Chapter 33: My Friend the Devil--Eldridge Cleaver
I hated to send Eldridge packing but enough was enough. I was tired of his focus on the phallus. I wanted to understand his fixation with this male organ that had caused him so much trouble throughout his life. What was the sexual psychology or pathology of this man? What was going on in the deep structure of his mind that over powered all other subjects and concerns. Obviously it was compulsive obsessive behavior. But didn't I suffer a sexual addiction as well, was not my polygamy merely the expression of a sexual addiction gone wild? After all, no matter how much sex I had it was never enough, I was never satisfied, and I am certain the women were never satisfied either, certainly not psychologically and probably not sexually since they are one--psycho-sexuality. I came to realize that my psycho-sexuality was nothing more than an expression of my addictive personality, that no matter what I did it would become an addiction, that I could never get enough, whether it was alcohol, weed or other drugs. There was no social drinking in my book, rather, my object was to drink to get drunk as possible, to smoke weed until there was no more, and to do the same with Crack which is called chasing the dragon that is forever eluding ones grasp.
So maybe Cleaver suffered a similar addictive personality, except that his was focused on his sexuality, and of course he went to the extreme with rape, actually a pathology that transcends sex into the realm of power and domination, and according to what he told me, it was not only to have power over the female but the male as well. He told me the process of the rapist. First, he would stalk the motel, lying in wait for a couple to check in and once they put the key in the door and opened it, he would charge into them, blocking the door with his foot. Then he would tie the man and woman and proceed to rape the woman while the man watched. He said his joy was not in having sex with the woman but in making the man watch his woman transform from resistance to acceptance of his sexual aggression.
Of course he told us in Soul on Ice that he practiced on black women and perfected with white women. And ultimately he served eighteen years in prison for his psychopathic behavior. Should we conclude that he was simply a sick puppy, yet thank him for whatever positive contribution he made to the liberation struggle. After all, he did not have to join the struggle, he could have been a very successful writer, but he chose social activism rather than commercial success, some might say to the detriment of many people or to the movement in general. But would it have been the same without Eldridge? Bobby Seale blames me for keeping Eldridge from the Panthers, then he blames me for introducing Eldridge to them. You can't have it both ways, Bobby!
But we can say the liberation was inundated with social psychopaths, or as Dr. Cornell West likes to say, "Those maladjusted to injustice." Yes, as in any liberation struggle, there are criminal psychopaths, hustlers, opportunists, agent provocateurs, snitches, uncle toms, along with the sincere, the honest, the romantics, idealists and dreamers. Sometimes they are in one personality, thus the complexity of some individuals and the simplicity of others.
I remember the night we were in Los Angeles during the Born Again days. We wanted to get served by prostitutes, so we were in the motel area near Sunset Strip. But as we were going into the motel with our ladies, we saw a blind man being led up the stairs by a sex worker. Eldridge acknowledged the sexual needs of the blind man and the service the worker was performing, thus he lambasted those who want to outlaw prostitution which has a social need as evidenced by the blind man. Would society deny the blind man satisfaction?