USA: John Lennon’s fight for peace and John Sinclair

This video from the USA says about itself:

John Sinclair (born October 2, 1941 in Flint, Michigan, United States) is a Detroit poet, one-time manager of the band MC5, and leader of the White Panther Party — a militantly anti-racist countercultural group of white socialists seeking to assist the Black Panthers in the Civil Rights movement — from November 1968 to July 1969.

By Joanne Laurier:

John Lennon vs. his celebrators

7 October 2006

This is the fifth in a series of articles devoted to the recent Toronto film festival (September 7-16).

The U.S. vs. John Lennon, a documentary written and directed by David Leaf and John Scheinfeld, recounts the efforts of the Nixon administration to deport the rock legend as part of its campaign to derail the movement against the Vietnam War.

In the early 1970s, top echelons of the FBI increasingly began to view John Lennon and his wife, Japanese artist Yoko Ono, as political threats.

The new film brings together footage of Lennon and his struggle against the American authorities in the decade 1966-1976 with commentary by former antiwar radicals and Nixon aides.

The FBI launched its campaign of harassment against the songwriter/musician, which eventually included wiretapping, surveillance and deportation orders, at the time of a concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in December 1971, organized to protest the jailing of John Sinclair, member of the radical Detroit rock group MC5 and head of the state’s “White Panther” movement.

Essentially a political prisoner, Sinclair had been sentenced to 10 years in state prison for selling two marijuana joints to an undercover police agent.

Lennon’s presence and performance at the benefit concert focused international attention on the Sinclair case, and the musician was released shortly thereafter.

The documentary includes footage of the “Free John Sinclair” concert, attended by some 15,000 people.

The show in Ann Arbor was Lennon’s first performance in the US since the Beatles’ 1966 tour.

He shared the stage with Jerry Rubin, a founder of the Yippie movement, and Bobby Seale, chairman of the Black Panther Party, both members of the “Chicago Seven,” who were being prosecuted for their role in organizing antiwar protests outside the Democratic Party national convention in Chicago in 1968.

9 thoughts on “USA: John Lennon’s fight for peace and John Sinclair

  1. Not about John Lennon, but about John Sinclair. I missed the Free John Sinclair concert, but I moved to Ann Arbor Michigan a few months afterward. I had been a teenage member of Sinclair’s White Panther Party. I ran into Sinclair often back then. I now live near the town of Sebastopol. A record store in town is owned by another former White Panther. John Sinclair performs there occasionally. I have very fond memories of free Sunday concerts in Ann Arbor, along with the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival and a wild benefit show at the Ypsilanti Carpenter’s Hall. It was a fundraiser for another White Panther, Pun Plamondon. Went on to waste five years in a Trotskyist cult before leaving and getting involved in the early punk scene in the midwest. My White Panther experience translated well into the punk culture. Sigh… another trip down memory lane. It was the poster that set me off….


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