From: Los Angeles Free Press - April 14-20, 1967

by Liza Williams

The serious conversation went on around me, Tribes, caring,
loving, being for each other. Leary, it was said, estimated forty
as the maximum number. I was asked it I have a longing to belong.
It confused me, caught between the realization that I have always
thought of myself as belonging, and this specific question. Where
would they all be, waiting to use the same toilet, as John suggests
with more than wry humor, or in the kitchen, as my fantasy has it,
all chopping each other's vegetables knee-deep In peels?

I tried once to form a craftsmen's cooperative after the last
Renaissance Falre. I was sick of selling to the unloving public and
coveted all sorts of hand woven and love assembled objects for
which I did not have the money. I sent out notices and spread the
word by mouth and fifty or so people came. We talked about sharing
our abilities, eliminating the middle man, not putting comparative
values on our products but freely exchanging them as the flowers
of our hands and vision. We sat in a circle and told what we could
do, or teach. There were potters and painters and welders and
glass workers and weavers. There was also a sandal maker. Our
enthusiasm continued until it turned out that everyone wanted sandals,
but the sandalmaker could only use so many paintings in his life,
and besides leather was expensive. It was a good party, though, with
lots of addresses exchanged; the disillusionment was drowned In
Red Mountain burgundy.

In London I once lived in a house with twelve other people most
of whom fought with each other in pairs behind locked doors. We
shared one kitchen whose mutlitude of cupboards were allocated and
locked so we couldn't steal each other's cornflakes. It worked In a
way, though not a very pleasant one. Recently I shared a house with
five other people. One girl made a large poster in big red and black
lettering outlining everyone's domestic responsibilities, I moved out.

Still I believe in communal living, but I prefer it like seduction,
where the goal Is never too distinctly explained. I mean If you move
in for a day, and stay a year because you like it there, and help each
other out because you like each other, and when love goes you go too,
it's ok. Restrictive, conceptualized, homogeneous, purposeful to-
getherness has never worked out well for me.

To me we are already a tribe of sorts — all of us with flowers in
our hair or eyes, who read the same books and hate the same war,
who buy the same records and dance to the same pounding tunes.
But It's not just on Halght or Fairfax or East Seventh. It's In London
and Amsterdam and Paris and Ptreus and anywhere; its tribal bond
is common values, not geography.

There is something about the word tribe that worries me. For all
the Implications of love and togetherness, didn't the tribes war each
with each? Were there not tribal rituals which constricted movement
and spontaneity, and are not rituals just little fancy civil laws dressed
out In poetry? Does not Tribe also mean, exclude? Haven't I all my
life sought to break out of the exclude hokus pokus of my world, the
economic tribe of neighborhood, the religious tribe of birth, the
mental tribe of a too structured political belief?

Some months ago I lent a dollar to a friend. Give it back, I said,
when you can afford It. No, he said, but I'll pass it on to the next
person who needs it. That's pretty much the way I feel and I don't
care whether he's an Indian or not, but then, maybe we're all Indians