Strait_v1n3_1971-10

(cont'd from page 5) One night, I was sitting in a bar with a kid named John who lived in Stratford. We started talking about the way Canadians feel toward the U.S. He said that Canadians were really pissed be- cause the U.S. owns 60% of their industry; that the F.B.I. had just bought the largest private security agency in Canada; that the U.S. had no qualms a- bout taking Canadian money but levied an import tariff on its goods; that the U.S. was trying to force Canada into letting it have land rights on the West Coast so an oil line can be built between Alaska and the States. John said that some Canadians are so angry, they are talking about nationalizing American industry in Canada. He said that when he was in England and Europe, it was obvious that .Americans were hated because they were overfed, impatient, and fairly well off. It stunned me that nutrition could be a political thing. I always took it for granted that we could eat well and John pointed out that that was why everyone hates us. All of these things left a deep impression on me. I had plenty of time to think about my role as an artist in terms of this political nightmare. I had a cheap room to myself and many nights trying to write out my feelings and impressions of the week. Somehow I couldn't work anything out. It was as though I was too close to the situation. I knew I wanted to say something revolutionary. I wanted to express my contempt for all of what I saw in the way of American manipulation of people and profit but I didn't know how. I didn't want to get into sloganism and hip-rhetoric because I distrust :hat kind of mass expression but I didn't know what to use as a substitute. After a lot of thought, I came back to where I started. I decided that the only thing I can do is stick to my own impressions and be honest with my expression of them, which is the nature of real poetry, I think. It is all too obvious to m! th~t people's real feelings and insights are drowning m public opinion, left and right. The problem is that people can organize around bits of misinformation easier than they can around solid truths. Violence is a means of real change, no matter how much we deny .it. We deny it because we are afraid to express with our mouths what our hands and hearts express all of the time, and I can't accept that as an alter- native. I want to believe that the most revolutionary action would be total self-awareness but that seems irrelevant to too many people because they are afraid of seeing themselves in a bad light, or else afraid that self-awareness means isolation. To me, that awareness ultimately shows that we cannot exist only by ourselves, that we need each other. We cannot make any meaningful moves in any direction till we have the strong base of ourselves to move from.

CHINA The Air Force has said, I think very accurately, that if China industrializes, the end of the American a:ra is almost immediate and Europe almost v~n- Wfshes. In fact Europe will become a suburb of China and the U.S. a suburb of Europe: and after it hap- pens there's nothing you can do about it - it's the Chinese Age. Some people, myself included, would think that one of the nicest things in the world would be to become a citizen of a very small, unimportant nation The sooner we get to being an unimportant nation the happier I'll be . Because then the spaces should open up - when you don't have the responsi- bilities of an empire you can get on with the res- ponsibilities of living. AMERICAN ERA I'd like to see the end of any national era . I mean, I think eras that are identified by countries are evil . In this sense I believe the American Era is over. The next important development of man is a consciousness - an identity beyond the nation state. A place where people begin to relate on the basis of their human characteristics - their locals, their cul- tures and not on the basis of these artificial group- ings called nation-states. COMMUNITY I believe the only social organization that you can depend on to be interested in your freedom is your community. It is the only' place where there is direct participatory democracy. That seems to be one of the great errors of the conservative position - to rely on representative democracy. I don't think it works I think it's proven it doesn't work. The only thing that has ever worked to represent people's in- terests has been direct participatory democracy-from the New England town meeting to the medieval free city. The only place you find protection for people as people is in communities where people know one another and can relate together directly as human beings. The minute you get into abstraction like a congress you can kiss it good-bye. The Vietnamese War bears out these principles of decentralization. North Viet Nam is a highly decentralized society - a long tradition of local auto- nomy. Of . course it [brought forth] a central bur- eaucracy but it is not controlling all the military units. They're on their own-like in business for yourself. The point is that this decentralized mili- tary organization of North Viet Nam has just beat the shit out of the most bureaucratic centralized military organization in the western world. There ought to be a lesson in that. 19

Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter