The En_psychlopedia of Chicago
The En_Psychlopedia is an imprecise, subjective, and incomplete look at events, people, places, and things that relate to 1968. Chicago and many cities of the world had some intense socio-political occurrences that shaped the micro- and macro-politics and culture that resonate today. Want to know more about the 60s and the role Chicago figures had in shaping some world events? Then start Googling what we have listed here, and maybe try to read a book sometime.
American Friends Service Committee
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was founded in 1917 by members of the Religious Society of Friends in the United States, in order to provide young Quakers and other conscientious objectors to war with an opportunity to perform a service of love in wartime.
In October 1966, Oakland, California, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and others founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. The Panthers practiced militant self-defense of minority communities against the U.S. government, and fought to establish revolutionary socialism through mass organizing and community-based programs. The party was one of the first organizations in U.S. history to militantly struggle for ethnic minority and working class emancipation to such a national degree. Their agenda was the revolutionary establishment of real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines.
In November 1968, Fred Hampton founded the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party. He immediately established a community service program. This included the provision of free breakfasts for schoolchildren, and a medical clinic that did not charge patients for treatment. Hampton also taught political education classes and instigated a community control of police project. He was supported by many men and women.
One of Hampton’s greatest achievements was to persuade Chicago’s most powerful street gangs to cease fire, for a time. In May 1969, Hampton held a press conference where he announced a nonaggression pact between the gangs, and the formation of what he called a “rainbow coalition” (a multiracial alliance of black, Puerto Rican, and poor youth). (Source: marxist.org)
The Brown Berets were a Chicano nationalist activist group of young Mexican Americans, during the Chicano Movement in the late sixties and throughout the seventies. Modeled after the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, the Young Lords, Anti-war Movement(s), Cesar Chavez and the Farm Workers Movement, Rodolfo Corky Gonzales, Reies Tijerina, and Revolutionary movements around the world, the Brown Berets were seen as part of the Third Movement for Liberation. They focused on community organizing against police brutality and were in favor of educational equality.
In 1968, a Chicago Chapter started up, and in 1972, they set up Benito Juarez Health Clinic, to offer free medical to all people located throughout the Chicago area.
The medical center was open to the public four days a week, from noon until after 11pm. The community knew of its existence through word of mouth. Each day it would handle up to a hundred medical cases, and the only question asked of any patient was their name.
The Chicago Seven (originally the Chicago Eight) were defendants charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and other charges related to anti-Vietnam War protests that took place in Chicago, Illinois on the occasion of the 1968 Democratic Convention.
The original eight protesters indicted by the grand jury on March 20, 1969, were Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale (who later had his trial severed). The defense attorneys were William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass of the Center for Constitutional Rights. The judge was Julius Hoffman, the prosecutors Richard Schultz and Tom Foran. The trial began on September 24, 1969, and on October 9, the United States National Guard was called in for crowd control as demonstrations grew outside the courtroom.
Conrad Hilton Hotel
In 1968, the Democratic National Convention took place at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago. During the ensuing riot, the hotel’s doors were locked for the first time in its history, yet it still suffered minor damage when street-level windows gave way under the weight of hundreds of protesters.
In 1968, and probably since the late fifties, the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover pushed a program called COINTELPRO, to break up the spreading unity of revolutionary groups. To destroy the party, the FBI began with a program of surgical assassinations: killing leading members who they knew could not be otherwise subverted. Following these mass shootings, there would be a series of arrests and a program of psychological warfare designed to split the party both politically and morally. Targeted groups included the Black Panthers, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Brown Berets, Students for a Democratic Society, SNCC, SCLC, the Poor People’s March, Cesar Chavez and the farm labor movement, the American Indian Movement, the Young Puerto Rican Brothers, the Young Lords, and many others.
In 1968, protests erupted at Columbia University after students discovered links between the university and the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War, as well as their concern over an allegedly segregatory gymnasium to be constructed in a local park. The protests resulted in the student occupation of many university buildings, and the protestors’ eventual violent removal by New York City Police. This particular revolt became a blueprint for further student actions and occupations all over the world.
Daley, Richard J.
Mayor Daley served for twenty-one years as the undisputed Democratic boss of Chicago, and is considered by historians to be the “last of the big city bosses.” He played a major role in the history of the Democratic Party, especially with his support of John F. Kennedy in 1960, and Hubert Humphrey in 1968.
The year 1968 was a momentous year for Daley. In April, Daley was castigated by many for his sharp rhetoric in the aftermath of rioting that took place after Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. Displeased with what he saw as an overly cautious police response to the rioting, Daley chastised Police Superintendent James B Conlisk, and subsequently related that conversation at City Hall press conference as follows: “I said to him, very emphatically and very definitely, that an order be issued by him immediately to shoot to kill any arsonist or anyone with a Molotov cocktail in his hand, because they are potential murderers, and to shoot to maim or cripple anyone looting.”
Daley was the third mayor in a row from the heavily Irish American Bridgeport working-class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.
Rennie Davis (born Rennard Cordon Davis, 1941) was a prominent American anti-Vietnam War protest leader of the 1960s. He was one of the Chicago Seven. Davis was National Director of community organizing programs like the Economic Research and Action Project (ERAP, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan), a project of Students for a Democratic Society (SCDS). Davis, along with Tom Hayden, organized anti-war demonstrations in Chicago for the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (The Mobe) during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
David Dellinger (1915-2004) was a pacifist and activist for nonviolent social change, and one of the most influential American radicals in the 20th century. He was most famous for being one of the Chicago Seven.
Democratic National Convention
The 1968 Democratic Convention, held August 26th—29th, stands as an important event in the nation’s political and cultural history. The divisive politics of the convention, brought about by the Vietnam War policies of President Johnson, prompted the Democratic Party to completely overhaul its rules for selecting presidential delegates, thus opening up the political process to millions.
The Diggers were a radical community-action group of improv actors operating from 1966-68 in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. Their politics were such that they sometimes have been categorized left-wing. More accurately, they were “anarchists who blended a desire for freedom with a consciousness of the community.” They were closely associated with and shared a number of members with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and in their later years inspired Yippie activism. Their term “media-freaking” was a tactic of committing absurdist, gratuitous acts that were carefully crafted to obtain maximum publicity. Which they did.
East Side Survival Organization
The East Side Survival Organization (ESSO) did most of the local hippie and hardcore political organizing in the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the late 60s. Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, and others helped organize the Democratic Convention protests and the Festival of Life while working with this group.
Festival of Life
Yippie theatrics culminated at the 1968 Democratic Party Convention in Chicago. Here the Yippies planned a six-day Festival of Life: a celebration of the counterculture and a protest against the state of the nation. This was supposed to counter the “Convention of Death” (a.k.a. the Democratic Convention.) The event promised to be the “blending of pot and politics into a political grass leaves movement—a cross-fertilization of the hippie and New Left philosophies.” These sensational pre-convention statements were part of the theatrics, and included a tongue-in-cheek threat to put L.S.D. in Chicago’s water supply. “We will fuck on the beaches!. . . We demand the Politics of Ecstasy!. . . Abandon the Creeping Meatball!. . . And all the time: ‘Yippie!” First on a list of Yippie demands: an immediate end to the war in Vietnam.
The FBI freaked it.
A satirical and self-satirizing rock band with a political slant, the Fugs performed at various protests against the Vietnam War. The band’s often frank and almost always humorous lyrics about sex, drugs, and politics have caused a sometimes hostile reaction in some quarters.
Their participation in a protest against the Vietnam War, in which they reportedly attempted to encircle and levitate the Pentagon, is chronicled in Norman Mailer’s novel Armies of the Night.
Dick Gregory is an influential African American comic who used his performance skills to convey his political message on civil rights to both white and black audiences. In 1968, Gregory unsuccessfully ran for President of the United States as a write-in candidate of the Freedom and Peace Party, which had broken off from the Peace and Freedom Party. He won 47,097 votes, including one from Hunter S. Thompson, with fellow activist Mark Lane as his running mate.
Thomas Emmet Hayden (born December 11, 1939) is an American social and political activist and politician, most famous for his involvement in the antiwar and civil rights movements of the 1960s. He was a part of the Chicago Seven. Hayden also made several high profile trips as a peace activist to Cambodia and North Vietnam during America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, including an especially controversial one in 1972 with his future wife, Jane Fonda.
Heads and the Fists
A term used to describe the division between the cultural-free-love-types and the political-hard-ass-types.
Abbot Howard “Abbie” Hoffman (1936-1989) was a social and political activist who co-founded the Youth International Party (“Yippies”). Hoffman was part of the Chicago Seven.
The International Amphitheatre was an indoor arena located in Chicago, just west of Halsted Street at 43rd Street. It was adjacent to the Union Stock Yards, and built in the 1930s after a 1920s fire destroyed Dexter Park. The Amphitheatre hosted several national political conventions, including the 1968 Democratic Convention. That would be the last one the space would ever host.
Illinois State Guard
In 1968, the State Guard was called out many times, especially in August.
JOIN Community Union
The JOIN Community Union was an organization that sought to unite community to fight for workers’ rights, tenants’ rights, welfare recipients’ rights, and improved public schools and parks.
The Kerner Report is the 1968 report of a federal government commission that investigated urban riots in the United States. It was released after seven months of investigation by the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, and took its name from the Commission Chairman, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed the commission on July 28, 1967, while rioting was still underway in Detroit, Michigan. The long, hot summers since 1965 had brought riots in the black sections of many major cities, including Los Angeles (1965), Chicago (1966), and Newark (1967). Johnson charged the commission with analyzing the specific triggers for the riots, the deeper causes of the worsening racial climate of the time, and potential remedies.
The commission presented its findings in 1968, concluding that urban violence reflected the profound frustration of inner-city blacks, and that racism was deeply embedded in American society. The report’s most famous passage warned that the United States was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” The commission marshalled evidence on an array of problems that fell with particular severity on African Americans, including not only overt discrimination but also chronic poverty, high unemployment, poor schools, inadequate housing, lack of access to health care, and systematic police bias and brutality.
The report recommended sweeping federal initiatives directed at improving education and employment opportunities, public services, and housing in black and urban neighborhoods, and also called for a “national system of income supplementation.” The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. pronounced the report a “physician’s warning of approaching death, with a prescription for life.” By 1968, however, Richard M. Nixon had gained the presidency through a conservative white backlash that insured that the Kerner Report recommendations would be largely ignored. (source: Africa Online)
Liberation News Service
The Liberation News Service (LNS) was a leftist alternative news service which published news bulletins from 1967 to 1981.
Lake Villa Conference
A MOBE conference in Lake Villa, Illinois on March 22-23, 1968 united MOBE, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and Yippie activists to plan the convention demonstrations.
The New Left were the left-wing movements in different countries in the 1960s and 1970s that, unlike the earlier leftist focus on union activism, adopted a broader definition of political activism commonly called social activism. The U.S. “New Left” is associated with college campus mass protest movements and radical leftist movements. The British “New Left” was an intellectually driven movement that attempted to correct the perceived errors of “Old Left” parties post-WWII. These movements began to wind down in the 1970s, when activists either committed themselves to party projects, developed social justice organizations, moved into identity politics or alternative lifestyles, or became politically inactive.
Herbert Marcuse was the most important theoretician of the time.
National Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam
The National Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE) was a relatively short-lived coalition of antiwar activists, formed in 1967 to organize large demonstrations in opposition to the Vietnam War. MOBE was formed following the Spring Mobilization Conference in Washington, DC (May 20-21, 1967), a gathering of 700 antiwar activists called to evaluate anti-war demonstrations in New York City and San Francisco, and to chart a future course for the antiwar movement. The conference set another antiwar action for the fall of 1967 and created the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam to plan it.
MOBE planned a large demonstration for Washington, DC on October 21, 1967. This demonstration was a rally at West Potomac Park, near the Lincoln Memorial, and a march to the Pentagon, where another rally would be held in the parking lot, followed by civil disobedience on the steps of the Pentagon itself. The action was known as the “March on the Pentagon,” and the intent thereof was to exorcise the evil within the Pentagon until the building levitated. Abbie Hoffman claimed levitation was achieved around 3am on October 22, 1967.
The initial rally drew some 100,000 people, with about 35,000 marching and participating in the second rally at the Pentagon. About 800 people were arrested for civil disobedience on the steps of the Pentagon.
Following the Pentagon demonstration, Mobe began discussing and planning for demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
The Chicago branch was a New Left film production and distribution group headquartered at 2770 N. Lincoln Avenue. Several films covered Chicago 1968, including Summer 68 and Yippie.
Old Town is a neighborhood just outside of Lincoln Park, one site of Yippie action and Democratic convention hotels. At the time, Old Town was the center of the hip and hippie scene. Yippie fliers were often used to recruit the heads hanging out in this neighborhood.
Carl Oglesby is a writer, academic, and political activist. He was president of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) during the term 1965-1966.
At the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the Yippies nominated a pig for president, with the campaign pledge: “They nominate a president and he eats the people. We nominate a president and the people eat him.” This porcine political maneuver was the brainchild of Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. The Chicago Police Department arrestsed the pig.
“Think for yourself, and question authority” – Timothy Leary (1968)
Rising Up Angry
In 1969, Rising Up Angry was an alternative newspaper published by SDS members working in the Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The group involved in Rising Up Angry would later co-launch the Intercommunal Survival Committee, with the purpose of supporting the Black Panther Party and better living conditions in Uptown.
Edited by Paul Krassner, The Realist was a pioneering magazine in the American countercultural press of the mid-20th century. The Realist is often regarded as a major milestone in the underground press.
Bobby Seale (born Oct. 22, 1936 in Dallas, Texas) is American civil rights activist who, along with Dr. Huey P. Newton and others, founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in 1966. Bobby Seale was one of the original “Chicago Eight.” During the trial, one of Seale’s many outbursts led the judge to have him bound and gagged.
Students for a Democratic Society
The organization that really came to symbolize the core of the New Left was Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). In 1962, Tom Hayden wrote The Port Huron Statement, the founding document that issued a call for “participatory democracy” based on nonviolent civil disobedience. SDS marshaled anti-war, pro-civil rights, and free speech concerns on college campuses, and managed to bring liberals and more revolutionary leftists together. As opposition to the war grew stronger, SDS became a nationally prominent political organization. In 1968 and 1969, as its radicalism reached a fever pitch, SDS began to split under the strain of internal dissension and increasing turns towards Maoism. Along with adherents known as the New Communist Movement, some extremist illegal factions also emerged, such as the Weather Underground organization.
A teach-in is a method of nonviolent protest, first employed against the U.S. government’s involvement in Vietnam. The idea was inspired by Marshall Sahlins, who taught anthropology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The idea was to allow a forum for opposition towards the war. Students and faculty would meet at night in university facilities to argue, ask questions, challenge assumptions, and learn. Teach-ins were responsible for activating youth in Chicago prior to the Democratic Convention.
The phrase “underground press” was originally used in reference to the alternative print media independently published, distributed, and associated with the countercultural movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In another meaning, it refers to illegal publications under oppressive governments (“samizdat bibila”). The Chicago Seed and Rising Up Angry were two prominent underground papers originating in Chicago during the 60s and 70s.
The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, the Vietnam Conflict, and, in Vietnam, the American War, occurred from March 1959 to April 1975. The war was fought between the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and its communist allies and the U.S.-supported Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).
Throughout the conflict, the less equipped and trained Vietcong fought a guerilla war, while North Vietnamese soldiers fought a conventional war against U.S. forces. The United States used overwhelming firepower in artillery and aircraft to grind down offensives and potential Vietcong bases. Huey helicopters played a particularly decisive role in air-lifting supplies and were later “upgraded” with rockets and machine guns.
Weatherman, known colloquially as the Weathermen and later the Weather Underground Organization, was an American radical left group formed in 1969 by leaders and members who split from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). They took their name (“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”) from the Bob Dylan song “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” Their founding document called for the establishment of a “white fighting force,” to be allied with the “Black Liberation Movement” and other “anti-colonial” movements, and to achieve the destruction of U.S. imperialism and a classless world: world communism. The group’s first public demonstration was the “Days of Rage,” an October 8, 1969 rally in Chicago that was coordinated with the trial of the Chicago Eight.
The Youth International Party was a highly theatrical and anti-authoritarian political party established in the United States in 1967. An offshoot of the free speech and anti-war movements of the 1960s, the Yippies presented a more radically youth-oriented and countercultural alternative. They employed theatrical gestures to mock the social status quo. Since they were best known for street theatre and politically-themed pranks, many of the “old school” political Left either ignored or denounced them. One Communist newspaper in the U.S. derisively referred to them as “Groucho Marxists.”
In the 1960s, the Young Lords emerged as a political organization in Chicago. While in prison, Jose (Cha Cha) Jimenez met Fred Hampton and other Black Panther Party members. They discussed the exploitation and oppression of Latinx, African Americans, and poor people in the United States. Once released, Cha Cha took what he learned to the Young Lords, a well-known Chicago street gang, together they developed into an organization committed to human rights and the liberation of Puerto Rico.
The Young Lords believed that institutions in the community should be held accountable to the people they were established to serve. Neglect and unresponsiveness led the Young Lords to take direct action to bring attention to deplorable economic, social, and political conditions existing in poor Latinx communities across the United States. (Source: Latin Education Network Service)
The Young Patriots Organization of the United States, originally lead by Jack “Junebug” Boykin, and later, William “Preacher Man” Fesperman. The Young Patriots was a highly political organization of Appalachian youth in the 1960s and 1970s that allied itself with Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party and Cha Cha Jimenez of the Young Lords Organization. (Together these groups helped to form the Rainbow Coalition in several U.S. cities.) The Young Patriots originated in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, wore a rebel confederate flag on their blue jean jackets and berets, and fought against racism, police brutality, and housing discrimination.
Zippie is a term used to describe a person who does something for nothing, i.e. zip. Any supporter of free culture, free food, free books, or free software is a zippie. Zippies reached international prominence during the 1972 Democratic National Convention, held in Miami Beach, Florida, when the term was silk-screened on t-shirts and worn by counter-culture activists and other groups working to end US involvement in the Vietnam War. In subsequent years, Zippie became a term used to a 1990s technoperson, i.e. not a yuppie (or a yippie!).