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Sleeping Dragon?

December 8, 2010

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…

  1. erikamir permalink
    December 8, 2010 10:40 PM

    I agree with you totally in regards that people have do not protest anymore. As history progressed transition from the major wars to the civil rights movement and so on, American didn’t feel the need to fight for sometime if it had no widespread effect. For example, when we read MLK earlier in the semester, he said that the biggest enemy to the civil rights movement was people (mainly white people) who did nothing. You have to stand up for what you believe in because if you don’t who will. Like Ghandi said,”Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and I whole-heartedly agree with that saying. But I definitely feel that people are becoming more active with protesting since the Bush Administration and the current administration. I lived close to D.C. and visited it many times and saw protests about any and everything. I liked the quotes, and nice topic to dicuss.

  2. chris070310 permalink
    December 8, 2010 11:21 PM

    People are definitely taking advantage of protesting in our society now. I live in Detroit, Michigan and down the street the Palestinians protest about freedom and land for Israel in Dearborn. The government allows such acts as long as it seems harmless. When Saddam Hussein was executed, they celebrated in the middle of the streets feeling free from enslavement by their own people and taking a step closer to gaining ground for Israel. America has allowed all ethnicities to have the right to protest no matter the cause, as long as it doesn’t harm others. Love the quotes and the blog great topic.

  3. jldykes permalink
    December 8, 2010 11:33 PM

    I believe that Americans have become too satisfied with relying on other people, dueling in the mindset that somebody else will do it. The drive to protest and voice opinion is within us all, but many people have yet to discover it. In my opinion John Mayer’s Waiting on The World to Change, chronicles the do nothingness attitude of many Americans, proclaiming that it gets us nowhere. When we all realize the gift of our own voice and ability to protest, we will at least be on the journey to change, rather than at a standstill.

  4. seangordon permalink
    December 9, 2010 12:16 AM

    Interesting post. I do agree with the above poster, however, that there definitely are protests nowadays. Maybe they are not always on such a large scale, but perhaps that is just because there isn’t anything notable worth protesting about. I’m not so sure we are pacified by some force. In fact, I see us living in a world that if anything, needs pacification on both political and social levels.

  5. kduddy permalink
    December 9, 2010 11:07 AM

    I found this post very interesting. I think it would be an interesting comparison to compare John Lennon and Vladimir Lenin in the scope of Marxism.
    In regards to protesting, while there is much less nation wide protesting today compared to your example of Vietnam, there also has yet to be another national issue that the majority of the nation disagrees with. Current issues that are protested today: the war, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and gay rights in general, often have two strongly oriented sides either opposing or supporting the issue so the effect isn’t as great as a large majority of Americans protesting together nationwide.

  6. mbhilton permalink
    December 9, 2010 12:52 PM

    I don’t really see a problem with people not prostesting, as some poeple have already said, there really isn’t anything that goes against what the majority of us feel to be right. I would say that it’s better for there to be no nationwide protests under these circumstances as protesting for the sake of protesting is usless and may actually cause harm to whatever ever cause you were trying to support.

  7. Rebecca Marber permalink
    December 9, 2010 2:35 PM

    I still think that protesting goes on in our society today. It may seem as though it occurs much less frequently and to a much smaller scale; however, could this perhaps be because we now live in a time that requires much less effort in order to effect change? When John Lennon, and all the other “hippies” of the 60’s protested for peace, they were up against a much larger force of traditional, conservative nature. In order to move our country forward from the almost robotically uniform generation of the 50’s, hippies back then had to do a lot more in order to be heard. I believe that we have emerged into a much more tolerant society, one which does not react drastically to protests, simply because we are used to them, and almost invite them. Perhaps this means we are in a better state for enactment of change than when John Lennon was compelled to take a stand.

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