Spontaneous Poetics – (Political Commitment – 2)

Original transcription note – the first ten minutes of this side (this new side) of the tape is blank. It is unclear whether any significant portion of the class is missing

AG:… (a recognition that) riotous madness is not going to make the scene. So there’s an element of intelligence in Wordsworth‘s reactionary-ism at the very end. If you were to set it against the mentality of revenge, resentment, aggression and karmic confusion that we set up in the late (19)60’s.  So, at this point, who can be self-righteous anymore? Really. I certainly can’t, and I don’t think that Jerry Rubin can, and Abbie Hoffman can, and even pure innocent Dave Dellinger has got all this Vietnamese blood all over his face. All of which shows..what? does it show that you can’t do nuthin’ about nuthin’?. No, I would say that it shows that…

Student: The only reason it was very close is that
(Hubert) Humphrey  finally did come out and spoke against the war, three weeks before the election.

Student: The reason that he was following before that was he never cared.

AG: He couldn’t, because (Lyndon) Johnson wouldn’t (let him).

Student: At the convention, you know, he said, “I’ll follow you, Mr President”, and looked up

AG: Right. But that’s the whole point! Everybody knew that he was Johnson’s prisoner, and that he didn’t like it, and he didn’t like the war, but he was a prisoner of Johnson. So that, rather than understanding that situation, and giving him a way out, and giving him power in getting rid of Johnson, everybody said, “What’s the matter with you? Why don’t you denounce him now?” – Everybody wanted their revenge.  It wasn’t that..

Student: Did everybody know that?

AG:  Oh, everybody knew that!

Student; Yeah? I didn’t know that.

AG: Oh, it was in the New York Times. It was all over.. All you had to do was read James Reston and all. It was..

Student: Nobody ever knows…

AG: The liberals, all the people that were stomping up and down in Chicago, screaming their hatred at Humphrey knew that. They really did, they really did. Sure. I mean, we did…

Student: I’m…

AG: I know Jerry Rubin did. Everybody did.

Student: But you said (with) a calm support for him, and understanding, that he would have been better than Nixon

AG: Well, either way, you can never tell what happened. If we didn’t have Nixon, we wouldn’t have had Watergate, and that was, maybe, even..  except we had our pleasant Watergate at the expense of…

Student: Cambodians

AG: …how many million Vietnamese and Cambodians –  thirteen million refugees!

Student:Kent State

AG: So, the only way out then, finally, is, then, it isn’t a question of whether.. who should support who, or what, but, it would be more a question of the attitude of the practitioner of politics – whether the attitude is one of benevolent indifferent attention, or hysterical grasping insistency and aggression. So (that) I’d be interested in a politics which does take into account one’s own aggression, and does proceed from..well, when I was screaming at, a couple of years ago, when I was screaming at  (Chogyam) Trungpa for drinking and smoking too much, he said, “What you say, I listen to you, I hear you, but everything you propose to me that comes out of anxiety only creates more anxiety, don’t you realize?”. So gestures taken in anxiety so create and spread anxiety, do perpetuate anxiety. Gestures taken in anger do perpetuate anger and continue the closed circle of extra suffering karma (or just the closed circle of cause-and-effect). It never gets out of that circle. You don’t need the word “karma”, you just need obvious common sense. So I think, from that point of view, a giant mass-meeting peace movement that would involve sitting (which is something, I think, that Gary (Snyder) and Phil (Whalen), and others did, in 1964, outside the Oakland Army Terminal – about six guys just, actually, sat). That would be of interest. Like Dick Gregoryjogging and running, and like various other.. the (cross) continental walk  that’s taking place right now. I think that mass-movements that involve some form of mindfulness are important and interesting and you’ve got to remember that a lot of the mass-movemens of the (19)60’s were based on anger, as a gasoline. “Rising Up Angry” – remember? – “Smash Sexism!” – I remember I once saw a sign in front of Boston University – giant letters, three feet high – “Smash Sexism!” (which I thought was great.. was so funny, I think it was intended to be).

Student: What does that mean?

AG: Smash sexism? – “I think I’ll hit you with my beaded handbag”, “I’ll smash you with my beaded handbag”. That’s an old line of (Jack) Kerouac – “I’ll smash you with my beaded handbag”  – Well, “smash sexism” (meaning males are macho.. sexism towards women – or, men are sexist towards men and are looking at them as asses or pricks to fuck or suck – or lesbians are sexist to other lesbians – “They don’t want to talk, all they want to do is use dildos”)So, smash the use of people as sexual objects – which means, go around and hit the rapist (which, obviously, is the wrong way, I think) Yes?

Audio for the above may be heard here, beginning at the start of the tape (the ten minutes missing notwithstanding) and ending approximately five and a half minutes in.

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