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revolution for the hell of it

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this is the first chapter of the book "revolution for the hell of it" by abbie hoffman. i only transcribed the first chapter. someone should attempt to make a kritik out of this. since i'm not sure if margins are going to work so well here, i'll put the link to where i'm hosting this off-site.







"In a revolution one wins or dies."

- Major Ernesto "Che" Guevara

"Dash: A revolution in cleansing powder."

- From a TV commercial


Revolution for the hell of it? Why not? It's all a bunch of phony words anyway. Once one has experienced LSD, existential revolution, fought the intellectual game-playing of the individual of society, of one's identity, one realizes that action is the only reality; not only reality but morality as well. One learns reality is a subjective experience. It exists in my head. I am the Revolution. The other day I took some LSD somewhere near Florida Keys, where I've come to try to write a book. It's an interesting setting: exactly equidistant from Havana and Miami Beach. You are always reminded of the fact because Radio Havana is one of the clearest radio stations. They play terrible crap music and you wonder why they don't play Country Joe and the Fish or the Beatles. That would be good propaganda. It seems as if they are trying to convert all the retirees who waddle around in Bermuda shorts. You wonder what they have in mind. Anyway, all of the sudden a tropical storm hit and the sky turned black. I thought (felt) it was a tornado and before I knew it the house had become unfastened and was spinning wildly in the air like a scene from The Wizard of Oz. Paul Krassner, who was watching television, shouted that Stokely had just returned and had been grabbed by the FBI. Everybody is hallucinating a mile a minute. "Shit, Tim Leary, I'm sorry I said LSD was a fake." I'm laughing away, dreaming of the house getting blown to Cuba with the floor shaking like a son-of-a-bitch. "The Revolution Is On!" I scream and grab a cap pistol, preparing to shoot the first cop that comes along. My wife joins the game and we have this whole Bonnie and Clyde thing going. It's all hilarious, really. One big revolution for the hell of it. The point is, if it were a real gun and a cop walked in, I would have shot him dead. BANG! What are the guidelines for revolution when the house has been cast adrift in a tornado? What of the debates between Marat and Sade when the inmates run wild? Listen to Fidel Castro:



There are those who believe that it is necessary for ideas to triumph among the

greater part of the masses before initiating action, and there are others who

understand that action is one of the most efficient instruments for bringing about

the triumph of ideas among the masses. Whoever hesitates while waiting for ideas

to triumph among the masses before initiating revolutionary action will never be a

revolutionary. Humanity will, of course, change; human society will, of course,

continue to develop--in spite of men and the errors of men. But that is not a

revolutionary attitude.


- Major Fidel Castro Ruiz

Speech delivered at the closing of the First Conference of the Latin American Organization

of Solidarity (OLAS), August 10, 1967


Revolution is in my head. I am the Revolution.

Do your thing

Do your thing

Do your thing

Do your thing

Do your thing

Be your thing


Practice. Rehearsals come after the act. Act. Act. One practices by acting. Billy the Kid strides with 6 guns blazing, receding into his inner space. What does he find? Another Billy the Kid striding with 6 guns blazing, receding into his inner space. There are no rules, only images. Only a System has boundaries. Eichmann lives by the rules. Eichmann, machine-like, twitching nervously, pushes at his steel-rimmed glasses, takes his neatly folded handkerchief from the breast pocket of his gray-flannel suit and mops his sweating bald forehead (An electrical engineer: "My goal in life is to make myself replaceable" --DOT--DOT--BEEP--BEEP).

"My God was a pink memo. Uh . . . " he stutters, "excuse me, my God was a pink memo on Tuesdays, on Wednesdays it was a blue memo . . . It's hard to remember exactly. Yes, yes, that was it. Pink memo on Tuesdays, blue memo on Wednesdays."

Eichmann lets out a huge sigh of relief, smiles a little pince-nez smile, carefully refolds his handkerchief and replaces it in his pocket.

"I was a careerist. (slow) I was only doing my death."

Behind Billy the Kid stands Abraham. Grand old man of 9,000 years, striding across the desert lands, sweat crushed against his brow by a huge sun-baked forearm of golden fleece, the same golden fleece that was hung from his head and face in cascading waves of hard times.

God says, "Abraham, take your beloved son Isaac to the land of Moriah and place him upon an altar and make of him a sacrifice."

And Abraham tightens his fists and gnarls his teeth and cries out, "How do I know that is the God that has guided me and my people all these years?"

Inside he knows because He is God, which is to say, a Man and not a machine. He bids goodbye to Sarah, whom he truly loves, and he walks, holding his young son's tender hand, the three miles to Moriah. Placing his son upon the carefully constructed altar, he binds and gags him to let his son know that he loves him, and yet he does not need to do that because the boy too loves his father and needs no bindings. There would be no pain. Then Abraham dabs the boy with holy water that he had carried from his holy well and recites a few ritual prayers, mumbling them rotely because three days ago when he talked to God, he had already decided he would do what he must do. He holds his left hand over his son's eyes and raises the long well-used knife in the air, poising it for that final plunge. One plunge, quickly, for the steel in his mighty arm-sword will need but one thrust upon the young lad's frail body.

"Abraham, I am your God."

He slumps, exhausted with joy. It was an orgasm of consciousness, pulsating down rows upon rows of mankind.


Trust your impulses. Trust your impulses. TRUST --- TRUST --- TRUST --- TRUST --- TRUST --- TRUST --- TRUST --- TRUST --- TRUST --- TRUST --- TRUST





The trouble with liberalism and bull-shit American middle class DOT--DOT--BEEP--BEEPs is that they run the myth backwards.

"God is dead," they cry, "and we did it for the kids."


A true revolutionist carves the revolution out of Granite Rock. Ho Chi Minh crawls through the Mekong Delta rice-paddy mud and comes to a fork in the road. A road, by the way, that he and he alone constructed. Environment is in your head. Your head is a granite rock of neural impulses, get some dynamite if you need it.

Billy the Kid blazes his motorcycle down that neural impulse road and thrashes madly, gears lock, guns fall from his side in the jolt, the chrome-plated Harley-Davidson rears on its hind legs. Oop! He sails from the sturdy bike, hurled into inner space.

People said he was such a nice young kid.

"Why I remember the time young Billy used to like to run naked from the swimmin' hole down through town, still dripping wet."

Not exactly Lady Godiva, I'll admit. Billy sure was a hot shit in those days.

"Can't figger him out now, he must have flipped."

Yeah, sure, that was it, he must have flipped out. Crazy motherfucker Billy.

"Billy come back, come back. Billy, Billy Billy."

Go Billy! Go! Go! Billy go. We don't need leaders. We need cheerleaders. Go Billy Go!! Do your thing! Sock it to 'em!


Fidel sits on the side of a tank rumbling into Havana on New Year's day. His green army fatigues swiped from Batista's Free Store, sent down by John Foster Dulles, who, adding a touch of creativity to his cousin Eichmann's idea, decided that if everyone in Latin America wore American Army fatigues, all the problems would be solved. Clever Yankee was John Foster Dulles. Fidel's rifle lies like a feather cradled in his strong arms. Girls throw flowers at the tank and rush up to tug playfully at his black beard. He laughs joyously and pinches a few rumps, for he is a soldier and they like to do that sort of thing, you know. The tank stops in the city square. Fidel lets the gun drop to the ground, slaps his thighs, and stands erect. He is like a mighty penis coming to life, and when he is tall and straight, the crowd immediately is transformed.




He goes to a friend's house, collapses on the floor, snoring loudly, exhausted from five days without sleep, and sleeps for twenty straight hours.

For ten long year he builds a country. Makes love. Steals Russian rubles. Sticks a finger in Uncle Sam's nose.

"We are going to do away with money, people should relate to each other as human beings."

Go Fidel Go! Go Fidel Go! Go Fidel Go! Do your thing! Sock it to 'em!

He fires Commie Dean Ruskies who say he is going mad (not publicly of course) and makes the revolution.


This Byzantine discussion about the ways and means of struggle, whether it

should be peaceful or non-peaceful, armed or unarmed--the essence of this

discussion, which we call Byzantine because it is like an argument between

two deaf and dumb people, is what distinguishes those who want to promote

revolution and those who do not want to promote it. Let no one be fooled.


And again he "meditates" like Siddhartha sitting cross-legged under the flower-blossomed Bo tree . . .


These years have taught us all to meditate more and analyze better. We no

longer accept any "self-evident" truths. "Self-evident" truths belong to

bourgeois philosophy. A whole series of old cliches must be abolished. Marxist

literature itself, revolutionary political literature itself, should be renewed because

repeating the same old cliches, phraseology and verbiage that have been repeated

for 35 years wins over no one, convinces no one at all. There are times when

political documents, called Marxist, given the impression that someone has gone

to an archive and asks for a form: form 14, form 13, form 12; they are all alike,

with the same empty words, in language incapable of expressing real situations.

Very often, these documents are divorced from real life. And then many people

are told that this is Marxism . . . and in what way is this different from a catechism,

and in what way is it different from a litany, from a rosary?


And finally, shooting down communism, Christianityism, Lyndon Baines Johnsonism, Old Ageism, he says,


The communist movement developed a method, a style, and in some aspects,

even took on the characteristics of a religion. And we sincerely believe that

that character should be left behind. Of course, to some of these "illustrious

revolutionary thinkers" we are only petit bourgeois adventurers without

revolutionary maturity. We are lucky that the revolution came before maturity.


All this while still sitting cross-legged under the flower-blossemed Bo tree in the center of Havana.


AN EXPLANATION: What does free speech mean to you? To me it is an image like all things.

ME: Yes I believe in total free speech.

INTERVIEWER: Well, surely you don't believe in the right to cry "fire" in a crowded


ME: F I R E !


CONVERSATION WITH THE READER: What goes through your head when you read this pudding? Images? Images of who? Me? You? I am a myth. Besides I can't write and words all all bullshit anyway. I don't know how to write. Here is an example of what I mean. It is called a poem. I didn't call it that, someone else did. I called it a brown manila envelope. It is a manila envelope about meetings. It was fun to write.






















LISTEN TO eye movements

LISTEN TO scratching

LISTEN TO your head

LISTEN TO smells

LISTEN TO singing

LISTEN TO touches

LISTEN TO silence

LISTEN TO gestalt vibrations

LISTEN TO a baby born in the sea

LISTEN TO the writing on the wall




meetings are life

surrender to the meeting . . . the meeting is the message






dig disrupters, dig poets, dig peacemakers, dig heads who mumble, dig heads who don't go to meetings, dig heads who fall asleep, dig andy kent, dig clowns, dig street fighters, dig heads who scribble on paper, dig hustlers, dig heads that admit they are wrong, dig heads that know they are right, dig doing, dig changes, dig holy men, DIG HEADS who do everything



all meetings are the same same same same same same same same same same same same same same -- DIFFERENT meetings are rivers-- don't build dams







meetings are Now you are the meeting we are Now









there is no WAY to run a meeting


use meetings to help you DO YOUR THING

Go naked to meetings--Go high to meetings



PREPARE BY meditation





mene, mene, tekel, upharsin

(meetings are a pain in the ass)

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It was an intresting read. I think it was rambling and full of semi-contridictions which seems some how to mesh with the thesis (for lack of a better term). It has a stylistic equivelent to the ideas presented. I think though it wold better be used to answer Kritiks specifically the whole "change mind set" alternative.

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yeah, i know. it's not the greatest literature to cut from, since it's a deconstruction of orthodox writing.


i figured it was a good read, even if you can't cut it into an argument.


edit: the way it is on that website i linked to at the top is how it appears in the book. the margins got all fucked up on here.

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Hoffman is crazy. I'm not really going to try to cut her into an argument, but I thought it was funny how she listed a bunch of scams on how to get stuff free/make money/freeload. Otherwise, I think she's a little to violent for me.

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abbie was a stud. like you mentioned. "steal this book" is good. they have a free online version of it. but, there's nothing like actually stealing "steal this book."




by the way, revolution for the hell of it was written in 1968. crazy? perhaps. but we all got a little hoffman in us.

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Abbie Hoffman is a he. Ignoramus.

minus the fact I thought someone with the name Abbie was a she, what exactly is wrong with the rest of what I said? I think you've got some pent up aggression that causes you to become enraged when encountering small misconceptions about an author. You must have some serious hatred for women to defend his "manliness" so vigorously, perhaps you also have a little bit of a sexual attraction for Mr. Abbie?????

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A. No pent up anger. Just a combination of general asshole-ness in conjunction with a bit of sand in my vagina from people saying stupid things a lot, particularly here. Don't take it personally.


B. No hatred towards women. Just a fan of accuracy.


C. Abbie Hoffman=stud. And I find your remark vaguely homophobic.

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A. No pent up anger. Just a combination of general asshole-ness in conjunction with a bit of sand in my vagina from people saying stupid things a lot, particularly here. Don't take it personally.


B. No hatred towards women. Just a fan of accuracy.


C. Abbie Hoffman=stud. And I find your remark vaguely homophobic.


My remark wasn't homophobic, it was playing off of your homophobia, patriarchs are generally homophobes too, feminine identity. It was simply meant to aggitate you. But if you aren't a gigantic patriarch like I think you are, then it most-likely won't aggitate you. Bummer.

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My remark wasn't homophobic, it was playing off of your homophobia, patriarchs are generally homophobes too, feminine identity. It was simply meant to aggitate you. But if you aren't a gigantic patriarch like I think you are, then it most-likely won't aggitate you. Bummer.



Yeah, Mike - quit being such a homophobe, you patriarchal bastard. You're such a closed-minded oppressor.... :D:P

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indeed. well, i'm not so positive this would be useful information in the realm of debate, you may find a few gems, but it's a good read at the very least. this speech is from a little more than a year before his apparent suicide. check it.


abbie hoffman. speech to the first national student convention, rutgers university, february 6, 1988.


"I guess you can't see my button. It says, "I fought tuition." It's a two- button set, actually. The second button says, "And tuition won."

You should know that more than 650 students have registered as delegates here, representing over 130 different schools. You have come despite freezing weather and hard economic times to do something that I'm not sure anyone here is ready yet to comprehend. I am absolutely convinced that you are making history just by being here. You are proving that the image of the American college student as a career-interested, marriage- interested, self-centered yuppie is absolutely outdated, that a new age is on the rise, a new college student.


There's been a lot of talk about comparing today to what went on in the sixties. I would remind you that in 1960, when we started the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to fight in the South in the civil rights movement, less than 30 people came together to begin it. The famous Students for a Democratic Society, which we're all reading about, was formed in 1962 with exactly 59 people. No one before has done anything this bold, imaginative, creative, and daring to bring together this many different strains of people, who all believe in radical change in our society. It is just an amazing feat. And I wish you the best of luck today, and especially tomorrow, when you have to decide whether to go forward or backward. I'd also like to take this moment to salute our glorious actor-in- chief: Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan! I don't believe anyone in here believes it's "Good morning in America" tonight.


I have a lot of speeches in my head: On the CIA, urine testing, nuclear power, saving water: that's my local battle. We're fighting the Philadel- phia Electric Company's attempt to steal the waters of the Delaware River for yet another nuclear plant. A local battle? I don't know. One out of ten Americans drink from that river. I also speak on the modern history of student protest and on Central America, where I've been five times. Every time I get before a microphone I'm extremely nervous that chromosome damage and Alzheimer's will take their toll. I'll come out foaming at the mouth, accusing the CIA of pissing in the nuclear plants, to poison the water, to burn out the minds of youth, so they'll be easy cannon fodder for the Pentagon's war in Central America. Actually, that's probably not a bad speech.


On Tuesday I had to give a speech at the local grammar school to nine- year-olds. I said, "Go ahead, pick any subject you want." They wanted to hear about hippies. My 16-year-old kid, America, heard me give this speech about how you can't have political and social change without cultural change as well, and he said, "Daddy, you're not gonna bring back the hippies, are you? The hippies go to Van Halen concerts, get drunk, throw up on their sweatshirts and beat up all the punks in town." I said, "Okay, no hippies." That was last year, this year he's changed his mind. His mother and I were activists in the sixties, and he heard all the anti-war stories over and over again, never believed any of it. Then one night last spring he saw the documentary "Twenty Years Ago Today" about the effect of the Beatles' Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band on us all. It's about the only thing I'm ever going to recommend to anybody about the sixties, a simply brilliant documentary. He sat there watching cops fight with young people in the streets, people put flowers at the Pentagon in the soldiers' bayonets, and the Pentagon rise in the air, he saw it move just like we said it did.


Tears came streaming out of his eyes, and he called up and said, "Daddy, why was I born now? I should have been a hippie."


When I went to college long ago there was a ritual that we all had to go through at freshman induction. We were herded into a big room and the dean of admissions came and gave us a famous speech, "Look to your right, look to your left, one of you three won't be here in four years when it comes time to graduate." I'm going to say to you, "Look to your right, look to your left, two of you three aren't going to be here in four years." That's about the attrition rate of the Left. I'm sure that many of the people who want to organize interplanetary space connections have got everything worked out with Shirley MacLaine, and it's okay with me that they become moonies and yuppies and then born-again Mormons. They're not the ones that keep me up at night. But I worry about the good organizers, the successful organizers. You're the ones who know that you can actually get better at this, that you can get good at it. You know that being on the side of the angels, being right, isn't enough. To succeed you also have to work very hard with lots of cooperation from those around you. You have to have your wits about you continuously, show up on time, and follow through. These are the things that take place behind the scenes that keep you aimed at a goal, at victory, at success. And I worry because somehow on the Left, all too often, it's like three people in a phone booth trying to get out. Two are really trying to kick the third one out, and that's how they spend all their time. The third one's always called some dirty name that ends in an "ist." It's been a movement that devours its own. I look out at you and I think of my comrades, not the people you saw in The Big Chill, but people that were great movement organizers. You know some of their names and many others you don't know. They risked not just their careers, marriage plans and ostracism from their family, but their lives. They faced mobs with chains and brass knuckles, the clubs of the police, the dirty tricks and infiltrations of the FBI, the CIA, Army intelligence, Navy intelligence, and local red squads all around the country. They had pressure put on their families. They were prepared for all of this from the moment they decided to go against the grain and take on the powers that be. They were not prepared for the infighting. They were not prepared for a movement that devours itself. That has got to cease. I remember a very free and open democratic meeting in a room in New York City in 1971. All the various strains were there. There was one group that disagreed with the decision- making structure that had been set up. They wanted to settle their differences with the majority so they came armed with baseball bats. I can't remember the group's name - it was The National Labor Committee or Caucus - but I do remember the name of its leader, Lynn Marcus, better known today as Lyndon LaRouche.


The movement has had its share of other problems. We are too issue- oriented and not practical enough. We debate issues endlessly, deciding whose issue is more important than whose other issue, and so letting the moment of opportunity in history pass. By that time there's another issue there that's outstripped the other two. We debate which "ism" is more important than which other "ism," and I agree that all the isms lead to schisms which lead to wasms. We need a new language as we enter the next century.


We need to be rid of false dichotomies. There's been a big discussion going on for the last couple of days here about whether the organizing focus should be local, regional, national or interplanetary. I have never seen a national issue won that wasn't based on grassroots organizing and support. On the other hand, I have never ever seen a local issue won that didn't rely on outside support and outside agitators. Another false dichotomy is one that I call "In the System/out of the System." Between inside the system and outside it is a semipermeable membrane. And either-or is only a metaphysical question, not a practical one. The correct stance, especially now in these times, is one foot in the street - the foot of courage, that gets off the curbstone of indifference - and one foot in the system - the intelligent foot, the one that learns how to develop strategies, to build coalitions, to negotiate differences, to raise money, to do mailing lists, to make use of the electronic media. You need that foot, too. The brave foot goes out into the street to strike out against the enculturation process that says: "Stay indoors," "Don't go out in the street," "There's crime in the street," "It's bad in the street," "You lose your job in the street," "You'll be homeless," "It's terrible," '.'Yecch." Civil disobedience - blocking trucks, digging up the soil, occupying buildings, chaining yourself to fences (I spent my summer vacation chained to a fence) - can be a necessary act of courage, but it doesn't take a hell of a lot of brains.


Decision making has been a problem on the Left. In the sixties we always made decisions by consensus. By 1970, when you had 15 people show up and three were FBI agents and six were schizophrenics, universal agreement was getting to be a problem. I call it "The Curse of Consensus Decision Making," because in the end consensus decision making is rule of the minority: the easiest form to manipulate, the easiest way to block any real decision making. Trying to get everyone to agree takes forever. Usually the people are broke, without alternatives, with no new language, just competing to see who can burn the shit out of the other the most. There must be a spirit of agreement and in this way most decisions are made by consensus, but there must also be a format whereby you can express your differences. The democratic parliamentary procedure - majority rule - is the toughest to stack, because in order to really get your point across you've got to get cooperation, and to go out and get more people to come in to have those votes the next time around.


My vision of America is not as cheery and optimistic as it might be. I agree with Charles Dickens, "These are the worst of times, these are the worst of times." Look at the institutions around us. Financial institutions, bankrupt; religious institutions, immoral; communications institutions don't communicate; educational institutions don't educate. A poll yesterday showed that 489o of Americans want someone else to run than the current candidates. The last election in 1987 had the lowest turnout since 1942. There are people that say to a gathering such as this - students taking their proper role in the front lines of social change in America, fighting for peace and justice - that this is not the time. This is not the time7 You could never have had a better time in history than right now.


My fingers are crossed because I hope that you won't let the internal differences divide you. I hope that you'll be able to focus on the real enemies that are out there. In the late sixties we were so fed up we wanted to destroy it all. That's when we changed the name of America and stuck in the "k." The mood today is different, and the language that will respond to today's mood will be different. Things are so deteriorated in this society, that it's not up to you to destroy America, it's up to you to go out and save America. The same impulse that helped us fight our way out of one empire 200 years ago must help us get free of the Holy Financial Empire today. The transnationals - with their money in Switzerland, headquarters in Luxembourg, ships in tax-free Panama, natural resources all over the emerging world, and their sleepy consumers in the United States - do not have the interest of the United States at heart. Ronald Reagan and the CIA are traitors to America, they have sold it to the Holy Financial Empire. The enemy is out there, he s not in this room. People are allowed to have different visions and different views, but you have to have unity.


You also have to communicate a message and to do that you need a medium. We know television as the boob tube. We know educational television is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. We know it from reading fake intellectuals like Alan Bloom and his Closing of the American Mind, or from reading good ones like Neil Postman, whose Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the A8e of Showbiz is a wonderful book. Bloom wants us to shut off the t.v. and start reading the Bible, and Postman just wants us to shut off the t.v. They are critics of t.v., but they are not organizers. A lot of people say, Abbie, you just perform for the media, that's your duty, you manipulate, a lot of things like that. This is a misconception. I have never in my life done anything for the media. I m speaking to you through a microphone because my voice is soft, and I couldn't reach all of you unless I used it. That's why I use the microphone. But my words are not for this goddamn microphone. If you want to reach hundreds of thousands or millions of people, you have to use the media and television. Television has an immense impact on our lives. We don't read, we just look at things. We don t gather information in an intellectual way, we just want to keep in touch.


As bad as it is, television has the ability to penetrate our fantasy world. That s why the images are at first quick and action-packed, very short, very limited and very specific, and afterward vague, blurry, and distorted. How can these images not be very important? They determine our view of the world. We in New England would not have known there was a civil rights movement in the South. We would not have known racism existed, that blacks were getting lynched, that blacks were not getting service at a Woolworth counter, if it hadn t been for television. We weren't taught it in our schools or churches. We had to see it and feel it with our eyes. You have to use that medium to get across the image that students have changed. You have to show it to them. Let the world watch, just like we watch students in the Gaza strip fight for their freedom and justice, students in Johannesburg, in E1 Salvador, in Central America, in the Philipines fight for their freedom.


One hundred and thirty schools represented here today out of 5,000 colleges and universities in America reminds us that going against the grain at the University of South Dakota or Louisiana State is a very tough, lonely job. You have to feel that you're part of something bigger. You want to know that there's a movement out there. That's where the role of a national student organization becomes so important, giving hope and comfort to people that are out there trying to make change at a grassroots level.


The student movement is a global movement. It is always the young that make the change. You don't get these ideas when you're middle-aged. Young people have daring, creativity, imagination and personal computers. Above all, what you have as young people that's vitally needed to make social change, is impatience. You want it to happen now. There have to be enough people that say, "We want it now, in our lifetime. " We want to see apartheid in South Africa come down right now. We want to see the war in Central America stop right now. We want the CIA off our campus right now. We want an end to sexual harassment in our communities right now. This is your moment. This is your opportunity. Be adventurists in the sense of being bold and daring. Be opportunists and seize this opportunity, this moment in history, to go out and save our country. It's your turn now. Thank you."

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i'm not sure if any of you are reading this. if you want more stuff from hoffman, just ask. i might post more anyway.


abbie hoffman. yippie workshop speech. 1968.


"Cops are like Yippies-you can never find the leaders... You just let 'em know that you're stronger psychically than they are. And you are, because you came here for nothin' and they're holdin' on to their fuckin' pig jobs 'cause of that little fuckin' paycheck and workin' themselves up, you know. Up to what? To a fuckin' ulcer. Sergeant. We got them by the balls. The whole thing about guerrilla theatre is gettin' them to believe it. Right.


Theatre, guerrilla theatre, can be used as defense and as an offensive weapon. I mean, I think like people could survive naked, see. I think you could take all your fuckin' clothes off, a cop won't hit ya. You jump in Lake Michigan, he won't go after you, but people are too chickenshit to do that. It can be used as an offensive and defensive weapon, like blood. We had a demonstration in New York. We had seven gallons of blood in little plastic bags. You know, if you convince 'em you're crazy enough, they won't hurt ya. With the blood thing, cop goes to hit you, right, you have a bag of blood in your hand. He lifts h is stick up, you take your bag of blood and go whack over your own head. All this blood pours out, see. Fuckin' cop standin'. Now that says a whole lot more than a picket sign that says end the war in wherever the fuck it is you know. I mean in that demonstration, there was a fuckin' war there. People came down and looked and said holy shit I don't know what it is, blood all over the fuckin' place, smokebombs goin' off, flares, you know, tape recorders with the sounds of machine guns, cops on horses tramplin' Christmas shoppers. It was a fuckin' war. And they say, right, I know what the fuck you're talkin' about. You're talkin' about war. What the fuck has a picket line got to do with war? But people that are into a very literal bag, like that heavy word scene, you know, don't understand the use of communication in this country and the use of media. I mean, if they give a ten-page speech against imperialism, everybody listens and understands and says yeah. But you throw fuckin' money out on the Stock Exchange, and people get that right away. And they say, right, I understand what that's about. And if they don't know what you're doin', fuck 'em. Who cares? Take this, see, you use blank space as information. You carry a sign that says END THE. You don't need the next word, you just carry a sign that says END, you know. That's enough. I mean the Yippie symbol is Y. So you say, why, man, why, why? Join the Y, bring your sneakers, bring your helmet, right, bring your thing, whatever you got. Y, you say to the Democrats, baby, Y that's not a V it's a Y. You can do a whole lotta shit. Steal it, steal the V, it's a Y. It's up the revolution like that. Keeping your cool and having good wits is your strongest defense.


If you don't want it on TV, write the work "FUCK" on your head, see, and that won't get on TV, right? But that's where theatre is at, it's TV. I mean our thing's for TV. We don't want to get on Meet the Press. What's that shit? We want Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson show, we want the shit where people are lookin' at it and diggin' it. They're talking about reachin' the troops in Viet Nam so they write in The Guardian! [An independent radical newsweekly published in New York.] That's groovy. I've met a lot of soldiers who read The Guardian, you know. But we've had articles in Jaguar magazine, Cavalier, you know, National Enquirer interviews the Queen of the Yippies, someone nobody ever heard of and she runs a whole riff about the Yippies and Viet Nam or whatever her thing is and the soldiers get it and dig it and smoke a little grass and say yeah I can see where she's at. That's why the long hair. I mean shit, you know, long hair is just another prop. You go on TV and you can say anything you want but the people are lookin' at you and they're lookin' at the cat next to you like David Susskind or some guy like that and they're sayin' hey man there's a choice, I can see it loud and clear. But when they look at a guy from the Mobilization [against the War in Vietnam] and they look at David Susskind, they say well I don't know, they seem to be doing the same thing, can't understand what they're doin'. See, Madison Avenue people think like that. That's why a lot SDS's don't like what we're doin'. 'Cause they say we're like exploiting; we're usin' the tools of Madison Ave. But that's because Madison Ave. is effective in what it does. They know what the fuck they're doin'. Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Issues and Answers-all those bullshit shows, you know, where you get a Democrat and a Republican arguin' right back and forth, this and that, this and that, yeah yeah. But at the end of the show nobody changes their fuckin' mind, you see. But they're tryin' to push Brillo, you see, that's good, you ought to use Brillo, see, and 'bout every ten minutes on will come a three-minute thing of Brillo. Brillo is a revolution, man, Brillo is sex, Brillo is fun, Brillo is bl bl bl bl bl bl bl bl. At the end of the show people ain't fuckin' switchin' from Democrat to Republicans or Commies, you know, the right-wingers or any of that shit. They're buying Brillo! And the reason they have those boring shows is because they don't want to get out any information that'll interfere with Brillo. I mean, can you imagine if they had the Beatles goin' zing zing zing zing zing zing zing, all that jump and shout, you know, and all of a sudden they put on an ad where the guy comes on very straight: "You ought to buy Brillo because it's rationally the correct decision and it's part of the American political process and it's the right way to do things." You know, fuck, they'll buy the Beatles, they won't buy the Brillo.


We taped a thing for the David Susskind Show. As he said the word hippie, a live duck came out with "HIPPIE" painted on it. The duck flew up in the air and shat on the floor and ran all around the room. The only hippie in the room, there he is. And David went crazy. 'Cause David, see, he's New York Times head, he's not Daily News freak. And he said the duck is out and blew it. We said, we'll see you David, goodnight. He say, oh no no. We'll leave the duck in. And we watched the show later when it came on, and the fuckin' duck was all gone. He done never existed. And I called up Susskind and went quack quack quack, you motherfucker, that was the best piece of information: that was a hippie. And everything we did, see, non-verbally, he cut out. Like he said, "How do you eat?" and we fed all the people, you know. But he cut that out. He wants to deal with the words. You know, let's play word games, let's analyze it. Soon as you analyze it, it's dead, it's over. You read a book and say well now I understand it, and go back to sleep.


The media distorts. But it always works to our advantage. They say there's low numbers, right? 4000, 5000 people here. That's groovy. Think of it, 4000 people causin' all this trouble. If you asked me, red say there are four Yippies. I'd say we're bringin' another four on Wednesday. That's good, that freaks 'em out. They're lookin' around. Only four. I mean I saw that trip with the right wing and the Communist conspiracy. You know, you'd have 5000 people out there at the HUAC demonstrations eight years ago in San Francisco and they'd say there are five Communists in the crowd, you know. And they did it all. You say, man that's pretty cool. So you just play on their paranoia like that. Yeah, there're four guys out around there doin' a thing. So distortion's gonna backfire on them, 'cause all of a sudden Wednesday by magic there are gonna be 200,000 fuckin' people marchin' on that amphitheater. That's how many we're gonna have. And they'll say, "Wow. From 4000 up to 200,000. Those extra four Yippies did a hell of a good job." I dig that, see. I'm not interested in explainin' my way of life to straight people or people that aren't interested. They never gonna understand it anyway and I couldn't explain it anyway. All I know is, in terms of images and how words are used as images to shape your environment, the New York Times is death to us. That's the worst fuckin' paper as far as the Yippies are concerned. They say, "Members of the so-called Youth International Party held a demonstration today." That ain't nothin'. What fuckin' people read that? They fall asleep. 'Cause the New York Times has all the news that's fit to print, you know, so once they have all the news, what do the people have to do? They just read the New York Times and drink their coffee and go back to work, you know. But the Daily News, that's a TV set. Look at it, I mean look at the picture right up front and the way they blast those headlines. You know, "Yippies, sex-loving, dope-loving, commie, beatnik, hippie, freako, weirdos." That's groovy, man, that's a whole life style, that's a whole thing to be, man. I mean you want to get in on that.


When we stormed the Pentagon, my wife and I we leaped over this fence, see. We were really stoned, I mean I was on acid flying away, which of course is an antirevolutionary drug you know, you can't do a thing on it. I've been on acid ever since I came to Chicago. It's in the form of honey. We got a lab guy doin' his thing. I think he might have got assassinated, I ain't seen him today. Well, so we jumped this here fence, see, we were sneaking through the woods and people were out to get the Pentagon. We had this flag, it said NOW with a big wing on it, I don't know. The right-wingers said there was definitely evidence of Communist conspiracy 'cause of that flag, I don't know what the fuck it was. So we had Uncle Sam hats on, you know, and we jumped over the fence and we're surrounded by marshals, you know, just closin' us in, about 30 marshals around us. And I plant the fuckin' flag and I said, "I claim this land in the name of free America. We are Mr. and Mrs. America. Mrs. America's pregnant." And we sit down and they're goin' fucking crazy. I mean we got arrested and unarrested like six or seven times. And when we finally got arrested, it was under other names. I'm really a digger, I never was a Yippie. Was always a digger. So I said, you know, A. Digger, Abbie Digger, Mr. and Mrs. A. Digger. They say are you a boy or a girl, I say girl. Right. This is where I wanna go. I don't have to prove manliness by beatin' up 14-year-old girls with nightsticks, you know. Fuck 'em. But ideas, you just get stoned, get the ideas in your head and then do 'em. And don't bullshit. I mean that's the thing about doin' that guerrilla theatre. You be prepared to die to prove your point. You gotta die.


You know, what's life? Life's all that fun shit. Life's doin' what you want to do. Life's an American magazine, and if we hook them right, they're gonna give us 10,000 flowers that are gonna be thrown out of a helicopter tomorrow afternoon. But we'll only allow them to do it if they bring a newsreel person up in the helicopter with 'em. You know, to take the pictures. So we're workin' out that negotiation with Life magazine. 'Cause we said, you know, it's called Festival of Life, man, we named it after your magazine. I know that's immoral and I know that's cheatin' and that's stealin'. I wish I was a revolutionist. I wouldn't have these problems. A lot of revolutionists come here, they worry about parking the car. Where we gonna park the car, should we park it in a meter? The meter'll run out, we'll get a ticket. It's a weird revolution. Fuck it. We don't need cars; we travel in wheelbarrows. You see, just worry about your ass. Forget about your clothes, your money, you know, just worry about your ass and all the rest of us's asses. Cars don't mean shit. They grab our walkie-talkies you say yeah, there you go, take it, thank you, it was too heavy to carry.


Well, I've shot my load. I'm for ending the Yippie thing Thursday, killin' it all, 'cause I don't think people are Yippies anymore than they're Mobe or Motherfuckers or whatever they are. They're just people. And I think we oughta burn all our Yippie buttons and laugh at the fuckin' press and say nyah nyah, we took you for a fuckin' ride. That's what we figured when we started this thing back in December-just a couple of speedfreaks hangin' around the cellar sayin' now how are we gonna do this Chicago trip? We ain't got no fuckin' money, you know, we ain't got no organization, we ain't got no constituency. We went to a New Left meeting, they said where's your constituency, you can't talk here, you know, you ain't against imperialism. I said, man, I don't want any pay toilets in this fuckin' country, I don't want to pay a dime to take a shit. SDS doesn't consider that relevant. That's the trouble with the Left you know. Did a trip on a Socialist Scholars Conference, a couple of Hell's Angels guys and I, we went up and had a capgun fight in the Hotel Hilton where the Left has their conferences, it's very interesting. So the heads of the Hilton and the heads of the socialists were gettin' together to decide how to throw us speedfreaks out of the fuckin' place, see. But they didn't, I mean, we stayed to do our thing. The problem with the Left is that there are 10,000 socialist scholars in this country and not one fuckin' socialist. I mean I talk to guys on The Guardian and they say yeah, we're working on a serious analysis of the Yippies. I say, that's pretty fuckin' cool, man, that's great. By that time there won't be any Yippies. I mean, what the fuck are you analyzin' for, man, get in and do it."

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You should read his trial transcripts for a good laugh.

Would you mind linking?


I've read Steal this Book, and it's a pretty good read, but I don't think it's too applicable to debate.


Revolution for the hell of it might be applicable in future years, but how would it apply to next year's topic?

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Would you mind linking?


I've read Steal this Book, and it's a pretty good read, but I don't think it's too applicable to debate.


Revolution for the hell of it might be applicable in future years, but how would it apply to next year's topic?



He's under the defense witnesses. It was awesome the way he answered questions...you could tell he treated it all as a huge joke.


My favorite excerpt -

"THE WITNESS: Yes. I went about a week or two before with one of my close brothers, Martin Carey, a poster maker, and we measured the Pentagon, the two of us, to see how many people would fit around it. We only had to do one side because it is just multiplied by five.

We got arrested. It's illegal to measure the Pentagon. I didn't know it up to that point.

When we were arrested they asked us what we were doing. We said it was to measure the Pentagon and we wanted a permit to raise it 300 feet in the air, and they said "How about 10?" So we said "OK".

And they threw us out of the Pentagon and we went back to New York and had a press conference, told them what it was about.

We also introduced a drug called lace, which, when you squirted it at the policemen made them take their clothes off and make love, a very potent drug. "

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