Sunday, 8 March 2009

Battleground Chicago: The Police and the 1968 Democratic National Convention

by Frank Kusch

The first incident with police took place three days before the start of the convention. On Friday the 23, the Yippies, showing their complete contempt for the political system, nominated their own Democratic candidate: a 145-pound black and white pig dubbed "Pigasus." The Yippie candidate for president was "released to the public" at the Civic Center Plaza and was promptly "arrested" by police as he was being "interviewed" by waiting journalists. Editor Abe Peck of the underground Chicago paper the Seed told a reporter for the New York Times that after the nomination, they were "going to roast him and eat him. For years, the Democrats have been nominating a pig and then letting the pig devour them. We plan to reverse the process."

A Yippie calling himself Wrap Sirhan stated that the group had sent President Johnson a telegram requesting Secret Service protection for their four-legged candidate. Five Yippies were taken to jail, including Jerry Rubin and Phil Ochs, while the pig for president's new official residence became the Chicago Humane Society. The Yippies were released after they each posted a $25 bond. "The only moment of levity between Chicago policemen and the Yippies that week occurred after we were arrested and were in jail and went in to be booked," said Rubin, following the convention. "One of the Chicago policemen came in and shouted out all of our names and then said, 'You guys are all going to jail for the rest of your lives--the pig squealed on you.'" The department had already put Hoffman, Rubin, Krassner, and some of their associates on 24-hour surveillance, sometimes uttering warnings that sounded to Yippie leaders like threats.

1 comment:

Dean said...

An extended excerpt from Battleground Chicago: The Police and the 1968 Democratic National Convention by Frank Kusch is available on the University of Chicago Press website.