Correct History

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Personal / Stories / pk by Age / FLEX Net Years /
@ K. 2005 11 24

The Correct Interpretation of History

Contradictions go together like strawberries and cream.

I just wrote that sentence thinking of it in connection with the story I am about to tell, then quick first used it in a blog on polarized social intelligence, seeking the right corrective glasses. Here “correct” gets used in its egregious Marxist association.

By late 1970 my first FLEX fliers were circulating about Morningside Heights, around Columbia, NYU, the Village … By 1971 a couple of my pieces inviting the public to register their talents for teaching through FLEX were getting published in local media. An early response came from a gal who was soon to rename herself Mercury. Free U, of which she had been a principal, was getting reorganized. Would I like to come to the first new meeting? They had space in a church on West 4th, just off Sheridan Square. Would I like to come? I sounded, she explained, like “an interesting person.”

I arrive at the church and there’s a big banner out front: The People’s Yellow Pages.

I’m a bit startled. That’s the “same idea” as FLEX! How come Illich didn’t mention them to me? How long have they been at this? Who’s On First?

I hadn’t heard of Free U till Mercury called. Hell, I’d been teaching up in Maine, I’d been wasting more time and money at NYU. Married, now with a kid, I hadn’t been hanging around the Village: didn’t have my ears open wide enough.

I went inside. Everyone there, except me, it proved had been a Free U person. It also sounded to me like it was the entire group: intact: about a half-dozen people. Yet they seemed not to have seen each other in a while.

Whatever I needed to know about Free U I think I learned right there. The men kissing each other lusciously on the mouth didn’t bother me, I was in love.

When I arrived as a freshman at Columbia I was elated as well as astonished to meet other jazz freaks. But never had I met other anarchists. Never had I ever imagined I ever would meet other anarchists. Fags, however rare (less than 10% of the population), were a dime a dozen compared to anarchists. Apart from past literature, I didn’t know there were any. (Of course I had recently discovered Ivan Illich as currently active: clearly an anti-institutional libertarian if not an anarchist (though he’s since been called “the anarchist’s anarchist”).

Misty in Sheridan Square
thanx artnet

It was either during Mercury’s first phone call or at that meeting that Mercury invited me to join them for a radio show, WRVR, on free learning. (Afterwards, with a tape of the show in hand, the group went someplace with a tape deck and we listened to ourselves. I had had no idea what I sounded like: or, my ideas were not backed by the actual tape. Very little of my intended information, almost none of my humor, seemed to issue from the speakers!) (Then again, maybe my hearing isn’t that good either. It certainly isn’t now, in my age.) (That radio host invited me back (alone) many more times, on into 1974. Before her show was retiring she told me I had been her most invited, most frequent guest.)

The next week’s meeting promised a visit from some European anarchists. Man, when those Dutch types arrived I was really in love. (Though my favorite guy there was the single other male who did NOT seem to be homosexual. He wore a Stamp Out Human Chauvinism button!)

thanx project-humanity-earth

Soon Mercury announced that they had a free press: a rickety multi-lith in a loft owned by Quakers on the lower east side: the Union Square neighborhood. I started publishing my own fliers, by the half-dozen reams.

We all know that few marriages work well. Those that do typically hold together after a couple of bone-jarring bumps. Free U hadn’t held together. I failed to hold FLEX together. The People’s Yellow Pages and Free Press also re-disintegrated. Oh, the individuals were still alive, were still anarchists, but the glue had been rendered, melted down, the group had lost its groupness.

(And plenty of other frictions came to seem integrated: They were worried for example about infiltration from the CIA. On more than one occasion they turned on ME as a CIA agent! Mercury once paraded her newest lover, a very cute, very young, girl before me: I think as a Nyah-nyah.

Standing outside the Peoples Yellow Pages for the first time, I thought, Well, it’s a good thing we’re joining forces. But we didn’t. I was trying to be the center of the universe. So were they. So was every other new Learning Exchange: more than one hundred, around the world. No one but me seemed committed to actually coordinating things. I wanted to be George Washington, but not as much as I wanted it all to cohere: and endure. Take over, a tiny tail growing, then waging the dog, then becoming the dog. Then becoming the universe.

Would Thoreau have gotten along with Spooner? with Harmon? with Benjamin Tucker? Would a “marriage” have worked?

OK. That’s background for the title incident: something I didn’t understand for decades: till bk started studying anarchism: and explained it to me.

New people were showing up at the Sheridan Square church. What interested the group seemed daily less universal to me. They ONLY liked the quirky stuff. One guy got up and recited, almost like Hannah Storm, an unpronounceable (outside of India) string of gurus: to seeming great approval.

A minute later my enthusiasm for these people ground to a permanent halt. The same guy said, with great emphasis on the word “correct” that we had to all have The Correct Interpretation of History.

Uh oh. Shit! I thought I was among anarchists. Now they’re fucking Marxists!

Yes. That’s what bk explained to me, once my own philosophical tendencies had prompted my son to make a formal study of anarchism. (What I know comes largely from his studies; I’d never made a study: just followed “my own” tendencies.) bk informed me that historically there were two branches of anarchism: left and right. Marxism promised eventual anarchism, but in the meantime, there was a huge urge to break eggs, and to do it like Nazis. And the hell with the omelette. Then there were the right anarchists, who mouth about free markets. [bk’s response to the first post of this file is complex enough that I am not going to revise my prose nor go into detail. See the above link to BlackCrayon: it should do more than well enough.] [Alas, after decades the server for BlackCrayon, for all of my son’s domains, has died. When K. got censored, me arrested, bk could have republished everything that instant, on his own server: he didn’t. And when his own stuff died, he’s, so far, left it dead. (I’ll be satisfied if the species follows suit.)]

Get together? That doesn’t seem to be in the nature of things. Free market? Get serious. FLEX is the only free market ever offered. note How come the right anarchists didn’t support it? (2013 05 23 I’ll give an incriminating set of examples next visit.)

I guess I’m a right anarchist. And I guess it was a misfortune (for the world) that the left anarchists found me first and adopted me (without really integrating).

What’s eternally clear to me is that the right anarchists are full of shit, don’t mean a word they say: because they didn’t fall in with FLEX. And now they too use the egregious internet: just as we all must.

But it didn’t have to be that way. (There’s something akin to “free will” in our damnation.)


Free Markets:

Of course markets emerged: from decentralized behavior. Watch out for markets that are offered by a central authority.

One must understand: I wanted Ivan Illich’s design, plus my idea for it to coordinate worldwide, to be dictated: by the design! But the market, something active, alive, independent, had to emerge.

I believed that the emergence, since it hadn’t emerged, now needed a catalyst. Illich showed no interest in doing it, beyond publishing the idea. note Therefore I would do it.

But it didn’t. Therefore God must want us to be idiots: and god too (as if god wants anything).

I wanted it: that’s for sure.

Interest in Doing It:

Deschooling flowed from Illich’s work on tempering American cultural imperialism: US trucks in South America can do more damage than US tanks in South America because the tanks will damage only so much, whereas the trucks are intended to transform the continent to a dependence on asphalt, and all that goes with it: all of which which must be purchased.

But to my mind the solution to that, the solution to everything, was implicit in a free market of free information: information supplied by the public to itself via FLEX. Illich went on deconstructing institutions: Medical Nemesis, convivial tools as an alternative. But FLEX WAS the tool. Make it work; then philosophize more.

FLEX needed the public to support it as well as to use it, but I believe Illich could and should have helped more. He had connections throughout the public, worldwide; I had none, I was deracinated. Defenestrated.

I don’t believe he helped Denis Detzel much with the Evanston Learning Exchange either: and he had known Denis much longer. On the contrary, Denis I believe continued to help him, Illich: one of his old “altar boys.”

PS One of the Dutch anarchists to visit Free U that evening was the blondest male I’ve ever seen, I couldn’t take my eyes off his mustache, his beard, his eye brows … His eye lashes were blond! But he looked blond, not albino.

2014 08 22 Last night I watched a movie, a German movie, Eight Miles High, aka: Wild Life, that evoked those Dutch anarchists perfectly:

Eight Miles High
thanx playerweb

I’d never heard of it, never heard of Uschi Obermaier … So she was cute, so she fucked the Rolling Stones and a bunch of other late 1960s drug rock luminaries … (No, no: the girl who plays this German beauty of 1968, Polish girl, was utterly riveting, I may watch this movie again.)
The images of the Berlin commune are exactly right: the revolutionary double-talk was perfect: the rest I’ll take the movie’s word for. I was taken back in time (though I’m glad now to be back here).
(Gee the Europeans have been making sexy movies recently: the Spanish, the Germans … Von Trier’s Nymphomania was almost porn.)

Stories by Age by Theme by Others

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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