by Tim Duff Tonka Bay, Minnesota edited by O Society August 13, 2019
By the beginning of 1969, the counterculture began to splinter and turn more contentious. The November 1968 election of Richard Nixon brought about a counter-reaction. Eight years of Democratic liberalism ended with this Republican’s election as president.
The high era of utopian experimentation came to an abrupt end with the assassination of our president on November 22, 1963 in Dallas. The horror of the murder of JFK had a hugely painful open wound our psyches. The moral purity of our youth had been silenced. Less than three months later, a delightful group from Liverpool, England came to America, and Beatlemania overtook us, plunging us mercifully into entertainment and carnal oblivion, a flight from memory and grief. We let go, for a time, of the shock and sorrow for the butchered president, and his family and the fall of Camelot.
In the United States the tidal wave of moral outrage that had overtaken the country out of its lassitude of conscience was by 1969, metastasizing into the behaviors of petulant narcissism and brainless exhibitionism. The Beatles, four philosopher poets, four evangelist saints, whose message was the Newest Testament, a divine revelation, gentle tender irony at the insanities of war, sorrowful laments for the bourgeois loneliness, delicate hymns to the glory of love, who had once been at the core of the counterculture, having changed the world for the better, we’re not part of any of the events that defined the year of 1969. A new mood was taking place that did not comport with the Beatles’ exuberant vision of love and collectivism.
Looking back, the Woodstock Festival, August 15-18, 1969, began the sunset rather than the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, as it had been billed by the media. Yet, it seemed as the high point of a new culture, as four hundred thousand young apostles of peace gathered for three days in the New York rain to listen to more than thirty rock bands.
In taking stock of America since the utopian Ideals of the Sixties, epitomized by the euphoric Woodstock Festival celebration, we must understand what was happening covertly behind the mask of our countries good intentions.
Confronting the need to address America’s expanding urban decay, President Johnson, on August 20, 1964 signed the Equal Opportunities Act. The War on Poverty of the 1960’s and LBJ’s Great Society program, as he termed it, did little to eradicate poverty. It provided another rationale for one of the largest increases in deficit spending and financial theft in modern history. It was a deficit essentially financed by surplus European dollars.
In 1963, McGeorge Bundy, a member of skull and Bones from Yale, the national security adviser to President Kennedy, signed the first draft of NSAM, the National Security Action Memorandum #273 on November 21, which was in direct contradiction to all previous Kennedy policies of getting out of Vietnam. Could this have happened unless Bundy knew JFK would be murdered the next day in Dallas?
Soon after, McGeorge Bundy, who had run the Vietnam War as Kennedy’s and Johnson’s White House national security advisor, by 1966 had gone to New York to make the United States into a new ‘Vietnam,’ as the director of the influential Ford Foundation. Soon Hegelian internal conflict ran rampant, with black pitted against white, unemployed against employed, in this Great Society, while Wall Street bankers reaped profits from slashed union wages, and reduced infrastructure investment, and transferred investments overseas to slave labor locations in Asia and South America.
Millions of the nation’s high school were herded into college during the mid-1960s, as a sort of hidden unemployment. College student population increased from less than 4 million in 1960 to nearly 10 million by 1975. Wall Street was more than willing to comply, floating billions of dollars of state backed public bonds for university infrastructure. Investment in the growth of the real industrial economy was being moved into the post- industrial service economy. It was very much like the course traveled by England on its path to ruin late in the 19th century. Social Security and welfare spending skyrocketed, as entire sections of the American population were tossed into a desperate and permanent need for unemployment insurance.
With the Vietnam War and the new culture of drugs and sex, the ‘flower power’ counterculture became part of the Anglo-American liberal establishment, that was begun under a top secret CIA research project, code named MK-ULTRA, with British and American scientists carrying out experiments using psychedelic and other mind-altering drugs. By the mid-1960s this project resulted in what was known as the Hippie movement, which brought forth the New Age Thinking or the ‘Age of Aquarius.’
A new young elite, with their heads set on personal pleasure and cynical about the country’s purpose, began to emerge from the American college campuses. To transform thinking corporations in the United States treated their managers to a new form of training, run by psychologists from the National Training Laboratories, known as ‘T group sessions,’ or ‘sensitivity training.’ The effect was to dumb down the wits in order to prepare the population to accept the coming shocks. People were so involved with being more sensitive and more understanding of the defects of others that they failed to see that their country was losing its sense of purpose.
In America in the 1950s a group of people emerged who created a counter-culture which was to change history. They were called “The Beat Generation.” They were anarchist writers, philosophers, musicians and poets. They stood for the high minded visions and for individual freedom in a rejection and revolt against all bureaucratic, narrow minded systems. They met with Russian poets to denounce the Cold War. They had ecstatic sense of what they were trying to achieve. They were heirs to the long tradition of intellectual and artistic individualism that extends beyond national boundaries. The Beats used the electronic media to promote their agenda of higher consciousness, of peace and understanding. Ironically, more students in China and the Third World knew the name of the Beats spokesman, Allen Ginsberg than any other Mexican writer. Allen was the king of the Czechoslovakian Students May Day in Prague, in 1964. The following day, after party officials along with covert operations of the CIA, realized what Ginsberg had been planning for the Czech youth, and they promptly deported him.
The Sixties revolution generated and continues to generate and grow a new post-political society based on a higher plane of consciousness, and the experience of individual freedom. The message of the movement was freedom. The anthem of freedom was brought to America and the world, when Martin Luther King “dreamed” out loud, chanting: “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, free at last.” The thousands of faces assembled that day in the political orgy in Washington D.C., August 28, 1963 were transported in an ecstasy of love and peace.
This chant of love and freedom would be done again at the First Human Be-In in San Francisco in 1967. It was sung in Paris in 1968, at Woodstock in 1969, London in 1970, Amsterdam in 1971, and Madrid Barcelona. Bob Dylan sang for freedom: We ain’t gonna work on Brezhnev’s Farm no more. They sang it at anti-war demonstrations all over the country. Hell no! We won’t go! It righteous rebellion with a smile.
In the 1970s American officials openly claimed in news conferences they were “neo-Malthusians.” Malthus, was an English clergymen who, in 1798, wrote an essay claiming that human populations expanded geometrically, while the growth of their food expanded only linearly. The Malthusians then came to believe that populations must be limited, and, if necessary, governments should enhance the operations of nature to produce needed mortality.
Consistent with this craven pseudo-science, Henry Kissinger produced in April 1974, the highly classified National State Security Memorandum 200 (NSSM), directed to Washington high level officialdom, defining a program aimed at population reduction in Third World countries possessing needed raw materials. Kissinger listed 13 countries for population control, including Brazil, India, Egypt, Mexico, Ethiopia, Columbia, Iraq, Iran, Africa and other countries.
In 1954, Hollywood was making the animated film version of George Orwell’s anti-totalitarian allegory classic, Animal Farm. The State in Animal Farm, represented by the ascendant ruling class of the pigs, holds power over memory itself. The pigs deny elements of their mission to the other animals and then deny that they have done so, in order to make the animals under their rule lose the ability to trust their own judgment. This creates a “nightmare world,” in which the ruling clique controls, not only the future, but also the past, while flooding the plain of discourse with lies. The book’s ending, in which the animals finally come to realize that both groups that try to rule them are equally corrupt, is a trenchant rejection of the binary worldview.
Allen Dulles, the director of the CIA in 1954 and his brother John Foster Dulles, the Secretary of State, along with the help of CIA operative Howard Hunt, “arranged” for Hollywood to script that only the pigs were corrupt, and had ultimately patriotic rebel animals overthrow them. The Dulles brothers and the CIA elites realized that the message in the book Animal Farm contradicted all of what the United States was saying about their Hegelian contrived Cold War.
The psychological hangover of all this prevarication as Orwell wisely points out, is that the delay in “getting it,” is a dangerous time. We must understand, how the State, as Orwell called it, today in the name of the Pentagon and CIA, and the entire intelligence community and their paid mercenaries around the world, came to be a hideous monster plotting to terrorize American civilians and challenge freedom throughout the world.
On February 3, 1959, the tragic death of Buddy Holly shocked the young rock and roll world, when he died in a plane crash after performing a concert at The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. For the rockers at Woodstock and all of us, it would become, “the day the music died.” Two days later on February 5, John Foster Dulles, the Secretary of State, picked up a secure phone in his home, and the told the CIA voice on the other end of the line to get him a certain Russian oligarch. With that call, the upcoming visit to Moscow by Eisenhower, at the invitation of Khrushchev was cancelled.
A few days earlier Khrushchev had informed the U.S. State Department, that the United States had indeed won the Cold War, and was seeking an honest peace, and an end to the contrived Cold War. The honest overture for peace was denied by the war mongering Pentagon and the CIA. In May of 1960, the U-2 American spy plane was shot down while illegally flying over Russia, and the Paris Peace scheduled for May 17 were made very contentious, and ended only igniting the tensions of the Cold War. This set the stage for Cuba and the Bay of Pigs failed operation, and forced Nixon crony Meyer Lansky’s and the CIA’s illicit narcotics operations out of Cuba to Miami and Lansky’s chosen heir American mob boss Santo Trafficante.
George Orwell, in his book 1984, spoke of a very grim picture of what the world’s society might bring about with power in the hands of an uncontrollable powerful secret elite, which controlled the life and death, the economic status, and all the significant movements, words and thoughts of every member of society. The essence of Orwell’s foreboding message, is how does one man assert his power over another? By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough, he must be suffering. Then, you can be sure he is obeying your will, and not his own. Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is destroying human minds and sense of conscience, and putting them back together again in new morphed forms of consciousness and ideology, like supply-side economics. Orwell writes of the ultimate depravity, the most destructive ultimate result of man’s fatal flaw, of being compromised and corrupted by power.
The “attacks” on 9/11 are akin to the Reichstag Fire on the German Parliament, on February 27, 1933, four weeks after Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor. The fire was conveniently blamed on a Communist Jew, when the fire was actually started by one of Hitler’s murderous “brown shirts.” Our domestic political fantasy life since 9/11, finds us in an unnerving time loop in this country. Very much on its own, history seems to be running in reverse, and knowledge is not seen as a public good, but as something suspect, dubious or even ungodly, as it was for example in Italy in 1633, when the church put Galileo on trial, for his heretical view that the earth was in orbit around the sun.
These past years since 9/11, have produced a prison house of the mind, insidiously endeavoring to promote a fleeting fraudulent terrorist phantom and the darkness of ego. It has produced a degradation of the thinking mind, afraid of what it knows.
Our society and the corporate media, has mentally transported the rank and file back into the darkness of tribal war and shrieking, far from the tolerance that came with American religious freedom and the liberty of our conscience.
What is good, as opposed to evil? Does it mean it mean the evil of specific terrorist organizations, or the evils of the American political cultures, from which they came about?
Our civil discourse has morphed into a “civil disguise,” something like, “I have a great future behind me.” Post Woodstock civilization has been restored to passive apathy, while the faux intellectual language of righteous empire cravenly moves on in its killing operations. Life becomes a constant paradox, where the best illusion wins, because we have been taught a lesson-less past, while everywhere we look today, we see the price of unchecked power.
We must reclaim and renew a civil and spiritual discourse that adheres to three basic principles:
1. Facts and truth matter, even if we don’t like them.
2. Universal moral principles matter, even if they have consequences we would prefer not to face.
3. Clarity matters, such as distinguishing between terror elements abroad and the political culture that breeds it domestically, with tax cuts for the rich, and the denial of universal health care, and social services for the general populace.
Our historic mission of reclamation, must be to establish truth in the world. This can be carried out not just by the isolated individual, nor by the atomized and manipulated masses, but by that class which is able to effect the dissolution of all classes, subjecting all power to the dis-alienating form of a realized democracy, to councils in which practical theory exercises control over itself and conscientiously surveys its own actions. It cannot be carried out until all individuals are directly bound to universal history of truth, until dialogue has taken up arms to impose its own conditions of conscience upon the world.
Post-Woodstock America, we must finally wake up to the heist of our democracy for the corporate and personal enrichment of the one percent. Yet, is it too late? Has the corporate of government become firmly intact, with no change possible? This is what Herbert Hoover thought when he was elected in 1928, and what the British East India Company thought in 1773. No, we have not reached the point of no return. If anything, we are the verge of a new awakening, a new Enlightenment, with the new blue wave of Progressive Democrats and the green new deal. They are standing up, and telling the truth, and demanding a rejection of the fraud of neo-liberal economics destroying the world and the rights of man.
It is said Democracy is essentially an act of faith. When the faith we share is purposely eviscerated, we will greatly suffer at the hands of the maniacal, and manipulative few. We all want to live in this country and bequeath to our children the best of future generations. We must fight and overcome those who are imposing their stark utopia over us. We must make decision about our future democracy.
As Thomas Paine so wisely said, “Men whose principles are founded on avarice are beyond the reach of reason. The rugged face of society, checkered with the extremes of affluence and want, proves that some extraordinary violence has been committed upon it, and calls for justice, redress and reclamation.”
Let us hope! As St. Augustine said, “Hope represents our faith in the future. Hope also has two beautiful daughters, anger and courage. Anger at what is happening, and the courage to do something about it.”
Richie Havens opened the Woodstock Festival, with his iconic song, Freedom. Hundreds of thousands of rockers chanted Freedom with Havens as he sang his plaintive message of Freedom. Richie Havens died at age 72, in 2013. At his wishes, his family spread his ashes over Max Yasgur’s farm field, in Bethel, New York, where the festival for freedom took place.
Freedom, and the restoration of economic democracy, and the dignity of mankind, is the essence of our reclamation post Woodstock, and we must not fail.
In the last scene from Casablanca, Victor Laslo says to Rick. “Welcome back to the fight.” The fight against fascism. “Now, I know we’ll win.”
Welcome back to the fight, “We the people.” I know we will win!