Abbie Hoffman (November 30, 1936 - April 12, 1989), also known as 'Free', was an American leader of the Yippies (Youth International Party), a New Left group in the 1960s which he co-founded with Jerry Rubin, Stew Albert and others.
Hoffman, a graduate of Brandeis University where he studied under Herbert Marcuse, was the author of a number of bestselling books, including Steal This Book, Revolution for the Hell of It and Woodstock Nation. He was also one of the Chicago 8, with charges arising from his role in the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests.
His contribution to political analysis and fun-oriented, Situationist-influenced action in the late-1960s and 1970s was profound, but he was criticised by many liberals and radicals for promoting violence as a valid tactic (as in the Steal This Book chapters 'People's Chemistry', in which he extolled the virtues of making bombs, and 'Piece Now' which exhorted political activists to have and presumably use firearms). He wrote "Once you get the hang of using a gun, you'll never want to go back to the old peashooter".
Hoffman, who suffered from Bipolar Disorder, was found dead at his home in New Hope, Pennsylvania, USA, aged 52 years. The autopsy confirmed that he’d taken 150 Phenobarbital and was legally drunk at the time of his death, which was recorded as a suicide. He left a note reading "It's too late. We can't win, they've gotten too powerful."
Quotes[edit | edit source]
"Avoid all needle drugs. The only dope worth shooting is Richard Nixon." (from Steal This Book)
"A modern revolutionary group heads for the television station."
"Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger."
"I was probably the only revolutionary referred to as 'cute'."
"Free speech means the right to shout 'theater' in a crowded fire."
"Democracy is not something you believe in or a place to hang your hat, but it's something you do. You participate. If you stop doing it, democracy crumbles."
"There is no such thing as an innocent bystander."
"The '60s are gone, dope will never be as cheap, sex never as free, and the rock and roll never as great."
"I believe in compulsory cannibalism. If people were forced to eat what they killed, there would be no more wars."
"You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists."
"Revolution is not something fixed in ideology, nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit."
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
Nonfiction[edit | edit source]
- Fuck the System (1967)
- Revolution For the Hell of It (1968)
- Woodstock Nation (1969)
- The Conspiracy: the Chicago Eight Speak Out (with Noam Chomsky, John Froines, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, Lee Weiner, Bobby Seale and Jerry Rubin) (1969)
- Steal This Book (1971)
- Vote! - A Record, A Dialogue, A Manifesto - Miami Beach, 1972 And Beyond (with Jerry Rubin and Ed Sanders) (1972)
- To america With Love: Letters From the Underground with Anita Hoffman (1976)
- Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture (1980)
- Square Dancing in the Ice Age (1982)
- Steal This Urine Test (1987)
- More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Nuclear Waste Transports (pamphlet, unknown year)
Posthumous Nonfiction[edit | edit source]
- the Best of Abbie Hoffman (1990)
- Steal This Book: 25th Anniversary Edition (1996)
- Preserving Disorder: The Faking of the President 1988 (with Jonathan Silvers) (1999)
- Autobiography of Abbie Hoffman: Second Edition (2000)
- To america With Love: Letters From the Underground with Anita Hoffman (second edition) (2000)
- Steal This Book (Four Walls Eight Windows edition) (2002)
[edit | edit source]
- FBI electronic reading room: Abbie (Abbott) Hoffman
- Chicago 7 Abbie Hoffman
- NNDB Biographical
- Gadfly Online Hoffman
- San Francisco Chronicle: Anita Hoffman
- Forrest Gump screenplay, in which Hoffman was portrayed as a minor character
- Quotes by and about Abbie Hoffman at Wikiquote
- Abbie Hoffman mp3s (Wake Up Amerikkka)