Paix, écologie et quête de liberté, ces valeurs qui caractérisaient
le mouvement Hippie à la fin des années 60 regagnent du terrain et
pourraient redonner vie au "flower power"
The return of flower power?
The 60s brought us flower power, hippies, the anti-war movement, bell
bottoms and Woodstock. For many people, the decade expressed a desire
for peace and contempt for money.
As with many upheavals across the globe, students were at the
forefront. As the Vietnam War unfolded, students protested and
college liberals networked with radical leftist groups. On the one
hand, Bob Dylan was singing labour and protest songs, and on the
other, the country singer Merle Haggard was poking fun at "those
hippies down in San Francisco."
June Jordan, who was a writer and activist, expressed how society
ridiculed the hippy movement, until it became clear to some, that the
movement was revealing some difficult truths: "We condemned them, our
children, for seeking a different future. We hated them for their
flowers, for their love, and for their rejection of every mistaken
compromise that we had made throughout adult lives." June Jordan said
this a long time ago, but is it possible that the desire for a
different future is making a reappearance?
Good Morning England recently hit the big screen. The film is about a
pirate radio whose station is a boat on the sea. In 1966, the British
government decided to put an end to pirate radios, and we see 'Radio
Rock' try to survive, and we get to know the dozen or so eccentric
and free people who want to keep it going. It seems to epitomize 60s
ideals, and it went down a storm at the box office. In addition, at
the Cannes film festival this year, Ang Lee presented his film
'Taking Woodstock', which is based on one of music's best known
events. The film deals with the spirit of Woodstock. - that of peace,
respect for the environment and contempt for money.
It is interesting that these films should appear now, after a decade
marked by wars, economic recession and epidemics. It could be that we
are reassessing our lives and looking back either in nostalgia, or for ideas.
Recent studies have suggested that one impact of the economic
recession is that consumerism has become less of a priority. More and
more people are doing their bit to help the environment by recycling,
eating organic food, or choosing to alter their diet and lifestyle.
It is possible that during economic hardship, peoples' priorities
change. Money stops being the be-all-and-end-all.
Concerts such as Live Aid and, more recently, Live 8, where proceeds
went towards helping people in Africa, seemed to recapture the spirit
of the 60s. Anti-war protests over the last decade also evoke
memories of that era.
However, the hippy movement did have a flaw: it was fuelled by
marijuana and LSD...
Yet it was hippy culture that planted the seeds of the
pro-environment movement and of taking care of the Earth. It also
embodied the 'love your neighbour' philosophy, as well as a sense of
optimism and hope. There was a lot of questioning and distrust of
governments and corporations. People stood up for what they believed
in. The movement spoke out against capitalism and embraced diversity
and tolerance. Since many of today's issues have been seen before,
perhaps a dose of hippy culture is just what the doctor ordered.
(However, they probably won't condone the drug use!)
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