Larry Hagman, the Peace and Freedom Party, and… er… Murray Rothbard… November 24, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in US Politics.
Reading about the passing of Larry Hagman at the age of 81 the obituaries reminded me that he had been involved in a number of political themed films, from Primary Colors to Nixon (though he was also at an early stage in Beware! The Blob, so make of that what one will. Indeed I was unsurprised to read the following:
In his later years, Hagman became an advocate for organ transplants and an anti-smoking campaigner. He also was devoted to solar energy, telling the New York Times he had a $750,000 solar panel system at his Ojai estate, and made a commercial in which he portrayed a JR Ewing who had forsaken oil for solar power. He was a longtime member of the Peace and Freedom Party, a minor leftist organisation in California.
Hagman was famously radical and outspoken on political matters – and socially liberal too. And given that he is said to have been a member of P&F since the late 1960s that makes sense too. Peace and Freedom is a most interesting and admirable organisation in and of itself having a genesis in the New Left and 1960s and fought the good fight subsequently. As its wiki page notes it is nationally organised but appears strongest in California and only this year nominated Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan as its Presidential ticket.
Anyhow, on a tangent of sorts, reading up again this morning on P&F what was this that I discovered but that Murray Rothbard joined the New York section of the organisation with a group of right libertarians in the late 1960s. Now I’d long been aware that Rothbard, and others, had as part of efforts between the New Left and libertarians to find some sort of accommodation on the back of common activism over and against the Vietnam War and on campus sought to foster close links, but this close?
The idea of Rothbard and his libertarians and various and sundry Marxists co-habiting in a single formation is a fantastic one – quite literally fantastic – but it happened, at least for a while, before it failed.
As to Hagman, it’s remarkable how his career stretched across television, ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and ‘Dallas’ and then onto film. At some points one could argue he became a pervasive presence, particularly during the Dallas years, perhaps indicative of how hegemonic television could be at a time of a restricted number of channels and in a pre-internet period.