This just in from Lucy Tucker, aging exile in Holland:
Behold My Swarthy Face,
Thought you might be interested in this 1983 documentary by Joel Sucher and Steven Fischler called Anarchism in America. (Btw, this letter will be the first in a series to you called “We Dream Only of America.”) Years of exile and wandering have only deepened my love for the vanishing America of my youth, and now, lumbering toward old age, I weep for America.
The film’s central thesis is that America’s “essence”— if it can be called that— is revealed in the “instinctual anarchism in the American people [which] goes back to the Jeffersonian tradition.” Specifically, this anarchic spirit is characterized by a general distrust toward a) all forms of centralization and b) all forms of obligatory collectivism.
The film is studded with stars from anarchist history, from early trailblazers Emma Goldman and Benjamin Tucker to the more recent Goldwater-speechwriter-turned-anarchist Karl Hess, Russian-Jewish émigré and anarchist Mollie Steimer, political philosopher and Ron-Jeremy-lookalike Murray Bookchin, poets Kenneth Rexroth and Philip Levine, and an old lady anarchist from Nebraska whose manner of speech reminded me of your late grandmother from Omaha, Shirley Nesmith, who, incidentally, was also an active anarchist. Oh, and the Dead Kennedys even show up for a brief gig and interview.
Lucy Tucker, aging exile in Holland