[sixties-l] Abbie's Road: Abbie as an environmental and community organizer

From: Marty Jezer (mjez@sover.net)
Date: Wed Aug 30 2000 - 14:42:05 CUT

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    There's a strand of truth to Jonah Raskin's comment about Abbie's last
    goodbye. Abbie was complex and in his life encompassed many truths. During
    the 1980s, when he was underground and then, again, after he served time
    for his cocaine bust, Abbie did some of his most creative organizing: in
    hiding, as Barry Freed, in his Save the River campaign on the St. Lawrence
    River and then again, in his Dump the Pump campaign on the Delaware River
    in Pennsylvania.

    These are models of community and environmental organizing. In Save the
    River he successfully organized a fairly conservative community to stop the
    Army Corps of Engineers from dredging the St. Lawrence Seaway for winter
    navigation. In the Pt. Pleasant Dump the Pump campaign he successfully
    used patriotic themes in a campaign to stop construction of a pumping
    station on the Delaware. Abbie got his politics from the American
    Revolution (Sam Adams was his hero) not the old left and was a master at
    "capture the flag." There is much the new generation of activists can
    learn from him.

    I describe his environmental organizing in ABBIE HOFFMAN: AMERICAN REBEL
    University Press). Steal This Movie is based on this book and a book of
    letters to each other by Abbie and Anita. Alas, I had nothing to do with
    the movie's production.

    Marty Jezer
    >>This story from The Chronicle of Higher Education
    >>(http://chronicle.com) was forwarded to you from: conser@earthlink.net
    >> From the issue dated August 18, 2000
    >> Abbie's Road
    > Jonah Raskin, in his evocative biography of Abbie Hoffman, For
    > the Hell of It, calls Abbie's post-60's existence "the longest
    > good-bye" because, as Raskin writes, "the last fifteen years
    > of his life seem like an extended farewell to the world." In
    > fact, Abbie's post-60's career was, like that of Napoleon,
    > capped by two distinct phases of exile. Abbie's underground
    > phase, which began after his arrest on charges of selling
    > cocaine in 1973, was both a withdrawal from the culture and a
    > poignant (and ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to prolong the
    > radical mythology of the 60's into the next decade
    >snip snip snip>

    Marty Jezer  *  22 Prospect St. *  Brattleboro, VT 05301 * p/f  802 257-5644 

    Author: Stuttering: A Life Bound Up in Words (Basic Books) Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel (Rutgers University Press) The Dark Ages: Life in the USA, 1945-1960 (South End Press) Rachel Carson [American Women of Achievement Series] (Chelsea House) Check out my web page: http://www.sover.net/~mjez To subscribe to my Friday commentary, simply request to be put on my mailing list. <mjez@sover.net> It's free!

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