|Issue 1 - December 1971|
|Praxis Makes Perfect|
|The active underground
is a revolutionary movement of the best type. It is a collection of individual
groups and personalities who interact for the purpose of support, information,
criticism and help. Its communications network is good; its strength not
centralised but spread fairly evenly over a wide area making its destruction
impossible (even more so because its true supporters have experienced
a revolution of the mind). It has no power-leaders, no superimposed dogmas
or statutory rules of membership but believes in the need for freedom,
justice, equality, peace and love, which are strengthened, not weakened,
by attempts for its destruction by the forces of "law and order".
But the general underground is hindered by hypocrisy, apathy, paranoia and hedonism. Dope and music, heralded as the symbol of difference, put forward as the underground's flag to be waved in the faces of the oppressors, have become for so many of its alleged supporters, the ends to be acquired and maintained. Sitting in a room all day smoking, tripping or speeding, listening to some sympathetic sounds and talking talking talking is hardly likely to result in the realisation of a better society.
Propaganda in a situation is a far more effective way of giving individuals a revolutionary realisation of that situation than non-intervention; and propaganda by the deed is so much better than propaganda by the word.
More and more people, especially among the young, are beginning to express dissatisfaction with the way they are expected to conduct their lives and the way they are being treated by the wealth / power orientated groups fighting to maintain control over them. More and more people are beginning to realise that the existing society is not the best one possible and are beginning to involve themselves in the struggle for the alternative one. If more groups and individuals were prepared to float down from their spaced-out pedestals and join the fray the realisation of the alternative would be brought so much closer.
What I am attempting to say is that a successful revolution must be physical as well as mental. The mind revolution must come first but this will not be enough to destroy this society. Physical action is also necessary. Certain drugs can be used as catalysts in the mind revolution - the revolution directed at discovering a freer consciousness, evolving a mental state suitable for the achieving of a free society.
But it is self-defeating to be content to just explore the freer consciousness and not the means of achieving the physical revolution; and it is naive to assume that freer consciousness can only be developed through drugs.
If the underground wants to play a part in helping others achieve a revolution of the mind it will have to place less importance on "drugs are the means to revolution" or it will never get the acceptance it needs to be a revolutionary force from the millions of workers who will carry the revolution to its successful conclusion.
The revolution will only occur when the majority of the population throw off the shackles of their false consciousness and discover their freer consciousness and acts to give this consciousness a physical form.
The underground could act as a vanguard in the revolution of the mind. However, in order for it to become a successful mind-revolutionary force it must first of all capture the sympathy and agreement of straight society. This means, basically, that it will first of all have to destroy the barrier of ridicule and fear dividing the alternate and straight cultures. With the barrier destroyed the underground will get a fair hearing and will be able to set about its task of creating a situation in which individuals will have a better chance of discovering freer consciousness.
One of the greatest builders of the barrier of ridicule and fear is the mass media which, over the years, has created a mythical image of the underground which has tended to harden the opinions and attitudes of the public against the underground. Therefore the first task of the underground's supporters should be to destroy this myth.
This could be done by making people doubt the credibility of the mass media by showing them that all its prints and broadcasts are not true, and by showing them that the media is firmly on the side of the oppressors. Members of the underground could set up community-type newspapers aimed at giving individuals living in the area the true facts about the situation in which they're involved and giving them a platform from which they can express their views and propose their solutions. Successful newspapers of this type would arouse their readers' interest in their community and when people become interested in life around them they tend to start wondering why things are as they are and soon they begin to realise that things could be better. Their false consciousness begins to die and their freer consciousness to awaken.
Members of the underground could also involve themselves in community work - set up alternative social work schemes aimed at giving people the chance to express themselves freely and artistically. They could involve themselves in claimants' unions, squatters' campaigns, tenants' associations and many more things which would make the oppressed members of society realise that the underground is not a movement to be ridiculed or feared but a collection of groups and individuals with ideas of a realisable better society.
People will pay more attention to a person they respect than to a person they ridicule or fear; and the individuals who go up to others and ask them to turn on to dope are individuals ridiculed and feared by others.
Turning people on to freedom (freer consciousness) is far more worthwhile and necessary than turning them on to dope (a catalyst in the development of the awakened freer consciousness).
Perhaps the most important fight the underground should be waging is with the education system which instils false consciousness into youngsters. Infiltrating the teaching staff, setting up school action groups, pointing out the hypocrisies of the system and making relevant literature available to the young, are all ways in which the system could be attacked.
Many supporters of the alternative society are involved in helping people develop freer consciousness and many more are realising the necessity of doing so, but there are still far too many who are content to just sit around day after day doped up to the eyeballs and not caring about anything going on around them. To propose dope as a means to revolution is to hold a negative attitude towards revolution. A revolutionary situation is incompatible with negativity and apathy but arises out of positive action. Kick dope out of the central position it is holding in the underground and give it a less important place, and the achieving of the alternative society becomes much more probable.