Abbie Hoffman is a social and political activist in the 1960’s and, with Jerry Rubin, co-founder of the Yippie movement, Abbie Hoffman was front and center within the anti-government scene during some of the nation’s most turbulent times. After his conviction for inciting riots during the infamous Chicago Seven trial was overturned, the law finally caught up with him in 1973 when he was arrested for intent to sell and distribute cocaine. In order to avoid a lifetime prison sentence, Hoffman decided to skip bail and became a fugitive from the law, living under the name Barry Freed in Thousand Island Park, a small community on an island in the St. Lawrence River on the US/Canada border. When this interview was recorded in 1979, he had been in hiding for 5 years.
Part 1 of this interview focuses on his current life in hiding, talking about the small town where he lived and his local (and national) involvement with the anti-nuclear movement. Part 2 focuses on the crime for which he entered into hiding, including Abbie’s opinion of why the bust was set up and what his chances were for getting out of the situation. Parts 3 and 4 detail the current state of the nation and look at whether the events and activism of the 1960’s have had a lasting impact. Part 5 centers around his personal life, including the difficulty of living a new life as a different person and his limited contact with his family. Lastly, the outtakes from the interview contain much information about Abbie’s take on the media, but also capture him at his most unguarded, featuring a series of digressions and tangents.
This interview provides a shocking glimpse into the mind of one of the nation’s most controversial figures, and the opinions he expresses still resonate as strongly today as they did when this recording was originally aired.