Hippy Cull

from Underground, PO Box 3285, London, SW2 3NN, UK

1. Neo-hippyism is upon us: a bumper pack of seriously dumb tendenciesthat cripple processes of change. Some of these tendencies relate toideas, and some of them to action, they range from the 'political' tothe way people dress. They form the aesthetic, theoretical and materialdatabases people use to inform and develop what they are getting up to.This database needs reformatting.

2. The essential concentration of people on the necessity of direct action, hurling ourselves into the next conflict, getting the next flyposter up, saying the right thing at the next meeting, can all make for an inevitable postponement of actually thinking about what you're doing in broader terms as part of that process of change. This reduces movements to an increasingly predictable series of reflex actions that quickly become indistinguishable from the usual British anti-intellectualism. Attacking this is not an opt-out clause for cynics but a refusal to be suckered by the willfully naive.

3. Power is distributed in greater or lesser concentrations throughout society. Direct action is an essential realisation of this. It generates circuits where the flow of power comes from the bottom. This in itself disrupts already established or nascent control. Nevertheless, because much direct action tends to focus only on the most visible and most specific faces of power we can often miss much of what's going on. Unless this self-organising process is understood, accelerated, and used to undermine those who want to channel the energy of movement into pushing forward their careers or expand their power base, movements become merely a management training resource for future eco-professionals, documentary makers and party hacks filling up their CVs with rad acts as the first few steps up on the alternative career ladder.

4. Can people really any longer base their activities on moralistic humanism? Happy to save trees, defend ancient sites, venerate chillams and pretend to be tribal but totally unprepared to attack a key problem that underlies both 'mainstream' society and it's so-called opposition: The Human - the healthy, feeling, expressive, totally sound human construct whose authenticity is the ultimate in portable micro-fascisms. It presupposes a standard perspective as a de facto truth which overrules the experience of those who might see things otherwise or those processes which work differently. Is it any surprise that this standard perspective is nothing but a slight variant on a replicating information pattern developed over centuries by the ideologues of control?

. Nature and The Community become the absolutes in a reigning pantheon that includes deities such as love, free speech (for the dumb), dolphins, tree-hugging spirits and cosmic niceness. Not that these things are necessarily 'bad' as such - although they're likely to be pretty naff - it's just that when they are treated as absolutes, they lose any possibility of change (they're absolutes right? they're here for ever). Thus when change is forced on them from outside, from developers, power structures or capital it leaves people reeling in amazement at the destruction of what they thought was inviolate - nothing is, or should be sacred.

6. Environmentalism can all too easily fall into the agenda of national heritage, preserving the past as an unadulturable 'good' - reducing activists to an alternative National Trust, with all its inevitable conservatism. This invocation of the sacred ground of Albion concomitantly results, through the process of exclusion, in a summoning up of the primal forces of ethno-tourism: the holiday in Goa, respect for authoritarian religions such as Hare Krishna, the arrogant decontextualisation of cultural processes brought on by a second-wave colonialism that desperately hungers for 'authentic' novelty.

7. Granted, we desperately need to go beyond the present situation. But, do we need to go back to the sixties for the flavour of our opposition? Do we need to do an inaction replay of our parents or grandparents supposed acts of defiance? In 1967 the San Francisco Diggers held a funeral for 'The Death of Hippy'. Why do people continue to animate this festering corpse? What's the point of Doing It Yourself if your self is a tie-died, long-haired morass of half-remembered clich_s about consumerism and the environment?