Saturday, 24 January 2009

For the Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman

by Jonah Raskin

Long before their plans became finalized, Abbie and Jerry--now an inseparable movement duo--were publicizing Chicago as well as promoting themselves. Folksinger Phil Ochs interrupted a Carnegie Hall performance to invite them on stage to announce the demonstration. "Fuck Lyndon Johnson, fuck Robert Kennedy, and fuck you if you don't like it," Abbie shouted. The Carnegie Hall management cut the power, leaving the hall in darkness.

Abbie, Jerry, and their friends also took part in Phil Ochs's "War Is Over" demonstration in New York on November 25. Allen Ginsberg, America's poet-legislator, had urged that peace activists should "simply declare the war over." He inspired Phil Ochs, who'd been singing protest songs for most of the decade, to write the song "The War Is Over," with its refrain: "I declare the war is over / It's over." On November 25 Ochs met with demonstrators in Washington Square Park, sang his song, and then led a march up Fifth Avenue to Times Square. The war in Vietnam, he explained, was "only a figment of our propagandized imagination, a psychodrama out of 1984." George Orwell's fantasy had become a reality. If enough people saw the war as an illusion and refused to believe it, then the war would really end, Ochs suggested.

1 comment:

Cypher Blueman said...

Although I come from left, and have strong feelings about RFK's involvement with McCarthyism, I have to say that he was a very strong advocate for civil rights workers --especially in 1965. Much was done behind the scenes to protect us, and lives were saved because of him.