Sunday, December 29, 2013

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (ix)

During our conversation, Louise hadn't indicated that she was now involved romantically with anyone else. So when she wrote down on a piece of paper her Manhattan apartment's current phone number, handed it to me, and invited me to give her a call soon, I assumed that meant she was still as interested in possibly getting involved with me in the Fall of 1971 as she had seemed to be in the Spring of 1968. And, given the increased feminist consciousness I had acquired between the Spring of 1968 and the Fall of 1971, I was not now reluctant to possibly becoming involved with an older woman like Louise, who did not feel compelled to wait for a younger man she was interested in getting to know to make the first move.

So a few days later, I dialed the telephone number that Louise had invited me to call. But--to my surprise--instead of the telephone being answered by Louise, it was answered by former Columbia Spectator editor Robert. Yet when she asked me to give her a call, Louise hadn't mentioned anything about Robert or indicated that Robert might be the one answering a telephone in her apartment if I called.

After asking Robert to tell Louise that I had called, I quickly said "good-bye" and hung up the receiver. By 1971 I had become more open and interested in getting closer to Louise than I had been in 1968. But my interest in Louise in the Fall of 1971 had been based on my assumption that--like me--she wasn't then dating anyone else I knew from the Columbia scene at that time. And once I realized that Robert might now be romantically interested in or now already involved romantically with Louise, I had no desire to try to compete with him for Louise's affection.

In retrospect, I perhaps should have been willing to try to get closer in the Fall of 1971 to Louise as a friend who wasn't a lover. But in the Fall of 1971, I was then more interested in getting closer as a friend to a woman who also seemed likely and willing to become a lover, than in getting closer as a friend to a woman who already seemed to be involved romantically with another man.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (viii)

Having apparently finished doing her grad school academic work in the English Department of Columbia University's Graduate School of Liberal Arts, Louise had apparently been hired by the Queens College English Department to teach some literature or English composition courses to undergraduate students at Queens College. By the Fall of 1971, Louise was more dressed up than she had been when she was a Columbia grad student rebel in the Spring of 1968; and she now looked a little more culturally straight and more like a professor now.

Yet she seemed almost as friendly to me as she had been in the Spring of 1968 and we ended up riding on the bus together to Queens College and then--after getting off at the bus stop nearest Queens College's campus--walking through the campus to the low-rise building in which her office was located. During our conversation on the bus, we had both agreed that the failure of then-New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller to grant amnesty to the Attica prisoners who revolted in early September 1971 seemed similar to the failure of former Columbia University President Grayson Kirk to grant amnesty to the Columbia and Barnard students who had revolted in April and May of 1968.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (vii)

Coincidentally, by the time Robert was editing "University Review" in the early 1970s, he was apparently involved with his future wife, Louise. Due to the residual ageist and male chauvinist consciousness that I still reflected in the Spring of 1968, I had been reluctant to, myself, get involved with an older radical left feminist grad student who then seemed more willing than the women I had previously dated to take the initiative in pushing for a relationship with a younger man; after I had first met Louise in the student-occupied Fayerweather Hall during the 1968 Columbia Student Revolt. But by the Fall of 1971, my ageist and male chauvinist reluctance to get involved, myself, with an older feminist woman like Louise, who was also willing to take the initiative in pushing for a relationship, had pretty much vanished.

So when I bumped into Louise at a bus stop on Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing, while she was waiting to take a bus to the Queens College campuse in the Fall of 1971, I was now much more open to getting closer to Louise than I had been three years before.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (vi)

Also in September 1971, in a rack in the Queens College library, I picked up a copy of an alternative Manhattan Upper West Side-based newspaper/magazine, "The University Review," that both former Columbia SDS activist Lew and former "Columbia Daily Spectator" editor Robert seemed to be involved in putting out. And since the editors of "The University Review" invited their readers to mail in their writing, I sent them a copy of my short story, "The Classless Society," and a "basement cassette tape" of some of my protest folk songs from the 1966 to 1971 period, including "Bloody Minds" and "Livin' On Stolen Goods."

Yet for some reason, Lew and Robert were not willing to open the pages of their alternative left-wing "University Review" publication to my writing, although during the 1990s my written work ended up getting heavily published for 7 years in the Lower East Side-based alternative weekly "Downtown." But without my writing, "The University Review" didn't last more than four years before it folded.

Apparently former "Columbia Daily Spectator" editor Robert had been in contact with Mark around the same time as the March 1970 Townhouse explosion in which Ted, Diana and Terry were killed (and had apparently even gone to see the "Zabriskie Point" movie with Mark around that time, according to Mark's 21st-century autobiography). But after "The University Review" folded, Robert ended up getting a job for awhile as the "Village Voice" editor and then working as an editor for mainstream corporate media firms like Times-Mirror-"New York Newsday," Time Warner-CNN-"Fortune" magazine and Billionaire NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Bloomberg Inc. mass media firm, for many years.

Meanwhile, after "The University Review" folded, former Columbia SDS activist Lew apparently pocketed some money from a Movement class-action lawsuit which responded to the FBI/COINTELPRO surveillance and break-ins that targeted Upper West Side New Left activists like Lew in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Then Lew got more into writing books about professional basketball teams and mostly unproduced Hollywood screenplays apparently than being into much late 1970s or 1980s anti-imperialist or prisoner solidarity activism; and, eventually, he was apparently hired by the Columbia University Administration in the late 1980s to be its "house radical" as some kind of a School of the Arts prof/screenplay writing instructor (who also helped an ex-BPP activist write his 1960s memoirs) until his tragic death from Lou Gehrig's disease less than a year after the 40th anniversary reunion of 1968 Columbia Revolt student participants in 2008--where Lew gave one of the greatest speeches of his life while sitting in a wheelchair, that brought tears to the eyes of most people in the audience.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (v)

In September 1971, prisoners in Attica State Prison in Upstate New York revolted in response to both George Jackson's assassination in California and to protest against the oppressive treatment of prisoners in New York State and by its Attica State Prison administration and warden. A list of demands were drawn up, some Attica prison guards were seized and certain sections of the Attica State prison were liberated in ways similar to how Columbia and Barnard anti-war and anti-racist students had liberated five Columbia University buildings in April 1968. And, like at Columbia, when the local administration couldn't persuade the protesters to give up their demand for amnesty during negotiations with intermediaries, the decision was made to use physical force to end the protest. Only with respect to suppressing the protests by the Attica prisoners in September 1971--unlike at Columbia--the level of physical force that was used was live bullets and tear gas, rather than just the billy clubs and blackjacks that were used on Columbia's campus in late April and May of 1968.

As a result, at least 29 prisoners and 10 prison guards were killed by the bullets of the state troopers that then-New York Governor Nelson Rockefller had ordered in to reestablish state government control of the prison and crush the 4-day prison revolt, in what became known as "The Attica Massacre." To express my outrage at Billionaire Rockefeller's brutal action, a few days later I wrote a protest folk song, titled "The Battle of Attica," which began with the lyrics, "Let me tell you, my friend about the Battle of Attica."

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (iv)

It was in August 1971 that I probably began writing a short story about the 1965 to Fall 1971 era called "The Classless Society", which reflected, in a fictional way, what I had experienced outside college class during these six years, and how I felt my individual consciousness had changed during these six years while I joined other New Left Movement activists in trying to create "the classless society" during the Vietnam War era. In some ways, "The Classless Society" was an early fictionalized version of the "Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories" memoir that I would later write in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

I also wrote a folk song that seemed to reflect my late August 1971 sense that the whole world that I had been born in and lived in was absurd, which contained the lyrics:

"My name is Chairman Mao
Disguised as Dylan
And my secret hobby
Is Revolution."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (iii)

On a physical level in August 1971, I was still attracted to the white working-class suburban women in their late teens and early 20's that I would see riding the same buses I rode to beaches on Long Island like Long Beach--or that I would see sunbathing on blankets on the same beaches that I sat on. But in late 1971, the U.S. mainstream media's political perspective and tv programming still seemed to generally reflect a mentality/value structure of repressed sexuality for the most part, encouraging the white women who grew up in the suburbs and hadn't attended college to still feel guilty about being into free love and, even, to a certain degree, pre-marital sex.

So unless the white working-class suburban women in their late teens or early 20's around me had broken somewhat from the dominant culturally straight mass media programming and had become more than plastic hippies, they usually seemed to be emotionally closed to getting involved with a hedonistic anarcho-communist hippie-type like myself in late August 1971. Especially, since I owned no car, had no money and was hunting around for a 9-to-5 wage-slavery slot on days when I wasn't hanging around on some beach in late August 1971.

And, in late August 1971, the Catholic Church still seemed to retain enough influence over white working-class teenage women and women in in their early 20's on Long Island who were of Catholic religious background, so that many of those who hadn't gone to college or become hippies would still seem to feel some guilt about becoming involved with a guy, unless they assumed the involvement would lead to a marriage and children (as well as an escape from a 9-to-5 wage-slave job).

Also, in late August 1971, radical feminist intellectual consciousness still had not penetrated much into the minds of most of the white working-class teenage women or women in their early 20's who hadn't been to college yet, especially since the U.S. mass media still hadn't yet begun even promoting even the non-radical, middle-class feminist careerist consciousness that it began promoting by the middle of the 1970's.

So, intellectually, most of the white teenage suburban women and college age women around me on Long Island still seemed to be on a very different intellectual/philosophical/psychological wavelength than I was in late August 1971; in terms of how they expected men and women should act in relationship to each other, beauty standards, what kind of men and women were most desirable as lovers, and what kind of goals and aspirations women and men should attempt to achieve in their lives during the remaining decades of the 20th-century--assuming they survived as individuals.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (ii)

With nothing happening much anymore politically in New York City in terms of a New Left Movement by August 1971, working collectively as part of some radical aboveground anti-imperialist political collective no longer seemed like an option for me. In late August 1971 I heard some vague news that George Jackson had been killed in prison in California. Prior to August 1971, his case and imprisonment had seemed more of an issue that California radicals and West Coast radicals responded to and too far away for radicals on the East Coast to get involved in. But the fact that prison authorities felt they could get away with assassinating George Jackson in late August 1971 reinforced my feeling that the New Left Movement for radical change--or at least its aboveground component--no longer posed any kind of immediate revolutionary political threat to either the Nixon regime or the U.S. white corporate power structure.

So during the last 4 months of 1971 I was more into just writing prose and writing folk love songs and protest folk songs than into any kind of either individual or collective radical political activism. Most people around me in the New York City area still seemed politically brainwashed or manipulated by the U.S. mass media; and the only way I felt I was able to respond to what I regarded as the low political consciousness of nearly all the people around me was to try to raise their consciousness in small ways via writing prose or folk songs, despite not having any outlet for either my prose or my protest folk songs.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (1)

By late August 1971 there wasn't much of a 1960s New Left left in New York City. Most of the late 1960s white New Left student activists and yippies had either gone underground, moved out of Manhattan to cities with larger white youth ghettos like Cambridge, Massachusetts or Berkeley, California or to the country in places like Maine, Vermont and New Mexico, had gotten off-campus 9-to-5 straight jobs or alternative jobs, or had returned to U.S. university campuses to resume their professional training for yuppie job slots within the "real world" of work or within the academic world of imperialist Amerika by the mid-1970s.

The scene on the beaches on Long Island like Long Beach didn't look much different than it had looked in the summers of the early 1960s, except for the fact that the teenage white guys and college student white guys now had longer hair than they had had in the pre-Beatles period of the 1960s; and some of the teenage and college student white guys now sometimes smoked pot and shared joints outside on the beach.

The teenage and college student white suburban women on the beach in their bathing suits seemed not much different than their counterparts had been in the early 1960s; and still seemed content to mostly just lie next to each other on blankets getting suntans and relaxing under the sun for a few hours, in-between brief intervals of swimming in the ocean and letting the men on the beach notice how they each looked in their bathing suits that summer.

But even during August 1970 of the previous year, only a few months after the post-Kent State/post-Jackson State campus upheavals in the United States, the suburban beach scene at Long Beach on Long Island probably still looked similar to how it had looked in August 1960 and failed to reflect the political crisis that the U.S. was in at that time.

Beaches on Long Island are probably the last place that the change in mass consciousness would be reflected, unless, of course, a change in local demographics and ethnic group or racial group numbers on the beach created some kind of inter-group racial or ethnic tensions on a particular beach. But even when the racial or ethnic background of the people who go to a particular beach on Long Island changes dramatically over a decade, what usually just seems to happen on these beaches is that many of the whites who used to go to a particular beach seem to end up finding another beach to go to swim at or sit on blankets at, if they're the type of white beachgoers who always want to be surrounded by a "white majority" at the beach.

Kind of crazy response, perhaps. But given the level of interpersonal racism, institutional racism and racial/ethnic tensions and divisions that have been built into U.S. capitalist society and its socializing process historically by the white racist U.S. white corporate power structure and its corporate media propaganda machine, perhaps not too surprising.