What does Marxism mean to you?
In making the film "AMERICAN REBEL", I recorded many interviews with Dean. The following is from a transcript of an interview I did with Dean on July 1, 1981.
Will Roberts: "Marxism of course has a lot of negative conotations to Americans, who just hear the word and associate that with communism, or radicalism, or whatever. What does Marxism mean to you?"
Dean Reed: "Marxism is a political philosophy, an economical philosophy where we believe that we can change society, to make it better for human beings. That we are not trapped in a society through metaphysical means, where the society changes by itself and we are trapped, as in jail, and we have to put up with these conditions. For example, the church in South America believes not in a Marxist viewpoint but in a metaphysical viewpoint. Meaning that the world is made, so you are made poor and must accept that you are poor. And if you are good and accept this then you'll go to heaven in the end. A Marxist says, 'No, we can change conditions, we can better the conditions of the world. We don't have to wait for God to do it. We can do it. Human beings can do it, together as masses, the working people.'
I do not call myself a Communist. Everybody has diffirent definitions of words. I believe a Communist is one who is a member of a party. I am not a member of any party, and that is why I call myself a Marxist, or a socialist. Because I have a philosophy of life, certain people have said 'Dean is a puppet of the Kremlin.' I accept no labels. I can take a sword 360 degrees around me and I cut no strings. I'm my own man and I follow my conscience for 20 years of my life, which has brought me problems with all governments. Usually because I follow my own conscience and not a party line, or not any type of orders, whether they were orders from my father, orders from my church, or orders from a government."
Permit me to say that Dean was an independent socialist. He thought that Communism was an "ideal", and did not really exist. He was also an internationalist, and what I would call a multi-cultural man.
His philosophy did change over the years. After our visit to Nicaragua in 1984 and meetings with some of the proponents of Liberation Theology, he began to question and change some of his attitudes about the Church in South America.
As far as his activities in the Eastern Bloc, he did fight to "try to make socialism, a better socialism". These battles were not covered in the press. Otherwise headlines in Moscow might have read "Dean Reed threatens to cancel all performances in USSR if he is not permitted to sing 'My Yiddisha Mama' and 'Hawa Nagila' in concerts" and he won that battle. Or in Prague you might have seen a headline "Dean Reed exposes music payoffs and bribes CZ musicians must pay to travel", and he lost that battle and was banned from CZ performances for 3 years. During his last years in the GDR he was rocking the chairs of some very high officials.
Will Roberts, 26. Sept. 2003