Follow by Email

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies Invade the New York Stock Exchange

I don't normally share stories like these from Castles because...well...most people are not as dorky as I am and they would rather listen to music than read about the crazy antics of my beloved Abbie Hoffman. But in light of everything that is currently going on with the Wall Street Take Over forty-four years later, I decided to give everyone a look back at the first take over on Wall Street. Ok...it wasn't much of a take over...just a few yippies...but it was enough to make the point...and to provoke The New York Stock Exchange to put in the Plexiglas that now guards against any invasions today... First we will start with the part of Castles that talks about this particular incident:
'On August twenty fourth Abbie made the news with his biggest stunt up to that time. He got some of the yippies together and they went right into the New York Stock Exchange armed with fistfuls of paper money. Once they had reached the top of the room they tossed the paper money down at the money hungry brokers who played right into their trick when they all scrambled to investigate it. The message was so clear that even the right wingers didn’t need an interpretation. ‘Look at yourselves, capitalist America. Look at how foolish you have become!’ It was fucking brilliant and all of us hippies and yippies ate it up! Of course Plexiglas was installed soon after to prevent anything like that from happening again but it didn’t matter. The damage had already been done.'
 And here is an article I found talking about the incident on August 24th, 2010:

Today (Aug. 24) in 1967, traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange suddenly found a much faster way of making money: picking it up off the floor. The rain of dollar bills onto the trading floor was a theatrical protest organized by social and political activist Abbie Hoffman and fellow members of the Youth International Party, or Yippies.
Although the radical, anti-authoritarian Youth International Party wasn’t officially formed until December of 1967, the agenda of the party was already being established through protests such as these. Yippies became known for mocking the political establishment and the social status quo through pranks and street theater, leading some to refer to them as “Groucho Marxists.”
The protest at the New York Stock Exchange was no exception. The group, consisting of Hoffman, James Fourrat, and about a dozen others, had gone through the proper channels and scheduled a tour of the exchange. When they arrived, however, the security staff became suspicious due to the attire of some of the group members. The presence of a large number of reporters and photographers at the exchange on this particular day only increased the security staff’s nervousness.
Informing the group that staging any kind of protest would be unacceptable, the head of security asked for a name before he would allow them to progress further. Fourrat introduced himself as George Metesky and the rest of the group as the East Side Service Organization.
Had the head of security been more informed in regards to New York City history, he would’ve stopped the group right there. Metesky, better known as the Mad Bomber, planted bombs throughout the city during the 1940s and ‘50s in retaliation for a workplace injury he suffered. The East Side Service Organization was also a reference, in this case to John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil company.
Instead, the group was escorted to the observation gallery above the trading floor, where they immediately began throwing dollar bills at the traders below. Hoffman later claimed that they threw over 300 dollar bills; others estimate the number at around 30 or 40.
The protesters were having a ball, laughing as they flung the money, but the reaction from the traders was mixed. Some laughed and waved, others were angered by the interruption, and still others were too busy pocketing the money to display much emotion.
Hoffman, Fourrat, and their cohorts were quickly removed from the building, in spite of Hoffman’s explanation that they were merely depicting in more concrete terms what the traders were already doing.
The protest may not have changed the nation’s capitalist mindset or cracked down on greed and corruption within the financial industry, but it did effect one important change. The New York Stock Exchange spent $20,000 to enclose the observation gallery with bulletproof glass in hopes of avoiding similar events in the future.

The link to that article: 
And last but not least, Abbie explaining in his own words how Yippie tactics worked:
For those of you who thought that taking over Wall Street was a new concept....Now you know... :)

4 comments:

  1. Great connection! "The more things change..."

    And boy, does "The East Side Service Organization" take me back to the days before the Exxon brand replaced the Esso, Enco, and Humble brands!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Man, it was such a pain in the ass to find anything to go with this. There are no pictures on yahoo, nothing on youtube....I would have liked something more than what I found but I suppose it painted the picture well enough. lol

    ReplyDelete
  3. You did fine, Miss Perfectionist. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hahaha My beloved David, that is FUCKING HILARIOUS coming from you....Type A to a tee! lol And thank you! :)

    ReplyDelete