Dialectics of Liberation 1967 (ASV 9)

More extraordinary footage. Allen at the Dialectics of Liberation Congress in London in 1967, a unique international symposium, gathered, “to demystify violence in all its forms”. Also included here, footage of Paul Goodman, Herbert Marcuse, and an incendiary Stokely Carmichael..
“Don’t escalate the hostility, don’t escalate the anger, control your mind, watch what you’re doing, be aware – totally”
“It isn’t love that’s being sought here. It’s not love that’s being offered. What’s being offered, in a sense – or proposed, I mean – is awareness, of what your own feelings are, and of the movement of your own mind.”
Seven minutes in, [this timing refers to an earlier version of the footage] introduced alongside a brooding Carmichael, a taciturn R D Laing, Emmett Grogan of The Diggers, and, addressing the topic of “Consciousness and Practical Action”:
“Propositions are difficult. I don’t have a completed proposition. I’ve heard some. The best experience I have had has been with the younger people in America, and some few of my own generation who have had to confront the mass hallucination, or style of consciousness, or mode of consciousness, into which we were born, and had some kind of mental breakthrough, which clarified not only the nature of our own identity, (which was also swept under by the mechanical society), but also the nature of others identities, as being the same as our own, that we are all one, and also the nature of the entire universe, perhaps, as what is, very perplexingly, a total illusion, or maya.”
Ginsberg goes on:
“That is not, necessarily, to preclude our taking detatched action within the situation. The most detatched action that I have seen taken within the situation is the use of LSD by the younger people, for the purpose of demystifying their own consciousness and arriving at some sort of meat-universe, where they are sitting with flowers, ourselves, and Mr Carmichael (sic), and thus being able to begin to relate as self to common self(s). Where this leads, in terms of practical action..we have very small community groups, in San Francisco and in New York, beginning to leave the money-wheel, and also beginning to leave the hallucination-wheel of the media, beginning to form small co-operatives, tribal units, societies, of their own, beginning to share money, or do without money, beginning to put on mass entertainment in the parks to raise their general awareness – not love-power but awareness-power – of their contemporaries, and then beginning to move in on authority with those weapons which have been called “flower power”, “flower power” being euphemistic for a simple, calm, tranquil equilibrium, non-violent, as far as possible, as far as the self can be controlled, so that it can relate to other selves in disguise, including the police. (Stokely) Carmichael earlier in the week made a proposition, which I thought was possible, tho’ I don’t think he thought it was possible, that if the hippies in America were able to confront with flowers the police in Newark, then he would be concerned with that as a political tactic. I think that, for my own inspiration, for my own desire, is the one area where I do feel desire for practical action,
(AG taking question from the audience):
..The question was if I were living in a situation where I had not enough to eat and not enough clothes..presumably were in jail, maybe? or at the mercy of white power… would I be able to write my poetry, and I say I have no idea ..was my answer
(AG, turning to Carmichael): The reason the hippies have taken on these beads, appurtenances, music, of shamanistic groups, of ecstatic trance-state types, is because they are beginning to explore, for the first time, the universe of consciousness of other cultures beside their own,
Stokely Carmichael: Mr Ginsberg, I don’t know much about the hippie movement, but I would like to beg to differ with you. I think the reason most of them are hippies today is because they are confused little kids who have run away from their home and who will return to their culture within a year or two.
AG: There’s no culture to return to.
SC: Before I find my individual self – I must find my group culture – obviously
AG: We don’t have a viable group culture, so we’re in the same boat, in that sense.
SC: Not for me. I’m going to fight for me, and in a broader sense for other people.
AG: We are surrounded by violence, violence is falling on him (pointing to Carmichael), on the blacks, it’s also however falling on all of us in the sense that it has been for a long time falling on the whites also in America, also in Russia…
The remarkable film record by Peter Davis has been complemented by Iain Sinclair and Robert Klinkert’s Ah Sunflower! (the subject of tomorrow’s post).
The seminal nature of the occasion is fully recognized here, including further information on Joe Berke, (along with Leon Redler, RD Laing and David Cooper, The Institute of Phenomenonoligical Studies Organizing Committee, the principal architects of the event), as well as “Memories of the Congress”, and a more comprehensive list of participants.


  1. Why can’t we hear Allen’s talk in this series?
    Dialectics Of Liberation:
    Allen Ginsberg ‎– Consciousness & Practical Action
    Label: Liberation Records (7) ‎– DL 16
    Series: Dialectics Of Liberation – 16
    Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
    Country: UK
    Released: 1967
    Genre: Non-Music
    Style: Speech, Political

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