American society today is ten times a more hostile place than what the Beats faced.
The signs are around us. Movies and books (latest by Sena Jeter Naslund) celebrate Marie Antoinette, while the "gutter press" free speech heirs of Marat and Brissot are stifled. Glossy magazines on bookshelves madly trumpet "The Wealth Explosion" while the city of Detroit closes another forty schools.
We now find with the CIA Paris Review story that the enemy we fight is of one piece. CIA infiltration; rich writers receiving scarce grant money, or giving it to their buddies; the Big Money takeover of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses: it's all of one piece; one proliferating stain on the integrity and reputation of American letters.
My strategy with the ULA was contingent on finding ONE strong voice of integrity and conscience within the corrupt literary establishment brave enough to say, "Enough!"
Lacking that, our campaign faces overwhelming (but not impossible) odds.
Know this: They are going to kill us. Economically, spiritually, and psychically they will kill us. They are going to kill every one of us, every undergrounder, inside the ULA and out of it. They have to-- our very existence as independent writers points out the fraudulence of their standing.
With us around, how can Elissa Schappell pose as a bohemian, Dave Eggers as an outsider, Jason Shinder as a poet, or Rick Moody as a small press icon?
When writers stand up and speak the truth, how can established literature maintain its tissue-paper castle of lies?