Monday, 16 March 2009

Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files

by Jon Wiener

Sinclair was a local activist leader who had been sentenced to ten years in the state prison for selling two joints of marijuana to an undercover agent. The rally had a huge program lasting eight hours; the speakers included Allen Ginsberg, Bobby Seale, and Jerry Rubin, and the performers included Stevie Wonder, Archie Shepp, and Phil Ochs as well as John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The FBI was interested because Lennon considered his appearance at the rally a trial run for a national anti-Nixon tour, on which he would bring rock 'n' roll together with radical politics in a dozen cities. At each stop, local organizers would give speeches, and young people would be urged to register to vote and vote against the war. Lennon had talked about ending the tour in August 1972 at a giant protest rally and counterculture festival outside the Republic National Convention, where Richard Nixon was to be renominated. The rest of Lennon's FBI file documents the Nixon administration's efforts to stop him from setting off on this tour, to silence him as a voice of the antiwar movement and critic of the president.

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