Tag Archives: Revolution

Abbie Hoffman v. Jerry Rubin

Jerry on the left and Abbie on the right. Both men were Revolutionary Yippies! in the 1960s, but who is cooler?

Hoffman was funnier
Rubin was zanier
Hoffman wrote more books including the incendiary Steal This Book
Rubin’s Do iT! is the best Yippie! book and far more colorful (plenty of pics, many displaying nude babes), wacky, and radical than any of Abbie’s, though his contain similar elements.
Hoffman staged more pranks: Throwing money over the New York Stock Exchange, levitating the Pentagon
Rubin was arguably more militant or “freakier.” He considered Charles Manson an inspiration and even chatted with him for hours in prison.
Hoffman was a member of SNCC in his early days
Rubin was active in the Free Speech Movement in his early days, though he made some Civil Rights protests as well
Hoffman wore an inverted Amerikan flag on his shirt
Rubin wore the Viet Cong (he spelled it Kong) flag on his shirt
Hoffman heard Castro speak
Rubin personally met him (if I’m not mistaken)
Hoffman has several biographies of him and including his own as well as an entertaining biopic called Steal This Movie
Rubin once stormed the halls of Congress half nude, dressed up in American Revolutionary attire, complete with war paint and ammunition, albeit a toy gun!
Hoffman along with Jefferson Airplane singer, Grace Slick once attempted to slip a hit of LSD into president Nixon’s coffee, but they never made it inside the White House
Rubin became a yuppie when the war ended: stockbroker, businessman,etc.
Hoffman was forced underground and became an environmentalist, when he rose above ground he continued his activism with the War On Drugs, and the CIAs sadistic, murderous involvement in Latin America as major targets

Well, I could go on and on here. Basically, both men were heroic and should be revered for their tactics, ideals, and for making revolution fun. So, who wins?……………

Abbie! because he never sold out and more importantly because of his unique form of media manipulation, which ultimately led to social change and gave people some laughs (or the jitters!).

Here’s some history in motion; this is Abbie right before the Chicago Democratic National Convention protests which culminated in him and seven others (including Rubin) being tried and convicted (though the decision was eventually reversed) for conspiracy to incite riots at the Convention:

And here’s just a classic Jerry Rubin moment:

Chris

Subversive Book Club: Black Panthers Speak

Title: Black Panthers Speak
Author(s): Phillip S. Foner. Includes writings by all your favorite Panthers: Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, Fred Hampton, Angela Davis, and Stokely Carmichael, amongst others.
Year: 1995
Pages: 328
Good Guys: Black Panthers and some of their vanilla comrades who fought beside them in the black struggle
Bad Guys: Oppressive, White AmeriKKKA: Police, businesses, the entire U.S. Government (particularly the most rotten pigs, the FBI), and average, apathetic, ignorant citizens
My Rating: A-

Why Subversive?:
I suppose it is “strange” for a white, suburban kid to walk around, clutching a book of militant black politics demonizing the wahhitte man and all his evils. But, then again I am a “strange” guy. So, why did I read this gem of incendiary material? Well, two main reasons: 1) I’m chiefly a propagandist, if anything. Without a doubt the Panthers are accountable for some truly outstanding propaganda. They are completely biased, unabashedly, may I add and write for their side/interests. The point of their works is not to offer you a fair look at how our society works or how certain events went down. Ohh no, they share their perspective of what it is like to be a free-thinking black revolutinary in an extremely racist and violent country that does not value them as human beings. If one were to read “objective” newspapers of the day they would not have the same reaction. The media was never fair to the Panthers, because they served and still serve the government. So, the Panthers fought the mainstream propaganda with their own propaganda and successfully did so. Crucial events such as the Chicago Conspiracy trial, Huey P. Newton’s manslaughter charge, the brutal murder of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark at the hands of Chicago Police with connection to the FBI are discussed extensively. 2) This book has helped me better understand how fucked up our nation was and still is and how ignorant, we white Americans are. Of course, by reading this or anything else, it does not immediately make me an expert on race relations and I certainly can not say I understand what it was or still is like to be a minority in the US of A. But, it does offer me an awareness of the American Nightmare for blacks, minorities, revolutionaries, and especially black revolutionaries (longer sentences than white revolutionaries). If the Weathermen were black they would all have been imprisoned. For those that doubt the sinister nature of our government, please look through the lens of the black experience in America. If you are privileged and white, then you will not be able to relate to it, but you will have a better understanding of how our vicious, racist system works.
I’m not saying I agree with all the Panthers’ tactics, but this subversive book at least demonstrates how positive and successful the Panthers were in their individual communities. They were a national organization and in each of their many chapters, they had schools, free breakfast for children programs, free medical clinics, and drug rehabilitation for poverty-stricken blacks. Unfortunately, history textbooks and other media outlets place too much emphasis on the violent conflicts and militancy of the Party and not as much focus on their positive, survival programs. Don’t get me wrong, the militancy was an important factor, after all their name was the “Black Panther Party for Self-Defense” and these were clearly violent times with extreme Police Brutality. In the following video, Co-founder, Bobby Seale details the Party’s Ten Point Program/Platform:

If you like this subversive book and/or want to learn more about the Black Panthers, the Black Struggle, or racist white scumfucks, then I recommend the following:

Soul On Ice
By: Eldridge Cleaver
Seize the Time By: Bobby Seale
The Autobiography of Malcolm X As Told To Alex Healy
Malcolm X Speaks
Live From Death Row By: Mumia Abu-Jamal

Seen above are Co-Founders, Bobby Seale, Chairman (left) and Huey P. Newton, Minister of Defense (right). Very badass.

Chris

New Left


Throughout this year I have embarked on a journey of self-education through reading inflammatory recipes for revolution and amongst the incendiary material on my bookshelf, works concerning the New Left appear the most prominently. The New Left, unlike the Old Left of the 1930s and 1940s, focused on social activism and American culture. Elvis Presley and the Lone Ranger were just as important as Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. Their main aims were ending the War in Viet FUCKINGnam, ending racism at home, and protesting the conformist, capitalist, greedy, Amerikkkan lifestyle, amongst other initiatives, As I mentioned, I’ve read several books this year on this subject that I highly recommend to anyone and everyone. These include:

From Yale to Jail By: David Dellinger
Steal This Book By: Abbie Hoffman
The Black Panthers Speak By: Various Panthers
Kingdom of Fear By: Hunter S. Thompson
Flashbacks By: Timothy Leary
Soon to Be A Major Motion Picture By: Abbie Hoffman
Fugitive Days By: Bill Ayers
Do iT! Scenarios of the Revolution By: Jerry Rubin

It’s been fantastic learning about these turbulent times through such diverse, charismatic, and first hand accounts. It’s really funny seeing how certain figures are portrayed differently in various works. For example, acid guru, Timothy Leary paints Yippies Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin as pessimistic, Anti-American agitators that advocate violent revolution. Leary says some nice things about the boys, but he tends to omit their personal charm and dedication to social change. On the contrary, through the Yippies’ eyes, the sky is the limit, nope scratch that, after they levitated the Pentagon they could fly with it to the moon! You’ll have to do some reading to understand what the hell I’m talking about right now haha. All of these characters appear in just about all of these books at least once. And the aforementioned protests at the Pentagon, the 1968 (Un)Democratic National Convention and ensuing Chicago Conspiracy Trial are events that are discussed in depth in all of these works. I have also read about Tim Leary’s prison break through his perspective as well as his rescuers’, The Weathermen. Here are some other key New Left figures I haven’t mentioned:

Tom Hayden
Noam Chomsky
Howard Zinn
David Horowitz
John Lennon
Allen Ginsburg
Angela Davis
Mario Savio
Rennie Davis
That is by no means a complete list.

Chris DeCarlo