FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Abbie Hoffman at 70

“You can always sleep in Central Park during the daytime, although the muggers come out to play at night.”

Thus begins the section called “Fuck New York” in “Steal This Book” (STB). I write this because November 30 would have been Hoffman’s 70th birthday. His “Fuck New York” chapter is dedicated to the feasibility of surviving by your wits in the Big Apple, circa 1970-71. Thus, Dear Abbie’s book is perhaps best viewed today as a barometer of how abruptly the climate of a city can shift. Considered radically beyond the pale at the time of its release, some of Hoffman’s advice appears somewhat quaint when viewed through the jaded prism of the twenty-first century.

Under “housing,” Abbie informs fellow travelers “there’s a poet named Delworth at 125 Sullivan St. that houses kids if he’s got the room.” If you’re “really hard-up,” Hoffman recommends the Stranded Youth Program on West 31st Street, but warns that teenagers 16-20 are sent home. “If you don’t want to go back,” STB suggests you simply “give them phony identification.”

For those in need of nourishment, the late Yippie King advises you try the “host of swank bars with free hors-d’oeuvres” on the Upper East Side. Suggested reading material during your meal might include such underground papers as the East Village Other, Liberation, Rat, and Win. Want some entertainment while you dine? The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (41 Second Avenue) offered a “delicious cereal breakfast” every morning at 7:00 AM, “served free along with chanting and dancing.”

After all that chanting for your Cheerio’s, you might crave sedation. No problem, says Hoffman. By scouting the area near Central Park West in the Seventies and Eighties, he promises you’ll find doctor’s offices that throw out daily “piles of drug samples.”

Here’s another morsel of guidance not suited for life in the post-Guiliani Big Apple: When seeking transportation, STB recommends you get in line at the subway turnstile and “go under.” “The people will block you from view and won’t do anything,” Abbie assures his readers. “Even a cop won’t give you much hassle.”

Oh, the times they are a-changing.

Other STB entries illustrate how dramatically New York society and culture have transformed (or should I say “mutated?”) since 1971. For example, Hoffman writes of free services available at all Wallach stores (sewing on buttons, punching extra holes on belts, free shoe horns, etc.). There’s also contact information for the Black Panther Free Clinic in Brooklyn, the St. Mark’s People’s Clinic, and The Lawyer’s Commune. Remember “dial-a-demonstration” or “dial-a-freakout”? In the age of Disney and The Donald, such ideas appear, uh, remote.

There is one enduring institution endorsed in “Steal This Book” that’s still hanging on by a tie-dyed thread: WBAI 99.5 FM.

So you might wanna tune in and turn on so it doesn’t drop out, too.

Mickey Z. is the author of “The Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda” (Common Courage Press). For more information, please visit http://www.mickeyz.net.

 

 

More articles by:

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here. This piece first appeared at World Trust News.  

September 19, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid
Lawrence Davidson
Political Fragmentation on the Homefront
George Ochenski
How’s That “Chinese Hoax” Treating You, Mr. President?
Cesar Chelala
The Afghan Morass
Chris Wright
Three Cheers for the Decline of the Middle Class
Howard Lisnoff
The Beat Goes On Against Protest in Saudi Arabia
Nomi Prins 
The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump
Jack Rasmus
On the 10th Anniversary of Lehman Brothers 2008: Can ‘IT’ Happen Again?
Richard Schuberth
Make Them Suffer Too
Geoff Beckman
Kavanaugh in Extremis
Jonathan Engel
Rather Than Mining in Irreplaceable Wilderness, Why Can’t We Mine Landfills?
Binoy Kampmark
Needled Strawberries: Food Terrorism Down Under
Michael McCaffrey
A Curious Case of Mysterious Attacks, Microwave Weapons and Media Manipulation
Elliot Sperber
Eating the Constitution
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail