30 years ago to the day was the assassination of John Winston Ono Lennon, a man that was as much a politician as a musician. His message of peace and love still resonates in our hearts through his music, but Lennon took his message a step farther than the realm of music. He used it as his philosophy. As an activist, Lennon changed the hearts and minds of many, but not without serious opposition. The Nixon administration toiled for years to deport Lennon, but the court of appeals ruled, ‘the courts will not condone selective deportation based upon secret political grounds’. With the fall of the Nixon administration because of the Watergate scandal, Lennon was awarded his green card and granted permanent residency under the new president Ford (Wiener Gimmie Some Truth 13).
With demonstrations such as “bed-in for peace”, which took place at the Amsterdam Hilton, Lennon did what many politicians try, but fail to do, he inspired people in an expansive way, creating a movement and an influence that forced even the White House to shake in their boots.
Lennon was a supreme example of a unifier of the people. When it comes to Marxist philosophy, Lennon would be a prodigal thinker. A man that spoke for the ‘proletariat’ and for peace. A man that did not shy away, but reveled in revolution, like the “free John Sinclair rally” held in Ann Arbor, Michigan in which John Sinclair, a michigan resident, was sentenced 10 years for the possession of marijuana. John Lennon held a rally in Crysler Arena speaking out against this extravagant sentence (Wiener 112-116). John Sinclair was released from prison and Ann Arbor dramatically changed its marijuana laws.
Property is an illusion. Love is real. Lennon was the progressive voice the world needed. He was the voice of the people. He persuaded peace and understanding. Easily labeled “another goddamn hippie”, I’m not so easy to discount him. His power with the people was enormous.
All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of his life, and his relations with his kind (Marx/ Engels 800)
Marxist philosophy would definitely have embraced John Lennon’s efforts to change old mindsets and progress and improve overall human interaction. They hold in common the belief that we are all free and equal individuals and that the well being of all people should no doubt supersede the primal spirit of competition and capitalism.
Unfortunately we live in a time where activism is seemingly nonexistent. We are pacified by something. Some outside alien force perhaps? I think it’s a little closer to home. For some reason activism is dead! Have people stopped subscribing to standing up for what they believe in? Telling the world. We have hours of footage from protests of the Vietnam War, and now, we have the war in Iraq, a war not only as unnecessary as Vietnam, but in the name of self-interest and capitalism!
Where are the protests now? I think John Lennon would be disappointed. I think Karl Marx would be in harmony with that. I am just as guilty as you are.
Maybe its in us, it just needs to be woken up…