By Stew Albert (published January 24-January 30, 1969)
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Little Dick Nixon, always the smallest punk on the football team, has finally been sworn in as captain.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was there, and stoned out of my head, I thought I saw Eldridge in the White House, and the choir was singing “Fuck Ronald Reagan.”
We came to Washington to denounce the war and the phony democracy that produced it. There were twelve thousand new style madmen, the kind that flaunt their sanity in public.
The same people who stormed the Pentagon and Richard Daley’s dungeon were back on the streets, and if they were not able to destroy the inauguration, at least they could force it to share TV time with an army of solid freaks.
It started in a weird huge tent more or less at the base of the Washington monument, a day before Nixon put his hand on two Bibles. There was a rally, the usual assortment of Guatemalan priests, Hell No GI’s and Woman Liberationists. And Phil Ochs.
The crowd wearing white Nixon masks and playing kazoos got uptight – some guy shouted “anyone who speaks from a microphone is my enemy,” and 700 Yippies, their purple and pink flag aloft, bolted from the tent and began their march twenty minutes before anyone was supposed to.
When the march officially began it numbered ten thousand. Reversing the route the monsters would take the next day on Pennsylvania Avenue celebrating Nixon, we marched to and not from the Capitol building.
The reviewing stands were already up for the inauguration and we piled into them cheering ourselves as we walked by. The occasional Hungarian refugee was there to remind us we were traitors.
There were occasional incidents with the pigs and some clubbings and arrests, but it was mostly peaceful and the fuzz even faked being polite.
When the night came we had our InHoguration. It was a great rock and light show, and Paul Krassner was on the set to say that he had a post escape interview with Cleaver and that the FBI had already questioned him.
The tent was packed and ripping apart at the seams, the grass was passed around and many of the cats who stay away from all marches were there, really grooving and happy.
The ground was cold and muddy, it reminded people of Resurrection City, but we all stayed close together and warm.
Around midnight a Yippie wearing Earl Warren’s robes stood on top of a parked truck, and using the Reader’s Digest as a bible swore in a pig as President. This time Pigasus was a naked man in a pig’s mask (the real presidential Pig still languishes in a Chicago jail), and he was shot down and assassinated on the spot.
Throughout the evening, plain-clothesed pigs circulated in the crowd, but although they saw pot, made no arrests.
There were some SDS and Youth Against War and Fascism type radicals who wanted to try to create a Chicago type situation out of the power of their own wishful thinking. To have an all out war in the streets it takes a Trujillo type Mayor or Governor but the guy in charge was Attorney General Ramsey Clark and he was very generous in handing out permits.
The government played it clever allowing the organizers to do all the peaceful things they wanted and bringing in an overwhelming police power to crush us. The 82 Airborne, the Secret Service, the National Guard and the Washington Tac Pigs were all there. In this environment street fights were always small and sporadic, and it was impossible to fuck up the inaugural parade.
We will now have to relate to Richard Nixon. He is the first president whose very inauguration was met with organized opposition in the streets on the day he took the oath.
This hard working mediocrity will have no era of good feeling from the New America. The universities and ghettoes will blow up in Nixon’s Bob Hope face, and even the boy scouts won’t be inspired by his Elk’s Club charisma.
The Dream is now officially dead. Without myths no ruling class can survive and what myths are left in America are now the sole property of the movement.