[Revolte 1970’s] Extraits du livre de Penny Rimbaud (PMPress 2015)


the_last_of_the_hippiesExtrait: « Wally died a frightened, weak and tired man. Six months earlier he had been determined, happy and exceptionally healthy. It had taken only that short time for Her Majesty’s Government’s Health Department to reduce Wally Hope to a hopeless, puke-covered corpse. For me, Wally’s death marked the end of an era. He died alongside the last grain of trust that I naively hadhad in the System: the last seeds of hope. Prior to that, I had felt that if I lived a life based on respect rather than abuse my example might be followed by those in authority. Of course it was a dream, but reality is based on a thousand dreams of the past. Was it so silly that I should want to add mine to the future? « 

Extrait: « However, if the majority is always happy to be blown along by the prevailing wind, there are also those who will stand against it. If the fifties saw the birth of consumerism, it also gave rise to two powerful oppositionnal forces: the Peace Movement and rock’n’roll. Both were in reaction to a world increasingly dominated by the grey men of war and their grey thoughts. Both, at least initially, rejected the empty glitter of consumerism. Both represented a revolution against the abnormal values of ‘normal’ society. »

Extrait: « Despite what followers of Oi or Marx might say, rock’n’roll cannot be pigeon-holed to fit into any specific political ideology. It is the collective voice of the people, all the people, not just a platform for working class mythology, left, right or centre. Rock’n’roll is about freedom, not slavery. It’s about revolution of the heart and soul, not convolution of the mind. To say that punk is or should be ‘working class’ is to falsely remove it from the classless roots of the ‘rock revolution’ from which it grew. Punk is a voice of dissent, an all out attack on the whole System. It as much despises working class stereotypes as it does middle class ones. Oi has been promoted in the pages of the music press as the ‘real punk’, but whereas punk aims to destroy class barriers, Oi is blind enough to be conned into reinforcing them. (…) Oi would have been harmless enough if its comic-book caricatures of the workers hadn’t appealed so strongly to the elements which were inevitably drawn to its reactionary views – the so-called ‘right-wing’. Rather than rejecting its new and possibly unwanted following, Oi appeared to revel in its image of being ‘nasty Nazi muzac for the real men’. »

Extrait: « Many of the clashes between the authorities and the youth movement in the late sixties and early seventies, broadly speaking, of a political nature, leftist platforms for social discontent, rather than anarchic demands by individuals for the right to live their own lives. Increasingly, anarchists sought the right to be able to celebrate their ideas away from both leftist propaganda and capitalist exploitation. It was from this desire that the concept of Free Festivals was born. The free festivals were to become an anarchist expression of freedom, as opposed to socialist demonstrations against oppression or capitalist opportunities for exploitation. As such, they presented the authorities with a new problem. How do you stop people having fun? The answer was horribly predictable. Stamp on them. »

Extrait: « Wally was a smiling, bronzed, hippie warrior. His eyes were the colour of the blue skies that he loved. His neatly cut hair was the gold of the sun that he worshipped. He was proud and upright, anarchistic and wild, pensive and poetic. His ideas were a strange mixture of the thinking of the peoples whom he admired and amongst whom he had lived. The dancing Arabs. The peasant Cypriots. The noble Masai. The silent and sat North American Indians, for whom he felt a particular closeness of spirit. »

Extrait: « In the winter of that year, Wally started work at our house on the second Stonehenge Festival: posters, hand-outs, invites. This time round he had the questionable success of the first festival to point to, so the job was easier. Word of mouth has always been a powerful tool of the underground and people were already talking about what they do to make it work. Waklly spent much of the first two months of ’75 handing out leaflets in and around London. Dressed in his combat uniform, a bizarre mixture of middle-eastern army gear and Scottish tartants, and driving his rainbow-stripped car complete with a full sized Indian tepee strapped to the roof, he was noticeable and colourful sight that those greyer than himself both in appearance and thought would certainly not have missed. »

Extrait: « Those who advocate armed revolution are seeking to oppress those who they see as enemies in exactly the same way as those enemies opprossed them. The boot is simply placed on another foot. Force can only lead to resentment. If force is used to make someone do something against their will, they will eventually fight back. The same applies to armed revolution. If a revolution is won by violent means, it will inevitably create violent reaction. The vicious circle of violence rolls on and on, and nothing but the name of the oppressor will have changed. »

Extrait: « Wally’s death and the deceitful way in which the authorities dealt with it, led me to spend the next year making investigations into exactly what had happened since he left us that hot day in May. My enquiries convinced me that what had happened was not an accident. The State had intended to destroy Wally’s spirit if not his life, because he was a threat, a fearless threat who they hoped they could destroy without much risk of being exposed. »

Extrait: « The authorities have lost their bargaining power. They no longer have anything to offer in exchange for the sacrifices that they ask us to make, so they’re no longer saking us, they’re telling us. They’re telling us to work for things that we can’t afford so they can run the System that, without us and the money we make and they take, they can’t afford. As the System increasingly realises its failure, it strengthens the barriers that exist between them and us with all the authority that it can command. But the only authorithy that they command is us, so who are they? »