Ginsberg and the Spies of Czechoslovakia


Allen Ginsberg and the Student Spies of Czechoslovakia

Left: Interestingly, this newsclip appeared in the same edition of the New York Times that carried on its front page photos of mind control scientiest Jose DelGado, stopping a bull with an electronic implant.

The late, great conspiracy bard Allen Ginsberg became king of the Czechoslovakian May Day festival in May 1965 and was promptly expelled from that Communist country. The circumstances of his ascension to that throne, however, only recently emerged in the current "Allen Ginsberg" issue of The Massachusetts Review (South College, University of Massachusetts, Box 37140, Amherst, Massachusetts, 01003-7140.) It reprints the redacted Czechoslovakian secret police file from that time, with writer Andrew Lass' observation that "the report is accurate in most details pertaining to Allen...I know, because I was either present at some of the situations described in the report or because Allen told me about them later. But how did they know? Who among us was the mole?" The issue also includes the following 1986 exchange between Lass and Ginsberg concerning his election as May Day king: AL: Do you remember how you actually got elected, what the procedure was? AG: No, that I don't remember. AL: The procedure was to measure the loudness of the applause and so there was this microphone hooked up to this enormous meter, and while you were singing I went behind this enormous thermometer-bulb meter and there were these two guys looking at a little version of the meter connected to the microphone you were singing into and that was also pointing into the crowds-and these two guys would move the arrow of the meter as you were singing... AG: According to accurate scientific method...It was a fake! Was it a fake? AL: I have to tell you twenty-one years later that as you came out they said Ginsberg, Ginsberg sssswwwreee, and the thing went up and you became the King of May. AG: I am totally disillusioned after this. I thought I won it fair and square. AL: No, what this tells you is the extent to which this was a political demonstration and how important it was for the people who were arranging the parade and masterminding it to actually use you as a symbol and a vehicle and actually... AG: Was the parade that well masterminded, managed and manipulated, do you think? AL: I think it was. AG: I thought it was more spontaneous than that. AL: It was very spontaneous, but someone had to come up with the idea and get the permission and orchestrate the actual production. AG: Who? Who were those people? AL: I don't really know. AG: CIA? AL: No, no, they were students, they were students who actually then really became leaders in the student movement in '68. And some of them actually ended up in prison afterwards. AG: So I was up on the stage with the official title of King of May on my throne and the next election was for the Queen of May. Suddenly about six big guys like the ushers came over and told me "You are no longer King of May," lifted me, lifted the entire chair and took it off the stage to the side. I said "what's going on here?" Someone said that these were sort of like the fake students that were working with the administration or the ministry of culture, who were there as ushers for the government. I assumed that since a hundred thousand people saw me as the King of May there wasn't any problem about being the King of May no matter what the government wanted to do. In fact that put a little salt and pepper into the scene. But I also realized I was now in a dangerous position and had to be very careful, very correct in my conduct at this point, lest there be real scandal, 'cause as long as I was impeccable in my behavior I was invul- nerable. I'd already had the experience of being grabbed and isolated in Havana, so I was really quite apprehensive and knew what was possible. I wasn't afraid in a physical way, but I just didn't want to get into more trouble, actually. I had another week there and my plane was coming, so I figured I'll just cool it. So we took a nice long walk ... through the park.