THIS IS THE AMERICA I LOVE, DECLARED my comrade and current house pest John Sinclair during Saturday's march. Sinclair was founder and chieftain of the infamous White Panther Party in the 1960s, manager of the incendiary MC5, and a victim of a state frame-up in which he got up to 10 years for giving a narc two measly joints.
Now the hardest-working poet in show biz, he and I were limping west on Hollywood Boulevard with thousands of other patriots to stop Dubya's Folly. With us were Rex Weiner, former Yippie/Zippie/White Panther, underground-press hawk and current media maven, and Rex's 14-year-old son Carlos. And me, the junior-league Yippie kid who used to knock over NYPD sawhorses in the '60s and then run like hell to create strategic street diversion.
Johnny Lieberman, Michael Simmons and John Sinclair
Hollywood and Vine
Photo by Michael Dressel
Two brothers from the Black Bloc buzzed by, noted Carlos' youth and handed him a flier announcing a breakaway march at a certain location. Sources tell me they later witnessed cops flailing away at an anarchist's head; their billy clubs resembling scattering birds in flight at the clipthey were moving. So, three middle-aged revolutionaries and one sprite. Rex had given each of us a toy walkie-talkie courtesy of his son so we could communicate in case of riot.
With my prosthetic hips and a cane, I'm lucky if I can crawl like hell. Sinclair's bones were creaking, and Rex, while the sturdiest of the three, was showing the effects of decades of pills, powders and potions befitting a founding editor of High Times. When we passed Grauman's Chinese Theater, the actors dressed as Superman and Batman were grinning and giving the peace sign to the marchers. Suddenly, some red-faced, humor-free sergeant from the Los Angeles Porcine Department ran up to America's superheroes and screamed, CUT THAT OUT OR JOIN THE PARADE!
That fuckin' does it! I grunted. Fuckin' un-American tellin' our nation's superheroes what to do!
I whipped out my pad and pen, 3-year-old press pass and headed over to ask the cop why he did that and get his name and badge number. Two large hands enveloped me from behind, and a baritone belonging to Sinclair implored, Please don't do that, Mike. For me. The cat spent 29 months in prison and years fighting with cops, so I refrained, even though the momentary flash of righteous rage was invigorating.
In sleepy L.A. town there's just no place for a street-fightin' man.
At least not one with prosthetic hips.