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Dr. Judy Gumbo Albert

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Transcription

McKiernan Interviews
Interview with: Dr. Judy Gumbo Albert
Interviewed by: Stephen McKiernan
Transcriber: Kimberly F Mourao
Date of interview: 13 April 2010
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(Start of Interview)

00:04
SM: Okay. Again, this is going to be a combination of general questions. And I started out basically with some of the direct questions that were not in the general question. Your parents were communists living in Canada, a life with serious thoughts that you became a yippie. Years later, where serious, serious thinking theater and fun were united. How does your upbringing shape your future social networks? And i.e., the yippies, the women's movement? Things like that?

00:37
JA: How does my upbringing shape my social network?

00:41
SM: Yeah, how did it? How did? How did you go from being, living in Canada and being very serious to moving to the United States and being linked up with a group like the yippies?

00:53
JA: Well, it was called rebellion. I had, when I was living in Canada, I was leading the leading a very traditional life, I had an early marriage. And one day, I came home to find my husband in bed with another woman. And basically, that was, it was a fight or flight response. So, I left Canada, I was, I have a, I was working on my PhD in Sociology. I left Canada to come down to the United States to a sociology convention, and you know, I walked outside, and the sun was shining, and it was warm, and it was cold and windy in Canada, because I guess it was the fall. And there were people, professors and students demonstrating against the war. And it was just a completely opposite experience to that sort of the pain of this early first marriage breakup. And so, I left. I would say that, in terms of social networks, when I first arrived, the people that I gravitated to were people who were familiar to me, which meant some of the more sectarian group on the University of California campus, but for various reasons that lasted maybe about fifteen minutes. And I was lucky enough at a, or the stars were aligned in the right way. That at a meeting, a Stop the Draft week meeting for the Oakland Seven who are a group of young men who had been indicted for trying to stop trip trains, that I happen to meet Stew, and that, that story is very simple. I was living in Berkeley by then I was by myself, and I was interested in meeting other people. So, I went to this stuff, the draft week meeting, and I walked in and it was like I was in, it was like a match.com in the 1968 because the room at Macau's campus was just filled with very interesting looking people, the men were wearing the army jackets, and they had long hair and the women were wearing, you know, long flowy robes. And there were these tall California girls, I am short, I am from Toronto, and I am Jewish and have these tall, beautiful, blonde California girls. And so, it was like a completely different environment for me. I went and I saw across the room two blonde men, I have always been attracted to blonde. So, I saw I saw across the room to blonde men, I went up and I introduced myself and of course, I have been prepared for this event by wearing, putting on my best, you know, miniskirt and black fishnet stockings, and I went up to these two guys. And I said, “Hi, I want to introduce myself. My name is Judy. And I just arrived from Canada.” And they both said hello. But then one of them was Stew put out his hand and touch me on the nose with this little finger. And that was sort of, that was how we met.

04:18
SM: That is like you will not be back up in Canada. Just before we get back to the United States again: What does it mean to be a red diaper baby because you are the third person, I have interviewed that said they were red diaper babies.

04:31
JA: Well, there is your social network. See what it meant, it meant that a lot of things, it meant that one of my earliest memories is the getting up on a chair in my parent’s kitchen. And I am sure at their urging or directions, calling the White House to ask them not to kill the Rosenberg’s. What is meant was growing up with a set of extraordinarily progressive values that the, that understanding the phrase “from each according to their ability to each according to their need,” was the way you look at the world that each person puts in what the society what they can and takes out what they need. There was an extraordinary emphasis on equality, there was this extraordinary identification with the oppressed of the world, whether it was the dustbowl refugees, or black people in the south, it did not matter, you, you, you had instilled in you from the earliest possible age, a progressive activist set of values, which then really, sort of defined your entire life.

05:43
SM: You mentioned that one of the things that if remember right, when I was reading some background information on you is that in your early years, when you were talking about those qualities of being a red diaper baby, also the comic books were banned. And that was, that was kind of a part of it as well, because everything was serious that but, that you became a yippie and that comedy was very important with along with the serious.

06:14
JA: Well, the yippies were not really that serious, what, you know, we let us get that up front. That was one of the reasons that I was attracted to them was, was that they, they were not that serious. And it allowed me to both be political, but not have to always look at things with the serious points of view. No, it is absolutely true that that in, in, in my household, comic books were banned. And everything sort of, there was a lot of, for the revolution you did things out of moral values, you did things in your home moral universe, was, is not good for the revolution? Are you doing things that will help other people? And for that, you have to be serious. Yes. But I think also comic books were banned, because they were strange, they were different. And in my household, it did not last that for a while, you know, they were they were ways to subvert the dominant paradigm. And that is when, you know, if you could not have comic book in your house, your friends had him, and it was not a big deal.

07:18
SM: And I asked Paul, this very same question that I am going to ask you, and that is what was in your own words, define what it means to be a yippy.

07:27
What it means to be a yippy, is to create a myth, an ironic myth about society about activity, and to act on that myth. For example, when we went to Chicago in (19)68, you know, we said we were going to do all kinds of things with none of which were even possible. And yet, we were able to, we were able to, I am not, I am not doing this very well. You know, I wrote something recently, about what it means to be a yippy. And actually, maybe what I should do is read it if I can find it.

08:06
SM: Oh, that is fine. Yep.

08:08
JA: Just go on pause for a minute, because-

08:12
SM: That is all right. Who were, the people at your wedding? Was, were those, was that your son and your family there holding the cover?

08:27
JA: No, that was, it was, it was, the answer to that is partly. Hold on for just a second.

08:34
SM: Yep. Was Paul at your wedding?

08:59
JA: No, he was not they could not come.

09:00
SM: Okay.

09:03
JA: But Bobby Steele, I will tell you who was at the wedding. Bobby Steele was at the wedding; Steve Bingham was at the wedding.

09:16
SM: Bobby was in Philadelphia, was not he? I thought-

09:19
JA: Oh no, no, he was here.

09:20
SM: Oh, he must have, all right. He did live in Philly. Okay. All right.

09:35
JA: I think I will not be able to define exactly I mean, I am sure Paul did a much better, within sort of quarter round on it. But when I prided myself as a yippy, I like to think of myself as Alice Waters, okay. And if I said if I was going to get a recipe for yippie, this is what it would be. All right. Ready? Mix together equal parts of hippie counterculture, with new left anti-war politics. Anything that smacks of seriousness and a large portion of ironic theatrical Jewish humor, together with a dash of anarchism and a dollop of Eros, sprinkled liberally with high grade marijuana both in LastPass and real estate and the pure audacity of weatherman, manipulate the media to expose the steps with hypocrisy. Garnish with my generation’s fervent, all-consuming fitments to end this disastrous illegal war in Vietnam. Serve hot.

10:42
SM: That is beautiful. Yeah, I think even Poland loves that.

10:51
JM: It is, you know, it is hard. It was hard to figure it out. But it is kind of easier, to it is
easy at this moment anyway for me to read it rather than to say it, but that that is what yippy is.

11:02
SM: Yeah, I, again, I asked this, another question to Paul. And it is a regarding the yippies. And that is, how did how did you meet Abby, Jerry, Anita, Phil Oaks, Paul and Jonah Raskin, because I know Jonah too. I interviewed Fiona, very early on. And those you know, your name and your husband's name. And these names that I just mentioned are the ones that people know about. But how did you meet them? How did you become a group?

11:33
JA: Well, I had as I told you, I met him to in Berkeley, and when I have moved, in around May of 1968, I went up to Canada to get divorced from the, the husband who you know, the first husband. In the meantime, Sue, who had been living on a couch in Jerry's apartment, realized that he needed to do something. Find a place for the, for two of us. So, what he managed to do was, I guess, probably talk to Abby. But he ended up converting the cellar of Liberty house into a rent free, cold water flat. And if you had been in the cellar, it was there was no toilet, for example, there was just this sort of pipe that water drips down into a barrel and we would pee in the barrel. And every morning Sue would go up the metal stairs that lead up Bleecker Street and dump the barrel of piss water into the gutter. The cellar was, I, he had a bed, he managed to get a bed. He got a hot plate, an electric frying pan. And that was where we lived and because the cellar, because it was the cellar, and the summer was hot. All these people Jerry, Abby, Nancy, Anita, Krasner everybody, they would come down to our cellar to visit. And so that was what I would say I probably first met them in our cellar. I may have met Abby for the first, and Paul and Anita for the first time at Abby's place on St. Mark's. But um, no, I have met Jerry and Nancy for the first time in the cellar. But we would also spend time up in their apartments. You know, they live right down the street, right down the street and across the street from at the end. And these are all on St. Mark's place. And Liberty house, which was by the way, a co-op that sold goods made by poor black women in Mississippi to benefit the Civil Rights Movement. Abby has been a, actually a manager of Liberty house and had done the publicity for them and had also organized a program called Food for Newark during the Newark disturbances out of Liberty house. And so, and Liberty house was on Bleecker Street, which is not that far from where Abby and Anita and Jerry and Nancy were living. So that was where I first met them.

14:00
SM: Yeah, I have a question too, is at its core, at it was height, how many yippies were there? I mean, corps yippies that were, I know there were chapters all over the country at a certain point, not only the New York chapter, but there were other chapters. But did, did the main leaders keep track of the corps?

14:20
JA: No.

14:21
SM: Okay. So, there is no way of knowing how many.

14:24
JA: We were, there were work groups, there were, they were, they were, they were more expensive circles and groups with a car. Right? So, you know, you could, people came people went, but the people who were close friends and stuck together or were in conflict with each other, as Abby and Sherry were off and on during the summer of (19)68. That, that was the, the corps group was not that much bureaucratic, we talk about the yippies as organizations and chapters and that, that was not our, our way of thinking.

14:58
SM: Yeah, because I was often wondering, you know, because they were involved in so many different protests and so many different events is how did they survive financially? How do they support themselves? So that was, how did like, before Jerry and Abby went off and did lectures, lecture survey, they, how are they surviving?

15:18
JA: Well, you know, the FBI would ask the same question, and nobody ever really knew the answer.

15:25
SM: Well, I am not the FBI.

15:26
JA: Oh, no, I am not saying that you are. But it is, it is one of the questions. I, you know, I do not know, there was there was no, liberals would give people money. Abby had the free stuff and everything that generated any money. I do not know, you know, I know, I had money from my father, my father, when I left Canada after that, he gave me $500 for the revolution, he said, so that was cool. You know, people, parents gave him money. I do not know, I you know, I literally, how did the rent get paid. Who knows? Who knows?

16:02
SM: Essentially, Mark wrote in his book “Underground,” if you make reference to which I have read, which I think is a fantastic book and should be required reading in any course, in the (19)60s, I interviewed Mark. He talks about, you know, that very same thing about where the money came from, he said he never had a problem with it. And he said it was because people were always there to donate when there was a need, and, and no name need to be mentioned, there was money. And that was-

16:29
JA: That is my recollection, too. It is not, I mean, people were not, we were, we were not at that point, selling marijuana or anything like that. It was, there was, the money was there. Remember also, it was the (19)60s and there was a lot of money around? Like, for example, Sue, and I would both write for the Berkeley Barb. And Max Scherr paid twenty-five cents a column inch. Now you cannot live on that. But there was money around it. I do not know. I do not know.

16:59
SM: Yeah, one of the things your, your husband's do is, I have got, by the way, I want since I have you on the phone today is, I want to buy one of those books from you. If you have any left.

17:10
JA: I do, I have a few. I sell them for $45 because they are signed. And now the only signed one, you know, there is not going to be any more signed ones.

17:17
SM: Well, I will mail a check to you for $45 but we will figure that out at the end of the interview. But I, because the people who are going to be reading this may not have, will ever read the book. Uh, who is Stew Albert, and I know he was a young ̶ came from Brooklyn. He was a kid whose father was a salesclerk. And I know he was one of the people that you, you talk about reinventing yourself. So, I would like to talk who is Stew. And number one this quote that you have, which I think is a beautiful, I can explain this. When you were talking about the people in the (19)60s, it must have been the (19)60s, that brief period of time when everything seemed possible, and the future was up for grabs. Just who was Stew?

18:02
JA: Okay. Well, first of all, his father actually works in the city record. He was not a salesclerk. But he came from a lower middle-class background in Brooklyn. And at a certain point, he worked for the, he always had for some reason very contrary to parent’s progressive politics, his first demonstration was demonstrated, was against capital punishment against the execution of Caryl Chessman. He went to Cuba, to visit Cuba with a friend at an early age and always had an attraction to radical politics. At a certain point, he came out to Berkeley and fell in just by happenstance with Allen Ginsberg and then went to, came over to Berkeley, crashed for one evening on the floor of the, what was called at that time the Vietnam big committee office, the VBC office where Jerry Rubin, unceremoniously tried to kick him out because he was like, almost like a homeless person, he was a homeless person sleeping on the floor. But instead, they became the best of friends and Jerry and Stew were really best friends all the way through the 1960 series versus being a one with Abby, the leader of the yippies, leader in quotation marks, and then Stew's other best friend in Berkeley was the Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver. So that is, you know, that was ̶ what was the summary of who Stew was. He was a journalist, he was an extremely good writer, he wrote as I said, for the perfect barb, the perfect bribe and an organizer for Chicago. And then, you know, within that, which is when we got together then we had various adventures together and Stew was, he was, it was, he was someone who people like to confide in. So, for example, if Jerry and Abby were having one of their many, you know, the older brother younger brother type ego conflict, who would always mediate. And he and people listened to him he was very smart. He had the kind of memory where he could call up a factoid about anything from anywhere at any time. And so, after the (19)60s, we, he essentially, we worked on, he worked on a few books, and he continued to, his career in writing. And he also sorts of when we moved to Portland, became an organizer for progressive Jewish causes.

20:37
SM: What is interesting, I can see how Abby and Jerry may have not hit it off at times, because I do not know if you ever saw the YouTube when Jerry was on the Phil Donahue show.

20:48
JA: I asked if somebody just emailed me about that.

20:51
SM: Oh, my God, he put Phil Donahue in his place. It was just unbelievable it is like and of course, people were calling in upset that Donahue who had allowed him on the show, but he was calling Phil everything in the book. And, but it is amazing because Phil's the most liberal guy you could ever see on television. But he, in a way, if he was talking that way to Abby, I do not know that Abby could ever get a word in edgewise.

21:16
JA: Believe me, Abby, Abby, could. That was one of the things about observing, they are really, really interesting. During Chicago, there was a lot of Jerry/Abby conflict that was echoed by and it would, Stew would mediate on a case and, but we the women would kind of echo the, you know, we would take sides. And one, one example would be, there was a huge conflict over the type of pig, pig assist that we would run for president. Abby wanted a tiny pig. And I think that the Hog Farm was supposed to show up with one and did not, Jerry, in the meantime, wanted one of the big fat ugly pig, so Jerry, and I, and Stew and Phil Ochs and Wolfie Lowenthal and we all went out to a farm. And we got you know, we picked up, we picked up this big giant pig and then Jerry's took it to the civic center. The Chicago Civic Center in front of the Picasso statue and got arrested with the pig. And then they were in jail. The, all of them. And one of the cops came up to them and said, “I hate to tell you this boys but the pig squeals.” Even arrested Stew. And then, then we heard the rumors that they had barbecued, the cops had barbecued the pig. And oh well you know it is expected, right? But, but what was, so Jerry and Abbie in that time period, were having, were really having all kinds of pretty unpleasant disagreements with each other. But a year later, as the conspiracy trial, they actually made a point of making up, forgiving each other and presenting a united front to both the other defendants and certainly Judge Hoffman and show, I believe they even had a, may, may have been the first ungay-gay marriage where they exchanged rings. But, but so there was a qualitative difference between the way they treated each other in Chicago during the during the riot, riots, the police riots and a year later with the conspiracy trial. And then afterwards, they, they sort of, after well, it is evolved back into the old competition where it was, they did the “yippy-yappy” debate, and Jerry would argue one thing and happy with it another Sunday. So, it was a love hate, you know, competitive brother relationship with the way I was looked at it.

23:52
SM: You are very strong woman and I know that some of your peers were as well. I would like for you to describe your thoughts on the roles that women played in the yippies. I know if Dr. King were alive today and on the Civil Rights Movement, sexism was a major issue and, and I know it was in the anti-war movement. And I have had people that have talked to me, a couple females, professors who said they left the movement because it was so sexist that they went into the Women's Movement and the rest is history. Describe again, describe your thoughts on the roles that women played in the yippies and whether you felt you were equal within the organization to the men and in the anti-war movement overall. And then I also see that you were very involved in the growth of the Women's Movement back in (19)69. Over there in the, at the People's Park, and that was very important for you. So, in respect, with respect to your husband, Abbie, Jerry, Paul, Phil, Jonah, were, you know, how do they treat women?

25:01
JA: Well, I did not meet Jonah until the mid (19)70s. Jonah was actually in what I always called “Stew’s large men’s group,” which formed with Jonah and a number of other people on the East Coast after we broke up. And the reason we broke up at my initiation was because of sexism in the movement. And in the yippies. So, we were, been, was, was Nancy equal to Jerry? No, with Anita equal to Abbie? No, was I equal to Stew? No, but it depends how you, how do you define equal? Right? Were we the ones who held the press conferences? No. Did the media come to us and look us up? No. We are we serving coffee? No. Were we organizing? Were we doing what women traditionally do, which is keeping this thing going, organizing, making sure that things are where they need to be making sure these things happen? That was our job. That was our role. So, but remember, the, the women's movement came around for a reason, they were in (19)68, (19)69, (19)70. So, and most of the couples that I knew, broke up in that period that included me and Stew, we were one of the few however, who got back together, the only other couple in that, from that group who were together before the women's movement, who got back together, were Dave Dellinger and his wife, Betty. But, but Nancy broke up with Jerry, in that, in the early (19)70s. Abbie, of course, went underground. And Anita did not go with them for various reasons. And they never did manage to get back together. So, the answer is yes, there was sexism, yes, there was unequal distribution of power. Yes, the men got way of more the goodies than the women. But I will tell you something. I know this for a fact for Anita, for me, and for Nancy, it was in a period of enormous growth, you could not be, personal growth, you could not be in that environment, you could not be around these guys, without learning from them, without observing them without trying to do the things that they also want, that they have seemed able to do very, very easily. And, and we also had adventures on our own at a certain point, like, for example, Nancy and I and this woman Jeannie Plamondon, who was the White, one of the members of the White Panthers in Detroit, we went to Vietnam together. So, it was not “Oh, yeah, everything were oppressed. It is all bad. Let us leave.” Not at all. It was, it was, “yes, we are not treated equally. But we also, if this is also an opportunity, and we did, we absorb to our core, what it meant to be a yippie to act on your own and to be courageous and to act without fear and to run from the pigs and all that stuff?”

28:07
SM: You said you went to Vietnam; you went as part of a group?

28:09
JA: Yeah. A yippie group

28:11
SM: Oh, I did not know that. Could you tell us about that?

28:14
JA: Well, alright, now Nancy, and I, and Jeannie, were invited by a man in the group, the Vietnamese had a group called the Committee for Solidarity with the American People. And at the time, many people were going to visit Vietnam and coming back essentially, to talk about the devastation of the war. And we, the three of us were invited to, to do that. And so we went, we went, we traveled around the country. We saw the, I remember, there was this one mountain that has been half blown away by bombs. And yet still inside, the Vietnamese people were making the shells and armaments to defend themselves. We, it, it was one of those experiences, that you meet people who are so totally different from you, but yet are able to convey to you their love of their country, and also their ̶ they did not hate us, you know, you would think we would go out in the streets and we would be surrounded by children. And you would think that “oh my god, here is America, raining bombs down on these people, you know, killing them with napalm shooting them in the streets.” You would think that there would be a lot of hatred. We never found that. They said we all, we understand that there is a distinction between the American people and the American government. And so, we you know, I do not remember specifics now, but we, I know that we learned an awful lot about the war about the causes of the war. I remember, for example, that we went to a museum in Hanoi, which is a museum of the war. They, and they gave us, because they had so many, they gave us as a souvenir, a half exploded, anti-personnel bomb, it was like about four inches round, it was metal, no, no, no explosives left, but and you could see all these little ball bearings that were dead. And there is all these little ball bearings that were still embedded in the middle. And so, they would drop these by the hundreds of thousands on people, they would compete anti-personnel weapons against a peasant country, who was basically fighting to resist foreign invasion as this country Vietnam had for thousands of years. And so, these people, Nancy and I, and Jeannie and you know, Jane Fonda and many, many people who went, came back, and were able to talk about our experiences to audiences here in the United States.

31:12
SM: Yeah, I know that Daniel Barragan went because I interviewed him and, and I know of another female, and her name is Charlotte Bunch.

31:19
JA: I know, Charlotte.

31:20
SM: Yep, she went. And-

31:23
JA: There were lots, I think the thing that was really unique about our group was that it was the yippie group. And I guess, that possibly one of the unique experiences that we had, when we were all sitting around one evening out in the country, you know, there are seven or eight of Vietnamese, who would come with us from the committee and, and whoever the local peasants were there, and we smoked this stuff called Tokelau, which was how, you would you smoked in a long pipe with a little bowl on the end of it. And, you know, we would tease them about whether, you know, what was stronger marijuana or Tokelau, and they would say Tokelau, we would say, would say marijuana. And so that was sort of the yippie, that was the yippie aspect of it.

32:11
SM: That I want to make sure you get the other two women's names their full names again?

32:16
JA: Nancy Kurshan, and she see, it was very, Ruben’s girlfriend, we called girlfriend for a number of years, certainly during this period that we are talking about. And the, the other person was Jeannie Plamondon, if you google Pun Plamondon, I know that he wrote a book A while back. So, there is information about-

32:42
SM: This is ̶ this leads me right into my next question, in your own words, who are the key yippy personalities? And I know we have already mentioned them, but the ones I am asking here is: describe in your own words maybe some of the people that are not known? Some of-

32:58
JA: Tall cocky and Super Joel.

33:02
SM: No.

33:03
Well alright, here is, here is a, Super Joel was well known at the time his he was known because if you have ever seen a picture of a hippie putting a flower in the gun of the National Guard, that was Super Joel. Okay, so Super Joel claimed that he was the scion of a mafia, Chicago mafia family. And he said that, that when he decided to join the movement, his grandmother kicked him out, said “do not darken my door again.” After the, you know, the (19)60s were over Super Joel, became a heroin dealer. And grandma says, “oh, welcome back.” Wonderful. I just, this, this story this super Joel tells, he gets very wealthy, or, you know, at least when we visited him at one point, he certainly had all the trappings of wealth, including a motorcycle, a full, full Harley Davidson is in the middle of his living room. And, and, and it turns out, he is gay and he gets AIDS and he dies. Well, a while ago, a few years ago, someone was investigating Super Joel just to find out who he was and found out that Super Joel was not the scion of a mafia family at all, but rather just an ordinary alienates middle class kids from a Chicago suburb. So, he created this entire alternate identity for himself. And everybody believed it. And he was the one, Super Joel was the one who drove the truck into Lincoln Park that the bands were supposed to play on except of course, none of the bands showed up so that, that would be an example of someone who is not known but was certainly an interesting character. And just everybody knew at the time.

34:53
SM: What was his full name?

34:55
JA: Super Joel Tornabene, who knows if that is his real last name?

35:04
SM: You talk about reinventing? Well, he obviously reinvented himself.

35:09
JA: Exactly. Yeah. And you know, there were no boundaries about that in those days. So, it was pretty easy to do.

35:15
SM: Now, were they, were the yippies close to any of these groups. I know there was tension between the Students for Democratic Society, because then pure pow, pow political and my most, I have interviewed quite a few different people. And when I, at the very end when I am giving terms of the period and I say yippies or hippies, or especially the yippies: “no comment,” or “they were frivolous,” or whatever. And this is even some people on the left. So how do you how close were the yippies to, and I will just read these, and you can just comment on it, the Black Panthers, Students for Democratic Society the then the quarter when ̶

35:55
JA: You do want to do it one at a time?

35:57
SM: Yeah, maybe. So how close were you to the Black Panthers?

36:00
JA: Because of Stew's relationship with Eldridge, we were very close to the Panthers. And in fact, after Chicago, Eldridge, Stew and Jerry and I put out something called the Yippie Panther Pack. So I was, and you know, I am still friends with Bobby today. And, and so I, and actually the reason that Bobby got indicted in Chicago as a conspiracy Brown was because Stew and I had gone and called Eldridge because we thought it was important for them to be a Panther present in Chicago. So, Stew and I, during the summer of (19)68, had called Eldridge, told us because he was on parole could not come out. So, Bobby came instead. And as a result, you know, Bobby was one of the conspiracy aids and then you know, that story. So, the Panthers, yes. Students for a Democratic Society. Not really, although there were, the boundaries were fluid so people could consider themselves to be yippies, but also members of SDS. I know that, I know for a fact there, there were a number of members of SDS, SDS and subsequently the Weather Underground, who consider themselves yippies, very close to the yippies. And maybe they did not say that in, you know, whether I am in town meetings or SDS meetings, but I know for a fact that they did.

37:27
SM: Yeah, I am just going to go into the Weathermen. And you mentioned that of course Mark never, I heard Mark never considered himself a yippy. I do not think.

37:35
JA: Mark is not one of the Weathermen who consider himself to be a yippy.

37:38
SM: How about the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, which basically took over the anti-war movement in, after the Weathermen took over SDS?

37:48
JA: Well, I would not say VVAW, who took over the anti-war movement, but I do have someone who has been interviewed who knows a lot about the GI movement. [inadible] but no, I do not think that I think there were many, many aspects to the, it was very diverse the anti-war movement. And I remember in 1972, in Miami at the Democratic and Republican convention demonstrations, that VVAW had a campment at Flamingo Park. But then there were a whole bunch of yippies who were there. Abbie was there. I was there. Who was there? There were a whole bunch of the ̶ I do not remember whether Jerry was or not. There were a whole bunch of people who were organizing that demonstration. I know for a fact some of the vets also considered themselves yippies. The people who, who, you know, here is the thing. They may, people may say that the yippies were frivolous, but ask yourself whose name has come down in history? Right? Whose name do people remember from that time. They remember the Black Panthers. And they remember the Weathermen and they remember the yippies, that are, whose remember though, you know, I say we have the historic staying power.

39:06
SM: Yeah, actually, Ron Kovac, I think was there at (19)72, the guy wrote “Born on the Fourth of July.”

39:14
JA: I know I ̶ Ron is a sweetheart, I love him.

39:17
SM: Yeah. And then Bobby Moeller too, I think, was there.

39:19
JA: Bobby I do not know, do you by any chance have contact information for Ron?

39:23
SM: No, I do not. See I know he is in LA. But yeah, and I thought Bobby Moeller would, but Bobby says he has lost touch with him. So, I do not know. The other group, groups would be the Mobe group.

39:37
JA: But the moment you know, the both of them and Dave and the Mobe works very closely together. I mean, they also just had disagreements in that summer, but, but, you know, Dave was organizing marches that we would go on the Grant Park one, we all got beat up during the day by, by the Chicago cops. That was a Mobe organized event that Rennie was, Ren-, that for, Rennie was hit over the head Stew had been hit over the head three days earlier before everything started or four days early before everything started. So put it this way we both knew of each other's presence. I am wondering, I tended to use the word respect, but there was also a fair bit of dissonance.

40:27
SM: The, the other movements, again, are just the movements, the American Indian Movement, the Women's Movement, the Environmental Movement. And-

40:36
JA: You take AIM right? Now, Bill Kunstler spent an awful lot, after you know, the Chicago Trial. The AIM people were some of his main clients. Bill always considered himself a yippie, always. Well not always, but ever since, ever since he met Abbie and Jerry. That is what he identified with. So, you know, so it really is, I do not think it is appropriate to talk about it as sort of this group and this group it is much more personalities, it is much more people, and people there was much more interpenetration. And both the dissent and support between these different, all these different groups.

41:23
SM: Yeah, I have, just to ̶ do the hippies want to be taken seriously? I had just had that as a question did the-

41:32
JA: Seriously? What does that mean?

41:35
SM: Yeah, that is what I am asking. Did the hippies want to be taken seriously? Because I know from talking to Paul, I asked him that same question. And it, because he, because his whole spiel is about linking serious issues with humor.

41:53
JA: Right. And he is right.

41:54
SM: And that is almost like the yippies is not it? It is almost kind of the same. They were dead serious about being involved. I am I cannot speak for you. But from perception that I see. The yippies were dead serious about being anti-war, but they want to be able to reach people through theatrics. And sometimes it was, may seem frivolous, but there was a message.

42:19
Exactly. No, that is exactly right. That is exactly right. The causes in which we believe that would end, was overwhelmingly ending the war. With a little bit of, you know, marijuana legalization coming along later. The causes in which we believed were deadly serious causes, but we felt that the best way to affect people through those was through dramatic theatrical fun.

42:45
SM: Let me turn my tape.

42:51
SM: Alright, here we go. This is something [inaudible] was when Abbie died. Just as a person who has always studied and read and cared about the people involved in the (19)60s, because I am part of it, too, in my own small way. Abbie's death touched me in some way. Because when I happened on the news, I heard about it that he, he lived over in Bucks County not far from where I live, and that he was alone in an apartment. And he committed suicide or OD-ed on drugs. And then there was a report that he had a note. Now Paul says he does not know of any note ever, he says that that is not true, that no one was listening to me anymore. But that that was in the news, and I am trying to find the article where it was written. But what, this is, my serious part of my interview is because there is some key people here that passed on way before their time. Abbie, Phil Ochs, and then Jerry got hit by a car in Los Angeles and your husband. He luckily Stew was able to live longer. But could, do you know any more of the circumstances surrounding Abbie? Were you at his funeral?

44:06
JA: Yeah, at least the West Coast was. My understanding of Abbie's death is that there may be some questions surrounding it. But that he did not leave a note. That I know for a fact he did not leave a note. He is, I noticed his eldest son, Andrew, and Andrew was, came out and his sister came down. As soon as they heard about the death and was not an apartment by the way. It was more like a there was a bunch of little houses on some land that this person owns. And they came down and the coroner, there was some issue with the coroner, back and forth; was it heart failure, was it this, was it, was it barbiturates, was it that? And so, there was a little bit of question as to exactly what the cause of death was. But there is no question he committed suicide. And there is no question that he did not leave a note.

45:13
SM: Were people shocked? Or would people say he was down?

45:18
JA: Well, you know, everyone, by then everyone knew about his manic depression. And certainly, everyone knew that the period underground had exacerbated the manic depressiveness. So, Stew, and I had left, saw him alive at this event to cover (19)68 plus twenty. He has been, Abbie had been in a car accident, so he was in pain in his foot. And he had essentially gone off lithium, because of, which was the drugs that were controlling this manic depression, because he hated being on lithium, and had been given Prozac by his doctor and his doctor, you know, everyone knows now the Prozac can cause or has a causal relationship with suicidal tendencies. So, you know, no one was there with him in those last days. But the, what was the actual progression of events was ̶ is not clear. But like I say, so there was some fuzziness about the cause of death. But there is no fuzziness about the fact that he actually did commit suicide and it was undoubtedly a result of manic-depressive disease.

46:30
SM: Now Phil died very young. And I remember there was a book that came out on him and I have it, a biography, but I did not know if his close links with the, I read a long time ago, I did not know his close links with the, the yippies, now the-

46:46
JA: Yeah, I remember in Chicago and in that, in (19)68, we were going, Phil and I would walk up and down the lines of National Guard. And I remember one National Guardsmen saying, I once paid like $10 or some, you know, some huge sum in those days to go to one of your concerts, I will never do that again. And Phil actually stops and talks with the guy and the guy, relax and changed his face from acid. And just in that conversation.

47:16
SM: I heard he committed suicide too. Is that true?

47:19
JA: That is true. Phil had actually come and visit Stew and I at that time, were living in the Catskills. Phil comes to visit us and stay for a few days, for a few days, he was not even able to go out of the cabin. And then he basically spent most of his time in a bar, but he had been in South Africa, and had been in some kind of, before that has been some kind of accident that had damaged his voice and his vocal cords, and he did not think he could ever sing again. Very depressed about that. And then also he put up this album of Elvis Presley songs that did not do very well. And he has gotten a lot of criticism. And so he was, you know, there were a lot of things going on in his life that made him unhappy in those days, you know, we did not know about counseling, know about pharmaceutical assistance, aid in manic depressive disease or depression. And so, you know, Phil, when he went to his sister’s house and hung himself in the bathroom with the shower curtains.

48:23
SM: Were you at his funeral too?

48:26
JA: I was certainly at a concert. I was, there was a memorial concert for him in New York that I went to. And I do not know if there was another funeral. He, I think, I do know he was still with us at Chile, you know, he and Stew and Jerry went to Chile together during the Allende period. And then they came back. And then they met up with Mr. Jara, the folk singer there who was later shot by the Pinochet regime. And then when they came back, they did a benefit concert for Chile. And I was at that and I, and I was also at another benefit concert around his death. I do not know if that was, you know?

49:07
SM: Where is Abbie buried? Is he buried?

49:12
Where is Abbie, I do not know if he has buried that is a good question. I do not know the answer.

49:15
SM: How about Phil?

49:17
JA: Now that I know.

49:18
SM: Now Jerry, I remember when he was killed while he was jaywalking.

49:23
JA: Well, he, he was, I would say he was for some reasons that I prefer not to disclose the practice. He walked across the street. And then someone apparently called out, Jerry walked back. So, he turned and at that point, was, was hit by the car.

49:46
SM: And, of course, I remember the newspapers saying, “the guy that broke the law was killed breaking the law.”

49:55
JA: Yeah, well, you know yippies always pretty myths even in death, sometimes they are bad, sometimes they are not.

50:04
SM: Well, and I guess Paul was the moderator of some of those debates if I am not correct. Corrected here, Jerry, and-

50:11
JA: The Yippie Yuppie. That could easily be, you know, I never saw one, I just heard about them. But-

50:17
SM: Now when Stew passed away, did you have a funeral there in Berkeley for him and did a lot of people come to it?

50:28
And that is where he is buried, if you go on his website www.stewalbert.com there is a photo of his funeral and we had a, we actually had a what we called Stew, what did we call it? Stew (20)06 tour, because we had a funeral for him in Portland, a memorial service in Berkeley, a memorial service in New York and the memorial service and in Boston.

51:04
SM: He had a lot of friends,

51:05
JA: He had a lot of friends. A lot of friends.

51:08
SM: Yeah, I have seen that website. That is a nice website.

51:14
JA: If you want to read what people said about him, not, it is all there on the website.

51:17
SM: Right. People's Park in (19)69. We all know that anybody who knows their history about the (19)60s and certainly what was happening in Berkeley, in your opinion, just a few words, what was it all about? And you are right on here, when you say that it gave Ronald Reagan, you know, something to build his career on? Because I had a chance to interview Ed Meese at his office. Yeah, I interviewed him. And you know, he was the man in charge of following, well he was in charge of the battle against the students on the Berkeley campus even back in (19)64. Yeah, because he was the, he was the district attorney, or the assistant district attorney for Alameda County back in (19)64, before Reagan ever knew him. And then when he heard that, about this young lawyer, then that is why he kind of linked them up with his administration later on in (19)69. What was that all about?

52:14
JA: Which People’s Park?

52:16
SM: Yeah, People’s Park, how important is it?

52:18
JA: Well, in some ways, it is very important. And that is because it shows that you can stand up, in this case, to the power of the university to create something beautiful for the people and what it, was it was a big community event, where people just decided, alright, this land that is essentially lying fallow should be turned into a park. I mean, what, what more benign thing can you then you think of that? But it was essentially a battle over private property. Because at that point, then the university said: No, you cannot do that. Whatever happens to this piece of land is something that we want to do, rather than what you want. And but the community would not let that happen until, of course, the University fenced it in, sent troops, gas, the gas, the entire city of Berkeley, and we fought that, but ultimately, the University took the land back.

53:18
SM: Yeah. But it is interesting, because when you study, the Ronald Reagan, who was governor of California, and I asked this to Ed Meese, that the two main issues that he built his career on in California was his battle against the students, which he said he was going to take on if he became governor, he was going to bring peace back to the universities, and then a battle against the welfare state. Those were the two issues that he wanted to, you know, to work on as governor. And-

53:50
JA: If you think about it, it is ultimately a battle over capitalism and private property. Both the welfare state and the People's Park battle.

54:01
SM: What were the feelings of the boomers, the students that you saw at Berkeley? Of course, a lot of the yippies were boomers. What were their thoughts on governor, Governor Reagan?

54:14
JA: Well, we hated him. He was the epitome of everything that we despise. I would have to, you know I have not thought about Reagan for years, you know, because mostly what happened when he became president and the terrible things that he did as president kind of eclipsed the terrible things that he did when he was governor. But Stew, I remember saying, Stew said that Reagan knew him by name. And so, it is a very specific anti-people, anti-student strategy that he was doing. I mean, it was right. That is exactly what they were trying to do. Talk about people with control issues, huh.

54:55
SM: Yeah. One of the, something that I did not know and reading on your website too. And we are going to get into some of the general questions here in a minute. But I found that Bernadine Dohrn’s son, Zayd Dohrn’s, play “Magic,” I guess, “Magic Form Farm” or something like that, “Form Farm?” I just want to read these quotes and then you respond to them. You say this in, this is what he was trying to do with this play: “How do kids raised in the shadow of the (19)60s keep the parts of the experiment that were healthy, which is idealism, the hope, the courage, while getting rid of the narcissism and the silliness that had the potential to undermine it.” And then the other quote here is some of the qualities that he talked about, that is Zayd Dohrn: “Counter-cultural values, do your own thing, dope, nudity, sexual experimentation had negative dysfunctional consequences for some, not all the kids that live there.” And then you had mentioned, what an inconvenient truth, this play was all about. Reaction? What is your overall reaction to the play? And did he get it right?

56:18
JA: Oh, he got his experience right. You know, here is the thing. This is what Stew and I both used to say often is that everyone has their own (19)60s. So, for a kid growing up and having a lot of experiences with the nudity, and drugs and so forth, that he, I gathered, he must have had or heard about from his friends, I cannot help but think that the way he portrayed it in the play, it was not a pleasant thing for him. And both, you know, that was his experiences does not mean that everything that every new experience that everyone ever had in the (19)60s was wrong. But but you know, kids have their boundaries. And I guess we did not, in those days, we did not recognize that because we were a little bit more than kids ourselves. So, we did not recognize that, I think that when you are bringing people, when you are bringing up young children, at least for some, it may not be the best thing to expose them to the overt sexuality that some people in the (19)60s were into, it is not a universal experience, it was Zayd’s experience.

57:25
SM: You know, one of the general questions I had for everyone has been the question of the boomer generation now, which is 74 to 78 million people of which 15 percent, or 5 to 15 percent, depending on who you are reading, were activists, and the activist part of the movement. So, most people of the group have responded based on the friends, of the boomer friends that they knew whether they were activists or non-activists, and that is, you know, how, have they been good parents? Have they been good grandparents now, in terms of raising their kids, number one, by sharing what it was like to be young then and trying to let them understand, try to understand what we were doing and why we were doing it? And, and, you know, just basically, the values that they, whether a lot of people criticize the following two generation as not being very activist oriented. And they did not follow in their parents’ footsteps in that area. Just your thoughts on, based on the people you have known who are boomers, and as they have gotten older now they are up to sixty-three years of age, the frontline boomers, and the frontline boomers are sixty-three, and the youngest ones are now forty-six.

58:46
JA: Let me answer in a couple of ways. First, in terms of childbearing, this is what I can tell you. Jessica, my daughter, my daughter, one of them wants to have kids. One of the reasons that she wants to have kids is because she considers her upbringing so idyllic and so supportive and so loving that she wants to recreate it for her own family. Now, we could not hide from her who we were, and we did not. We talked to her. You are, how do you talk to your kids about drugs. Well, excuse me, we had to talk to her specifically, because it is very clear that Stew and I had both smoked marijuana a lot and had advocated for it at certain point in our lives. You cannot be yippy and not. And we had a conversation with her, and we basically said to Jessica, we do not want you to smoke marijuana until you graduate from high school and guess what she did not do that. She now is a, an attorney, she is, in some ways. pretty mainstream. She has worked within the Democratic Party. She has worked in New York City and politics, but she also now works as an attorney, an employment discrimination attorney helping women basketball coaches and firefighters win multi-million-dollar verdicts against being wrongfully terminated by sexist institutions. So that, you know, it is, and all the kids, the (19)60s kids that I know, and there is a whole bunch of them, you can tell if they are (19)60s kids if they are born in the, in between the 1970s to the 1980s. These are a lot of children of (19)60s activists, they turned out really, really well. And I think that the reason for that is that all of us put our values into child rearing, the naked nude stuff aside, we all believe very much in you know, this is an old SDS club, and that people should not be involved in the decisions that affect their life. Not all of us felt that way about our children. And when we were in, as part of our child rearing, we would treat them with appropriate boundaries, not letting them do something that they would that would hurt themselves but letting them be a decision maker in what they wanted to do. Not, not controlling and not being neglectful. We let them, but we let them be decision makers in their lives as a specifically is a result of our (19)60s values. And I think we have produced a generation of absolutely fabulous and wonderful kids.

1:01:25
SM: Yeah, very good point. You know, it is interesting that we have a president now, President Obama's in the second year. And he is often criticized both ways. One, he shies away from the links to the (19)60s, he makes an effort to make sure he is not part of it. And yet his critics will say he is the reincarnation of it. Because he is as left as you can get.

1:01:51
JA: They do not know anything if you think Obama's a leftist.

1:01:55
SM: Yeah. Well, your thoughts on that? It is, this is a two part question your thoughts on Obama and then the criticism of him and then he shies away from it? And secondly, the criticism that is often leveled by the Newt Gingrich’s, the George Wills’, the John McCain’s, the Governor Huckabee’s of the world, that that period, the boomer generation, the (19)60s and (19)70s, I think they are referring to, is the reason why we have so many problems in this nation, with divorce, with the lack of respect for authority, with the rise of the what they call the -isms, the welfare state, which they put blame directly on the LBJ in many respects. And-

1:02:44
JA: Let me start with that one. But what, how could all the McCains, Gingriches, Glenn Becks, and all the right-wing attack dogs fail to remember, are the gains that were made from the (19)60s, it is, you know, they can ̶ they could not come up with their list of terrible things. But what about the things that we can take credit for, for example, the fact that there is a black middle class now comes directly out of the (19)60s, the fact that there is an environmental movement, and that pollution is being lowered. And those issues are really central around the world is a result of the (19)60s, the fact that corporations are being pressured to divest practices that are not socially responsible, is a result of the (19)60s. The fact that women have access, and are equally, an, are in law school in more numbers than men are in business, although not as much, are doctors. That is all the results of the (19)60s, the fact that people are thinking about eating local food and eating responsibly, it is a result of the 60s there. The other aspects of the environmental movement that are all a result of the (19)60s. It is amazing how the right wing tends to forget the advances that came out of my generation while focusing on the, what they consider to be the negative.

1:04:07
SM: Well, it is interesting in this is kind of sad, when they start talking about the environmental movement, they say well, that they use that as a negative, because the environmental movement is all negative because it takes jobs away from people. As someone said to me, “you are more interested in saving an owl than you are saving jobs.” I mean, those kinds of things. And then they will say that, that Al Gore Look at him. He writes his book and now they are all being questioned whether, there has been some questioning whether they are, they have their facts straight, and he is making all these millions flying in an airplane and he is ̶ so there is they find ways to still be critical, even of the environmental movement ̶

1:04:48
JA: Right. Well, if it is not in the service of the naked pursuit of greed, they do not like it. Reason and individualism. Individualism, that is, is only for fun not for myself. It is only for oneself. It is selfishness and greed. If it is not selfish, if it is not greedy then they do not like it.

1:05:10
SM: In your view, when did the (19)60s begin? And when did it end?

1:05:14
JA: I think it began with the civil rights movement, the early days of the civil rights movement, although you could even get earlier than that was a nuclear disarmament movement. So, I would say the late (19)50s and early (19)60s were we when, when the (19)60s began, and they ended? I do not know maybe the end of the (19)70s. Middle, mid to end of the (19)70s.

1:05:38
SM: Was there a watershed moment, in your view?

1:05:41
JA: In the (19)60s?

1:05:42
SM: Yes.

1:05:44
JA: Well, there were a number, it was like a, like a cascade. You know, starting with the gulf. I mean, to me, the, the watershed of the (19)60s was the Vietnam War. And so, whether you can point to what particular moment in the Vietnam War, the escalation to Gulf, the Gulf of Tonkin, the escalations, the, the switch, the switch from ground troops to bombings, all the various phases of that war. Those were all in some ways, watersheds and they built on each other, in my opinion.

1:06:18
SM: I have a question on healing, one of the two questions that they are going to be healing and trust. The first one is on healing. I took a group of students in the mid (19)90s, to Washington to meet Senator Muskie. Students, none of them were born in the 60s and this was all new to them. They were studying this period. They feared that we were close to a second American Revolution or a second Civil War with all the divisions that they had been seeing it was epitomized, but what they saw in Chicago in (19)68, the question they want to ask Senator Muskie, because he was there as the vice presidential Democratic candidate, is: due to the divisions that were tearing the nation apart, at that time, the divisions between, between black and white, male and female, gay and straight, those who are for the war, those who are against the war, those who supported the troops, those who did not. Do you feel that, that this generation, the boomer generation born between 1946 and 1964, as they age and start passing away, will go to their graves, not feeling like they have healed from all the divisions from that era, comparable to what happened in the Civil War when they went to their grave, mostly with a lack of healing. I will tell you what he said, what Senator Muskie said, but how would you respond to that?

1:07:43
JA: Well, see, for me, the concept of healing, personally, does not apply. I never, it was never a wound, the (19)60s were never, oh, the late (19)60s were never a wound, but they were the best time of my life. I do not want to heal from the best time of my life, I do not feel that there is a need. Now, you heal from a wound, you heal from death, I have not yet fully healed from Stew's death, and certainly any people who lost their lives and their families, the lives of the people whose families, the families whose children lost their lives in the war. They, that, that is a feeling that may have been helped by the wall or may not. But remember, you have a situation there were the people who got, the young men and women who went to Vietnam were drafted. It was not voluntary. It was not choice. And, you know, and, and the things that caused the war, the fact that, you know, government is, imperial governments going in invading other countries, that still goes on, say, obviously, in Iraq and Afghanistan, so I do not I do not accept that paradigm that this country was broken in needed healing. What, what I, what I do feel is that there were terrible, terrible things going on in the country, which the only way to have them stop was to take action, which is what we did, which is what soldiers in Vietnam did. And the healing that needs to happen is the healing from those who died. beyond that. I do not see the need. And you know, I look at the Tea Party today. They are certainly not promoting anything like healing they are still, you know, fighting back culture war.

1:09:42
SM: Yeah. When Senator Muskie when he, we waited for his response. He waited about a minute and he finally said, he did not even respond to 1968. He said, we have not healed since the Civil War. We were fighting for the issue of race and, and he said, talking about the 430,000 men who had died in that war, almost the entire South lost all their men. And so, he, that is what he said was the issue was, we have not healed since then he did not even refer to (19)68.

1:10:13
JA: Well, you know, this is a country that goes to war. And in some way slides on what, what you may recall, does an Eisenhower warning us about the military industrial complex. That is what, if anything needs to be healed, it is the contradictions of capitalism, and that have produced this kind of society. So healing, like I said, the healing metaphor does not work for me in terms of the whole country, I think people need to be healed from their ̶ from the individual traumas that what they went through, caused by, you know, being forced to fight in a war that they did not support, or did not believe in, the deaths that happened, that is where healing needs to-

1:11:03
SM: Yeah in fact one person said to me: Steve, if you, you specified and this question better by saying that, why do not you just simply say those who were for the war and those who went to war, then you get into what Jan Scruggs did in his book “To Heal a Nation” that the wall was built to not only heal the families and of those who died in the war, but then to heal the nation from those who were against the war and for the war. So, the people said they might be able to answer that question better if it was just those two groups. And I think what I was really getting at was, I wonder how many, it could be yippies, it could be SDS-ers, or it can be Mobe people, it could be anybody who was against the war. I wonder how many of them have gone to that wall, as they have gotten older with their kids. And they look at that wall, and they reflect what they did. And whether any of them are saying, maybe I should have served or, you know, I just do not know how they are feeling. That is what I think I was really getting at.

1:12:05
JA: Well, I, you know, Stew and I went to the wall, and he actually helped Sandy, whatever her last name was, Boreal, I think in her, I think she was a fundraiser for it or something like that. I do not think that, that was not our experience, was not my sort of service. If anything, the experience was, we served well, we serve too. We served in opposing the war. My recollection is that we, we, we often identified very much with the vets, because we both felt that we served our country. We served our country in the way we best knew how, by trying to bring in and to an immoral, illegal war that was killing, that killed 54,000 young Americans.

1:13:02
SM: The, the other issue is trust. A quality that I perceive is a very well, it is a quality within the boomer generation. And of course, how can you say, Steve that 70 million people know of trust? Well, I am not saying that everybody does not trust but the question is, the young people of that era saw so many leaders lie to them, throughout their lifetime. Whether it be President Johnson and the Gulf of Tonkin, McNamara and those figures that he used to use of people killed in Vietnam, you have the Watergate with Richard Nixon. There is there is some questions with everyone from Eisenhower all the way up to even President Reagan, there was, whether you could trust any of them. And correct me if I am wrong, and I have lived in this era too, most people at that time, did not trust anybody in positions of leaders or responsibility, whether they be a university president, a Congressman, a senator, a President of United States, a rabbi, a minister, a corporate leader, they do not trust any of them because they were leaders. Am I correct in that?

1:14:10
JA: Well, you know, Free Speech has a slogan, “do not trust anyone over thirty.”

1:14:15
SM: Right. That was Jeff Weinberg.

1:14:20
Ja: I do not think they did not trust because they were leaders. They did not, people did not trust because people lied. Like that, like, like that guy yelled out, Obama, “You lie.” Well, that is what we were yelling. We were yelling, “you lied.” “You lied.” And I think that the trust still does not exist today. Because guess what, people continue to lie. But at same time, we have a right-wing attack machine that creates its own level of lies. And for some reason, they are considered, those, the right-wing lies are considered truth and believable, whereas someone like Obama, who in fact is going pretty much the way it is, is not lying. So, I think that trust, yeah, sure, trust is a huge issue. But I do not think it is simply not trusting leaders. I think it is, it is, goes in some ways deeper than that.

1:15:15
SM: Yeah, because it was Jack Weinberg who's, if I am not mistaken, said, ”do not trust anyone over 30.”

1:15:22
JA: Exactly. As we got older we kept changing it to “do not trust anyone over-“

1:15:26
SM: Yeah, I hear you. Ruben changed it to forty I think, something like that.

1:15:30
JA: That is the one problem with that slogan.

1:15:32
SM: Yeah. And then he said, kill your parents too. And, and this is something you mentioned this, which I think is great. And I think I want to make sure I got this correct, too. And I will, Jack and Jerry, were right, in your opinion, to change the system is, is completely reinvent, was a goal to completely reinvent ourselves. We had to break from the repressive warmongering, right-wing dysfunctional values of our parent’s generation, which was the group that came back from forty-six to sixty. So, is that basically say it all there?

1:16:07
JA: Yeah. Yeah, we did. We had to break, we had to break with that. And create something that was, we believe was new and alternative. And we did.

1:16:17
SM: In your view, you lived in Canada, but what was it about the 1950’s, or the post war era that (19)46 when President Kennedy came in, what was it about that era then made the (19)60s?

1:16:31
JA: Well, remember every ̶ the dominant American culture in the (19)60s was sort of like the TV show Mad Men, was very repressive in almost every way, and anything that was, that was in any way dissonant, whether it was being gay, or being, wanting to do something, a woman wanted to do something with their life, anything that did not fit into the dominant mold of a father goes to work, you know, Father Knows Best, mother does this. Anything that did not fit has to be, had to be hidden. And so, then people, when, that was really, there was the breaking out of that. Those strictures, the breaking out from those repressive molds that actually really started the (19)60s, whether it was the beats, or jazz music, or whatever, all the various ways of creating an alternate counter-culture that were there in the society in the (19)50s, but were hidden, gradually, for whatever reasons, and I am not a historian broke out, broke their way through and then and then people once empowered, made an entire alternate environment. That is the second model. And growing up in Canada, it was like, that is exactly what it was, in Toronto in those days was repressive, 1950s model.

1:17:55
SM: Do you feel the 1980s was a, an effort to return to the 1950’s? Yeah, when Reagan came in, do you think that eight-year period and then George Bush that followed that twelve-year period was an effort to bring, to say goodbye to that the (19)60s and the (19)70s? And go back to the (19)50s?

1:18:15
SM: Well, you know, it interests me enormously, that in that period that the right-wing Think Tanks got themselves together and decided that they had to have, I am not saying conspiratorially, but culturally decided that they had to have a strategy to combat what they call the excesses of the (19)60s. One of the reasons I think that we are in such doo doo today and the right is able to exert the power that it is, that it has, is because well, we were sort of figuring out: Well, what do we do next? The right path strategy, raised money, always was backed by money, had think tanks, recruited people and was able to develop itself into a dominant cultural force, with a, you know, national broadcast network, that is very hard for the more diverse Democrats to counter.

1:19:13
SM: Do you feel that is what is happening now with respect to when George Bush the second came in, and then of course, this first year and a half of President Obama, he is having a very hard time. Is this again, like the 1980s again? I mean, with these groups, kind of attacking that whole era, and the progress made and trying to bring that back to a conservative America?

1:19:38
JA: Well, I think they are, but I do not necessarily think that they are going to succeed. I mean, remember, Obama was, was elected on a gigantic majority vote. The vision that he put forward for America was a pretty progressive, liberal vision. Now for whatever reasons, he has not been able to implement that a lot of that has to do I think with the, with the power that the right-wing has amassed over these last thirty years. So, I do not look at this the (19)80s as a defining decade, I look at what happened in that, in the period after the (19)60s of the social forces that really helps define where we are at the present more than just the simple, simple decades. I mean, what do I remember the (19)80s? Disco? I mean ̶

1:20:25
SM: Well actually disco started in (19)76. So, some people think it might have just been going downhill ever since.

1:20:30
JA: Oh, yeah. Well, I was not impressed by the (19)80s at all.

1:20:36
SM: Couple, a quote here, “despite all the,” this is from you, “despite all the humane positive progressive values we passed on to our children. Our 1960s activism also gave them difficult stuff to work through and resent, rebel against.” And then you say this maybe, this is maybe the moment when our (19)60s gen. or generation chickens are coming home to roost in their own right. explain that a little further.

1:21:08
JA: You know I, is that in the Zayd Dohrn piece?

1:21:12
SM: I think so.

1:21:13
JA: Yeah, I, I guess this was just what I was doing there. I am in it, because I do not remember it very well, as you know, because I wrote it a while a while ago. But I think what I was what Zayd was reacting to were some of the excesses that he either witnessed or heard about. And it is certainly true, that Weatherman was one of the more extreme, if not the most extreme organization in my generation. And so that is probably what I meant about coming home, coming home to roost is the ultra-extremists, who raised children, then the children really in their own right to have to look at their parents and their parent’s activities with their own critical eye. And I think that ̶ that is what Zayd was reacting to, but you have got to understand, overall, someone like Zayd is very supportive of, and the play that I was writing about, is very supportive of things, things that happened in the (19)60s and the reasons the (19)60s people, like, his parents did what they did. It is just also that that, you know, people can go before, and I think that that is one of the one of the issues with Zayd. You know, if you, there is a book that was written by Thai Jones, and it is called a “Radical Line,” and his parents also were in the Weather Underground and it is interesting the way he approaches it. But the, how do you, how do children of the extreme (19)60s parents make, come to terms with what their parents did. And, again, it is one of those things where, overall, the reasons that people were fighting the experiments, fighting against the war, the experimentalism of LSD, and the counterculture, that was something that made it really the best time of our lives. And, and our children, I think they may be critical of us for, you know, going as far as we did, but they also appreciate and honor the reasons that we did it.

1:23:32
SM: Let me change my tape. Philadelphia, just outside about 35 miles from downtown Philly. When you look at the, do you like the term, the boomer generation? I have had different responses to that. And ̶

1:23:51
JA: No, I do not like it. I never actually identified ̶

1:23:54
SM: Would you call the generation born between (19)46, there might be a better term, whether we call the Vietnam generation, the Woodstock generation, the protest generation, how would you? What would be the perfect term for it? If it is not the boomers?

1:24:09
JA: I like, I like to protest generation. That is cool.

1:24:13
SM: So that is good, because that is, that is one of the one I was mentioning. Could you give me I do not expect you to tell me everything about Chicago, but just in your own words, what it was like as a person to be there.

1:24:27
JA: It was empowering.

1:24:28
SM: Yeah, just for me. Yes. Tell me for just a couple minutes here, what it was like to be in Chicago in 1968.

1:24:37
JA: It was an enormously empowering experience. And it is what I remember running and I am talking now, but in the, being in the middle of the riots, because there was a lot of other things going on as well. But I remember being in the park after permits had been denied and we have we had come up with a strategy. If we are going to leave, we will leave the mark. But we will leave slowly turning around. And looking behind me and seeing giant light. In front of which were, you can see swirls of tear gas and a line of cops marching toward us with, it looks like bayonets or guns. And it turned out and just looking at that and saying to myself, wow, what are they doing to us, and just, you know, running through the park running through the tear gas. Yet, I do not remember feeling afraid I as I say, I remember feeling enormous power that somehow, we had just to exercise our, you know, we wanted to sleep in the park and protests just to do that the, that the powers that be and the daily machine felt it necessary to call out these enormous forces. And I remember running by seeing Alan Ginsberg. In the park he was sitting in, in the circle with his acolytes and his friends and they were coming. And I could start to smell the tear gas coming behind me. And I said to myself, he is not going to stay there very long. And lo and behold, very soon, Allen also was running through the park, so the police totally, and Mayor Daley, totally, absolutely overreacted to us. And really a cause the police riot that interfered that did not allow us to simply peacefully protest our opposition to the war and to the conventions. I think in some ways that sets the standard for police brutalizing protesters from then on. And so, so and then you know, what, what would happen is we would run through the park we get, we inhaled the tear gas, and then Stew and I would go home and watch yourself on TV and make love. It was a wonderful time.

1:27:01
SM: He, one of the, one of the things that I think people do not realize that it was the Festival of Light, which was the term that was used by the yippies. That really, the, the hippies were more responsible for getting the people there than SDS because was not ̶ there was something about SDS did not want to be there in the beginning or so-

1:27:20
JA: Oh yeah, a lot of the major organizations did not want to be there. SDS was one, the Motherfuckers, who were the street fighting group from New York City was another because they, they felt you know, and perhaps rightly, that, there would be a bloodbath. But we felt that it was important enough to demonstrate to the delegates, that the war has to stop, and that they should not elect a pro-war, a pro-war candidate that we would go no matter what. And also, you know, there was, I always felt, and I guess, what Stew would call a naive optimist, but I always felt that they would give in that they would see the rightness of our way, of our ways. So-

1:28:07
SM: How many people were there? Were students ̶

1:28:10
JA: Between five and 15,000 at the most ̶

1:28:13
SM: Because I have read reports there were like 50,000 people there.

1:28:18
JA: No, fifteen, we were predicting, you know, 500 to half a million.

1:28:28
SM: And then once you, once everybody was there, that is where the organization leaders met for planning like Tom Hayden and Randy Davis and Dave Dellinger and that group ̶

1:28:39
JA: In the park? Well, there were all kinds of places people met in the park, they met in church basements, they met in the, the yippies would meet in the offices of the BB the underground newspaper, but most of the most of our time was actually spent in the park.

1:28:53
SM: And how did Stew get not, he was the unindicted What do you call it?

1:28:59
JA: Herder? Yeah.

1:28:59
SM: How come? How did he luck out?

1:29:03
JA: He was a journalist. They did not want to indict him because he always would say he was there reporting for the Barb which indeed he was. He always said by the way that I should have been indicted.

1:29:18
SM: Oh, really? Yeah. Actually, that might have been a sexist indictment because there were no females.

1:29:24
JA: If you look and see the other side, there are some women among the unindicted co-conspirators, but there is no women as either.

1:29:31
SM: Wow. Can you talk about your feelings when certain movement groups went violent? I know you have made some reference already to the SDS and the Weathermen and so forth. And you know, Gary Rubin in his book, “Do It,” which I read in during my graduate school summer. I always, I always liked that term, “do it,” because in my graduate test, we were always taught that people who stand up for their beliefs they have integrity because they know who they are. And they can take criticism. I remember I put Jerry Rubin in my master's thesis, because actually, you know, he could take it. He could stand up and he did it he could take it too. But how do you go from “do it,” which is basically making it happen to Malcolm's “by any means necessary,” which imply guns and violence. And I use these examples. We already talked about SDS to the weathermen. But the American Indian Movement was started out at Alcatraz ended up at Wounded Knee with violence, you get the Black Panthers with their guns. You have got some protesters on university campuses at Cornell with guns at (19)69, you had the Young Lords looked up to the Black Panthers in the Chicano movement, and they did the very same thing. And even in years later, and this has been critical within the gay and lesbian movement, the violence that took place in San Francisco in the 1970s after, or when, when Dan White got out of jail, I mean, there was massive violence. And some people are still paying the price from that. Just your thoughts on movements, and violence.

1:31:12
JA: You know, you have lumped together a lot of things that I do not need, think to be lumped together. For example, the case of the Panthers, the Panthers have been brutalized, folks in communities, other black communities have been brutalized by police for years, and years and years. And so, after a while, and I think Malcolm X, says this, and Frantz Fanon certainly is that they began to see themselves as a colonized people within the United States, and the only way to respond to being colonized is to adopt the violence of the oppressor. But you cannot take it out of the context of being oppressed. In the case of a Weatherman, you know, there have been marches and marches and demonstrations and marches and marches and demonstrations. And the war, the Vietnam War still went on there, let us be absolutely clear Weatherman, in its so-called violence, or what today might be called domestic terrorism never killed or targeted individual. Right, they blew up bathrooms, they blew up police stations, but they did not kill or target individuals. So, you have to when you talk about violence, you really ̶ I think have to define your terms and what you mean. And you also have to look at the context in which the reactive violence in terms of self-defense, which is the way it came, which is the way people were thinking, you have to look at the context and violence and, and, and resisting through self-defense as being very different than violence as a general overall category. I mean, here is an example. Right? The, the Tea Partiers are saying, Well, you know, we are going to resist, we are going to violently resist if we have to, the healthcare. Well excuse me, any violence that say Weathermen property damage, let us be clear, that Weathermen did was in response to children being napalmed and burned alive in Vietnam, the Tea Parties, the Tea Partiers are, are worried about children's getting with pre-existing conditions getting access to health care. I mean, you know, that is bizarre, that kind of violence is bizarre, I can understand people being driven to defend themselves in response to violence perpetrated against them.

1:33:50
SM: And so, this connection that we have been seeing, since President Obama ran for president, his friend, Bill Ayers, you know that he is a friend of a terrorist, that kind of, yeah. And I want, we all know, he is a great educator, anybody who is, who is aware of higher education, which I am and the ̶ Bill Ayer, I know how good he is and what he has written and, and how he was changed and a whole lot of other things. But, but still the, you see those generalizations out there?

1:34:21
JA: Right, well that is what I am talking about what I was talking about earlier about the power of the right to define the message, that is thirty years defining and refining their message and broadcasting it through talk radio and Fox News. So, they have an advantage and that is why people believe it. And even you know you, even if you read it filters, it filters into the mainstream, it filters into the New York Times. It filters into liberals and it sort of defines and rules the entire discourse for the right.

1:34:53
SM: When you look at the boomer generation as a whole and of course, 85 percent were probably not involved in any kind of activism, but I have always been on the belief that they were subconsciously affected by everything that happened. You could not be if you were alive and could not you have to be living in a cave someplace if you were not affected by someone, but it, could you give them strengths and weaknesses of the personalities that you knew of the people that were the boomer generation. Even if it means just those that were involved because someone was that told me I cannot define 78 million people. But ̶

1:35:31
JA: Well exactly, you know, I absolutely agree with that comment. I think I noticed that one of your questions was “please with the quality admire least in boomers.” And I go back to something I said earlier was that the naked pursuit of greed, the ultra-individualism? I think that those that is the qualities that I think are part of the boomer generation, I do not however, attribute that to the (19)60s. Yeah, you know, I am just wondering, it is almost quarter to five and much longer we are going to be.

1:36:10
SM: Oh, that is right, I did not even look at the clock. fifteen more minutes. Is that okay?

1:36:14
JA: All right. You are wearing me out here. But okay.

1:36:17
SM: I am almost, I am not going to ask you those names of all those personalities. I am not going to ask that. So, I have been cutting that off quite a bit lately, because I like the other answers. What were you responding to, again?

1:36:33
JA: The negative qualities of ̶

1:36:34
SM: Oh, yeah, there any ̶

1:36:38
JA: And also, in the (19)70s, you know, you had a bunch of these self-help movements and the extremes there, there was an enormous amount of self-involvement. movements like EST and things like, Well, I think it is very good for people to discover things about themselves, and what motivates them, if you can get to be extraordinarily self-involved and lose a sense of altruism that I think is an important part of life and being a good person.

1:37:06
SM: You co-wrote the Sixties Papers, which I think it is a great book. And I had, I have had this for a long time I got a really, I have had it for over twenty years. But what was your goal with this book project? And what were the final conclusions?

1:37:25
JA: Yeah, I as I told you, I have a PhD in sociology. And at the time, I was in school, I was teaching I think it was at Mills College, I was taking courses on the (19)60s, there was no textbook, I wanted people to be able to read the original sources to, so they could get a sense of what things were like, were over. And that book did not exist. And so, we, Stew and I, we filled a niche by writing it.

1:37:53
SM: The other thing you wrote a book on the conspiracy trial, which I do not have was that about the Chicago Eight?

1:37:59
JA: what it was, what it was, I was, for a while the office manager at the conspiracy trial. And what it was is an edited version of the trial transcripts. So, it was actually almost it is almost the entire file transcript, probably is the entire trial transcript. And that is what it is. I mean, there were a number of books that came out that portions of it later, but this was this was this one was the entire trial transcript.

1:38:23
SM: What year did that come out?

1:38:26
JA: Okay, hold on. I will go take a look. I am sure it is out of print now.

1:38:32
SM: Right. Was this a big book that had a black cover on it with? Well then, I do have it.

1:38:50
JA: Well, there you go it was 1970.

1:38:52
SM: Yeah, I do have it then. Because I have so many books. Oh, what was the Open Seven?

1:38:58
JA: The Open Seven were, seven young men here in the Bay Area who were involved. I believe in this in this demonstration stuff, the draft week. And I you know; I have written about it. And I do not have it at the top of my brain at the moment. But I think that General Hershey was, they were sort of facing off against General Hershey. And they were trying to get they were trying to organize the national demonstration, national stuff, the draft week, but then it there was this more, it was just a very big demonstration here in Berkeley. And I believe that they were trying to stop group training from the demonstration was attacked by the Hells Angels. And there is a lot of fighting ̶

1:39:44
SM: Yeah, because you have a view of a page on Steve Hamilton.

1:39:48
JA: Right. And so that and that would be where the Open Seven stuff would because he was one of them.

1:39:52
SM: Right. And he just recently passed away. What, I have three slogans here and I have asked this question to everybody. slogans that I think really symbolize the (19)60s and (19)70s, or the ̶ when boomers were young. Some people have mentioned one or two other ones and I mentioned those as well. The first one is, obviously Malcolm X’s “by any means necessary,” symbolizing a more radical approach may be a more violent approach depending on who you are talking to. The second one is the quote that from Bobby Kennedy, that was the Henry David Thoreau quote, “some men see things as they are an ask why I see things that never were and ask, why not,” which is really symbolizing the activist believing in justice, the against the war in Vietnam, that kind of an attitude. And the third one was more of a hippie kind of a mentality, which was the mentality of the Peter Max posters that came out in the early (19)70s. The slogan, “you do your thing, I will do mine. If by chance we should come together, it will be beautiful,” which was kind of a hippie mentality. And the fourth one that people have mentioned to me was the civil rights one, “we shall overcome.” Are there any quotes that you feel really are symbolic of the (19)60s and (19)70s that really are symbolic of the boomers when they were young?

1:41:17
JA: According to Eldridge, “you were either part of the solution or part of the problem.” There was, “hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” “Peace Now” was a very big deal. I think the famous hippie slogan was “rise up and abandon the creeping meatball.” Never really caught on. You know, the women's movement. I think “freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose” was very key, you know, from that from the Janis Joplin song was very key to our mentality.

1:41:59
SM: Yeah, and of course, the those are all great, though. None of those have come up before it all my interviews. And the other one was John Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” which was another important one, and then the “tune in, turn on, drop out” by Leary? When you think of ̶

1:42:18
JA: Turn on, it is actually “turn on tune in, drop out.”

1:42:21
SM: Right. When you look, when you think of the pictures of that era, because pictures are supposed to say 1000, more than 1000 words. What are the pictures that come to your mind? If someone had not read any textbooks, and they are looking at books, if you were looking at, I would say the (19)50s, (19)60s, (19)70s, and (19)80s, the pictures that may have been on front covers of magazines or in books, newspapers.

1:42:46
JA: Well, I think you know, the one that is the most is the guy pointing a gun at the head of the Vietnamese and shooting him. And then, and the napalm young naked Vietnamese. Girl running? Those are two that really stick in my mind. Certainly, the pictures of Chicago, or you know, the, the police beating people in the dark.

1:43:21
SM: There is the picture of the three athletes to the (19)68 Olympics too which was a big one.

1:43:27
JA: Now that yeah, that exact, that was certainly the whole bunch of the panda ̶ the picture of the Huey Newton poster with the bullet hole in the wall and the glass.

1:43:41
SM: There was the poster of him that said, “Free Huey,” I remember that one.

1:43:45
JA: He was sitting in the, actually Huey was suppose sitting in a chair. One of those wicker chairs.

1:43:55
SM: The other one was ̶

1:43:56
JA: There is a great picture of Stew and Jerry with the pig in front of the Chicago statue in in Chicago that you know, I do not it is probably not that well known but pretty iconic to me ̶

1:44:07
SM: Is that on a magazine?

1:44:10
JA: It is an Avedon. It is a Richard Avedon picture.

1:44:12
SM: Oh, wow. I did not see the ̶

1:44:14
JA: There is a Richard Avedon book, there is book called The Sixties, a big art book and you should look at that. And also, there is all the Emory, Emory Douglass’ cartoon from the Panther paper and Emory has a book out of cartoons or you know, another art book size books and there is a ton in there, you know, his cartoons of pigs with flies flying around them.

1:44:42
SM: Yeah, the other the other picture was the girl over the body at Kent State which is Mary Becky over Jeff Miller. Real quick question on the music. You know, Phil Ochs was very important. Paul mentioned something to me when I asked him what happened to Phil, he said he was in some sort of pain. He did not go in any detail. But he did say that Phil was a little sensitive that he did not become as big as Bob Dylan or, he did not become, you know, Was there some sort of sensitivity there?

1:45:15
JA: Yeah, Phil always felt that, you know if Dylan had not been around, Phil would have been at the top of the top.

1:45:22
SM: Of all the musicians that the yippies really, I am talking about the yippies now, you and Stew and and your peers, what were the musicians that you most admired. Music that you like the best that especially the ones that had the greatest words to their music.

1:45:39
JA: I would say Dylan, Dylan and Phil were definitely there. There, Cohen was there. Joan Baez was there. Carole King was there, Janis of course. The Stones, The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater,

1:45:58
SM: Right. When you think when the, the best books are written on the boomer generation, (19)60s, they got to talk about the (19)60s and (19)70s. What do you think historians and sociologists will say? Well, what are they going to write about this period when the last Boomer has passed away?

1:46:21
JA: Well, you know, you have that question on, you know, the big questions that you sent me and I looked at and I thought about it, and I said, you know, I am not a prophet. I cannot predict the future. I do not really know. I know what I would like them to say, but I, who knows what they actually will say so I think I am going to decline to answer that question.

1:46:42
SM: Alright. Can you in your own words, because you have to see, have had met a lot of people in your life, a lot of major people, first impressions are usually lasting. Now I think when you first met Stew that was lasting was not it? I am just, you do not have to go into any length here. But what was your first feeling when you met these people for the first time? Allen Ginsburg?

1:47:13
JA: He ignored me because I was a woman. He was not interested. You cannot blame them.

1:47:20
SM: Yeah, Tom Hayden.

1:47:26
JA: Tom was a very warm, warm hearted Irishman who just did not get the yippies.

1:47:34
SM: Timothy Leary.

1:47:38
JA: He stank.

1:47:42
SM: How about Jack Weinberg and Mario Savio?

1:47:46
JA: Mario I did not meet until later he always seemed like a very sweet guy. And Jack is the same, both of them, you know, Mario is gone. But Jack is here. So, I you know, my first impression is they are sweet guys. But I did not meet them till the (19)80s or so.

1:47:59
SM: How about Jerry Rubin?

1:48:02
JA: Interesting, exciting. Terrible dresser.

1:48:06
SM: Abbie Hoffman.

1:48:07
JA: [inaudible] clothes. Performance, intense performance. Handsome, attractive, charismatic, Jerry was charismatic too. But Abbie had a certain kind of charisma about him.

1:48:22
SM: How about Paul Krasner?

1:48:29
JA: Sweet baby face. Smart ̶

1:48:31
SM: Phil Ochs ̶

1:48:33
JA: Kind of sad. Kind of sad.

1:48:37
SM: William Kunstler.

1:48:40
JA: Bill was, Bill was terrific. Very flamboyant, very smart. The first time I met him he came down to the cellar at Liberty house and tried to evict us but then he changed his mind and we all smoked dope together. I got to know Bill really well. Also, handsome. Very handsome, man.

1:48:57
SM: Rennie Davis?

1:49:00
JA: Intense and intense, dedicated. And having that kind of old American, what is the word? I am, very old American. I will leave it as that.

1:49:23
SM: How about Bobby Seale?

1:49:25
JA: Funny. Charismatic, warm and with the ability to talk. I mean, if he is, if it been today, he would be a rapper.

1:49:39
SM: Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver.

1:49:41
JA: Eldridge was smart. Very intense. I am writing stuff about Eldridge and it will be on my website in a while. But he was smart, very intense, very persuasive. And with a very kooky kind of sense of humor. Kathleen was absolutely gorgeous like, looked like a model also extremely smart. And very also with a really kooky sense of humor and a nice belly laugh.

1:50:15
SM: I am actually interviewing her in the summer. She is finished. She is writing her book. She said the end of, mid-summer, she has done with her book. But so did you meet John Lennon because I know Stew did.

1:50:26
JA: No, I never did. I was doing something else at the time.

1:50:29
SM: Benjamin Spock.

1:50:32
JA: Never met him.

1:50:33
SM: Bergen brothers.

1:50:34
JA: Never met them.

1:50:35
SM: Howard Zinn.

1:50:36
JA: Never met him.

1:50:37
SM: Dave Dowager.

1:50:39
JA: Dave was a much beloved, kindly person who was very committed to his passive nonviolent civil disobedience.

1:50:50
SM: How about Malcolm Boyd?

1:50:52
JA: Never met him.

1:50:53
SM: Harvey Milk.

1:50:55
JA: Never met him.

1:50:56
SM: Jane Fonda.

1:50:57
JA: I like Jane, Jane was, you know, she was not your usual Hollywood type of person. She really was committed to the things that she believed in was willing to move ahead on them.

1:51:11
SM: I think it is Peter Coyote.

1:51:14
JA: Ah, I do not know. I mean, he was more, by the time I met him, he was more into the Hollywood superstar thing.

1:51:26
SM: Angela Davis.

1:51:30
JA: I do not know that I ever met her. She at one point. Kathleen was visiting my house in Toronto, Canada and FBI being racist, confused Angela with Kathleen. Kathleen with Angela. But I do not think I actually ever met her.

1:51:52
SM: And I only got two more questions, and I am done here. What does the Vietnam Memorial mean to you? And what kind of impact did Kent State and Jackson State have on you?

1:52:05
JA: Well, the Vietnam Memorial, I think was, I believe now I did not at the time when I visited. But now that Stew’s dead I have a much better and more heartfelt understanding of why it is important to have a living memorial that we can go and actually commune with the dead person. I did not understand that, you know, I had not had experience with death. I did not understand that at the time it was still, and at the time that I visited, but I certainly do now. So, what it means to me is that it is a place where you can go and visit your ghost, you know, and the ghosts are always with you. And you need to have a place to be able to go and, and visit with them. And what was the second?

1:52:52
SM: Kent State, what did the Kent State and Jackson State killings in 1970. What ̶

1:53:00
JA: I remember being on television, being interviewed on TV show shortly after Kent State. And it was that was occurred shortly after I had come back from Vietnam. And I remember saying to the audience, something to the effect of the Vietnamese people are very sorry for your loss and extend their sympathies to you. And that was kind of a shock. I say to everyone, but it is true. The Vietnamese people, the people that I met anyway, were very sad. When anyone got killed as a result of the war

1:53:45
SM: Where were you when John Kennedy was killed? You remember?

1:53:49
JA: I was married to my first husband living on the top floor of a house in Toronto.

1:53:57
SM: Were you watching TV or ̶

1:53:59
JA: We did not have a TV. I heard it on the radio.

1:54:02
SM: And how about where were you when you heard Martin Luther King was killed.

1:54:07
JA: Well, I do not know. I do not remember where I was when I heard he was killed. But I do remember that that evening Eldridge and Stew and I spent that evening together.

1:54:20
SM: Oh, you were with Eldridge. Oh, wow.

1:54:23
JA: I think Eldridge needed to hide out because there were all kinds of everything was going up in flames. And he did not know he was on parole, and he did not want to be in a position where he was caught, of course like six days later, or he was caught with Bobby so it was irrelevant but-

1:54:39
SM: Yeah, Bobby Kennedy gave that unbelievable speech in Indianapolis that night. Of course, then he died two months later. So, I am going to end like, I, I was talking to you about the people when you met them for the first-time people that you liked, I just like your thoughts on the personalities that I think you dislike. This is just my feeling. Just your thoughts on these few people here. Ronald does not have to be any length at all here, just real gut level reaction. Ronald Reagan

1:55:11
JA: Hated him.

1:55:12
SM: Ed Meese.

1:55:14
JA: Was not really, you know, until, until Watergate, until Nixon. He was not really a figure but it I hated him too. When it became obvious as to who he was, I am sure, by the way, they both hated us. Us being the movement.

1:55:34
JA: Richard Nixon.

1:55:36
JA: Please.

1:55:37
SM: That is all I have to ̶ okay. And Spiro Agnew.

1:55:40
JA: Please.

1:55:41
SM: LBJ.

1:55:43
JA: “Hey, how many kids that you kill LBJ,” although, I have to say that LBJ, I am now as a recipient of Medicare, I have to admit to conflicted feelings about LBJ. He did some good stuff.

1:55:57
SM: Hubert Humphrey.

1:56:00
JA: You know, the slogan there was “dump the hump.” I mean he ̶ we knew that he was going to continue the war and so therefore I did not, I dislike him immensely.

1:56:11
SM: George Bush is the first and George Bush the second.

1:56:14
JA: These people are, continue in the tradition of sending Americans to die in unjust and unnecessary wars and for that I believe they are despicable, as a matter of fact all these people go on my despicable list.

1:56:31
SM: Yeah, Dwight Eisenhower, is he on it?

1:56:35
JA: Well, you know, it is funny, I once was visiting somewhere in Denmark and he was there and or maybe he was there and he was sort of visiting the same castle together so I always have had had a slight bit of more of a positive feeling and also for really, for his identification of the military industrial complex as something to be concerned about.

1:56:58
SM: John Mitchell.

1:57:00
JA: Oh, terrible man. terrible man.

1:57:03
SM: J. Edgar Hoover.

1:57:08
JA: J. Edgar Hoover was personally responsible for harassing and surveilling me and Stew, and all of our contemporaries, for setting up potential concentration camps to put us in. And for you know, killing the Rosenberg, for setting up Mayor Daley to believe the yippie exaggerations. So, the man was evil. I would say J. Edgar Hoover was evil.

1:57:39
SM: Did you feel there was a, because I know COINTELPRO was really big back then, of course, they were really going through the American Indian Movement. And certainly, the Black Panthers and SDS and Mobe. And they were, what is it about? Is, do you fear that that is ongoing today?

1:58:00
JA: Well, you know, the FBI, under COINTELPRO put a homing device on my car, burglarized our house and the cabin eight times and then installed a listening device for seventeen days. These were all illegal, the fiscal responsible, the one on the top being L. Patrick Gray, where I would say removed from office and disciplined although they were never jailed or anything like that, everything that the FBI did to us, and I have piles of surveillance files on everything that the FBI did to us. The homing device, the burglaries, the listening device, are now entirely legal under FISA and the Patriot Act.

1:58:44
SM: Well and you can go down and get your files anytime you want to cannot you in Washington or?

1:58:47
JA: We did that actually, when we, when I found the homing device. We sued the FBI and we got tons of files there now on repository at the lab data collection at the University of Michigan.

1:59:01
SM: Wow. Someone said I ought to get my file. I never even looked. Mayor John Daley

1:59:08
JA: You mean Richard Daley?

1:59:09
SM: I mean, Richard Daley, excuse me.

1:59:10
JA: The argument he gave me in the sun. I mean, well, Richard Daley was a racist, an anti-Semite. And he allowed himself to be essentially wired by Hoover, so that he would overreact to us. Daley, I do believe if Daley had granted us permit a lot of violence to sleep in the park. A lot of the violence in Chicago would have been avoided. Instead, he adopted the most aggressive stance that he could and just gave his police force free reign to beat demonstrators.

1:59:51
SM: I will never forget the senator that was calling him a Gestapo head. Well ̶

1:59:55
JA: And then you know what Daley, you know, and you know what Daley said back?

1:59:59
SM: No, I do not know what he said.

2:00:01
JA: Something like you Jew bastard son of a bitch.

2:00:04
SM: Yeah, I forget the senators name from Connecticut, I think. Robert McNamara.

2:00:10
JA: You know where you can find it in my book the Conspiracy Trial because it was brought out in the trial.

2:00:13
SM: Robert McNamara.

2:00:17
JA: Hated him because of the war.

2:00:19
SM: Henry Kissinger.

2:00:20
JA: That is the same.

2:00:21
SM: Haldeman and Ehrlichman.

2:00:24
JA: They got what they deserved.

2:00:26
SM: Governor Nelson Rockefeller because he oversaw Attica.

2:00:30
JA: Yeah, well, he was the murder of murderer as well.

2:00:33
SM: Barry Goldwater.

2:00:36
JA: Well, you know, Barry Goldwater’s a little interesting because he was pro-choice. And he actually hosted events for Planned Parenthood at his home. So, there is a little ambivalence.

2:00:50
SM: And William Buckley.

2:00:53
JA: William Buckley, you know, was an articulate right wing, son of a bitch.

2:00:59
SM: And I did not ask you your thoughts on the women's movement, which was certainly Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan, your thoughts on those leaders in the early years?

2:01:11
JA: Well, some of that, you know, if you look in the Sixties Papers, we wrote about that in the introduction, the women's movement, segments of the Sixties Papers, but, you know, they came along, they were more the mainstream women's movements. And what I grew up in and my contemporaries was women's liberation, which is more radical. And our view essentially was, if black people can have a liberation movement, and the Vietnamese can have a liberation movement, and Chicanos can have a liberation movement, then we too, as women, we are oppressed, and we also can be liberated. I was glad that the Steinem’s and the Friedan’s of the world, were able to take these concepts and make them more mainstream, so more and more women benefited. At the time, we were critical because we felt that they were the middle of the road.

2:02:02
SM: I just realized that Betty Friedan brings, the people in the gay and lesbian movement just cannot stand her because she was homophobic. So, and that is a real sensitive issue when you bring up her name. I am going to end right now, except I want, I had, I did not ask the final question here, which is what have you been doing all these past years? I know you are involved in Planned Parenthood, what causes have you have been involved in since the yippies.

2:02:29
JA: I would say the Planned Parenthood, I worked for Planned Parenthood for over twenty years as a fundraiser. And so, the causes that I have been primarily involved in has been choice and reproductive rights. And I actually raised have raised millions of dollars for those causes, and I am very proud of that. I consider that a very important life achievement. I also for a number of years, was involved in two states solution in Israel and ending the Israeli occupation, and I am currently living in the cohousing community and I am very much involved in cohousing and people living in community with the intention of building community. It is a very different kind of lifestyles than I have lived before but certainly is way, way better than the way most people live in isolated nuclear families. We do have a community, we support each other, we care for each other. And it is very, cohousing is a very wonderful institution that I have only just in the last few years become aware of.

2:03:39
SM: Is your new husband as active as your former husband?

2:03:44
JA: Well, he was involved in founding this cohousing community. And what he does as a living, he is a financial planner for socially responsible investing. So, what that means is essentially he is part of the movement to look at corporations and make them more responsible to environmental concerns, to women's concern, to the consumer, to, to the concerns that any progressive person would support.

2:04:14
SM: Where did you get your PhD?

2:04:16
JA: University of Toronto.

2:04:20
SM: I am done. Are there any questions? I did not ask that you thought I was going to ask.

2:04:24
JA: No. But you wiped me out.

2:04:29
SM: I tell you, what an honor to, to interview you. And I will keep you abreast of all the, the transcripts when they become available. You will see it.

2:04:38
JA: Well please do. I would appreciate transcripts. I would also actually appreciate a copy of the tape of the interview.

2:04:44
SM: Oh, you want a copy of that too? Very good. Well, okay, well, we will be in touch and as far as getting some pictures of you. I do not need them right now but sometime during the summer I would like a couple pictures.

2:04:59
JA: Well, well. I would like to say and pick anything you want from the website. And there is one of me that is supposed to come on my email. I do not know if it does, but it is on my Facebook page.

2:05:08
SM: Okay, anybody, have anybody, got a whole list of names that Paul gave me to try to interview. So, if you think of any other names, let me know, because ̶

2:05:18
JA: You know, I mean, I, I too have a whole list of names. So, you know, if you are looking for what I suggest is if you are looking for people of a certain type, you know, you need a person who can do this and you need a person who can do that, shoot me an email and I will ̶

2:05:31
SM: I would like more female speakers. That is what I like, more women.

2:05:41
JA: Yeah, well, I am not sure I, you know, I like to say my brain is fried by now. But if I think of any I will, I will let you know.

2:05:49
SM: Alright. Well, thank you very much. You have a great day.

2:05:51
JA: Yeah, you too. Take care.

2:05:53
SM: Yep. Bye now.

(End of Interview)

Date of Interview

2010-04-13

Interviewer

Stephen McKiernan

Interviewee

Albert, Judith Clavir, 1943-

Biographical Text

Dr. Judy Gumbo Albert is a Canadian-born activist who was associated with many organizations such as the Yippies, Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, and The Women's Liberation Movement. She married Stew Albert, a political activist, who was a founder of the Yippies. Dr. Gumbo Albert has a Ph.D. in Sociology.

Duration

2:05:57

Language

English

Digital Publisher

Binghamton University Libraries

Digital Format

audio/mp4

Material Type

Sound

Interview Format

Audio

Subject LCSH

Political activists--United States;
Albert, Judith Clavir, 1943--Interviews

Rights Statement

This audio file and digital image may only be used for educational purposes. Please cite as: McKiernan Interviews, Special Collections, Binghamton University Libraries, Binghamton University, State University of New York. For usage beyond fair use please contact the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections for more information.

Keywords

Yippies; Women's Rights Movement; Vietnam War; Protests; Social activism; Black Panthers; Children; Environmentalism; Counterculture; SDS; Weathermen; Baby boom generation; Surveillance.

Files

Judy Gumbo Albert (1).jpg

Citation

“Dr. Judy Gumbo Albert,” Digital Collections, accessed December 7, 2021, https://omeka.binghamton.edu/omeka/items/show/864.