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Serious study of the congress begins with three books, two films and one set of records.
The Dialectics of Liberation, edited by David Cooper and published by Penguin in 1968.
- The pre-eminent ‘dialectics’ collection. But, reader, beware! They’re not the speeches as delivered at the congress, though near enough in most cases. Some speakers – Paul Goodman, for instance – ad-libbed from notes. Thereafter, their speeches were edited.
Counter Culture, edited by Joe Berke and published by Peter Owen in association with Fire Books in 1969.
- The story of this book’s production would make a book in itself. Counter Culture picks up where Cooper’s ‘dialectics’ anthology leaves off. It includes Berke’s article on the Free University of New York (FUNY) and Roberta Elzey’s on the London anti-university.
The Kodak Mantra Diaries, written by Iain Sinclair and published by Albion Village Press in 1971.
- A work of indubitable brilliance; the first indication that Iain Sinclair would turn out to be more than the sum of his influences. Some authorly advice: buy two copies – this and Beat Scene’s republication. The Beat Scene edition includes a new piece by Sinclair and a slightly different choice of photographs.
Anatomy of Violence, produced by Peter Davis in 1967.
- ‘It was a two week congress of intellectuals in London. Black power people headed by Stokely Carmichael, the flower people represented by Allen Ginsberg, political scientists and an host of sociologists and social psychologists from the US and Britain. The common theme of the meeting was violence and revolution.’ You dig? Davis’ documentary was commissioned by New York’s Channel 13. Genuinely essential viewing.
Ah! Sunflower, directed by Robert Klinkert and Iain Sinclair in 1967.
- Arguably an exercise in how not to make a documentary. But, in spite of that, compelling. Ginsberg in and out of the congress: the trauma with Orlovsky, his interest in the opposite sex, his slightly slavish devotion to McLuhanism. The release on DVD includes inter alia interviews with Sinclair himself and Laing associate, Chris Oakley.
& The Dialectics of Liberation Records [23 long players].
- Not all of the congress of course, but the main addresses and a couple of the seminars as recorded by Roy Battersby and Ben Churchill.
Peter Davis, producer of Anatomy of Violence, also has 6 hours of partially edited footage from the Dialectics, many transcripts, recent interviews with Joe Berke, Leon Redler, Gustave Metzger and other participants, and hundreds of photographs. Contact www.villonfilms.com