As savvy as the slickest madmen in advertising, the Yippies tried to project universal messages: “everyone is a leader” and “the Festival is whatever you want it to be.” As Jerry told Abe Peck in 1985, “It was mutual manipulation.
A marvelous visual stunning book by Pat Thomas, Did It: Jerry Rubin” An American Revolutionary captures the excitement and humor of the prankster counterculture radicalism of the 1960s and ’70s as well as the odd engagements of Rubin and varied fellow travelers with other attempts at bending reality across the remainder of the 20th Century. Did It is an oral history — not just of Jerry Rubin, but of the people with whom he engaged in activism and play… among them boldface names like John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg.
For those of you too young to remember, Jerry Rubin was one of the leaders of the Yippies or Youth International Party, a group that took a radical mix of counterculture and new left ideas and impulses and turned it into disruptive, funny and dangerous political theater.
While the Yippies are best known for their famous “siege of Chicago” — some of the activities leading up to that are memorialized in this excerpt — they remained a vital organization into the 1970s and were the leading activists in a few communities.
We will be running an interview with Pat Thomas about the book soon. Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy these pages straight from the book.
Thanks to author Pat Thomas and FANTAGRAPHICS for permission to publish this excerpt. In addition to his current book, Thomas is the author of Listen, Whitey! The sights & sounds of Black Power 1965-1975 and consulted on the essential film history of the Black Panther Party, The Black Panthers: The Vanguard of the Revolution.
For those of you who would prefer not to squint at the tiny print that accompanies the pdfs from the book itself, we provide the unadulterated text below the designed pages.
btw there’s not much point to Steal This Book online. It’s the visual design that makes it! So rip off your boyfriend instead.