"If all means of production and distribution are blown out, people will be forced to make connections with their friends, to live and not starve. Groups like ours are learning to be self-sufficient. Probably there'll be government as far as distribution of food goes . . . I'm fairly vague, too, I guess . . . but to me this offers more opportunity for people to find their true potential than sitting in tight apartments with their uptight jobs. Being pigeonholed in a tight State apparatus that controls the world."
"What was that again, Marc? About the State apparatus?"
"I'm not sure I got what you said about State apparatus."
Marc's laugh is a quick glottal release.
"I can't remember what I say."
That could be dangerous in Marc's business. When he theorizes in the abstract and is confronted with a real-life example, Marc has been known to say: "I just changed my theory." He speaks admiringly of his wife, even a bit in awe. Of the "politics of bombing" he can speak for hours. In the second person.
"You have a whole anarchist communist attitude now, not in the typical press sense of anarchist. Not anarchist capitalism, not the every-little-man capitalism of Norman Mailer's campaign or Pete Hamill's attitude. You have people who want a non-state government. It's fine for where my politics are. What's under all the repression, all the media lies and the parental lies, is people wanting to have relationships with people they really agree with. Non-coercive relationships."
Is there any such thing? If so, why can't people have them now?
Marc hesitates. He tells a little story about the girl he brought home recently, to experiment with communal love. Marc's wife knew and liked the girl. But for some reason, when the three of them were in bed, a thought visited his wife. The one about being left alone with a child. Marc's wife rolled away. The threesome went to sleep.
"I'm beginning to see almost all relationships as coercive," mumbles Marc. "Though I do see a number of people who want to relate to one another. . ."
Spring. Movement buds are coming up at CCNY, Columbia, NYU, Pratt and at George Washington and Bronx Science high schools, for starters. Grass is for smoke-ins (primarily). The December Fourth Movement (D4M), formed after Fred Hampton was shot in Chicago, has work to do to get the faction-weary white middle-class revolutionary off his bleached jeans.
Friday the 13th of March:
Abbie Hoffman is orchestrating the biggest crowd at a Columbia rally since the Great April of '68—the first rally this year sponsored by the whole alphabet soup of campus political groups. Two thousand Columbia kids with cold teeth and a title to regain as the radical vanguard are gathering on the scene of former glories. Abbie, under the oxidized bronze skirts of Alma Mater, draws them all to his electric blue shirt.
Above him, the basilica of Low Library, carved in stone. The Royal Charter of George II stares Abbie in the back of the head.
KINGS COLLEGE says the stone.
BOOM says Abbie Hoffman.
Take it from there, Afeni Shakur. Afeni is the only member of the Panther 21 out on bail in New York. This rally is to raise bail for the rest, who were banished from Judge Murtagh's courtroom for refusing to promise to behave. The Panthers' black supporters pass hats and collect $400. But the white radical students have done their own thing. They have demanded, via resolution presented to the University Senate, that Columbia condemn the trial and come up with bail money for the Panthers.
Afeni wears big yellow hoop earrings and is galvanically beautiful. She tells the white students it is time for revolution in the mother country, not just struggle in the colony (meaning black America). She gives the students the extremes of choice they are looking for:
"If you don't want a race war in this country, there's got to be a class war!"
Cheering, followed by Jean Genet. A small, boring man in this setting. He speaks French, not rhetoric. The rally ends with a more incendiary speaker, on a note of suspended animation. The crowd herds up the steps—without plan, refusing to believe this is all there is—and breaks into a run in separate flanks around the carved stone of Low Library. A pale boy who says he is a poet is running alongside of me trying to quote himself about living in "this tedium of sickness" . . . but he is running out of breath. "Wow," he says, seeing the crowd milling at the glass feet of Uris Hall, the business school, "they are going to have an action."