Abbie HoffmanFeeling the need for more Abbie Hoffman activism. More humor and less sorrow. More joy, and less anger. Abbie, how is Olam ha ba? Should we be trying to levitate something?

Some Abbieisms
“Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger.”
“You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.”

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • there was a big anti-war/anti-bush rally in Union Square today where Wavy Gravy (!?) came on and spoke, channelling Abbie Hoffman by name, and mentioning davka that, the need to keep joy the main part of a revolutionary movement.

    Though, you could say it didn’t work in Abbie Hoffman’s case, but it’s a deep question. What’s the time, if ever, for taking things “seriously”? I ask you as a rabbi, what’s your counsel about that? When is “serious” for?

    Because the nifty thing about anger, it really empowers, just like sadness cleanses. It’s hard to feel strong without some anger, and traditionally you need strength to face up against something that would rather you didn’t, and is doing everything in it’s power to quietly lull you into complacency. no?

  • Great point laya. I try that drug every now and then and it just makes me stupid… I met Hoffman in ’87 in Northhampton just after he, Amy Carter and others were acquitted in the Amherst case. I was in town for work and was walking by the courthouse just as the verdict was announced. After the Service Service whisked Amy Carter away it calmed down I started back when I saw Hoffman standing alone on the sidewalk. Walked up and congratulated him. Talked for awhile. A long time ago but I remember he had no interest in the past, only the Amherst case, how happy and surprised he was that their defense – based on their crime being justified because the CIA are criminals and war is evil – worked. I had to go leave and invited him for drinks with my co-workers (he didn’t show).

    Anyways Y.C. – I found Hoffman engaging and upbeat, none of the vitriol or anger I’d imagined. Joy in how the case turned out and how the system actually worked this time. And a little joke that having Amy Carter as a co-defendant didn’t hurt.

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