Grateful Dead Claim Conspiracy of A Thousand Fools

Jack-booted cops on horseback have patrolled the Grateful Dead concert scene for years; military style helicopters have been a recent addition. After a miniscule tear-gas police riot quieted the disruption of Grateful Dead concert on July 2 (police eventually arrested thirty people in connection with the toppling of a security fence), the band felt compelled to add lecture to injury. It printed and distributed a note to its ordinarily docile fans at it's next concert in St. Louis, July 5. One Deadhead called the note a "Police`R'Us" rap for asserting that "The security and police whom those people endangered represent us, work for us -- think of them as us." Do the Dead see a conspiracy against this fusion of higher consciousness and tighter security? "Your justly-renowned tolerance and compassion have set you up to be used," claimed the note, entitled "This Darkness Got to Give" by the band. It went on to characterize the trouble-makers as "saboteurs," but described their agenda as a "free for all party" and "drunken stupidity," which might be an apt description of some of the more senseless conspiratorial activity of late. The biggest culprits named in the note are the venders, who sell unauthorized t-shirts and beer at the concerts. The note makes the odd claim that "Vending attracts people without tickets...that have no responsibility or obligation to our scene." Do people without tickets really go to the concert site to buy t-shirts and beer? Where do the Dead think these people are really coming from? The conspiracy turned dangerous after the July 5 concert, when a pavilion at a nearby Deadhead campground collapsed and injured over 100 people. Meanwhile, the latest issue of New Dawn repeats a recent charge made by an English anarchist paper that a 1968 FBI memo stating that it hired the Dead to politicize the counterculture with drugs. The anarcho-zine, Freedom, claims that the memo emerged after a law suit, although the reason for the suit and its participants are not reported in New Dawn. New Dawn is an impressive conspiracy zine published in Australia. It does quote a polemic by Freedom that "More progress would have been possible had not a part of the rebel movement decided that an effective method of personal rebellion was to go for hallucinogenic drugs like LSD...The diversion of revolutionary energy into drugs was clearly harmful to the revolutionary movement, but few seriously suspected at the time that it was directed by the state." Perhaps, but it could be that the memo was a form of "snitch jacket" designed to make the Dead look bad. Similar rumors have long circulated about Tim Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, and other people whose work can be connected to recreational drug use, most of whom give the CIA great credit for inadvertently starting a psychedelic revolution. Return to Steamshovel Home Page
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