Woodstock 69 Program Guide -
Abbie Hoffman on the Chicago Seven

Black Panther Salute-
Illustration from program guide

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. -Eldridge Cleaver
He who isn't busy being born is busy dying. -Bob Dylan

With these quotes Abbie Hoffman began a short piece in the Woodstock program guide on the Chicago Seven trial, which resulted from the demonstrations at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention and was still underway a year later. Politics were interwoven with the music and dope movements of the times-much more so than today (that's the way the Man likes it).
I remember seeing Abbie trying to barge his way onstage during the Who's set at Woodstock. He got whacked on the head with a guitar by Peter Townsend and quickly thrown off.
In November of that year, at the antiwar demonstration in Washington, DC, I heard Abbie and Jerry Rubin speak at a night rally in the campus yard of Georgetown University after the main march. That time he got to say a little more, but as with Woodstock, I was high on Orange Sunshine acid and don't remember it well, except for Abbie's vehemence and Jerry's humor.
Here's what he wrote in the program guide:
Someday real soon we're going to see posters in the post office that say "WANTED FOR CONSPIRACY TO INCITE RIOT" and there smiling out at us will be pictures of our favorite rock groups. Unreal? Well maybe you're not hip to what's been going down lately. The Law and Order apes and this senile dinosaur we call a government have flipped out. Preventive detention, the no-knock clause in the new drug laws, appointment of Burger to the Supreme Court, and the extensive use of wire-tapping by the Justice Department are all part of a wave of repression.

Over 300 Black Panthers are now in jail in a national plot to destroy their organization. White radicals are being arrested. Underground newspapers are being harassed. GI's who speak out are receiving harsh sentences. The police have been unleashed. Last summer in Chicago it was clubs and tear gas; in Berkeley this spring it was shotguns and buckshot.

The hard rain's already falling and it wasn't just the politicos that are getting wet. Read the list: Jimi Hendrix, MC-5, The Who, Phil Ochs, Tim Buckley, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison Creedence Clearwater, The Turtles, Moby Grape, Ray Charles, The Fugs, Dave Van Ronk, Joan Baez-all have been busted recently. Busted because the authorities want to destroy our cultural revolution in the same way they want to destroy our political revolution. Maybe the man can't bust our music but he sure as hell can bust our musicians. if the government wanted to it could bust rock groups on charges of conspiracy to incite riot. Last, year Congress passed an anti-riot act which made it illegal to urge people to go to an event at which a riot later occurs. The law makes it illegal to travel from state to state, write letters or telegrams, speak on the radio or television, make a telephone call with the intention of encouraging people to participate in a riot. A riot meaning an act of violence occurring in an assemblage of three or more persons. The people doing the urging never have to commit an act of violence or know the people who do. They never, in fact, have to urge a riot. William Kunstler, famed constitutional lawyer, feels "rock and roll stars and promoters could be prosecuted under this law if violence occurred at a show."

The law is currently being tested in the upcoming trial of eight movement activists: Rennie Davis, Dave Dellinger, John Froines, Tom Hayden, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, Lee Weiner, and myself, all participants in the demonstrations last August in Chicago. You remember Chicago where the facade of a democratically run convention was washed down the streets with the blood of young people. The Whole World Was Watching and what it saw was what the official Walker Report later termed a "police riot." Richard Nixon wants to put an end to demonstrations. Mayor Daley wants revenge. They have decided to set an example to anyone who speaks out against the government by putting us in prison for ten years.

None of us are shedding any tears about our upcoming trial. In a sense the indictments are like receiving the academy award for our work. Many of us have already done time in jail. We have been arrested and beaten numerous times, we have lived with the FBI following us and monitoring our phone calls. For us personally the trial is just a part of our activity in the movement. When you get down to it we are guilty of being members of a vast conspiracy. A conspiracy pitted against the war in Vietnam and the government that still perpetuates that war, against the oppression of black communities, against the harassment of our cultural revolution, against an educational system that seeks only to channel us into a society we see as corrupt and impersonal, against the growing police state, and finally against dehumanizing work roles that a capitalist economic system demands. 

What we are for quite simply is a total revolution. We are for a society in which the people directly control the decisions that affect their lives. We are for people's power or as one of our brothers in Berkeley put it "soulful socialism." In the past few years our numbers have grown from -hundreds to millions of young people. Our conspiracy has grown more militant. Flower children have lost their innocence and grown their thorns. We have recognized that our culture in order to survive must be defended. Furthermore we have realized that the revolution is more than digging rock or turning on. The revolution is about coming together in a struggle for change. It is about the destruction of a system based on bosses and competition and the building of a new community based on people and cooperation. That old system is dying all around us and we joyously come out in the streets to dance on its grave. With our free stores, liberated buildings, communes, people's parks, dope, free bodies and our music we'll build our society in the vacant lots of the old and we'll do it by any means necessary.  -AbbieHoffman                                                                                            
Abbie is a founder of the Yippies and author of "Revolution for the Hell of It." Visit Movement City at the Festival to rap with the activists about getting your community together. join the Conspiracy in the streets of Chicago October 8-11

For more information and donations write The Conspiracy, 28 East Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Illinois 60604.

Email: banjoandguitar100@yahoo.com

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