Abbie Hoffman

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There is absolutely no greater high than challenging the power structure as a nobody, giving it your all, and winning.

Abbott Howard "Abbie" Hoffman (30 November 193612 April 1989) was a social and political activist in the United States, co-founder of the Youth International Party ("Yippies"), and later, a fugitive from the law, who lived under an alias following a conviction for dealing cocaine.

Quotes[edit]

Harsher penalties, urine testing, hysteria, budget cuts and the simplistic "Just Say No!' campaign (the equivalent of telling manic depressives to "just cheer up") have returned drug education and treatment to the Reefer Madness era.
Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger.
  • The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it. The second duty is to eat breakfast. I ain't going.
    • Spoken to police immediately prior to his arrest at the Lincoln Hotel Restaurant in Chicago (August 1968), quoting himself in "Creating the Perfect Mess" (1 September 1968) in Revolution for the Hell of It (1968); also quoted in Abbie Hoffman : American Rebel (1992) by Marty Jezer.
  • All you kiddies remember to lay off the needle drugs, the only dope worth shooting is Richard Nixon.
    • "God Bless America — Shoot Nixon", on the spoken word album Wake Up America! (1970).
  • In this state, dig it, you get twenty years for sale of dope to a minor. You only get five to ten for manslaughter. So like, the thing is, if you're selling to a kid and cops come, shoot the kid real quick!
    • "Chicago", on the spoken word album Wake Up America! (1970).
  • I feel like a famous Indian Chief of the Fagowee nations, who led his tribe for 40 years in the desert amidst starvation, hunger, famine, strife, plague — finally staggered up to the top of this mountain, drug crazed, looked out and pounded his chest and said, "Where the fuck are we? Where the fuck are we?"
    • Wake Up America! (1970).
  • If this guy is God, then this is the God that the United States of America deserves.
  • For six years, the only consistent thing about our national drug policy has been its inconsistency. Harsher penalties, urine testing, hysteria, budget cuts and the simplistic "Just Say No!' campaign (the equivalent of telling manic depressives to "just cheer up") have returned drug education and treatment to the Reefer Madness era.
  • You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.
    • Tikkun (July-August 1989); also quoted in The Best Liberal Quotes Ever : Why the Left is Right (2004) by William P. Martin, p. 51.
  • I see Judaism as a way of life. Sticking up for the underdog. Being an outsider. A critic of society. The kid on the corner who says the emperor has no clothes on. The Prophet.
    • Tikkun (July-August 1989).
  • In the nineteen-sixties, apartheid was driven out of America. Legal segregation — Jim Crow — ended. We didn't end racism, but we ended legal segregation. We ended the idea that you can send a million soldiers ten thousand miles away to fight in a war that people do not support. We ended the idea that women are second-class citizens. Now, it doesn't matter who sits in the Oval Office. But the big battles that were won in that period of civil war and strife you cannot reverse. We were young, we were reckless, arrogant, silly, headstrong … and we were right! I regret nothing!
    • Closing words from his last speech, Vanderbilt University (April 1989).
  • Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger.
    • As quoted in The New York Times (20 April 1989), though nuanced by Hoffman, this is probably derived from an anonymous saying recorded in Encyclopedia of Graffiti (1974) by Robert George Reisner and Lorraine Wechsler as "Sacred cows make great hamburgers".
  • It's embarrassing when you try to overthrow the government and you wind up on the Best Seller's List.
    • On the success of his book, Steal This Book, as quoted in Steal This Book Too!‎ (2004) by Sean Curtis.
  • Become an internationalist and learn to respect all life. Make war on machines. And in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them.
    • The "Steal Yourself Rich" Book (1971), p. v.
  • Nostalgia is a form of depression both for a society and an individual.
    • Bye-Bye Sixties, Hollywood-Style, Square Dancing in the Ice Age (1982).

Revolution for the Hell of It (1968)[edit]

  • I can only related to Chicago as a personal anarchist, a revolutionary artist. If that sounds egotistical, tough shit. <y concept of reality comes from what I see, touch, and feel, The rest, as far as I'm concerned, didn't happen. If it did, so what, then it happened. Great! I am my own leader I make my own rules. The revolution is whereever my boots hit the ground. If the Left considers this adventurism, fuck 'em, they are a total bureaucratic bore.
    • On To Chicago (August 25-30,1968)
  • THE KEY TO ORGANIZING AN ALTERNATIVE SOCIETY IS TO ORGANIZE PEOPLE AROUND WHAT THEY CAN DO AND MORE IMPORTANTLY WHAT THEY WANT TO DO.
    • p. 135.
  • You ask, "What about the innocent bystanders?" But we are in a time of revolution. If you are a bystander, you are not innocent.
    • p. 183.
  • TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE
    • p. 184.
  • The best way to educate oneself is to become part of the revolution.
    • p. 184.
  • I believe in compulsory cannibalism. If people were forced to eat what they killed, there would be no more wars.
    • p. 187.
  • The only way to support a revolution is to make your own.
    • p. 188.

Woodstock Nation (1969)[edit]

  • In Woodstock Nation there are no writers*mdash;only poet-warriors.
    • Landing a Man on the Earth Without the Help of Norman Mailer
  • I think this is a pile of shit, while John Sinclair rots in prison.
  • WOODSTOCK NATION is built on ELECTRICITY. It is our energy, music, politics, school, religion, play, battleground and our sensuality. I hesitate only in using the word Morality, for Morality means soul and ELECTRICITY lack soul but so too does the wood pen I scratch against the yellow pad. Morality rests in God's imagination and if we see ourselves as gods I guess we alone make those choices. Moral decisions never rest in our tools, be they electricity or pencils, flowers, or guns.
  • One tries not to be cynical; after all, they are jumping around on the fuckin moon and no matter what you think of PIG NATION, you have to admit that it dies have a good special effects department.
    • Moonshine
  • Some day we too will fly off in some communal capsule, Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Hippies, liberated women, young workers on the line, and G.I.'s sitting in stockades because they don't want to go to Vietnam. There will be a whole mess of us laughing and getting stoned on our way to OUTERSPACE, and the first thing we're gonna do out there is to rip down that fuckin flag on the moon.
    • Moonshine
  • God, I'd like to fuck Janis Joplin!!
    • Down on Me and Janis Joplin
  • The Beatles may be more popular than Jesus but heavy cats like Chairman Mao, Uncle Ho, and beautiful long-haired Che Guevara are more popular than The Beatles.
    • Down on Me and Janis Joplin
  • LONG LIVE THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION!
    • Down on Me and Janis Joplin

Steal This Book (1971)[edit]

The duty of a revolutionary is to make love and that means staying alive and free.
  • It's perhaps fitting that I write this introduction in jail.
    • Introduction.
  • It's universally wrong to steal from your neighbor, but once you get beyond the-one-to-one level and pit the individual against the multinational conglomerate, the federal bureaucracy, the modern plantation of agro-buinsess, or the utility company, it becomes strictly a value judgement to decide exactly who is stealing from whom. One person's crime is another person's profit. Capitalism is license to steal; the government simply regulates who steals an how much. I always wanted to put together an outlaw handbook that would help raise consciousness on these points while doing something about evening the score. There was also the challenge of testing the limits of free speech.
    • Introduction
  • To steal from a brother or sister is evil. To not steal from the institutions that are the pillars of the Pig Empire is equally immoral.
    • Introduction, p. iv.
  • Your body is just one in a mass of cuddly humanity. Become an internationalist and learn to respect all life. Make war on machines. And in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them. The duty of a revolutionary is to make love and that means staying alive and free. That doesn't allow for cop-outs. Smoking dope and hanging up Che's picture is no more a commitment than drinking milk and collecting postage stamps. A revolution in consciousness is an empty high without a revolution in the distribution of power.
    • Introduction, p. v.
  • Usually when you ask somebody in college why they are there, they'll tell you it's to get an education. The truth of it is, they are there to get the degree so that they can get ahead in the rat race. Too many college radicals are two-timing punks.
    • "Free Education".
  • Amerika is just another Latin dictatorship. Those who have doubts should try the minimal experience of organizing a large rock festival in their state, sleeping on some beach in the summer or wearing a flag shirt. Ask the blacks what it's been like living under racism and you'll get a taste of the future we face. As the repression increases so will the underground - deadly groups of stoned revolutionaries sneaking around at night and balling all day.
  • It's ridiculous to talk about a revolution without a few words on guns. If you haven't been in the army or done some hunting, you probably have a built in fear against guns that can only be overcome by familiarizing yourself with them.

Soon to be a Major Motion Picture (1980)[edit]

A modern revolutionary group heads for the television station, not the factory. It concentrates its energy on infiltrating and changing the image system.
  • My critique of democracy begins and ends with this point. Kids must be educated to disrespect authority or else democracy is a farce.
    • p. 64.
  • A modern revolutionary group heads for the television station, not the factory. It concentrates its energy on infiltrating and changing the image system.
    • p. 86
  • Free speech is the right to shout "Theater!" in a crowded fire.
    • p. 214.
  • There is absolutely no greater high than challenging the power structure as a nobody, giving it your all, and winning. I think I've learned that lesson twice now. The essence of successful revolution, be it for an individual, a community of individuals, or a nation, depends on accepting that challenge.
    • p. 297.
  • Revolution is not something fixed in ideology, nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit. When all today's isms have become yesterday's ancient philosophy, there will still be reactionaries and there will still be revolutionaries. No amount of rationalization can avoid the moment of choice each of us brings to our situation here on the planet. I still believe in the fundamental injustice of the profit system and do not accept the proposition there will be rich and poor for all eternity.
    • p. 297.


Disputed[edit]

  • I was probably the only revolutionary referred to as cute.
    • Cited as being in Soon to be a Major Motion Picture (1980) p. 222, this does not appear accessible for verification in online scans of this book. So someone needs to go to the library.

The quote is "I was probably the only professed revolutionary ever referred to as "cute." It is on the page cited. I have a copy of the book.

External links[edit]

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