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Chicago 1968 - Perlman

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  • 8/11/2019 Chicago 1968 - Perlman


    Lorraine Perlman, Fredy Perlman

    Chicago 1968

    October, 1968

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    Background 3

    Yippies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

    NATIONAL MOBILIZATION COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

    PARTICIPANTS AND MOVEMENT CENTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

    INTIMIDATION AND MILITARY PREPARATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

    Events 13

    YIPPIE LIVE-IN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

    DEMONSTRATIONS, RALLIES, MARCHES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

    BUS DRIVERS STRIKE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

    Analysis 23

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    e wholething started at the end of last year,when somekids with hair

    foundedtheYouthInternationalParty (which madethemYIPpies),decidedtoruna pigfor the presidencyof the United States ofAmerica,and beganto prepare aFestival of Life as a response to the Democratic Partys Convention of Death inChicago.

    e Yippie candidate was nominated in February, 1968. Yippie militants JerryRubin and Ed Sanders presented Pigasus to the nominating convention as thenext President of the United States. (Chicago Seed, Vol. 2, No. 11)

    According to Rubin, e Republican Party has nominated a pig for Presidentand a pig for Vice-President.

    e Democratic Party will most likely nominate a pig for President and a pigfor Vice-President.

    And so the Yippies will nominate a pig for President.Dont be fooled by the pigs of the Republican and Democratic Parties.Be fooled by the pig of the Yippie party!Ourcampaign sloganis clean and simple: Why take halfa hog whenyou can

    get the whole hog? e Democratic and Republican Parties have been offering usinarticulate pigsfor years. eYippie party is nominating an articulate,dynamic,sincere and honest pig, the whole hog.

    Rubin madeitclear that theYippie candidate would notsubvert the basictenetsof theGreat Society; on the contrary, If elected, Pig will run the country alongthe same principlesthathave always guided ourgovernments existence:garbage.Smelly, bloody, ugly garbage. Pig will intervene in the internal affairs of othercountries. Pig will drop napalm on Vietnamese children. Pig will clean up the

    streets ofAmerica. Pig willwaste moneywhile manystarve. Pig willcontinuetomake a stupid mess of things. (eRamparts Wall Poster, August 24, 1968)

    e Pigs platform, to continuetorunthe countryonthe principles ofgarbage(in whichthe pigis an expert),was his onlycampaign slogan becauseourpig willmake no false promises like the other candidates. Ifelected, there will be Americanboys going overseasto kill innocentpeople andfightheroicrevolutionaries; therewill be demonstrations and chaos; and finally revolution as the American peoplerise up and overthrow all the pig politicians from office. (Ibid.) 3

    e most importantdifference betweentheYippie candidate andthe candidatesof the other parties was his age: Pig is six months old. is is a reversal ofthe generation gap. We believe that the younger you are, the more power and

    responsibility you should have. We want to retire all the menopausal 50 and 60year old pig politicians. Make way for a six month old pig! (Ibid.)

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    AccordingtotheChicago Seed, Fromthe beginning, there have beentwo basiccamps on what the Festival of Life is supposed to be. Movement rhetoric aside,these are the political and apolitical stances, with the basic division being geo-graphical. Generally, the New York feeling is that Yippie is a golden opportunity

    to shitallover the Old Men,whilethe Chicago ethos,specifically thatof the FreeCity Survival Commiee, is that a Festival reflecting the new culture and thatalternate life style can be carried off despite the choice of Convention Week asthe time for fun and frolic.

    When it appeared for a moment that the Democratic Convention might takeplace elsewhere, a Chicago Yippie wrote, Many people ostensibly involved inthe Festival are ready to follow the Convention wherever it may go. is israther different than working along the parameters of an alternate society. If theDemagogic National puke is your thing, O.K. But dont pretend that your trip isFlower City. (e Chicago Seed, Vol. 2, No. 11)

    e site of theConvention ofDeathwas notchanged. Instead, the Mayor

    of Chicago organized a welcoming commiee for the Yippies, composed of theChicago police, the National Guard and Federal troops, all known for their hos-pitality. e Chicago Yippies tried to call the Festival of Life off. e word isout . . . Chicago may host a Festival of Blood. (Rat, Convention Issue) But it wastoo late. e idea was too good, and it had spread too far: On to Chicago. Hip-pies, Yippies, Freaks and Heads will all flock to the Youth International Party inChicago, despite rumors of violence. e week long Yip In will be full of music(by top rock groups) and fun. (Fih Estate, Aug. 15-Sept. 4, 1968)

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    e NationalMobilizationto Endthe War inVietnam,commonly referredtoas Mobe, is a coalition of numerous anti-war organizations. For several weeksprior to convention time a staff of thirty organized such things as housing forout-of-town protesters,a legal defense commiee, first-aid volunteers,publicationof newspapers and brochures describing events. During the week of August 22to 29,thethree-room officeintheLoop was crowded with people: some checkingon the activities of the day; some trying to trace a friend who hadnt been heardof since the cops aacked a group they were with; others trying to find out if afriend had succeeded in geing bail money.

    In an article, Democracy is in the Streets, which appeared in the conventionissue of the Rat, Tom Hayden,one of the Mobilization coordinators,gave some ofthe reasons dissenters from the Great Society would come to Chicago: We arecoming to Chicago to vomit on the politics of joy, to expose the secret decisions,upset the night club orgies, and face the Democratic Party with its illegitimacyand criminality. American conventions and elections are designed to renew theparticipation of our people in the democratic political process. But in 1968 thegame is up. Many of us will not be good Germans under the new Nazis. At thevery moment they seek to renew complicity in their system and confidence intheir authority, we will be saying NO from the streets.

    e first and most obvious reason for our convention protest is to re-assertmilitantmassive oppositiontotheVietnam warandthose mostdirectly responsi-blefor its perpetuation. Johnson and othercandidatesthink1964can berepeated.

    e Paris peace talks are only a cover for a new escalation of the war. e trying to end the anti-war movement rather than its policy in Vietnam. Withhis March 31speechJohnson aemptedtoremovethe war from domestic politicsuntil aer the elections. In the meantime, the number of bombing sorties flownover Vietnam, thetons ofbombs dropped, the numberofAmericantroops andtheequipping ofourpuppetallies has been ontheincrease. e U.S. is concentratingits military resources over the strategic and narrow panhandle ofNorthVietnamwhileturningthe Southinto a wasteland. Nearlyonefourth of the SouthViet-namese people are uprooted and homeless refugees in camps. Bubonic plagueand otherepidemics are spreading as aresultofwidespread spoliation of the coun-tryside. Chemicals destroy trees and rice and water; napalm and phosphorous

    bombs set fireto wholevillages. e U.S. is using genocidalmethods, threateningthe very existence of Vietnam as a nation, in a desperate aempt to force the

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    brutality; (3) liberation and self-determination for black people; (4) an end topoverty and exploitation.

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    e Festival of Life was to be a meeting-place for groups with different con-stituencies, different political perspectives, different experiences. Some of thegroups established movement centersplaces for gatherings and discussions;some participated in the events but did not maintain centers; some distributedtheir ideas among the participants, through journals and leaflets.

    Some groups, notably the War Resisters League, the Socialist Workers Party,opposed participation in the Chicago Festival because, they said, any peacedemonstration at the convention is bound to be interpreted as a pro-McCarthyeffort despite all aempts to keep it issue-oriented. In addition, the UniversitiesCommiee (originator of the teach-in) argued that in the potentially explosiveatmosphere ofChicago, the proposed demonstration could wellmis-carry intowide-scale violence far more compatible with ultra-revolutionary notions thanwith the current thinking of most of the peace movement. (WIN, Sept. 1, 1968)

    e New University Conference, an organization of professors and graduatestudents,announcedthat its nationaloffice wouldnotbe an officialsponsorofac-tivities of the Mobilization . . . and willnotbe chieflyorientedtothe organizationof actions. e NUC office, however, did organize a movement center, literaturetables, and a teach-in. (NUC, August Newsleer)

    Although the Black Panther Party was not a sponsor of the Mobilization anddid not have a movement center, individual Panthers participated in the events.Free Hueywas prominenton buons,posters andin shouts,and HueyNewtonsideas were known by numerous demonstrators and were learned by others from

    literature which was circulated during FestivalWeek: is society is definitelyadecadent one and we realize it. Black people are realizing it more and more. Wecannot gain our freedom under the present system: the system that is carryingout its plans of institutionalized racism . . .

    erevolution has always beeninthe hands of theyoung. eyoung alwaysinherit the revolution. e young population is growing at a very rapid rate andthey are very displeased with the authorities. ey want control. I doubt thatunder the present system any kind of program can be launched that will be ableto buyoffall theseyoung people. (HueyNewtoninTe Movement,August, 1968)

    Dra resisters maintained movement centers, participated in demonstrationsand rallies, and communicated with other participants: As a result of your dis-

    appointments and frustrations with the electoral politics approach of achievingsocial change, you may realize that other approaches are needed. Voting once

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    every four years in the circus that is called elections is an incredibly slow, andoen stagnantwayof tryingto solve problemsthatdemandimmediate solutions.(An Open Leer to Supporters of McCarthy from e Resistance)

    Women Mobilized for Change maintained a discussion center at the Chicago

    Y.W.C.A., and called for a reconstruction of institutions to eliminate ingrainedpaternalism, colonialism, and racism, . . . a new aitude toward society based onlove of life, not destruction; citizens who care about people more than property,justice more than order, reality more than hypocrisy . . .

    Because:Americais guiltyof the crime andviolence of racism, . . . poverty . . .militarism. (WMC, Coalition of Conscience Dialogues)

    e Industrial Workers of the World, who have an office in Chicago, passedout a leaflet which said: We resist being used against each other in the sameshop or industry. In this world market we should not let ourselves, even acrossoceans,be usedto undermine each others wage demands.Neithershould weletnationalgovernments use usto bomb each others homes or to slaughtereach

    others children. (IWW, is War is NOT for Workers)A new Philadelphia group, the RadicalOrganizing Commiee,opened a Move-ment Center, and announced its program of local organizing and mass actiondesignedto exposethe overpoweringinfluence ofmilitarismin Americanlife.ROCs leaflet opposes the dra, proposes immediate and unconditional with-drawal of the U.S. from Vietnam, and supports the Black Liberation Movementand struggles for national liberation. (e roc is hatching)

    e NationalOffice ofStudentsfora Democratic Societyplanned no specificactionsfor its members and did not call for a mobilization ofSDSfolksin Chicago.We want only those people who have the time and see themselves as organizers.Chicago will not be a fun place during the Convention and only organizers areneeded . . . (New Le Notes, Aug. 5)

    is decision of the National Interim Commiee of SDS resulted from theconviction that thepolitical situation was too confusing toconvey a clear politicalmessage. Intheface ofestimates ofpossibly 100,000McCarthysupporters comingto Chicago, many people would think that the new le, while maintaining atactical separation, was actually in Chicago pushing for McCarthy. (Eric Mann,Guardian, Aug. 3)

    e national group planned mainly to reach McCarthy supporters, hoping topresent the SDS position and to argue that McCarthy is not an answer to thesocial problems of this country.

    During Convention week the National Office of SDS distributed several pub-lications. Some of them served as an introduction to the organization; one was

    an interview with Huey Newton; the four issues of Handwriting on the Wallaposter-size sheet in which participantsreported Chicago eventswere an aempt

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    to circumvent the distortions of reporting in the mass media. It was urged thatthislastpublication befastenedtotrees and buildingsthroughout the city in orderto reach many readers.

    Handwriting was, in fact, seen in many parts of Chicago; in the second issue,

    advice was given ontechniques ofposting: Whenyou go out to post the paper,dont go at night. If you knew the city, or under less militarized conditions, itmight be easier or safer to hang paper then; here, given the instructions underwhich the cops are operating, it could be suicidal. You could be mistaken for alooter and shot. And it could go harder on you without bystanders around ifyoure caught.

    e SDS National Office also called for members in other cities to organizesupport demonstrations with their loyal constituenciesespecially if Daleys Pigsstart rioting in the streets of Chicago. (New Le Notes, Aug. 5)

    ALeafletby the UniversityofChicago SDS addresseditself tothe Russianinva-sion of Czechoslovakia, which took place on the eve of the Chicago convention.

    We denounce unconditionally the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, and wedemand of our government the immediate withdrawal of all American forcesfrom Vietnam. (Russian Tanks in Prague, American Tanks in Saigon, U. of C.SDS)

    e National Mobilization Commiee to End the War in Vietnam organizeda demonstration against the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute,a Major research organization . . . approximately $14 million of its annual $30million in contracts comes from theDefenseDept. . . . main areas of researchare metallurgy and chemical and biological warfare (CBW) . . . IITRI is a majorcontractor in aerobiology, the airborne dissemination of CBW agents . . . IITRImaintains Law Enforcement Science and Technology Center doing urban coun-terinsurgency research for Justice Dept . . . IIT is a lily-white University in an all-black community. e MOBleafletsaid, We demand stop ofgas warfare againstthe black people in U.S. and against the Vietnamese people. (DemonstrationMonday, Aug. 26)

    A MathematiciansMarch AgainstWarand Racismwas announced. BringLogic and Humanity (yourself) to the 1968 Democratic Convention! (Join theBourbaki Brigade)

    Rampartspublished an enormous daily sheet. e Ramparts WallPosterwas asubversive sheet. FirstOfall itwasfree. Anditprinted demonstrators versionsofwhatwas happeningin Chicago,as wellas schedules ofmovementevents andaddresses of movement centers.

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    Movement people were not the only ones who expected increased police andmilitary activity. Two weeks before the convention, McCarthy made urgent re-quests for his supporters to stay away fromChicago. us, only a small percentageof the expected thousands of young McCarthy workers and admirers actuallywere present in Chicago.

    Daley began his intimidation campaign early. Last spring, he gained nationalnotorietywith hisshoot to killorder followingthe gheorebellions. At the endofApril,Daleys police brutallybeatand gassed peacefulanti-wardemonstrators.Jack Mableyof the Chicago American wroteJuly25 thatChicago has establishedthe reputation of being an uptight city, with tough police. is has achieved asobering effecton potentialpeace demonstratorswho are willingtorisk a slightbump on the head or a twisted arm or a night in the cooler in New York or SanFrancisco butnota skull fracturein Chicago. e bullyopenlystatesthe purpose:to develop astrong movement . . . to warnyoung hippies andyippies away fromChicago. (Rat, Convention Issue, p. 2)

    For the occasion, theInternationalAmphitheaterhaditsfrontdesignedtolooklike the White House, but cyclone fencing and barbed wire surrounded it. A60-square-block area around the Amphitheater was sealed off by security guards.Only residents and people with credentials were permied to enter. Businessesalong one of the streets in this sanitized region were requested to close down.

    e 33rd Brigade of the National Guard (5,500 men) were scheduled to drillin five Chicago armories; military machinery came too; the 11,000-man Chicago

    Police Force worked twelve-hour shis during the convention. e delegatesroute to the Amphitheater was prescribed and protected; cops guarded everyoverpass. e most important persons werent even allowed to travel by groundtransport. ey were flown in helicopters from the bastion-hotel to the bastion-convention hall.

    Large numbers ofblue-helmeted cops were seenin allparts of the city,nearlyalways in pairs or groups. Plainclothesmen were equally visible (its not onlya uniform whichidentifies a cop),suspiciouslyeyeing everyone under30. euniformed greeted the un-uniformed in coffee shops and on street corners. eState was ready for its convention.

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    Since the Yippies hold that the parks are free and belong to the people, they

    intended to take up residence in Lincoln Park. ey mapped out a section ofthe Park and intended to transform it into an alternative community . . . basedon humanitarian cooperation and equality . . . which allows and promotesthecreativity present in all people and especially our youth. (Yippie leaflet)

    e urban plan for the alternative community included a free store, the YippiePentagon, Grub Town, Music Area, Free eater, a Church of the Free Spirit by apond, a communications center and a hospital, a Hog Farm, a Free Beach and anouthouse.

    However, the parks do not belong to the people. On Friday, August 23 sevenYippies and their presidential candidate were arrested. e candidate was a200-pound pig. It is thought that the arrest will dampen the Pigs chances.

    Nevertheless, other heads of stateLenin, Castro, Kenyaa, DeValera amongthemheld office aerservingtimein prison. (Ramparts,Aug.24) efollowingnight, around10:30p.m., masses ofcops arrived at Lincoln Park preparedtoenforce the 11 oclock curfew. Teams of plainclothes cops in nervous survivalgroups of six to eight circulated on the fringe of the crowd . . . Suddenly a policevan movedintothe crowd,andthe pigs busted oneYippie . . . But the pigs werentpreparedforwhathappened next: the crowd split,only tore-form on . . . the maindrag of Old Town . . . e streets of Old Town belonged to us Saturday night, andit wasnt just rhetoric. (SDS, Handwriting on the Wall, No. 2)

    eYippiesurban plans were disrupted. eycould notsleepinthe park. OnSunday they gave a demonstration of their techniques of self-defense, includingsnake-dancing and karate. ey triedtorespondtothe policeincursions ontheirfree territory.

    Allen Ginsberg wrote: Help! All the Yippies wanted to sleep together safelyunder the skyand have a goodtimetalking aboutGod Politics. JerryRubin andAbbie Hoffman wrote: We are a revolutionary new community and we mustprotect our community. Chicago is a police state and we must protect ourselves.e cops want toturn ourparksinto graveyards. Butwe,not they,willdecidewhen the bale begins.

    e cops have said they will beat and arrest us if we try to sleep in the parkswhich belongtothe people. We are notgoingintotheir jails and we arentgoingto shed our blood. Were too important for that. Weve got too much work to do.

    If the cops try to kick us out of the park we have sleeping places. Were not

    going to make it that easy for them to get us. Well sleep where we can, because

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    weve got a lot to do when were awake. Leave the park in small groups and dowhat is necessarymake them pay for kicking us out of the park but lets win!

    Paul Krassner said, Sleeping in Lincoln Park aer 11 p.m, isnt as importantas living our revolution there the rest of the day (the park opens at 6 a.m.). Mass

    arrests in response to civil disobedience would not outrage an American publicwhichforsolong has allowed money thatcouldfeed starving Mississippichildrendead to be spent burning Vietnamese children alive. (Sunday Announcements)

    e following day the Ramparts Wall Poster carried the headline: COPSCHASED AND CLUBBED YIPPIES LATE LAST NIGHT AT LINCOLN PARK.Before the aack,Abbie Hoffman had announced, e Yippies are going to puton a displayofpolice brutalityat 11oclocktonight.AccordingtotheRampartsarticle, By9 p.m. Lincoln Parklookedlike a gypsycampsite,with a firein nearlyeverywastebasket. People grooved on African drumming. Others beganto watcha squad of ten cops who appeared to want to defend the toilets. ey backedthemselves up against thetoiletwall forno discerniblereason,andlet themselves

    getsurrounded bydemonstrators. Moving outsuddenly they triedto dispersethecrowd, cracking a few backs and shoulders with clubs.ere was no amnesty for the press. Newsmen looked no different from

    demonstrators in the darkness. Many press people wore helmets. A Newsweekreporter took one of the worst beatings of the night. ( Ramparts, Aug. 26)

    e cops escalated their assault on the Yippies two nights later. Accordingto theRamparts Wall Poster, e Chicago police department moved a thousanddemonstratorsfrom passiveresistanceto activeriot lastnight (Tuesdaynight)byforcingthem outof Lincoln Park with a heavybarrage of teargas. e demonstra-tors, led by a group of 200 clergymen from the Northside Cooperative Ministry,had vowed to stay in the park all evening, and to passively sit-in to make theirpoint . . . Several hundred police massed at the eastern end of the park near thedrive. ey moved westward behind a heavy barrage of tear gas shot from was supplemented by a truck that moved against the crowd, laying down athick cloud of gas.

    As the crowd retreated it began hurling rocks and boles at the advancingpolicemen. Pigs, Fascist Pigs, many in the crowd screamed. One bole hit apoliceman directly on the helmet. Pushed out into the street, the demonstratorsbecame furious. Youths who had been singing hymns and songs of peace in thepark, turned and stoned the first passing police car they spoed.

    Six police cars had windows broken by stones or boles. One cop chargedout of his car in pursuit of a demonstrator. He chased him into a narrow alley.Whenthefirstpolicemanfailedto emerge aer 15seconds,his partnerentered

    the alley with a drawn gun . . . Abarricade was built at Wells and North Streets.e barricade was constructed out of wastebaskets which were then set afire. A

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    police carwas forcedto a halt infrontof the barricade. Whenitstopped,a rockwasthrownthroughitsfrontwindow. e policeman emerged with a drawn gun.A medic with a bullhorn urged him from the sidelines. Dont draw your gun.

    is seemedto calmthe enraged policeman and he puthis gun backin his

    holster and drove away.Severalblocks down Wells Street,nearSco, two police cars chased a group of

    black youthsacross a schoolyard.When thepolicemen stepped from their cars, theyouths continued running. Twopatrolmen cocked their pistolsaspeople screamedfrom an apartment house, Dont shoot him.Dont shoot him. (Ramparts,Aug28)

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    Mostof the demonstrations andralliesthatunfoldedin Chicago during conven-tion week had been planned by the NationalMobilization Commiee, theYippiesor other groups. Only a few of the major events were organized on the spot bythe participants themselves, although in the context of the pre-planned events,there was a good deal of self-organization in response to the repressive acts ofthe state.

    e National Mobilization Commiee called for an anti-war demonstrationinfrontof the hotels housing majorconvention delegations on Sunday,August25th. e leaflet announcing the event insisted, We will not be denied our rightto dissent! is demonstration took place without incidents. Demonstratorswere kepton sidewalks by marshalswho had practicedin Chicago parks beforeconvention week,andthe demonstration ended upin GrantPark acrossfromtheConrad Hilton Hotel, where demonstrators marched in a large circle chantingslogans like: What do we want? Peace! When? Now!

    at night, Tom Hayden, one of the coordinators of the National Mobilization,was arrested twice, once as he sat under a tree In Lincoln Park, once as he wasentering the Conrad Hilton Hotel with some friends. e police have told him,bluntly, that they will kill him. e harassment and bullying of Hayden sums upChicagos whole effort to wipe out dissent. (Ramparts, Aug. 27)

    In response to Haydens arrest, the following day the first unplanned marchtook place. People marchedfromthevarious movementcenters andfromLincolnPark to the police station where Hayden was held. ey chanted, Free Hayden!

    Free Huey! Young people at the head of the march carried black flags, red flags,and flags of the Vietnamese National Liberation Front. ey shouted, What doyou want? is time the answer was, Revolution! When? Now!

    ese demonstrators marchedfromthe police stationto a hill in GrantParkon top of which is a statue of a Civil War general on a horse. e truly heroicact of the day came when [a] guy from Alabama climbed the statue of the oldgeneral. (Handwriting on the Wall, #3) e guy from Alabama planted an NLFflag ontop of the statue. is act revealedthe politicalcharacterof the police.e cops reacted immediately. Six club-swinging police charged up the hill toremove the Liberation Front symbol from the statue. e cops sent most of thedemonstrators to the flat ground around the hill, but were unable to climb the

    horse. e guy from Alabama lost the flag, but sat on the horse and made thevictory symbol with his arms. e crowd cheered.

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    About 40 cops marched up the hill in triangle formation to liberate theirstatue, while other cops tried to ride up the steep hill on motorcycles. eybrought down the guy fromAlabama, arrested him, beat him and fractured hisarm.

    OnTuesday,August27, two planned eventstook place. e Peace and FreedomParty announced a rally in Lincoln Park. Several speakers pointed out that nowwhite dissidents are experiencing forms of repression which have been directedtowardthe black community forhundreds of years. ethemes of therallywereFree Huey Newton and All Power to the People; Black Power to Black People!

    In the evening, an un-birthday party for Lyndon Johnson was held at theChicago Coliseum. Rock groups shared the stage with singers and writers PhilOchs,Abbey Hoffman,DickGregory, JeanGenet,AllenGinsberg, Paul Krassner,Dave Dellinger, WilliamBurroughs. Aer theun-birthday party, in theearly hoursof themorning, theColiseum crowd movednorth toward Grant Park while Yippiesmoved south from Lincoln Park. As approximately 3,000 demonstrators moved

    toward GrantPark, the NationalGuard was called out for thefirst time, to defendthe Conrad Hilton Hotel. In Grant Park, across from the Hilton, demonstratorswere addressed by convention delegates who came down from the hotel.

    For Wednesday, August 28th, the National Mobilization had planned an aer-noon rally in Grant Park which was to be followed by a march on the Amphithe-ater, meeting-place of the Democratic convention. At the entrances to the park,policemen gave out leaflets to people walking toward the rally site. e policeleaflet said, You are permied to conduct this assembly and rally and will beprotected, and it warned, Any aempts to conduct or participate in a parade ormarch will subject each and every participant to arrest.

    e political character of Law and Order was once again revealed. Whensome members of the audience lowered theAmerican flag to half mast, policecharged on the audience, swinging clubs and beating and arresting people. Aerrescuing the flag, the cops permied the rally to continue.

    Whentherallyended, thousands ofpeopleformedintorows preparingtomarch to the Amphitheater. At this point, the people who had been permiedto conduct this assembly and rally learned that they could not leave the rallysite. e bridges whichled acrosstothe streetwereprotectedby the NationalGuard.Organizers of therally le the procession siinginthe park whiletheytried to negotiate with city officials.

    Alarge group ofcops(20or30) in civilian clothes walkedfromthe beginningtothe end of the line of demonstrators, laughing, pointing and shouting the namesof some of the demonstrators. ey were giving each other a Whos Who in the

    Peace Movement.

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    Abandoned by their organizers, the demonstrators began to organize them-selves. e sun was seing and many feared being aacked far from the street,isolated in the park, aer dark. An open forum developed around one of theloudspeakers. e subjectwas, whatdo we do now?Mostspeakersfelt that the

    worst thingto do wasto continue siinginthe park waitingfor thenegotiatorsto return. People stopped waiting for the organizers. ey decided to get out ofthe trap and to regroup in front of the Hilton.

    Asthey triedtoleavethe park, the demonstrators confrontedtheir protectors:e police and National Guardsmen were armed with clubs, chemical spray,grenadelaunchers, tear-gas canisters,bayonet-tippedrifles,and even submachineguns . . . Police by the hundredsrushed atdemonstrators,chasingthemfrom oneareato another,clubbingthosetheycouldreach,spraying disabling gas atothers.(Chicago Daily News, Aug. 29)

    When aboutathousand demonstratorsreachedthe area acrossfromthe Hilton,theyshouted, Tothe streets! e streets belongtothe people!andtheymarched

    down Michigan Avenue in possession of the street for several blocks. ey wereaacked blitzkrieg fashion by busloads of club-swinging cops. Demonstratorswere pushed againstwalls,and herdedinto stores. Arbitrary random arrests weremade and others were chasedin alldirections. Numerous cops hadremovedtheiridentification badges.

    When demonstratorsregroupedinfrontofand acrossfromthe Hilton, squadsofpolicemen chargedrightandle intothe crowd,breakingitup. Demonstratorswerethrowntothe ground and beaten,sometimes byseveralpolicemen atonce,and dragged to waiting vans and thrown in. As television lights glared and thecrowd chantede Whole Worlds Watching, the police pausedtoregroup, thencharged again. Nightsticks thrashed. Several hundred people were caught in apolice rush, thrown against the front of the Hilton and knocked through twoplate-glass windows. Onlookers joined the protesters in booing the police. Rollsof toilet paper, bars of soap, and water glasses were thrown at the police fromhotelwindows,along with a numberof rocks,boles and cherrybombs. (NewYork Times, Aug. 30)

    At the Democratic convention,delegatefrom ConnecticutArthurMillerspokeof the aged bierness on the platform which was accompanied by a hatred fortheyoung,and at3 a.m, thatmorningsome 600convention delegates,alternatesand campaign aides ofSenatorEugeneJ.McCarthymarched down Michigan Ave.with lighted candles . . . to protest Chicago police brutality. Leaders of the 3 a.m.march said they were also protesting the adoption by the Democratic NationalConvention of a warmongering platform. (Chicago Daily News, Aug. 29)

    ousands of angry people assembled inGrant Park the following aernoonforan unscheduledrallyandforum. Tom Hayden, releasedfromjail,said, Itmay

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    well be that the era of organized, peaceful and orderly demonstrations is comingto an end and that other methods will be needed.

    We are now beginningtofightbecause we must,becauseithas beenimposedon uswe are beginning to fight for our own survival. And if we can survive in

    Chicago we can survive anywhere.Mike Klonsky of the National Office of SDS warned that now that new le

    youth had splashed across national television and the world press, politicians,liberals and othergood people wouldtry to co-opt them. However,when he said,Weve been fighting for years; you just came last night, he was booed. Andwhen he saidIf youjoin usitwillbe on our terms, the protests were soloudthatthe rest of his speech couldnt be heard. His listeners, who had just un-joinedbureaucratic structures by coming to the park, had not come to join Klonskysnational office.

    e speaker who followed Klonsky in fact made the aempt at co-optionagainstwhich Klonskyhad warned. EndicoPeabody, aformergovernorof

    Massachuses, said, Just because McCarthy didnt succeed doesnt mean youshould abandonthe politicalprocess. We want youto be the mayors ofourcities,we want you to control the police and the National Guardsmen. Whatever youdo, stay in the political process! He was roundly booed. People shouted, Downwith cops and soldiers! We dont want to be mayors! Go back to Boston! Upagainst the wall! Dick Gregory, who chaired the forum, commented, Well letanyone speak up here, but we dont guarantee people will listen.

    Mobilization coordinator RennieDavis, his head bandaged from the previousdays clubbing, took the microphone and said, We dont want people to tell usnow how we must support Hubert Humphrey because he is a lile beer thanNixon. Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon both represent all that is old, allthat is ugly, all that is bigoted, all that is repressive in America today. ey mustbe pushed into the sea.

    Dont vote for Humphrey, dont vote for Nixon. Join us in the streets ofAmerica. We are going outnow allover the country to build a National LiberationFront for America. e slogan of our front will be ere can be no peace in theUnited States until there is peace in Vietnam.

    Another speaker urged the young people to go back to their cities and createone, two, many Chicagos.

    During this assembly hundreds of steel-helmeted Illinois national guardsmenarmed with M-1 rifles and carryingtear-gas sprayguns ontheirbacks stood elbowto elbow three rows deep along Michigan Avenue in front of Grant Park. (NewYork Times, Aug. 30)

    e head of the Wisconsin Democratic delegation began leading a march to-ward the Amphitheater as a gesture of political freedom. According to the

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    Chicago Daily News, the ranks at first numbered about 300, mainly Wiscon-sin delegates and families, some clergymen, a few nuns and men in businesssuits . . . Eventually about 2,000 persons stretched out for four blocks. Policefollowedin unmarked carsand at 16th Street, a cordon ofcops was waiting,

    brandishing nightsticks. eywere backed up byNationalGuardsmen. (ChicagoDaily News, Aug. 30) e marchers turned around and returned to Grant Park.

    In the park, Dick Gregory announced that he was going to walk to his homein south Chicago and invited people in the park to accompany him. Gregoryexplained that cops could not legally stop him from walking home, nor couldthey legallystop his guests. About30convention delegatesjoinedGregoryat thehead of the walk and afour-block-longline ofguestsfollowedthem. eywerestopped at 18th Street by 1500 National Guardsmen.

    Gregoryandthe delegates were arrested,and whenthe angered crowd pushedforward a Guard officergavethe order, Useyour rifle bus and pushthis crowdback. Injured, frightened demonstrators moved backthroughthe crowd shout-

    ing, Its horrible! People behind the front lines shouted, Hold your ground!e demonstrators sat down and immediately gas grenades exploded in theirmidst. Numerous people were injured and the demonstrators retreated. Twomore volleys of gas drove them back toGrant Park. Afew demonstrators threwrocks and boles at the troops. A helicopter with spotlights lit up the retreatingdemonstrators.

    Inthe parkthe demonstrators were contained by 2,000guardsmen and dozensofmilitary vehicles. (Chicago DailyNews,Aug. 30) eywere once again aackedbygas,and military jeeps withlarge barbed wire grillsfacedthemfromthe street.Expecting to be aacked, they sat down and sang. Phil Ochs sang for the groupand dedicated one song to the soldiers surrounding the park: I Aint MarchinAnymore.

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    Awildcat strike by Chicago bus drivers coincided with the Democratic con-

    vention and the Festival of Life. e Concerned Transit Workers, an oppositioncaucus in Local 241 of the Amalgamated Transit Workers, met in a church onAugust 24 to prepare for the strike which was to begin at midnight. e issue atstake is black representation and control of the Union. Black membership is 80%of the drivers, but the union leadership is white. (Peace & Freedom MovementCenter Leaflet) All bus drivers pay union dues, but black drivers are not repre-sented, nor are their interests protected by the union. In the Newsleer passedout thatnight, the CTW said, Unions wereinauguratedto givethe working mana voice in determining his own destiny, but that era of unionism has long sincebeenreplaced by thetyrannicalunions of today. evoice of the membership hasbeen overruled time and time again. e memberships voice has been replaced

    by the officers voice.e Newsleeralso pointed out that, e news media hasintentionallymisledthe public and manywhite drivers byconstantly referringtothe ConcernedTransit Workers as a Racist Organization. eir obvious purpose was to set thewhite transit workers against the black transit workers.

    e strike was almost completely effective in south Chicago, but many whitedrivers continued to serve the predominantly white areas of Chicago. An injunc-tion was issued against the strike, but drivers continued to picket the depots.e Peace & Freedom Party as well as the National Mobilization Commiee an-nounced their support of the striking drivers. Many Movement people joinedpicket lines in white neighborhoods.

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    When the Yippies took up residence in their alternative community in LincolnPark, when they proclaimed a Festival of Life and nominated a pig for the presi-dency of the United States, they unveiled the repressive character of Americansociety and exposed the obfuscating role of elections and the political process.

    e police aack on the Yippies was not an exceptional act. is was not anirrational and unnecessary unleashing of violence by the megalomaniac mayor,nor a sudden and accidental outburst of sadism on the part of the Chicago police.

    First of all, the Yippies were not aacked for sleeping in the park. People whospend nights in parks of American cities do not normally get gassed and beaten.

    eYippies were notaackedfor theiraction,but for the exemplarycharacterof their action. By living in the park, by organizing their own social activities,the Yippies acted out (and thus tested) two principles: 1) that people are free, 2)that the parks belong to the people. ey didnt say these things but did them.If people are free, they can do what they choose, and not what authority, socialconvention oreconomic position permit (solong astheydont limitotherpeoples

    freedom,whichtheYippies clearlydidntdoin a park whichis normallyemptyat night). If the parks belong to the people, then the people, and not externalbosses, leaders or representatives,controlwhathappensinthem. If the corporate-military ruling class permiedthe communication of this example, theywouldletan acidrunthroughthe American corporate-militarysystem: if the parks belongto the people, then why not the streets, the neighborhoods, the universities, thefactories, the cities?

    Secondly,when several Yippies andtheirpig were arrested, it was notbecauseeither the Yippies or their pig constitutedaphysical threat to the American system,but because they were a symbolic threat. In other words, the repressive machinerywas unleashed to save America from symbols.

    e aack and defense ofsymbols wasillustrated several times during conven-tion week by the Chicago police. On one occasion thirty to forty cops aacked aboy who was planting a Vietnamese National Liberation Front flag on a statue.On another occasion they aacked the audience of a police-sanctioned assemblywhen the American flag was lowered.

    e Yippie mock candidate was arrested because, together with the Festivalof Life, he exposed the mockery of elections. e example of creativity, life andself-organization in the park was a vivid contrast to the passivity and servility ofthe political process. e live-in illustrated that control over ones own socialactivities has nothing to do with being externally controlled, and that voting fora candidate is not a substitute for running ones own life. Consequently, votingfor one pig is as good as voting for another, since in any case this cannot lead

    to what theYippies were alreadydoinginthe park: living,creating,controllingtheir own social activities.

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    People are not free.e Yippies exposed the repressive structures which keep people from being

    free, and they exposed the propaganda which equates servility with freedom.WhentheYippiestriedtoruntheirown socialactivities, theywere gassed,beaten

    and jailed, like black people who try to run their own communities, like studentswhotry toruntheiruniversities, like workers would beif they triedtoruntheirfactories.

    What the Yippies exposed is the fact that in a hierarchic society, everyone isfree to stay in his place.

    Bymakinglove and musicinthe park,bysleeping and eatingfree, theYippieswere doing what the productive forces of an industrially developed society allowthem to do, and what the social system does not allow them to do. us theyexposed the systems structures of economic repression.

    Byorganizingtheirown activities withoutorders orpermission,withoutcom-promise ornegotiation, theYippies ceasedtorecognizethelegitimacyof the state.

    Since the Yippies did not ask for permission to act, but simply acted, the statecould not talktothem,and wasforcedtointervene withits only remainingresort:physical violence. e Yippies did not annihilate the power of the state; theyexposed the systems structures of political and military repression.

    e parks do not belong to the people, any more than the rivers and lakes, thefood, the houses, the streets andvehicles, thefactories and mines, the universitiesandresearch centers. Byacting asif theydid, theYippies acted outan alternativefantasy, an illusion which is different from the official illusions: illusions whichdistinguish ownership (something thats wrien) from control (something thatsdone), illusions which distinguish private ownership (which means control by asmall group of people) from public ownership (which means control by the samesmall group of people).

    e Yippies alternative fantasy is not an act ofexpropriation; it is a n exemplaryaction. eir illusion cannot become a reality, just as students cannot really takeover theiruniversities,workerstheir factories,black peopletheircommunities,all people their communities, so long as state power can stop them, so long aspolice and military exist.

    e shock with which the American press, television and middle class reactedtotheviolence of the Chicago police wasitselfshocking. erepression had beenexpected. Complete silence onthe partof the press, indifference onthe partof themiddle class,had been expected. Butnot the shock,notall thatpiousindignation,notmidnight vigils with candles. is was an exposure of the hypocrisy, thetwo-faced character, the double standard of the American press and theAmerican

    middle class.

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    For years the press has reported the poisoning, maiming and murder of Viet-congterrorists, peasantguerrillas,blacksnipersandlooters,withthe samecool indifferencethatone would useto describethe extermination of insects. ereader was always made to understand that our boys did what they did for the

    sake of freedom and to maintain law and order.However, when the press was aacked, gassed and beaten by our boys, the

    Chicago cops, adjectives like vicious, sadistic, violent, and cruel were usedinthefinestpapers of the country,not to describeterrorists,but to describeourboys, the agents of law and order.

    For years American whites have known about the carnage which Americanforces unleash daily in Vietnam, about the beatings and murders of black peopleperpetrated by the cops ofeveryAmerican city. Recently theyve beenlearning ofthe pot-busts,beatings and arrests of long-haired hippies.And American whitescontinued to live in peaceand quiet.Whether or not they liked Vietnamese people,black people orhippies, theycontinuedtolive outBusiness as Usual: another

    day, another dollar.However,when some middle class American whites,perhaps even some WhiteAnglo-Saxon Protestants, were aacked by the police and the National Guard,shouts of indignation went up and candlelight processions were launched.

    If these people are nothypocritical, if they learned about repressionin Chicago,if they are sincerely against violence, cruelty and sadism, and not merely againstthe violence, cruelty and sadism unleashed on American middle class whites,then these people will fight to withdraw American troops immediately fromVietnam andfrom otherparts of the world; theywillputanimmediate endtotherepression ofblack peopleinthe U.S.,andtheywilldismantlethe entirerepressivemachinery: the army and police.

    is is not what the respectable indignant white people were doing when theConvention ended. ey had started to channel their indignation, to mobilizetheirenergies, to depose MayorDaley, thefunctionarywho had daredto unleashthe repression against them.

    e publicity and the public shock about the irrationality, irresponsibility andmegalomania of Mayor Daley, the campaigns to expose him and the petitionsto depose him, reveal the racism of American middle class whites, and theirprofoundindifferenceto otherpeopleslives. Daleys orders,andtheviolenceof the Chicago police, cannot even be compared to Johnsons orders and theviolence of the American army inVietnam. Numerous mayors(including Daleysome months earlier) ordered their cops to shoot and kill black people, and thecops shot, and killed. But then there wasnt so much publicity or shock, such

    campaigns or petitionswhite liberals accept the beating, gassing, maiming andkilling of Vietnamese people and of black people.

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    Old liberal politicians promised radical reforms to young people in Grant Park.WhentheysaidYippies and NewLeists would bethe nextmayors and governors,and would be in charge of the military and the police, the liberals exhibited asclerosis of the mind,orof theimagination. eyhad completelymissedthe Point.

    e radical young people were in the park precisely because they didnt wantto step into the old liberals shoes, they were demonstrating precisely becausethey didnt want to become mayors or police chiefs, administrators, managers orcollege presidents.

    e liberals exhibit mental sclerosis because they cannot even imagine socialrelations which are not hierarchic, they cannot imagine a society without copsand soldiers, theycannot imagine a communitywhere people organizetheirownsocialactivities. eliberals stillassumethat theyoungradicals sharetheLiberalDream ofa BeerFuture: what theliberals offerasradical reform,aeralong,slow process Of change lasting decades and perhaps centuries, an ImperialistAmerica with a Yippie as President, Black Panthers on the Board of Directors of

    General Motors, an SDS militant as President of Columbia University, ChicagoDailyRatasthe officialpaper,Allen Ginsburg as MayorofChicago,and a Resisteras Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. is is not a different society. Its not evenan alternative fantasy. Its the same one.

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    e Anarchist LibraryAnti-CopyrightJanuary 31, 2014

    Lorraine Perlman, Fredy PerlmanChicago1968October, 1968

    Scanned from originalBlack & Red Number 2,October, 1968