About Abbie Hoffman

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Ms. Friskics presentation of Abbie Hoffman.

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About Abbie Hoffman

  1. 1. We’re All Human A reflection on Abbie Hoffman Kelly Friskics
  2. 2. Who is Abbie? <ul><li>Abbie was born Abbott Hoffman on Nov 30 th , 1936 in Massachusetts. A graduate of Brandeis, and a graduate student at Berkley, Abbie was filled with the “commie” speak of ultra liberal professors. </li></ul><ul><li>He worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to help register black voters in the south and fight against segregation. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Who is Abbie? <ul><li>After his time with the SNCC, he moved to New York City and sold goods made by black women in Mississippi to help generate revenue for the segregated communities. </li></ul><ul><li>It wasn’t long before the growing antiwar movement and the radical hippie movement in NYC drew Abbie in. This is where his efforts as a creative activist and artist of political theater thrived, and his legend was created. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Abbie’s Activism
  5. 5. the yippies <ul><li>Abbie helped organize a movement of youth that came to be known as the yippies. </li></ul><ul><li>These people were shocking to society at the time. The men had long hair, they approved of promiscuity and rampant drug use, and their hygiene was…different from the conventional standards. </li></ul><ul><li>While free love, drugs, and music were all part of the culture, Abbie wanted more than tolerance, he wanted a cultural revolution. Eventually he wanted a government revolution as well, perhaps to fully protect the culture he sought to promote. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Levitating the Pentagon <ul><li>Abbie and his fellow activists planned a stunt at the Pentagon to shock the nation. They had a swarm of radicals surround the Pentagon in an attempt to levitate it. There was a corresponding march of protesters that day, and hundreds of kids made there way to the scene. </li></ul><ul><li>This was an important event because it grabbed the media spotlight and showed the country the size and passion of the antiwar movement. Abbie knew that the best way to advance his cause was with creative stunts to capture the media. </li></ul>
  7. 7. the yip-in <ul><li>The yippies organized an event at New York’s Grand Central Station. Abbie appealed to the hippies by staging this yip-in where everyone filled the station and sang, smoked, and loved. His real reason for wanting to do this was to focus media attention on the aggression of the police force. He succeeded. </li></ul><ul><li>Abbie is seen in this photo seconds before the cops demonstrated their aggression. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Crashing the Stock Market <ul><li>Abbie is seen in this photo with fellow activist Jerry Rubin. They gathered some demonstrators and went to the N.Y. Stock Exchange. From the balcony they began dropping dollar bills onto the floor, laughing as the stock brokers scrambled for dollar bills. </li></ul><ul><li>Abbie wanted to focus on the money-driven world in light of the Vietnam War movement. </li></ul><ul><li>Abbie said of the event, ““…an image war had begun. In the minds of millions of teenagers the stock market had just crashed.” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Chicago Democratic Convention <ul><li>In 1968 Abbie helped organize the massive protests in Chicago during the democratic convention. </li></ul><ul><li>His goal was to get the media focused on the rights abuses and physical abuses the antiwar movement was taking by the establishment. </li></ul><ul><li>As the cops assaulted the demonstrators and the media filming it all, the crowd began chanting, “The whole world is watching.” </li></ul>
  10. 10. Political Theater on Trial <ul><li>After the Chicago protests, Abbie and 7 other activists were arrested on conspiracy charges. </li></ul><ul><li>In their last big staging of political theater, they set out to make a mockery of the justice system because of their perception that the arrests were just part of the image war. </li></ul><ul><li>Here we see Abbie’s friend Jerry Rubin dressed as a revolutionary ready for the courtroom </li></ul>
  11. 11. Political Theater on Trial <ul><li>During the court proceedings, Abbie became the first person to be arrested under a new federal law making it illegal to defile the flag. </li></ul><ul><li>As he approached the courtroom in his American flag shirt, the police attempted to apprehend him for wearing it. During the struggle they actually ripped it from his body. </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Last Days of Political Theater <ul><li>Towards the end of the trial, Abbie and Jerry dressed in judges’ robes for court. </li></ul><ul><li>When the judge demanded they be removed, Abbie had a Chicago police officer’s uniform on underneath. </li></ul><ul><li>The trial first resulted in 5 year sentences, but they were thrown out on appeal. </li></ul><ul><li>After the trial, the movement slowly faded, and Abbie seemed to fade with it. He was a bipolar, attention craving artist with no canvas. </li></ul>
  13. 13. The End of Abbie <ul><li>After going on speaking tours and participating in other smaller acts of political theater, Abbie was arrested on cocaine charges. He claims he was framed, but he went underground to escape conviction. </li></ul><ul><li>He remained underground for 7 years, adopting the alias Barry Freed. Under this name he worked in environmental activism, working to protect the St. Lawrence River </li></ul><ul><li>In 1980 he came out of hiding and received a one year sentence. </li></ul><ul><li>The rest of the 80’s were spent in various stages of his bipolar disorder, during which he did public speaking and continued to write. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1989, Abbie killed himself. There are many questions as to why, but many close friends believe the death of the movement killed him years earlier. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Abbie’s Impact <ul><li>I first learned about Abbie in my late teens. As a rebellious teen, I was inspired by his commitment to advocating for nonconformity and social justice. </li></ul><ul><li>I viewed his life as ideal. He never seemed to waiver from his deeply held convictions. </li></ul><ul><li>Learning more about Abbie for this project has allowed me to see him for what he really was, a human being. He battled with ulterior motives: competitiveness, ego, fame, women, and drugs. </li></ul><ul><li>Rather than being disappointed by this, I am encouraged. I realized that in spite of his shortcomings, Abbie made a true impact in the world. From the poor blacks in the south, to the youth who learned it was okay to think outside the conformist society, Abbie encouraged everyone to challenge the status quo. </li></ul><ul><li>He mastered the art of adapting to the situation and using whatever is available to get closer to your objectives. His art lies in his innovative styles of political theater that showed others how to capture the media and use it to achieve your goals. </li></ul>

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