This is Part 3, the conclusion to a three part series.
In Part 1, we examined what the new bookworld order was, what kind of toys it had and what that meant to independent bookstores. In Part 2, we will take a necessary trip to the dark side of American institutions and look at the year when it all began for Robin's Book Store. We finish in Part 3, with a better understanding of the role of Robin's Book Store in reforming America's institutions and in upholding the credo of the revolutionary spirt.
America's revolutionary spirit comes roaring back
Riding an irresistible force, creating a framework for a new world and necessarily dragging justice with it. Rationally needing to irreversibly eliminate the white male power support function from all public institution operations in a powerful reformation.
A new world order
The claim that the greed of bankers and arms merchants fooled America into entering World War I was chief among reasons for an official policy of American isolationism. Lend Lease, the sinking of American commercial vessels by German U Boats, and the December 7, 1941 surprise attack by Imperial Japan on the United States of America at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, were sufficient enough policies and events to move America back into world affairs and World War II.
A post war world of vanquished enemy empires and former colonial territories
The geopolitical fate of the peoples of the world was agreed upon in a series of conferences, but the real peace had already ended long before the official peace began.
Starting with the scramble to seize Nazi Germany scientists in Operation Paperclip, as the war wound down, the United States, and the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR, would for the next forty six years lock horns in a lethal, and at times, covert, struggle, both for military and strategic superiority, and for allegiance to their competing ideologies.
Ideology and security
At issue for emerging nations and revolutionary nationalists, could laissez faire capitalism and a representative democratic form of government, guide and nurture their still vulnerable revolutions? Or, were the communist principles of Carl Marx and Friedrich Engels, a centralized authoritarian government and planned economic development, a better institutional foundation for security, stability industrial growth and development?
The superpowers would have a say in this
Sometimes with well funded and equipped, militarily and politically advised, surrogate forces.
All other considerations reascended, this was the Cold War.
Legitimizing all that had transpired during World War II, and all that would transpire during the Cold War, required the highest level of moral leadership in foreign affairs and in domestic public policy.
No substitute in rhetoric
Given the geopolitical realities of cold war power politics, a true alignment of America's revolutionary principles, with day to day democracy as it existed and operated, for every citizens of the leader of the free world, had no substitute in rhetoric.
Diminishing margins of error
The power to destroy the world, several times over, with strategic nuclear weapons belonged to the United States and to it's enemy, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR, or Soviet Union, creating a reality of diminishing margins of error.
The national interest
Domestic institutional reforms were an unmistakable necessity. The nations interest would have been severely underserved, even undermined, had it continued to support institutionalized white male hegemony as a core national objective.
Internationally, the United States government had already assumed multinational military commitments, strategic diplomatic security arrangements and multicultural diplomatic and commercial partnerships.
White racism instantaneously became old fashioned
Only a regrettable past, that still had unfortunate and presumably uninformed remnants in the present, but that would cease to be tolerated in America's public institutions.
Even a limited American social, political and economic institutional reformation, unalterably supported by national leadership, both in and outside of government, would required a demonstrated broad base of support emanating from within the general population.
The change that could never be undone. America had changed, literally, for good, for ever.
This was the Mountaintop that Dr. King had so eloquently spoken of on April 3, 1968. He knew what was done could never be undone. Just as he knew the kind of sacrifice he as an American leader, who was uniquely qualified to do so, was being called upon to bear, in the name of popular consent. The consent of the governed to be governed.
No alternate course recommended. We are together in this.
On July 26, 1948 the United States began a government centered institutional reform process with Executive Order No. 9981, desegregating the military. once begun, it could not be undone.
The 60's, The Movement
both by the truth inherent in the struggle and plight of the exploited classes, and by the vision and domestic civil rights policies, of a young and dashing, charismatic new leader of the free world, President John F. Kennedy.
Robin's Book Store absorbed and exuded the revolution,
placing itself at risk at the avant garde of the movement where censorship minded district attorney's and reactionary FBI probes, could and did make their objections felt.
Loosing an anti censorship battle in the courts over selling the Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller would become an identifier, delineating where in the struggle Robin's Book Store would cast it's lot.
The bookstore became a literary voice in support of dismantling institutional machines supporting racism, sexism, censorship, miseducation, injustice and societal exclusion. Robin's Book Store stood in opposition to anti immigrant rhetoric, the war in Vietnam and subsequent U.S. foreign military interventions.
Hair was long, and so were the totes on marijuana bowls.
Volkswagen Beetles and vans were painted over with orange, yellow, pink, blue, sometimes green and purple daises and slogans, like, love and peace.
The counter culture American experience had a unified feel. The press obliged by giving fair time to media events like protests and student sit ins.
The struggle was chronicled, publicized, satirized, soundbited and expedited,
throughout the world.
The nation watched and discovered what the rest of the world would understand to be the nature of state that it was, and the manner of people that they had become.
They watched, many in horror
They watched in horror as freedom riders were abducted and subsequently murdered. They saw bus boycotts and lunch counter sit in beatings, civil rights marchers met with high powered fire hoses and police dogs commanded to rip flesh off of peaceful demonstrators, and a church bombing, murdering three little girls attending Sunday school.
American's watched how they were reacting to a minority demonstrating for the rights of man.
National leaders were assassinated, including civil rights movement leader and Baptist minister, Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Muslim minister and human rights activist, Malcolm X, Army veteran and civil rights activist, Medger Evers, President of the United Stated of America, John F. Kennedy, his brother and front running presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, in 1968, Robert F. Kennedy.
By Popular consent
The long and winding road chronicled by the press had sufficiently demonstrated to the skeptic, that such ghoulish behavior had no place in the future affairs of mankind.
At a heavy human cost,
the dark veil had been lifted.
By popular consent,
the process of public institutional reform would proceed.
The Revolutionary spirit had reemerged in America
The revolutionary spirit that prodded Larry Robin's Book Store to become a counter culture icon among Philadelphia's intellectual elite is the same spirit that guided the American Revolution, and inspired other revolutions that followed. It gave Mahatma Ghandi and Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the power to overcome omnipotence, discrimination and deadly injustice.
It's time. Remember,
your downtown Philadelphia, at the 19th and Chestnut Street location of Robin's Book Store, nestled into a warm corner. The legs and feet of adults moving from place to place with occasional muffled conversations while you sit contented with your collected reading for the night.
Your reading tons and buying ounces
Your mind engine has suddenly shifted to high gear, the pages start to snap. It's your feeding time. Umm, the floor has that familiar comfort to it, as does the benign occasional glance of a tolerant shopkeeper.
The hours fly, your only concern, how close are you to closing time? Oops, too late. Five minutes till closing. You'll stow these books from their usual locations, and tomorrow, after practice, return to finish reading them.
But what if the unthinkable happens?
What if someone finds them and has the nerve to buy the one you've got to read? Have to hurry. You'll buy this one. Cool, it's yours. Your a bookstore freak, an intellectual geek, a penny pinching miserly sneak, and your so comfortable with that.
Someone has bought the entire remaining Robin's Book Store book and magazine inventory.
The facilitator of knowledge, the seeker of truth, the discriminator of the facts, the courageous one, the bold avant garde,
Robin's Book Store, 1308 South 13th Street in Center City Philadelphia,
Larry himself has said, if you want to sell books, just go out of business.
OK, dry those tears. He ain't gone yet
The Moonstone Arts Center era has already begun.
The Moonstone Arts Center hosts crazy cool contemporary and historic, literary and artistic, avant garde programming, that can hardly be imagined.
The author's next move is to secure his own membership. They haven't missed a beat.
Yes, the revolutionary spirit is alive and well in Larry Robin and his long time associate and friend, Paul.
See for yourself. No kidding, the programming's to die for . The author is very happy with this outcome.
Whew, that was too close.