Abbie Hoffman

Aug 20, 1979

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  1. 1 Interview Part 1 12:51
  2. 2 Interview Part 2 13:07
  3. 3 Interview Part 3 13:29
  4. 4 Interview Part 4 13:07
  5. 5 Interview Part 5 13:14
  6. 6 Interview Outtakes 43:00
More Abbie Hoffman

As a social and political activist in the 1960's and, with Jerry Rubin, co-founder of the Yippie movement, Abbie Hoffman was front and center within the anti-government scene during some of the nation's most turbulent times. After his conviction for inciting riots during the infamous Chicago Seven trial was overturned, the law finally caught up with him in 1973 when he was arrested for intent to sell and distribute cocaine. In order to avoid a lifetime prison sentence, Hoffman decided to skip bail and became a fugitive from the law, living under the name Barry Freed in Thousand Island Park, a small community on an island in the St. Lawrence River on the US/Canada border. When this interview was recorded in 1979, he had been in hiding for 5 years.

Part 1 of this interview focuses on his current life in hiding, talking about the small town where he lived and his local (and national) involvement with the anti-nuclear movement. Part 2 focuses on the crime for which he entered into hiding, including Abbie's opinion of why the bust was set up and what his chances were for getting out of the situation. Parts 3 and 4 detail the current state of the nation and look at whether the events and activism of the 1960's have had a lasting impact. Part 5 centers around his personal life, including the difficulty of living a new life as a different person and his limited contact with his family. Lastly, the outtakes from the interview contain much information about Abbie's take on the media, but also capture him at his most unguarded, featuring a series of digressions and tangents.

This interview provides a shocking glimpse into the mind of one of the nation's most controversial figures, and the opinions he expresses still resonate as strongly today as they did when this recording was originally aired.

**Please note that Parts 1-5 begin with a montage created for the radio broadcast.

Part 1: Current Times, Current Causes
03:00 - Culture shock / where he lives / differences between country and city life
03:34 - Becoming an activist while in hiding
04:11 - Anti-nuclear activities while in hiding / the May 6th Coalition
05:42 - Local vs. national activists
06:20 - Being moved by the May 6th Coalition march / "on the side of the angels"
06:57 - Similarities between pro-nuke and pro-Vietnam individuals
07:19 - Getting Jerry Rubin involved
08:01 - Fear of a black out conspiracy
08:40 - The war of publicity / undemocratic responses to the democratic demonstrations
10:07 - Statistics for nuclear energy support / growing awareness
11:00 - The most valuable contribution made in the 1960's
12:00 - Coming attractions for Part 2

Part 2: The Drug Bust
02:22 - The drug bust that left him a fugitive
03:08 - Police treatment of Abbie after he became famous
03:53 - If Abbie was president…
04:10 - "Jolly Coppers on Parade"
04:55 - Reasons for going underground
05:33 - Feelings towards cocaine at the time of arrest
06:36 - Planning for trial in spite of his reputation
06:58 - His experience in prison / why he decided to go into hiding
08:35 - The search for Abbie lessens in intensity since Carter's election
09:18 - Plans for getting the charges dropped
10:33 - Persecuted for being a dissident / not saying sorry
11:39 - Planning on being caught in order to stay safe
12:19 - Coming attractions for Part 3

Part 3: The 1960s' Legacy
03:24 - Not sending troops into Iran
03:44 - The cultural schism created
04:13 - America's reaction to the '68 Democratic National Convention, Chicago
05:04 - Thoughts on Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter
05:42 - What mass media wants you to believe, The Big Fix
06:47 - Madison Avenue taking over the counter culture, "house freaks"
07:53 - Revolution as evolution / marijuana and rock music helping to stop the war
09:52 - Corporate America's solidification / the TV generation
10:46 - Corporate America under the profit motive / the ruling class
11:58 - Disco / lessons learned around the world from Vietnam
12:35 - Coming attractions for Part 4

Part 4: State of the Union
03:18 - Everyone will be broke (not famous) for 15 minutes
03:57 - The typical American
04:40 - Chances of ending up in prison or mental hospital vs. college
05:01 - Possibility of having a revolution in the present day / Yippie demands
06:20 - The faith to believe in change / the future is up in the air
06:55 - Rejecting the good life / enjoying activism
08:55 - The rate of progress / sending troops out around the world
10:11 - How the 60's live on / Abbie's old predators
10:58 - Richard Nixon as a victim
11:41 - Investigative reporting / being on the offensive
12:25 - Coming attractions for Part 5

Part 5: (Auto)Biography
03:10 - Coming and going to New York City
03:45 - Getting rid of the New York buzz
04:16 - Living as an outlaw = controlled schizophrenia
05:12 - Working as a cook
06:07 - Americans not being counted
06:52 - Writing his (auto)biography
07:28 - Relating to the Abbie Hoffman character / evolving consciousness
08:23 - Being a nobody / being "Fred"
09:05 - Losing his touch with women
10:07 - Abbie's family: Anita, america, his grandmother
12:06 - Developing a relationship with america
12:39 - Outro

Outtakes
00:00 - George Metesky, the Mad Bomber
02:33 - [Interlude: mellowing out, confessions, magazine articles, crime]
04:02 - Corned beef sandwiches
04:35 - Paul McCartney, prediction for The Beatles
05:25 - Thomas King Forcade, one of marijuana's martyrs
06:35 - Review of Richard Nixon's book / preview of Abbie's next book
07:52 - Idealism to realism with age
08:48 - "Woodstock 2" / M.U.S.E. / increased sophistication
10:32 - The biggest myth of the 60's
11:46 - The cultural renaissance from the streets
13:08 - The new Charles Kuralt / "Super Schmuck"
15:00 - Watching "The Fugitive"
15:49 - Original expectations of going underground
16:41 - Writing as working
17:20 - Abbie's utopia / what's wrong with American society
19:47 - The Chicago Seven trial
23:35 - Selling pictures to the media
24:46 - The media spin (lies)
25:44 - An interview in the Austin Sun / communism
28:13 - Jonestown's connection to the US media / paranoia inducement
30:06 - Television: special interest stories
31:02 - People in media don't know what news is / "Network"
32:38 - The implications of revolution
33:49 - Nixon's plans for a coup
35:20 - Taking the politics out of Woodstock / broadcast vs. propaganda
37:27 - The myth of America
39:28 - Last words / don't say hello if you see him