That would be the OTHER Jerry who waved his freak flag high…
By Uncle Blurt
Most of you are too young to even recognize the names “Jerry Rubin” and “Yippies”—and no doubt more than a few of my peers are too senile now to remember ‘em. But for those of us who staggered through the ‘60s and ‘70s and lived to talk about it, the significance is huge. From the college campus free speech movement of Amerikka and the anti-Vietnam War forces who railed against the Emperor Nixon, all the way to our current era in which Occupy groups resist institutional oppression and are paying witness to the eroding of democracy under the regime of Emperor Trump, there’s both relevance and resonance to be found in the anti-authoritarian efforts of Rubin and his peers.
Now there’s a book to go with the sentiments. Did It!, by veteran journalist and music archivist Pat Thomas, is due from Fantagraphics on September 5. Thomas is the author of Listen, Whitey! The sights & sounds of Black Power 1965-1975 and the co-curator of Invitation to Openness: The Jazz & Soul Photography of Les McCann 1960-1980.
Did It! From Yippie to Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, An American Revolutionary, is billed as “the first ever oral and visual history of Jerry Rubin and The Yippies.” It features an impressive supporting cast, too—raise your hand if you know the names Paul Krassner, Chicago 8 Defendants, Black Panthers, John & Yoko, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Norman Mailer, Phil Ochs, Berkeley Free Speech Movement, Studio 54, Timothy Leary…
“[Rubin was] co-founder of the Yippies, Anti-Vietnam War radical, Chicago 8 defendant, New Age/Self Help proponent, and social-networking pioneer. Entire chapters chronicle bizarre interactions with Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, John Lennon, and Mick Jagger are described via interviews and diaries – some found in Rubin’s personal archives and published for the first time – along with photographs & correspondence with Yoko Ono, Norman Mailer, Eldridge Cleaver, and the Weather Underground. Also explored is the oft-misunderstood relationship between Rubin and his partner-in-crime Abbie Hoffman.
“75 of Rubin’s co-conspirators were interviewed for the book including fellow Chicago 8 Defendants, participants in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement; Paul Krassner, Judy Gumbo, Nancy Kurshan, John & Leni Sinclair (of the White Panthers & MC5), Rennie Davis, Country Joe McDonald and dozens more reveal in their own voice – vibrant stories of the era. Often left out in histories of the radical sixties, twenty women speak out in their own voice!”