Acid Anarchism in the UK
The brief flourishing of a radical LSD subculture
The notion of a ‘psychedelic anarchism’ was alluded to by Dr Osiris Gonzalez Romero at the Philosophy and Psychedelic Studies conference in Exeter, UK, this past June. A murmur of appreciation rippled through the audience, but what precisely this idea practically means is less clear.
Arguably the disruption of the Default Mode Network in the brain by psychedelics could be seen as analogues to a form of cognitive anarchism. Yet, so far as anarchism exists as a political tradition, there is some concrete historical relationship with psychedelia, which might cast some light on how we might be able to understand a psychedelic anarchism.
What I’m going to describe in this article is the brief flowering of ‘acid anarchism’ in Britain in the early 1970s. Focused on the extraordinary figure of William ‘Ubi’ Dwyer (1933-2001) and the folk at Anarchy magazine, the story reveals not so much a burgeoning intellectual tradition, but the culturally evolving shape of psychedelics, authority and its op…
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