Abbie Hoffman
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Probably the best known anti-war dissident was Abbie Hoffman.  Even from a very young age, Abbie proved his anti-authoritarian personality; he was expelled from his high school for fighting with his English teacher.   Soon however, Abbie turned his attention from fighting teachers to fighting injustice.  He was a very early worker in the Civil Rights movement, and was even arrested in Mississippi in 1964.  This experience in the Civil Rights movement gave Abbie a sense of purpose, and he began to dedicate his life to various causes.  By 1966 he founded the Liberty House in New York City.  This store sold products from cooperatives in Mississippi run by people in poverty.

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Hoffman being arrested for wearing a shirt resembling the American flag.

As the war in Vietnam heated up, Abbie turned his attention towards ending the fighting.  His flare for theatrics and attention-getting stunts put his name in the national news.  In October of 1967 Abbie organized the "exorcism of the Pentagon" in which he and demonstrators from the Peace march in Washington D.C. surrounded the Pentagon and tried to levitate by mental force.  The attention pranks like these gained in the national media convince Hoffman that the peace message would only get out by getting as much publicity as possible.   That meant more outlandish protests designed to shock and amuse.  On January 1, 1968, Hoffman and Jerry Rubin started the Youth International Party, or Yippies.   This was not an organized politcal force but rather a common term used to describe those who participated in Hoffman and Rubin's pranks (such as throwing dollar bills onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange).  During the "Festival of Life" demonstration during the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention, police took their revenge on the protesters that had mocked them so many times.  Abbie Hoffman was one of the "Chicago Seven" who were arrested in connection with this "police riot".  Hoffman and his compatriots simply used the trial as a platform for Leftists politics and the counter-culture. 

 

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Last Update: 11 May 2000
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