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Friday, 27 July 2007

Abbie Hoffman, Radical

Native Son

Abbie Hoffman, who's been accused of pushing dope, is now pushing 40. An ageing radical -- and the most notorious native son of Worcester, Massachusetts -- Hoffman is again on the wrong side of the law. Not surprisingly, he's on the lam, as well.

An earlier, tamer, version of Hoffman was that of manager of the Park Arts Theater cinema, an organiser of the local chapter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and a psychologist at Worcester State Hospital. He's also one of Worcester Academy's most infamous graduates.

This Hoffman CV, of course, preceded his more recent occupation as defendant, the result of his prosecution in the highly-publicised 'Chicago Seven' trial that followed the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. At that point, the former movie theatre manager became a national -- and often reviled -- national figure as a putative 'Yippee.' anarchist. (Not to be confused with the cowboy cry of 'yippie ai ay' at round-up).

An attempt to reach Hoffman through his one-time radical associate, Jerry Rubin, was unsuccessful. However, Hoffman was talking to Ken Kelley of Playboy, who interviewed him recently. Kelley reported some additional details on Hoffman's activities when contacted at his home in San Francisco.

Kelley said Hoffman was his usual cheeky self during the the Playboy interview. Referencing his hometown, for instance, Hoffman quipped, 'Worcester is famous the [birth control] pill and Abbie Hoffman. Most people had hoped that the pill had been invented first.'

Hoffman, Kelly added, wanted to ditch Worcester 'as soon as he could.' 'I don't think he thought Worcester was ready for the concept of what Abbie Hoffman had become.'

'Playboy:Have you ever gone back to Worcester?

'Hoffman: Oh, sure. I even spoke at Holy Cross College, and there was a huge turnout. You know, local boy makes bad.'
-- RDC
(This article was written in 1978, and appears here in its first publication).