Saturday, August 24, 2013

Abbie Hoffman - He Made His Own Revolution

Among events listed at Wikipedia for 24 August, through history, is the following"

24 August 1967 – Led by Abbie Hoffman, the Youth International Party temporarily disrupts trading at the NYSE by throwing dollar bills from the viewing gallery, causing trading to cease as brokers scramble to grab them.

More about that incident from a chapter from Hoffman's autobiography. See HERE.

It reminded me of an old post of mine from early in 2010 dealing with Abbie Hoffman's natal chart, an edited version of the old post follows:

Described as flamboyant and colorful, Abbie Hoffman emerged from 1960s counterculture, prominent in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, he founded the "Yippies" (Youth International Party). His trademarks were sharp satirical humour and a flair for organisation. These were effectively used on behalf of many causes, including civil rights, anti-war and ecology.

Snips from HERE:
At the end of the 1960s Abbot Howard "Abbie" Hoffman became an American celebrity and the wild-and-woolly face of youth activists protesting U.S. involvement in Vietnam. A graduate of Brandeis University with a Master's degree in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, Hoffman was a co-founder of New York's "Yippie" movement, a loosely-organized anti-war group called the Youth International Party. Their 1967 anti-establishment pranks included dumping dollar bills (mostly fake) onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and surrounding the Pentagon in an attempt to levitate it.

After a street fight with police during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Hoffman and his cohorts were arrested and charged with conspiracy to incite a riot. The trial was a media sensation, and the so-called Chicago Seven (originally there were eight, including Black Panther Bobby Seale) spent more than a year mocking the court of Judge Julius J. Hoffman with shenanigans that resulted in more than 150 contempt citations. In the end it all amounted to acquittals and convictions overturned, and Hoffman became known more as the guy who wrote Steal This Book (1971) or the guy who was arrested for wearing a shirt that looked like the American flag (1968).

Hoffman was arrested in 1973 on drug charges, but he skipped bail and spent the next seven years on the lam, going by the name of Barry Freed. In the early 1980s he resurfaced and, after a little jail time, embarked on a career as an organizer, activist, author and lecturer. At the age of 52 he was found dead of what a Pennsylvania coroner called a "massive overdose" of phenobarbital. His books include Revolution for the Hell of It (1968), Woodstock Nation (1969), Soon to be a Major Motion Picture (1980) and Preserving Disorder: The Faking of the President (1988, with Jonathan Silvers).

The coroner ruled Hoffman's death a suicide, saying the amount of the overdose suggested that an accident was unlikely.

Abbie Hoffman was born in Worcester Massachusetts on 30 November 1936 at 1:30 AM (Astrodatabank).

Sun, Mercury and Jupiter in Sagittarius (Jupiter's rulership). Jupiter, planet of excess and philosophy; I guess one could say that political activism consists of expanding philosophical ideas to their limit - to excess.

Two tight oppositions: Jupiter/Moon and Saturn/Neptune reflect inner on-going conflict which may eventually have contributed to his bi-polar disorder.

Uranus, the rebel planet, not unexpectedly has a part to play here. There's a Yod (Finger of Fate) configuration linking the sextile between Sun and Mars (Mars in a strong position, close to the ascendant) via two quincunx aspects of 150 degrees to Uranus. Astrologers consider that the sextiled planets' attributes are channelled through the planet at the apex of the Yod, in this case what could be more appropriate than Uranus? Sun(self) & Mars(energy and aggression) chanelled through Uranus (rebellion/revolution).

Uranus is also part of a loose Grand Trine with Venus/Neptune forming a circuit of harmonious connection between rebellion, dreams/imagination and well, Venus? Venus can represent emotional contracts such as marriage, love affairs. Hoffman's love affair was with rebellion.

“The only way to support a revolution is to make your own.”

“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.”
― Abbie Hoffman

Question: Where is our Abbie 2013-style? Is it, perhaps, Edward Snowden ?


mike said...

Well, Twilight, we won't know until "it" happens. We sorely need a leader(s) of the revolution(s).

I don't personally believe that Edward Snowden is the "one"...he's a whistle blower, much like Deepthroat and Daniel Ellsberg of the early 1970s. The whistle blowers served their purpose, added fuel to the fires, but in themselves did not lead a revolt. I do like Snowden's style and his ability to express and convey the urgency of his findings.

Hoffman was just one of many provocative, social-cultural liberalist-activists of that era, the era of the counterculture.

There was a revolution smoldering in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and it was a revolution on many fronts led by individuals that all came together to instigate change. See the Wiki entry for counterculture to review the influences:

Maybe it'll be all of us old folks (many of us from the 1960s-1970s counterculture) that are getting tired of waiting for the youth, working-poor, middle-class disadvantaged, and spied upon souls to regain their privacy, freedoms, and integrity. I'm rather stunned by the American (and other industrialized nations) citizens' indifference to many of the changes occurring at this seems that a majority support these changes.

Sometimes revolutions are instigated by some of the strangest inflammations. The thorn needs to pierce deeper.

Vanilla Rose said...


Now I have that out of the way, I'd like to point out that the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington is all over Twitter. It's also an important day for the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. I tried to help get #RipSophie trending. I even helpfully explained that Sophie is also an acronym for "Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred Intolerance Everywhere". But, not trending.

mike (again) said...

“. . . and what are you exactly, my friend? Their subordinate? Their employee? Or, I would suggest, their equal? That's what young Karl would certainly have said, and probably still does. Unless he's no longer alive.' Dodger gave Solomon a strange look and Solomon hastened to clarify. "'Mmmm, as I recall, if you go around telling people that they are downtrodden, you tend to make two separate enemies: the people who are doing the downtreading and have no intention of stopping, and the people who are downtrodden, but nevertheless -- people being who they are -- don't want to know. They can get quite nasty about it.'”
Terry Pratchett, "Dodger"

Twilight said...

mike ~ You're right - Edward Snowden isn't a revolutionary leader in the style of past revolutionary leaders.
I wonder, though, whether he's all we're likely to have. I wonder whether he's the 21st century version of a leader leading us away from a corrupt establishment?
(Bearing in mind that history rhymes rather than repeats).

The Wiki link you provided is interesting, but a tad depressing.
That list of the prominent characters, part of the 1960s/70s counterculture excites and depresses me at the same time.
There's hardly any trace of similar characters to fill their shoes in 2013.

Abbie Hoffman didn't live long enough to be classed a real leader, but he had the right spirit within him.

Up until the 1960s, nothing on the level of the technological changes we have seen in the past decade had happened. Revolutionary urges, and how to go about pushing them forward, were much the same as they had always been throughout history. The internet has changed all that - both positively and negatively.

Then it was necessary to get off butts and get out into the street, attend meetings, protests etc. - there was no alternative.
Now we vent our anger and frustrations online - like here, like now - like every political blog and no doubt every political Facebook page, and on Twitter. These are substitutes and act as vent, so that people feel there's no longer any urgent need to do more, their anger is burned off.....

There's now the means to communicate, get the message out, but it seems to have deadened the urge to actually act. This is bound to play right into the hands of the establishment, and more especially as they can monitor exactly what's being written!
And being said by phone.

This is all new ground for everybody - it'll take an exceptionally brave and powerful voice to get us into any kind of counterculture mode again, I fear.

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~ Thanks for the reminder. I do take a look on Twitter each day, but the hash-tag thing is often a mystery to me. I'm not really into it to be honest. I prefer to blather on at length here.
But if Twitter and its 140 characters and hash tags can get people fired up to do more than tweet, then it's worthwhile. ;-)

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Terry Pratchett is a genius - I've said it before, will no doubt say it again, many times. :-)

Twilight said...

Vanilla and mike ~
One of my heroes of today speaking about The March

mike (again) said...

Indeed...that was refreshing to see and hear Cornel West! He covered a lot of territory in those several minutes, not to mention your favorite: drones.

There is activism out there. People do organize en masse to protest, like the Occupy Wall Street movement, but they aren't cohesive and resilient as yet. Interesting that the Arab-spring countries have used the internet as a means to organize and protest in physical groups. But, maybe you're correct assessing that the American way of protesting is verbiage on the internet, tweets, texts, and TV. Flash mob protests in our future?

Twilight said...

mike ~ Dr West is one of the few people in whom I'd have complete faith to be honest and retain integrity if he ever entered the real political arena - but I don't think he'll do that- or rather be allowed to do it by The Powers That Be. He'd be dangerous for them.

Yes, there has been a "bubbling under" - OWS especially gave me hope but it evaporated quickly. They didn't want a leader - and I could see their point, in theory. In practice, for a new movement opposing The Establishment, without a leader they'd have needed a miracle - and those are hard to come by. Even with a leader it wouldn't have been easy, but there'd have been a better chance and "a beacon" to show the way. The right leader figure simply hasn't shown up yet. He will - though late in the day.

Online protesting will have to be merely an overture - it'd be too easy for those in power to switch it off if it were to become a real threat. As you said, thorns will need to penetrate deeper.

Kaleymorris said...

The whole notion of Abbie Hoffman as someone to admire or learn from was lost to me when he died. For me, he lost all his credibility with his final act. Suicides make me angry.

Twilight said...

Kaleymorris ~ That feeling is probably shared by many. How can we know what state his mind was in at the time though? He suffered from bi-polar disorder, it's not something most of us could understand. His disorder was almost certainly what led his impulses and revolutionary side at times and his deep depressions at other times.

Though he may not be an entirely admirable figure, his revolutionary side did show what can be done to clearly demonstrate dissatisfaction with the establishment. Not many are approaching it these days (Ed Snowden, Bradley/Chelsea Manning are two). There's a lot more need now, in my opinion, even than there was in the 1960s.