects of human sexuality; as posed in the prospectus, questions to be answered were these: "Are psychological differences between men and women biologically determined? If so, in what manner and to what extent? Do differences justify inequality?" As might have been expected, the class failed to complete its ambitious project in a single quarter of weekly meetings. The following addendum is a preliminary statement of a thesis that would have been developed had time permitted. L.C.]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My own suggestion would be that male dominance originated, probably prior to the threshold that delimits our species, simply out of the greater physical strength of the males; and that its continuance past the invention of tools and weapons—i.e., "equalizers"—was made possible by the diminution of periodicity in human female sexual desire. Not to put the chicken before the egg, I add that the relationship between the two was probably reciprocal, continued violation having the effect of weakening female antipathy to out-of-season coition, and the lessening of aversion encouraging continued trespass. Females of other species avoid or violently resist copulation except when in heat. Recognition of oestrum may trigger the male’s sexual desire, dormant between-times, or males may accommodate to the females’ resistance by masturbation or homosexual acts. But man can and does ignore the absence of oestrum; seduction (defined here as the induction of sexual desire in a female not in heat) and rape seem to be peculiarly human forms of behavior. Weakening of instinctive behavior patterns originally closely tied, as in other mammals, to the oestral cycle goes a long way toward explaining the peculiarities of human sexuality. The breakdown of instinctive periodicity would bring sexual activity into the realm of intentional behavior, which the individual and the society could consciously regulate for known purposes.

This may even be the critical factor in the evolution of the species. Among other social animals, oestrum in an female throws all the sexually-mature males into a state of excitement that temporarily disrupts all other social functions. For species that come in heat seasonally, most of the year is left free from such disruption; but a monthly cycle would keep the whole society in turmoil most of the time, as one female after another became receptive. So long as purely instinctive patterns prevailed, this was probably the case in pre-human primate societies. If so, then only as sex freed itself from instinctively-patterned behavior could society find leisure to develop the cultures that made us Homo sapiens. Not until later could economic factors come into play.

The first step would have been that of breaking down the females’ instinctively-determined periodicity, and this could only have been done by males, as they refused to honor feminine disinclination to mate in other than the period of heat. If, as is common in other animals, the most powerful males monopolized each female as she became willing, impetus may have come from those only slightly less powerful males deprived of a satisfactory place in the order. Its success presupposes an already existing state of male dominance, for otherwise the females need not have tolerated this violence to their instinctive feelings. They certainly couldn’t have foreseen that the end results might be worth it.

Once the males freed themselves from the—to them—capriciousness of feminine resistance, conscious regulation of sexual activity could begin. No longer were all impelled to scramble, or queue up, for a single receptive female at an arbitrarily-imposed time; any female would do, any time. (It has been suggested that a single male and his harem, rather than the promiscuous band, may have been the natural social unit among our distant ancestors. This is common enough in other species, and is of course not incompatible with feminine periodicity. But it is extremely wasteful of males. Where the sexes are in approximate numerical balance, it excludes a proportion of the males for the mating cycle altogether and drives them into solitary roguery—a condition no social animal less formidable than the elephant can survive for long. If harem grouping was the underlying pattern, then the earliest mutilation of sexual instinct must have been that which rendered the losers capable of remaining with the group on terms acceptable to the dominant stud. But the effect on female periodicity would probably be the same; the dominant male would copulate with each female as she came in heat, and other males, aroused but not inclined to challenge him, would make shift with such females as they could.) As the process of regulation progressed, the males at least would find considerable time freed for other activities. (The females, burdened with child care, would be less relieved, if we assume that there was as yet no further division of labor.)

Human child care presents a problem unique among mammals: the human infant is born in a state of helplessness tantamount to prematurity, but without the protection either of the pouch as in marsupials or of hibernation as in bears. Adaptation to this is perforce conscious; and it was essential to the evolution of modern man, because only by such premature birth can the disproportionately large human cranium pass through a pelvis adapted to upright posture. What is most immediately necessary is that the female have a sheltered place in which to give birth and the opportunity to remain there for some time afterward, with food and water near at hand, for the human infant cannot cling, and indeed, must be securely supported when carried. Known human societies invented a technology for dealing with the helplessness of infants—cradleboards, etc.—which in part restored the mother’s mobility. But at the inception of this evolutionary development, it must have depended upon her being able to sustain herself and her newborn with little movement from the sheltered base. The fact that the need was met suggests that by the time it arose, our ancestors dwelt in more-or-less permanent homes in which they maintained some supplies of stored food—or at least that they were able quickly to adapt to doing so. This does not in itself demand a very high level of culture. But it does presuppose considerable dependence of the individual on the social order by the time of the emergence of our species, which in turn implies an amount of conscious social effort probably incompatible with instinctive sexuality, and not likely to be attained until its modification was well under way. If the picture suggested by this line of reasoning is at all accurate in its main outlines, then breakdown of instinctive sexual behavior, like toolmaking and pyrotechny, must now be regarded as older than the species itself.


[Seattle Group Bulletin #34 from SEATTLE 1967; WINTER ’66 & SPRING ’67; Bulletins 33 thru 40 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcribed by Dotty DeCoster January 16, 2012.]

35. Immigration to Canada—Vancouver Committee to Aid American War Objectors

(Reprint, by B.T.’s request, of a leaflet distributed by the Vancouver Committee to Aid American War Objectors, 4223 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver, B.C., Canada.)

An American concerned about the possibility of being drafted may consider leaving the United States. If he does so and subsequently is charged with an offense against the Selective Service Act he will not be able to return to the U.S. without facing trial. There are a number of countries to which an American might go with little fear of being returned to the U.S. One possibility is Canada.

An American who is classified 1-A, or who has received a notice to report for his physical or a notice to report for induction, has no greater difficulty—formally, at least—in entering and remaining in Canada than does any other American. Due to the discretionary powers of immigration officials and the possibility that some may have unfriendly attitudes toward "draft-dodgers", one should not provide information as to his draft status unless he is asked.

There are certain classes of people who are prohibited from entering Canada. This list includes: drug addicts and drug peddlers; persons who have ever been members of or associated with organizations subversive to democratic government; persons "concerning whom there are reasonable grounds for believing they are likely to engage in subversion of democratic government, institutions or processes" (this and the previous clause will probably be applied in a quite limited and somewhat inconsistent manner); and persons "who have been convicted of or admit having committed any crime involving moral turpitude".

If one does not fall into a prohibited class, he may be able to enter Canada in one of three ways. (In no case does an American need a passport.)

He can almost certainly enter as a visitor, but then he cannot take a job and he can only stay for a limited time. If a visitor wishes to change his classification to landed immigrant, he must normally leave the country and re-enter.

Virtually automatically, one can obtain student status from the Immigration Department if he has been accepted by a reputable school and if he can show that he has the money to pay to school fees and his living expenses. A person in Canada on this student status can generally work only if the job does not interfere with his studies.

Lastly, one can try to become a landed immigrant (permanent resident). When the Immigration Department considers a landed immigrant application, their basic concerns are that the applicant is in good health and that he shows evidence that he will have no trouble getting and keeping a job. He must also have some money at time of entry. If a member of one’s immediate family is either a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant and will sponsor one’s entry, then the admission standards are much easier to meet. In this case the sponsoring relative is the one who submits the application.

One can obtain landed immigrant status either by mail or at the border. Application forms are available at Canadian consulates and from the Department of Immigration’s federal office in Ottawa and regional offices in most Canadian cities. A medical examination prior to entry is necessary. If one is attempting entry at the border and it is evident that the application will be turned down, then he should withdraw his application and try at another border station or by mail.

If possible, anyone not highly qualified for employment should line up a job by mail or enter Canada as a visitor and get written promise of a job before applying for landed immigrant status.

The reasons for which one can be deported are fairly well defined and do not include any provision applicable to draft offenses. After one has been admitted as a landed immigrant, some check is made on the information given in his application; if falsification is found or if he is found to belong to one of the prohibited classes, he may be deported. A landed immigrant is eligible for citizenship after five years; a citizen cannot be deported.

Extradition is the surrender by one country at the request of another of a person who has been accused or convicted of a crime within the requesting country. One can only be extradited for crimes listed in the extradition treaties between Canada and the United States, and the treaties do not include any offenses which are connected with the armed services, nor any offenses which are in any way political. Furthermore, one can only be tried for the crime for which he was extradited.

It is highly unlikely that extradition law will be changed in any relevant way. Immigration regulations and policies, however, may be changed.

Further information and application forms can be obtained by writing to the Department of Immigration; the central office is in Ottawa, Ontario, and branch offices are in Montreal, Quebec and Vancouver, British Columbia and other major Canadian cities. Canadian consulates which have immigration department personnel on their staffs are in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Denver. Other consulates are in Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Seattle, and Philadelphia.

There are Canadian individuals and organizations ready to aid Americans who cross the border to avoid military service. In order to get in touch with these people, contact:

—in Toronto: Murray Thomson, 60 Lowther Avenue, Telephone: 923 5395

—in Montreal: Irwin Rodin, 70 Caven Circle St. Laurent, Telephone: 744 2089 or David Ticoll, 1451 Louis Crescent, Chomeday, Telephone: 681 4681

—in Vancouver: Benson Brown, 2226 York St., Telephone: 738 4612

Consulate personnel have been known to give false and discouraging answers in response to inquiries about the relevancy of draft status to admission to Canada. Anyone who encounters this should check with one of the Canadian contacts to find out if immigration policy has in fact been changed.

A pamphlet discussing Canadian immigration in more detail can be obtained from Benson Brown in Vancouver

[Seattle Group Bulletin #35 from SEATTLE 1967 WINTER ’66 & SPRING ’67; Bulletins 33 thru 40 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcription by Dotty DeCoster, January 17, 2012.]

36. Learn Some Economics—J.E.

Like everyone else in this shitty society, rebels and other outsiders are victims of specialization too. Introduce the word or subject matter economics into many of these groups, particularly those specialized in the directions known as "art" and "emotion"—you might as well try to introduce pot into the PTA.

Although many will not like to admit it, this attitude corresponds to an important aspect of established ideology, the idea that life in general, and you in particular, are a haphazard collection of unrelated compartments. So we have the intellect in one filing cabinet, art in another, emotion in a third three blocks away,, love in heaven, sex in your pants pockets, church on Sunday and money in the bank. Try to relate these filing cabinets to one another and you make an ass of yourself.

Our brain-washing into this filing-cabinet type of thinking begins almost as soon as we can speak. As you all know, boys are "by nature" different from girls, and in case the kids don’t know it they get told long before they are six years old. "No, you can’t do that, you’re just a girl!" "No act like a boy/man, will you!" Then in school we quickly get catalogued into those who were supposed to be "good in English" vs. the "good in Arithmetic", and later subclassified into those with an "artistic" mind vs. the "scientific" model. How we got into these pigeonholes the adults never quite knew. It seems they just assumed it came from the 49th chromosome.

Forgetting the fakers trying to play far out without being it, many real artists and other rebels share the idea you can’t swing if you dig economics. Nonetheless, this idea remains one of the forms of the establishment doctrine of filing cabinets. (The fact that economists rarely swing needs explanation, of course, but it’s not a law of nature.) It’s really a crying shame that so many otherwise far-out people fall victim to the brainwashing on this subject, because in so doing they accept and confirm their own personal alienation from the life-giving process going on in our society. In trying to integrate the filing cabinets "life", "philosophy" and "economics", I’m aware I’m going against the rules. Yet hundreds of the simple acts we all perform from morning to night are intricately tied up with the economic process.

You turn a knob hanging over a sink and water comes out. Where from? Heaven? You put the teakettle on a coiled metal tube, turn a knob, and the water gets hot. How? By magic? You take a crap, press a lever, and the shit’s gone. Where’d it go? Who built the pipes? Why? Who built the house you live in? Why did he do that? Why did he let you live there? You eat, yes? Do you grow it? If not who does? Why for you? Do you work? Why? Why not? If not who feeds, clothes, houses, gives you everything? Why? Because they’re dumb. A, yes, profound wisdom of the Madison Avenue executive.

Do we need to work as our "civilization" demands of us in order to have the goodies we want? No? I agree, but how do you know? Your feelings tell you? Are you mad, man? You are a product of the same anti-human society I am. Do you think your emotions have been less damaged than your intellect? If our emotions are healthier than our intellects, why do we all tend to fear and distrust our intellects as potentially dangerous enemies to our emotions? Let’s not harbor illusions. This society damages and cripples us in all areas. This is one of the things economics is about.

Fine. Fired with enthusiasm by my blurb, you stay up all night tonight reading an introduction to economics, and come back next morning cursing me. "Cheated again!" Of mankind’s marvelous collective adventure at conquering the earth and subjugating her materials to the satisfaction of his own needs, of the process whereby mankind has created himself and continues to create himself anew and give himself life and definition, of the process whereby we have made ourselves what we are today (ugh!) and can be tomorrow (free!)—of all this, not a word. For establishment economics knows only supply and demand, gross national product, the multiplier, national income, investment, savings, factors of production (one of which is man—labor—the only place in this scheme where man sneaks in), profit, loss, wages, costs and all them good things. So you curse me and burn the book.

But don’t you see? That’s just the point. The good things I’ve implied about economics represent what could be, in a free, human world. Read with the proper vision, therefore, any introductory textbook in economics is a scathing indictment of our society. The dead, alienated language of the economics books, their dry lifeless vocabulary is an adequate representation of the real alienation to which our society forces us to live, of the real dehumanized social and economic process which cripples us. In our society, it’s not human need that counts; it’s demand. A high gross national product is more important than meaningful work. Wages are counted among the costs of production; the misery and degradation of stupid factory work are not. And sales charts for consumer goods are more important than meaningful use of leisure time. If you read them critically (like their authors didn’t intend), the economics books will tell you part of the reason why.

This brings us to the reason why most people in our society who dig economics don’t swing. Because they identify with the society the economics books describe, instead of indicting it. In the last analysis you cannot understand economics without philosophy, just as you can’t understand philosophy without economics.

The lesson: read their economics books today, and burn their supermarkets tomorrow. Or reverse the order if you’d rather.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Two Poems




























~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ask not what bloom this is.

It grew, from perfidy and greed

And now it feeds upon itself

Drinks its own blood.

Obscene flower, I have watched

You eat the limbs of babies

And of men, your petals dripping gore

Fragrance of death and long decay.

The sinking suns obscured by dust

Of battle fields, and still you lust.

I watched you eat a bird of prey

And sated, throw young bodies to the doves.

In tranches dug by mighty men

Who send the pale young there to die,

On barbed wire barricades, devour

The eyes of one who died too young.

Beast or bloom, the world’s a tomb

Bearing fruit of blood and lust.

The cold stars fall from the frozen sky

As the bones of the vanquished turn to dust.



Correction on Bulletin #34: Page 1, second paragraph of the bracketed passage, "class coordinator" should read "class moderator"; it was not the coordinator, but the moderator of class discussion, who prepared a summary of the proceedings.

[Seattle Group Bulletin #36 from SEATTLE 1967 WINTER ’66 & SPRING ’67; Bulletins 33 thru 40 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcription by Dotty DeCoster, March 15, 2012.]

37. Accept No Substitutes!—Louise Crowley

It’s suddenly almost spring. The long grey rain of another Seattle winter has broken, and today the sun shines on a washed and brightened multicolored world. It’s cold yet, and there’ll be more grey days before winter is over. But the dim dull sameness of sullen rain, week after dank and drizzly week—that’s over, now. Come on out of hibernation; it’s time to be up and doing.

All winter, some of Seattle’s best young potential revolutionists have spent most of their time somewhere else, on a series of trips into the less dreary worlds of their own minds. Well, there are colors outside now, and it doesn’t take any crystal spectacles to see them. They say the psychedelics aren’t habit-forming; OK, now’s a good time to prove it. Let’s find out if radical activity sprouts up again this spring with the daffodils.

Right now, and I suspect not only locally, much of the young libertarian left is in the grip of an epidemic of plain, square, old-fashioned bull horrors. Vulnerable to instant narcotics bust, young leftists are slinking around with all their senses tuned to self-protection. The most radical leaflet that’s come out in town all winter is one advising heads how to fuck the fuzz.

It’s not too good advice, either: the bulk of the leaflet is devoted to strategems for determining whether your best friend is a narc agent. Those of us who’ve been around long enough remember how that sort of internal distrust shattered the American Communist Party—it expelled the indiscreet militants in panic, while the careful FBI agents worked their ways into its policy-forming committees and dismantled it as an effective social force. We’d rather trust friends and take our chances. For the heads, the choice should be even easier: if their claims are true, their vulnerability is much more reversible than that of the confirmed revolutionist.

But then, their thesis is that smoking pot and taking acid is revolutionary in itself—"instant revolution". Lose weight without dieting. Learn French while you sleep. Press a button. Flip a switch. Take a pill. Get rich quick.

None of it’s slowed down, a bit, the Washington state legislature’s consideration of a bill empowering the State Patrol to stop any motorist, any time, for a driver’s license check, and to search his car and seize his possessions while they’re about it. It hasn’t countered the governor’s proposal for a state tax on workers’ wages, nor the Seattle police chief’s proposal to disarm everybody but the cops. It hasn’t updated the State Department of Public Assistance’s basis for computing grants—they still use a 1959 cost-of-living survey. It hasn’t parried the threat to scuttle a state constitution that, in theory at least, sharply limits the power of government to regulate the lives of the citizenry. On the contrary, at the very moment when it should have taken the offensive, the free left so internalized itself that it’s failed even to defend existing liberties against an establishment that hasn’t taken time-out for a minute.

The sad fact is, the consumer society can afford to let the hippies drop out, for now. They’re surely more expendable than the squares it’s willing to slaughter in Viet Nam. The savageness with which its police persecute them is deceptive, and has lured the politically conscious ones into a dangerous overestimation of the extent to which the establishment feels itself threatened by their withdrawal.

A police department is a special-purpose apparatus; it functions to enforce dicta of the ruling elite within a given sphere, and its services are bought for that purpose not only by the cops’ wages but by a system of privileges and immunities, extra-legal and illegal in practice, but tacitly protected within understood bounds of discretion.

For police, there are optimum kinds and levels of drug traffic, just as for employers there are kinds and levels of joblessness just right for maintaining a steady flow of applicants willing to work harder/longer/cheaper than the workers inside the plant. This is what has been thrown out of kilter by the largely amateur and graftless traffic in soft goods. The cops have their own interests to protect, and it is part of their deal with the ruling class that they be granted considerable freedom and needed assistance in protecting them. Amateur prostitution bugs cops, too. And righteous tavern keepers. But it’s the drug scene that’s entered a state of flux and upset the old comfortable and advantageous relationships. Law-enforcement arms are simply reacting with their usual narrowness to a new and transitory disequilibrium, ultimate resolution of which has already been blueprinted at much higher levels.

U.S. capitalism—"the spectacular commodity economy"—is not all-of-a-piece; and in times of stress, its seams get to showing. Observe the discontinuities between the police and the mas media, and between media themselves.

Those radio stations beamed to youthful listeners are actively glamorizing the drug scene these days, and the kids think this is some kind of a triumph, since the stations appear to be giving them what they want in the face of conventional disapproval. Actually, the mass media create the wants—you know it! The policy-planners of the Great Society think in long-range terms. They’ve written my generation off; we may be put out to pasture, but we’re not really slated to enter the Kingdom. That’s for the kids who listen to KJR. And those kids are being prepared for their role in the Great Society, while most of their parents shudder at the incomprehensible and uncouth racket, and flip off the mental switch between eardrum and brain, just as the planners intend that they should. But the tip-off is here: the technological society of structured hedonism is in the works, and drugs are a calculated part of it. More cautiously, the mass-circulation family picture-mags are now feeling their way in the same direction. Most of the daily press, of course, speaks for the conservative, "backward" wing of the ruling class, and in any case is aimed at an older readership, so it lags behind.

Well, what’s wrong with that? "...instant happiness", another leaflet said, "and isn’t happiness what everybody wants?" Sure it is. And we could have it, too: a genuine happiness, the happiness of free people doing what they want to do and having what they want to have—including drugs, though happy people would by and large find them superfluous. The cybernated economy we’re on the threshold of could provide that, all of it, for all of us. The catch is that real freedom for everybody would annihilate privilege for some. Not only do those who now enjoy privilege defend it most tenaciously, but the social processes by which people are conditioned to being governed are sufficiently effective that few persons reach adulthood with any concept of what it would mean to govern themselves. So the best that the Great Society can come up with is a painless unfreedom, and like painless dentistry, that requires controlled anesthesia. The problem: how to keep people happy though unfree; the answer ersatz freedom through drugs. If the planners have their way, this is what the presently confused situation will shake down to, and it’s playing right into their hands to assist the shakedown.

Radicals, by definition, get at the roots of things. The root is freedom; evolutionary progress is its stem, material wellbeing the leaves that nourish it, and happiness is its flower.


a line drawing illustration reproduced here from God Nederland & Oranje, by willem.

[Seattle Group Bulletin #37 from SEATTLE 1967 WINTER ’66 & SPRING ’67; Bulletins 33 thru 40 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcription by Dotty DeCoster, March 15, 2012.]

38. The Situationists (Translated By Jim Evrard)

The Situationists

[This is hand drawn at the top, however on the cover it is called: "Finally to Create the Situation Which Renders Return Backwards Impossible"—Internationale Situationniste (translated by Jim Evrard)]

Internationale Situationniste (correspondence: B.P. 307-03, Paris) is a review expressing the thought of a group of theorists who have undertaken a radical critique of modern society in its totality. Supplement #10 of that review, The Decline and Fall of the "Spectacular" Commodity-Economy, was the first situationist publication received by the Seattle Group. That pamphlet utilizes the Watts insurrection of 1965 to illuminate the tensions produced as the fundamental contradictions between the production/consumption needs of the economy and the human needs of people stretch to the breaking point. The same principle would apply to the Amsterdam youth riots of June, 1966—Negroes and youth are similarly ousted from the Affluent Society, and similarly alienated from its value-system.

Since then we have received the tract from which Bulletin #38 was excerpted, a series of documents (not yet fully translated) relative to a split within the group, and another pamphlet, L’unique et sa Propriete. The Totality for Kids, in English, reached us only in one incomplete and practically illegible photocopy.

The following statement appeared at the conclusion of The Decline and Fall:

[in two justified columns]

According to the situationists, a universally dominant system tending toward totalitarian self-regulation is being resisted, but only apparently, by false forms of opposition which remain trapped on the territory laid down by the system—a system which these illusions can thus only serve to reinforce. Bureaucratic pseudo-socialism is but the most grandiose of these guises of the old world of hierarchy and alienated labour. The developing concentration of capitalism and the diversification of its machine on a world scale have given rise both to the forced consumption of commodities produced in abundance, and to the control of economy (and all of life) by bureaucrats who own the State; as, similarly, to direct and indirect colonialism. But this system is far from having found the definitive answer to the incessant revolutionary crises of the historical epoch which began two centuries ago, for a new critical phase has opened: in Berkeley and in Warsaw, in the Asturias and in the Kivu, the system is refuted and combated.

The situationists consider that the indivisible perspective of this opposition is the effective abolition of all class societies, of the commodity production system, of wage-labour; the transcendence of art and of all cultural acquirements, by their re-entry into play through free creation in everyday life—and, then, their true fulfillment; the direct fusion of revolutionary theory and practice in an experimental activity excluding the possibility of all petrification into "ideologies" expressing the authority of experts and always in the service of authoritarian expertise.

The factors put in question by this historical problem are the rapid extension and modernization of the fundamental contradictions within the existing system; between the system and human desires. The social force which has an interest in—and is alone capable of—resolving these, are all those workers who are powerless over the employment of their own lives, helpless to control the fantastic accumulation of material possibilities which they produce. Such a possible resolution has already been sketched out in the model of the democratic worker’s council, which takes all decisions itself. The movement required from this new proletariat for it to form itself into a class, unmediated by any leadership, is the sum of the intelligence of a world without intelligence. The situationists declare that outside the whole of this movement they have no interest. They lay down no particular principles on which to base a movement which is real, which is in fact being born before our eyes. Faced with the struggles which are beginning in various countries and over various issues, the situationists see their task as that of putting forward the whole of the problem. Its coherence, its theoretical and therefore practical unity. In short, within the various phases of the overall struggle, they constantly represent the interest of the whole movement.

[end columns]

Situationist texts now more or less available in English are:

Decline and Fall of the "Spectacular" Commodity-Economy

Address to the Algerian Revolutionaries

The Totality for Kids

Roots of Reification

Unitary Urbanism

And very recently, The Poverty of Student Life

(A note of frustration: we received the last just as our own translation was finally completed.) For further information, in English, write Situationist International, P.O Box 491, Cooper Station, New York, N.Y., 10003. Heatwave (13 Redcliffe Rd, London SW10, U.K.) and Ztangi (1844 Meyer Court, Chicago 60614) also distribute Situationist material.

[Transcriber’s note—spelling of Situationist in English here is as it was published.]

Finally to Create the Situation Which Renders Return Backwards Impossible

(Pages 26-28 of the tract "De la misere en milieu etudiant, consideree sous ses aspects economique, politique, psychologique, sexuel et notament intellectual et de quelque moyens pour y remedier", 1966, Supplement special au #16 de 21—27 Etudiants de France; available from Le Pave, BP 323 RS Strasbourg. Translation and notes (in brackets) by Jim Evrard.) [Tr: accents were hand written into the titles above.]

[Although I criticize the Situationists for refusing the responsibility of doing the work necessary to translate these ideas into the experience of others, I am largely in agreement with these ideas. In my own articles I try to translate these things into the experience of "non-intellectuals". The revolution will not come without the conscious will of men, and this presupposes insight. JE]

...The dominant society, which flatters itself on its permanent modernization, ought now to find someone with whom to speak, namely with the modernized negation which it itself produces: "Let us now leave to the dead the charge of burying their dead and weeping for them". The practical demystifications of the historical movement are unburdening revolutionary consciousness of the phantoms which haunt it; the revolution of everyday life finds itself faced by immense tasks to accomplish. The revolution, like the life it announces, must be reinvented. If the revolutionary task remains fundamentally the same: abolition of class society, we must remember that no part of the conditions in which it forms itself has not been radically transformed. The task is to take work up anew with a radicalism and a coherence accrued through experience with the bankruptcy of its earlier carriers, in order to avoid that its fragmentary realization entail a new division of society.

The struggle between those in power and the new proletariat can be fought only in its totality: the future revolutionary movement will have to abolish in its breast everything which tends to reproduce the alienated products of the commodity system* (*defined by the prevalence of work as commodity [needless to say, they are not using this term in the banal sense in which Cardan understands it]. It will at the same time have to be its living critique and the negation which carries in itself all the elements of possibly transcending [this is the Hegel concept aufhaban] it. As Lukacs saw correctly (although he applied it to an object unworthy of it: the Bolshevik party), the revolutionary organisation [they are using the term too in a sense more profound than that vapid sense in which you are used to hearing it] is that necessary mediation [Hegel’s Vermittlung] between theory and practice, between man and history, between the mass of workers and the proletariat constituted as a class. "Theoretical" tendencies and divergences must immediately transform themselves into questions of organisation if they want to point out the way to their realization. The question of organisation will be the last judgment of the new revolutionary movement, the tribunal before which will be judged the coherence of its essential task, international realization of the absolute power of Workers Councils such as has been sketched out by the experiences of the proletarian revolutions of this century. [They mean 1905 and ’17 in Russia, 1919 in Germany, 1956 in Hungary.] Such an organization must give priority to radical criticism of all foundations of the society which it combats, namely: commodity production, ideology in all its disguises, the state and the dichotomy it imposes.

The dichotomy between theory and practice has been the tock on which the old revolutionary movement rested. Only the high points of proletarian struggle have transcended that dichotomy to rediscover their own truth [another Hegel term, see Herbert Marcuse, Reason and Revolution, index]. No organisation has yet jumped this Rhodes. Ideology [this word is used throughout in the Marxist sense"] "revolutionary" as it may be, is always in the service of rulers, the alarm signal which designates the disguised enemy. That is why criticism of ideology must be, in the last analysis, the central problem of the revolutionary organization. Only an alienated world produces illusion, and illusion can not reappear in the interior of those who pretend to carry social truth, except in that the organization itself transform itself into just another illusion in a fundamentally illusory world. [There you have one of the central ideas in the situationist concept of the "spectacle".]

The revolutionary organization which proposes to realize the absolute power of Workers’ Councils must be the milieu where all the positive aspects of that power are sketched. It will also have to conduct a struggle to the death against the Leninist theory of organization. The revolution of 1905 and the spontaneous organization of Russian workers in Soviets was already a criticism in action of that nefarious theory. But the Bolshevik movement persisted in believing that workers’ spontaneity was incapable of seizing "the totality". The outcome was the beheading o the proletariat to allow the Party to take the "head" of the Revolution. You cannot contest, as ruthlessly as Lenin did, the historical capability of the proletariat to emancipate itself unaided, without contesting the capability of ruling the future society. In such a context the slogan, "All power to the Soviets" means nothing else but the conquest of the Soviets by the Party, the installation of the party State instead of the perishing "State" of the armed proletariat.

It is however this slogan which must be taken up again, this time radically and without Bolshevik mental reservations. The proletariat must not devote itself to the game of revolution except to gain the whole world; otherwise there is nothing. The unique form of its power, universal workers’ management, cannot be shared with anyone else. Because it is the effective dissolution of all powers, it cannot tolerate any limitation (geographical or otherwise). The compromises it accepts will transform themselves immediately into surrender of principles, into defeat. "Workers" management must be at the same time means and end of the present struggle. It is not only the stakes in the game, but its adequate form as well. It is for itself the material which it works, and its own presupposition". ("The Class Struggle in Algeria", Internationale Situationniste #10)

The unitary criticism of the world [i.e., the criticism of the present social order in its totality] is the guarantee of the coherence and truth of the revolutionary organization. To tolerate the existence of systems of oppression in one part of the world (because they wear a "revolutionary" mantle, for example) is to recognize the legitimacy of oppression. Likewise, if it tolerates alienation in one area of social life, it recognizes the fatality of all reification. It is not enuf to be for the abstract power of Workers’ Councils; it is necessary to show their concrete meaning: the suppression of commodity production and therefore of the proletariat. The logic of the commodity is the alpha and omega of present societies. It is the foundation of the totalitarian auto-regulation of these societies, like jigsaw puzzles whose pieces, so unlike in appearance, are in fact all the same. Commodity reification is the essential obstacle to a total emancipation, to a free construction of life. In the world of commodity production, practice does not follow as function of an autonomously determined end, but under the direction of external power. [I point out almost the same thing, but I hope in more generally understandable terms, in the first part of Capitalism and Consciousness, in Solidarity Scotland.] If economic laws seem to become like a sort of law of nature, that is because their power rests solely on "the absence of those who carry them out".

The principle of commodity production is the loss of self in the chaotic and unconscious creation of a world which totally escapes its creators. The radically revolutionary central point of universal workers’ management is the conscious direction by all of the totality of life. The autoregulation of commodity alienation makes of all men the mere programmers of their own survival. [Survival—another situationist term. It means the mere vegetable and animal staying alive, as opposed to life, meaning full human existence, developing the total human potential and satisfying all human needs, not only the actual ones now manifested in our impoverished society, but also those potential needs which only a free and non-alienated humanity will be able to develop fully.] It is the squaring of the circle. The task of Workers’ Councils will not only be workers’ management of the existing world, but its uninterrupted qualitative transformation, the concrete transcending of the commodity (in its aspect as gigantic detour in the production of man for himself).

This transcending implies naturally the suppression of labor and its replacement by a new type of free activity, that is, the abolition of one of the most fundamental dichotomies of modern society, between an ever more reified labor and passively consumed leisure. Some grouplets today already in dissolution like Socialism ou Barbarie or Pouvoir Ouvrier, still joined under the modern catch phrase Workers’ Power, continue, on this central point, to follow the old workers’ movement on the path of reformation of labor and its "humanization". Today it is on work itself that the blame must be laid. Far from being a "utopia", its suppression is the primary condition of effectively transcending the commodity, of the abolition—in the everyday life of each—of the separation between "free time" and "work time", complementary sectors of an alienated life, where the internal contradiction of the commodity between use value and exchange value is projected indefinitely. It is only in going beyond that opposition that human beings will be able to make their vital activity an object of their own will and of their own consciousness, and to contemplate themselves within a world which they themselves have created. The democracy of Workers’ Councils is the resolved enigma of all political dichotomies. It renders "impossible everything that exists outside of individuals".

The conscious domination of history by the individuals who make history—that is the whole revolutionary task. Modern history, like all past history, is the product of social practice, the—unconscious—result of all human activity. In the epoch of its totalitarian domination, capitalism has produced its new religion: the spectacle. [Spectacle. Another situationist concept, to me the most difficult of them all. I’m not sure whether or not I’ve understood it exactly as the situationists mean it, but I’ll describe it to you as I understand it. You’d do best to check this out with Christopher Gray, Charles Radcliffe, or one of the London situationists, who can confirm or correct it. [Radcliffe’s address is 13 Redcliffe Rd, London SW10, if you want to check. LC] The spectacle is the concept covering the totality of the surrogate reality offered us by our rulers and manipulators. Truerality here to be seen in two senses, first, the actual social and human relationships as opposed to that which is described in establishment texts in sociology, economics, psychology, etc., which might rather be called aptly "the science of describing the spectacle", second, the truth of mankind in the Hegelian sense, i.e., man defined in terms not only of what he is, but also of what he can be, i.e., the real needs, motive forces, and potentialities of man, man seen as the subject of life, not of survival. The spectacle is on the one hand the eyewash the ruling powers put on for us to see, as passive spectators, as in a circus, like the rigamarole you have in Great Britain every five years or so when you elect new MP’s, or a joint communique put out by St. Wilson and Blessed de Gaulle, the concentrated spectacle; on the other hand, it is also the totality of the world of commodities, surrogates for the needs whose fulfillment our society systematically frustrates in us (see my I hope forthcoming article on Hobbies in Rebel Worker [See The Five O’Clock World #2, Rebel Worker 7 (1444 Meyer Ct., Chicago, 60614) LC], and veil between our consciousness and their perception, subsequently hinderance to their fulfillment. This is the diffuse spectacle. The first we might call the external reality surrogate, and is the subject matter of ideology formation (on the sociological level). The second we might call the internal reality surrogate, and is the subject matter of rationalization, the counterpart of ideology formation on the individual psychological plane.] The spectacle is the terrestrial realization of ideology. The world has never stood so well on its head. "And like the ‘critique of religion’, the critique of the spectacle is today the primary condition of all critique." (Internationale Situationniste, #9)

We must realize that the problem of the revolution is posed to humanity historically. The more and more grandiose accumulation of material means and techniques has no equal except in the more and more profound dissatisfaction of all. The bourgeoisie, and its heir in the East, the bureaucracy, cannot contrive a mode of employment of this superdevelopment which will be the basis of the poetry of the future, for the simple reason that both of them work for the maintenance of an ancient regime. They have all the more the secret of its police practice. They accomplish nothing but the accumulation of capital, and consequently of the proletariat; for proletarian is he who has no power of the use of this life and who knows it. The historical opportunity of the new proletariat is to be the only rational heir in the valueless wealth of the bourgeois world to be transformed and transcended in the sense of total man, the total appropriation of nature and of his own nature. This realization of the nature of man can have no sense other than the limitless satisfaction and infinite multiplication of the real desires which the spectacle drives back into the distant zones of the unconscious revolutionary, and which it is not capable of realizing except fantastically in the dream-like delirium of its publicity. We must realize that the effective realization of real desires, that is the abolition of all the pseudo-needs and desires which it creates daily to perpetuate its power, cannot be had without the suppression of the commodity spectacle and its positive transcendence.

Modern history cannot be liberated and its innumerable acquisitions freely utilized except through the forces it is repelling; workers without power over the conditions, the meaning and the product of their activities. As the proletariat in the 19th century was already heir to philosophy, it has become even more the heir of modern art and the first conscious criticism of everyday life. [I think they mean Marx, altho I find it hard to separate Marx and Freud, because each is incomplete without the other.] It cannot suppress itself without realizing at the same time both art and philosophy. Transforming the world and changing life are for it one and the same thing, inseparable points of order which will accompany its suppression as class, the dissolution of the present society as reign of necessity, and the finally possible accession of the reign of freedom. Radical criticism and free reconstruction of all the behavior and values imposed by an alienated reality are the maximum program, and liberated creativity in the construction of all the moments and events of life is the only poetry it will recognize, poetry made by all, the beginning of the revolutionary feast. The proletarian revolutions will be feasts or they will not be, because the life they announce will itself be created under the sign of the feast. Play is the ultimate rationality of that feast; to live without killing time and to play without fetters are the only rules which it will be able to recognize.


The Vancouver Committee to Aid American War Objectors has issued a new leaflet, "Immigration to Canada and its Relation to the Draft", which supersedes the one reprinted in Bulletin #35. Also, the committee has a new address: Box 4231, Vancouver 9, B.C., Canada. Readers considering emigration should write for the latest info and current addresses of Canadian sympathizers. LC

[Seattle Group Bulletin #38 from SEATTLE 1967 WINTER ’66 & SPRING ’67; Bulletins 33 thru 40 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcription by Dotty DeCoster, March 25, 2012.]

39. The Provos—H.M.

A Summary of the Contents of Provo 4:

[Transcribers note: This piece is not listed on the cover of this compilation and therefore may have been added as new introductory information to Bulletin #39 when the compilation was published. The title is hand lettered.]

New Babylon

A statement by Constant Nieuwenhuys, partially translated in Bulletin #39, Provolution, followed by a short biography of Constant and his explanation of his "New Babylon"—a new, multilevel world-city to be constructed 50 to 100 years from now.

Then he goes into the economic prerequisites of such a city, which are complete automation and an abundance of goods and leisure time. These conditions will make possible the evolvement of Homo ludens, the playful man, who is creative, has no motivation to commit crimes and does not need authority to control him.

The concept of utility will be replaced by the concept of playfulness.

Constant then comments on the Provos. He feels they are unduly pessimistic about the overpopulation problem and nuclear war, both problems he feels will be overcome by man’s ingenuity. About the present state of automation he says: Automation is the deathblow to capitalism. In the U.S. automation is being artificially retarded because no welfare or other program has been set up for the unemployed that automation produces. Automation will probably be quicker in the Soviet Union because the economic set up is more collective and because the welfare provisions are better. Automation contributes to internationalism since large economic units are necessary.

Eigendom is Diefstal (Ownership is Theft)

The author of this piece humorously describes his career as crook, describes how he stole several items from a large department store, how he was caught, what he thought of jail. He concludes by saying that the crime is not the theft of property but the imprisonment of people.

Eindelijk: De Waarheid Over Het Amsterdamse Provotariaat (Finally: The Truth About The Amsterdam Provos)

Description of the different subgroups of the beat scene in the city, and their relationship to the international beat scene, unintelligible to foreigners.

Bero 111 (Police Station 111)

In which the actions of a police station are related in regard to a Provo Happening. Includes the license numbers of the police cars employed.

Een Groet Van De Antwerpse Provoos (Greetings From Antwerp)

A short history of the city’s anarchists since World War II.


A biography of the 19th-century anarchist from Russia, Michael Bakunin, professional revolutionist.

Oppostie (Opposition)

(Sub-title: CONVERSON TO PROVOCISTIC THINKING) The author expresses his dissatisfaction with the similarity of views expressed in Provo. He points out that the feeling of powerlessness is the mutual motivation of TV-watchers and provos, the difference being that the provos are more aware of the world situation; this awareness implies a responsibility which the provos do not fully accept, if they only provoke for the sake of provoking.


Provolution—The Evolution of the Provo Principle

[Transcriber’s note: This is Seattle Group Bulletin #39)

For a short while there has been, in Amsterdam, a rebel group who call themselves provos and who produce a magazine of the same name. This article presents the historical outline.

The wedding of the Dutch crown-princess on March 10, ’66 was world news because the provos adorned it with smoke bombs and created a situation more like a revolution than a royal wedding, lasting deep into the night. The word Provo was also widely mentioned in connection with the building workers’ strike on June 14, when the building of the extreme right-wing paper De Telegraaf was attacked and two of its vans were set on fire.

It is clear that the name Provo is derived from PROVOcation, but who are the provos, what do they want, what are their ideals? Where do they come from?

We can distinguish two elements which, in 1965, came together. The first element was the ban-the-bomb radicals who since 1959-’60 had regularly organized demonstrations against the bomb, usually in conjunction with left-socialist groups and individuals. Among the most important of the demonstrations organized by these people was that of June 30, 1962, in front of the government buildings in The Hague, just after an American nuclear test series; 123 people were arrested. Another famous and crucially important demonstration was against the NATO tattoo in Amsterdam stadion in July 1963. The police, taken completely by surprise, struck out at people relentlessly. Because of this behavior by the police, the most direct arm of authority, anti-authoritarianism among the participants grew. The fact that in reality nothing was achieved by demonstrations made some people question the idea of non-violence and search for what was in their eyes a more efficient method.

In the meantime there were many international developments. In the USA the "beat" element had begun to disengage itself from its subculture and interest itself in social problems—civil rights, the war in Vietnam. There was a parallel development in Europe. In 1964 the Dutch painter Constant Niewenhuis declared: "This phenomenon, which can be seen everywhere, of youth refusing to accept the existing order of things—the "hipsters", "beatniks", "nozems", "Stilyagi", "teddy boys", "rockers", "mods", "halbstarken", "blousons noire", or whatever they may be called, has a revolutionary effect and significance which so far has been neglected." And, "Psychologists, sociologists, politicians, they are all amazed and defenseless when they face a phenomenon they can neither understand or explain: the volt of homo ludens (playful man)."

It was from these two elements that the Provo movement eventually emerged: from the more politically-oriented ban-the-bombers and from the beats, the social misfits, school dropouts, hitch-hikers, homo ludens.

The first issue of Provo appeared in July, 1965: 500 duplicated copies. The issue started with an Introduction to Provocative Thinking, "Provo = provo, because Provo behavior remains for us the acceptable thing in this society. To join in the rat-race, to clamber up the social ladder, to fill a post is to collaborate with the impending nuclear destruction, capitalism and militarism. We cannot imagine a job which has not, as its aim, the continuation of the state of distress in which we live. The worker produces inferior lust-objects, from which, nevertheless, the capitalist gets his surplus value. The bureaucrat maintains the system by which people are made the victims of bureaucracy. The inventions and ideas of scholars and technicians are immediately abused for military projects. The anti-social provo is the only luminous point. His behavior is the clog in the wheels of progress which roll on so fast no one has time to notice the bomb lying so close under the rails."

Provo 1 also contained an elaborate manual on the manufacture of explosives, a reprint of an anonymous 1910 pamphlet, The Practical Anarchist. Though further on the principle of nonviolence is attacked, the bomb recipes were not seriously meant. They were out of date and thus useless. The reprint was, at most, a flirtation with the violent methods used by earlier rebels. Nevertheless the reprint resulted in the seizure of the first issue and the arrest, for two days of questioning in the police cells, of three collaborators of the issue. However, there was no prosecution.

The second issue of Provo appeared a month later, despite intimidation of the government and the authorities, and thanks to huge publicity quadrupled its circulation. This issue started with a more detailed explanation of the white bicycle plan which had just been launched. The plan was to solve the traffic problem by painting all the bicycles white (there are plenty of bicycles in Holland!) and declaring them collective property. No more car-terror, no more road-accident victims, no more petrol fumes for the inhabitants of big cities. There have been quite a lot of white bicycles in Amsterdam and there still are—also outside Amsterdam—but they are locked up now. That, of course, was not according to plan. The police seized them because it is illegal to leave bikes ownerless on the streets.

In common with many other provo plans and actions, the white bikes were half-serious, half-satirical. This approach proved very attractive and support grew, mainly among younger people. Most of these young people were repelled by the seriousness of the politicians. Nothing can be expected from such politics and such politicians any more. They always place self-interest or group-interest above public interest.

This is not to forget another important aspect of provo-action—the happening. The happening is actually a cultural happening but the most important thing is that something actually happens or, occasionally, doesn’t. In any case the public does something which it would not normally do in the homely day-to-day routine. The difference between a happening and the usual cultural experience, like films and theatre, is the absence of a passive audience. Everyone joins in their own ways, each playing his own role. The happening will become increasingly important in the future as automation reduces the logic of continuous, regular work. As creativity is freed from the drudgery of labor it will increasingly need a creative outlet. A happening needs no message because it is not, in the usual sense, useful, but it often has a social background and origin which include a sharp protest. This was the case with the happenings that took place in Amsterdam (more than a year before Provo existed) every Saturday night at 12 o’clock on the Spui, a square in the center of Amsterdam. The central figure was Robert Jasper Grootveld, an artist brought up in an anarchistic environment.

On the Spui there is a small statue of an ordinary small boy for Amsterdam, known as "het Amstedanse lieverdje" (Amsterdam’s little darling). It was presented in 1960 to the municipality of Amsterdam by the Hunter cigarette company, as the copper plate on the statue makes clear. Grootveld saw this as yet another instance of the ways in which the middle classes, with their psychological advertising and "Hidden Persuaders", curb our real needs to their profit. Everywhere, on walls, hoardings, magazines, newspapers, tobacco advertisements are the most persistent and most striking. Grootveld called himself the "anti-smoke magician", and with chalk he blocked out all the cigarette ads on the streets with the letter K for Kancer. Naturally, he was in constant conflict with the police. The small statue where he and his followers met was explained as a symbol of the "addicted consumer". One of his best known slogans was: "Something must happen... something MUST HAAAAOOOOEEEEBBBB!" Grootveld has incredible creativity, energy and ingenuity, but his unusual methods of protest were not easily understood by the public and thus Grootveld was no real danger to the status quo and his activities were more or less tolerated by the police.

In the summer of ’65 the provos became known through their pamphlets directed against the royal family and the planned marriage of the crown princess, as well as through the seizure of the first issue of PROVO. Their ideas were marvelously close to those of Grootveld and they began to join in the happenings. Political slogans immediately intelligible for anyone were shouted on the Spui. Nearly every time the police made arrests, usually on the ground of "refusing to move on when asked to do so by a police officer". Now, after a year, the police seem to have won the battle—for the time being. Thanks to their equipment, dogs, horses, truncheons, all is quiet on the Spui.

But the creativity and the energy cannot be stopped so easily. This has been shown by a flood of White Plans. After the White Bicycle Plan there was the White Chimney Plan, aimed against industrial pollution. Soot and other industrial byproducts poison the air which we breathe. Tax should be taken, on a ratio basis, against the poison escaping into the air. Industries, to dodge tax, would install purifiers. This has not been done so far because it would reduce profits. The plan was of course conceived only as a transitional reform measure, as explained at length in Provo 6.

Provo 7 (Jan., ’66) was once again seized because it included an anonymous letter directed against depopulation of the city centre. The letter recommended the "liquidation of government criminals" and "the smashing of windows—or something on those lines—of the houses which belong to these people". The law alone took the letter completely seriously. The four collaborators held responsible for this issue were prosecuted. The funny thing about the case was that the man referred to in the letter as "town building expert and criminal number one of Amsterdam" appeared as a defense witness! One was acquitted and the other were given prison sentences from 3-5 to 6 weeks. The three have appealed to a higher court.

Shortly afterwards there was the Hans Tuynman case. He was arrested on April 1 for distributing leaflets about a demonstration the following day against police violence. No permission had been given for the demonstration, as it was illegal. The law wanted to set an example, so Hans Tuynman was jailed for three months—the minimum sentence for this offense. He appealed to a higher court but was jailed immediately. Riots took place every Saturday at the jail, and the weekly happenings were also held there at this time. Often it took til Sunday morning to restore peace. In a letter to a friend, published in a Dutch weekly, Hans thanked people for the "heartening offenses against the law near the Nick". Shortly afterwards his appeal came up and he was sentenced to jail for the period already served: two months.

Some more white plans were also published. The White Women Plan—which aimed at better sexual education and guidance and the establishment of sexual health centres open to girls over the age of 14; the White Chicken Plan ("chicken" is Dutch slang for police) was against police violence and wanted police converted into social workers; the White House Plan proposed the removal of buildings and houses from the hands of private profiteers and institutions so that everyone could live in a reasonably decent house; this is certainly not always the case in Holland. Empty houses requested for destruction should be given to traveling beatniks.

Of course attention was also given to the Vietnam war. Several times people wrote and demonstrated against it, usually with left-socialists. Provo also carried articles on the New Urbanism: increasing automation means increasing spare time and the town therefore takes on a new function as a place to play in, rather than a place to work in. A town should become a place for Freed Creativity.

There was also the much-criticised plan to stand for election in the Amsterdam municipal elections. The election issue of Provo (#9) said: "Older anarchists have lectured us: ‘Those who have once participated in an election are forever lost for the cause of revolution, because they have moulded themselves to the perspectives of authority’. This view we reject however, as old-fashioned. When provos are elected to the council they will see to it that authority is checked. Control over the authorities by the provos will be extended so much that behind every bureaucrat and civil servant there will be a provo taking down in minute detail every thing that authority does. Our aim is to democratize Dutch politics. The authorities’ hope that we will quietly go bourgeois is now a lost cause. The street actions of the European provotariat are only now getting under way. Nor are the provos on the council going to become careerists. They will be pushed to provoke all the time, every inch of the way, by the provo movement. Our representatives will, in any case, take turns on the council so that the seats will constantly be reoccupied by provos fresh from direct contact with the movement.

Elections were held on March 31, 1966. Under proportional representation, one seat requires 11,000 votes. The voting age is 21. Provo got 13,000 votes and therefore one seat, which will be filled by the 25-year-old student Bernard de Vries. It remains to be seen whether participation in elections will harm the provo movement, and the session does not start until September. [This article was written in September; for reasons at which I can only guess, it took months to establish contact with provos in Amsterdam.—LC] It is certainly true that the most radical provos were not at the top of the list of provo candidates. Fortunately, the elected candidate does see the dangers. In Provo 10 he wrote: "Provo must not become annexed to the parliamentary system. The most important things are still the provocations, the happenings, the demonstrations and the football matches. Besides that we shall provoke the political parties and make the town council a permanently unsafe place."

After Provo there were further magazines published by young rebels: in Antwerp, Revo; in Rotterdam, Desperado; in Utrecht, Volte; in Groningen, Scandal, and so on. They are irregular magazines circulating mostly under 1,000 and a readership of students, artists and schoolboys for the most part. There are also two anarchist magazines in Holland with a circulation of about 1,500. Their influence has never been large, and because these old ones couldn’t keep pace with the new rebel youth new magazines were essential.

Provo began in July 1965 with 30 subscribers and a circulation of 500; the circulation of #11 (September ’68) is 20,000 (mostly street sales) and there are about 1,000 subscribers. The growth is explained mainly by publicity—for and against.

This short description of provo has not touched everything. The question of violence and nonviolence remains undiscussed. Just as does our attitude to the colonial liberation fronts and our similarities with the American "new left". Also we need to discuss in detail the consequences of automation and cybernation. I hope however that I have made clear how provo gave a voice to the rebel youth of Holland. Even if it should disappear now, its existence has not been in vain. Provo has, in a year, managed to liven things up and loosen the atmosphere a great deal.


[Seattle Group Bulletin #39 from SEATTLE 1967 WINTER ’66 & SPRING ’67; Bulletins 33 thru 40 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcription by Dotty DeCoster, March 25, 2012.]

40. The Grating Society—George Crowley

The dream which built America has turned into a monstrous nightmare. That dream—the fulfillment of man’s ageless aspiration for Peace, Bread and Land—held forth promise of a nation of yeoman peers living together in freedom and abundance.

This was our national goal and the promise the American Revolution gave to the world. The failure of that promise is the measure of our current crisis.

The nightmare that has become reality is that of a growing 20% of our population reduced to "no-people", people who have no claim upon the consumer society, who have not even a statistical relation to it. It is the hope of humanity that they will soon be heard from.

As the dehumanized, production-for-work’s-sake Great Society accelerates its mad pace, fully 30% of its people are jeopardized in the precarious grip they hold upon a "place" in the insane spiral. These people live in the clutch of an all-consuming fear, their hysterical terror of being hurled into the mass of no-people. Thus their lives are spent in a self-alienating, all-consuming effort to hold their "place". They hold on to the Great Society like tramps clinging to every handhold of an accelerating freight train. In today’s cycle of inflation these people are falling from their places like rain: they drop screaming, either into our ever-expanding network of mental asylums or as protesting, riot-insisting dissidents into the still complacent mass of no-people. It is to stay this infestation that the War on Poverty was conceived and is maintained.

Secure within the octopus grasp of the Great Consumption live the "other half". Call them "upright citizens", "straight ones", or "scissorbills", they are in fact the most pathetic victims of our age. In exchange for their security these people are expected to pay a truly awesome price.

As the Society, the great unhuman mechanized body politic, stabilizes into a smoothly meshing machine, each erstwhile human individual must increase his personal distortion to fit his narrowing specialization. In short, this vaunted "other half" has become a community of externally conforming, unhuman robots. Their magnificent cool masks in each case a seething bundle of frustrations fed by their outraged humanity.

For what purpose have we brought ourselves, as a people, to this sorry state?

The cause of this universal tragedy can be traced to a tiny elite handful at the very top of our society. These people have long since been freed from social responsibility: hirelings perform all their productive functions. They have retained great privilege, privilege far beyond any human capacity to utilize for self-fulfillment. To justify this great disparity, they have rationalized themselves as "different"—as better—than all the rest of humanity. They exercise authority and political power not as a social function but for the sake of power per se.

Thus our power elite has entrenched itself in a private artificial environment, the only value of which is authority. By humanistic standards, it is an insane and perverted community that governs the rest of the species. This elite feels above the restraint that stays normal human beings from postulating such ideas as drying with napalm the sea of humanity which in Southeast Asia refused to submit to its despot’s whim. It feels free to send its swaggering emissaries to trample the aspirations of South America and Africa, while these same authoritarians plot ways to reduce Europe also to unhappy vassalage. The same unhuman false logic that justifies dragging our community’s children, kicking and screaming, to death in the Vietnam charnelhouse would justify disciplining China’s millions with nuclear holocaust.

All this, that this picayune handful of maniacs may square off for a shootdown gamble with the fate of humanity—that they, to fulfill their mad logic, may confront the other authority Colossus that is the USSR.

This is the nature of the present world crisis. The fate of the world hinges upon containing and neutralizing America’s power elite. Our internal crisis jeopardizes all humanity, all life on this planet.

Summarized, this internal crisis of America may be stated as (1) the state, the body politic, no longer fulfills the needs and aspirations of its people; (2) reform, that is, changing that structure by normal methods of alteration, cannot accomplish the necessary ends without infringing upon the defended privilege of the power elite, and (3) voluntary abdication of authority is an unknown phenomenon; hence this crisis is revolutionary in nature.

Let us then face squarely the fact that we, the people of America, are confronted with the need for revolution now.

When we reach this decision we must face a second reality of our time. Conventional revolution has failed, without exception, when launched against the sophisticated political tactics and police technology of modern imperial ruling classes. The conclusion must be drawn that it is futile to study past revolutionary tactics as a guide for present action. Instead we must return to the anatomy of revolution itself. We must find a new alternative to conventional revolution, geared not to the weakness of power elites past but to the inherent weakness of the current milieu.

Several areas of investigation suggest themselves. The behavior of peoples where authority collapsed as the result of World Wars I and II is significant. India, the only instance where a functioning Imperial empire was unhinged without external assistance, offers lessons not only in its success but perhaps more significantly in the failure of its society to consolidate the revolution.

The now waning civil rights movement of Black America, particularly at its high points of near-insurrection, Birmingham and Watts, translates much that is general to our specific milieu.

The most fruitful of all perhaps is careful study of the development of the "Beat Community" through the "Student Movement" into the twin tendencies that have evolved from the so-called "hippy scene". There is an essential contradiction between the drop-out mysticism buttoned down in such slogans as "Nirvana Needed" and "Let the State Disintegrate" and the positive assertion of human values inherent in the newer Digger movement currently spreading from our urban centers. The fate of revolution in our time may well hinge on how that contradiction is resolved.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


A friend has suggested that readers might like a run-down on the Seattle Group Bulletins that have been picked up for reprint by other publications. I doubt if we can give you a complete list; mimeoed, uncopyrighted materials often gets reproduced without the formality of request. But these we know of: Bulletin #4 by Stan Iverson, has been reprinted under the title Sex and Anarcho-Socialism by Appeal to reason, Federal Way, Washington, and by the Indian Rationalist Association, Madras; #6, Louise Crowley’s On the Alleged Wholesomeness of Honest Toil, appeared slightly abridged in Rebel Worker, Chicago; #14, Chaos—or Else, by George and Louise Crowley, is scheduled for reprint in Good Soup, New York; #18, also by LC, appears in the current issue of Solidarity, London, under the title Beyond Coalition. Innovator and Left and Right have asked and been given permission to print condensations of Bulletins #29 and #30, You Really Want to Know Why Johnny Can’t Read? is to be included in an anthology of articles on U.S. race relations to be published in Italy. We hear rumors of others: #27, Dave Wagner’s Lyndon and the Acid Heads has been widely circulated in reprint versions, and Blue Ointment, Canada, printed something from the Bulletins but we don’t know what.

Reprints are welcome, of course. After all, we write this stuff to get it read, and tho the Seattle Group’s circulation has sextupled in its year-and-a-half of existence, it’s still small. With our resources, it’ll stay small, as any wide readership the Bulletins get will probably be through reprints. We do like to be asked, even tho our answer’s always yes; and we hope the pirates who don’t ask us will at least give the Seattle Group a credit line, and their readers our address.

[end box]

[hand lettered with a couple of cartoon mice speaking at the top and saying: "I can’t take it! Day in and Day out, the same old human-race" printed in caps.]

FRUSTRATED? READ the HELIX...and become infuriated!

Published Fortnightly; Member U.P.S., $3.00 for a year; 15 cents a copy, 4526 Roosevelt Way N.E., Seattle.

[Seattle Group Bulletin #40 from SEATTLE 1967 WINTER ’66 & SPRING ’67; Bulletins 33 thru 40 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. Transcription by Dotty DeCoster, March 25, 2012.]

Compilation 5: New Publications Received

Bulletins: 33-40 1967 Winter / Spring

New Publications Received:


"the poor man’s periodical"

P. O. Box 5125, Eugene, Oregon, 97403. $1.20 yearly, 25¢ a copy.


A magazine of student opinion.

3822 Barker Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229. Eight issues for $1.00.


An expression of anarchist views.

Ecology and Revolutionary Thought by Lewis Herber, in this issue, also appears in Anarchy 69, November, 1966. Comment: P.O Box 466, Peter Stuyvesant Station, New York, N.Y., 10009.


Occasional anarchist journal edited by Ted Kavanaugh.

283 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1. One year, £1; ½ year, 10/6.


Publications of the Help End Marijuana Prohibition Committee of Seattle. Send self-addressed envelope to HEMP, P.O. Box 3352, Midway, Wash., 98031.


Statement by the Neo-American Church.

Psychedelic Information Center, 26 Boylston St. #3, Cambridge, Mass. 02138. Copies available for the cost of postage.


English-language edition of De la Misere en Milieu Etudient. Situationist International, P.O. Box 491, Cooper Station, New York, N.Y. 10003.


Provo materials sent by Hans Metz; we hope this will become a regular exchange. Provo: Karthuizerastr, 14 hs, Amsterdam, Holland. God, Nederland & Oranje (a cartoon magazine): Postbus 3612, Amsterdam.


Bulletin of the Committee of 100 and the direct action wing of the British Peace Movement—a new successor to the suspended London publication. Published by: West Midlands Committee of 100, Birmingham Working Group, Birmingham Peace Action Centre, Factory Road, Birmingham 19, England.


c/o Merle E. Byers, Box 402, Mokena, Illinois, 60448. 1 year (25 issues) $1.00.


A situationist text now being translated by Gloria Ninaud. International Situationiste, B.P. 307-03, Paris, France.


Anti-clerical journal, contributed to by James H. Johnson, Blanche Puccinelli, Pauline Meichel. P. O. Box 322, Salem, Missouri, 65560. $1.00 a year.


By Richard Lichtman. An Occasional Paper of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, Box 4068, Santa Barbara, California. Sample copy free; additional copies 75¢ each. A complete catalog of Center publications is available on request.


Independent venture by students of Garfield High School, Seattle. Suspended after two issues.


Monthly journal of the Rationalist Society of St. Louis, organized to maintain separation of church and state, oppose supernaturalism, and to promote the study of the sciences. American Rationalist Federation, P.O. Box 2931, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130.


Avatars of a publication edited by Sutton Breiding. Underground Press Publications, 616 8th St., Morgantown, West Virginia, 26505.


ARTICLES from Anarchy 2, April 1961, reissued by Cuddon’s. 283, Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1, England. 2 shillings.


by Tim Hall. Some previously published, some not. Available from the author, 2070 W. 36th St., Cleveland, Ohio. 44113. $1.00.



P.O. BOX 512, Cooper Station, New York, N.Y.

Dedicated to total revolution, starting with aesthetics but progressing rapidly toward the totality. 5¢ per copy.


Box 3015, GPO, Sydney, Australia.

Formerly bi-monthly, now ????? No charge, but send a check for postage and the publishers (Sydney Libertarian Society) will notify you when it’s about to run out.


Box 4068, Santa Barbara, California. Magazine of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Send for a catalogue of publications.


Beaumont 24, 1012 Lausanne, Switzerland. Multilingual bibliography of anarchist publications, Reviews, &.


19371/2 Russell St., Berkeley, California. Quarterly, with occasional supplements. 50¢ a copy, $2 a year.


34 Cumberland Road, London E17, England. For Worker’s direct control of industry. $1 a year; no checks.


Freedom Press, 17 a Maxwell Road, London SW6, England. The anarchist weekly. $3 year; $7 air mail.


c/o Charles Radcliffe, 23 Redcliffe Rd., London SW10, England. Experimental libertarian quarterly. $1 a year.


Box 34719, Los Angeles, California, 90034. Exploring ways for the individual to gain greater personal freedom. 5 months, 5 issues, $1; 1 year, $2.


P.O. Box 24282, Los Angeles, California. Newsletter of the Constitutional Liberty League of Los Angeles County.


c/o Ted Pauls, 1448 Meridene Drive, Baltimore, Maryland. Irregular but frequent journal of opinion and commentary. 20¢ per issue, or free in exchange for letters of comment, contributions, or similar periodicals.


No address given. Miscellaneous provocative leaflets.


c/o Bob Comrie, 288 Hardgate, Aberdeen, Scotland. Organ of the Aberdeen Young C.N.D. 6 issues for 5/-.


c/o S. E. Parker, 2 Orsett Terrace, London 22, England. An individualist anarchist review. 6 issues for 6/-. ($1.00)


449 14th St., San Francisco, California. Monthly, $2 a year; bulk orders $7 per 100 per month.


1608 W. Madison, Room 206, Chicago, Illinois. Weekly organ of Students for a Democratic Society. $1 a year for SDS members; $5 a year for non-members.


8751 Grand River, Detroit, Michigan. Marxist-Humanist monthly (except in summer). 12 issues for $1.


c/o J. Zube, Wilshire St., Berrima, N.S.W., Australia. Ambitious compendium of peace plans, digested and discussed, with bibliography. Irregular but—considering its scope—frequent. 20¢ per issue; contributions welcome; reprint free and desired.


Box 7173, Oakland Station, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Published by the Pittsburgh Committee to End the War in Vietnam, monthly. News also of civil rights and poverty action. No subscription price given; the newsletter is supported entirely by contributions.


by its Chief Magistrate, Herbert C. Holdridge, Brig. Gen. U.S. Army (Ret.) P.O. Box 404, Wells, Nevada. For the restoration of peace and constitutional government, institution of a rational economic system, and repossession of Indian rights and territories.


c/o Ken Weller, 49 Knollys Road, London SW16, England. Monthly magazine, with pamphlet supplements. 10 shillings for 12 items (that is, issues of the magazine or pamphlets, in the order of publication.)


2929 16th St., San Francisco, California. Western newspaper of the Progressive Labor Party, in English and Spanish. $1 a year on the West Coast; $2 elsewhere. Overseas air mail, $8 a year.


14131 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan. Bi-monthly bulletin of Facing Reality. 5 issues for $1. Introductory offer: 3 issues free to anyone whose name is submitted.


163 18th Avenue, San Francisco, California. Newsletter of the American Society to Defend Children. ("Balloons, not bombs")


5 Beekman St., Room 1033, New York, N.Y. Published twice monthly (almost) by the Committee for Nonviolent Action and the New York Workshop in Nonviolence. $5 a year.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[reprint of a cartoon from Solidarity, London. Picture a man sitting in a chair, gesturing, each sentence a separate block]

I used to think I was poor.

Then they told me I wasn’t poor, I was needy.

Then they told me it was self-defeating to think of myself as needy, I was deprived.

Then they told me deprived was a bad image, I was underprivileged.

Then they told me underprivileged was overused, I was disadvantaged.

I still don’t have a dime.

But I have a GREAT vocabulary.

[SEATTLE 1967 WINTER ’66 & SPRING ’67; Bulletins 33 thru 40 of the Seattle Group, published in Seattle, Washington. This is material additional to the Seattle Group Bulletins in the compilation. Transcription by Dotty DeCoster, April 9, 2012.]

41. Deathwatch—J.R.

[Reprinted with the author’s permission from The Panther Sentinel (which introduced it with an editorial disclaimer and a request for rebuttals.)]

I never believed they’d kill Aaron Mitchell. Appeals, stays, stays denied, the news overflows and yet some one always steps back from the brink of ultimate cruelty and barbarity in the eleventh hour. Still... still, when the announcer intones: "three days", "less than forty-eight hours_,... "tomorrow"... I start listening; for the first time admitting the possibility: might they really do it this time?

Thus, I learned the name Aaron Mitchell on Monday, April 10... one of sixty-odd... noted, forgotten. On Tuesday my apprehension mounted and I read a newspaper account of his crime and conviction (having previously passed by a dozen earlier versions) and rested easy. Aaron was no likely candidate for the first State murder in over four years—no premeditation—and the poor bastard got almost as good as he gave in a brief, hot gun battle; best tradition; surely a cold-blooded murderer will be the first, if first there must be.

Tuesday evening and still no stay. I reconsider: a bloodthirsty governor who has publicly announced his depravity; a poor Negro; co-killer: Now I’m scared as it all falls into place: Aaron Mitchell is really a perfect victim for this Ritual of Revenge. I’d been applying my values. Then he attempted suicide and I relaxed a bit: mental state, physical condition, all kinds of angles to shoot; rationale provided for what (I thought) nobody really wanted to do. Sleep.

Wednesday morning and I finally cop to reality: at 10:00 A.M. the State of California will make the short trip down to the level of Aaron Mitchell and collect eye and tooth. What to do? I know I cannot affect this chain of events that—even now—is starting its ghoulish countdown at San Quentin prison. Yet... yet, how can I do nothing? No way to get to Sacramento that quickly and what could I do there anyway? Carry a sign, attack a nazi demonstrator and relieve my guilt in violent expiation?

Ah... there it is, there’s the core of the matter: I am no less guilty than the poor devil who will pull the switch, the rich devil who would not attend a clemency hearing that was meaningless without him. To this—at—least—I can give token attention. I can be counted, cast my nay vote, say: count me out. I prepare my telegram and am disgusted with myself for counting the words. What a despicable person I am: I buy my way out and haggle over the price.

At 7:00 A.M. I issue my useless proclamation:

Ronald Reagan, Governor, Sacramento:

The barbarous murder you will permit today sickens me. The bells at 10.00 A.M. will toll not for Aaron Mitchell, but for thee.

Jack Rodgers

31-A Buena Vista, Salinas

and settle down to my solitary deathwatch in nothing if not comfort. A hot cup of coffee and stereo in the background. The Mamas and the Papas sing:

Baby are yu’ holding,

Holding anything but me?

I’m a real straight shooter

If yu’ know what I mean.

Yes, I know what you mean. We really put one over on them didn’t we Mamas and Papas? With our double entendres and in-group communication, we’re really fooling them. Meanwhile, they put us in cages, torture and kill us...who’s fooling whom?

Shortly before ten Aaron—screaming and sobbing—is carried to the altar where he plays his role in a ritual of death—unwillingly—(who can not breathe?) but no less satisfactorily for that. Quickly... so quickly: a human life has been snuffed out. Aaron has taken the sacrament of a Cyanide and become one with his Creator; the High Priests look on dispassionately through air-tight portals.

I had long since changed the record—searched for something more appropriate—and Judy Collins sang from Marat/Sade:

Marat don’t make us wait anymore

We want our rights and we don’t care how

We want a revolution... Now!


[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, April 9, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster]

42. The Edge—Where It's Really At—J.T.

(Text of a talk given at the Edge Coffee Shop in the University District, Seattle)

Summer is coming to the United States. With it will come the fruition of many revolutions, or so our paranoia, fears, and the mass media would have us believe. This has been a year of frustration, confusion, and uncertainty. We face immense questions that seem insoluble, and yet somehow answers must be reached. There has been a communication breakdown. Tempers are flaring. People are uptight. The police are waiting. There is so much divergence of information, education, and experience that the societal spinwheel of centrifugal force has spun us into an ever-spiraling isolation that has left us at the edge of disaster and disintegration. I don’t know that I would be speaking to anyone since I can only speak for my own opinions, fears, hopes, frustrations. But I believe that at this point communication is totally necessary. I guess a good place to begin is at the Edge. We are at the total edge of reality, responsibility, reason. Perhaps there is nowhere left to go from the edge except inward, or beyond.

Since 1945 the world has lived at the edge of paranoid reaction to the atomic bomb and fear of total death.

Since 1954 the people of the U.S. have been at the edge of moral responsibility about a continually confusing and disturbing war in Vietnam.

And around that time, ’45 to ’54, came the shaping of a new revolution. Newspapers in San Francisco called its vanguard beatniks. They believed in free love, free sex, poetry, jazz, no war, nihilism, Buddhism, and trees. They were a notorious and socially reprehensible group of atomic-age Bohemians who spawned a host of current revolutions, from civil rights to drugs to faith in religion to sex to life itself.

And now in 1967 the proposed Summer of Love may turn into a Summer of Slaughter. The casualties are already among us. Some are here tonight.

Let me present a few "movies from my head":

Jeff Finch is a human being who loves others, refuses to kill or cooperate with the U.S. Army killer-trainers. Jeff tried to kill himself this week by an OD of Nembutol. Can we effect his release from the "legal" bonds of his moral dilemma before he is successful? Otherwise Jeff will be dead anyway before the end of the summer.

Indeed the whole of Fort Lewis is a hotbed of brutality (as any former soldier could testify), drug addictions, escapism of every kind, moral disintegration and a carefully mapped plan of wiping out the young seed-carriers we have forced or allowed to be armed and trained in the wholesale killing of other human seed-carriers. I am certain that most will testify to the veracity of my conclusions or add in great detail to the horrors I cannot even sketch.

On the Avenue right now the hippy Mafia drug profiteers are busy. At this minute a girl 15 or 18 is going on her first "acid" trip. The drug is probably in reality one clinically known as methedrine sulfate dioxide. She will think she is high and in two week she will be hooked. She represents money to the dealers and kicks to those who will fuck her before the night is over. Chances are she will have syphilis or gonorrhea or both by the end of May. Should you question her about her life at that time, she will tell you that you don’t know where it’s at, or that she is happy; but her eyes and arms will tell the truth. I do not wish to oversimplify, but it is a reasonable suggestion, too often accurate.

Where are we going? Where is this generation on the edge of decision going? Are we going to be free or are we going to talk on about misery?

More pictures:

A lonely and frustrated young man, well developed alcoholic, overweight, alone, passed out drunk. A hippy finds him, listens to another cry for help, and helps. Where is the today after a year of acid revelations?

A young hippy couple whose parents once threatened to kill them for ruining their child’s life. Watching their happiness grow for month after month until it matters not what anyone thinks about their love and life.

Watching policemen beat a man who had freaked out on Haight Street, taking him to jail rather than to the hospital. He was so brutalized at the station that he went insane. He was a Negro.

Riots in the Haight with National Guard rifles and machine guns pointed at our heads because we dared scream our defiance at a machine which was declaring war on Negroes.

Seeing long-haired messianic angels kissing the police who were arresting them for dancing in the streets. Sheer joy and delight of living in the young. Cops afraid of love. Politicians afraid of children (we all are); children are usually so loving.

I remember sitting in a $50,000 home with $250,000 worth of art antiques—sitting on the floor, counseling with worried parents whose 17-year-old daughter had run away to the U. District with its dope, VC, and incomparable irresponsibility. "Why has this happened to us?" The girl told me she did it consciously to awaken her father to the nearness of a world he could not or would no longer understand. America’s "junkie" children who do not even know for sure what they are taking.

On and On. Religious revival in San Francisco. The second coming, worship of Saviors. Dope-grass-hash-meth-LSD-peyote-psilacybin. GOD-LOVE-HAIGHT. Lightshows. Ministers-Swamis-Gurus. Indians are where it’s at. Hippies are a threat to the war effort because they loudly refuse to kill or hate in HAIGHT. This does not necessarily mean they love or know what it means. Evangelical fervor about shortcut Nirvanas, slipping fault systems. Western civilization decaying. WORSHIP THE FLOWERS. An American Eagle with a recrucified Christ tied to its back, leering over the edge of an Empire trip we cannot in any sense afford to take. Divorce is increasing, abortions, alcoholism; middle-class society waving a bloody atomic bomb in one hand and a cross in the other (Hiroshima and Nagasaki had for centuries been the only refuge cities for Christianity in Japan). The Second Coming: judgment is upon us. Tuli in EVO, "This could be the year the U.S. gets what is coming to it." "Frodo lives" is the hope of thousands of hippy hobbits who sit around waiting for miracles. J.R.R. Tolkien is a contemporary saint. So is Emmet Grogan. "The Universe is in order." Fred Hoyle is more than a science fiction writer. RNA will open the electrical circuits of the brain. DMT can cure cancer. LSD can cure alcoholism, drug addiction, stop smoking, show the face of God and sanctify the Joy of Life. Marijuana is the most common, harmless, maligned weed in history and considered holy by all "primitive" peoples. National militarism is on the rise in Japan and Germany. Hopis love and worship only peace, and recognize through religious prophecy the reincarnated Red Man in the person of certain "long-haired types". The Face of God is being revealed to a small remnant. Iodine in sufficient quantities will prevent death from fallout. Communism has failed. Its machines cannot feed an overpopulated earth. Capitalism has failed; it created the overpopulation it now seeks to enslave or destroy. Christianity has failed because it never realized the truth of its own Savior’s statements and life. Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Islam, Judaism, Baha’i have all failed. Man has failed. Failed to become Godlike. God has not failed: the universe is in order. Man must correct his own errors or the tribunal of Eternity must destroy the earth. Hippies now plead with tourists to turn off air-befouling engines and join the dance. Little girls hand out daffodils to fascist cops who wait only for orders to fill the concentration camps with all advocates of a free life. European journalists in the Haight stand in shocked wonder, and comment that when the political situation was as bad in pre-war Germany as in the U.S. today, enlightened Jews had been fleeing for their lives for over two years. Yet the hippy, Negro, minister et al sit and wait for a future they suspect will be unpleasant to overtake them.

On and on and on,

Are hippies America’s six million? Will long hair qualify me for Dachau? Is it moral to kill for peace? Why are cops afraid of flowers? Are religious visions a crime? Shall I become a lonely alcoholic again? Will the Rapid Transit [for non-Seattleites: a hippy houseboat evicted from its moorage —Ed.] have to be sunk because irresponsible hippies used it for a shithouse? Or will the City get that first? Can we wait for the agony of greater wars of liberty and empire? Are we going to fight the war to the last Vietnamese? Shall I quit loving Jesus, or my parents, or long-haired LOVE-HAIGHT hippies, or prostitutes and homosexuals, or junkies, or cops? Must I give up my dreams of a hold land of love?

Society and civilization are dead. Can I save my family or myself or anyone from the holocaust that is coming. Not that it really matters. I know the face of my own salvation. I know we must love others more. I know that we must love, as did Christ, the outcast, lonely, and forsaken. This could be the last time any of us can communicate with anyone. War has already been declared on my own people. We have aid we will not resist. We will not kill even in our own defense. We will be slaughtered before the guns of the barbarians. Already the beatings, the harassment have started. Some have already died. Not only here but in unimaginable numbers in Vietnam. M. McClure in Poisoned Wheat says: the point of life is not rest but action. Death is Rest. There will be enough rest for all of us for eternity. Now is the time for action. There is little time left for talking. The barbarians of this age, ignorant or malicious with power, are already on the gates of the minds of men and the last sentries are blowing out their own brains. We cannot permit even the decay of the hip world with its own hippy Mafia to continue. The cops and legislators who are the true perverts of this society must be stopped. It is pointless yet to speak of Love, but love we must. God is LOVE. Salvation is at hand; it must be recognized and accepted. There is no end. There is no death, only a change of worlds. There is no past, no future; only Now. We must reject the corrupt material symbols with which we have surrounded ourselves. There will be no future if we sit and talk of love. There will be no point in the future if we do not LOVE. The time has come for quick and unusual action. The songs we sing here have become meaningless because we only sing them and the deaths in Vietnam continue and will soon be also here. I do not know the dilemmic answers. I do not even know that my interpretation of so-called Modern History is correct. But I think I see the hand of doom writing on the sky: Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting. How long, how long are we going to sit and talk or play while the foundations of sensibility are undermined by our inaction? What are we doing to do? What am I going to do? How long will Fort Lewis soldiers dope their eyes shut to the reality? How long will hippies blather bout Love while the rifles of society are being drawn on them? How long will the Christian community talk about the love of Christ and sneer at the saints of this day?—those who have already experimented on their own bodies and minds, facing all the horrors they saw around them and yet still try to love.

Some say all is already ordained by the Will or Order of things, but I say that man controls his own destiny and if indeed a few score Christians changed the course of western civilization, then perhaps a few of us really dedicated to some new ideal can force the necessary change. Scared of prison or death—inaction today will eventually take us to the same imprisonment and death anyway. We have no alternative but to act in some way, or die without a voice.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, April 9, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster]

43. Anatomy of A Frame-Up—Louise Crowley

Floyd Wayne Turner is the perfect patsy: an inarticulate, individualistic young militant in any number of impolitic causes, with little education, a low income, and no protective organizational ties. In addition, Floyd has an emotional affinity to Canadian Doukhobors, which impels him suddenly to disrobe on occasions of ultimate protest—thereby embarrassing his allies fully as much as he disconcerts his enemies. Between Floyd and cops there is undisguised hostility on both sides, but the cops alone have power to implement it; and they arrest him on any pretext or none, for jaywalking, loitering, or just plain "suspicion". The judge before whom he normally appears has become accustomed to the situation. "Two days, suspended", he says almost automatically when Floyd walks into Police Court.

This spring, Floyd drew a different judge.

Just as Floyd Turner’s chief interest in life is disrupting the status quo, Judge Evans D. Manolides’ mission is to uphold it in all its aspects. One upholds Law and Order, of course, by upholding the police. If the police arrest a man, that man must be guilty.

This spring, Judge Manolides drew Floyd Turner, who wasn’t guilty and had witnesses to prove it. Nevertheless, the Judge rose to the occasion. Though another man confessed before him to the "crime" of which Floyd was accused, zealot Manolides sentenced zealot Turner to six months in the King County Jail.

The afternoon of May 12, peace demonstrators had confronted Washington governor Dan Evans’ review of the University of Washington ROTC in Seattle. Most were U. of W. students. One demonstrator was arrested for characterizing the Vietnam war with appropriate obscenity, and two were assaulted by pro-war students. That evening, still smarting from these indignities, a number of them formed a recognizable clique at a party unconnected with the afternoon’s demonstration. One carried a small American flag, waving it about and urging that it be burned in protest. Few of the people present paid much attention to him. The mood in general was festive and easy-going; everyone was in accord with the students’ indignation and an impromptu collection quickly raised the arrested demonstrator’s bail, but the flag-waver was ignored for most of the evening. I was at the party, and so was Floyd.

About 10:00 o’clock, when those of us who paid any attention to it were tired both of the flag and the young student’s insistence, Stan Iverson (S.I., to Bulletin readers) finally told the boy to quit talking about burning his flag, and led him out the door to get the burning over with. No one opposed the idea; only a few followed them out of doors in mild interest, and Floyd was not among them. Most people there were not even aware of this incident. No one thought of the act as a "desecration", and only the flag-waver thought of it as a protest; burning is the Flag Code’s approved way to get rid of an unwanted flag, after all. A little later, the boy who had carried the flag returned with the burned stick, ignored as before, and the flag-burning was soon dismissed from mind. To realistic Stan, a piece of cloth is a piece of cloth.

The party went on, pleasant but noisy, for the sound of electric guitars had attracted a crowd of neighborhood youngsters and the old house was filled far beyond the sponsors’ expectations. The landlord of an apartment house across the street called police to complain of the noise. It got even noisier: an old piano was brought up to the front lawn, and with Floyd counting the beats, enthusiastic kids smashed it to pulpwood. About 11:30 I walked home, happily relaxed in the warm spring night and without a thought for the burned flag. Police investigated the neighboring landlord’s complaint shortly before twelve, but found the party breaking up by then. No charges were filed.

Some ten days later, Charles Carroll, King County Prosecutor, unexpectedly charged Turner with "desecration of the flag", a gross misdemeanor under Washington state law (and since, a federal offense). Radio newscasts announced Floyd’s arrest before it happened, stating that it grew out of the incident at the May 12th party. Bail was $1,000. Floyd heard this on the transistor radio he carries with him everywhere, and came to us, his friends, for clarification; he did not understand why he had been charged, since he had left the party to help fetch the piano before the flag was burned and had not returned until afterward. We knew no more than he did. Police arrested him, with quite unnecessary bluster, at our house while we were engaged in efforts to get his bail reduced. His trial was set for June 2nd.

By then, Stanley Stapp, publisher of a community weekly in Seattle’s North End, and Mrs. Stapp had seen Turner’s picture in a newspaper article about the arrest. They had witnessed the incident, realizing that the wrong man had been arrested, they volunteered their testimony to the defense. At the trial they and another eyewitness, Walter Charnley, testified that Floyd Turner was not among the group participating in the burning. All three described the youth who earlier had waved the flag about as being the one who held it for burning—the specific act of which Floyd was accused. He is, as all three testified, stocky and dark, of Asian descent; Floyd is slight and blond. Richard Beyer, with whom Floyd had gone to fetch the piano, told the approximate times of their departure and return; clearly, they were away from the party throughout the burning, the time of which was fixed by other witnesses. Stan appeared, to add what should have been the clincher; he testified that he himself had ignited the flag, and that Floyd was not present either as a participant or as a spectator in the small group surrounding him.

The prosecution’s sole witness to the flag-burning was Louis Scott, the neighbor who had called police on the night of the party. He testified—without seeming to observe that spectators found his behavior puzzling—that he had watched the party through binoculars from the time the first people arrived to prepare for it, at about 5:30 p.m. He said that Turner, whom he identified from a photo shown him by police after the party, was moving nervously through groups of people outside the house, carrying the flag, for most of the evening; and that after the piano had been demolished and shortly before the party broke up, Turner had held the flag while another man (whom he could not identify even with Iverson present in the courtroom) set it alight. His testimony was in direct contradiction to that of all other witnesses (and to my own knowledge) that the flag was burned at least an hour before the piano was broken up. No other witness—and some of the people we have questioned since—had seen Floyd holding the flag at any time, though all were in and about the house where the party was held. Scott said that the flag was ignited with a cigarette lighter; Iverson, that he had used matches. At one point, Scott stated that he could see a raised emblem on the lighter; at another point, that the night was so dark at the time of the burning he could scarcely distinguish light clothing from dark. Questioned about the inconsistencies and contradictions, Scott took refuge in religious witness: the judge would have to believe him, because he was a God-fearing man. The judge did.

Other prosecution witnesses were police officers who testified that at another demonstration a week later they had heard Floyd brag of having burned a flag and announce his intention to burn another. This they construed as a "confession", though Floyd’s habit of exaggerating his activities is well known to police and was explained to the court. A news cameraman present on that occasion corroborated the policeman’s testimony.

The prosecutor was nonplused by Stan’s voluntary avowal of the flag-burning, and Judge Manolides stepped into the breach. He questioned Stan extensively about his reasons for burning the flag, and the philosophy that activated them. Stan explained that he was an anarchist, and regarded all governments as tyrannical, and national flags therefore as symbolic of tyranny. In addition, he felt that the flag of the United States was at the moment a symbol also of militarism and the oppression of weaker nations; but in any case a symbol only, not to be confused with the real thing—his act was simply a negation of flag-fetishism. Asked how he, as an anarchist, felt about obedience to law, he replied that those laws which did not conflict with the dictates of his conscience he obeyed without question, because the behavior enjoined by them was that enjoined by his own morality. On occasion, he said, obedience or non-obedience became a matter of expediency—for example, sometimes deliberate disobedience was the only way to force the test of a law’s constitutionality. On other occasions, a law might be in irreconcilable conflict with his moral principles, in which case he would be bound in conscience to disobey it. When Judge Manolides asked specifically about the flag-desecration law, he answered that at the time he burned the flag he was not aware that burning constituted desecration, and still doubted it; but that in any case the law was of dubious constitutionality. The judge then asked whether he felt bound to obey perjury laws. Stan explained that though he questions the efficacy of putting people in jail for lying, he considered it highly immoral to bear false witness or to be untruthful in any matter of substance.

No transcript is kept of Justice Court trials in King County, so the exact words of Judge Manolides’ summation are tragically lost. In essence, it was as follows: All defense testimony other than Iverson’s is irrelevant. The person described by defense witnesses as having held the flag is not present in this courtroom, hence cannot be presumed to exist. (Malthusians take note: the population problem has just been conjured away.) Iverson’s testimony is utterly worthless: the man is an admitted anarchist, with no respect for law by definition; therefore he cannot be expected to co-operate with legal procedures, nor feel bound by the law against perjury. Disapproving of the flag-desecration statute, he would go to any lengths, including false confession, to obstruct efforts to gain a conviction under it. Nothing he says can be believed. Mr. Scott, on the other hand, is a devout, respectable man, deeply troubled by the sacrilegious act he witnessed at close range, in ample light, with fine binoculars. His truthfulness is attested by his religiosity; defense witnesses, most of whom took secular oaths, did not so establish theirs. The defendant himself confessed, in the presence of police officers, whose veracity is unquestionable. There is far too much flag-burning going on in this country. Freedom is not the right to do as one wills, but the freedom to do what is right. There are two reasons, and two reasons only, for sentencing wrongdoers: wrongdoing must be punished, and potential wrongdoing must be deterred by the example of stern punishment. Floyd Turner will burn no more flags for six months. Let others contemplating such acts observe that they will be punished by the maximum sentence allowable.

While a bewildered Floyd was asking his attorney why the police didn’t turn him loose and arrest Stan, Manolides added a $500 fine to his jail sentence and set the appeal bond at $3,000. Iverson was not charged, either with flag-desecration or with perjury.

Notice of appeal was filed immediately. When the Superior Court received jurisdiction, Floyd’s attorney, Ed Wood of the Legal Services Center, asked for reduction of bail. In denial, Superior Court Judge Mifflin cited the adverse publicity he feared would accrue, should he reduce bail in a case of such emotion-charged nature—thereby admitting an intimidation that clearly violates judicial ethics. In that, Evans Manolides set his ample precedent. Apparently James Mifflin intends to follow it.

Floyd, therefore, remains in King County Jail, for whether or not a person is guilty of any other crime, that of Being Without Money is itself heinous enough to warrant incarceration. Last week, one of the jail trustees held a note to the window of Floyd’s tank, to inform his patriotic fellow-prisoners that Floyd Turner is a flag-burning nigger-loving-jew-communist-peace-rat, and Floyd was beaten twice before guards removed him from the bullpen and placed him in a one-man cell for his belated protection.

Because Floyd’s plea of innocence did not raise issues within its scope, the American Civil Liberties Union was unable to enter the case until after his flagrantly unjust conviction. It has associated itself with the appeal, and ACLU attorneys are working with Ed Wood, continuing efforts to get bail reduced or, failing that, to secure a speedy re-trial. In the normal course of events, the appeal can probably not be heard until the full session of Superior Court. Floyd may well serve the whole jail sentence from which re-trial will absolve him—too late.



Floyd is my friend, and he’s a kid who has troubles enough without a jail term, so it hasn’t been easy to write with even relative objectivity about what’s happening to him. That had to be done, though, as a sort of fact-sheet on his case. The question that remains is: Why? Why was it Floyd who got framed, when by any familiar standards, the more effective revolutionary (for whom no frame would have been necessary: he did burn the flag) would be the one to put behind bars? True, Floyd is more vulnerable than Stan, precisely because he has been ineffective and hence without much support; and true, cops hate him. These are reasons enough for his being arrested, but not for the bullheaded insistence on convicting him despite all credible testimony, on a charge certain to elicit every bit of the support he does have. Nor for the Superior Court’s refusal to lower a bond designed solely to assure his remaining in jail while appeal is pending. Knowing Floyd, it’s hard to believe he could be dangerous enough to deserve such concern. Stan, it seems without question, could be; yet Stan was allowed to walk away from the courtroom in which he had just confessed under oath to the same "crime". Perhaps it is just because Stan is an articulate, self-assured, conscious revolutionary capable of defending the act (even when he did it casually and without full intent) that he has not been charged; Stan uses a courtroom in the classic Haymarket tradition, as Manolides observed and as others may remember from earlier encounters.

I’m not immune from the common tendency to fear what I do not understand, though, and my spine prickles at the tenacity with which the State holds onto Floyd Turner. I suspect it knows what it’s doing, that the chaotic, disoriented, unpredictable militancy I’d already taken to describing locally by the adjective "floydian" is precisely what it’s most intent on curbing. If so, that’s what it estimates as the greatest threat. It should know. Let’s take its estimate as a working hypothesis, and try it out in the lab. LC

[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, April 25, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster]

44. From The Commune—Rainer Longhans

(A statement made by one of those who got arrested for planning a "dynamite" "attempt on Humphrey’s life"—i.e., they planned to throw pudding in his face) Translated from F. W. Spiegel (Free U. Mirror, a Berlin student newspaper). May, 1967, p. 6. Sent by J.E.)

We’re supposed now to write something for F.W. Spiegel—for a change not something about us, but by us. We can’t think of much to say. How are you supposed to talk to people via an article? Face to face is hard enough.

We could say of course that we are from the SDS (German Socialist students’ organization —Tr.), that we want to change society fundamentally—revolution—and that our methods aim at disturbing or destroying this society. And that it is particularly the Left that attacks us for being unpolitical and detrimental to the good radical-democratic cause. Tossing pudding or whipped cream in Humphrey’s disgusting face is not political, they say, the ridicule hits us, not H.H.H. As if the serious, mournful and impotent forests of placards were political, and not themselves detrimental to the good cause. As if the ruling powers weren’t just using such demonstrations to show its own power. (This is very important; as far as I know, we’ve the Provos to thank for being the first to establish this connection in theory and practice) And so it appears before the people as right. As if the rulers didn’t fear other possibilities of the shit on even more. Or university policies, where more and more the conflicts do not remain within academic halls, but by way of the university bureaucracy affect the government of Berlin, and actions, which harm the government, help university politics. How else would the Berlin Senate come to the junction between the Humphrey affair and the budget cut? It’s the students they are afraid of, not the much touted "insignificant minority".

But these are none of them the real questions. Why should we stand for question and answer for our comic inspirations? Demonstration with colored eggs or smoke bombs—or commune? Whether that is "political", or "effective"?

What’s the matter with you? Why do you put up with the fact that you can’t sleep with one another as you ought? Landladies, student rooms and idiotic upbringing above all. That you can’t communicate with one another? Or why do the couple relationships always end in fiasco? Whether they stay together—which is worse—or not. And the children, "who should have it better than their parents did"? Or how is it really with "political matters"? Do they really interest you at all? Your studies—are they really so enjoyable—crawling up professors’ asses, anxiety before exams, idiotic subject matter? Where do you get your money? From home: gratitude, show yourself once in a while, learn a proper profession, honor, proud of you? Or a grant: proof of accomplishment, study fast, debts? Or earn it yourself?

Is that all accident, like a worm in a good apple? Is it only the exceptions to a rule? Or are they connected? Of course...!

You know all this yourselves, so why do you ask us? Should you ask what to do about it? Sleep with someone else when it becomes dull or unbearable? Hold monologues of self-confirmation? Or couples: try the next best, and afterwards resignation like our parents? Or marry from fear of losing a convenient lay? And the children must be raised responsibly, for they don’t know what is right? Is that it? Or demonstrations and beatings? Yes, and study, for later, when you’ve made it—and can’t enjoy it? Or for what do we live? Somehow we don’t have it. Yes, they all say, that’s how things are (from the right, human nature—from the left, society). Have you ever been in a demo on Ku Damm, or at the sit in on 19 April? And have you seen how it looks when ink spotted and pied policemen run around hollering orders, or where a cop without a hat is a cop without a head? Or when the fuzz has to give up trying to carry a thousand out of the Henry Ford Building, because they can’t do it? When the massive arm of the manure pile is powerless? Is it unpolitical, for each of us when we really play out the holy Berlin model and that freedom of speech bit? Hardly, because it’s fun, at the point we’d almost given up, bellyful of fear and sick of trying. For a short time we experience something which almost has no place here by us, and which we’ve almost forgotten, it’s so seldom. We feel ourselves as belonging together; we know one another, not strangers, we forget our problems, we can communicate with one another—and can hardly describe to others who were not there what it actually was—words fail us. On 3 May (this was written end of April—Tr.) we should therefore really let the beat band play and write and discuss wall newspapers—not merely the few who stand at the microphones. And we should show the chief of police that we have not only passive forms of actions like going limp and getting carried out, but active ones too—we could prepare them at the sit-in.

What happens at such demos is short-lived: the problems return, and the alienation is back before we are back home. We are more sensitive to abstract nonsense on Democracy and Society and University and bla bla—but not much more.

And so we came to the idea of the commune—a living together where the problems of each are the problems of all and... and... and... here too we have difficulties, because there is no perfection and pious promises are worthless.

Of course we can make big talk about transcending relations of sexual property—something like tenderness which need not be repressed—that the women in this situation of living together don’t get trapped in an even more subtle division of labor along lines of feeling and sensuality (children, kitchen, sex)—that the men know how relative this rationality is, where everything has a discoverable reason, etc., etc., and we could get high on Paradise, and talk, and talk. But where does that get us? The few problems we have tackled and experiences we have had are very personal—there are no recipes valid for all of us, and certainly none for all of you. Only a type of community, that the matter is not perfect, and we cannot do otherwise. You will have to do it yourselves, and what comes of it, then we can discuss and act on that—we need that. We have nothing more to say. Do something on 3 May. Form communes. How, what, you will have to decide that for yourselves; we don’t have any magic recipes either. So don’t rely on us. We will be living at Stuttgarter Platz from 1 May on.

Rainer Longhans

[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 7, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster]

45. Provo for Council—Stan Iverson

(Campaign Statement by Stanley Iverson, candidate for Seattle City Council)

Seattle is a physically beautiful city ruled by dolts. The City Council has distinguished itself by its unctuous idiocies and by its indifference to the civil liberties of the citizenry. It has whitewashed police brutality. Minorities continue to be the victims of police discrimination—as they have always been—but the council will not establish adequate measures for checking and reviewing police procedures. Hippies are hounded and arrested on trumped-up charges, and hippie establishments are subjected to the concerted harassment of several departments of the city, while the council members smugly talk of civic responsibility. The whores of Chinatown are driven—temporarily—out of business by systematic persecution: they and their customers are arrested on seldom-enforced laws and unusual charges.

The Council seems determined to convert Seattle into a maze of concrete and cement, as they sanction the criss-cross slashing of Seattle by a monstrous network of freeways which threaten park lands, what is left of Union Bay, and thousands of private residences—homes—which are not replaceable with recompense payments. It has involved itself in the shameful urban renewal land grab, and all indications are that it will support the destruction of the Public Market—as we know it.


Therefore I, Stan Iverson, Provo and Anarchist, declare my intention of filing as a candidate for City Council. I shall decide the position I shall run for by drawing from a hat. The Council, as it has functioned, is an absurdity. I shall treat it as such in my campaign.

I propose to introduce that most unusual of political commodities into the campaign—candor. I shall say things that even honest politicians say only privately to close friends. I am not a practical politician—indeed I am not a politician at all and am aggressively impractical. My purpose is to compel the other candidates to make positive commitments on a number of issues instead of hiding, as is customary, behind a rogue’s language of equivocation and cant.

I am an advocate of peace in Vietnam—and to be realistic this means American withdrawal from Vietnam—and shall campaign as a peacenik. I do so, not because I believe that or this, or any City Council can materially affect the course of the war, but to give those persons who oppose Johnson’s adventure an avenue of expression.

I oppose censorship. It is a monstrous impudence for one human being to decide what another human being shall not read or view. When the buffoons on the City Council attempt to do so it is ridiculous as well.

I oppose the expansion of the police force. I suggest that a more effective deployment of the present force is in order before giving way to the importunities of the empire builders in the Public Safety Building. As I watch the fuzz arrest criminal jaywalkers, harass hippies, bully Negroes, and swagger through Chinatown, the conviction grows on me that Seattle needs more cops like a dog needs more fleas. The recent bust by eleven cops at the Id Bookstore is merely one example of inefficient police deployment. A cub scout with a squirt gun could have carried it out as well.

I advocate a strong police review board, with investigatory powers, and composed of non-established people. The police should be as responsive to the law as others are expected to be. If this demoralizes them—then replace them.

I advocate ending the curfew and all other ordinances which discriminate against minors, including the absurd regulations on dances.

I oppose the prosecution and persecution of people for so-called crimes without victims. This includes people who smoke marijuana or take psychedelics, prostitutes, homosexuals and others who engage in any kind of voluntary sexual relationships. In these areas I advocate a policy of police tolerance and non-interference.

I advocate a policy of tolerance toward competent abortionists. The decision of whether or not to bear a child should be solely that of the woman involved.

I advocate the preservation of the Public Market, and no high-rise apartments along the water and lake fronts. I advocate the preservation and encouragement of the houseboat community. Not only are houseboats delightful to live in, but they add to the human dimensions of the city.

I advocate an end to the parking meter shakedown.

In short, I advocate an open city, a community developing in a spirit of civilized tolerance, a place for people to live and develop in all their divergencies, a place for human beings to develop humanely—a city that swings.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Promised Report on the Free Prisoners Bail Fund:

An on-going bail fund has emerged from the successful effort to free Floyd Turner from the King County Jail. The manner of its establishment is somewhat confusing, but the fund exists and is a worthy cause.

When bondsmen refused to provide his bail, several of Floyd’s friends launched an effort to raise $3,000 in contributions and loans, to get Floyd out of jail and to become the nucleus of a permanent fund for similar cases. At about the same time Alex Gottfried independently proposed establishing a bail fund for political prisoners and received promises of support. We agreed to pool our efforts to effect Floyd’s release, and met with Alex to discuss tentative organization of a permanent fund. It immediately became apparent that there was a fundamental difference in concept between Gottfried and the people involved in raising Floyd’s bail, but we deferred resolution of differences until after Floyd’s release. By the end of the first week in July, approximately $2,800 had been given and loaned to the Turner fund. On Friday Alex made up the remainder, and Floyd’s $3,000 bail was paid.

An enlarged group of interested persons met Sunday, July 9th. Discussion hinged around the knotty question of who should benefit from a fund that could never be big enough to cover all who need bail. Alex felt very strongly that the fund should be limited to "political" prisoners. The term proved hard to define. Those of us primarily concerned with Turner’s bail feel that since the whole law/police/courts/jail complex is a political entity, all its prisoners are political prisoners. We wanted each case to be considered with need and likelihood of court appearance as the prime criteria, with probability of innocence, victimization by particularly oppressive laws, and relative vulnerability to the brutalizing effects of imprisonment as tie-breakers. A committee comprising both points of view was selected, to meet and attempt to resolve the differences. Jean Andre was asked to prepare a Statement of Purpose. A name was decided upon: The Free Prisoners Bail Fund of Seattle. A temporary administrative structure was set.

The committee never met, and the same question arose at the next meeting of the administrative board. Jean’s statement was rejected by the "politically"-oriented members, whom additions to the board had put into a majority. An alternative statement was drafted, which reads as follows:

The purpose of this fund is to provide bail to those indigent persons, who are held in detention by virtue of punitive or discriminatory attitudes on the part of the administrators of justice or by unconstitutional laws. We believe this conduct on the part of the legal system is essentially political punishment. By political we mean that those acts which involve alleged crimes without victims and which are characterized by their socially non-conformist quality. The term "political" will be given the broadest possible construction consistent with the availability of funds.

This, then, is the purpose of the Free Prisoners Bail Fund of Seattle. Though most of the persons originally concerned with the Floyd Turner bail effort have withdrawn or intend to withdraw from its board, all agree with its aims and urge its support. The money specifically contributed and loaned to the Turner fund is being accounted separately. Individuals who provided it, so far as they can be reached, will be asked whether they wish their money given to the Free Prisoners Bail Fund, returned, or held for a use entirely consistent with the basis on which we asked for it. Perhaps two separate, complementary funds are needed. We invite your opinions.


[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 7, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster]

46. Letter to "The Movement"—Gloria Martin

It is of tremendous interest and vital concern to me, a woman, that the Western Black Youth Conference will have a workshop on the role of women in the movement. In a sense this question is a soul-chilling one, because it should need no discussion in special sessions. This is very like debating the rights of black people with a group of southern whites. The rights of women and black people should not, in fact cannot, be negotiated or bargained for; as we are finding out, they must be taken. The so-called role of women should be the same as the role of men in the movement, as in everyday life. The very fact that it will get special treatment in this conference is some proof that it is not taken for granted, at the very least. I can only hope that the women at this conference will take a militant position regarding their rights, that the men will attempt to bring about a change in their own attitudes, as well as the attitudes within the movement. Finally I hope that a good look at the "roles" of men and women will be taken, and that this scrutiny will prove that "role-playing" is a bad substitute for militant living. Sex roles are the invention of the white power structure which has warped and twisted human relations, which has separated people, black and white, and this same power structure sends us to die in Vietnam.

It is tragic indeed that we have this ever-present problem, the problem which has been like a rapier thrust in the living flesh of militant women in every walk of life. Radical women, women in the civil rights movement, the freedom workers in the South, all have felt the sting of oppression and discrimination. All have had to flight for independent political identity. They have been laughed at, jeered at, and used as bed-partners, but one way or another they have met with defeat. Women are, at the very least, victims of grave humiliation and bitterness in this society.

Working women, black and white, are the most oppressed. They work in order that they and their children may starve more—slowly. They see their children abused in the streets, in the schools, and in the police stations. It is the children of the poor who are classified and retarded by the school systems, who are shot in the back by the police. The children of the poor fill the JAILS and the ARMY.

Women must raise the slogans such as HELL NO—MY SON WON’T GO. They must teach their children that discrimination and oppression are sins against humanity. Women must be prepared to fight within the movement, and with the power structure. The establishment needs second-class citizens in order to exist. It needs a backlog of cheap labor, it needs cannon fodder, but only JUST ENOUGH for their purpose. Automation has diminished unskilled labor demands—but they could use you and you and you in sinister ways to further entrench their power. Since the power structure cannot provide enough jobs or free bread the people take to the streets as they are doing now. The black people and the poor whites can be killed off in the streets or in the army—it matters not to those in power—they only want you silent or dead.

It is pertinent to point out here—what needs to be said—once and for all. Women must fight for their place in the movement, any movement. They must organize in their own behalf. No one will do this for them. The black liberation struggle and the struggle for women’s rights are two prongs of the same problem. Women have been oppressed for unknown centuries, longer than the black people. Women’s demands in modern times, for equal pay, equal opportunity, equal education, and just plain simple rights like standing on a street corner without being classified as a pick-up by males, have NOT BEEN SATISFIED.

Every day of their lives women suffer insults, social and economic limitations, scorn and degradation. Black people suffer much the same oppression. No one can tell the black experience like it is, as well as the Black person can. The same is true for women. There is much the two struggles have in common, and there are a number of end results which are the very same. The black people and women are second-class citizens, conscious women and conscious black people know they are second-class citizens. The basis for a great enlightened unity exists if only it is exploited by the movement. What better place to bring together the most oppressed, the most deprived, the poorest people—than in the movement. Men in other movements have consistently used the women, then laughed at their complaints as at a child’s whimper, worthy only of being ignored. Now the black liberation movement has the opportunity to embrace women as equal partners in the struggle, and to reap the great benefit to the struggle which women would bring to it. Time will tell—meanwhile women must continue and intensify their fight for equal rights.

The black liberation movement has been learning and growing, day by day. The development of theory and practice is remarkable. The consciousness of the people is growing, very largely due to these struggles. Poor whites are finding that they have no power. Women must realize that they too must take their place alongside the men, as equal partners. This may very well mean a desperate struggle within the movement, as well as full-scale, all-out war with the power structure. Every movement for women’s rights has been diverted into the struggles which have appeared more urgent at the time. THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN AGAIN.

One of the most outrageous myths projected in the black liberation movement, which women must refute without delay, is that of male emasculation. There is much talk by men who, it seems, feel deprived of their manhood. If manhood means a good job, being the HEAD OF THE FAMILY, coming home at night to a vine-covered cottage where the little wife is waiting with slippers and supper—then MANHOOD BE DAMNED. But if manhood means the same thing as womanhood and they both mean humanity, then, only, will the movement achieve unity and the ability to win the struggle. If the overall plan is FREEDOM FOR ALL PEOPLE (that must include women) without the deadly soul-destroying virus of supremacy of one over the other, then only will we have the makings of a world of justice, freedom and fraternity. ANY OTHER KIND OF WORLD IS NOT WORTH FIGHTING FOR.

The old double standard is unacceptable, a new one IMPOSSIBLE. As long as one person is in bondage, no one can be free. That’s what the whole struggle is about. Yet the men in the movement go along with, and copy, the male supremacy of the white power structure while they proclaim "black power". There are black women too—remember them? They are the women who have died, starved, fought, taken care of the children against impossible odds, and bought with their blood and tears every bit of human dignity that they now have. That dignity is formidable, and it is their very own. And yet men constantly belittle the tremendous efforts of women. Men place women on pedestals, which they topple into the dust. There lie women until they get up and fight for their equal rights. The old christian ethic dies hard (Eve tempted Adam, all women are evil, etc.). These foul myths must be dealt a deathblow by women. Women must take a militant, fighting position, without shame, without delay.



The following is by no means complete but it will serve as a modest guide.

1. Demand equal leadership with men.

2. Refuse all appointments or elective offices which put women in positions of secretary, cook, bottle washer or child watcher.

3. Demand equal representation in all committees or in any unit of the organization.

4. Demand a reformation of language used by males when referring to women. Demand an end to separate and unequal references to women such as the following statement from The Movement Letters to the Editor: "Mr. President, I’ve got to inform you that the Negroes throughout the U.S. are taking it from the rich man. Because if he hits us or one of our women we are not going to sit still for that". (Italics added.)

5. Form a caucus in every organization to which you belong. This caucus to fight on the floor in meetings, conferences and conventions for the rights of women. Demand that meetings, conferences and conventions go on record for equal rights for women.

6. Women, organize your own fighting forces, your own organization, involve others, write your material. Agitate. Organize in your own defense. NOW



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This letter appeared with only slight changes in The Movement, November, 1967, under the heading: ANGRY BLACK WOMAN SPEAKS OUT. G.M., of course, is white. The Movement’s error only underscores the analogy. LC

[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 7, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster]

47. Upon the Reported Death of Che Guevara— Stan Iverson

The Bolivian authorities have announced the death of Ernesto Che Guevara in insurrectionary warfare near Vallegrande, in a remote section of Bolivia. Guevara’s death is fitting and poetically beautiful, a piece with his whole life, as was Trotsky’s death at the hands of a Stalinist assassin or Adolf Joffe’s suicide as his final revolutionary testament. It is particularly fitting that it took place in combat against the tyrants of Bolivia who have relentlessly suppressed the armed and revolutionary miners’ unions of that country. A life-long opponent of the semi-colonial, military tyrannies of South America, Guevara gave his life in the struggle for which he lived his life—a struggle for freedom and the dignity of man as he understood it. Guevara’s selflessness and devotion to the revolutionary ideal must be measured by the fact that as a participant in Castro’s revolutionary seizure of power, he could have wasted his life in comfort and safety as a leading bureaucrat in that regime, but rather chose the frugalities and hardships of the guerilla camp. Guevara’s intellectual force and moral stature has evoked the reluctant admiration of his most dedicated enemies who, with his death, feel secure in expressing it. As the Seattle Times has expressed it editorially, "... even Guevara’s antagonists will admire his boldness and dedication to the cause which he espoused and died fighting for."

Che Guevara was the foremost advocate of the continental revolution, and in this he was right. Since Cuba—Cuba is now as much the name of a revolutionary event as it is a country—it is apparent that imperialist America will not permit another successful revolution in the countries of the Americas. The action of U.S. marines in castrating the revolution in Santo Domingo, and the role of the C.I.A. in directing the activities of mercenaries and green berets in half a dozen nations of Latin America, dramatically underscores this point. The military establishments of most of these countries are largely subsidized by the United States and serve the basic function, not of repelling foreign invaders, but of quelling domestic insurrection. The United States is the most powerful single reactionary factor in the life of the Americas, and it is determined that there shall be no more Cubas. The whole weight of the U.S. military and financial juggernaut will be utilized for this goal. The coming South American revolution has no choice. It must become denationalized and internationalized, indifferent to and contemptuous of national boundaries or it will be crushed a country at a time. Revolutionists have the choice of a series of disconnected and gallant risings, of daring battles, and finally of death and exile, or of continental unity against the latifundistas, the military, the establishment, and against the United States, a unity in revolution that can result in victory. To achieve this, revolutionaries must unite the Indian, the mestizo, the mulatto, the quadroon, the negro, the employed and the unemployed of town and countryside, they must unify the impoverished lower classes against all who have an investment in the national state. They must oppose themselves to the national political parties, the national demagogues, the liberals and reformers and bureaucrats, and all who cluster about the national flag and have a stake in preserving the deadly archaism of the national state.

The slogan must be not Patria o Muerte but Internacionalismo o Muerte. Paradoxically, at the same time that the revolution must dissociate itself from the national revolution, from all the claims of the national state, it must become intensely local, even provincial in its expression. The nuances of local psychology, ethnography and history must be carefully considered. In certain areas Spanish speakers must learn the predominant Indian dialects, must develop within themselves a high sensitivity to Indian life and thought. In these places they must discover and rediscover the rhythms of Indian life. It is out of the mastery of the old that the new, the revolution, is brought to life. Revolutionaries in these places must lose their Spanish-ness, must become one with the most stolid, the most oppressed, the most "backward" sections of the population. It must be remembered that in large portions of South and Central America the Spanish and Portuguese tongues together with their cultural components represent the civilization of the oppressors. In certain countries only the ruling strata—the latifundistas, the higher administrators, the officers of the army, the intellectuals and the educated—are Spanish in culture. These live on the backs of the Indian campesino, the peon, and are alien to him. This is true even when the Spanish culture is considerably diluted and even when individuals in the ruling strata are mestizo, mulatto, or Indian. Under these circumstances, it is not enough for the young revolutionary to leave the city and, entering into the countryside, proclaim his solidarity with the Indian. He must abandon those psychological traits and habits of behavior which identify him with the privileged; he must become one with the Indian.

In this context it is interesting to observe that Guevara reportedly wrote in his diary that "the inhabitants of this region are as impenetrable as rocks. You talk to them but deep in their eyes you note they do not believe you", and "they made many promises but I have little confidence in them". Guevara was evidently unable to bridge the gap between the guerrillas and the predominantly Indian population of Bolivia. No less an authority than Castro has accepted as authentic Guevara’s death and the excerpts from the diary. Cuba went into a three-day period of mourning upon the report of his death.

In these countries the original colonial revolution against Spain was singularly fragile and limited in character. It was a revolt of colons against their counterparts in the old country. It had very little in common with today’s colonial revolutions; the life of the indigenous masses was not touched. If in the area now composing the United States there had been a dense Indian population and if it had been the colonists’ policy to exploit Indian labor instead of exterminating Indians, our revolution—which was a revolution of Indian-killers and slaveholders—would have been similar.

In these countries there is properly speaking no national life; the state is not bolstered by the mystique of nationhood. Nationality is an exoticism of the ruling class, an expression of their vanity, a means of differentiating their spheres of influence and power from those of neighboring rulers—it is a deed on the labor of the aboriginal population in a given geographical area. The Indian has no nation, no nationality, no nationalism. He has kinship, a village, a linguistic group. He is less than and more than the nation. The nation state is for him the tax collector, the soldier, the haciendado. For the educated revolutionary, with his infirmities as a member of the privileged orders, nationality is a problem; for the Indian it is an irrelevancy. It is in the lack of nationalism among the Indians that one of the great potentials of the continental revolution lies. It offers the prospect of a revolution which will bypass the stage of national revolt—and these national revolutions by the requirements of their own internal dynamics are, at their most progressive, limited and in certain ways, conservative—and pass over into an intro-continental revolution, internationalist and multilingual. In this context the educated revolutionist who, due to the circumstances of his sharing to an extent the life of the privileged orders and absorbing albeit subconsciously certain of their prejudices, including nationalism, must consciously abandon nationalism and become internationalist not only in theory but in living practice. I say this with the knowledge that it will offend many revolutionists whose internationalism is limited—in this age of nationalist revolutions to the uncritical glorification of national liberation movements. In Central and South America internationalism is not a luxury, is not a desirable abstract goal for humanity, but is a necessary condition for the success of the revolution. In these countries there exists a certain category of revolutionist who is primarily a nationalist. He wishes to liberate his country from the influence of the United States and from the corrupt strangle hold of the military and the big owners. Primarily he wants independence and good government. He does not yet recognize the ambiguities of his own social role as participator in privileges which depend upon the activities of the United States and of a repressive military. Many of the revolutionists of this type are members of radical, ostensibly internationalist and socialist parties. These patriots—national revolutionaries—have ultimately only two viable choices: to abandon nationalism and privilege, join the intra-continental revolution and become one with the disfranchised, the despised and lowly Indian and Negro; or to become the malcontent creatures of an imperialism whose claims they hate. The illusions of ambivalent revolutionaries must be systematically stripped away and their program exposed. Latin America cannot afford the luxury of national revolutions—foredoomed and diversionary.

This is a mere precis of certain of the problems involved in continental revolution and could of course be vastly expanded. In addition there are many problems not even hinted at here: the vast differences in ethnic composition and economic development in divers parts of Latin America, the interesting question of the role of Negroes in predominantly black areas, the conservatizing influence of trade unions in certain areas and their role as a vehicle of revolution in other places, the prospect of utilizing certain Indian communal and co-operative forms in revolutionary social reconstruction, and so on. I do not say that the views presented here correspond in whole or in part to the thinking of Che Guevara. What I do insist is that once the formula continental revolution is broached they become pertinent. There are problems connected with a continental revolution which do not exist in such a powerful form in the more limited national revolution.

Selfless and dedicated though Guevara was, it is not for this that he will be remembered. There are countless revolutionists equally selfless and equally dedicated, many of whom live and are known in their qualities only to a few comrades or a limited geographic area. Beyond a certain point such comparisons are meaningless and invidious. Undoubtedly his work on guerilla warfare will long remain a classic of its kind, but it is in essence the application of already known and enunciated principles to the conditions of Latin America. Guevara’s lasting significance rests upon three points. He is the most important Marxist to break decisively with the Marxists’ dogma that the proletariat—the industrial workers—must constitute the social basis of the revolution, and like Bakunin turned his attention to the exploited of the countryside. He is the most widely known revolutionist of our day who is identified with the concept of revolutionary internationalism both thru his writings and even more by the prominence given his wanderings—in this he resembles Tom Paine. And finally, for his advocacy of the continental revolution, he will be long remembered. It is not that he was the only or even the first revolutionist to think in these terms, but because of his prominence he has given such an impetus through his writings and even more his example to such a movement that it is unlikely to die out. The enemies of revolution who breathe easier because of his death may find that Guevara dead will plague them even more than Guevara alive.

There are no perfect revolutionists, and Che Guevara was far from perfect. He was no friend of anarchy. He was a Leninist of sorts and advocated an elitist paternalistic organization to guide man to socialism. In one of his most famous articles he sets forth this view with his usual straightforwardness and clarity. (Guevara wrote with a singular directness and economy. He avoided the purple passages and flights of rhetoric which mar, at least in English translation, much of South American writing. He also avoided the mush-minded and hackneyed formulas with which many Marxists obscure their meanings. His writing is a model of its kind: lean, vigorous and clear.) He is deeply concerned with the conquest of power and the substitution of one state for another. On these questions, in several of their parts, no anarchist could agree with him. And Guevara was involved, I do not know how extensively or how slightly, whether by action or inaction, in the sporadic persecution of anarchist and other socialist movements which has taken place under Castro in Cuba. This is not to his credit but is compatible with what we know of his theory.

Anarchists have the responsibility of what Castro has called revolutionary honesty. Whatever our rivalries and disagreements with other revolutionists and movements, to be true to ourselves and our goal we should view them objectively and in historical context, honoring them for what there is to honor even when we write our disagreements with the bark of rifles, and leaving the picayune criticism and bitter, distorted polemic to the power-jealous rivals within the revolutionary movement who fear the flash of each others’ ideas. There are no perfect revolutionists. Che Guevara was a great revolutionist and a brave man.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From Peng, The Magazine Of The Frankfurt Provos (Translated by J.E.):

Only recently, the results of a long statistical study have been revealed which finally shed light on the causes of the shortage of workers.

Population of the Federal Republic of German.. 55,000,000

Of these are 65 years old or older... 15,000,000

There remain to work... 40,000,000

Of these are below working age... 20,000,000

There remain to work... 20,000,000

Of these are civil service officials, congressmen, and foremen...5,400,000

There remain to work... 14,600,000

Of these are in the army, police, and Salvation Army... 1,200,000

There remain to work... 13,400,000

Presidents of clubs and members of boards of directors, union functionaries, insurance agents, bankers and receptors... 3,200,000

There remain to work... 10,200,000

Engaged in churches, political parties, cloisters and night clubs... 2,200,000

There remain to work... 8,000,000

In jail for drunken driving, sexual crimes, perjury, tax evasion &...1,100,000

There remain to work... 6,900,000

On vacation, in hospitals and sanatoriums... 4,800,000

There remain to work... 2,100,000

Restaurant owners, gypsies, pimps, travelling salesmen, used car dealers and horse traders... 1,910,000

There remain to work... 190,000

Con men, prostitutes, managers, stock brokers, beggars, hitch hikers and lottery winners... 189,998

There remain to work... 2


And I too will soon have enough.


[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 8, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster. The PENG piece was originally formatted as a balance sheet with the numbers at the right edge.]

48. The Trial—Stan Iverson

Kafka smiles and the trial goes on. The eleventh thru the thirteenth: three days in which to judge a man. One man? A score or more are on trial: judge, prosecutor, counsel for the defense, the witnesses, the police, a Quaker, a pacifist, a couple of anarchists, a good citizen; the times themselves are on trial, the nature of the state, war, the protest movements, patriotism and the common man, in the persons of the jury.

It is the second flag-burning trial of Floyd Wayne Turner, Jr., being heard in Superior Court, Judge Bradford presiding. Fragile and alert, birdlike, the judge surveys the court with unblinking eyes, impartial and uninvolved, he confines himself to explaining legal points to the jury and ruling briefly and concisely on motions, all in all a model of judicial probity, competent and uninspired.

The first day is consumed in hearing motions and in jury selection. The charge is too vague and the prosecution is granted a recess in which to rewrite it. The jury panel is brought in and the selection of jurors proceeds. Do you believe in freedom of expression within the limits prescribed by law? Uniformly yes. Have you read about this case? Do you listen to the news or read newspapers? Amazingly one juror did neither. Could you lay aside personal opinions and try this case on the basis of the evidence presented and in accordance to the law as explained by the judge. Two jurors asked to be excused on the grounds of prejudice. Are you a member of a patriotic organization? Do you own a flag? Do you display a flag on patriotic holidays? Do you go thru any kind of flag ritual? A number of jurors are eliminated by peremptory challenge. Finally at four in the afternoon the dreary business drags to a close and the jury is selected. Twelve good men (and women) and true swear to try the defendant without prejudice and upon the merits of the evidence and to render a true verdict.

On the next morning the prosecution opens its case. All witnesses are excluded from the court until the time of their appearance, but we know its case. It is the rerun of a bad tape. Chief witness for the prosecution and their only eyewitness is Louis Scott, an apartment-house manager, upright and unctuous, a pious man who peers at his neighbors with binoculars, a solid citizen, a responsible man given to calling the police. He will testify that he watched thru field glasses while Floyd Turner assisted in burning a flag in front of CAMP headquarters on the night of the twelfth of May six months before. Two police officers who had arrested Turner on previous occasions will testify that earlier on the same evening they saw Turner dragging behind him on the lawn in front of CAMP what appeared to be an American flag. Several cops and one newspaper photographer will testify that they heard Turner brag a week after the event that he had burnt a flag last week and would burn another in the near future. This is the case for the State. This and patriotic bigotry. This and the bizarre character of the defendant and the outre quality of many of the witnesses for the defense.

The trial is an essay in non-communication. Almost all of the witnesses for the defense come from the strange world of protest movements and nonestablishment politics, hipsterism and pacifism. For the juror—the CONVENTIONAL MAN—the effect must have been much the same as if he had been plucked from his home and dropped into the middle of the Mad Hatter’s tea party and then asked to make a judgment. Nothing in his experience had prepared him for it.

Consider the party at which the flag-burning took place. Here is James Halpin’s description of it in the now famous Seattle Magazine article, "It was one of the most unusual social events in years, for attending it were people of every political and philosophical viewpoint—hippies passing out flowers and strawberries, Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, Black Power advocates and peaceniks." One of the most memorable events of the evening and one constantly referred to by the witnesses for the defense, as well as the shocked Mr. Scott, was the brutal destruction of a piano, intended to symbolize the wanton and senseless violence of the world—just the sort of thing that Mr. Square will understand. Several of the witnesses for the defense, contradicting the testimony of the respectable Mr. Scott and, in effect, that of the property protectors in blue, are piano-smashers, and a man who smashes a piano obviously is no respecter of the proprieties. It is likely that such a person might lie, steal, go after your daughter’s virginity—or bear false witness.

Of the two principal witnesses who appear for the defense—the two people who state under oath that they, not Floyd turner, burned the American flag on that memorable May night, thereby opening the road for their own prosecution and becoming two of the most unusual witnesses to ever appear in a King County trial—one, Mike Travers, is a graduate student at the University of Washington and an ardent draft resister and the other, Stan Iverson, is a forty-year-old self-educated cab driver, former Communist and declared Anarchist. Both are articulate.

Under questioning Mike states that he associates the flag with militarism and war and wants no part of either. His statement is impressive and forceful—if you are sympathetic. If you are hostile I suppose it sounds like dangerous nonsense.

I tell the court that I am an anarchist, that I am an enemy of the state, that I do not feel bound to obey all laws, that there is at least one law that I frequently violate, that I burned the flag to ridicule flag fetishism, and that I also associate the flag with narrow nationalism, militarism and war.

At this point in the trial three people have testified that they were direct participants in the flag-burning—Travers, Iverson, and the mysterious dark stranger of the Seattle Mag article, Cruz—and that Turner was not present and not involved. A number of other witnesses have placed Turner at a different place at the time of the flag incident.

Now comes the question of the character of the defendant, Floyd Wayne Turner, Jr., of malformed imagination and, to say the least, an elusive sense of reality. "Doukhobor" he is called on some parts of Skid Road, and Doukhobor he regards himself. Nervous, exhibitionistic, individualistic, he loves demonstrations. In these, the unhappy and lonely child that is Floyd Turner can play a role. The little dishwasher and quasi-literate laborer can rise above the conditions of his life. He can bid defiance to the impersonal forces which have fallen athwart his life with such crushing force. His imagination soars. He is a Paladin of the oppressed, a hero. No demonstrator is more daring than he. All eyes rivet on him as he unfurls a Viet Cong flag, or threatens to take off all his clothes, Doukhabor-fashion, against the menace of the police. And there are always the police. Floyd attracts them like a magnet iron filings.

Floyd lies. He lies habitually and indiscriminately, with reason and without reason. He lies to such an extent that it is a very real question as to whether he understands the difference between the true and the false in the ordinary sense of those words. Perhaps fictionalize would be a better word for it, for his vision is romantic and his reality far from romantic, and he wanders between the two like a soul lost in limbo. And then there is this: if all of your life you have been so far toward the bottom of the heap that most of your existence has been a rain of invisible kicks emanating from forces that you do not so much understand as feel, the lie is one of your few defenses. You lie habitually and as a reflex. All really oppressed peoples have developed fantastic liars.

Comes then Louise Crowley to the stand. A one-time student of anthropology, very bright and enormously able, an anarchist, all of her life rebellious and compassionate, she collects strays, human and animal, mammalian and reptilian like an institution for the preservation of unwanted life. The core of her testimony concerns the character of the strangely alienated and inchoate personality that is Turner. Under the careful questioning of Burton for the defense she tells part of the story of Floyd in Seattle. She has known Floyd for about four years. When she first met him he was totally illiterate and had a speaking vocabulary of about two hundred words. She and George taught him to read and write. How well can he read—how much can he understand? That’s hard to say. Well, could he fill out a job application form? Probably not without help. And so on, in an attempt to develop a picture for the jury of what Floyd Turner is actually like. They listen impassively.

In a daring maneuver, almost a gamble, the defense puts Turner himself in the witness chair. Daring... a gamble... because no one, including his attorneys, can predict what Floyd will say or do once on the stand. It is an effort to show by demonstration what little credence can be placed on any vainglorious brag he may have made during those weeks in May when there was a rash of flag burning across the nation, conservatives were vociferously denouncing the desecrations, and Congress was busy drafting an act to penalize the desecrators. Flag-burning seemed quite the thing for a way-out demonstrator and if you hadn’t burned one you might at least say that you did or that you were going to. In putting Floyd on the stand a great deal will depend upon the perception and insight of the jurors. Perhaps too much.

Turner is sworn. Burton guides him gently thru some of the story of his experiences in Seattle, since his first arrival here during the World’s Fair. Why did he come to Seattle? Floyd: I was sorta looking for a home, a place I could be comfortable in. The attorney lead him slowly thru questions of employment and his relations with the Crowleys, and then, What organizations do you belong to, Floyd? F.: some civil rights organizations, CORE, Snick, the NAACP and some others like SDS and UDM. I’ve put out leaflets for them. Burton: Are you a member of these organizations, Floyd? F.: Well, no, but I’ve put out leaflets for them and I know some of the leaders. Burton: What does CORE stand for, Floyd? F.: I don’t know. Burton: Do you know what SNCC means? F.: No, but I know what NAACP means, National Association for Colored People. And he doesn’t know what SDS and UDM stand for either. The questioning continues, developing a picture of Floyd Turner’s prejudices, his sympathies, his ignorance and his knowledgability. At times it is faintly funny, at times a little pathetic, and sometimes embarrassing.

Now Burton says, You heard the testimony of the officers, Floyd. I want you to think very carefully; Did you ever tell anyone that you had burned a flag or that you were going to burn a flag? Floyd, overemphatically: I never told no one nothing of that sort. Burton dwells on the question. Floyd insists that he never told anyone that he had burned a flag but that he had used some big words, some political words, some words he didn’t understand but he never, never said that he had burned a flag or was going to burn a flag.

Turner is the last witness for the defense.

The prosecutor for Carroll’s office sums up. He dwells upon the prosecution testimony. Mr. Scott is a respectable man and he saw a flag burned by Floyd Turner. Such a man has no interest in lying. The police officers are sworn upholders of the law, trained men. They know Turner. There can be no question but that they are telling the truth. Against this you have the testimony of the defense witnesses, some of whom admit their willingness to break laws.

Burton summarizes for the defense. He dwells but briefly upon questions of fact. The testimony would seem to establish the facts pretty well. He will not insult the intelligence of the jurors by recapitulating the testimony. Possibly he should have. He speaks of the act of flag-burning, of the intrinsic harmlessness of it, of the right to express one’s self—freedom of expression arguments.

In the rebuttal the prosecutor strikes a new and strident tone. The flag does not just stand for war and militarism. It stands for country and justice. It is on display in this very courtroom as a symbol of the American processes of justice. There can be no doubt that sometime in the course of the evening of May the twelfth Floyd Turner burned an American flag. The defense says that the prosecution has been unable to produce a single witness from the party who saw Floyd Turner burn a flag. This is true but consider the character of the people at the party. Mr. Beyer, who admits that he would not testify against anyone on such a charge, and the others. These people would never testify to seeing turner burn a flag. There is too much disloyalty being expressed in the nation. Turner is the kind of person who would burn a flag. He undoubtedly did burn a flag. He should be convicted.

One hour and fifteen minutes after the jury is sent out to deliberate it returns a verdict of guilty.

American justice has been tested and has faltered, possibly failed. The jurors have been wanting in their humanity—the human duty. The county prosecutor’s, Mr. Carroll’s, office has been saved political embarrassment. Floyd continues to be the victim of judicial as well as social injustice.

His trial will continue. His case will be appealed; the constitutional question will be raised. It is one trial in a life of trials.

Franz Kafka smiles and the trial continues.

Note: I have no transcript of the testimony before me, so all references to testimony in this article are to be taken not as exact quotations but as a presentation of the tone, the character and the substance of testimony and remarks as I understand and remember them.


[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 10, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

49. The Death of A Precedent—J.A.

For something like three years now, we’ve been numbed by—well, a mad performance billed as The Love Revolution. And while the entire program has baffled and disturbed, mainly, it was the language we failed to comprehend. We thought, for instance, that flowers were colorful objects that grew in gardens—or sprouted, somewhat less seasonably, from the bosoms of Rainbow girls. It was only when heads began handing them to straights that we discovered they were dictionaries. And, of course, we’ve believed for centuries that love is that noble, warm—if occasionally transitory—motion that passes between friends, men and women, parents and children. But now we’re enlightened.

It (The Monumental Gag) couldn’t have happened, naturally, if we hadn’t wanted desperately to believe in our own lovability, and our ability to love. It couldn’t have continued if we’d felt free of guilt as each new charge of imperfection was leveled against us. But as it turned out, we spent better than two years engaged in silent, self-conscious introspection before coming to the realization that the prophets of new morality were only the kids we’d been wantonly indulging for years, grown old enough to demonstrate hair on their faces and to protest the fact that cookies crumble.

In any society, some degree of identification must, of course, be present to elicit either the response of approval or indignation. And Americans are paranoic. Automation and over-population have instilled in them a forbidding sense of anonymity; a fear of death (multiple choice here) of the (1) spirit, (2) age, (3) psyche, (4) soul. Coupled with the daunting prospect of premature physical demise as a result of catastrophic diseases (in conjunction with medical failures), freeway disaster, plane crashes, impending H-bombs, ad infinitum, the lover generation’s raucous inertia promotes psychic equivalencies. It suggests acting-out the processes of decomposition—an invariable loathsome sight; a rubbing of the public’s nose in its own moribundity.

To assuage its fears, the individual members of that society turn increasingly to mindless pursuits, becoming intellectually catatonic while scaling mountains, walking pointless miles, and clinging frantically to a rope affixed to the stern of a speeding boat. Money, too, is elevated to a position of prime importance, both as a means of security and divertissement. Ditto empire-building. Religion is a handy placebo. Finally, stockpiling warheads and assuming an aggressive national stance becomes a mandate—the ultimate fortress, psychological and physiological, against man’s most elemental fear.

This is not to say that the flower children can be justly hung with the responsibility for the mass trembling of 200,000,000 people. They can only be charged with compounding a pre-existing terror: hippieism has given aid to and abetted the conditions it once purported, if not to destroy, than to amend. However, to validate the theory that his tactics have aggravated the nation’s already over-tweaked nervous system, we must inspect the love-crusader’s aims (and I’m giving him here the benefit of the considerable doubt that his motives are and were originally sincere). And we must, each in our own spheres, calculate the manifestations of success or unsuccess.

A major accusation has been that the straight is materialistic. No one can refute the validity of such an allegation but, influenced by a hippie, has any square renounced the job of possession? Certainly none I know have sacrificed riches for rags as a result of having observed the center-stage enactment of self-imposed pseudo-poverty (or poverty relieved at peril-level by parental dole). In truth, the few Joneses of my acquaintance are harder at it than ever before because they’ve been allowed to see in graphic form what was once an obscure threat. Even the liberal is more inclined to keep his nose grindstone-ward, knowing that every cause in which he believes needs, more than anything, his money. Since he’s often short of leg and time, he puts his cash directly on the line, hoping financially-bereft younger counterparts will compensate for his underages. But, despite abundance unrelated to the dollar, the hairy ones aren’t there—in the vigils and the picket lines—in any number that approximates his investment, or their strength. More, the willful forsaking of that entity generally known as "home" frequently smacks of martyrdom, and is coupled with a squalor as fetishistic as is the cleanliness of the housewife who insists upon sterilizing the john twice daily. Lastly, what are records, posters, beads, buttons, paper flowers and incense if not symbols of materialism, albeit on a small scale? What are travel robes, tunics, serapes, boots, sandals, beards and long hair but a duplication of the straight’s desire to define himself by exteriorizing?

In the matter of achieving personal freedom, the hippie has had some small success, it must be conceded, but what tangible victories have been managed have come, primarily, through the efforts of sympathetic straights. In the main, the hip engages in the pleasure of his choice with abandon (a dual exercise in that it has, usually, the immediate quality of joy, plus a secondary thrill as a declaration of independence), then yields without sound or struggle to the system he disdains. Both bail and legal sustenance come out of the Establishment. As for other areas of his avowed concern, some flower-powerites do turn out regularly for demonstrations. Occasionally, even in numbers, if the idea of the bod-statement has had its genesis in the "In" community. On the whole, however, only a few participate with any real semblance of conviction, and then only if the weather isn’t too hot, too cold, or too wet. Or, if at the moment they aren’t going up, coming down, or just plain out of it. Most of the head counts I’ve taken indicate the straights far outnumber—well, the "heads". And maybe it’s a charity, at that. It’s hard to convince the red-blooded, all-American types that an escape artist (meaning, one who’s turned on—or turned off, as a temporary condition) who is gotten up in comic-opera regalia is serious about anything. And the earnest conscientious objector and/or open-housing advocate deserves, if nothing else, earnest support. It is his obligation to sell the red-bloods, both for the sake of his own skin and the skins of others, as well as the nationals sanity, on the need for permanent reforms. That the soiled, bedraggled, hirsute protestor’s sincerity is in question stems from the fact that he has shown few compunctions about bleeding the causes he pretends to espouse. He understands the principle of indirection and yet he panhandles, his agencies solicit food, and the community is coerced into support of such things as freakout clinics. Publicity, financial aid, legal counsel that might have gone into alleviating the anguishes of those who’ve tried and failed—or who’ve failed because they had no opportunity to try (the minorities, the aged, the ill and the poor), are diverted. Carl Arnold, in an article entitled What Shall We Overcome? put it this way: "White America has produced a generation of kids who scream love and flowers, kids who say they don’t care about politics, who say they will show and convert by example. Blacks find no fun in being dirty, in communal living, in panhandling. These liberties were always theirs."

That the hippie is also 100% against the fuzz (the justification ratio is immaterial to the case) is well known. That he is apolitical is likewise fairly well established. His anti-intellectualism is not, however, as generally realized because, despite his protestations against linearism, he nonetheless reads enough favorably extrapolatable materials (McLuhan, Tolkien, Thoreau, Carroll, Watts, etc.) to come across to the modestly-read as "bright". Even if personal pleasure were his singular purpose in assuming what has been described as a metastatically negative stance, he would have only miniscule triumphs of which to boast. But if, as he professes, reform is his goal, then the tally is considerably less. Moreover, the assumed posture of "again-ism" is not only unrelieved but appears to be unrelievable, for to mitigate his stand/stands with possible solutions involves compromise. And compromise threatens his ability to preserve a way of life that is rigidly egomaniacal.

But perhaps in scanning the gross effects of the non-revolutionary revolution, we do the hippies a disservice. Perhaps if we move in a little closer, to the center of man, the individual (as opposed to the collective representative), new evidence of hip benevolence will manifest themselves. "You’re uptight", the hippie says, with appropriate brother’s-keeper mein, and demonstrates himself what he believes to be a relaxed, hence, universally desired, state. Well, god knows, he’s right; we ARE hung-up, and we DO want respite, but the abrasive paternalism suggest he is far more critical of us than he is concerned for us. Too, the pantomimic quality of his mode of relaxation gives off the familiar fumes of decadence—and we’re off and running, taking solace from such explanations as this one by Susan Brownmiller of the Village Voice: "The square knows that there are many things of which to be genuinely afraid in this society. The hippie tries to eradicate fear, which he calls paranoia, and regards as a product of a hung-up society. What was Groovy thinking there in the basement before his executioner smashed the brick into his skull? Was it something like, ‘Man, that cat is sure uptight tonight’?"

While relief from uptightness can be obtained synthetically in either world, perspective and humor afford man the only long-term relief available to him. Certainly the fundamentalist, for instance, laughs sparsely, and the ambitious politico has a tenuous grip on perspective, but both have gone on record with squeaks and squawks of discontent, criticism, and on rare occasions, auto-merriment. On the other hand, who has heard a hippie laugh at hippieism? Who has ever seen so much as a trace of a smile on his face when twitted? He is serious to the point of being grim. Or should we say uptight?

As for love, the hip cause celebre—the promise-in-suspension that hooked us in the beginning—can there be said to be more of it, either in the larger world or in the hip community as a direct consequence of pink posters, buttons and bumper strips bearing the four-letter word? Somehow the straight feel little warmth in reading the colorful notices, or on being handed a flaccid, stemless blossom. The quasi-gifts are tokens meant to enunciate a mutually pre-acknowledged, pre-existing alienation. (Remember, Square: Flowers aren’t flowers, they’re dictionaries...)

But all of that gift-tendering is going on out of straight territory. How does the diaphanous pink stuff look in the real Never-Never land: Haight-Ashbury? Within the space of two blocks and ten minutes, I saw there (1) a girl walking trance-like down the streets, picking her cuticles until blood dripped from the nailbeds, her loneliness and despair uninterrupted by as much as a singular greeting or expression of concern; (2) another, and very young female—probably about sixteen—lying on the sidewalk inches from a pile of dog offal. Several passersby picked her up by an abundance of red hair, but when she failed to respond unceremoniously dropped her and moved on. There was also a savage dog fight, witnessed by dozens but interrupted by none.

As for sex—There, Here, Everywhere is free-love colonies—it has taken on numerous aspects of a ping-pong game, with as many players participating as wish to participate, the only rule being that no one feel anything, and, possibly, that one individual commit the clinical details, post-orgasmically, to a blatant, anatomical, pungent form loosely defined as "free verse". Despite this gleeful abandon, it should be noted, girls will not walk alone after dusk in the parks adjacent to Hashbury and doors that once—in the "pre-love" era—were left open, now are locked at night. What seems to have happened is that the love babies are schmucking more and enjoying it less.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Once upon a time—not long ago—there were men who went about in beards and old clothes and who had penetrating comments to make on society’s pathetic configurations, and who, subsequently, managed to forge a life-pattern more acceptable to themselves. Among these men some thought a lot, and others mimed them—a little. Some read a great deal; others gave books minimal consideration. A certain percentage was honest. A handful stole chairs out from under cripples. A few worked and a few freeloaded. In most of the communities across the nation they were called, at least by the popular communications media, "beatnik-types". In Seattle they were labeled "fringies" because they lived on the edges of academia. But the designation isn’t important. At that time, they were individual enough that title didn’t make them giddy. But along came what, in the beginning, seemed to approximate an initiation rite, but later became a unifying force. Indeed, formed the fabric of a cult. Drugs.

Having latched onto a medium—which, in short order, they fitted out in the circumspect trappings of ecclesia—they assumed a collective or at-large personality. Now if that seems like hyperbole, I quickly add that many today retain trace amounts and even, occasionally, sizeable remnants of their pre-drug identities, but, except in situations of isolation, it is difficult to separate the underlying man or woman from the cult-processed product.

And let’s face it, the mere idea of Instant Utopia is a titillating one—especially for those to whom sweating is an abhorrence. The only chink is that it, like any mass phenomenon, requires role playing. And the more daring the phantasy, the younger the players.

That a communications gap should have evolved was inevitable. That the rift between the cool world and the hot should have become a chasm is a tragedy. And today the breach has permeated the upper levels of elementary schools, as well as high schools and junior highs. If the hippies have failed in other areas, they have succeeded overwhelmingly as evangelists. Lured by bearded pipers with bells, candles and beads (enticements to children of any generation), young disciples have flocked to the fold by the thousands. The number of runaways burgeons. The most have only typical teenage disgruntlements, but beckoned by adventure offering a greater variety of forbidden fruits than has ever been put before an upcoming generation, they’ve aggrandized their complaints to the point where a parental plea ("uh, please don’t...") is tantamount to assault.

To chronicle their subsequent misadventures is to repeat what is already legend. If these reports have been aggrandized, it is still reasonable to assume that few have gotten off entirely scar-free. The maturation process—or, more accurately, the acquired social sophistications—make picking up an interrupted education exceedingly difficult. Self-indulgence is a hard habit to break, as is irresponsibility. Anger, reinforced by pride, becomes chronic petulance. Guilt is a slow-healing canker.

Merely to state that the hippie is guilty of unconscious proselytizing (to the point of making a sham of one of his own basic principles) does not, however, exonerate those past thirty from guilt in having sold their progeny on myths the kids were all too ready to believe. Namely, that they are academically superior. Secondly, they have behaved as if knowledge were maturity’s single requisite. Perched on cushions of affluence since infancy, snuggled in a superabundance of Neill-love, it’s little wonder the kids seek to perpetuate the coloring-book syndrome; that they can dismiss reminders that men suffer with the self-absolving, plaintive charge: "It’s all your fault". Small unguent for a worsening affliction, however accurate. And ample evidence of the limitations of knowledge.

I repeat: Hippiism has been a rank failure. And it was so long in happening, the middle class had a surfeit of time in which to regroup and reinforce their values. To this disaster, we must add the truism that even love is what it always has been, a yearning. And in the interim, young activists who might have been movemental front-rankers have undergone emotional havoc and physical traumata not yet estimable, except as measured by their absences from the rosters of the concerned. Finally, we have not even begun to anticipate what new convolutions will be added by the inventive junior hedonists now biding their time shooting it up in the bullpens we call schools.

But already the losses are history. We who were, for one reason or another, on the outside of the scene need now put aside the neuroses attendant having been tricked into believing Nirvana was possible and admission thereto contingent upon faith. We must, somehow, sell the up-comers on the fact that until something better comes along, society will have to suffice—and that is sorely requires their gifts.

Who will volunteer the supreme charity? Despite the fact that the early signs of rigor mortis are manifest, the death of a bad precedent cannot be effected without and act of, well, euthanasia. Like maybe slipping the pedestal out from under the first teeny-bopper caught thumbing his Q-tip-clean nose at any segment of humanity—rich/poor, young/old, straight/square, bastard/angel...I mean, the first thing that has to go is:


J. A.

(abridged with permission)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


As readers of London’s Freedom already know, Jim Cain has undertaken to co-ordinate the widely scattered small groups and isolated individuals that make up whatever consciously anarchist movement there now is in North America. His aims are to promote correspondence and communication, and to simulate voluntary interaction toward future publishing or pamphlets and a newspaper; the vehicle he has established is Insurgency Anarchist Association. To start with, IAA wants names and addresses for "an adequate mailing list of Anarchists in North America". It has published the first issue of what has been planned as a monthly bulletin. Write for that for more information: James W. Cain, secretary, Insurgency Anarchist Association, 323 Fourth Street, Cloquet, Minnesota 55720

[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 10, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster. Note that the word "Love" ending this piece was created in large hand-written type grey-scale on the stencil, as was the word "Notice" which was designed as a grey-scale arrow.]

50. The Yoga Of Sex—Thad & Rita Ashby

[This bulletin was printed in red ink on white paper throughout.]

The Maithune position of love makes you each aware of the other’s body in a strangely responsible way (responsibility meaning the ability to respond). You want to take care of her body. You bring her things to eat, you massage her. You grok one another. And your body’s somehow hers; you groome it, perfume it, bathe it as you would hers. You have become one sex. The other body is not just another body you can’t get inside of; now it is a body whose eyes you are looking out of.


All energy is sexual energy. Therefore, when we use the word sex we should mean all energy. The Divine Lust that creates the world is the sexual attraction between all forms; sex is electro-magnetism. In Tantra Yoga we are liberated through sex into Eros: All Energy.


Alan Watts charming us by the sweet sound of his own music, tells us that man has developed his spotlight intelligence, his ability to concentrate on one thing exclusively, specializing, categorizing, analyzing. Thus he spends his life isolating a fact from the field around it, so that it can be studied. This spotlight intelligence needs to plug in to the warm womanly flood-light intelligence, which is aware that nothing can be experienced or studied, without experiencing its "vibes", the field around it, aware not of isolated particles, but of waveforms all connected. She is all-connected Mother Earth. Her ocean tides feel the pull of Her moon which inspires Her dogs to howl, lures her sleepwalkers to prowl their midnight obsessions unconsciously away, and moves woman to menstruate—her body receiving messages from, and paying homage to, Her daughter the moon. For Mother Earth is Mother to the Moon.


In "Island" Aldous Huxley wrote about an exotic utopian-island community called Pala. Given what we know about eugenics, biology, basic human needs, sex and drugs, all his ideas can be realized now. That is his main point. And Tantra Yoga is central to the theme.


The Palanese use Moksha or "liberation" medicine—a magic mushroom to meditate better. In particular they practice a form of sexual meditation called "Maithuna". Consequently, the Palanese are happy and immune to most of the afflictions of the world in Game/Time. The perfection of the Palanese may sound like a rewriting of human nature, however, they do show a different human nature; our own potential nature, more deeply realized, thus the Palanese can make a success of Utopia. Pala is the first him commune.


The Palanese withstand the temptation of the Game/Time world, not because they’re a self-denying people, sticking to some puritan conspiracy against the body. They can resist because they have something much sexier: the practice Tantra-Yoga—in Rita’s phrase, Cool Sex.

Maithune, Tantra, cool sex. Norman Brown sees "normal" sex, that is, genitally organized sexuality (hot sex), as a neurosis. The alternative to the genital neurosis? Maithuna, in Tibetan called "yab-yun". Why are we only now hearing about it? Why was Tantra long underground—called the forbidden left hand path?

Western philosophers even the best of them—they’re nothing more than good talkers. Eastern philosophers are often rather bad talkers, but that doesn’t matter. Talk isn’t the point. Their philosophy is pragmatic and operational. Like the philosophy of modern physics—except that the operations in question are psychological and the results transcendental. Your metaphysicians make statements about the nature of man and the universe, but they don’t offer the reader any way of testing the truth of these statements. When we make statements, we follow them up wit a list of operations that can be used for testing the validity of what we’ve been saying.


The yogis lost the integrity of their sensuality when Hindus adopted British moral values. The British condemned the great Tantric Temple of Konarak by calling it "the obscene pagoda". The statuary of Konarak depicts the variety of positions in the Yoga of love—showing in sexual exercises as performed by masters, gods! The variety of voluptuousness erupting into flowing rock, shows courtship (as among the birds) practiced as a dance. The inventions of new sexual positions were choreographing sex-play. The sculptures, watched through a fast shutter, are balling and "eating" each other but at the same time, dancing with a fluid religious/esthetic grace.


In India, Westerners "fight to keep the jungle out of one’s garden". "The jungle is—almost—obscene". God’s shameless drunken sailor spending his fecundity. The jungle bursts with sexual/digestive display—flowerings, reactings, seedings, fruitings—writhings with Life/Death/Rebirth. Nature, which we now confess includes ourselves, is a super sexual whammy.


The 19th Century Puritan sublimated sex (all erotic energy) into culture. The contemporary (Playboy) Puritan discharges energy (tension) whenever any arises. Allowing sex to grow and blossom like an exotic perfumed bloom—takes more time than Game/Time people have. So our (Western Man’s) sex life is anxious. We dissolve the ego of Western Civilization during that one moment of body rapture: orgasm. After orgasm: angst. We alleviate our tension, as do addicts, temporarily, but concentrating pleasure very locally, very genitally. The more we do it, the more we perpetuate our sexual hand-ups.


After orgasm, we tend to lose our sense of generating an exchange of energy (synergy), perhaps, like a circuit grounded. We dissipate our energy—we cannot contain the charge for long—we lose the magnetic moment of fusion. If sex isn’t fully soul-satisfying, we afterwards feel frustrated and then guilty. If Western man "hates himself in the morning", he is not alone; his woman also hates him. She feels used, not for a great religious purpose that subtly explores her multi-dimensions of ultra purple 00 of silken fire—but used as a means of relieving but not releasing his neurotic tension.


Today, Watts, Brown, Marcuse, Von Urban, McLuhan and Leary are engaged in a restoration of the integrity of sensuality. Consciously or unconsciously they all use a more-or-less tantric approach.

The thing that makes Tantra distinct and unique is that the Tantrics do not believe in making love metaphorically—in psychiatric terms, they believe that transference means physical touch.

The word Tantra literally means "touch". Being anxious, our Western orgasm shows a crescendo profile. Starting slowly, it builds rapidly to a fast final brief banging of gongs. Tantrics think the only way to, say, tame a kitten or a wild animal such as a human being, is to touch her stroke her, pet her.


In Maithuna, the man does nothing (no action) to bring on orgasm. Most often he delays it, at least until the end of the ceremony. Ordinarily the woman sits astride the man, facing him upright, her legs not in lotus but wrapped around his waist; the man puts his hands on her back; she hangs her hands over his shoulders. She is always the active partner. In Tantra man becomes receptive, letting her call the tune. Whether or not his erection continues isn’t important; in this position, it can’t slip out.


Normally you feel you’re an individual, separate, alone. It’s true, you are an individual in the sense of a self-contained electrical field. You are a region of space influenced by a generator. To continue the image, supposing you plug one generator into the wall and put another generator beside it—but not plugged in. Now as the plugged-in generator wraps its field around the unplugged-in generator, the unplugged-in generator begins to whine, soon racing along as fast as the one that is plugged in. The analogy to Tantra is that woman is somehow at this stage of history more plugged in (than man) to the biological rhythms of earth/moon/sun. Man needs to be rapt, wrapped in her field—long enough to hear the "divine whine".


After an hour or two of this long sweet communion (the actual duration depends on how high you are: the higher the less time it takes), you begin to create somehow the feeling of a third presence. This presence is made up of the two separate selves overlapping, melting down and "bleshing". When this bleshing occurs a field it created—it pours out your pores like shoots of light opening out a way "whence the imprisoned splendor escapes".


The purpose is to inhibit man’s compulsion for rapid motion. Mate on lap, he can’t move too violently. Maithuna is a means of prolonging the experience, abolishing Game/Time, entering awareness of eternity.

Slowing a man down, eliminating his pillaging, looting motions, allows him enough time, enough eternity to experience a woman, really experience her. Man is about, hints McLuhan in "The Future of Sex", to become a woman.

When at last the field of electro-magnetism is whining-shining round about both of you, you feel her blood flowing in your veins; scratch her back, and feel your fingernails on your own back; look into her eyes, your two eyes together create a third eye, a third presence, whose eyes shine forth another color. If your eyes are blue and hers green you will look into aqua eyes—right? But then yellow eyes appear! Another presence, a new person has come into being!

How do you know when you’ve done it right? The communion should last at least two hours. If in that time a man surrenders sensitive awareness of the woman, feeling her blood flow, vibrating to her metabolism, breathing her breath—he will know the meaning of Tat tvan asi. It is the awareness of unity physically. Felt in blood and bones: we are one.


Man’s need to surrender is helped by psychedelic sacraments. Psychedelics are more aphrodisiac than scientific studies of fucking can ever show. The sexual energy aroused on acid is general, godlike, cosmic. Hence most people are not interested in merely genital fucking on an acid trip; they are fucking the Universe.

LSD magnifies a deeper sexuality than one has ever experienced; so one feels a release from genital specialization, free to concentrate on things neglected, the sound of a flower, the vision of music. But with Tantra Maithuna you explore the LSD cosmos in total communion. Hence the hippy expression "Fly United".


Tantra frees your sexual experiences from anxiety, necessity, compulsion. You become a germinating flowering tree digging its roots deep into Mother Earth. You become a generator for earth, a source of strength for earth, a protector of earth. Couples who do Maithuna daily say it heals their fights. Fight is cured, healed by mutual surrender; "That art thou", banished jealousies, hurt feelings, ego deflations, all based on the false premise that we are separated.


There’s another result of Tantra! Giving so much relaxed attention to your body, you feel certain things happening in you that can only be described as healing. The word "heal" is related to "holy" and "whole".


People are only halves until they melt down with Moksha/Maithuna. Repair means repair. Trip out on that. One scissor is useless until repaired with its mate. Repaired it functions as scissors.

What we’re beginning to realize, our folk wisdom already expresses: "My wife is my other half".


After practicing Tantra every day for six weeks, you’ll change profoundly. You’ll find yourself looking children and dogs deeply in the eye and feeling as biologically with it as they. You will look strangers in the eye, guiltless, and so feel compassion for them. You will begin to hear the sound of your own music. After Tantra your tree will bear fruit.


Women who practice Tantra regularly begin to look literally like flowers. The sheen of their silken skins glows with Eros. Innocence and vulnerability shine from their great soft warm dilated eyes. The communion usually inspires women with great self-confidence, for Tantra is a form of worship. Every woman is God’s bride, Sakti! Sakti!


When men worship the Buddhaness of her yoni, the woman is cured of self-hatred, the feeling of an inferior role that the race has instilled in her through an act of love skin to cave-man rape. (The Polynesians call our conventional position, "Missionary position").


Freed of this prison of masculine imposition, the woman is free to initiate any aggressiveness or motion. Often a man with an unresponsive woman will find that her unresponsiveness was a defense against his aggressiveness. Now as he is perfectly relaxes and open to her, she will become aggressive and pay to him, as it were, extravagant sexual compliments.


Delaying orgasm needn’t apply to women. Woman are not as genitally organized. Their orgasms do not dissipate the divine fire but diffuse it. They’re more innocent, like children ("polymorphously erogenous" Freud/Brown/Watts). Women feel just as sexy dancing or having their hair stroked. Like cats they are more tactilely sensual. A man is encouraged in our Puritan/Playboy culture to concentrate his sensitivity and his feeling in his cock. Maithuna (with Moksha medicine) re-diffuses man’s genital energy. The entire body feels lit up in ultra-purple, infra-orange haloes of ecstasy. A crown of lights shimmers around the head, and jewels of fire radiate an electric orgasm from the brain.


This is a Western description of Kundalini, as it is called in Tantra yoga. Kundalini means serpent power: A "sleeping snake" lies tightly coiled around your sphincters. A Western counterpart is the vagus nerve, which wanders all round—that’s why it’s vague, same word as vagrant. During violent inner conflict the vagus nerve can close round your stomach like a fist, giving you a fatal stomach-ache.

Releasing the serpent power (Kundalini) involves opening up the sphincters or abdominal constricted fists by relaxing the vagus nerve, opening them up as flowers open.

In the Kundalini yoga metaphor, the various sites of endocrine system are seen as chakras, power centers, lotus flowers. In relaxing and opening the secret sphincters, your glands which have been under-secreting, now secrete abundantly. Emotionally this is experienced as a super-abundance of vital power, suddenly surging warmly up your spine and out your skull. Then sky-rockets open with a sigh, and in the sky, roses-roses falling.


If everyone practiced "cool sex"—with or without the Moksha medicine—we would acquire a "national cool". If military men practiced it, we would enter a period of peace; and hence a period during the great timeless periods (see Needhan) when the Emperor of China sat, meditated, looked South, took drugs, wrote poetry, but did noting! While doing nothing the Chinese perfected Taoist Tantra, and were so expert at the science of sex, that when they were invaded by the great Mongol Khans, they surrendered at once and turned the Khan’s soldiers ever to Chinese girls trained in tantric arts and lo!—the Mongol invasion was utterly absorbed.


The Chinese Empire—while ruled by Emperors who did nothing, who sat looking South, took drugs, wrote poetry, and enjoyed sex as a science—lasted thousands of years and produced art which can only be called eternal.

They produced a sexually very robust people who love to laugh: and shoot off fireworks and rockets, which they invented as toys. So I think if we withdrew to our shores, and declared a policy of neo-isolationism, and everyone went home to turn on and practice Tantra, we would in six weeks become a different kind of people, a people whose weapon is love. If after LSD, the Hell’s Angels became the Diggers—then with Moksha plus Maithuna, anything is possible.


Weapons, to any student of Freud, are phallic symbols of an aggressive, domineering, hence sexually insecure male. You remember how Tim described old men with menopausal minds: one hand fingering their withered loins, the other hand stroking steel missiles. We laugh till it hits us that all men in Western Civilization are pretty much genitally organized. Prolonged piece may be the only way to prolonged peace.


A group can begin to practice Tantra in a dark room listening to music, sitting in a circle, touching one another, band to hand. Such a group, Tim says, will generate a group-field. A Group-field is the phase between group-consciousness, the new creature, the new presence just now coming into being. At first you experience it as a tingle in fingers, as a humming note from mind to mind, as a circuit, then as a powersurge of energy, then as a new consciousness: a great intra-mind capable of multi-dimensional ecstasy.


When Tantra is successful between two people, it can then become public worship—Maithuna and the Buddahaness of the yoni, worshipped on the altar of God. To begin all this is really quite simple. The first step, get a mate, turn on by your favorite method, and begin with the Maithuna Yub Yum position described above. After a couple of hours of that you’re ready to do anything, make music, dance like a god, do Tantra with a group of fellow-gods. But, whatever you do, there won’t be any sense of anxiety about it. You’re not trying to establish your identity. You are fully alive. You are One with your mate. Ready to become One with everyone and everything and every wonder of Existence. You are ecstatically aware, groking!

Thou art God and so is everyone else!

Through Tantra you become the Tao: "From wonder into wonder" your existence opens.


This is the second in a series of articles by Thad and Rita Ashby based on their three-year creativity study in Mexico, sponsored by Sandoz Company, creators of LSD. In coming articles they describe the goals of an ecstatic life, how to do it.

Reprinted as a Seattle Group Bulletin at the request of M.P. & S.W.

Originally published in the November 1967 issue of The Oracle of Southern California, 840 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90046.

[This Bulletin contained illustrations, line drawings surrounding the first paragraph—hand drawn on the stencils—and an illustration at the end of the article which appears to have been hand screened from the original. Tr.]

[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 15, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

NOTICE (1967)

As readers of London’s Freedom already know, Jim Cain has undertaken to co-ordinate the widely scattered small groups and isolated individuals that make up whatever consciously anarchist movement there now is in North America. His aims are to promote correspondence and communication, and to simulate voluntary interaction toward future publishing or pamphlets and a newspaper; the vehicle he has established is Insurgency Anarchist Association. To start with, IAA wants names and addresses for "an adequate mailing list of Anarchists in North America". It has published the first issue of what has been planned as a monthly bulletin. Write for that for more information: James W. Cain, secretary, Insurgency Anarchist Association, 323 Fourth Street, Cloquet, Minnesota 55720

51. Society As A Totality—G.N.

A certain amount of confusion arises in relating the various aspects of the problem of social regulation. Society is not so much a vast collection of random particles as it is an entirety of inter-related, mutually- dependent aspects. No person exists in splendid isolation, nor did he arrive at his present feelings and opinions independently. He represents specific reactions of society to the conditions of society at that given moment in time and place. Society contains within itself all possible concepts at all times, and the relative strength of each of the concepts is dependent upon the level of the society and its needs at any given time; society will evolve. It follows that any one person, representing as he does one particular aspect of society, is unlikely to appreciate conflicting aspects.

Each aspect tries to defend itself and strive for increased influence, and in this way each aspect fulfills the role by pragmatic testing in the given environment. The relevant aspects thereby achieve a dominant role and the least relevant succumb. The dominant aspect of American society has tended to be a strong militancy which often strives to exterminate opposing or divergent aspects. This characteristic made possible the conquest of the land by the Europeans, rapid industrial growth through fierce competition, and a disciplined patriotic populace capable of being mobilized quickly and efficiently into the military and industrial machines. The primary element of this force is the concept of "law", and since the dominant aspects are, by their very nature, of limited tolerance, their narrow view regards itself as the real society and the outsiders as "unreal". One’s friends are real people, but the convict, the Negro, the "hippy", the Communist, the artist and the writer are not real people but stereotypes to be admired or condemned as are angels and devils. Real people do not go to jail, and devils are made to punish. If the criminal were a real person he would know enough to behave like a real person. Therefore "Law" is a highly discriminatory concept for maintaining order which has primarily served to force the dominant concept onto all other concepts. By the very nature of existence, the minor concepts resist the enforced alteration to their beings and tend to become "criminal" or neurotic or insane and outside of the "protections" of the law. In that they are products of the society and representing resultant negative or divergent aspects they cannot, by will alone, be identical with the dominant aspects. The dominant aspects would themselves be different if the minor aspects were different. A policeman needs something to police, and in a militant society if the present "out" group did not exist the dominant aspects would have to narrow the range of acceptability in order to create an "out" group. For so long as the dominant aspects base their values on "good" and "bad", there will have to be a "bad" in order for the "good" to exist, for "goodness" is only good relative to something else.

For example let us take a look at Economics, the "blood stream of society". The wealth of society can be defined as the ability of that society to produce goods and services. It is a form of energy which increases in a regenerative fashion as it increases in speed and quantity through the social system. It cannot be stored since it is itself the fuel for the means of production, and if it ceases to flow the means of production cease to function and the stored wealth-potential itself declines in value and thereby causes the cumulative wealth of society to decline. Any tangible unit of wealth can only be an arbitrarily agreed upon value-symbol, and if conditions change the value of the unit will change to whatever the then-existing social structure is willing to assign it. Dollars or wheat, rubles or gold, land or seashells, no material thing has an absolute wealth-value and all are purely subject to supply and demand or fiat values in societies capable of enforcing them. Regardless of the unit, it simply does not matter how the wealth is distributed, but only that it is distributed; and it is now recognized that the consumer role in society is as valuable as the producing role. The hang-up here is that the dominant aspects of society are inclined to a morality concept that regards production as virtuous and consumption as a by-product reward. However, since the nature of society is to develop, the economic needs tend to over-ride the Christian morality as it becomes a question of how to make more money or to protect value units like property from people who would destroy them in frustration from their own lack of money, and morality will be altered to accommodate these problems. As society develops it needs more and more different aspects, and develops ways to tolerate or even support them. In a simple capitalism the small business employed only those people who could contribute directly to the production of wealth of the business, but large businesses today employ many people engaged in basic research which may never directly benefit that particular business but is necessary for society. The business also has on its payroll a certain number of "drones" who seem to do far less than their fair share, because our society has progressed through mechanization beyond the point where it could supply only the basic physical needs and automation has reduced the need for manual labor. Since society needs all possible aspects at all times and especially during times of rapid change, it must find means to maintain the ones that have only marginal survival abilities under present conditions. In trying to maintain the marginal, it leaves ways of maintaining those who will be necessary and will shape the future development until their day arrives. For instance, a potentially intelligent but physically weak individual will not long survive in a very primitive element of society, and in present-day American society a strong man with a shovel is not very significant as compared to a scientist. At the same time very conscientious people will devote their lives to their jobs and find great satisfaction in it until that job ceases to have meaning, for society needs these aspects at this time and to this degree.

Individually the producing people tend to regard themselves as the "backbone of society", what makes society function, and they resent having to support the "parasites". However, these "parasites" are in fact no more parasitic than the producing people in that each is equally dependent on the existing social structure to care for him. The only difference is that we still have the virtue-in-work morality which grants the producer a feeling of nobility and the not-directly-productive a feeling of guilt. The increase in automation demands that the present non-producers will have to find a new basic morality, for tomorrow most will be non-producers and they will determine the social standard. Economics, always ahead of morality, cultivates the consumer through advertising in order to support the remaining producers. So it appears the producers are parasites upon the consumers!

The American can conceive that the smallest of living elements, chromosomes and genes, are themselves extremely complex chemical structures; yet they are only elements of vastly more complex structures; germs, fish, humans, etc. The American does not ordinarily see that an extension of all of his genes and chromosomes is still only an element in a much more vast and complex structure. As such each individual, like each chromosome, will do his own thing in his own way whether he consciously wills it or not, and like the gene, his transitory existence will affect the greater structure to a greater or lesser extent. He should feel free to do his thing since he is always counter-balanced by others of opposing beliefs. If I have doubts about what I do, I still need not worry too much about it since there are others actively opposing me, and they are therefore my conscience, as I am theirs.

This is not meant to imply that no one should try to influence another. Philosophers and psychiatrists represent a catalyst aspect in society. As in some chemical reactions, no reactions take place unless a catalyst is added which does not itself enter into the reaction; so the psychiatrist and philosopher enable some elements of society to assume an active role without entering into the activity themselves. In this way society is able to increase the level of experimentation by the various aspects. That a person "should" do what he thinks his neighbors think he should is correct only for those people who themselves feel this is right. It is implicit that a person "should" do what he thinks he should do. If he feels he should overthrow the government he represents a force which impels continued development. The "typical suburban housewife" has an extremely narrow view of the world and tends to be frightened by the shadows she sees at the edges of her view, since in order to carry out her role in a confining, domestic life she would be very bored and uncomfortable if she did not believe her view was the correct one and reject disturbing views.

In our society the deviant aspects are "controlled" by the dominant elements mainly through psychological means. The gentle, only slightly deviant ones cannot resist, and adapt to the main culture. The strongly deviant ones may become so frustrated that they go insane or "criminal", but they still represent a pressure on society. Since society evolves by virtue of the balances of pressure upon it, the need for pressure is inherent and will always be a part of the way of things. The anarchist represents a pressure against repressive pressure, so tends to aid all deviant aspects. When a society is near balance there is little pressure for anarchy, but as the society gets further and further out of balance and the pressure on the deviant aspects becomes greater, the pressure of anarchy gets greater in reaction.


[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 15, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

52. Two Comments on Bulletin #49, And A Further Observation—L.C.

J.A., I’m sure, speaks for a great many liberal/radical members of the parental generation—the anguished and indignant cry of a hope betrayed. The kids will probably read it only as an attack.

For example: Speaking of young runaways, she observes that "most have only typical teen-age disgruntlements". This is an entirely accurate statement, for adolescents in all eras have resented their elders’ authority and found fault with their elders’ conduct of social affairs, and that today’s youngsters should do so too is indeed "typical". That needn’t imply a put-down. On the contrary, if young Ab had unquestioningly accepted the conventional wisdom his parents Og and Ubba sought for his own good to instill in him, the human species would never have survived a glaciation. The "typical teen-age disgruntlement" is an essential factor of social dynamics, and to infer that J.A. fails to appreciate it as such would be simply to miss the point: that by and large, she and those she speaks for concur in the kids’ condemnation of present-day society, applaud their desire to change it, and approve the proposed direction of change. With this much agreement, they don’t want to be forced into a position of coming to loggerheads with their offspring over the seemingly soluble problem of means.

Consider their own life experience: born into a time when siblings and playmates suddenly sickened and died of diphtheria, pneumonia, meningitis, polio or blood-poisoning (with sufficient frequency that the most sheltered of children could not avoid estimating his own chances), they entered their teens in the Great Depression (runaway kids freezing in boxcars, eating from garbage cans, dragged into jails), and came of age in World War II (with the Bomb already in the works). They had plenty of fault to find with the world their parents left to them, and they sought to make some pretty drastic changes, themselves (with utter indifference to their own parents’ irrelevant reminiscences of having huddled in the vermin-infested steerage hold of an immigrant ship for the privilege of trudging endless country miles to a one-room school.) So the upward thrust of a son’s or daughter’s midfinger is apt to bring on a severe sense of deja vu.

Yet it was precisely out of recognition of their parents’ tactical failings (impressed in memory by razor-strops, rescinded outings, and interminable moralizings) that today’s parents thought to bring their kids to maturity with less restraint. Ironically, they’ve found that the kids’ grievances, being built into the maturation process and the social order, are no whit diminished by that lightening of provocation. With less of discipline and induced guilt/"conscience" (have any of these flower-children ever been haunted by the watchful eye of an omniscient God, or lain awake in terror reviewing their day’s misdeeds against the glare of eternal hellfire?) to hold it in check, their kids’ rebellion comes on again, years ahead of parental expectations. And knowing now—but not then, never then, as they well remember—something of their own adolescent vulnerability to the booby-traps, cul-de-sacs, and false directions that beset the way ahead, they rue their offsprings’ wanton rejection of possibly helpful experience, earned in pain and proffered in love.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Another passage more likely to arouse hackles than consideration in hip-oriented readers is that in which J.A. cites the difficulty of "picking up an interrupted education" (a triple cavil here: (1) the assumption that it should be picked up; (2) the presumption that it’s interrupted at all, or that it’s merely interrupted; and (3) the apparent equating of "education" with "schooling", with imputation of worth to such a dubious process) and of breaking (why should we!) the habits (bad?) of self-indulgence and irresponsibility.

You’re just another sour old puritan moralist, J.A. You don’t want the kids to have any fun. Go get fucked.

No, seriously: "self-indulgence" is only another, and pejorative, term for the hedonism they (and in its universalist aspect, you) espouse. The concept of responsibility is simply repressive authority’s first line of defense, behind which lurk truncheon and mace-gun to punish the "irresponsible" (like yourself) who challenge it. You haven’t been studying those dictionaries they gave you, my friend.

And the flower kids, being only minimally verbal, are fetishistic about words. Witness their adopted mantras; witness their DickandJane-level obscenities; witness their puns—imaginative sound-play unsullied by meaning—and their... uh...their... well, you get the picture. You gotta be careful about words. You thought words were just symbols of meaning, units of discoursive communication? That’s by your old dictionary. Words are spells. You go around using words like "self-indulgence" and "irresponsibility", they’ll burn you for a witch.

When the madness wears off, give my regards to Joan.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Instant Utopia". A very apt phrase; and the slickly madison-avenue ring of it is not the least of its felicities. We’ve been sold (down-river, I suspect) on instant everything. While it would be masochistic nonsense to insist that access to all things desired be "earned" by joyless drudgery or "merited" by pain and suffering, it’s still perfectly true that much of life’s pleasure lies in the very anticipation and satisfaction-in-accomplishment that we’ve been conned into forfeiting.

And who has gained by our forfeiture? What has happened to the time saved by instant this-and-that’s? Certainly the portion of it that has accrued in the enrichment of our own lives is meager enough.

Consider the silliness of some of the current Instants—gadgets for gadgetry’s sake, it would seem. Is 20th-century capitalism’s drive to proliferate consumption the only force that impels to battery-powered toothbrushes and pre-dissolved detergents? I submit that a serendipitous by-product of that effort has now, in the hands of the engineers of dehumanization, become the dominant motive: induction of a mass compulsion to accelerate functions to a pace preclusive of free will. A fast-rolling hoop is the easier steered.

In the light of this sinister theory, the apparent contradiction between official condemnation of drug use (as embodied in law and traditional morality) and the backhanded-to-gleeful laudation in the mass media (Seattle readers vide KJR and KOL) resolves itself quite neatly. Observe: interspersed amid the disc jockeys’ patter, mostly innocuous, occasionally sly, and the drug/sex-extolling records, the pushers of presently lawful head drugs (Compoz, Wakoz—even, in an imaginative jump to the bandwagon, "Coffee, the think drink") hawk the instant-panacea philosophy.

"Wakoz, it’s commercial admits in passing, "Is not a substitute for sleep", and continues on the assumption that sleep is not to be had, so the listener had better take Wakoz. Sorry, we’re all out of sleep, but this’ll do for now. It’s the same line the shoe salesman gave us when I resisted pointed toes: take what we’re willing to let you have, and like it.

Like hell. With all that time saved from brushing their teeth and stirring the dishwater, people ought to be free to sleep when they’re tired.

Here we sit under Damocles’ bomb, and they tell us to soothe our nervous tension with Compoz! If that’s too patently ridiculous to accept, still it points a direction; and the next record will advertise a more potent elixir.

Certainly if symptomatic easing of our tensions can lessen the self-protective urge to identify and root out their causative social evils or baseless euphoria permit us to escape concern with them, or even if multitudinous individual states of temporary bliss and/or bemusement disrupt the concertedness and continuity of our resistance to control, the real gain is Authority’s, not ours. The ultimate irony is that the kids now tempted by the thin pottage of a spuriously beautiful extinction are the very generation first situated to grasp the full measure of our incomparable human birthright, and should they renounce it now, the last to have a choice.


[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 16, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

53. Excerpts from The SCUM* Manifesto—Valerie Solanas

(Sent anonymously to the Seattle Group and reprinted by recommendations of G.C., G.N., and G.M. We would like to see the complete manifesto. Will someone please send us a copy?)

... the male is... obsessed with screwing; he’ll swim a river of snot, wage nostril-deep through a mile of vomit, if he thinks there’ll be a friendly pussy awaiting him. He’ll screw a woman he despises, any snaggle-toothed hag, and, further, pay for the opportunity.


Relieving physical tension isn’t the answer, as masturbation suffices for that. It’s not ego satisfaction; that doesn’t explain screwing corpses and babies... He hates his passivity, so he projects it onto women, defines the male as active, then sets out to prove that he is ("prove he’s a Man"). His main means of attempting to prove it is screwing (Big Man with a Big Dick tearing of a Big Piece). Since he’s attempting to prove an error, he must "prove" it again and again...

The male claim that females find fulfillment through motherhood and sexuality reflects what males think they’d find fulfilling if they were female. Woman, in other words, don’t have penis envy; men have pussy envy. When the male accepts his passivity, defines himself as a woman... and becomes a transvestite he loses his desire to screw (or to do anything else, for that matter; he fulfills himself as a dragqueen) and gets his cock chopped off. Screwing is, for a man, a defense against his desire to be female...

The male, because of his obsession to compensate for not being female combined with his inability to relate and feel compassion, has made of the world a shitpile... many females would, even assuming complete economic equality between the sexes, prefer residing with males or paddling their asses on the street, thereby having most of their time for themselves, to spending many hours of their days doing boring, stultifying, non-creative work for somebody else, functioning... as machines, or at best—if able to get a "good" job—co-managing the shitpile. What will liberate women, therefore, from male control is the total elimination of the money-work system, not the attainment of economic equality with man within it...

The effect of fatherhood on males, specifically, is to make them "Men", that is, highly defensive of all impulses to passivity, faggotry, and of desires to be female. Every boy wants to imitate his mother, be her, fuse with her, but Daddy forbids this: he is the mother; he gets to fuse with her. So he tells the boy, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, to not be a sissy, to act like a "Man". The boy, scared shitless of and "respecting" his father, complies, and becomes just like Daddy, that model of "Man’-hood, the all-American ideal—the well-behaved heterosexual dullard...Wanting to become a woman, he strives to be constantly around females, the closest he can get to becoming one, so he created a "society" based on the family—a male-female couple with their kids (the excuse for the family’s existence)... A true community consists of individuals... not couples—respecting each other’s individuality and privacy while at the same time interacting with each other mentally and emotionally—free spirits in free relation to each other—and co-operating with each other to achieve common ends.

... Men necessarily can’t co-operate to achieve a common end, because each man’s end is all the pussy for himself... The male can’t progress socially, but merely swing back and forth from isolation to gangbanging...Wanting the female (Mama) to guide him, but unable to accept this fact (He is, after all, a MAN), wanting to play Woman, to usurp her function as Guide and Protector, he sees to it that all authorities are male... There’s no reason why a society... should have a government, laws or leaders... The male’s inability to relate to anybody or anything makes his life pointless and meaningless (The ultimate male insight is that life is absurd), as he invented philosophy and religion. Being empty, he looks outward, not only for guidance and control, but for salvation and for the meaning of life. Happiness impossible on this earth, he created Heaven... A woman not only takes her identity and individuality for granted, but knows instinctively that the only wrong is to hurt others and the meaning of life is love...

No genuine social revolution can be accomplished by the male, as the male on the top wants the status quo, and all the male on the bottom wants is to be the male on top... The male changes only when forced to do so by technology, when he has no choice, when "society" reaches the stage when he must change or die. We’re at that stage now; if women don’t fast get their assess in gear, we may very well all die... The male, being completely self-centered and unable to relate to anything outside himself, his "conversation", when not about himself, is an impersonal droning on, removed from anything of any human value. Male "intellectual conversation" is a strained, compulsive attempt to impress the female... only completely self-confident, arrogant, out-going, proud, tough-minded females are capable of intense, bitchy, witty conversation... Having stripped the world of conversation, friendship and love, the male offers us as paltry substitutes—"Great Art" and "Culture"... The true artist is every self-confident, healthy female, and in a female society the only Art, the only Culture, will be conceited, kookie, funkie females grooving on each other and on everything else in the universe...

Sex is the refuge of the mindless. And the more mindless the woman, the more deeply embedded in the male "culture", in short the nicer she is, the more sexual she is. The nicest women in our "society" are raving sex maniacs. But, being just awfully, awfully nice, they don’t, of course, descent to fucking—that’s uncouth, but rather they make love, commune by means of their bodies and establish sensual rapport; the literary ones are attuned to the throb of Eros and attain a clutch of the Universe; the religious have spiritual communion with the Divine Sensualism; the mystics merge with the Erotic Principle and blend with the cosmos and the acid head contact their erotic cells. On the other hand, those females least embedded in the male "culture", in short, the least nice, those crass and simple souls who reduce fucking to fucking, who are too childish for the grown-up world of suburbs, mortgages, mops and baby shit, too selfish to raise kids and husbands, to uncivilized to give one shit for anyone’s opinion of them other than their own; too arrogant to respect Daddy, the "greats" or the deep wisdom of the Ancients, who trust only their own animal, gutter instincts, who equate Culture with chicks, whose sole diversion is prowling for emotional thrills and excitement, who are given to disgusting, nasty, upsetting "scenes", hateful, violent bitches given to slamming those who unduly irritate them in the teeth, who’d sink a shiv into a man’s chest or ram an icepick up his asshole as soon as look at him, if they knew they could get away with it, in short those who, by the standards of our "culture" are SCUM... these females are cool and... skirting asexuality. Unhampered by propriety, niceness, discretion, public opinion, "morals", the "respect" of assholes, always funky, dirty, low-down, SCUM gets around... and around and around... they’ve seen the whole show—every scene—they’ve covered the whole waterfront, been under every dock and pier—the peter pier, the pussy pier... You’ve got to go through a lot of sex to get to anti-sex, and SCUM’s been through it all, and they’re now ready for a new show; they want to crawl out from under the dock, move, take off, sink out. But SCUM doesn’t yet prevail; SCUM’s still in the gutter as our "society", which, if it’s not deflected from its present course and if the Bomb doesn’t drop on it, will hump itself to death...

The male’s chief delight in life—in so far as the tense, grim male can ever be said to delight in anything—is exposing others. It doesn’t much matter what they’re exposed as, so long as they’re exposed; it distracts attention from himself. Exposing others as enemy agents (Communists and Socialists) is one of his favorite exposes, as it removes the source of the threat to him not only from himself, but from the country and, even further yet, from the Western world. The bugs up his ass aren’t in him; they

Re in Russia...

Valerie Solanas

Society for Cutting Up Men

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


At last, another compilation—Bulletins #41 through #48—is in the works. If you want one, order it now: 25 cents.

[Transcribers note: We have been unable to locate a copy of this compilation, and are not sure it was printed. We have transcribed Bulletins #41-60 from single issues of the Seattle Group Bulletins.]

[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 18, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

54. Now That the Tear Gas Has Cleared Away—George Crowley

A socio-political event has occurred on University way. Concerned people of Seattle must react quickly to the naked human need laid bare in the agony of that unhappy street.

What caused the circumstances out of which this cataclysm erupted? First, our city has acquired, over the last decade, an ever-growing community of distress that is not, per se, economic. This community is composed of the very cream of a decade of maturing youth. The common bonds of these diverse people are their acute human sensitivity and, at least initially, their high social motivation. (If they appear to have soured, look for cause to the bacteria their elders’ efforts have left in the social environment.)

Because their human sensitivity could not bear the agony of alienation from both themselves and their peers which was the price required to attain their preordained niche in the social order, they "dropped out" of the effort. Precisely because of their high social motivation they could not find a vehicle, in a culture of mediocrity, through which to express their motivating aspirations; so, they were forced to reject any and all functional relation to the society they were being prodded to enter. In short, they were lumpenized by social frustration. Thus this sick society has mass-produced by an unusual process a new category of these "no persons" already being generated in huge mass by economic deprivation; by wasteful rejection of the physically, mentally, and emotionally less gifted; by sexual, racial, and natal-culture discrimination; and by the general disorienting effect of compelled specialization.

The "fringies", precursors of the present "street people", were denied access to the cosmopolitan center, natural habitat of the lumpen. The government-encouraged process of urban depopulation and the vicious effectiveness of urban occupation by the metropolitan police drove the "dropped out" from the core city to its most cosmopolitan satellite quarter, where they carved out a place for a new polis, its behavior a paradox to the authoritarian social structure. They are, as the urban mob, the terror of despots from the dawn of the urban revolution. They are the cosmopolitan crowd, to perceptive humanists the most gregarious of all humanity. To the more far-sighted sociologist they are the embryo of a new stage in human evolution, pioneering a milieu in which self-contained, self-motivated free individuals can build functional interrelationships without the deadly emulsion of authority. To the true revolutionary, i.e., the expositor-advocate of an emerging social phenomenon, they are a glimpse of anarchy, the hope of the species.

From its inception this community has lived under the menace of a spectre that became reality last week. This spectre, the poison-exhaling, death-dealing, havoc-wreaking, robot-acting monster of the old order’s naked authority, struck—struck with just the cooly programmed force necessary to remind the community that it was prepared to destroy them rather than give up its control.

In itself this occurrence was a near-inevitable step in the unfolding of an interlocked set of social sequences. The decadent old authority, bereft of its last shreds of rational justification, underwent a historic convulsion. This should have been its last act. Why was it not so?

There are many peripheral factors that contribute to an answer for this critical question. Most of these secondary factors lean upon the central cause of last week’s defeat of the people. The control bastion that sustained the old order’s survival was drugs. The initial injection of this debilitating virus into the present revolution came from the well-intended but misguided efforts of certain confused mystics, i.e., Tim Leary, Aldous Huxley, John Spellman, et al. The false thesis that you can hallucinate a revolution as effectively as you can perpetrate it could have long since been exploded in the lab of living reality, were it not for its cold-blooded, deliberate promotion by the old order itself.

The new style of pop entertainer, who slurred his revolutionary slogans, who blurred his revolutionary vision with opiate dreams, and confused his revolutionary constituency down blind alleys where he abandoned them, was carefully cultivated by the establishment’s mass media. He was liberally bribed by the establishment-sustained slush fund called the entertainment industry. But where was he this week? With the people? No, he drafted leaflets urging people to submit to the police provocation rather than jeopardize the next mass hallucination at Sky River. He was blowing pot in his pad while revolt in the streets set the vibrations. The hell of it is that the local constituencies of this drug-induced error want the revolution. They are not sellouts, but have simply been enchanted out of their mission by the Pied Pipers.

Thus there are the spectacle-producers; here, again, a sound concept of the movement was diverted to counter-revolution by the establishment.

The fundamental validity of such movements as the Provo, Situationist, Guerilla Theatre, is that certain essential concepts, particularly in the largely uncharted humanistic aspect of the current revolution, can best be transmitted by the dramatic or emotional form of communication. This is sound. The potential of this type of agitation is still wide open. That this is tragically so stems largely from the drug culture’s negation of the essential need of implementing one’s comprehension by functional action in the living society. This confusion of knowledge with functional action has been fully exploited by the agents of counterrevolution.

The establishment’s own media, under the guidance of MacLuhan et al, has been busily constructing its own form of spectacle influence. An army of unprincipled opportunists, locally typified by Trips Lansing, Pat O’Day, and Boyd Grafmyre as effectively opiate the people with their spectacles as any cardinal of the Catholic Church ever did with a cathedral High Mass.

In itself this disservice would be bad enough, but in the process these agents of the established order have diverted the use of this valuable technique from a folkway of the people into a commercialized weapon of the establishment. The people of the street must reject this form of constraint by the establishment without rejecting the people who are performers in these media and who are also a part of the community.

One of the very first manifestations of the current revolution came in a wave of personal rejections of the stereotyped behavior-patterns and appearance-fashions of the old order. Initially this did represent the critical first step in rejecting the externally imposed personality that had been laid on by parents, teachers, and the media. This may have been the first step toward the self-construction of free individuality. Certainly the achieving of a self-motivated identity committed to seeking its own aspirations is critical to being free by any honest definition of the word.

The task faced by the emancipated slave, whose prior behavior has been governed by externally applied signals, is a hard effort. He must, out of the now disjointed bag of concepts stored in his mind, laboriously build functional, inter-related, self-activated responses to environment stimuli in order to survive.

Once again the intrusion of the drug scene offered a fantasy substitute for reality. It was far easier to dream about a personality while on a trip and then hang it on oneself as a veneer of artifacts, than to actually engage in the labor of reconstructing oneself. Thus, a large minority of the new community have remained essentially plastic vegetable matter held in animate form not by a set of vertebrae but by a put-on shell. They might as well have roots and be planted.

The establishment seized upon this diverting phenomenon with the same device they used earlier to entrap the symbolic clothes rebellion of the feminists. First, as suppliers of the artifacts of "put on", they gained control of the market. Then, as promoters of design and high fashion, they trapped their following in a world of consumerism that became an end in itself. It is to the credit of the street people that on Wednesday night as their response to the police provocation from the roof of Forkner’s and elsewhere moved toward overt insurrection, the first target was "Bluebeard’s", the most crass of the Avenue’s gougers in this new fashion fetish. Time has come for the people of the street to turn away from this new type of establishment control. Wear what is comfortable, let your personality be your actions not your put-on.

What about the drug scene itself? Since man first learned to oppress and frustrate his fellow-humans, he has sought out and used opiates to mitigate his misery and relax his frustrations. Almost as quickly, the authoritarian elite of human exploitation discovered the value of supplying and encouraging the use of these opiates to placate the individual outrage and blur the collective fury of insurrection. This fundamental interrelation has not changed through the ages except that the establishment has refined and researched the bag of opiates.

Acceptance of drugs for personality—"therapy" (which followed shortly upon popularization of the concept of the "adjusted" personality) has never been confined to the "hip" culture of mystical psychedelia. But when the pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession saw lucrative potential in the popular appear of "dropping out" and "turning on" with drugs, an aggressive campaign got underway to convince everyone with even the slightest discomfort at accepting the establishment’s pre-fab personalities to ease their tensions from a pill-bottle. Profits and control go hand in hand. Institutions like Seattle Mental Health are more subtly effective in controlling dissent than the mystical psychedelic drug scene.

When the vanguard contingents of the revolution threw their lot with the insurrection of Black America they made a decisive contribution. In order to halt the spread of insurrection the establishment offered the Black rebellion a negotiated settlement. Black Power was the offer and it was accepted by the "leaders" of the people. The Black community went its own way, destroying its own revolutionary leadership, abating, momentarily, its own youth and lumpenry, while it sought the best terms possible on which to base the new-won vested interest in the status quo.

The revolutionary youth vanguard of a humanistic revolution of much greater scope and magnitude was momentarily cut adrift. They turned to drugs to dispel their frustration, and no one was more happy to encourage this than the establishment itself. This drug diversion has in fact held the present crisis in check for four years, but the crack in the calm that appeared at the Democratic Convention has spread. The movement must divest itself of the drug mirage for the more important confrontations at hand.

In the U. District the state seeks to reinforce this "safe" focus on the drug issue. No one with authority, least of all the pig, wants to abate the lucrative "hard" trade of the syndicate tentacle of the state. Some for sundry reasons good and bad want to reduce the independent pushers, but no one, businessmen, street people, or pig, want to end the drug scene or they would dry the supply.

What is at issue is (1) The businessmen want to use the false issues of drugs as an excuse for abating he street community; (2) The University wants to burn out the energy of the movement before the crisis of fall quarter; (3) The pigs would like to drive drug traffic back underground where it could, without creating an embarrassingly visible deficiency in law enforcement, be more firmly concentrated in the hands of their pay-off-ing co-partners; and (4) The state seek sin every advancing urban center diversions from the onrushing central confrontation.

The community should firmly turn its back on the "drug issue" and walk away to more important matters.

Le the syndicate and the pig to shoot their own speed until they accelerate themselves into oblivion. Let the acid merchants trip themselves to Mars and way points. Let the petty pushers sit and blow pot in each other’s faces until the economic pinch causes them to re-evaluate their relation to the street scene.

If grass must be had to make life bearable let the community revert to its earlier co-operative procurement. But do not let the pig fracture the community over drugs, by either burning itself out on a peripheral issue or by falling into the puritanical trap that threatens the solidarity of the Black community.

Disperse if you must when the heat comes in killer force. Reoccupy your streets when they have passed. Seek out the identity-documents and hold up for citywide condemnation the merchant collaborators of the pig.

Turn the face of the movement back onto the main course, the revolutionary enforcement of Freedom, now, from personality-deforming constraint by either ancient mores or modern police technology.

Fraternity of freely associating individual humans for socially functional purposes.

Fraternity to reorient the economic technology toward utilizing the talents and inclinations of free humans to provide abundance rather than warping people to serve a GNP.

Equality that is not a farcical legalism, but a real absence of categories which impede the interrelation of humanity:

Let there be people who are neither proletariat, peasant, student or lumpen, or any other class. Let there be people who are neither expenders of muscle power, intellectual, parasite, elite, or any other caste. Let there be people of many skin shades, facial contours and hair textures, but no race. Let there be people of all ages male and female but who are not "men", "women", or "children".

Anarchy, Brotherhood, and Cornucopia are our goal. The urban city is our habitat and its streets belong to the people.


[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 18, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

55. Excerpts from a Projected Tract on Urban Warfare—Stan Iverson

The author of these lines is a kindly old gentleman who is appalled by violence, and whose interest in urban warfare is academic. So long as the Western Democracies are kindly, humanitarian, and democratic, it is unlikely that they will be torn by those internal convulsions which have wrecked their less fortunate sister states. If the spirit of entrepreneurism, exploitation, and oppression should ever totally triumph, it is apt to inspire corresponding entrepreneurism and violence among the placid, even bovine, populations of these lands. In that unlikely event the techniques described here may contribute to the discomfort of despots.

In contemplating urban warfare, it is not to T. E. Lawrence, Mao Tse Tung, Che Guevara, or Regis Debray, those great exemplifiers and exponents of rural warfare, upon whom we center our attention. Rather, we turn to Grivas, to the French maquis, to the Polish underground, and to the various other resistance organizations which developed in response to the attempt of the Nazis to colonize Europe. It is from these that we gather hints about the conditions and requirements of insurrectionary warfare in the urban police state.

I distinguish between the insurrectionary uprising and insurrectionary warfare.

The former, altho it may represent the culmination of many small movements and tendencies and many repressions, involves a qualitative change. It resembles one of those great summer storms of the Midwest which, heralded only by a few claps of thunder and a drop or two of rain, develop in the midst of a seeming calm with incredible speed and fury. Within moments the calm is replaced by a deluge. The participants and even the leaders are bereft of the power of controlling it, and become riders of the storm knowing not where it will carry them. It is the orgasm of the body social.

The second form of insurrectionary uprising is the result of a deliberate decision of a broadly-supported revolutionary organization. This may involve a desperate gamble as in the instance of the Easter Rebellion, or it may be aborted and betrayed thru the reliance upon an external ally as was the Warsaw uprising by the Soviet Union, or it may be successful as was the October Revolution, but in each of these instances it represents only a moment—a supreme moment perhaps—a strategic turn, in continuous revolutionary struggle.

It is with the requirements of continuous revolutionary struggle under conditions of state terror that I am here concerned. I do not necessarily or even in the main, mean under conditions of fascism—that is often a misapplied word—but simply the requirements of struggle once those parliamentary and legalistic toys which beguile the leadership of the respectable left have been swept under the table, and the constitutional nursemaid has been replaced upon the center of the stage by the executioner and the turnkey who lurk at the heart of every state.

As an invading army is the agent of a conquering power, so each state is in a sense a permanent army of occupation representing the interests of parasites—class, caste, bureaucrat, what-have-you—who exploit and oppress the rest of the population. In pursuit of this end the state may limit the pillage, may provide jobs, bread, and circuses to curb the restlessness of the multitude. The fundamental function of all the agencies of the state—its schools, its judiciary, etc.—is to preserve the power, influence, and comfort of the rulers; when the state resorts to raw violence to destroy the revolution, then the revolution must treat each of these agencies as an outpost of the enemy and work unceasingly to undermine and capture them. During more peaceful periods the revolutionist must remember, to turn Clauswitz upside down, that politics is a continuation of war by other means.

The offensive and defensive power of the state must be gauged carefully, for the methods to be used by the revolution depend in a major degree upon the strengths and weaknesses of the modern state. For the purposes of this essay the far-flung and pervasive enterprises of capitalism must be considered one with the state.

The constant study of the state is to control and channelize the populace; that of revolution to unleash its creative capacities. The slogans of the state are duty, loyalty, obedience, responsibility; those of the revolution are freedom, independence, co-operation, creativity and plenty. The state seeks to persuade its subjects that the interest of the millionaire, the bureaucrat, the worker and the pauper are identical and in conflict with their counterparts in other states; the revolution that the depressed of every land have more in common with each other than with their exploiters. The religion of the state is nationalism and international division; the advocacy of the revolution is internationalism and class division. The former strives to create a vertical unity; the latter a horizontal unity.

When conditions of open terror prevail between the state and the revolution, the state intensifies its control mechanisms. In a highly computerized society we may anticipate refinements in identification techniques undreamed of twenty years ago. In a country such as the United States it is fully possible that there will be a vast pooling of private and governmental information. The applicant for a job, a checking or savings account, a university course or a passport, may be checked within days after application in a huge information bank that will at once supply data on the applicant to the inquiring agency, and if it seems required, forward to state security agencies a file on the applicant. If this picture seems overdrawn, consider for a moment the vast augmentation of computer devices which has taken place in the last few years. Consider also the vast collections of information which even today are accumulated by various agencies. In the United States there are credit agencies which collect information on the most intimate details of people’s lives: how many divorces they have had, how many and what kind of jobs they have held, what their reputation in the neighborhood is, do they sleep around, do they have homosexual leanings, do they drink, their political tendencies, etc. Various agencies of the government—social security, taxing and licensing bureaus, political police—have constantly-growing files on millions of our fellow citizens. The Federal Bureau of Investigation boasts of having dossiers on over three million residents of the United States. Every local police force has its own pictorial and written collection of records. The total must be staggering. In those countries of Europe where the domestic passport system is used, the problem is magnified.

A primary job of the revolutionary organization, party, nucleus, affinity group or "family" must be to preserve and secure the maximum mobility and freedom of its members under these onerous conditions. Forgery must become an art of the revolution. Documents must be carefully studied and analyzed for the quality of the paper, watermarks, type face, serial numbers and signatures. The revolutionist must be able to assume a temporary identity for a few hours or a few days and pass unsuspected thru the police net. Under conditions of state terror, to be suspected is to be killed, tortured, or imprisoned. Fictitious people must be created. Documents must be planted in the enemy’s own files giving evidence of the birth, the education and the job history of completely non-existent human beings who gain flesh-and-blood existence only when the revolutionist slips on their identity masklike, to be worn for weeks, months or possible even years. The strength of the opponent’s security system must be turned into his weakness.

To do this on any scale is to suppose widespread disaffection. The whole apparatus of the state, of the military-industrial complex, must be riddled with "subversive" elements, revolutionists and friends of the revolution. The repressions of the state are the best recruiters of the revolution. Each piece of bureaucratic arrogance, each instance of police brutality creates secret opposition. It is the function of the revolution to link together this covert opposition, to give social expression to the private grievances and repressed angers of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people.

To do this the myth of the invulnerability of the state must be smashed. The idea of a sanctity of the system must be subverted. Each state fosters the illusion that it is rooted in eternity. It is the collective acceptance of the chimera, the psychological conditioning of the population to this faith which, more than the power of the military or the violence of the police, preserves the power structure.

The revolution demolishes this myth thru three forms of propaganda. Thru propaganda of the deed—sabotage, armed engagements, terrorism—revolutionists demonstrate the physical vulnerability of the state. Each act of terrorism which goes unpunished diminishes the authority of the apparatus; each failure of the police inspires increasingly overt contempt for their effectiveness; and each dramatic act of sabotage demonstrates that there exists an irrepressible and insofar as irrepressible, viable opposition to the despotism.

Another form of revolutionary propaganda is the propaganda of personal testament. This finds several expressions. Trotsky on trial for the 1905 uprising, Dimitrev at the Reichstag Fire frame-up, and Castro in court for the Moncada insurrection, are fine examples of undaunted revolutionists converting the kangaroo trials of the state into indictments of the state itself. The terrorists of old Russia, the Buddhist monks of Viet Nam who turned themselves into living torches of protest, Alice Hartz, Norman Morrison and Roger La Porte of the United States who immolated themselves as a form of supreme personal testament, demonstrated thru their passion (using that word in the old and religious sense) the purity of their ideals and the trivial and carping character of the claims of propagandists of the state. Others thru their disdain for the rewards offered by the system, by their rejection of the mores and life styles fostered by the establishment, by their development of alternative and more gratifying ways of living, by being morally, artistically and intellectually creative, by breaking in their lives from the uniformity sponsored by all modern states, act, knowingly and unknowingly, as centers of disaffection and opposition. If Caesar could say:

Let me have men about me that are fat,

Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o’ nights.

Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look,

He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.

Modern tyranny has expanded this wisdom to an understanding that all difference is dangerous, for men and women who are different are often led almost unwittingly by their differences into opposition. A man who tries to save a park may come in time to overthrow a government.

Finally there is the propaganda of the word. Revolutionary organizations must be unceasing in their efforts to secure and maintain printing plants. The example of Maria Krylova, of the revolutionary Land and Liberty society, should be remembered. For almost four years she, and a few helpers, by living lives of almost monastic seclusion, managed to maintain and operate an underground press under the noses of the Tsarist police. Fortunately, the development of photo-offset printing has made it possible for even small organizations with meager economic resources to acquire efficient printing equipment. The half-formed thought, the tentative speculations of millions of isolated individuals must be given re-enforcement and direction. The sense of isolation that state terror engenders must be dissipated. The historian Bury has noted that the real crime of censorship is that it impedes thought. The power structure must be continuously exposed. It must be exposed in detail. Each specific injustice and violence perpetrated by it must be related to its control character. This may be done in many ways: thru parables and parodies, thru fables and novels and social studies, in blunt plain language and in Aesopian language, but it must always relate the grievances of the isolated human being to the grievances of the many. From the awareness of the commonality of problems springs unity in action. This is the craft of revolutionary propaganda. The crude chalk slogan has its uses—remember Bertold Brecht’s



They want war.

He who wrote it

He who wrote it

Has already fallen.

The more enduring spray-paint-can graffiti and the small sticker also have their advantages. It is from the multiplicity of such devices upon walls that the friends of freedom derive comfort and its enemies unease. It is the visible manifestation of an invisible army.

But there are other manifestations of the army of the revolution. Under conditions of state terror there is continuous civil war and the revolution arms itself as best it can. It responds to the terror of the state with the terror of the revolution. All war, even revolutionary war, is murderous and obscene. The man who wishes to see an end to war becomes a warrior, he who desires the abolition of killing becomes an executioner, and they who have compassion for all men kill with pity in their hearts. It is said of the Spanish anarchist that when conducting a revolutionary execution, they would apologize to the victim:

"Many of those (fascists) captured in Barcelona were taken thirty miles down the coast to be shot overlooking the superb Bay of Sitges. Those about to die would pass their last moments on earth looking out to sea in the marvelous Mediterranean dawn. ‘See how beautiful life could have been’, their assassins seemed to be saying, ‘If only you had not been a bourgeois, and had got up early and had seen the dawn more often—as workers have had to do.’"

War, when all the fine speeches have been done with, and all the rhetoric finished, is simply the craft of man-butchering. It is with this that our essay is concerned.

The revolutionary organization must secure its own integrity. Stool pigeons and collaborators with the enemy must be exterminated. All organizations of the revolution must be united in this goal. The informer is the most dangerous weapon the security apparatus of the state possesses. The single act of a single informer may result in the death and imprisonment of hundreds of people and may undo the work of months or years. It must become widely known that informing is a hazardous occupation. The execution of an informer must be done in the most public possible way. The state will wish to suppress knowledge of the reason for the killing. The revolution must publicize it. The detection of informers is beset with problems. Under the conditions of high tension and secrecy that revolutionists operate in during such periods, suspicion becomes a disease endemic to the whole movement. Does a brother act a little differently, was he seen talking to a suspicious stranger, did we quarrel with him, does his personality grate on us? These and other causes may inspire totally unwarranted suspicions. Suspicion itself can immobilize revolutionary organizations. On the other hand, there have been instances of people who were actually in charge of the security arrangements of such organizations who have been agents of the enemy. Such persons have at times deliberately planted suspicions of guiltless brothers. In general it is well to be cautious in relationships with persons who operate on the fringes of the law, who are involved in quasi-legal enterprises which exist by the sufferance of the police. It is from this category that large numbers of common informers are drawn. They are peculiarly vulnerable to the inducements of the police.

I am disposed to believe, given the problem of informers, and the possibility of a few highly-placed enemy agents being able to seriously—possibly completely—disrupt a highly centralized organization, that the best organizational form for a struggle movement would be a large number of autonomous small groups, related to each other by a rather broad common ideology, rather than by tight organizational ties. I have no doubt that when things have developed to the point that national coordinated action is desirable and possible, they will have found ways of effectively communicating with each other. In this connection, altho West Germany is not a police state, within the scope of the meaning as used in these pages, the interview with Karl Dietrich, former president of the German S.D.S., which appeared in The Movement (April, ’69) is of interest:

"A decentralized organization can fight repression more effectively. When you cut off the formal head of a from-the-top-down organization, everything goes dead. If we were organized that way, they could stop us quite easily. And thirdly, because it’s a more efficient form for quick, massive organization. For instance, after they murdered Benno Olmesorg in 1967, the next morning there were mass demonstrations in 70 cities across West Germany. No centralized organization could have effectively organized that. It was done by a mass-conscious movement decentralized and organized at the base."

Representatives of student, trade union and national independence movements who aid the security police should be treated as Quislings and shot. The effort should be to create whole areas of the community in which there is—for reasons of love and fear—no collaboration with the enemy. The Polish underground was so successful in this that there is no record of a major Polish figure collaborating with the Nazis. The influence and areas of supremacy of the state should be constantly reduced until it effectively controls only the ground beneath the feet of its soldiers and police.

In terms of finances and armaments power is overwhelmingly on the side of the state. Revolutionary fighters should avoid large-scale confrontations with the state mercenaries—the odds are overwhelmingly against the revolutionist. Concentration should be on ambuscades, and lightning attacks in which the superiority of surprise and force is on the side of the revolution. The urban guerrilla should know large areas of the city in almost microscopic detail. He should constantly study the floor plans, exits, entrances, fire escapes, and utility tunnels in all major buildings, and in many places he should be familiar with all the lesser structures. Alleys, passageways between buildings, connected basements obscure sub-basements, the magnificent utility tunnels of the great cities should be his preoccupation. His flight from the scene of an action should be as precipitate and well-planned as the action itself. Meticulous planning results in success. In this respect he should take the famous American bank robber, John Dillinger, as his model. In urban warfare there are no foci, there are no guerrilla-held areas to which the popular warrior can retire to recoup his forces, rest and relax. There are only buildings and people. On every street corner, in every block there are representatives of the enemy. He functions in the bosom of the enemy. The guerrilla survives by being able to efface his presence, by becoming invisible to the multitude.

The revolutionary resistance must finance itself. Many of the normal avenues thru which revolutionary groups do this will be closed. Some money of course will be available from sympathizers, but in the main revolutionists will have to develop new resources. They will have to expropriate from the expropriators. The means of doing this will range from forgery, to bank robbery, thru to the direct seizure of goods—paper, printing supplies, explosives and armaments from police and military arsenals, etc. Petty robbery which will chiefly injure small people is to be avoided.

Each modern state claims a monopoly of violence and bitterly resists entrepreneurism in this field. In the police state the problem of the revolution is to arm itself, cut off as it is from legal channels for acquiring weapons. Fortunately there exist many common substances and materials from which weapons can be devised in a pinch. Nitrate fertilizer mixes with stove oil (ten percent stove oil—by volume) is said to result in an effective explosive. When working with explosives always use non-ferrous tools and exercise extreme caution. If you respect the right of your friends and neighbors to continue living do not use an apartment or a commune as an explosives factory. Many a would-be bomber has blown himself to eternity before he was able to trouble the world. Cord that has been soaked in a concentrated solution of water and nitrate fertilizer and permitted to dry will function as an adequate fuse. A mixture of ten percent Vaseline with ninety percent potassium chlorate is also, I am told, an explosive compound, as is a mixture of seventy-five percent potassium chlorate with twenty-five percent sugar. A compound composed of seventy-five percent potassium chlorate with twelve and one-half percent sulfur and twelve and a half carbon will produce interesting results. The above three mixtures may be detonated by placing them in contact with a glass container of nitrate acid blacked by a tight, well-fitting cork. The nitrate acid will eat through the cork and trigger the explosion. (See Appendix A for more on explosives and incendiary devices.) It cannot be too strongly stressed that explosives are often highly temperamental and should be compounded and handled with extreme care. Scores of normally inoffensive items of home and shop may be converted into projectiles, guns, explosives, etc. (Check Appendix A & B and the illustrated accompaniment.) For example, the hollow stem of many umbrellas is the exact caliber of a twenty-two cartridge. Do a little work with a hacksaw and you have a barrel for a twenty-two caliber tip gun. Most of these homemade devices should be regarded as supplements and not as substitutes for well-tooled and properly manufactured professional equipment. The latter will have to be obtained by raids as suggested above or by purchase. There are two main avenues for purchase: one is thru the underworld which always maintains a steady commerce in illegal weapons, and the other is thru venal soldiers. Most armies contain a certain number of men who are willing to sell state equipment for a fast profit.

The great strength of a highly industrialized society is also its great weakness. The more concentrated its industry, the more automated and cybernated, the more vulnerable it is. Bombs and sabotage can paralyze it in a way that no agrarian society can be disrupted. This advantage offsets many disadvantages that the urban guerrilla suffers from. Many of his actions can have a far greater impact than deeds of corresponding daring carried out by his agrarian brother. It is conceivable that a relatively small number of urban guerrillas operating in a highly advanced country could effectively disrupt the entire economy.

There will be times and circumstances when it will be possible to raise a whole section of a city in armed insurrection, or to seize and hold for a brief period an area of a metropolis. In general this is ill-advised. Such an area from being a strong point for the revolution is rapidly converted into a trap for revolutionists. The Easter Rebellion, or the Warsaw Ghetto rising were magnificent and inspiring examples of human courage and daring, but are hardly models of successful revolutionary action. (Of course, in the case of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising the only possible criticism of those poor and tortured people was that they did not rise sooner.) People who advocate such a course have more confidence than I in the humanitarian qualities of the bourgeoisie. The spiritual heirs of Thiers, of the butchers of Lidice, of the mass murderers of the population of Dresden, of the exterminators of the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, are quite capable of ringing such an area with tanks, and if expediency requires it, dive-bombing and napalming it out of existence.

Rather, such areas should be preserved as centers of opposition thru which the mercenaries of the oppressors march as men marching thru a fog of hostility, never daring to leave each other’s company for fear of remaining as corpses. Revolutionary warfare in the modern industrial state, in the urban state, is a war of attrition. It is a war whose goal is to increasingly isolate the enemy, to riddle his agencies with opponents, to constantly reduce the forces upon which he can rely, to demoralize, and finally to conquer from within and without his military forces.


NOTE The appendices which follow cannot be fitted into the Bulletins’ 8-page limitation imposed by postage costs. We’ll print as much as there’s room for, and continue them as supplementary materials with forthcoming Bulletins, as space allows. (LC)

[Transcriber’s Note: We have not transcribed the Appendices to this Seattle Group Bulletin. Only the titles appear below and in subsequent Bulletins.]

APPENDIX A [titles only]








[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 20, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

56. The Moral Implications of Anarchism—Davy Jones

(Reprinted from FREEDOM, June 18, 1969, at LC’s request. FREEDOM is published weekly by Freedom Press, 84a Whitechapel, High Street, Whitechapel E1, London.)

When I saw the title of Enoch Powell’s book, Freedom and Reality, I made a resolution: for at least a year I will try to avoid using the word "Freedom"—which is sadly overworked anyway—and instead load my conversation with the ponderous polysyllables of "Responsibility, Participation and Involvement". If I wish to move into a minor key I will substitute "Service, Aid and Compassion", or sing the blues with "Work, Play and Sorrow", and—very occasionally and strictly for pomp and circumstance stuff—chime out "Courage, Organisation and Sacrifice".

For to me Anarchism is more than a pragmatic approach to the whole problem of social organization; more than a devastating critique of authoritarian systems and ideas; and more than the searing flames of the coming revolution. It also provides me with a sound and scientific basis for a viable code of ethics—a set of standards which I can live up to without in any way denying my manhood, a vindication of common decency and all those humane attitudes which our enemies in the Communist Party scoff at and label "petty-bourgeois morality". I think it a pity, therefore, that although plenty of effort has been devoted to explaining the nature of libertarian opposition to the state and primitive rigid moral codes based on superstition, fear and ignorance (effort very well spent, I hasten to add), few people have found time to examine or develop fully the ethical implications of Anarchism.

Kropotkin, of course, was a notable exception and he was working on a sequel to Mutual Aid called Ethics when he died, but I can’t think this has ever been a popular work, it has always been difficult to obtain, and I doubt whether many people have read it. Yet the importance of the "Anarchist ethic" was emphasized by a remark made about Kropotkin by, I think, one of his scientific colleagues—anyway, not a comrade—to the effect that if everyone was like Peter Kropotkin then Anarchy would be the only possible system for the world. I am sure that this admiration was caused by the way that Kropotkin tried all his life to live completely in accordance with his anarchist convictions. Malatesta, too, won the love and respect of almost the entire Italian working class by his exemplary life and conduct.

I suppose everybody has their own pet hate when it comes to misrepresentation of Anarchism by the mass media. To many, the equation of Anarchy with chaos seems to act like a red rag to a bull, but the phrase I detest most is "irresponsible Anarchists", for, as I suggested in the first paragraph, Anarchism implies the assumption of more, not less responsibility. Decentralisation down to the basic units of common or local syndicate means that the people must make decisions on vital issues which are, at present, completely remote from them (e.g., housing, education, industrial development, production, transport, etc.), will have to rely on themselves to deal with any anti-social activity which threatens their community, and will have to provide and organize welfare services such as hospitals, schools, electricity and gas supplies, and communications which are, now, mainly the concern of the state.

Today, it is not uncommon to find Anarchists involved in such things as the peace movement, civil rights in Ireland, industrial disputes, helping the homeless and the travelling community, tenants’ associations, etc.—And this seems to me inevitable and natural, because not only are Anarchists not "irresponsible" but what they believe leads them to be concerned with social problems, and committed to making life more bearable and fulfilling for people in general. It’s true most of us believe our place is in the street, challenging what we know to be wrong and unjust, but this is more responsible and more adult behavior than hiding behind drawn curtains and letting TV blind us to what is going on just outside our front door. It is also a good deal more enjoyable, for Man being a social creature, it follows that his happiness is bound up with the happiness of others, his freedom connected with the freedom of all. Disaffiliation and alienation on the other hand, complete apathy or selfishness on the other, can never lead to a life more satisfying than one lived according to the age-old principles of Mutual Aid and Solidarity—the very essence of Anarchism.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(I must note my cavils:—can Mr. Jones really mean "denying his manhood"? I’d rather think he means his humanity, and are my old friends in the CP really my enemies now! No, not yet, tho perhaps they will be after our common enemies are overthrown. But in the context of his statement, those are side issues.—LC)

[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 21, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

57. What Does it Take to Stop a War—1969—George Crowley

This Sunday morning of November 16, 1969 is an hour for decisions. Millions of concerned Americans are, like myself, forced by rapidly shifting events of the past month to re-evaluate their position. We must review our actions in relation to a new era; our deepest values in relation both to an exploding horizon of human potential for a vastly superior quality of life and to an ever-accelerating plunge of this society toward political, cultural, and environmental catastrophe; our table of social priorities in relation to a new stage of living history. Hopefully, in the hours and days just ahead many will state their decision; perhaps someone will communicate on a frequency that Richard Nixon cannot ignore.

I accept the designation as an "Old Radical". I ask no halo for those comrades at whose side I have grown gray in ongoing confrontation to mitigate the misery which results from man’s atrocities against his fellow humans. Yet the very real gains of our lifetime have been far greater than may be realized by a generation that takes for granted the chain effects of collective bargaining, wage, hour and industrial safety laws, work-injury and unemployment compensation, and a complex of welfare legislation that established an ever-rising floor below which living standards need not sink. By the same token, I will not don sackcloth for even an instant over the dreams that soured or the battles lost. Movements, organizations, and individuals, we of the "Old Left" did our thing as we saw it. The result was not good enough, yet the platform we built rises high above that on which we assembled three and four decades ago. A new left has assembled upon that platform. I salute you ALL.

While a new generation defines the goals in new terms, while new directions call forth fresh strategy, while the tactics of a new milieu are being perfected, you and I and the veterans of many confrontations past who greeted each other in the street this past week have a historic responsibility to cover the movement. It little matters whether the banner under which we rally is black, red, or pastel pink; the issues thus symbolized will be resolved in the months ahead. For the present we are the common bridge of living history, the transmitters of a revolutionary tradition that passes above factional storms past and present. If we fail this mandate we are indeed political carrion and the sewer our proper destiny. We could not prevent some impetuous weathermen from acting imprudently (outrageously, if you will); they took their bruises; their critics will be legion; if your memory is so dimmed that you no longer remember the type of impatience which drove them I extend my compassion to your senility. Our immediate task is to assure that among the lessons they learn is to differentiate between the living solidarity of the revolutionary and the empty rhetoric of the bureaucrat. I invite suggestions how we may best mount support for their defense.

The long-range goals of the present "Movement" are varied and fluid: I have mine, you have yours, some of the young people have some that I only dimly comprehend. The need is urgent for all the positions on the left to restate their basic thesis in the terms of the present living reality of our own communities. For without this clearcut direction the dynamic of social frustration will dissipate in meaningless and wasted riot rather than become the driving force of revolutionary change.

We can agree that the tactic employed by Weatherman in recent events can only be described as stupid. The example of the event here on November 14 will suffice. This demonstration was called by its sponsors as a visible headcount of those committed to end the damnable war in Viet Nam. The committed revolutionary certainly had a qualitative obligation to add his presence to the affair even if he had reservations about its effectiveness; yet in so doing he entered a coalition to which every significant tendency of the movement had gathered in the neutrality of an overriding shared purpose. In endangering the tenuous solidarity of the demonstration by acts that were a gross outrage to that neutrality, weathermen impeached the bond of their revolutionary integrity, generated mistrust that can easily jeopardize their survival, and added fuel to the already serious internecine strife that has debilitated the American movement for over a decade.

Many of the people who turned out for that event had no other common denominator than an opposition to the war at this time; the outbreak on Fourth Avenue scared the hell out of these people. If they are thereby inhibited from participating in some future support, the loss was pointless.

A significant contingent of those who marched were committed to a rejection of violence in any form; the outbreak was as serious an affront to their commitment as, say, the introduction of a religious ritual would have been to mine. For the revolution to betray its allies is fatal.

In retrospect, the exchange of the freedom, for even an hour, of eleven comrades for seven irrelevant windows is a great debasement of human worth.

Enough of throwing bricks at ourselves—the carnage in Viet Nam goes on; every hour of even "minimal" continuation is more costly than the total violence of the End-the-War movement.

When the government of the United States undertook "technical assistance" to protect the riff-raff and debris of the disintegrating French empire in Southeast Asia from the natural wrath of its own people, I protested. I wrote all the proper people and signed all the significant petitions. It was to no avail.

At the time of the American intrusion into the internal affairs of the Dominican Republic by force and the simultaneous escalation in Viet Nam, I drafted a long and detailed letter, pointing out how our continuing plunge toward militarism was destructive to our stature as a nation in the community of nations; how the developing Warfare State was catastrophic to the internal economy and public morals of this nation. In due time I received a routine acknowledgement from a clerk in the State Department that my position had been noted but that other opinions had prevailed. The same delivery brought a notice of income tax investigation from the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Since I had consistently filed the short form with standard deductions, the only variable that was available to question was the number of dependent children I claimed. They wanted me to prove that my four children (all born in hospitals within two miles of this house) actually existed (although all four were then enrolled in neighborhood public schools) whether these children were actually dependent upon my wages for their support. Since that time, I have written, signed, participated in demonstrations, rallies, meetings, vigils, and what-have-you. It has been to no avail.

One year ago an election was held. A new president was elected who was pledged to bring a speedy end to the war in Viet Nam. Today, peace is further away than it was then. We have just completed the greatest demonstration of them all. That president registered his contempt for our effort by going to a ball game. Even as I write, his flunkies have taken to the airwaves to point out that the people have a privilege to register their sentiments in this manner but the government is under no more obligation to respond to the public will than it is bound by the electoral mandate. It was announced that the administration would, in fact, ignore all such demonstrations of the people. We have gone a full circle; what now?

Writing in early 1966 (Seattle Group Bulletin #14) I noted that this war would, in the ultimate, end when the people refused to fight it. Since that time, thousands of young men have refused to serve the war machine. The desertion rate in our nation’s armed forces is a matter of international note. The number of persons in exile and prisons has risen to a point where international humanitarian organizations take note of the problem.

Across the nation, tens of thousands of other young people have abdicated their opportunities for education and career rather than become party, even indirectly, to the slaughter. It has not been effective enough.

On the 7th of this month I ended my employment with the Northern Pacific Railroad, 17 years short of retirement. The reasons set forth in my open letter of resignation cited the misuse of the process of cybernating the industry to destroy the work relation that made railroading a worthwhile career, the continuing deterioration of the quality of life enjoyed by those employed in the industry, and the refusal of both the carrier and the entrenched union leadership to take note of an consider seriously the new types of demands being set forth by the young people in the industry. At a community level, the end of this senseless war is the imperative first step to approaching the problems noted above. I will not engage in further economically significant labor till peace is restored, even though I become reduced to a public charge against the Welfare State.

To those of you who share my abhorrence to the need for a more violent revolution of this need for peace now, I urgently commend this ultimate register of legal dissent for immediate consideration. I address this appeal for particular consideration by those of my own age and slightly older. Your children have either left home or soon will do so. On the job, you are one, perhaps two, steps away from the ultimate level you are going to reach. The house and appendages you acquire as a base to raise a family and/or to maintain a career-front will seem to be a millstone. You have long since met the minimal social security requirements. Every year that you and your mate share in emancipation at this point will be worth several that you might or might not have a decade hence. Those early, half-forgotten aspirations that molded your life concern can now be approached with a go-for-broke commitment not possible in earlier years—this is your last hurrah. Conversely, each of you who cleans out his desk or packs up his tool-chest delivers a jar in the war machine many times that of a younger person. Think about it.

Time has run out for well over a million human beings in Viet Nam. They are very irreversibly dead. I must ask my friends who espouse the cause of total non-violence to search their consciences very carefully. The hour approaches swiftly when the last hope of compelling the power-mad cabal in Washington to end this war reasonably will fade. Extermination of nearly all life in five nations of Southeast Asia will be the price of this failure. After you have registered your strongest protest and transmitted your most earnest prayer, what then? Can you stand by while your son, nephew, or the kid next door is dragged away to the slaughter pen! Will not some of that blood be upon your hands? It seems to me that at this time we must honestly face the fact that that property which represents power to destroy, those materials that are prepared to further human destruction, must and should be sought out and willfully destroyed. Are you not your brother’s keeper?

My militant young friends whose patience is already exhausted must likewise set themselves some very pointed questions. I share with you a difficulty in considering the individual who willfully hires himself as the executioner in defense of the power of property as related to the rest of humanity. Be he Mafioso or Seattle Police, Pinkerton or Sheriff’s Deputy, Burns or FBI, he becomes a hunting predator who destroys on command. He is an insult to either Sus or Homo, without natural counterpart. Nor can I feel the same compassion for that person who deprives another of his life or substance for his own gratification or aggrandizement as I do for the rest of humanity. Nevertheless I must remind you that the power of the ruling class lies not in their hirelings but in their property. The revolutionary movement can easily extinguish itself in a one-to-one exchange of life with the rulers’ near-endless supply of mercenaries. If blows must be struck let them be at the specific forms of property which generate power to the ruling class, of which the great masses of humanity have none against which there can be any retaliation. The authoritarian state takes its prerogatives of privilege with deadly seriousness. Never play games or you will find yourself dead.

The war in Viet Nam must end now. How this is to come about rests with those who hold the authority. The hour of decision is upon us. And you —-!!


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With the November Moratorium marches over, Nixon has reiterated his government’s commitment to "democracy" as it has been officially redefined by recent administrations: scornful tolerance of the peaceable expression of dissent through established and harmless methods. See: we’re democratic; we let you march. See: you’re free: you are allowed to march along the route for which, in consideration of reasonable guarantees of your good behavior, we grant you a permit.

But democracy also involves a government’s responsiveness to the expressed will of the people. Nixon and Co. intend us to forget that, because in remembering, we’re likely to recognize the stages by which the United States of America ceased to be a democracy.

That simple recognition could clear up, instantly, a lot of the debilitating confusion that currently besets the peace movement. Once we understand that the traditional forms by which citizens of a democracy impress their will upon the policy of a government responsible to it are without effect on a government that has repudiated that responsibility, we can see that the contract which bound us to behave in predictable, conventional manner has already been broken, in a way for which we bear no liability.

Accepting the flexibility of language, I herewith propose that the word "violence" also needs updating and clarification—that violence, as such, is an act that can only be perpetuated against sentient, living tissue. Windows, commodities, war materiel, etc., being inanimate things without feeling, cannot be hurt or killed—they can only be damaged or destroyed; therefore, they cannot be the objects of violence. If the process of their destruction inflicts no injury to life, it should not be considered a violent act. It might, on occasion, be imprudent or ill-advised, indeed reprehensible—but should not be indiscriminately lumped with rape, murder, and brutality in a term that, by wrongly loading it with the implication of contempt for life and the rights of our fellow creatures, traps us into denying ourselves a potent implement for effectuating our desire to end this war.


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[Transcriber’s note: Here, as well, we have not transcribed the text and drawings. Only the titles are reproduced below.]




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[Handwritten at the bottom]

NOTE: we’re in the process of revising our mailing list. if you want to stay on it but didn’t send in your coupon, drop us a postcard.

[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 22, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

58. Their Revolution or Ours!—Barbara Garson

I work at the shelter half, a coffee-house for G.I.s, in Tacoma. If you’ve ever run Mom and Pop’s candy store, you know half our problems. (Buying supplies, mopping up, recording sales tax, and running to the bank to deposit the money you borrowed to fix the car before the ice cream dealer can cash the check you gave him late Friday afternoon.) And if you’ve ever worked in an organizing project like down south with SNCC in the old days, you know the other half of our problems. (The staff house is bombed, the health inspector’s coming, a suspicious number of birchers hanging around last night, get out a real heavy publicity campaign so they’ll drop charges against the thirty-five guys arrested for holding a meeting on base, get a lawyer out to base quick for this guy who’s being held for distributing papers, and talk—talk—talk—to guys who know much better than you what’s wrong with their lives and why, try to get them to meetings, start them making their own leaflets, give them a sense that anything can happen.)

When we started the movement left us alone, except for sending down free newspapers—thousands of them—more than could line all the garbage cans on Fort Lewis army base and McChord air-force base combined.

But lately we’ve been getting more visits from movement celebrities, old friends from San Francisco, even some Seattle Weathermen blow in now and then. They plant their Viet-Cong flags at the door, make some noise to arouse the assembled peat-bog soldiers and sometimes ask us what’s been happening.

I point to the guy typing in the corner. He had so little sense of himself he even re-enlisted two years ago for lack of anything else to do. One day in a fit of sanity he just refused to follow orders. He took my baby to "work" with him one morning at 6:00 a.m. I was a bit reluctant but he won me with his political line. "I’ll just say, ‘This woman has important things to do while I’m just standing around playing army. Why should a woman be tied down twenty-four hours a day just because she has a child!’" So I sent the kid and like any 1½ -year-old, she can undermine the authority, deflate the discipline of any officer.

I might tell our visitors about the thirty-five guys who were arrested for holding a union meeting in the music room. I tell them about how the guys were isolated and threatened yet no one would answer questions or give information about "leaders". Every one stood together including two guys who just happened to be in the music room when the meeting occurred around them.

I tell how 4,500 copies of the Fort Lewis paper FED-UP found their way onto base despite the fact that it’s illegal to distribute on base. I try to explain to my would-be terrorist friends about the underground web that can’t be untangled because it has no threads. Just everyone do what he can and don’t ask what anyone else is doing.

Or I might just tell them to listen in on a conversation:... so the sergeant gets this guy up on a platform and says, "O.K., tell em why you won’t buy a bond", and the guy says, "The war sucks and I’m not going to pay for it". "O.K.", the sergeant says, "everyone down and we’ll just do push-ups till this guy decides to buy the bond." So we all get down and we’re doing push-ups and a few gung-ho guys—there’s maybe six or seven in the whole company—are shouting, "But the bond!" And the sergeant asks again,, "You gonna buy the bond?" and the guy answers "No". Then somebody just gets up—I’m still not sure who—and other guys started to get up, and I got up, and we all got up. And someone walks over to the guy who won’t buy a bond and shakes his hand and then there was a line of us all shaking his hand and patting him on the back. And that was it! We didn’t hear any more about bonds, and no more push-ups and no mass punishments in that company for the whole rest of basic.

Most of the time our visitors are extremely unimpressed. "The brown, the yellow, the black, the third world people (or peoples) of the world are hurling bombs back at the Americans, knocking their jets out of the sky and you’re talking about bombarding them with babies. While imperialism dominates three-fourths of the earth you’re talking about grievances like being forced to buy bonds, or being woken up at four in the morning."

In fact, I think our activities contribute as substantially as any front of the movement to the victory of the NLF. We provide the moral justification for soldiers who stayed high and hid throughout their tour in Nam. If men ever turn their guns on their officers and decide themselves to fly the planes and ships home, it will be because they learned in basic that you can refuse orders and get away with it if you act together.

I am mightily unimpressed by the third world and anti-imperialism. First on a tactical level, even the Viet-Cong don’t try to make revolution on the basis solely of anti-imperialism. When they take over a village they off the landlords, build schools and hospitals and try, within their limited means, to create something they consider socialism. They not only kick out the Americans, but they leave something people might fight to defend.

Just as a tactical matter, we are not going to have either a revolution or a revolt in the army unless people are fighting for something they themselves want.

Sometimes my militant visitors see the point and agree that it might be all right to add a bit about "G.I. Rights" to our general anti-imperialist platform. But when they find out my objections are more than just tactical, we lose them forever (if we’re lucky. If not they stick around to denounce us.)

The poor countries of this world offer no model for the revolution we want to make. They do show us that someday we will have to fight with guns and with our lives against capitalism. But on the questions of how to fight, and when to fight, and most of all what to fight for, they shed no light.

Most of the unindustrialized countries are lousy places to live both before and after their revolutions. There is no respect for democracy, there’s a great stress on uniformity, there’s tremendous differences in power and wealth among people. Yes of course I’m for their revolutions. When people are fighting to throw out foreign domination, when they’re trying to reorganize things so they won’t starve and their children won’t stare listless and wasted by diseases, of course I’m with them.

But starvation, foreign domination, disease, overwork, these aren’t the problems that will move Americans to risk their lives. Societies like China, Albania, Korea, Algeria are no more alluring to normal, decent Americans than, say, the Soviet Union which, thank heaven, no new leftists have thus far re-discovered like they are rediscovering so much other crap.

In an apparent mood of militancy, the left is attaching itself to the third world as though all they could see for themselves as revolutionists is a fifth column role inside the mother country—an annoying tummy-ache in the "belly of the monster". When it comes to describing what we’re fighting for, by default, all that’s being projected is an image of 700,000,000 Chinese marching in step.

I think the reason the third world has such an allure is because they are the only people really fighting. And in the movement at large there is a big hang-up about fighting. There’s a whole non-violent phase to get over. Many Weathermen were explicit in saying that their action in Chicago was to show blacks and Mexicans that white middle-class Americans can fight too.

The G.I. movement never really had these hang-ups. Most of the young men I meet are neither pacifists nor would they enjoy playing soldier just for the fun of it. A fellow who said he was a revolutionary pacifist was laughed off at a G.I. conference in Washington. At the same time, having nothing to prove about themselves, most G.I.s, like most Americans, like most people in the world, will only fight for something.

It is time that anarchist and libertarian socialist thinkers started sending into the movement solid (or even airy) images of the world "afterwards" which we are fighting for. Militants must become unashamed to bring forward the feelings of alienation which tossed them into the struggle which they now believe to be a struggle for the Vietnamese or Chinese masses.

I don’t know exactly how and when we will bring down capitalism. And I’m not exactly certain what society will look like afterwards. But I know one of the key concepts will be a society where no human is being used for someone else’s profit, where no one’s labors are forced or exploited. Capitalism can probably meet any demand but the total end of exploitation.

The military makes a very blatant effort to turn men into tools. When I see guys standing up and saying collectively, "You can’t use us", I know my organizing must be going in the right direction. This is true when they say I won’t go on riot-control, I won’t fight in Viet Nam, but it is also true when they say I won’t grovel on my belly, I won’t buy a bond, I will go home when my baby is being born.

An army with the attitudes I wish to nurture can not be used to fight imperialist wars. So I am not too concerned about the charge that we are ignoring our obligation to the oppressed of the earth. I am much more worried that the hollow anti-imperialist slogans of our movement create an image of freedom for which people will (or should) fight.


NOTE: The Shelter Half Coffee House runs on a ridiculous hand-to-mouth basis. Please send donations to Shelter Half Coffee House, P.O. Box 244, Tacoma, Washington, 98409. Civilians who would like to subscribe to the G.I. paper FED-UP may send $5.00 for a year’s subscription to FED-UP, P.O. Box 414, Tacoma, Washington, 90409.

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Very fascinating—your Bulletin 55. What the hell are you going to do with us dummies who never got beyond the 8th grade. We try some of your formulas and we could get very dead—or badly scorched.

So here are a couple of ideas for them as can’t read too good—O.K. These are slower but not dangerous to the operator.

For a time bomb set up as many large cans of fruit juice—1 1/2 quart—as you think it will take to bust up what you want busted—unopened—over a briquette fire—well concealed. Walk away—you will have about 30 minutes. For instance, in a new unfinished building.

(2) Take a book of matches and pull one off, force the busted end into the heads of the rest of the book—tie a short string to the other side—light the single match. When it turns up to the rest of the book it will burn the string and drop the book into any prepared material below—You don’t get much time this way bus, this can be varied to give you more time. Gum, thumb-tack, or use your own way of fastening the book where it will do the most good.

Don’t forget the crossbow—cheap—does not have to be registered—yet—very deadly—very accurate...


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[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 22, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

59. Untitled Critique #1—G.A.N.

Women’s liberation is a much-abused issue in the left; men snicker and women, when they make the attempt, seek reform, not changes terribly relevant to revolution. Groups from SDS factions to the WITCHes mouth essentially dated reformism. They’re at best weak echoes of the CP, the Trots, and the IWW with their rather passe efforts to organize, for example, the working and middle classes. (If these classes are defined as being firmly entrenched in reactionary ideology, it is conveniently forgotten that these groups are also comprised of women.) The myopic concern with job equality, civil rights, black nationalism and the "confrontation" of imperialism at home and abroad neatly evades not only women’s "unfreedom" but the abundance of "unfreedom" existing unbridled in the movement itself.

Anarchists and surrealists, when they speak of "total freedom" and meaningful changes in everyday life, should on the whole be a lot more honest in regards to the evolution of male-female relations among themselves and the rest of the left. They haven’t done a great deal to dispel, for instance, the super-mystical image of the child-like virgin-whore in surrealism or the movement, either. (Breton’s "Nadja" is a beautiful but pitiful "variation") or done much else but talk, if that, about the nature and quality of sexual competition. The air they breathe somehow exempts them from confronting such "mundane" aspects of pre-revolutionary culture. The same old trivia prevails, maintained by both men and women alike. In answer to the nit-pickers, there are of course exceptions; we have all experienced or seen them flash by. But there are unfortunately not enough of these moments to create a significant upheaval in the thoughts and actions of the "majority" in the movement.

The left smacks of reactionary politics from the PL group to the anarchist commune—take your pick. The REVOLUTION is considered to be more important than the freedom of any individual or grouping in it; thus, down with freedom, up with bureaucracy. The individual cannot be permitted to function as such but must be suppressed and manipulated by the whole. It only follows, then, that women certainly cannot be allowed and will not allow themselves to agitate on any grand scale in the quest for the freedom of their intellects, their sexuality and their imaginations. Men in the left will retort that we are all oppressed and suppressed (especially sexually, with support from Freud and Marcuse, etc., if you hadn’t noticed by now) by the SYSTEM. (The dropout and alternative society seems to disappear, somehow, at this point.) What they really fear is the loss of all that free pussy and good cooking if they happen to be living with a woman. Women fear... being ALONE eventually... Being accepted on little more than a sexual basis most of your life is not an especially pleasing prospect, as many women find out after their first dozen or so encounters. The fleeting one-night stand is often not that satisfying even in terms of orgasm, because men are not the lovers they’re cracked up to be. So, some women, rather than reduce themselves to mere receptacles, prefer their aloneness and the self-respect that goes with it. Another way is, of course, to adopt the callous, shallow, and affected posture of the male ego, but that’s easier than attempting any profound transformations (and they take longer, too).

Marvin Garson, who appears to be a total shit personally in his attitudes toward women, did make some worthwhile statements in an article on the sexual struggle, in the summer of ’68. He points out that too many radicals spend their time in petty sexual involvements, fleeing from one dark corner to another while waiting "gracefully" for the system to fall down around them. This is very true but must be carried further. The black nationalists, for example, have the situation in control—for now—but what will happen when their manhood will have been "bestowed" upon them once more! Although changes in attitude are coming about, a lot of the left is still licking black ass. In general, movement men sit back rubbing their sweaty hands together while the women parade their wares—to one another, too—and fight it out with neither one sex or the other doing anything to stop it. (If your hair is long and you wear the right clothes, that helps.) The men hope to make it with the "winner" and the "loser" while the women struggle harder than ever to be the "cuddly chick"—ugh!!! Then, there are always the younger girls coming into the movement who are fine pickings for watchful anarchist, SDS, (you name it) lovers. On the question of children, some women refuse to have them as a protest and those who go ahead and take the plunge often "escape" into motherhood; thus, no need to fight a husband’s (if they’re married) sexual ego at home and on the prowl. This arrangement is usually fine with him too, as other women allow him to keep on bolstering his fantasies about his prick.

The search for sexual freedom is certainly a vital and necessary part of revolution. Movement people have been running around for years yelling "Look at me, I’m nude and I can fuck, too." My response out of desperation is, "So what?" In the past year, numerous anarchist-communalists who haven’t managed to drag the sexual struggle beyond its most rudimentary expression have presumed to teach others with their depressing examples of group sex, stamping out the exhilaration that could be the shimmering essence of group sexual experimentation. Movement politics have taken a reactionary "turn for the worse"; the sexual "revolution" cannot even claim that distinction. It has remained stagnant since the sexual dam broke and everyone began "doing it". One reason the UAW/MF did not survive is that individuals were purposively frustrated in any effort to particularize their affections. Again, for the nit-pickers, this does not in any way negate the impact of the UAW/MF and what they accomplished, nor does it berate communal living as a potential life style. (The position of women in the MF group left much to be desired, by the way, and petty sexual brow-beating at the Black River conference, for instance, was ridiculous.) Breton was and is more to the point than anyone when he wrote: "The social error, which can be remedied only by the destruction of the very economic basis of present-day society, derives from the fact that the initial choice in love is not permitted, really permitted except to the very degree that it tends exceptionally to prevail in an atmosphere of non-choice extremely hostile to its victory". Need the left continue to perpetuate this atmosphere of "non-choice"!

An appalling number of women radicals, hippies, (and middle-class liberals and movie-stars, too—be sure to take note of the range of types involved) have retreated to the fortress of MOTHERHOOD, making it into a sacred ground where one dare not tread for fear of unleashing a never-ending barrage of sanctimonious ravings. Needless to say, this protective armor began in defiance of the system’s totalitarian oppression. The parents, in attempting to create an atmosphere of freedom for their children have only succeeded for the most part in imprisoning potential revolutionaries in their own insecurities and problems. The Germans who recently "un-toilet trained" their 3-5-year-old children in the guise of furthering their liberation just didn’t have the guts to shit on the floor themselves. They have visited their unfulfilled desires for destruction upon fresh, inventive minds, moulding them into monstrous, deceitfully manipulative brats who will find a truly liberating pre-revolutionary culture more than they can cope with. In other words, beyond the initial rebellion, not much has been accomplished in the "sexual revolution". Why maintain the building of an alternative society at a destructive level? If limitations are going to exist, let them not be those of the society we are seeking to annihilate. Must passion, imagination, and the exploration of alternatives be cast off with the skin of repression during the metamorphosis! Certainly we are going to destroy the institutions of oppression, but the family, the revolutionary family for example, with other forms of affinity groups, is viable and must exist along side of any other grouping of individuals in an anarchist society. "Monogamy", according to Engels (not marriage), "Will for the first time be achieved..." and Breton, ". But his love, bearer of the greatest hopes which have been expressed in art for centuries, will not be kept from triumphing in the new conditions of life."

The freedom to be or not to be accepted in a pre-revolutionary society is then the question for each individual caught up in its building. But... acceptable to what, and to whom? It seems to me that the worth and validity of Freud’s theories would be in rendering them invalid and as soon as possible!! Marcuse, despite his contributions, did not portray in his "Essay on Liberation", a particularly exciting or passionate man and woman in the utopia which most radicals will admit is foreseeable in the near future. The attempts to describe a new society and its workings fall short when envisioning human potential. The left has proven to be pitifully inept at creating the realm of transition required to promote the flourishing of the post-revolutionary individual. They are still punishing themselves in the stifling breath of Freudian terminology guilt, evasion, and the frustration of political theories and practices which only shackle them further to what they purport to have rejected. Will they never smash the mirror that continues to flash the image of their repressed egos into their eyes?


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IMPORTANT! The Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board is meeting Jan. 22 to put the Shelter Half off limits. 11:00 A.M. at Sand Point Naval Air Station.

The Shelter Half is putting the Army on trial Jan. 21. 8:00 P.M., Hub Ballroom, University of Washington.


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[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 22, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]

60. Interview with an Anarcho-Pacifist

[Reprinted from SPARK (c/o Leitze, 7724 N. Marshfield, Chicago, Illinois, 60626) Volume 2, Number 10. Spark’s sub rate is $6 a year, but only $2 to students, G.I.s, and other oppressed people. Reprint proposed by G.H.C., M.B., D.DC., and L.C.]

Joffre Steward, Chicago-born poet and anarcho-pacifist, served eighteen months in the Army and received a medical discharge after he became converted to pacifism and refused to obey orders or to speak. He renounced his citizenship in 1950 and has become one of the world’s leading flag-burners, often burning several flags (American, Russian, Chinese, et cetera) during a speech or poetry reading. Mr. Stewart has been arrested about twenty-eight times, which he breaks down as follows: four times for violation of Army regulations or draft laws, "about twelve times" for civil-rights or pacifist activities, and "about twelve times" for "walking on the street while being black".

SPARK: Why do you want anarchy? Isn’t that what we have today—chaos, confusion, everybody at cross purposes?

JOFFREE: This question shows that the greatest failure of the anarchists, from the educational angle, is that they haven’t attacked the semantic problem. Anarchists would do well to form an Anarchist Anti-Defamation League. Straightening out the meaning and use of the word would be perhaps the most immediately valuable thing they could do. One reason why anarchism is such a misunderstood and maligned term is that anarchism is really into the freedom thing, and nothing threatens the status quo like a genuine concept of freedom. When I have given talks to explain anarchism I have burned the page of Webster’s dictionary which supposedly defines anarchism. If you are going to straighten people out about anarchism you have to start straightening them out about the dictionary. Now the Greek word archon translates as ruler and the prefix a- or an- signifies the negative, so anarchy means no ruler, no rulership. The general idea is that people can get along much better without this phenomenon of rule, of authority, of command, than they can get along with it. Thus, it does not signify chaos, but signifies a true harmony. The State is based on force and violence, and the function of force and violence is to get people to do things they don’t want to do. And these are usually wrong things, like maintaining the status quo with all its wrongs, the military establishment, the property system, rent-paying, tax-paying, et cetera.

SPARK: But isn’t some kind of socialism the answer—instituting social controls for the benefit of all the people instead of a privileged minority? Doesn’t this make more sense than trying to get rid of all controls whatsoever?

JOFFRE: The idea of anarchism is to get people in control of their own lives. Now if this is going to happen it means that we have to get rid of the mechanisms which are set up to control people. Such mechanisms are what most people mean by the State. They are certainly what most Marxists mean by the State. Most people who use the word socialism mean use of the State to control. When people have control over themselves, what we have is voluntarism and co-operation. Anarchism equals co-operation equals freedom. This can only happen by getting rid of the State. What I am advocating is not a democratic thing, it is an anti-democratic thing, a contractic thing. Democracy still contains the unnegated root —crat, from kratos, meaning rule.

Now co-operation as a macro-social phenomenon is not understood. The concept is completely lost on a lot of people. If people don’t understand co-operation, they do not understand how to be free. Or if they think that co-operation can be mixed up with the idea of democracy, they don’t know what freedom is all about. Because democracy, just as much as any other —cracy or —archy, means cops, courts, jails, taxes, armies, twisting people’s arms, beating them up, snatching their property, throwing them in jail—in other words, the opposite of co-operation.

SPARK: But we have to have a State, a government of some kind. History shows that.

JOFFRE: Six to ten thousand years of history is enough to show that the State is a means of the few manipulating the many. Of some people dominating others. Where anarchists clash most strongly with Marxists is that Marxists believe you can get a non-coercive system by coercing people. Marxists want the State. They want to twist people’s arms and thus introduce society into a period of freedom. It won’t work. It can’t work. This is what they mean by a period of transition. It’s just a trap. Every year the Russian revolution gets older, I think the weight of my argument gets stronger.

SPARK: But what about human nature? Even if anarchism is a positive goal in your mind, isn’t it an unrealistic one? Wouldn’t people tear each other apart or at least mercilessly exploit the weaker if it weren’t for the restraint of government, laws, policemen, et cetera?

JOFFRE: Nothing is more necessary than a non-violent revolution against authority that would yield a Stateless, classless, non-racial society on a basis of free love. My religion is not realism if realism means jail, being beaten up by police, and stuff like that. It’s nothing I want to live by. Now the bomb is a very real thing. The risk of ABC war—not just nuclear but atomic, bacteriological, and chemical warfare as they think of it in the Pentagon—this risk can only be obviated through anarchy. That means through getting rid of the State, getting rid of that which organizes people for war. This is anarchist realism. If you want peace, if you want to stay alive, if you want to live in freedom, it means getting rid of the State, of all authoritarian arrangements.

Where most people get hung up is that they think of human nature as they know of it in America, or perhaps only in the big cities of America, and then they generalize. They have no anthropological information that would demonstrate the varieties of ways people could live without a State. A recent English work entitled "Tribes Without Rulers" points to what anarchists are talking about. Here we have whole groups of people—a tribe can be ten thousand people—who live without the phenomenon of rule. These people are as human as we are.

Americans are more afraid of each other than they are of the Russians or anybody else. That’s the fact that’s behind such questions about "human nature", and the suggestion that people would go at each others’ throats as soon as the brakes—cops, courts, jails, et cetera—were taken off. I don’t know what to say about that directly except to expose it.

Another thing people don’t realize is that there is a connection between the means you use to change society and the resulting society itself. No deus ex machina is going to accomplish the change toward freedom. This means that people themselves are going to have to engage in non-violent actions which are contrary to and contradictory to the legal establishment.

SPARK: What kind of actions do you have in mind?

JOFFRE: People should renounce citizenship. I myself renounced citizenship around Nagasaki Day 1950, declaring myself a stateless person of the world. They should stop paying taxes and allowing themselves to be drafted. They should stop walking when arrested. They should stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the Star-Spangled Banner. Another way of demonstrating is by burning or desecrating the flag to signify No State. A consistent position also entails not pleading in court. I consider it beneath my dignity to "plead" in court. It means not going into court except for the purpose of showing contempt of court. It is contempt of court simply to behave as the equal of the judge. These are some of the basic things which must be done. In these ways you are undoing the key institutions of the status quo. It is also very necessary to experiment with co-operative alternatives.

New social conditions also can give new possibilities for the development of character. Insofar as people have become more non-violent in the process of dis-obediently retiring the political system they take pressures off each other, giving character a chance to form itself without being warped.

SPARK: But if people want this freedom you describe, if they are capable of it, why is it that they seem to submit themselves voluntarily to authority, seem to crave it over them, seem afraid to take in the responsibility for their own lives that your version of anarchy would entail?

JOFFRE: People don’t know the alternatives to authority. This voluntary subjection is also partly because of language habits. The language takes it for granted—this submission to authority. These language habits are engrained in liberalism and the liberal attitude. But one can also criticize many of the current Movement leaflets. For instance, here is one called "No More Hiroshimas". A quote from the back page: "... a trillion dollars and many lives later we are engaged in a bloody war in Vietnam." Well, "we" are not engaged in a bloody war in Vietnam, if only because I am not engaged in such a war. I am a Stateless person, having renounced citizenship. If you are in a war in Vietnam, at this distance, it is because you identify with the State. I quote again "... that all our troops be brought home immediately." They aren’t "our" troops since as a pacifist I don’t have any troops and won’t have any. Also the passive voice "be brought" implies that the troops should stay in Vietnam until someone over here in the White House pulls them out. This statement implies that armies should be maintained. The person who wrote this obviously didn’t have any fundamental criticism of keeping armies. An anarchist position would be addressed not to the government, but to the troops—to break ranks and return themselves home as free men against the State!

There are two other main concepts which have to be destroyed: patriotism and respectability. Neither comes under attack nearly enough. After two world wars with some eight million killed in one and up to ninety million in the other... Patriotism is the cover story for these ninety-eight million deaths and all the war-related deaths since then. If concepts like patriotism are not attacked and exposed and put down, it means that people’s minds are still in the authority bag without their even thinking about it. As for respectability, Wilhelm Reich points out in "The Sexual Revolution" and "The Mass Psychology of Fascism" that sexual repression of the growing child is part of the training to accept authority, part of the discipline for submission and for not trusting your own resources. Sexual freedom is thus part of undoing the whole authority thing, part of undoing the vassal character structure which keeps people in line.

I regard anarchism as the theory of pacifism, pacifism as the theory of anarchism. But it’s not just a matter of ideas. The ideas of Jesus, Lao Tse, et cetera have been around two thousand years and longer, and we’re still stuck with cops, courts, jails, taxes, and wars.

Actually, Jesus was an anarchist—a terrific anarchist. He was not Christ. He was anti-Christ. Christ is a Greek word meaning king, ruler. Jesus rejected this. He spoke out directly against authority. In Mark 10;42 and 43 he says: "They which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you." He set up the State in terms of rule, leadership, authority, and knocked it down flat. Jesus failed, however, insofar as he is called by such titles as Christ, Lord, et cetera.

In terms of getting with what’s going on today, get with the Chicago action Community (which includes the Chicago Fifteen who burned the draft files), with CADRE (Chicago Area Draft Resisters), and with the Non-Violent Training and action Center. The other possibility is to connect with the anarchists around the Solidarity Bookshop, who can be reached through the Industrial Workers of the World. The IWW is in the phone book.

My point is not merely to get you to understand, but to get you to act.

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1. Some of us who hang around the "office" have been talking about adding a couple of new formats to the SG’s publication efforts—(1) a series of brief basic anarchist pamphlets, of which The Romantic Realists might be considered the first, with an annotated bibliography of in-print anarchist writings (now in preparation) to be the second, and (2) an immediate-issue-oriented wall newspaper. The trouble with this is, there aren’t enough of us hanging around the office to get it much beyond the talking stage.

We could call a meeting, of course, but meetings are much more inclined to talk than to work. I think it would be better if readers who are interested in one or the other or both of these ideas, or in another one, just call [phone number removed—Tr.] to make sure someone’s here, and then come around.

2. Other things that need doing: (1) There’ve been more and more requests for back Bulletins, while a whole lot of back Bulletins are sitting on a top shelf waiting compilation. What’s needed is filler material—something like an updating of the old About the Seattle Group brochure for new readers, calligraphy, cartoons, and drawings to liven up the open spaces; then a collating and stapling bee. (2) We’re still using that toy Laurel and Hardy lightbox I bought at Goodwill—it works, but we have to keep moving the stencils around because it isn’t big enough to fit them. Will someone give or make the Seattle Group an easel-type box with a full-size (8 1/2" x 14" or larger) light surface, handresting room all around, and gizmos to hold the stencils in place!—maybe even a rack at the top to hold our slowly-growing collection of styli and lettering guides!

3. Lilith needs help, too. There’s copy in for a very heavy issue, so with layout assistance and some artwork, Lilith 3 could come out within the next two weeks. Call Dotty at [phone number withheld. Tr.]

4. People caught distributing Shelter Half literature or the GI paper FED Up at Fort Lewis are banned permanently from the Fort. So if this material is to reach the GIs, there must be a steady stream of replacements for banned distributors—and transportation for them to and from Tacoma. If you’ll distribute and/or give a ride to distributors, call [phone number withheld—Tr.] and we’ll try to get the people and the cars together. LC

[Transcribed from the original Seattle Group Bulletin, May 22, 2012 by Dotty DeCoster.]