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Dragon Teeth

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There's a lot oí weird shit going down at progressive radio stations all over the country right now - we've seen sister Barbara Holliday and brother Paul Greiner, two of the most righteous radio workers of all time, f ired from WRIF in Detroit, almost the whole staff of WPLJ in New Yosk (including the dangerous Detroit Annie) has been fired or quit in disgust, the whole staff of a station in Los Angeles got fired all at once a month or so ago -- and it's important that we understand what all this means before it gets any worse. The ABC stations, including WRIF, have set up strict playlists for the disc jockeys to f ollow, they've instituted tight controls over live interviews, they even teil the radio workers what records from the past they should play and how often they should play them, and it gets worse by the week. Most of the advances made in FM radio over the past four years are being turned back just at the time when radio should be moving faster and faster ahead, and what I want to say is that the greasy profiteers who "own" these stations are doing this shit as part of a conscious strategy to keep all of us under their control. The increasing repression of FM radio is part of the overall pattern of rock and roll repression which becomes clearer with every bogus move on the part of the creeps who control our culture -- it goes with the monopolization of the music by two or three or four major record corporations (Kinney, Columbia, Capítol, RCA), the replacement of high-energy dance concerts with huge sit-down extravaganzas featuring high prices and a diminishing number of industry-approved pop stars, the spread of death drugs and the marijuana repression movement, and the purpose of this multi-faceted attack on the life culture is simply to strip us of our energy and spirit and keep us down where the control addicts can push us any way they want to. Rock and roll repression is a whole thing, just as our culture is a whole thing, and that's the first thing we have to understand about it. The vampires who "own" the radio stations, big corporations like ABC and Metromedia, interlock with the rest cf the list system, and their primary purpose is to advanoe the interests of that system, which means keeping us in line. They don't always succeed, and there are any number cf interesting contradictions that tend to develop within such a system, especially where electronic technology is concerned, but the overriding purpose of the system is to keep people under its control so the people who "own" everything can continue to rip us off. That 's where we have to start if we want to understand what's happening now with the progressive radio stations, because it just doesn't make any sense otherwise. I mean, why would a radio station fire its most popular and most progressive workers, like Barbara Holliday and Paul Greiner, unless it was more interested in keeping them and their listeners under control, than in giving the people what they deserve and need? H they 're just interested in ratings and shit, immediate profits from advertisers, like they say they are, why would they get rid of the people who could do the most to build up a solid listener-ship for their station? Dig it -- the whole thing gets down to the basic contradiction between what radio can do for us, and. what the "owners" need it to be. I've been excited about the possibilities of a progressive radio for a long time because its obvious that it can do a lot for us as a people - it gives us a community Communications system which is nowhere else available, it helps bring us together and helps us define ourselves as a people with a common experience and a common store of information which is disseminated equally to everyone who listens to the radio. It gives us wider access not only to the music of our lives, but to the life which informs that music and which is shaped by it as well - and it brings all those things together and projects them back out into our lives as an integrated whole, making a place within itself for each of us to live as part of the whole. I don't know if that makes any sense to you, but what I mean is that I listen to the radio every day here in my cell in the penitentiary, where Tve been separated from all of you for going on three long years now, and despite the desperate efforts the state has made to isolate me and cut me off from the sense of community, or the sense of peoplehood which would give me any strength I might have, I can listen to the rock and roll station just like Mitch says in the song, and it makes me feel like Tm stül alive , that Vm not alone, that it really is all right because we are a people with a history and a culture and a life of our own, with an incredibly bright future which is projected in our music - Imagine.' The signal goes out over the airwaves and reaches into every place where our people are kept apart from each other, and it works to bring us together -- and if we can't be together yet in the flesh, we can be together in consciousness, we can take part in a common experience which is equally available to everybody with a radio and which helps keep us together in spirit until we can be together finally in the flesh, the way we have to be to make more life for ourselves here on this planet. The radio does all that, and one of the problems is that we don't realize how important radio js_to our common life, the people who are given direct access to the airwaves don't realize that they aren 't just "doing a job" for some corporate pigs in New York City - they aren't just sitting in a little room playing some records, they 're shaping the consciousness of a whole people the same way our musicians and poets shape our consciousness, and they take it one step further than the musicians do precisely because they put it all together for us: the specific juxtapositions of individual songs, the other information they mix in with the records, their voices and their raps, even the commercials they read and the way they read them, all of that goes together to come out as a whole thing which helps to shape our lives, and we take that thing into our selves because it reflects our condition as beings in the world and it's the only thing we've got. We can turn it off if we don't relate to it, but then we're diminished even more, we're pushed back into the separation and isolation we hate so much, and unless we're fortúnate enough to be able to live 24 hours a day with the people we love, we're dumped back out into Babyion again when we turn off the radio, right ? It brings us together and holds us together as long as we're tuned in to it, it doesn't (yet) give us all the information we need in order to develop our consciousness and our common life the way we are going to have to do in the next few years (but it can and will, as we come to have more and more control over it), and it gives us (and the people outside the rainbow community) an accurate reflection of the life we've evolved for ourselves out oí the madness which is Amerika, a reflection which helps us remember and helps us discover just who we are and what we're doing here together, which is very very important for whatever we might do together in the future. Radio s_ that important to us, and even if we don't realize it, even if the people who are charged with the responsibility for tuning us in on what 's happening don't realize how great their responsibility is_, you can be sure that the corporate pigs who "own" the radio stations we are dependent on for our information o realize that they've got our life in their greedy little paws, and that's why they're so desperate to bring "their" stations back under the strictest possible control. They didn't understand it at first, any more than we understood it at first, when progressive radio started to evolve out of the weirdness of our lives, but they've come to realize just how important it is for the future of their system to break down the alternative radio forms we've spent the past four years building up, and they're going about it directly as they feel they can get away with it. Tve said it before and I'll keep saying it because it's so true , that the rock and roll imperialists use two basic methods of control: they buy off, or subvert , the energy forms we créate, holding" the threat of being fired over the heads of the radio workers while they institute things like playlists and bans on live interviews with people who might say somethings the "owners" don't want the people to hear; and where that strategy doesn't work, they come out with the actual suppression of the people who won't go along with their demands, as in the case of Barbara Holliday and Paul Greiner. They simply take them off the air and deny them entrance to the station's facilities (and I know how that works, because WABX did the same thing to me in 1969, when I was still on the streets), because they recognize these people as dangerous enemies of their control ruse. The control addicts are dead set against the life our culture represents - they have to keep us under control if they want to get away with the shit they're involved in, which is the greatest rip-off of all time, and they will do whatever they have to do to retain their control over our lives -- believe mei At the same time, however, there's really nothing they can do to stop us -- the best they can do is hold us back for a while, and even then we're steadily moving forward no matter how hard they try to stop us, because there are just too many contradictions any more for them to deal with. Even with playlists and all the other shit they're imposing on "their" radio stations, the music still comes through, the news still comes through, our peoplehood is defined and extended more and more every day. They still have to play some of the music we need because they want to get our money and that's the only way they can do it, and even while they're trying to keep our radio workers - and our consciousness -- under their control, they're giving people like us the experience we need to be able to staff and opérate people's radio stations of our own, which we will have when our bands and other capital amas - sers start coming back to the people and bringing their big money back home with them to be used to fund people's programs like community radio stations. The thing is that we have to under stand what 's happening at any given time and make the most of it , using whatever we can get our hands on to build up our community and our sense of peoplehood and pointing ourselves always toward the future, where we will control all the institutions which affect our lives. Rainbow Power to Rainbow Radio! Self-Determination.' Revolution Is The Way To Life.'