Selections from Kaliflower

Kaliflower was a platform for propagating a communal vision based on several historical threads including Digger Free and the communalism of the Oneida Community from the 19th century. The following articles highlight these philosophical strands with selections from the articles that appeared over the span of the three-plus years in the publication's existence.

Table of Contents


Communal Archaeology

[ Vol. 3, No. 1, May 6, 1971]

So you think that this communal blossoming is a new hybrid, a crop never before grown in this land. We have discovered another crop of communes that was grown in the last century, on the same soil, from the same type of seed. Two books have been unearthed which describe 85 communes, associations and phalanxes occuring over a period of 30 or 40 years. History of American Socialisms (1870), by John Humphrey Noyes, covers the bulk of them, which were created in the midst of two great national socialistic excitations peaking around 1826 & 1843. However, these were all failures, most of them kicking off within their first two years. The other book, The Communistic Societies of the United States (1875), by Charles Nordhoff, describes visits to about ten successful religious communes, averaging around 50 yrs. old at the time of its writing. The books only overlap in their description of the Oneida Commune, which was formed & led by Noyes. The failures, as listed in the Noyes book, can all be attributed to "Human Depravity," or the members just not measuring up, in cloud-levels, to the heavenly outlook needed for Communism. The successful communities were governed completely by religious inspiration, which solved the problem of depravity by "preparing some for Association by making them better, and shutting off others that would defeat the attempts of the best," according to Noyes. He also relates the Socialist movements which formed so many of the communes to the Revivalist movements which turned on the nation during the same period — these waves seem like the spiritual & social revolutions of nowadays, & the Secrets of Success seem to spring, then & now, from the commingling of the juices of these two aspects. There are differences, of course, between our communes & those of the last century — we inhabit the magical margins of the Surplus Society, while they were made up of Common People, who had to work hard for economic survival, though their toil was lessened by communal living. They were also much larger, averaging between 100 & 200 members & 1000 acres of land, & required more organization. There is much to be seen thru this historical looking-glass, & Kaliflower will in the future reprint the most interesting sections of these books. But we seem to know even less about the comings & goings of the communes that get KF than those of a century ago. We are doing so little learning from each other — we must write, write, write about all the lessons we learn in Maya's School of Hard Knox, so that our communes will live to write their own histories. We can't afford to leave it up to newspaper reporters like Nordhoff, because of the devouring demon that the mass media have become. Let your artists, your writers & dreamers create pages that expose your lives to the many-eyed face of the communes!


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KF Vol 3, No 1 Cover

Keeping Out of Print

[ Vol. 3, No. 1, May 6, 1971]

Kaliflower has always politely declined to speak with reporters, interviewers, authors, doctoral students, questionnairists and other informaiton purveyors -- except to discourage them from publishing anything about communes or about Kaliflower. With rare exceptions these are people whose principal interest is status, money, or fashion. It is obvious that anyone with a legitimate interest in communes ought to drop out and go find a commune to live in.

Communes should keep out of the mass media for these reasons:

1. The information sold to the public is invariably inaccurate, slanted or distorted.

2. Communes that have been written about, even in a disguised form, have been deluged with curiosity-seekers, who have disrupted the normal life of the respective communes. At the same time we must point out that those communes who grant interviews are courting this karma.

3. Media publicity is like a shot of speed to any normal social development. It pushes too many people into what they are not ready for, and inspires all kinds of half-baked reactions in the press, public, and government. So long as the idea of communes is spread by vibe and word-of-mouth, they have a chance to form, grow, make mistakes, and feel their way naturally, slowly, quietly. Anyway there is enough incidental mention of communes in the media to make anyone at all ready to join a commune aware of this possibility.

4. Publicity is a direct provocation to local and federal government officials, like building inspectors and food stamp brass, who might otherwise choose to ignore what they cannot fathom.

5. Most communes and commune members are not yet strong enough to see themselves in the twisted mirror of the media without trying to live up to media-writers' expectations, without developing a phony sense of fame and success, and without playing, like move stars, to their imagined fans among the reading public.

6. Entrepreneurs study the mass media for new, interesting ways to make money. There are, alas, several "commune" businesses, which sell "communes" that resemble boarding schools to straight people at a good profit. Publicity harms the communes but helps the "commune" business.

The occasion of this sermon is the appearance, in the Saturday Review of April 24, 1971, of a feature article called "Communes: The Alternative Life-Style," by Dr. Herbert A. Otto, which we have reprinted for your interest. Just to make a couple of points: the passage between bars, on pages 18 and 19, is a slightly veiled description of a California commune which we have visited. The real "Angelina" sends out nice, high, thoughtful vibes, but Dr. Otto's picture of her is of a woman so vain and maudlin, that the very fact she gave him the interview makes us believe his view of her rather than our own. One wonders if she consulted her commune before granting the interview. The Morehouse "Commune" discussed on pages 20 and 21 is a straight business. The various houses are franchises of the mother "commune," and buy the right to use the name "Morehouse" and to practice the sensuality techniques developed by the founders. Each new member must pay a $200 initiation fee, and their publication Aquarius is a glorified price catalog for their courses.

As far as our own being mentioned in the Otto article goes, we regret that some one of our readers was not aware of, or did not respect our view of the mass media, and consequently showed Dr. Otto a copy of Kaliflower. We would like the opportunity to talk with this reader, perhaps over supper, at 1209 Scott Street. We regret that one more degree of the communes' freedom was sold down the river of newsprint.

[Includes a clipping from Aquarius advertising classes and private instruction at the Institute of Human Abilities.]

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Against The Stars

[ Vol. 3, No. 9, July 1, 1971]

The star system is a facet of mass culture. Stars are unreachable by definition. They are high "above" the mass and out of touch with it. (Indeed how can you be in touch with a mass?) They are so far away from us that we cannot confide our dreams in them or tell them that something they said or did hurt our feelings. Let the stars fall down!

Each star came out of a lowly group of brothers, and the spirit of the group gave the artist his voice, and when the artist became a star he turned his back on his brothers -- no time for them now -- now the time is spent relating to managers, accountants, reporters, and his own image in the mass media. Let the stars fall down!

Stars are ready-made culture heroes -- they are the TV dinners of the soul. They keep thousands of strong, vital, pertinent local cultures from forming. They dehumanize and isolate millions of people by feeding them a counterfeit but handy ink or plastic image in place of the eager flesh trying to please them a touch away. Let the stars fall down!

If you see a star about to be born in your commune (letters to New York publishers, auditions, admission prices) do everything you can to tie him down, for you are about to lose him to the mass. Try to provide him with an intelligent, critical, communal audience, and try to fan his ambition with the quality rather than the quantity of appreciation.

Now let us boycott the mass stars as much as we can. We don't need to buy their records. We don't need to buy their books. We don't need to spend any more money on mass cultural products. We can save our money and invest it in musical instruments, movie equipment, blank notebooks, and typewriters.

If only we hold on to our patience and faith, and do not cop out on our purity, we will be the practitioners of every art form in due time. And no doubt the artistry of some of us will be spread by word of mouth, and people will come far away to visit the artist in his home commune, and some artists will travel form commune to commune, spreading the pollen of one to all the others. Now we can let the stars fall down.

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KF Vol 3, No 9 Cover

Interrogation of a Businessman by the Interior Police

[ Vol. 3, No. 17, Aug. 17, 1971]

Note (2020). This is the first transcription of this interview that appeared in Kaliflower in 1971, keeping to the original text exactly and not naming the two principals of the interview. For scholars and researchers familiar with the history of the period, the identities of Star and Crescent will be obvious. To everyone else, the parrying between the two is important enough for the debate on mass versus tribal cultures without knowing the identities involved.


[The following interview took place on July 26 and August 19, 1971. It was transcribed by hand, typed, and on August 19 and 23 the typescript was read and corrected by the speakers.]

STAR [lights incense, sings mantra accompanying self on harmonium, rings bell]: Now speakee.

CRESCENT: Why did you shear off your beard?

STAR: Evening's conversation with drunken Lama Chogyam Trungpa Tolku, his wife screaming SHIT! at him for breathing vodka too close to their baby. I said, ''You're drinking too much.'' He reminded me of Jack Kerouac both drunk freedom and tipsy illumination. So he said, ''Why don't you shave your beard, you're attached to your beard, I want to see your face!" I left the Hotel bar, zapped out to Hotel pharmacy, went to lobby men's room with new scissors, reappeared five minutes later at the cocktail table where drunk Tolku was on his second third Bloody Mary, he said, ''You didn't shave it, all you did was cut it off two inches!'' And I said, ''It's eight o'clock and you've got a lecture to give at eight-thirty, I'll shave there.'' ''They know me, they know I'll be late, shave now order another drink.'' We left the bar it was almost a full moon, I pointed and he looked up and said, ''Americans aren't ready for the full moon.'' And I said, ''That needn't affect the moon.'' After his lecture, when I came out of the bathroom cleanshaven, he said, ''He took off his mask! Now let's hear you improvise some poetry, like Milarepa!'' (Because earlier I had said I didn't want to go around poetry-reading anymore, and he had said, ''You must be tired of your texts.") And so I did, about ''beer-beard-moon, '' kind of lame. Halfway through shaving in the mirror I realized I was free of my image-familiar visage, and could wander around Telegraph Avenue anonymous, and so had temporarily doubled my pleasure in existence—I'd become too self-conscious being recognized on the street. Useful karma yoga, but I was already too long involved in that specific karma—thus charming change thanks to drunken Lama. He said, incidentally, that because Americans were so drunk, his purpose, tipsy, was to explore the illumination of that drug, to see if it could be turned to any good use. Later on Suriya of the Floating Lotus Opera went to see Hari Dass Baba, Baba Ram Dass's (Richard Alpert's) teacher and told him the story. He giggled and said they were both mad in the full moon light. Or ''making madness in full moonlight.'' How did I first tell it to you?—the full moon made them both mad. That sort, nice end on't.

Several nights later I closed the Capri invisible and went to the Basket dressed in my Salvation Army $3.50 Montgomery Street suit and porkpie hat, white shirt and tie and close-cropped hair. I stood around watching everybody dance all night, got beat for a buck by a half-drunk speedfreak kid I picked up in front of Finocchio's, and wound up taxiing alone to Pam-Pam's at 6 a.m. Great gathering of beautiful varied lads and queens at table, so I walked up hat in hand and said, ''Can I sit down with you? I'm lonely.'' They said, ''NO! No room here, we' re expecting more people .'' And suddenly I was on the outside of gay hippie culture looking in and realized I'd stumbled on a new karma yoga treasure: anonymity.

CRESCENT: I read in the Berkeley Tribe, I think, a quote from The Effeminist, a gay radical newspaper, a charge of sexism against you for your ad in the Berkeley Barb, in which you were quoted as wanting a certain kind of male love slave.

STAR: I didn't say I wanted a male love slave, I said I was overwhelmed with work, had left Peter, lonely, ready to put an ad in the Berkeley Barb—so we put the ad in, a box in mid-interview—'' wants companion, chauffeur, body servant, who can take dictation, accomplished in meditation and yoga"—everything I needed all at once, it's really what I need, well, they thought it was sexism.

CRESCENT: Do you understand what they meant?

STAR: No, I checked back at Venus Psychedelic Church to find out who they were. I heard they were two guys over thirty and were having trouble making out—but I never met them. Read subtly, the ad was my asking for a guru, I wanted someone to live with and have as teacher. So I don't know if you could call it sexism, the order I was placing was so demanding that probably no one could fill it. There wasn't enough substance in the ad to make a doctrinal polemic out of it.

CRESCENT: You've often stated that you're attracted mainly to young boys. There's a new word for it, ''youthism. '' It's a subclass of chauvinism, the exploitation of any group for a special characteristic which is beyond their ability to change.

STAR: I asked Gavin Arthur about that the other night. He said that it's fitting and appropriate for younger people to learn from older people and older people to take pleasure in and enjoy the vitality and enthusiasm of the young.

CRESCENT: But among gay people, you must understand the terrible sadness older gay people get into when they think they're no longer young and attractive. That's what youthism is all about.

STAR: I'm in the middle of that now.

CRESCENT: Even on a sexual level there's something comfortable about sleeping with older people.

STAR: I'm not able to solve the problem. When I was younger, I slept with older men, Burroughs (and Genet later in Chicago), people who my heart opened out to and who were older. But generally I was not turned on by older people sexually, in that question I'm being confronted with earlier karma. But it can't be solved by polemic about youthism. Maybe in some revolution older people will find each other attractive.

CRESCENT: Maybe in some revolution every age group will find something attractive in every other. Speaking of revolution, did you see the pamphlet we passed out with Kaliflower, whose real name is ''Anti-Mass''?

STAR: Yes.

CRESCENT: Have you seen ''Against the Stars''?

STAR: Yes.

CRESCENT: In our mind there's been an estrangement between our real culture and the so-called culture heroes, who are wrapped up in mass media ideas of a homogeneous national mass audience and have lost contact with their real base, contact of humble person to person. I wrote the main draft of ''Against the Stars,'' and one person I had in the back of my mind was you.

STAR: I read it as such, that's why I came around when you were still asleep this morning to bemuse you with a free mattress concert. Historically, this situation has never been recorded before, electricity overpopulation, creating culture heroes and stars. Previous times, Socrates in Athens, everything was personal, everyone knew everyone. Still there was probably some feeble star system, because you can't relate in depth to everyone. If you see a Hollywood star trying to relate to a large number of people, it's ''Hi, dear,'' shaking hands, eye flashes—but sincere eye flashes, vajra bolts. If you can only relate in depth to one person at a time, in a month you can make contact with thirty people for in-depth conversation love, dwelling one day with each, smiling. Love's complicated now by electric media, you can smile at a million faces simultaneously—Graven Images of poetry and music get multiplied (against Hebrew and Arab codes, but in accord with Buddhist prayer wheels and Hindu systems).

CRESCENT: My complaint has a very personal aspect. In the last few years I've lost contact with you.

STAR: I've visited you, but you haven't come to New York. Although I'm involved in poetry, you're so involved in the commune that it's impossible to keep up with you. Another thing that's happening to me is that I'm overloaded with all sorts of electrical work.

CRESCENT: I think you have in your mind ideas, typical of Grove Press and New York, that there is such a thing as a national culture, and that the goal of an artist is to get as wide an audience as possible, using all electronic means necessary. It's the hoax of media people. What has been created is an electronic culture, doomed to the loss of personal contact, and in the hands of electronic middlemen. Our social organization seems to be following a different cultural pattern, that of withdrawal from mass activities. I don't know why you too don't drop out of so-called American culture. I would like you to regain your anonymity. Shaving your beard is only temporary. Why don't you withdraw as a holy man and live with a group of people that you could be guided by, that you could accept criticism from?

STAR: Criticism! You don't know what kind of a tongue Peter's developed. But I've put a lot of efforts towards living with a group. Complications! Peter was on speed. There were urgent problems with Corso, Ray Bremser, Herbert Huncke, lots of others, they were important people in my life. The last three years most of my energy's been devoted to the white-elephant farm, people there slowly moving independent. As far as criticism is concerned—it'd be a pleasure if I didn't have to listen to Corso drunk and Peter on speed, but I've been being criticized for years my dear, for years! There was no ''Imagery,'' you haven't seen any photos of the farm, I've been living relatively in private. And then I had to go out and get money to support the farm. We grew our own food, our own eggs, milk, goats, garden. What with doctors' bills, gravity water system & pond-land works it cost $20,000 a year to live like that, simple & close to nature.

CRESCENT: I understand the gist of that. Somehow the point was lost. You're trapped in the system.

STAR: Not really ''trapped,'' I was fulfilling responsibilities, I was following nature.

CRESCENT: I've just had the feeling for some time—how can I say it—I'm forty years old and it's important for me to hear what the young people to whom the future belongs feel. For example, Kaliflower is a place for people to spin dreams. From what I know about your life, I find it difficult to believe that you have placed yourself in a similar position, listening to their dreams. You seem more interested in continuing a career in mass media, than listening to young people find out where they want to go.

STAR: It's too complicated to answer. It's not that you're wrong. There are more elements than proposed. Where I'm living now I hear almost as much as you do, except that you specialize in communications—it's the old Floating Lotus Opera house, all sorts of people come through there. I spend a lot of time wandering on Telegraph Avenue, sitting in the Mediterraneum and Shambala, I wind up talking to a lot of street kids. And then I go to the Capri, the Basket. Also I travel a lot, through the media to colleges, I wander around nights downtown thru dormitories looking for loves. Gives me a lot of information and odd relationships across the country. One portion of my activity is interviewing the C.I.A. Also I've been working on Leary's strategy this last week; and on a petition for the Living Theatre—the entire troupe was busted in Brazil—in the form of a poem. Yes, I'm trapped in media, but I have to get together these lists of media helpers for Leary and the Living Theatre. Who else could do it? Or who is doing it? I don't know how to analyze it.

CRESCENT: If it's a personal thing it seems O.K. What we object to is working in terms of mass causes.

STAR: Yet the Living Theatre is in jail, they need help. One way is to raise an international ''hue and cry'' so that Brazil police get sensitive to their fate.

CRESCENT: But there perhaps could be other ways—personal contacts in the State Department.

STAR: I outlined for Steve Ben Israel (Living Theatre member who escaped Brazil and organized Living Theatre Defense in New York) all my personal contacts, the Brazilian desk in the State Department, C.I.A., A.I.D., I typed up a giant list of personal contacts. Yes, I am trapped, because I have all that information.

CRESCENT: This puts me in the funny position of advising you not to help your friends. But maybe you shouldn't bother with them.

STAR: It puts me in a funny position, too. I'm the only one who can do it, or who did do it, it hadn't occurred to anyone—I'm collecting signatures on an ''official'' paper from the International Pen Club, saying that Leary is an ''international refugee,'' so that the Swiss government will give him asylum: last week's work—an eight-page literary essay, circulated in the Bay Area, and sent to Switzerland. Statement that he's not just a jerk but an international literary figure. His lawyers said it was useful.

However, given these circumstances, I tried to turn Propaganda action into an art form. So I made this [Living Theatre] petition in the form of poetry, and in Leary's case I did an essay in Voltairean style. [Reads Living Theatre poem.] The form looks like a LeRoi Jones poem. It's integrating aesthetic , form with mass-world cultural political propaganda.

CRESCENT: The only question is, is the whole trip through the mass media worth it? Your petition needs the signatures of mass-media personalities. What can we at Kaliflower do for you? We're so anonymous that our names would just fill up blank space. You're just playing games with the mass media, their good guys and their bad guys.

STAR: The question is, what to do when Steve Ben Israel calls up about being busted? The work that they're doing you would really dig. They've abandoned the theatre and work on the streets. Julian Beck [co-founder of the Living Theatre] wrote me a letter and asked if I had developed anything useful for mass-contact body-sounds on the street. What they were doing is a three-week-long play, with different scenes on different days in different barrios, like a galaxy revolving around the city, like maybe a vegetarian scene in the meat market. It's on the streets and public places, direct street events. They had gone there specifically to see if their non-violent communal consciousness could sustain itself in a fascist police state. Remember that they were always in the avant-garde, as vegetarians and as pacifists. They were a commune years before anyone else. So it was useful my having the public image-power and information and some money for $150 phone bills, talking to Steve Ben Israel long distance. I don't know what to do other than what I'm doing. If you could think of any other way of doing this, I'd be glad. I also have the feeling that the more attention is paid to the media, the more it grows.

CRESCENT: Suppose you just renounced the Living Theatre and its fifteen lost souls—there are countless lost souls everywhere. Maybe you should just drop out.

STAR: I have more of a feeling of fidelity for old friends, it's a source of energy. I always idealized loyalty to friends, and that comes before media, communal ideology, revolutions, trains buses and ashrams.

CRESCENT: Yogis say we should treat everyone with the same unbiased tenderness. I feel most correct when I don't show partiality but treat everyone who comes to me with the same special favor—if only I could do it more consistently.

STAR: I'm archaic—and clinging to old loves. A universal love comes soon enough, on the deathbed. Other swamis say follow your heart. So if your heart leads you to want to suck one cock for fifteen years? [Shrugs .. ] The questions and answers are artificial. Another thought is that practice in particular loves deepens myriad loves. Another thought is, swamis preaching universal love don't get much of a chance to relate to any single devotee. Gandhi's children went mad. And any swami who says things like that does have his delightful favored devotee or god image too.

[The interview continues after dinner.]

STAR: Assume, as Gary Snyder does, that the whole technology will collapse and we'll return to tribal culture, which is the only ''safe'' correct place, maintaining stable continuity over ages: You'd specialize only in what music you can make out of your own body, with hand-made instruments, and can transmit in your head, independent of electromechanical robot helpers. Free verse (like mine!) will be obsolete out the window because no printing press'll exist and only rhymed verse can be remembered. That's the basic Way that Snyder's on, he's interested in revival of stable permanent usable earth-knowledge American Indian stick games, how the Maidu ate, how they built their houses in the Sierras. I don't have an answer, ''Will machines survive or not?''

One thing I thought was to abandon all mechanical poetry reproduction that didn't have direct memory transmission possibilities. My written poetic style is a byproduct of printing, I'd have to go back to writing tuned rhymes, things people could sing and remember by a campfire, things you can transmit and remember orally. That would be the ideal medium for an alternative culture—you might abandon written poetry and go back to ancient bardic chanting.

CRESCENT: Since we are literate now—

STAR: But literacy depends on printing, on machinery, on cutting down trees.

CRESCENT: It could depend on hand transcription.

STAR: On paper?

CRESCENT: From trees that have died naturally—there's plenty dead wood in the world.

STAR: But ultimately having paper would be a luxury, as it was for the elite monkish scholars. Harry Smith's ideas about the Australian aborigines turned me on a few years ago. He said that they had only one artifact—a wooden stirring stick with notches, used for everything, weapon, wand, head rest, mnemonic device to remember myths—I think called a ''Bull Roarer''—which totem object connects them to ''Eternal Dream Time.'' And yet they had the most extensive oral history because they have only one artifact. Their mental culture, private life, is among the most rich because everything exteriorized has been stripped down, as on a desert where they live. I always keep that in mind as one possibility. How far do you go toward primitive no-machine to regain soul balance, which as [typo: has] been tipped over by the Iron Age? What you're proposing is living off odds and ends of mechanical culture, what Snyder's proposing is going back to bare Neolithic.

CRESCENT: What's important now is what we should abandon—not necessarily what we should move towards ultimately. And one thing we should abandon is mass culture, which is now an instantaneous perversion of our real local cultures. Now there are rock stars, but according to reports of San Francisco in the sixties those first dances were—

STAR: Religious—that's agreed.

CRESCENT: The star system is a pure product of mass culture. Without mass media you would ''hear'' of the repute of a great artist. You would make a trip across the country to hear him if you were that interested.

STAR: Getting back a little—just as you're proposing to live through a life style of abandoning mass-culture star-system comers, Snyder's proposing to go further and abandon the very cities that are the centers of it, the abuse of human nature. So that's a general tendency of thought. Then there is an opposite, alternative, like Whole Earth Catalogue/ Buckminster Fuller optimism; and the Marxist analysis that it is not the machine itself but the capitalistic use of the machine, the usurious use of money connected with the machine, that makes it unusable—so your and Snyder's retreat from the machine—

STEVIE: Our retreat is not from the machine but from the methods of distribution.

CRESCENT: We may have to abandon the machine temporarily as an act of theater—and rite of purification.

STAR: The aborigines, Gary Snyder, ancient Hebrews, don't feel the machine is viable. They forbid the reproduction of images—not turning on machines, even a light bulb, on the Sabbath. They say don't reproduce or ''name'' God—I was stretching a point but you get the point. That is to say, making any abstract reproduction of Life is hallucinatory, therefore blasphemy—much less mechanical mass reproduction of JHVH.

CRESCENT: Where is the prohibition?

STAR: ''No graven images.'' The star system is a graven image, stars are worshipped.

CRESCENT: Hasn't it been your hope to take advantage of the star system and use it to project all your humanness?

STAR: No. I had a higher nore [typo: more] magical ideal. I took the Bodhisattva's vow: One, that sentient beings are numberless, and I vow to enlighten every one of them; Two, that the doorways, gates, or methods of teaching are endless, and I vow to go through every one of them; Three, that the passions are numberless, and I vow to extinguish every one of them; Four, Buddha Path very high, I vow to follow through. The second vow—the gates are numberless, I vow to go through every one of them—means not relegating any media to non-existence. All sentient beings are—sentient. Everyone's a Buddha. The tantric thing is making use of what appears to exist, not negating it, like the tantric thing of using sexual energy rather than denying it, or Trungpa Lama exploring Drunk Illumination. Assuming all newspaper reporters are Buddhas, address the Buddha nature in every being in every way. Yes basically the same hope you insighted. When I go on TV, I look directly into the camera to speak, imagining that in another space-time dimension, I'll be sitting there watching myself—which I will be (or Peter will, or you)—and say the things I know they will love to hear, talk telepathically Self, to Self, & speak out What Should ideally be said on TV—It's using the mechanical transparent Robot TV Eye as a vehicle for the enlightened eye-glance doctrine transmission of awareness. Not making discriminations against different forms, treat every form as an approach to turn the Wheel. My original view was, what if you could possibly illuminate people magically when they turned on the TV—this is the highest fantasy in the back of my mind—generous fantasy.

CRESCENT: It is a generous fantasy.

STAR: The freest in a sense, since everything is included.

CRESCENT: But it seems to go against—

STAR: Common sense?

CRESCENT: No, spending most of your time out of the spotlight with humble people, spending your energy and genius on the salt of the earth.

STAR: But the salt of the earth don't need enlightenment. The most debased people need enlightenment, the matter-habit freaks of Middle Class.

CRESCENT: Who is your audience?

STAR: I address myself at best to pure spirit, assuming it is identical in everybody—however hark the Sanscrit word Upaya: Skillful Means—in my fantasy I assume I'm talking to Richard Helms, Kissinger, William Buckley, my father, my brother Eugene, Creeley, Gary Snyder, Norman Mailer, Max Scherr, Robert Silvers (the Times Book Review), Burroughs, Ted Berrigan, Hibiscus, Ted Wilentz, Jerome Jaffe, Lucien Carr, Kerouac's ghost, Trilling, Dellinger, Peter Orlovsky, Congressman Fish—Swami myriads—and I actually am talking to those people—literally—in some dreamworld place of mutual consciousness. Simultaneously trying to find an aesthetic form where I am publicly sending messages to them also understood by a longhaired kid on the street, blow prophetic trumpet clear in any direction. That's my fantasy, setting an example for a street kid of capital ''p'' Prophecy, or language strong and compassionate enough to penetrate through public hallucination advertising–Politics–inhumane–doubletalk and deliver the private message; same time find public terms for private sensations. So that a street kid could appropriate that language and use it on his parents to convince them that his private world has its own reality, its own public language. That's what I was trying to do in this thing [holds up Living Theatre petition]—make a public trumpet. Some of the language was from Whitman—what he called the Democratic Adhesive—''artist Persons''—he used Persons—a key word for his whole fantasy—he conceived of America composed of large magnanimous Persons—the reality we know in private, saying that's the ultimate public reality—when that private reality becomes public reality, we will have democracy. Olson had another phrase: ''Private is now public, & Public is how we behave.''

CRESCENT: What do you see as my complaint with what you're doing?

STAR: That my fantasy can't succeed because the capitalist situation is now so degenerative—?

CRESCENT: No, that there's no homogeneous mass America that Whitman dreamed of.

STAR: But the confraternity of communes is that mass that Whitman meant. Your complaint is that I'm not taking everything as personal, but mechanizing it, making it impersonal.

CRESCENT: Why not become acquainted with the confraternity of communes and find out what people in communes are thinking of. I've pretty much seen your recent writing as it's been published—it doesn't reflect my consciousness or the consciousness of the people I see every day. The whole controversy in Kaliflower about sexism—I've learned a lot from it—your involvement would be welcome. Maybe I'm just complaining up the wrong tree.

STAR: My product isn't applicable here?


STAR: The applicable parts are the Blake mantras—simple songs people can enjoy together, tested in communal situations —composed in a commune with no electricity and tested in communes in New Mexico . Some things you don't consider communes I do—the religious groups. I've been involved in learning their songs and disseminating them, getting people chanting. A totally uncommercial scene, another criterion.

CRESCENT: Don't people have to pay for your performances?

STAR: Some. Last one was a benefit.

CRESCENT: Benefits are commercial and unavailable to the impecunious—just like non-benefits.

STAR: Last week at the Unitarian Church was free, the Cabaret thing will be free. Most of my activity is in people's houses, chanting. That's why you haven't heard me. The problem is, how are you going to get a huge place without hiring a hall?

CRESCENT : Your own desire to be heard, when you were unknown, was strong enough to begin the Pocket Poets series.

STAR: No—Ferlinghetti began it before. I'm Number Four.

CRESCENT: But your wishes for other poets to be heard helped to create the series. Your ease now in getting published keeps new media from being born. When you had no media, you helped create them-. If you were to turn your back on commerce now and concentrate on pure media—

STAR: But what is pure media? The underground newspapers think they're pure.

CRESCENT: —you would help bring them into existence.

STAR: Do you have any suggestions?

CRESCENT: I would go on Kaliflower delivery routes and at each house sing a little. Start fishing around for some hall-like place that everyone could go to free.

STAR : I'm trying to do that by working with 330 Grove Street. Last night I was at the Unitarian Church—that was free.

LYNN: I didn't hear about it.

STAR: I meant to call you to put an ad in Kaliflower but I was too busy.

DENNIS: Even doing things in homes is fine.

CRESCENT: It supports families.

STAR: I do more singing in families than out! The reason you don't hear about it is because it is in homes and not public . ... I don't know, I try to do everything. Home–commune–public.

CRESCENT: We need traditional bards and minstrels, travelling with small entourages to the communes of northern California and Oregon.

STAR: Is the question devoting more time to communes rather than colleges and bookstores?

CRESCENT: Exactly. You don't spend enough time in communes as compared to straight institutions. Colleges are revolting, and we urge people to drop out of them at once. I know part of your message has been to liberate people in their traditional places. But I'm dismayed when I see people the same age as Stevie still working for grades.

STAR: I'm not revolted. I see people studying things they couldn't anyplace else—biology.

CRESCENT: Ask them why they're not doing it somewhere else. If they're turned on at all it's usually fear and ignorance. That's certainly true of the first four years. I don't know about graduate schools and such complex instruments as electron microscopes. Even some ''educators'' now urge abandoning schools—returning to the apprentice-master system.

STAR: Many people stay in school just to make money—it's like welfare.

STEVIE: They spend so much time spacing out.

STAR: All the more reason why I should go there.

STEVIE: You should urge them to drop out.

STAR: I can't do that, giving abstract advice.

CRESCENT: Wouldn't it be nice if we spent some time again working together on some project—I miss you—some project in the field of communes.

STAR: Every spare minute the last few years I've been working on the farm to keep it together. It is a commune of sorts—who's going to milk the cow, take care of nine goats, pay for the water system—I've been working on very concrete problems. Gordon Ball was here with me, wasn't he? He did the heavy garden work and planning for several years on our farm upstate New York. He's a big expert in farming and mechanics, I'm not basically a communal type, I guess.

CRESCENT: I'd like you to be. Or at least understand what's going on—what people are thinking. With your knowledge of petty government officials, you could try to encourage good works among them. For example the new food stamp regulation that cuts out ''hippie communes'' proves by both its existence and its unenforceability that the government doesn't understan [typo: understand] point one about communes. They have no idea what's going on.

STAR: Why don't you write articles for the mass media about the food stamp regulations, or call your senators?

CRESCENT: I couldn't care less, it won't affect the communes. They think they're doing this to harm the communes and it won't affect us at all.

STAR: You sure?

CRESCENT: Only the most wide-eyed innocents, who tell the officials they live in a commune and share food will be harmed.

STAR: Don't they come visit you?

CRESCENT: They don't have the manpower

STAR: Why don't you write an article for the underground media then?

STEVIE: We do.

STAR: But you're laying that job on me.

CRESCENT: No. But you might ask the officials why they're mad at hippie communes anyway. And let them know they can't harm us anyway so why try.

STAR: There's too many things for me to do—I'm overloaded.

CRESCENT: Drop out of some of your colleges.

STEVIE: It's just a matter of where you want to put your energy.

CRESCENT: I want to work with you.

STAR: That's what it boils down to, ''Person,'' lovely. I'd like to go on a Kaliflower route if I got time Thursday. Do you have one with a lot of gay houses?

[An interval. Notetaker assumes interview is over, there is much chatter, finally notetaker realizes things are serious again.]

CRESCENT: So the mass is broken down into small groups which visit and titillate each other.

STAR: That's what happens in the folk music world. Except favorites come out.
CRESCENT: That's because of mass media. Without that the top would be cut off.

STAR: So you'd have to cut out all advertising.

CRESCENT: Oh, yes.

STAR: What about posters? Where do you distinguish between advertising and information? Do you want to eliminate radio?

CRESCENT: The Diggers did most everything by word of mouth.

STAR: By the way, do you know how they vanished from Eye? It's pretty interesting—if not mythic—someone arrived from Vietnam with three gallon jars of heroin, sold one for $100,000 and felt guilty, so he gave one to the Diggers, enough junk to last a year.

STEVIE: The ultimate free shot.

DENNIS: Remember the background of the 1% Free poster?

CRESCENT: A couple of Chinese junk smokers.

STAR: Also the Diggers romanticized the rip-off—it gets into violence.

DENNIS: I'm amazed by the number of people who came to the [first] Free Cabaret by word of mouth.

STAR: Does word of mouth include the telephone? Midnight shows of KMPX?

CRESCENT: Ideally, there would be miniaturized cities, like Tangiers, with doll houses and tiny alleyways. You would scoot down an alleyway and everyone would know it.

STAR: The problem anymore is no small decision can be made without the consideration of the whole society.

CRESCENT: You can make a lot of negative decisions—what you can't stand and want out of as soon as possible, and that's quite a lot.

STAR: Getting out of anything electric, given almost four billion people, is an ecological fix. Snyder's recipe is not tiny towns, but—since the earth can only support 10% of its current population—that 90% bow out.

CRESCENT: Where did he get his figures?

STAR: From Ehrlich, Lily, and others. Industrial problems—One American shits a thousand times as much waste as any single Chinaman. Snyder and others say for public consumption there's about twice as many people as the earth can support, but really it's about 10%, the stable population of the earth before—

STEVIE: The Industrial Revolution.

STAR: Yes. Before people started taking the material world seriously. It goes back to the old prophecy: that it's a mistake to reproduce your god. It's a mistake to print your poem when the whole point is the vibrations of the bard's voice. It's a mistake to plant your crops when the whole point is to know enough to gather wildflowers. It all depends on how far back you want to go. Snyder and others are beginning to think that early agricultural communities were the beginning, the apple in Eden. Over 10% and you have to start cutting down trees, dominate and enslave nature. I guess that's a very rough estimate.

ERIC: What is he doing about it?

STAR: He's got two children. He violated his own precepts. I wouldn't dream of trying to judge it. I don't have a normal heterosexual relationship and don't want children.

STEVIE: If you lived in a commune and were intimate on other levels with women you might have a different perspective. There is some feeling in this commune to have more children.

STAR: Is it a problem of some girls wanting to become biological mothers?

CRESCENT: One in particular.

STAR: You don't know, it might be inspiration.

ERIC: Steve Gaskin said about birth control, that you don't know, maybe the person who has the answer hasn't been born yet.

[Rap about Steve Gaskin and his audience of a thousand.]

STAR: But his contact with his audience is direct.

CRESCENT: One old way of short-circuiting the multiplicity of personal contacts is large religious gatherings where everyone is doing the same thing at the same time.

STAR: You think it's short-circuiting? It's a way for people to get together and do the same thing at the same time.

STEVIE: That's saying the same thing.

[Rap about rhythms, rap about centralization.]

STAR: There was a complaint at the first Be-in about the centralized loudspeakers.

CRESCENT: Sounds like a polite complaint against the stars.

STAR: True, but no one on the grandstand was putting anyone on a trip. Most speeches were short. I myself was the worst offender, by reading an old poem text—so the first time was all right. The next Be-in was in New York. It had no center. The model is Indian—the Kumbh Mela—a gathering of holy men every twelve years. Usually where Krishna's Jamuna River meets Shiva's Ganges. A tent city, up to three million people for three months. Every group is responsible for building its own shelter—gets a permit. Naked Sadhus draw a line in the sand, rich Swamis have a wooden pavilion, it's decentralized. Everyone has their own booth like the Hog Farm or circus. It's long enough so that everyone can visit everyone's tent, and on certain days everyone does the same thing. Ceremonies on the first days—bathing and parade, elephants, mantra chanting. The yearly ones have 500,000 to a million people. So the idea of a vast Be-in is not uncommon, not even a product of the Electronic Age, but an old human tradition. So there is an archaic mass culture.

[What follows is the second session of the interview, which took place August 19, 1971. The leading questions had been prepared beforehand and were read out loud.]

CRESCENT: It seems you've always, at least as far as the public is concerned, called attention to your love affair with Peter as an example of queer domestic bliss. Is there any moral to be drawn from your divorce?

STAR: I haven't drawn a picture of queer domestic bliss, ever. For instance in published and unpublished poetry there's a lot of murderous references to Peter, especially in the middle fifties with the amphetamine thing. Public appearances have been equally quixotic, especially during the mid-sixties. Youth time I tended to idealize our relationship, maturing, come of maturing, imagery reflected angry experience as well as fidelity. But the theme, the basic theme, has been capital ''p'' Possibility—Possibility of comradely marriage. (Read Angelic fifteen years ago.) And fidelity. So divorced and faithful we'll be driving around the East Coast giving readings this fall together—probably not fucking though. No need.

CRESCENT: It is my impression that you do not treat media as merely another gate to the dharma equal to all others, but as your preferred gate; that you actually seek celebrity-hood or notoriety; and that you are a rather flagrant celebrity groupie. How can we have an equalitarian society with people like yourself running around drowning out the meek and humble. confusing fame with esteem and serving glory rather than God?

STAR: Poetry is a medium—language is a ''medium'' to begin with. So to the extent that I'm practicing Western language-poetry I'll be troublsome [typo: troublesome] to king and cook as Villon, footloose irresponsible troubador. To deal with media apparatus outside of pure poetry seriously as a holy devotion, prayerfully mudra'd, offers same difficulties as Kaliflower interview—this Kaliflower interview no different than supernatural television. Actually I have about the same enthusiasm and slothful reluctance towards both. I keep feeling I'd rather be doing something else. [Rereads question.] Using media as my preferred gate ... that may be so. [Rereads it.] But it can't be said that I've actively sought this—it's been an event of the situation. Oh, no! no!—I'd say definitely it's not my preferred gate, my preferred gate is writing poetry in increasingly solitary settings. I'm generally in a setting where I don't have a chance to sit in a solitary setting, people are demanding services. The question, did I actually actively seek celebrity-hood? Neither celebrity-hood nor notoriety, I sought an aesthetic show which had as its consequence celebrity-hood and notoriety. Which goes back many years to the celebrated ''notorious'' response I gave in Chicago '59 Big Table reading when a lady asked, ''Why is there so much homosexual imagery in your poetry?'' and I answered, ''Because I'm queer.'' I didn't say ''I'm queer'' because I seek celebrity—the answer was in exact Reality. However, piling on show after show, a public poem of identity emerges, an artwork so to speak, a continuous Happening. The odd thing about that Fame is that it presented a koan, Ramana Maharshi's mantra-riddle, of identity, ''Who am I?'' But isn't that exactly the same question everyone asks themselves? So it's like a universal problem of consciousness amplified made more conscious Riddle.

In the course of proposing Whitmanic admiration of Person, "large magnanimous individual Persons,'' by virtue of the eloquent nature of the Persons themselves (like Kerouac or Cassady) the idea-wish-poem became real, i.e. publicly familiar and nostalgically acceptable. How to prevent language like ''flagrant celebrity groupie'' from replacing the Whitmanic formula ''large magnanimous Persons''? This question needs to be looked at with a most cheerful eye. ''How can we have an equalitarian society'' when I'm pushing Hypnotic Influences? Well, first of all everybody's different. There's nobody else like myself. So this problem doesn't arise at all and nobody has to worry about it. [Repeats verbatim.] So the problem does not exist as a general problem. The fact that everybody's completely different is one of the first ideal thoughts of all communards as well as traditional American Whitmanic Democratic. So is the question, am I seeking my own glory or am I seeking God? No, the question is am I actually drowning out anybody weak and humble? Or am I encouraging meek and humble? I'd leave it up in the air as a question. Except that would leave my musty ectoplasm hanging around at the end of the interview.

CRESCENT: That's not so bad, it might be pleasant.

STAR: On this point my ultimate reference as always is continuing faith in the reality of bliss, experienced early (1948) when I glimpsed out of a window in East Harlem the buildingtops hanging in the sky like the open mind of God, and heard William Blake speaking his poems in a deep earthen voice which by hindsight I realize is exactly the same as my own voice now, age forty-five, when I'm not smoking cigarettes .

CRESCENT: I feel I may be causing you pain.

STAR: No. No pain. Secret mind, my celebrity results from my interpretation of Divine Orders.

CRESCENT: This is the last question. I'll read it and then let you see it, it's rather long. In New York, in 1958, when I spent a lot of time in your company, I felt that you were deliberately manufacturing a literary aristocracy, or caste system, and that you ranked your friends on the basis of something very close to heredity, in clearly marked orbits around the triumvirate of yourself, Kerouac and Burroughs. At the time I loved you a lot, and I was very confused, because I felt that you had admitted me into your life as far as you could, without tainting your royal blood. You recognized other royal families—the O'Hara-Ashbery-Koch clan for instance. It was like a Napoleonic Empire of poetry, in which a Proust would have felt completely at home. It was that state of affairs more than anything else—picked up and carried out by others—that drove me out of New York in 1962. One of the things for which I have always admired Huncke was his innocence of your status-celebrity trip —I guess he was too busy getting off with junk to settle for less.

STAR: That's kind of nice. That doesn't require an answer.


STAR [rereads question]: Well of course you know—he was sort of flattering me, egging me on to give readings so he could get more money for his junk.

CRESCENT: I was referring to the fact that he'd pick up stray nobodies on the street—and he didn't drop names.

STAR: The obsession with Kerouac.

CRESCENT: And Cassady.

STAR: That was my whole mythology—extended to Gary, Philip (Whalen]—it got so extensive that almost anybody with long hair could belong to it. At that time—you and I were dealing with Poetry—our relationship-to-be came out of a purely literary thing—Big Table—and literary camaraderie about it. But is [typo: it] was also a time of an enormous cultural conflict, not merely a battle for ''power'' and ''acceptance'' but for understanding between a hip Apocalypse world-consciousness poetry, and an older culture—but I had mythologized all that—as I continue mythologizing Peter, as you mythologize Kaliflower.

CRESCENT: I guess I don't object to the mythologizing, but—

STAR: It's very similar to the gradation of communes—those families you love enough to give Kaliflower to.

CRESCENT: Our theatrical finickiness and the air of chic around Kaliflower have a very deliberate purpose—to stimulate people to join communes. Were you doing the same thing, deliberately?

STAR: Very much—mythologizing Burroughs' odd laconism and humor as part of a no-bullshit attitude that did not accept the attitude of the state. I wasn't consciously doing it, just intuitively, even jokingly as ignu, or earlier anonymously tearfully as in ''Green Automobile,'' even 1948 Sonnets.

CRESCENT: When a person joins a commune that's it, he's in, there are no superior and inferior communes. There are communes we know are more organized. As far as Kaliflower is concerned, there's no favoritism.

STAR: That's because you don't get a million things to print. If you got more to print than people could read you'd have to discriminate. [He mumbles about the time and how his day's tangled up.] CIA opium ... Leary leaflet ... Living Theatre picket line ... Fantasy contracts … William Blake Country Western tune ... fly to India to see Burroughs & Jagger & 7,000,000 refugees swollen bellied in the mud ... type up assembled poems mss ... safety copies ... an hour a day straight back breath lower abdomen & breast, sigh out like ah! after coming ... organic farm costs money to live simple back to nature ... 3 hours straight on telephone … nobody loves me ... finally broke through to 3 chords instead of Just C & F or G C, Dylan said try G C D ... and honey tea before chanting ... finished preparing mss. early rhymed poems '48-'52 ... ''Iron Horse'' 60 pages 1966 finally in proof … ''Fall of America'' maybe call all scribbles 1965-71 ... separate album of Vajraguru Mantra 24 minutes continuous basso chorale each side . . . Psychedelic Venus Church orgy … ''Elegy to Che Guevara in Tribe … survey of repression of underground newspapers two foot thick file, anyone wanna write it up? … Go stay with Snyder & Whalen in Sierras . . . build hemitage there? … crosscountry last time reading with Peter October … threw last half pack of cigarettes under KF truck wheels last nite ... rehearse with guitar cello tonite … record Saturday spend all the money get it on tape once for ever … move all those boxes & papers Berkeley back to North Beach done 16 albums poetry ... telephone jangles nerves before noon … Hum … preface to D.A. Levy poetry ... what ya put on tofu to fry it sliced, sesame seeds? … Use lotah or small classic indic water-pot to pour down crack between cheeks & wash w/ left while pouring, then I wipe off with toilet paper if any, ever since India '63—Kerouac's long discourse on clean asshole in Desolation Angels 1961 ... don't even need to wipe wetness Irving? … The bulk of Narc agents peddle, they're completely dependent on shit for a living, my bibliographic paper final supplement Crumb cover Whole Earth Catalogue ... maybe I win bet with Richard Helms over Long Cheng opium market & he sit meditate hour a day rest of life … can't collect till I do it myself ... Revolutionary Letters amazing unity cultural manifesto poetry ... Mc Clure perfect mature inexhaustible biologic poet ... Whalen totally relax'd notebooks returned from Japan ... Hum Hum Hum Home … all the hills echoed … weary of time ... Burroughs making movie Naked Lunch now formed corporation ... Leary's letter sounds fresh-headed tho stuck in elite class Karma Switzerland ... his prose improving ... Anther beard fellow from Minneapolis, amazing long one word title poems like ''Applause'' ... rare to be given words so sweet ...


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Throwing It All Open

[ Vol. 3, No. 21, Sept. 23, 1971]

The starburst of airs, ass and music at Sutro Park proved that we have the genius, the joy and the beauty to end cultural ripping off for ever. We no longer need to deal with bearded cashiers at the Fillmore West, the gay bars, or the commercial movie houses, who pick our pockets for their bosses while wishing us a good day. All we need is for a number of communes to get over their shyness and throw open their houses (or neighborhood parks) for some joyous event. We have the space, the musicians, the performers, the movie-makers, the artists and the writers. Do you think you are too poor in talent to offer anything? All you have to do is open your house and offer yourselves. (We can put you in touch with free actors, puppeteers, music, food, and trips of almost any kind.) Do you have a garden? Have an afternoon tea party. Just make some tea and bake some cookies. (A set of chamber musicians is yours for the asking.) Do you have a big empty room? How about showing some free movies? Do you like children? How about a miniature circus, with popcorn and lemonade? Do the people in your house write poetry? How about a klatch of commune poets reading their work? Do you know Arabic, macrame, pottery or tantric yoga? How about a once- or twice-a-week class and lots of recitals? Do you collect photos of Lady Bird or feathered scumbags? How about putting them all out on display? If you would like to be a host, but are living in too cramped quarters, we can turn you on to free space. There is no excuse for keeping in your closets, creeping out to patronize capitalist culture businesses. Throw open your wiggy-wams to your fellow communards and make our lives more happy, pure, and intense.

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KF Vol 3, No 21 Cover

Paying Rent By Faith

[ Vol. 3, No. 24, Oct. 14, 1971]

In the very earliest days of our commune, every member was charged $45 a month for room-and-board. We had a treasurer, whose main job was to remind people when their rent was due, and to hound them if necessary until they paid it. Everyone secretly hated this fact of life. Here we were supposed to be a commune, and yet we had to pay a fixed sum every month to the treasurer, just as if we were straight tenants in a rooming house. The treasurer was like an agent of the landlord. There were a couple of ugly scenes between the treasurer and commune members behind in their rent.

The treasurer earned his own rent by selling Berkeley Barbs one day a week, and he took us one step out of the mess by organizing a Barb-selling expedition every Friday. He would order the Barbs, wake people up about 6 a.m., drive them to Berkeley and drop them off at the choicest corners. Thus gathering money for the rent became a communal activity, even though the fixed rate of $45 per individual remained. An increase in membership allowed us to lower the rent to $40.

A friend of the commune offered us a much more pleasant job, tending the three-acre garden of his horticulturist mother in Burlingame. There was a clear understanding that the money earned at this job had to go into rent, though individuals were allowed to keep a small fraction of their earnings for personal needs. As before, no one had to work more than one day a week. We rotated according to who needed to earn his rent money. Each person got a check written out in his name. The job provided us with a certain feeling of financial security. At that time we were having an occasional "crisis" meeting when the occasion aronse.

Then, when the commune was about fifteen months old, we read two books, History of American Socialisms and John Humphrey Noyes: The Putney Years. Under the influence of these books we held our first regular, weekly meetings, and at one of these it was proposed that we abolish rent on a trial basis, and leave it up to each individual, to pay what he wanted, to keep the house running. Only the treasurer would know how much each person gave. We had come to love and trust each other, and no one was afraid of being ripped off by anyone else. The proposal was accepted.

It was in some ways the most radical step we have ever taken, because it removed the coercion placed upon the members of the commune, by the "reality" of survival in America. Everything else we have done, since the days of paying rent, has been done voluntarily and in good cheer. We could have done it that way from the first, if only we had had the largeness of heart to trust each other.

Two-and-a-half years have gone by under the New Economic Policy, and we have had no serious financial problems. Our main source of income has changed from wage labor to welfare. (We are not afraid of using welfare money because our reliance is not on welfare but on the guidance we get from Elsewhere.) Each member's regular monthly income is communalized. Every once in a while a member gets covetous of the money he brings into the commune, and he demands some of it (we give it to him), but we don't consider this lapse into non-communalism any more serious than not washing off the ring around the bathtub, or gobbling up three bananas when there are not enough for everyone. Faith restores one's perspective.

When we need more money, the matter is discussed at one of our daily meetings, and a strategy for obtaining it is worked out. Some commune members simply cannot raise funds, and they enrich the commune in other ways. Since we don't think that the money a person brings into the commune is "his" anyway (it's all free!), there is no special prestige attached to this form of service.

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KF Vol 3, No 24 Cover
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