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Abbie Hoffman Essay

1703 words - 7 pages

The 1960’s and 1970’s are an era that will live in infamy in the history of the United States. These have shaped the lives of many to this very day. The events preceeding and during these years shaped the face of American society today. The Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights Movement were great sources of controversy that impacted public opinion at the time. Everybody knows about Hippies and Woodstock, though many of those who were there don’t remember, but much more met the eye when it came to the impact of the subculture in this era. The subculture impacted popular opinions in a big way and created a large social divide that is still with us to this day. Though the Hippies were ...view middle of the document...

The media coverage of this underground movement made it mysterious and impossible to ignore. However, to those involved it was anything but a movement. There was no clear organization to the Yippie movement, cut lines and defined standards would be against the whole idea of the Yippies. (Hoffman, Revolution for the Hell of it, 51) They took peace love and freedom to a new level. The Yippies protesting style was far more radical than that of the Hippies. They used in your face tactics, but however, kept the frivolity of their Hippie benefactors in mind. They held events called “be- ins” where the protesters sat around in the nude(Farber, Abbie Hoffman). This obviously caused quite the stir wherever they decided to make their opinions known. Another tactic of the Yippie’s protest was sly mockery of the American political corruption of the era. Their most infamous display of their mockery was none other than the creation of their very own candidate for president of the United States during the 1968 election year. At the Democratic National Convention a speech was written for their presitigious candidate none other than Pigasus The Immortal. Pigasus, as the name implies, was in fact a pig and due to the unholy offerings of that years election from both parties Pigasus became the Yippie’s preffered choice, fully prepared with a candidacy speech. However over the following days the streets of Chicago, where the convention was held, became a battle ground, and Pigasus the Immortal, and seven of his human benefactors were arrested by riot squads. These riots resulted in one of the biggest culture clashes of the era, the Chicago Seven Trials.
The Chicago Seven trials grew out of the Yippies, and other protesting groups, ascending on Chicago for the Democratic National Convention. Many showed up to protest their disgust with the country continuing its involvement overseas in Vietnam. The Yippies knew they needed to be at the convention up in arms with their brothers and sisters to get their voices heard(Farbe, Chicago ’68). When police and protesters began to butt heads at the convention things got ugly. Days of rioting and bloodshed followed, resulting in the arrest of major figures in not only the Yippie party, but the Black Panther Party as well. Those arrested were charged with attempting to incite a riot at the convention, after this conviction the battle began to rage and the publics opinion was quickly divided. The trials were not only an example of the great generation gap of the 70’s but of the corruption within the Judicial system. One of the founders of the Yippie party, Abbie Hoffman, who was part of the trial, was quoted in his writings describing police brutality toward protesting and community gatherings. “One kid Ron Shea tried to come to my rescue while I was being beaten, he was thrown through a glass door and had both hands broken. He may never be able to use one hand again. Which hands do you...

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