Jacob Lawrence, "Protest Rally" (1969)
Jacob Lawrence, Protest Rally (1969)
Can a Game Be Literature?

Mark's Pages

January 19, 2012:

Let's talk about drugs.

You could say I was a Temporary True Believer. That recreational drugs as one aspect of a broader movement of cultural dissent would serve as enablers of social change, via rebellion, community, and enlightenment.

Emphasis all three terms. This was not an Idealist conceptualization that change of consciousness would engender transformation of social structures. It was a Materialist perspective that social transformation required what we then called "praxis" - organized intervention - plus organic evolution of alternative community structures, plus changes of consciousness which were subordinate and largely the outcome of struggle. Its naivety lay in its infantile American Anarcho-soupistical thinking that spontaneous organization, that is primarily cultural formations, would be organization enough.

Frankly the role of drugs in this cultural-revolutionary stewpot were to be illegal. The marriage of individual hedonism with defiance of the armed repression of the state. Where getting high implied confrontation.

All of this evolved with experience. That spontaneity without structure leads to defeat; that cultural rebellion in isolation from politics is co-opted; that drugs kill whole communities. In my personal experience, that drugs made me tired. Little by little I gave them up.

And yet and yet and yet. To this day I can't see Woodstock without thinking, This is a mass movement of nonviolent revolt fueled largely by marijuana. Or wishing it had succeeded.