Today for no apparent reason we commemorate Abbie Hoffman.
Here are some free links to books and a facsimile of Abbie’s Realist Article which you may steal.
Shall I go off and away to bright Andromeda?
Shall I sail my wooden ships to the sea?
Or stay in a cage of those in Amerika??
Or shall I be on the knee?
Wave goodbye to Amerika
Say hello to the garden.
Jefferson Starship (Let’s Go Together)
The Fugs (Ed Sanders)
Oct 21 1967: 70,000 demonstrators came to Washington, D.C. to “Confront the War Makers.” The biggest rally was held at the Lincoln Monument on the D.C. Mall. During the afternoon, people lined the reflecting pool and listened to speeches by Dave Dellinger and Dr. Benjamin Spock… The plan was for people to sing and chant until the Pentagon was levitated and turned orange, driving out the evil spirits and ending the war in Viet Nam. By the way, it was a year later that Abbie Hoffman was arrested in Washington DC for wearing a shirt that resembled the design of an American flag. “I wore the shirt because I was going before the un-American Activities Committee of the House of Representatives, and I don’t particularly consider that committee American, and I don’t consider that House of Representatives particularly representative. And I wore the shirt to show that we were in the tradition of the founding fathers of this country.”
Abbie later wrote:
No need to build a stage, it was all around us. Props would be simple and obvious. We would hurl ourselves across the canvas of society like streaks of splattered paint. Highly visual images would become news, and rumor-mongers would rush to spread the excited word. … For us, protest as theater came natural. We were already in costume. … Once we acknowledged the universe as theater and accepted the war of symbols, the rest was easy. All it took was a little elbow grease, a little hustle.
The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it. The second duty is to eat breakfast. I ain’t going.
- Spoken to police immediately prior to his arrest at the Lincoln Hotel Restaurant in Chicago (August 1968), quoting himself in “Creating the Perfect Mess” (1 September 1968) in Revolution for the Hell of It (1968)
Tactics At the Democratic Convention
Abbie Hoffman was a founder with Jerry Rubin of the semi-fictional Youth International Party. Abbie described himself as “an orphan of America” and “a child of Woodstock Nation.” during testimony in the Chicago 8 trail. He was, perhaps, the most intriguing figure in Judge Hoffman’s courtroom. Hoffman believed that identity is defined by myth propagated through the media.
Hoffman was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on November 30, 1936. He graduated from Brandeis in 1959, then picked up a master’s degree at Berkeley. In the early 1960’s, he returned to Worcester to work as a psychologist in a state hospital. His career in political activism began with his work for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the South. Hoffman was still relatively straight until 1966 when he turned onto drugs and began the loosely organized Yippie movement.
Hoffman went underwent plastic surgery and assumed the underground alias of “Barry Freed” in 1974 to avoid trial on charges of possessing cocaine. He stayed underground in upper New York state until 1980, when he surrendered to authorities. He was sentenced to a work-release program in 1981-82, then resumed his life of political activism. In 1987, Hoffman was arrested for the forty-second time while protesting CIA recruitment at the University of Massachusetts with Amy Carter and thirteen others.
At a 1988 reunion of the Chicago Seven, Hoffman described himself as “an American dissident. I don’t think my goals have changed since I was four and I fought schoolyard bullies.”
On April 12, 1989, Hoffman was found dead at his home in New Hope, Pennsylvania. The death was later ruled a suicide.
The Chicago Eight ( later Seven)
You can count me out (in). You had to be there.