As we roll around to the 50th anniversary of 'The Summer of Love'(1967 San Francisco) this coming June, and Canada comes to celebrate its 150th year of Confederation, there is much to recall regarding the freedoms established in a tumultuous decade. With the autumn of 1964, the UC Berkeley Freedom of Speech Movement fought for the right for student political activity on campus in California and spread across the continent. Mario Savio, a Sicilian-American philosophy and science major with a speech impediment and stammer, stood on top of a police car in Sproul Hall Plaza and led a protest for students based on the strategies of Bob Moses and the Freedom Rides struggle for black voter registration rights in Mississippi and Alabama that summer.
MARIO SAVIO, BERKELEY, CA 1964
At the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, came the force of a radicalized youth with the Y.I.P.P.I.E (Youth International Party). That same year, Paris erupted in student and worker demonstrations against established and oppressive orders of government, and hypocritical civil codes on campuses.
Y.IP.P.I.E CHICAGO 1968 PARIS MAY 1968
2 years later in Ohio, U.S.A., on the Kent State University grounds, students were gunned down by a confused National Guard brought in to quell campus political activity against Richard Nixon's Cambodian bombing campaign. Rubber bullets were not used! Not that any should have been!
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY, 1970
Today, demonstrations abound. What were effective tactics of the Old and New Left have become postures now utilized by any frame across the political spectrum. The Right, The Left, The Middle, The Little, The Hateful, The Big, The Blue, The almost-anything-you-can-think-of can be demonstrated on behalf of. The Orange-haired Prez himself protests every day via his twitter. Like a bird that just can't get enough attention he tweets and tweets, and one truly wonders what time he has allotted for reviewing important documents and proposed laws his crony-cabinet shuffles around him? This Prez in his first 100 and so days is easily The Master of Transgression. Caring for his hair has not done him well. Caring for his empire is another story. From cahooting admiration for get-on-the horsey and look like a He-Man Putin, to the ostentatious ornamentation of gold-leaf motive everywhere in his sight, The Prez is real wound-up about making sure America gets real great. Look around. Are there less people being shot on the street? Are there women being insulted and forced to live a life of suffering with no medical insurance? Is there less of a pot-of-gold for all to possibly share from? Do we need another golf course? Do we need another Trumpy Tower? God, even the jocks have got it right. A good number of the New England Patriots (get the name) didn't attend the ceremonial Super Bowl greeting with the Prez! Basketball icon LeBron James and star quarterback Tom Brady do all they can to make sure there is a big divide between where they walk and talk, and The Prez does. And really, is Anne Coulter not being given platform for her thoughts at UC Berkeley really about Freedom of Speech or freedom to show contempt for the progress made by everything from affirmative action to transgender rights to a healthy and honest immigration policy proposed by Barack Obama? The New Right has many young folk rooty-tooting for it. The New Right is so right it is coming around on itself and swirling like a tornado that doesn't know it's limits. It just turns in on itself and offers destruction as it cuts a path.
THE 150 CANADA CELEBRATION
The Summer of Love. There certainly was a lot more than love going around. On the drug and fun front, it is amusing to see Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about to legalize and find the logistics for opening the market on marijuana. A true liberal, as his father was, Justin sits in total political opposition to The Prez of da U.S. We take in Syrian refugees. Trumpo makes sure he don't. We have Medicare for all. Trumpy doesn't really like that. As Canada confronts it's own history of horror with it's Indigenous people, The Prez south of the Border wants to put up a wall even further south and re-create The Alamo.
TRUMPO WALL THE ALAMO
The Summer of Love? There is no denying the power of the music leading up to 1967 and coming after it. It was not so much a year of importance on its own. It was the watershed looking back and forward through which cultural shifts were as apparent as your next waking thought. Folk musicians learned to touch their fret boards lightly as they went to electric heaven. Songwriters did not separate their political and spiritual souls from their aesthetic choices. All mediums were up for grabs. But far from utopian, the period brought a lot of hurt, suffering and death. Yet, any less than today's dystopian vision by the transgressive distortionists of constitutionality?
As I close, and the news of Macron's election victory has arrived. Thanks to the heavens and the French populus for a reason to listen to 'La Marseillaise' again!
'Tremblez, tyrans! Et vous perfides..'
'Tremble you tyrants! And you traitors...'
'...l'oppbrobre de tous les partis. Tremblez! Vos projets parricides vont enfin recevoir leur prix!'
'...the disgrace of all groups tremble! Your parricidal plans will finally pay the price!'