Founding of The Yippies

Founding of The Yippies

During an August 24, 1967 action that targeted the New York Stock Exchange, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin dropped a few hundred-dollar bills from the viewing area above. The goal was to create a mass-media spectacle in order to highlight the connection between the military-industrial complex and corporate war-related profits. Fellow activist Jim Fouratt hatched the idea, and Hoffman executed it with Jerry Rubin. “At first, they didn’t want to let them in because they were a bunch of hippies,” Paul Krassner recalled. “Then Hoffman said, ‘We’re a group of Jews and you don’t want to be accused in the media of being anti-Semitic, do you?’ So they got in, and the trading ticker-tape stopped.” Then, on New Year’s Eve 1967, Hoffman, Rubin, Fouratt, Ed Sanders, Paul Krassner, and other activists cofounded a political “organization” called the Youth International Party, aka the Yippies, while they were planning a protest of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Krassner coined the group’s name. “Y was for Youth,” he explained, “because there was a generation gap, and the I was International, because this kind of revolutionary consciousness was around the world, and P was for Party, in both senses of the term. Yippie! The moment I said it, I felt it would work. It was a form of marketing an attitude.” These prankish tactics provided free publicity for the demonstrations, but, unfortunately, the riots that ensued in Chicago resulted in conspiracy charges against the organizers, known as the “Chicago Eight.”

From Chapter 15 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


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