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The Yippies

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The Yippies

When thinking of the social movements that took place throughout the sixties, it can be difficult to focus on just one due to the array of people and movements that wanted a change in the United States. Many movements shared similar ideals and visions but one movement in particular, The Youth International Party, took their vision to a new level; one of “political theater.” The Youth International Party, better known as the Yippies, a derivative of the former name and the “hippie” movement also popular throughout the sixties were a “highly theatrical far left political party” that emerged in the United States in 1967. Their movement had no formal membership or official hierarchy but rather consisted of mainly rebellious teens and young adults who were fighting to gain equal civil rights, end the fight in Vietnam, and most importantly to be truly free in a country that stands for freedom. Unofficially led by Abbie Hoffman, the most outspoken member of the group, they fought against their prime obstacle, the American government, for legitimacy and the right to represent the nation in the public mind.

Undoubtedly the war in Vietnam was a heated topic and was the cause for so much uproar amongst the American youth in the 1960s. The Anti-war protests were raging like a California wildfire. Protests were everywhere, from Berkley to the streets of Washington D.C. The parks and university campuses set the stage for the Youth International Party to use their “unique” rhetoric to reach out to the youth of America and spread their message to “RISE UP AND ABANDON THE CREEPING MEATBALL.” The Yippies strived to expose, change, and do the exact opposite of what was expected from the “average American citizen.” Furthermore they wanted to open the eyes of the middle class Americans at home in their living rooms to the profound racial and social injustices of the United States. The Yippies, although well known for their avocation and use of drugs, didn’t want to just sit around and smoke pot, they wanted to pull Uncle Sam’s pants down in public, and show that an ideological revolution could be conducted in a spirit of festive nonviolence.

Due to their never before seen pranks and outrageous action, many Americans either didn’t understand the Yippies or just brushed them off as a bunch of drugged out hippies. In May of 1969 fellow “member” Jerry Rubin published the appropriately titled; sixteen page “Yippie Manifesto” to share the Youth International Party’s ideas, logic and beliefs.


• “We do not advocate political solutions that you can vote for. You are never going to be able to vote for the revolution. Get that hope out of your mind.”

• “We should be very realistic and demand the impossible. Food, housing, clothing, medicine, and color TV free for all!”

• “The religion of the Yippies is: “RISE UP AND ABANDON THE CREEPING MEATBALL!”

• “Scratch a professor deep and you find a cop!” (Obviously anti-organized education)

• “We do not own our own bodies. We fight to regain our bodies…to make love in the parks, say “fuck” on television, do what we want to do whenever we want to do it.”

• “We offer: sex, drugs, rebellion, heroism, brotherhood.”

• “Don’t trust anyone over 30!” say the Yippies - a much-quoted warning.

• “Prohibitions should be prohibited. Rules are made to be broken.”

• Never say “no.”

• The Yippies say: “PROPERTY IS THEFT. What America got, she stole.”

• “How was this country built? By the forced labor of slaves. America owes black people billions in compensation.”

• “Capitalism” is just a polite schoolbook way of saying: “Stealing.”

• “We do not groove with Christianity, the idea that people go to heaven after they are dead. We want HEAVEN NOW!”

• ”We do not believe in studying to obtain degrees in school. Degrees and grades are like money and credit, good only for burning.”

In addition to their “unique” manifesto the Yippies gained attention with their outrageous “pranks’ and “media-savvy gestures” that they used to promote their ideas and beliefs. Among their public activities they demonstrated to end the war in Vietnam, held a “Yip-In” at Grand Central Station in New York City, threw money from the balcony at greedy stock brokers on the floor of the New York Stock

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