Saturday, 31 May 2008

Subject: Youth International Party (YIP)

1. Allegedly conceived during a New Year's Eve party on 31 December 1967 in Greenwich Village, New York City, the YOUTH INTERNATIONAL PARTY (YIP) has been referred to as "the first attempt to give social direction to the drug movement." The "founders" of YIP included: Jerry Clyde RUBIN, organizer and leader of numerous demonstrations opposing U.S. activities in Vietnam; Abbot [sic] Howard (Abbie) HOFFMAN, hippie leader at the 1967 Pentagon demonstration; Paul J. KRASSNER, editor of The Realist; Edward SANDERS, leader of "The Fugs," a rock group; Keith R. LAMPE; and, possibly, Stewart Edward ALBERT, active opponent of the Vietnam war.

2. The first published announcement of the formation of YIP appeared in a "throwaway" on a Liberation News Service letterhead as a 16 January 1968 press release datelined New York City, with HOFFMAN, RUBIN, KRASSNER, and SANDERS listed as founders. What the founders had in common was the use of LSD, other mind-expanding drugs, and marijuana. They considered themselves "revolutionary artists" devoted to the "politics of ectasy [sic]." RUBIN has described their politics as "wild in the streets." Both RUBIN and HOFFMAN glory in violent encounter with authority.

3. The YIP has no leaders, no elected officers, no formal structure, no members. It is not a real organization, but has been functioning as a sort of New Left coordinating group, utilizing the extensive underground press network to broadcast "its gospel of protest and ridicule of the establishment." RUBIN, HOFFMAN, and KRASSNER have been described as "non-leaders" who have given "credence" to YIP myths by "their prestige in the news media."

4. In early March 1968, an undated YIP announcement of "an international youth festival" in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention in August was distributed. In this, the YIP was referred to as "a new coalition of forces." The announcement urged the public to participate. At a news conference in Chicago on 25 March, spokesman for the New Left and anti-war groups announced a coalition to cooperate with the YIP on the August "love-in" in Chicago. Allen GINSBURG [sic] and Dr. Timothy LEARY had attended the weekend planning conference preceding this announcement as "YIP observers." The YIP then wrote Mayor Daley of Chicago requesting facilities in the parks for "thousands" of young Americans who would be coming to Chicago in August. RUBIN announced on 19 March YIP plans for offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. At a May YIP meeting, HOFFMAN announced there was no YIP movement in Chicago and that the Blackstone Rangers had no interest in YIP plans.

5. On 14 April the YIP held a music festival in Central Park, New York City. On 29 April LAMPE stated at a press conference that the YIP could call up 700 people in a half hour to prevent police from removing striking students from Columbia University. On the evening of 24 May, some 100 hippies led by RUBIN and HOFFMAN harassed police in St. Marks Square.

6. Planning for the Chicago Confrontation continued during June and July. HOFFMAN was the main speaker at a 5 August meeting of Veterans and Reservists against the war in Vietnam. He said that about 1,000 would be "trained" and that the day when the Democratic candidate was nominated would be the "big day." He further stated that the YIP would be dissolved after the Convention as it had been conceived solely for the purpose of countering the Convention. On 10 July a YIP survival manual prepared by HOFFMAN was published in New York in 10,000 copies. The $1,000 for this project came from the Urban Task Force through the Judson Memorial Church.

7. A number of YIPPIES were arrested in connection with the disturbances in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. HOFFMAN and RUBIN were indicted by the Federal Grand Jury in Chicago. Trial is scheduled in October 1969. RUBIN described Chicago as "a high speed, high intensity course in street insurrection."

8. After the Convention, RUBIN and HOFFMAN announced that the YIP would hold another "Festival of Life" in Washington on inauguration day, 20 January 1969. A group of YIPPIES participated in counter-inaugural activities, including the smashing of windows in stores, churches, banks, and other buildings, but they failed in their efforts to break up the inaugural parade.

9. On 13 February 1969, the YIP handled the mailing of several thousand Valentine greetings containing marijuana cigarettes.

10. The relationship between the YIP and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) apparently has never been overly friendly. YIP leader HOFFMAN, in the 3 April 1969 issue of "The East Village Other" charged SDS national office with failure to support the YIP and asserted his own agreement with charges by Black Panther Julius LESTER that the SDS was racist. HOFFMAN asserted that the SDS claimed to be the "vanguard of the white revolution," but had no national officers in trouble with the U.S. Government. He further stated that the SDS goal was similar to that of Castro's Cuba, i.e., everything free. HOFFMAN concluded his article by commenting that his "attack" on SDS was undertaken with the hope of ironing out differences between the YIP and SDS.

11. As of July 1969, the YIP had virtually ceased to exist as a functioning organization.

--CIA report, 1969

CIA Profile: Jerry Clyde Rubin

Jerry Rubin, one of two "Conspiracy 8" defendants who came to the Chicago trial under arrest and in the custody of U.S. marshalls, is a co-founder and leader of the Youth International Party (Yippies), and is said to be the "brains" behind the movement. He was a key leader in the 1967 student sit-ins at Berkeley; acted as coordinator of the October 1967 march on the Pentagon; and is an experienced organizer of war protests.

Rubin has been prominent during the trial, if for no other reason than his unconventional dress in court, a yellow and red-striped polo shirt, and the clowning he has indulged in with fellow Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman. He also, however, has featured as the target of much testimony by witnesses for the prosecution, who have related various incidents of his inciting demonstrators during the Convention riots in Chicago, some of which incidents have been detailed in previous Situation Reports.

Rubin was born on 14 July 1938 in Cincinnati, Ohio; graduated in 1956 from Cincinnati's Walnut Hills High School, which is described as having then been "the goal of Jewish mothers with sixth graders"; and in 1961 received an AB degree in American history from the University of Cincinnati. He attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem during 1962-1963; and upon his return to the United States entered the University of California at Berkeley as a graduate student in sociology, but remained for only two months. Thereafter, in the summer of 1964, in a group of eighty-four, he visited Cuba, in violation of State Department regulations, on a trip sponsored by the pro-Castro Student Committee for Travel to Cuba.

It was following this visit to Cuba that Rubin entered upon his New Left career. As one newspaper account expressed it, he became: "Jerry Rubin, public troublemaker, blocking troop trains in California, running for mayor of Berkeley, organizing the march on the Pentagon, getting busted in Chicago." The same April 1969 Washington Post account stated that, "At thirty-one, he lives in a strange man-boy world, completely cynical about manipulating the media, rushing to a TV set so he can see his 'rap' on the evening news, calculating what will drive adults up the wall...(but that) At the same time he is intensely earnest in his role as Marxist preacher to the young."

Rubin, in 1967, was an unsuccessful candidate for mayor of Berkeley, California, on a platform which opposed the Vietnam war and "American imperialism", and espoused Black Power and the legalization of marijuana.

In the fall of 1967, Rubin and Dick Gregory founded the Youth International Party; and in 1968 Eldridge Cleaver of the Black Panther Party suggested that Rubin run for Vice President on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, on which he was to be the Presidential candidate. (However, at the New York Peace and Freedom Party Convention in July 1968, another was named as "interim candidate for Vice President.") As of August 1968, when the National Democratic Convention began, Rubin was the Chicago organizer for the Youth International Party.

Since launching his new militant career, Rubin has been arrested on a number of occasions: On 24 August 1965, in San Francisco with a group demonstrating against General Maxwell Taylor; on 19 August 1966, in Washington, D.C., for causing a disturbance during a session of the House Committee on Un-American Activities; on 30 November 1966, for demonstrating on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley; on 13 June 1968, in New York City, on a charge of possessing marijuana; and twice in August 1968, during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, on charges of disorderly conduct, mob action, and resisting arrest.

Rubin can possibly best be pictured by quoting his own words, notably statements made by him in an article he wrote for Evergreen magazine (May 1969) titled: "A Yippie Manifesto". In this he describes the Yippies as a "revolutionary religious movement" and states that: "The religion of the Yippies is 'Rise Up and Abandon the Creeping Meatball!!' That means anything you want it to mean. Which is why it is so powerful a revolutionary slogan." Rubin promotes the much-quoted Yippie warning, "Don't trust anyone over thirty!", but says: "We are born twice. My first birth was in 1938 but I was reborn in 1964 in the Free Speech movement...I am four years old." According to Rubin, Bertrand Russell, age ninety, "is our leader."

Regarding the war in Vietnam, Rubin has stated: "The purpose of the Vietnam war is to get rid of the blacks. They are a nuisance. America got the work she needed out of blacks but now has no use for them." "It's a psychological war. The old send the young to die for the old." He sees the U.S.A. as "a military bully in Vietnam."

Some of Rubin's Yippie pronouncements:
"We fight what we want to do whenever we want to do it."
"Prohibitions should be prohibited. Never say No."
"Rules are made to be broken."
"Property is theft. What America got, she stole."
"How was this country built? By the forced labor of slaves. American owes black people billions in compensation."
"'Capitalism' is just a polite schoolboy way of saying: 'Stealing.'"
(Money, according to Rubin should be burned and during rallies he often has demonstrated its burning. Wall Street businessmen are "money freaks".)
"America is a loony bin."
"America does not suffer a cold; she has cancer."

Rubin claims that young whites are dropping out of "white society" with its middle class institutions, schools and homes, and forming their own communities. "We are becoming the new niggers. ... Within our communities we have the seeds of a new society. We have our own communications network, the underground press. We have the beginnings of a new family structure in communes. We have our own stimulants." Their long hair, he says, "is vital to us because it enables us to recognize each other. We have whtie skins like our oppressors. Long hair ties us together into a visible counter-community." The "smell", (and by implication of the dirt) of which he says "white society" accuses the Yippies, he dismisses with the statement: "That's what they used to say about the black people, remember? They don't say that about black people anymore. They would get punched in their _____ mouths." Rubin's speech and his writings are larded with the use of four letter obscenities.

Despite his jester-like appearance and "kookie" ideas, Rubin is sometimes a keen analyst of human nature. He has noted that: "We (Yippies) are a new generation, species, race. We are bred on affluence, turned on by drugs, at home in our bodies, and excited by the future and its possibilities. Everything for us is an experience...we live off the fat of society. Our fathers worked all year around for a two-week vacation. Our entire life is a vacation." Another of his observations is: "The economy is closed. It does not need us. Everything is built."

Rubin frequently makes outlandish statements--some of which even he couldn't intent to be taken seriously. Others, he obviously does believe in and it is sometimes hard to tell what he actually means to say. For example: "Everyone in the world should vote in American elections, because America controls the world. The Vietnamese have more right to vote in the American elections than some 80-year-old grandmother in Omaha. ...I am in favor of lowering the voting age to 12 or 14 years. And I am not sure whether people over 50 should vote. It's the young kids who are going to live in this world in the next 50 years. They should choose what they want for themselves."

Rubin, like the other "Conspiracy 8" defendants, has spent much of his time during the last year lecturing to obtain funds; and he has continued his agitating even while on trial. On 14 October, the eve of Moratorium day, eh spoke on the Berkeley campus of the University of California to some two thousand students, following a talk by former Chancellor Dr. Clark Kerr during which James R. Retherford, former editor of a New Left newspaper at the University, threw a pie in Dr. Kerr's face and was arrested. Rubin spoke of the injustices of the Chicago trial--following which five hundred marched to the jail to support Retherford, and a rock was thrown through the Police Department window.

--Central Intelligence Agency report, 1969

CIA Special Report: Democratic National Convention

The following hard information has been received from sources considered reliable and represent the more noteworthy developments in the current demonstration and resistance atmosphere surrounding the Democratic National Convention.

At approximately 4 P.M., 28 August, about one hundred members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference including the Reverends Abernathy and Young, began a peaceful march to the Hilton Hotel. Augmented by thousands of Hippies, the original one hundred marchers soon grew to a crowd of from 3000 to 5000. Upon reaching the vicinity of the Hotel, Hippies in the group attempted to rush the Hilton and the conflict with police and troops was on. Prior to the outbreak of violence, Abernathy and Young left the march and departed for the Convention Amphitheater.

Early in the evening of 28 August 1968, thousands of dissidents gathered in Grant Park, heard speeches and pep talks by Dave Dellinger, leader of the New Left, Tom Newman of the Hippie movement and Dick Gregory. Many of the participants in this rally later moved on the Hilton Hotel and joined in the battle with the authorities.

Jerry Rubin, leader of the Yippies, was arrested during the height of the conflict and charged with inciting to riot. It had been reported earlier that Rubin had been frightened by the rough action and was going to remove himself from the scene.

Other dissident leaders arrested during the course of the day included anti-war spokesman Staughton Lind, Abbie Hoffman, a leader of the Yippies and David Wyatt, an official in both the Yippie and Hippie groups.

Picketing demonstrations, planned by the National Mobilization Committee, are to take place all day Thursday, 29 August 1968 at the following locations: U.S. Army Induction Center, Chicago Police Headquarters, Federal Building, Welfare Offices and major Loop banks that conduct business in South Africa.

Number dissident groups such as the Radical Organizing Committee, Students for a Democratic Society, Womens Liberation, West Side Organization and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference plan meetings and/or demonstrations for Thursday, 29 August 1968.

--Central Intelligence Agency, August 29, 1968

Sunday, 25 May 2008

'A Freewheelin' Time' by Suze Rotolo

Life With Dylan in the Village of the 1960s

Sunday, May 25, 2008
By Sharon Eberson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Suze Rotolo was in the thick of things during the "freewheelin' " 1960s in Greenwich Village, where she loved and lived with Bob Dylan. That tumultuous relationship gave her a front-row seat to the folk revolution as well as Dylan's rebellious electric breakaway from the crowd that had embraced him as "the Next One. The Prophet."

The author acknowledges that memory is unreliable and promises the reader the truth rather than the facts, although she provides many of these with corroborating newspaper clips.

If the unfurling of events seems a bit foggy at times, well, no wonder. Rotolo was just 17 when she and Dylan became a couple, just as the decade was getting under way.

The Village at the time was ruled by the disciples of Woody Guthrie and the Beats, with a "we are family" attitude among the folkies of the day. Folk singer Dave Van Ronk was adamant that Rotolo shouldn't move in with Dylan, not yet 20 himself, until after she turned 18 (they waited until the day after her birthday).

The couple lived in a cramped upstairs flat on West Fourth Street while Rotolo worked as a waitress or tinkered with illustrating, and later, with making scenery for off-off Broadway productions.

Life revolved around clubs that welcomed folkies or, like the artists' salons of Paris, apartments owned by Village elders like Van Ronk and his wife, Terri Thal.

The bygone clubs -- Gerde's, The Bitter End, The Village Gate, The Gaslight -- were places where Woody Allen or Bill Cosby could try a routine one night, Phil Ochs or Tiny Tim could make an appearance the next, then make way for Ramblin' Jack Elliott and his heir apparent, Bob Dylan.

Rotolo notes, "The learning process for artists of all stripes usually follows the path of imitate, assimilate, then innovate."

It was Dylan's ability to do the latter that set him apart and sent him soaring.

It wasn't all fun and folks songs. From the beginning, there were secrets in the relationship between Suze and her Bobby. It wasn't until the press began poking around that Dylan's real name (Zimmerman) and Minnesota roots became well known.

Dylan is a constant presence, but the story is Rotolo's, from her childhood as a "red-diaper baby" (her parents belonged to the American Communist Party) to her acceptance into the Village scene. Dylan adored her, no doubt, from the many lyrics dedicated to her and his love letters, excerpts of which she shares in the book.

Rotolo creates a time capsule of the '60s within the boundaries of Greenwich Village, flinching when she ventures too far from home.

Sometimes, she's just a teenager in love.

Rotolo appears on the cover of Dylan's second album, from which this book takes its title and cover image. Her struggle to find her way out from Dylan's shadow gives the "freewheelin' " title an ironic twist.

In August 1963, Rotolo moved out on her own. Dylan's career was taking off and she was trying to break away from being the singer's "chick" -- or worse, "old lady." Her sister's advice: She would be "better off without that lyin' cheatin' manipulatin' bastard."

This is the first time readers hear of infidelities, though there are hints earlier -- a buzz about his appearance with Joan Baez at the Newport Music Festival, for instance.

Rotolo takes her time revealing that life with the singer was less than ideal. Take this notebook entry from the time of the breakup:

"I believe in his genius, he is an extraordinary writer but I don't think of him as an honorable person. He doesn't necessarily do the right thing."

The change in tone is jarring, but her hurt is palpable, an intense first love and loss brought back to the surface.

It wasn't a clean break; they would continue to see each other, but his entourage was changing, and the negative reaction within the Village folk community when he took his music electric was changing him. "Bob was thin and tight and hostile. He had succumbed to demons," Rotolo feared.

Andy Warhol makes a quick appearance in a scene from a party in Union Square, outside the borders of the map of the Village that precedes the memoir. Rotolo also takes readers along on a perilous journey to Cuba and to her mother's house in Hoboken, where she describes "hiding out" and listening to ... the Beatles.

The times had changed, and Rotolo had moved on.

Monday, 19 May 2008

The Battle of Algiers

The Battle of AlgiersA film Ochs referred to as his favorite, The Battle of Algiers is a 1966 black-and-white film by Gillo Pontecorvo based on events during the 1954-1962 Algerian War against French rule.

The film depicts an episode in the war of independence in then-French Algeria, in the capital city of Algiers. It reconstructs the events of November 1954 to December 1960 in Algiers during the Algerian War of Independence, beginning with the organization of revolutionary cells in the Casbah. From there, it depicts the conflict between native Algerians and European settlers (pied-noirs) in which the two sides exchange acts of increasing violence, leading to the introduction of French paratroopers, under the direction of General Massu and then Colonel Bigeard, to root out the National Liberation Front (FLN). The paratroopers are depicted as "winning" the battle by neutralizing the whole FLN leadership through assassination or capture. However, the film ends with a coda, depicting demonstrations and rioting by native Algerians for independence, in which it is suggested that though the French have won the Battle of Algiers, they have lost the war.

The narrative is composed mostly of illustrations of the tactics of both the FLN insurgency and the French counter insurgency, as well as the uglier incidents in the national liberation struggle. It unflinchingly shows atrocities being committed by both sides against civilians. The FLN is shown taking over the Casbah through summary execution of native Algerian criminals and others considered traitors, as well as using terrorism to harass civilian French colonials. The French colonialists are shown using lynch mobs and indiscriminate violence against natives. Paratroops are shown employing torture, intimidation and murder to combat the FLN and Algerian National Movement (MNA) insurgents.

Refraining from the conventions of the historical epic, Pontecorvo and Solinas chose not to have a protagonist but several characters based on figures in the conflict. The film begins and ends from the point of view of Ali la Pointe, played by Brahim Hagiag, who corresponds to the historical figure of the same name. He is a criminal radicalized while in prison and is recruited to the FLN by military commander El-hadi Jafar, a fictional version of Saadi Yacef played by himself.

Other characters include the young boy Petit Omar, a street urchin who serves as a messenger for the FLN; Larbi Ben M'hidi, one of the top leaders of the FLN, who is used in the film mainly to give the political rationale for the insurgency; Djamila, Zohra and Hassiba, a trio of female FLN militants called to carry out a revenge attack. In addition, The Battle of Algiers used thousands of Algerian extras in bit parts and crowd shots; the effect Pontecorvo intended was to create the impression of the Casbah's residents as a "chorus," communicating to the viewer through chanting, wailing and physical effect.

The Algerian revolution has been called by many the bloodiest revolution in history. Although the revolutionary forces in Algiers were defeated by the French Army, the long war throughout the country led to the French withdrawal from Algeria. The theme of showing the inevitable demise of colonialism as an instrument of Western imperialism was central to Pontecorvo and Solinas's treatment of The Battle of Algiers.

In 2003, the film again made the news after the Directorate for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict at The Pentagon offered a screening of the film on August 27, regarding it as a useful illustration of the problems faced in Iraq. A flyer for the screening read:
"How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas. Children shoot soldiers at point-blank range. Women plant bombs in cafes. Soon the entire Arab population builds to a mad fervor. Sound familiar? The French have a plan. It succeeds tactically, but fails strategically. To understand why, come to a rare showing of this film."
According to the Defense Department official in charge of the screening, "Showing the film offers historical insight into the conduct of French operations in Algeria, and was intended to prompt informative discussion of the challenges faced by the French."

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Punishment Park

Punishment ParkMade after the killings at Kent State in 1970, this Peter Watkins film eerily parallels Phil Ochs' contention to an audience that same year at Carnegie Hall, stating that he believed dissidents would be rounded up by the government.

QUESTION: Will you tell us about Punishment Park?

JOAN CHURCHILL: It was a fictional story about the U.S. government rounding up protesters during the Vietnam War and putting them on trial. When people were found guilty, they could choose to go either to prison or to run a course across the desert to reach an American flag that was 50 miles away. The course was a training ground for the police and military. We shot in the Mojave Desert during the summer on 16 mm. Peter didn’t use actors and there was no script. People pretty much played themselves and improvised. In one scene, we had a Black Panther on trial confronted by a man who was a judge in real life. And in the desert, real cops were chasing real dissidents. Things got quite heated, literally and figuratively. The film was shot as if it were a documentary. I never knew what was going to happen from scene to scene. The entire budget was $25,000 and that included an optical blowup. It caused a huge controversy when it was shown theatrically, because people thought it was real.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Vedder and Penn join protest film

Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, Jackson Browne and Sean Penn are to star in a new documentary that highlights celebrity activism.

Vedder and Penn performed as part of a song and spoken word concert in Malibu, California on Thursday night, and their efforts were filmed for new movie 'The People Speak'.

Vedder performed Phil Ochs' folk anthem 'Here's To The State of Mississippi', changing lyrics to take aim at President George W. Bush, while Browne sang 'Lives in The Balance'.

The performers, which also included Chris and Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes, Taj Mahal and Don Cheadle, brought out the stars to the Malibu Performing Arts Center.

The celebrities in the audience included Diane Lane and Barbra Streisand - Lane is married to the event's host Josh Brolin, who is Streisand's stepson.