Tuesday, February 7, 2012
What would John Lennon say to Occupy?
This wonderful video was created out of an audio interview with Lennon in 1969. The interview itself is an interesting act of citizen journalism in a way, given that the 14 year old Jerry Levitan snuck into Lennon's hotel room in Toronto to get it.
Lennon's message to Levitan, and to everyone listening, is unambiguous -- peace and non violence. He even says one should not do violence to the establishment. A short extract worth a second look in this regard:
"Ask them to show you one violent revolution that turned out to be what it promised. [...] What they do is they smash the place down and then they build it up again, and the people who build it up hang on to it, then they become the establishment. You guys are going to be the establishment in a few years. It's not worth knocking it down because it's convenient to have the rooms and the machinery. The thing is to protest, but protest non violently. Violence begets violence."
This interview took place around the same time that Lennon went to Montreal for a non violent protest called the "Bed In." After he and Yoko were unsuccessful in getting into the United States, they set up the week of non action and opened their door to the media of the world. A choice piece of CBC footage below.
Again here the message is simple. And the simplicity of the message is perhaps what makes it so compelling. But the question remains, would Lennon say the same things today, especially with regard to arguments about structural violence since the principal tactic is occupying physical and discursive space? And what if the rooms and machinery of the establishment, as Lennon poetically puts it, are precisely the problems?