(” It was the best of times and it was the worst of times “)
when i was 16..
This was the underground paper i was an editor of along with 7 other hippies,draft dodgers and deserters in Montreal around 1970,71 all of us living in a commune on St. Laurent and Duluth St in Leonard Cohen’s hood as well. He lived around the corner and down the next block.
From this commune we morphed from an idealistic mystical psychedelic commune cooking zen macrobiotic food with mostly brown rice and soy beans and tamari soy sauce and throwing and consulting the I Ching and reading buddhist books and the Tibetan Book of the Dead to a very political and revolutionary force and the newspaper Logos reflected our changing views. Here the paper mocked and parodied the Mayor of Montreal Jean Drapeau incessantly using a fake Montreal Gazette cover in this case
.Notice the G is backwards. This shocked the city an the mayor was forced to go on tv and deny the story. He vowed revenge and to to close us down and every month or so we were raided after that and finally during the F.L.Q Crisis when French separatist terrorist kidnapped two government officials killing one of them did Drapeau order a final blow to his old nemesis the Logos commune of which i was a part.
We were charged with sedition against the government for preaching revolution and blasphemous libel against Jesus Christ for a provocative cartoon and a dozen minor charges.
I was arrested along with 6 others and i remained defiant .
Getting arrested for sedition was like getting the academy award in my reasoning back then.
The Montreal Star was horrified at the assault on freedom of the press and gave us their lawyers free of charge. At one point tired of getting our door kicked in we went to police headquarters and presented them with a key to our house in a diamond box with cotton inside. The police were not amused .lol It was only recently in talking to Dad did we find out that our ally the editor of the Montreal Star was dad’s old commanding officer during WW2…
We heard they were dropping the sedition charge and sticking us with the blasphemous libel charge and i was dismayed. My political feelings were hurt so i went to see the chief of the police to make a deal.I urged him to keep the sedition charge and drop the other charge after all i was a Jew and it didn’t look good.
I said in no unclear terms that sedition was sexier. He was not pleased and told me to get the fuck out of his office. The next day in court they officially dropped the sedition charge so i stood up and declared i was not going to play anymore and that i was really 16 and therefore not able to be charged. Silence hit the court room. They thought i was 18…The judge looked confused. .A gasp of “Merde” (shit) rose from the mouth of the prosecutor. I looked on with a smile. I gave them my father’s phone number and i was released … After all i had warned them …
That night I took a bus to NYC and joined the collective running Underground Press Syndicate a news service for the underground papers in North America and i lived in the West Village ……I was now in the belly of the beast fighting directly against the Vietnam War alongside people like Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin,the Black Panters,the Yippies and comrades like Stew Albert and the poet Tuli Kupferberg and Dylanologist A.J.Weberman among others. It was quite some time.I carried the myth that i was a revolutionary from Canada ,once charged with sedition.I did nothing to quell the rumors after all this was theater and my stage. It was fucking glorious. There is a lot more i can add to this story but i am not sure the statute of limitations are even up yet…so i will let that be ..perhaps posthumously..
There is a biography that came out on Drapeau and in it is a chapter on Logos and how he took revenge on us by direct order from his office.
The last photos are of the old Logos commune as it looks today. and a rare great shot of old friends and comrades from NYC among them are Abbie Hoffman,Jerry Rubin,Tom Hayden who later married Jane Fonda and Big Man Howard one of the founders of the Black Panthers who is pictured on the right.It was he who gifted me with this photo and inscribed it to me …The very last photo is of me at a demonstration in Vancouver at the age of 15.This graced the cover of the underground newspaper in Vancouver,the Georgia Straight.
At 17 still living in NYC i stuck out my thumb one fine day and the first car stopped an took me to Bolinas and Stinson Beach in California .But that is another story!