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Appendix A: Tripping With ESSO: Chicago, SDS, Abbie Hoffman, and the Motherfuckers

< CHAPTER TWO: Strike! Komm-unist Conspiracy, the Birth of the Labor Committee and Weatherman, the Power of Pie, “Contingency A,” and More Untold Tales from Columbia | HIAB | Appendix B: Mayor’s Man with Bankers’ Plan? Barry Gottehrer, the Invention of the New Left, and the “Eastern Establishment” Plot to Retake New York OR How John Lindsay First Met Allah >

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In June 1968 as the Columbia Summer Liberation School commenced classes, SDS's National Convention convened at Michigan State University in East Lansing. One incident there – a clash between the Progressive Labor Party (PL) and Ben Morea's Up Against the Wall Motherfucker (UAW/MF) Lower East Side SDS chapter – proved a harbinger of SDS's chaotic collapse just one year later.1 The fun began when UAW/MF members who had grown sick of hearing PL promote its Worker-Student Alliance (WSA) spontaneously staged a bit of street theater. In SDS, Kirkpatrick Sale reports that "the Motherfuckers . . . dressed one person up as 'Student,' another as 'Worker,' and joined them into a 'Worker-Student Alliance' in an elaborate marriage ceremony."2 Things got even more interesting when Motherfucker leader Tom (Osha) Neumann entered the fray.3 Neumann relates that he "seized the microphone during an interminable debate between non-ideological new lefties and the Maoist Progressive Labor Party faction. Dropping my pants, with my penis flapping in the wind, I condemned intellectual masturbation."4

In an October 1968 article in PL's magazine, Jeff Gordon describes what happened next:

Another proposal for structural change was presented by the "Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker" (UAW/MF) chapter of SDS. This group of anarchist-hippies from New York's Lower East Side played a disruptive role throughout the convention, with the support and encouragement of many members of the National Office/New Working Class (NO/NWC) caucus. They have been using these same tactics at regional meetings for the past half year. They interrupted debate and shouted down any speaker with whom they disagreed, particularly when the speaker was a member of PLP. Their behavior at the Convention disrupted constructive political debate, intimidated people new to SDS, and gave the meeting at times the aura of a fascist gathering.
At one point their actions, led by UAW/MF leader Ben Morea, almost resulted in a full scale brawl. They persisted in trying to shout down a speech by John Levin of PLP . . . But that wasn't enough for the UAW/MF group. They shouted that they wanted guns and violent revolution now. Their actions and words were classic form for provocateurs. They backed down in this instance after a show of physical determination by those who wanted John to speak.
Their proposal for restructuring the organization betrayed their desire to base SDS more and more on hippy dropouts and less and less on students who have a campus base. UAW/MF holds, similar to many "new working class" advocates, that the revolutionary demand to workers and students is "quit." Their proposal, called "The Destruction of SDS," was rejected by a wide margin.

Unlike PL, Mark Rudd found UAW/MF inspiring. Rudd first encountered the Motherfuckers in New York City in March 1968 after his return from Cuba. He was introduced by Tom Hurwitz, the son of a left-wing filmmaker and a future Action Faction supporter. After Rudd's UAW/MF-supported pie attack on the New York head of the Selective Service, Rudd and the Motherfuckers both attended an SDS National Council meeting held in late March in Lexington, Kentucky. Rudd then drove back to New York with some Motherfuckers in the car.

Tom Neumann recalled that during the Columbia strike the fact that Rudd:

picked up on the rhetoric of the Motherfuckers was not fortuitous. Mark had seen Ben and a cohort of Motherfuckers disrupt an SDS convention by shouting at speakers with whom we disagreed, "That's bullshit and you know it." He liked the phrase. After the convention he had hung out with us a bit on the Lower East Side. He was impressed by our impatience with theory and influenced by our rhetoric on the vivifying effect of action in the streets to draw converts to our cause. In Columbia SDS he formed an "action faction" in opposition to the "praxis axis" whose members talked Marxist theory and believed in the need to educate people before they could act. Mark had gone to Cuba, and willingly admitted to being an adherent of the cult of Che. He read Regis Debray's Revolution in the Revolution, which argued that the revolution begins with the armed struggle of small bands of guerrillas. In Mark's head Che, Debray, and the Motherfuckers were all singing the same song: Action itself is educational.5


During the Columbia strike, the Motherfuckers took part in the occupation of Low Library and later regrouped in Mathematics Hall. UAW/MF's role at Columbia and its influence on Rudd in particular did not go unnoticed by the Labor Committee. An article on the early history of the Labor Committee in New Solidarity described the first Labor Committee attack on the UAW/MF and its "Action Faction" imitators, a September 1968 Campaigner piece by LaRouche and Carol entitled "The New Left, 'Local Control' and Fascism":

The September 1968 issue of the Campaigner . . . published the first extended analysis of the anarcho-syndicalist "exemplary action" point of view, under the title "The New Left, 'Local Control' and Fascism." That article warned against such Ruddite glorification of violence, an equally well-established policy view among cultural nationalist reactionary filth like LeRoi Jones, in the form of the Fanon doctrine of violence as a purgative political act in itself. Such policy is more reminiscent of Mussolini's contribution to the Italian Socialist Party and his own Fasces than it is to any legitimate socialist viewpoint.6

That same month, Irving Louis Horowitz's essay "Radicalism and the Revolt against Reason" appeared in the pages of New Politics. Here, too, Horowitz comments about "the Sorelian Left" emerging on American campuses: "Fascism returns in the United States not as a right wing ideology, but almost as a quasi-leftist ideology. An ironic outcome that [George] Sorel anticipated in his own writings when he celebrated Mussolini and Lenin as if they were really two peas in one pod."7

"New Left, 'Local Control' and Fascism" mirrored Horowitz's arguments when it warned that certain currents inside the New Left, Rudd's proto-Weatherman Action Faction in particular, were dangerously approaching a kind of "left wing fascism." It begins: "It is an irony of history that certain New Lefters today would be quite at home with Mussolini's radical polemics. This is not to suggest that these New Lefters are fascists, but to emphasize that fascism at its inception always appears as a movement which poses a revolutionary challenge to capitalism. Only in this way can it win popular support."

In its concluding section, the article returns to the events at the East Lansing when it argues that the

alliance of Praxisites and street-syndicalists which has directed and weakened the Columbia strike organization this summer defends its actions with phrases which might almost be a plagiarism from Mussolini's left anti-Marxist demagoguery and recall those of the red hunt [against PL – HH] at the East Lansing SDS convention. It is necessary to expose both these syndicalist ideas and the influence of the counter-revolutionary practices for which they stand.

In their introduction to the September 1968 issue of the Campaigner ("The Politics of Crisis"), the editors remark that the "New Left" text looks at "a layer of Sorelian-type anarchists, partly recruited from nominal anarchist groupings (such as Black Mask and the 'Situationist International') and past members of PLP's old May 2nd Movement [M-2-M]." The editors took for granted that its readers would know the "Black Mask" reference was to the Ben Morea project out of which UAW/MF first emerged and would also grasp the reference to the "Action Faction" leader and former M2M member John Jacobs ("JJ").

A few years later, the Labor Committee claimed that the UAW/MF was itself sponsored by the "domestic CIA" against the Left. In his 1974 Conceptual History of the Labor Committees, for example, LaRouche describes the UAW/MF this way:

The Ford Foundation conduited money through numerous counterinsurgency formations which it set up throughout the country. The local franchise for the Lower East Side was held by the "East Side Service Organization" (ESSO), a scummy proto-fascist gang which masqueraded as the ultra-anarchist SDS faction "Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers." Members of Rudd's group were trained in karate and got other backup through ESSO. Tom Newman [sic], the nephew [sic] of Herbert Marcuse, was the agent on the scene, administered ESSO, and dispersed funds through an unlimited checking account.

Was any of this true?

Part one of this study will look at the Motherfuckers, its role in SDS, and the larger debate inside SDS about the "new working class." Then in part two, I take a closer look at ESSO and "follow the money" back to Abbie Hoffman and some of Hoffman's even more curious friends to determine whether or not the Labor Committee's wacky-sounding claim had any merit.

Part One


UAW/MF first surfaced at a regional SDS conference of approximately 175 people held at NYU's Weinstein Residence Hall on 10-11 February 1968. That Sunday, 11 February, you could – among other choices – join a UAW/MF demonstration at the offices of the new underground paper RAT at 201 East 4th Street by Avenue A; attend a session on women's liberation led by – among others – Bernardine Dohrn; or take part in a discussion of the SDS Transit Project chaired by Leif Johnson and Steve Komm.

The UAW/MF was the creature of Ben Morea, a charismatic ex-petty criminal and heroin addict who grew up in Hell's Kitchen never knowing his father. After getting out of jail and kicking his habit, Morea discovered the Lower East Side art scene.8 In the early 1960s, Morea began working with an avant-garde Italian-American artist and film maker named Aldo Tambellini. Tambellini, his wife Elsa, Morea and other artists founded the "Group Center" in the East Village as a community of artists interested in reaching people in the streets and not in the museums. They worked closely with jazz musicians and black bohemian poets who published a Lower East Side poetry journal called UMBRA and whose collaborators included Ishmael Reed

On 10 March 1962, the Group Center featured a discussion with the Living Theater's Julian Beck and Judith Malina on "Revolution as an Alternative." Committed anarchists, Beck and Malina helped introduce Morea to the larger world of New York anarchism. Morea now became active in the New York Federation of Anarchists and its journal Good Soup. Morea's most important anarchist intellectual mentor, however, was Murray Bookchin. A leading member of the New York Federation and founder of Anarchos magazine, Bookchin also taught classes at FUNY. Bookchin captured the Lower East Side's anarchist zeitgeist in his Post-Scarcity Anarchism with lines like, "This surreal dimension of the revolutionary process, with its explosion of deep-seated libidinal forces, grins irascibly through the pages of history like the face of a satyr on shimmering water." In Post-Scarcity Anarchism, Bookchin celebrated the power of "vagabonds, drifters, people with part-time jobs or no jobs at all, threatening, unruly sans-culottes – surviving on public aid and on the garbage thrown off by society." Against old Marxist vanguard party dogma, Bookchin looked to affinity groups and communes as models for "post-scarcity" society.

As the political and social crisis of the 1960s deepened, Morea mutated his earlier "anti-art" art project Black Mask into UAW/MF, sometimes also referred to as "the Family."9 With UAW/MF, Morea hoped to take Bookchin's ideas out of the tenement and into the streets. New York Federation of Anarchists member Eve Hinderer later recalled:

The first time I saw Ben Morea was in the fall of 1967 while he and anarchist theoretician Murray Bookchin locked horns in a small room in a tenement on Avenue B, a building that no longer exists. Ben was speaking in favor of direct action, a strategy bypassing the establishment and many times involving street insurgency. Murray maintained that consciousness came first. "Was [Ben] going to take a mallet and chisel and chip away at the buildings of Wall Street?" Bookchin asked, by way of a challenge. Later Ben and his affinity group, affectionately known as the "Motherfuckers," captured the imagination of revolutionaries of the time, including the Weatherman faction of SDS, Students for a Democratic Society.10

Another denizen of the East Village art scene, a recent Swarthmore graduate named Tom Neumann [not "Newman" as LaRouche spelled it], joined Morea's UAW/MF and became known as "Tom Motherfucker." Neumann was a stepson [not a nephew] of famed philosopher Herbert Marcuse. On 8 March 1967, Morea and Neumann met Marcuse in Bookchin's Lower East Side apartment after Morea attended Marcuse's talk at the School for Visual Arts (SVA) earlier that day, where he sharply criticized Marcuse's glorification of the creative artist as a truly unalienated man. According to Hinderer:

Marcuse had just talked at SVA and after the talk, went down to Murray Bookchin's apartment in lower Manhattan. At the ensuing meeting were Morea, Marcuse, Bookchin and Tom Neuman[n], Marcuse's stepson, who was part of MF. Ben heard the Spanish term aficionado, and substituted the word affinity to approximate the Spanish meaning. Neuman[n] later gave the term "affinity group" its definition: "a street gang with an analysis" . . . .

The link between Bookchin and Morea on the one hand and Marcuse on the other went beyond Tom Motherfucker's family connections. Bookchin had obviously been influenced by One Dimensional Man's view that the industrial working class was no longer the "subject" of history in a classic Marxist sense. That same argument now percolated through SDS in the guise of "new working class" (NWC) theory.


When UAW-MF first appeared on the scene, the SDS local paper, Firebomb, stated: "A new radical group on the Lower East Side called Up Against the Wall Motherfucker has just been formed. . . . If people are interested in the group itself, they should contact Tom Neumann or Bob Gottlieb at the SDS regional office." In February 1968 Bob Gottlieb was a graduate student in sociology at the New School for Social Research. He had no known connections to UAW/MF and his name appears most likely because he helped coordinate the New York Region SDS office. Yet Gottlieb and the Motherfuckers did share one thing in common: like Marcuse, they rejected "Old Left" arguments about the supposed centrality of the industrial working class, a view then most associated with the much hated Progressive Labor Party (PLP).

Along with his fellow New School graduate students Dave Gilbert and Gerry Tenney, Gottlieb was best known for the Port Authority Statement. This playfully-named but densely written text introduced SDS to ideas then most closely identified with Andre Gorz, Serge Mallet, and Marcuse.11 Gottlieb, Gilbert, and Tenney publicly presented their arguments at a February 1967 Radical Education Project (REP) conference held in Princeton University's McCosh Hall. Kirkpatrick Sale summarizes their argument this way:

The new working class, unlike the traditional working class, is made up of people with "technical, clerical, and professional jobs that require educational backgrounds," and of those in the schools and universities who provide them with those backgrounds. The new class "lies at the very hub of production" and is crucial for the operation of a highly industrialized, technocratic, computerized, and sophisticated society.12 Greg Calvert, an SDS National Secretary who addressed the Princeton REP gathering that Sunday, also embraced the "new working class" line. Calvert and his co-thinker Carol Neiman promoted NWC theory in the pages of radical journals like the National Guardian.13

NWC theory buttressed "student syndicalist" arguments closely identified with SDS leader Carl Davidson. In August 1966, Davidson submitted a proposal to SDS entitled "Towards a Student Syndicalist Movement, or University Reform Revisited." Davidson then published a 1967 SDS pamphlet entitled The Multiversity: Crucible of the New Working Class. He contributed similar ideas to New Left Notes in a column entitled "Praxis."14 The column was edited by "Port Authority" authors Bob Gottlieb, Gene Tenney, and Dave Gilbert. The name then became associated with the dominant faction inside Columbia SDS dubbed the "Praxis Axis." Bob Gottlieb's co-author Dave Gilbert had been an SDS leader at Columbia from which he graduated in 1966. He helped recruit Mark Rudd into Columbia SDS and served as one of Rudd's early mentors. "New working class" ideas, however, had even deeper roots. In a famous essay by Columbia University sociologist C. Wright Mills entitled "Letter to the New Left" and first published in the September-October 1960 issue of New Left Review, Mills called for the "overcoming" of the Old Left's "labor metaphysic" this way:

I do not quite understand about some New-Left writers is why they cling so mightily to "the working class" of the advanced capitalist societies as the historic agency, or even as the most important agency, in the face of the really historical evidence that now stands against this expectation. Such a labor metaphysic, I think, is a legacy from Victorian Marxism that is now quite unrealistic. It is a historically specific idea that has been turned into an a-historical and unspecific hope.
The social and historical conditions under which industrial workers tend to become a class-for-themselves, and a decisive political force, must be fully and precisely elaborated. There have been, there are, there will be such conditions; of course these conditions vary according to national social structure and the exact phase of their economic and political development. Of course we can't "write off the working class." But we must study all that, and freshly. Where labor exists as an agency, of course we must work with it, but we must not treat it as The Necessary Lever — as nice old Labour Gentlemen in your country and elsewhere used to do.15

The early 1960s also witnessed the flourishing of the left-liberal Ad Hoc Committee on the Triple Revolution.16 Tremendously influenced by the rapid rise of automation and cybernetics, in late March 1964 the Committee issued its own policy statement outlining looming vast structural shifts in the economy rooted in a radically changing composition of the American labor force. The Triple Revolution Manifesto predicted an impending major social crisis as technological modernization fueled deepening structural unemployment. The Triple Revolution Manifesto was signed not just by leading liberals like Gunnar Myrdal, W. H. (Ping) Ferry, Linus Pauling, and H. Stuart Hughes but by the Socialist Party's Michael Harrington as well as two SDS leaders, Tom Hayden and Todd Gitlin. New Working Class theory made a virtue out of the emerging reality foretold by The Triple Revolution Manifesto, by elevating students, skilled technical intelligentsia, and "knowledge workers" in general over traditional blue collar toilers since the new working class would prove far more critical to the emerging cybernetic economy.

Port Authority co-author Dave Gilbert would go one step further. In the wake of the Columbia strike and the utopian impulses it helped unleash, Gilbert published a pamphlet entitled Consumption: Domestic Imperialism, A New Left Introduction to the Political Economy of American Capitalism. Here he argued that "we have already begun to develop alternatives to the existing system. In the liberated buildings of Columbia, in the dropout communities of New York, San Francisco, and dozens of other cities, we are beginning to build our own commonwealth, our own culture."

The flip side of Gilbert's argument was that the older white working class so beloved by PL's orthodox Marxists in particular now became seen as a key impediment to any future revolution. Given the Janus face of advanced technology and its seeming ability to magically generate commodity goods at will, the privileged white working class trade union member no longer endured the grim exploitation Marx had devoted Capital to documenting. With the shift to a new consumer-driven economy, older white workers had been hopelessly "bought off" by the cornucopia of goods produced by the "advanced sector." The "Society of the Spectacle" (as the French Situationists dubbed it), in turn, depended on the continuing imperial political domination and fierce economic exploitation of workers in the Third World.

Drawing on Lenin's concept of a "labor aristocracy" in his 1917 pamphlet Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Gilbert said that consumer capitalism made older white workers in particular unwilling to reject their "white skin privilege" and join the revolutionary struggle.17 Didn't the rise of the George Wallace movement in white working class districts in northern U.S. cities provide evidence of just this fact? As for the organized trade union movement in particular: wasn't the decision of the "socialist-led" United Federation of Teachers (UFT) to go on strike against community control of the schools by poor black people textbook proof that Gilbert's analysis was correct?

In this way, seemingly innocuous-sounding student syndicalist and NWC claims morphed into arguments that denounced the white working class in general and the trade union movement in particular as a racist labor aristocracy feeding off the fruits of American imperialism. Nor was Gilbert unaware of the close relationship between the conservative top leadership of the AFL-CIO and the government; leftists even referred to the "AFL-CIA." A former pacifist, Gilbert now joined Weatherman. Today he is serving a life sentence for his involvement in the 20 October 1981 botched robbery of a Brinks armed truck in Nyack, New York, sponsored by a branch of the old Weather Underground in alliance with the Black Liberation Army.18


Throughout the summer of 1968, the SDS Labor Committee engaged in fierce debates with NWC advocates as well as supporters of Rudd's Action Faction inside the political petri dish that was Columbia's Summer Liberation School. In his article "Right Face, Left Face: The Columbia Strike" in the June 1969 issue of Political Science Quarterly, Samuel Hays writes:

in the post-strike days, [then-Labor Committee supporter] Paul Rockwell and Tony Papert argued for the position of the New York SDS Labor Committee against the "new working class" tendency. Their development of a well-formulated position was one of the major New Left innovations in the summer of 1968. By the fall they had become a major source of opposition to the "new working class" elements in Columbia SDS; they supported the Teachers Union and opposed community control in the teachers strike on the grounds of decentralization . . .19

The Philadelphia Labor Committee also went after leading NWC hierophants:

In the summer of 1968, ex-national SDS secretary Carl Davidson came to Philadelphia and was joined by his co-thinker, co-anarcho-syndicalist, Greg Calvert, another ex-National officer and author of the "Urban Guerrilla Warfare" thesis.20 Debates with the LC in study groups and at regional SDS meetings compelled both Calvert and Davidson to leave town before mid-summer. Several documents, comprehensive criticisms of the SDS leadership's anti-working class bias, among them papers authored by Fraser, were submitted to New Left Notes for publication but were quashed by the National Office.21

In the September 1968 issue of the Campaigner, the Labor Committee responded to Gilbert's Consumption pamphlet in an Ed Spannaus and Leif Johnson essay entitled "Underconsumption: False Currency." They attacked Gilbert's "vision of fully cybernated communism." Communism was just a beautiful mirage for Gilbert, they argued, since he could only imagine youth culture and oppressed inner-city blacks as the two revolutionary vanguards in America who rejected the entire system. But "no social revolution can proceed on such anti-social desires. And as the dropouts are not the social base of revolution, Gilbert's work is not the intellectual base."


The rise of the Motherfuckers and their supporters in the SDS National Office who used them against PL was inevitably protested by both PL and the "Marcusites." But the new glorification of violence and criminality shocked many other SDSers. From Thomas Brooks' overview article on SDS in the 15 June 1969 New York Times:

SDS chapters vary widely in character – from the highly factionalized chapters at Columbia, Harvard, the colleges of the City University of New York, the University of Chicago and several of the California colleges and universities to non-factional chapters at such colleges as Stanford and Northwestern.
There are also such SDS splinters as the Crazies, who recently broke up a Norman Mailer mayoralty campaign rally in New York, and the Lower East Side's Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers. Both of these see themselves as wandering troubadours, clowns, poets and pioneers of the revolution – as part of the "international werewolf conspiracy" but tied as they are to the drug culture, their chief link to the organized New Left appears to be constant police harassment.
There is, I am told, a "lot of overlap" in membership between the Crazies and the Mothers. As to the Crazies' exact relationship to SDS, it is perhaps best put by a New York SDSer who told me: "It's hard to say. I don't think they pay dues, but they do come around." The Mothers actually are a chapter, while the Crazies are an irruption. Both, it seems to me, share a cult of violence, valuing disruption for disruption's sake, even within SDS meetings, and accent a destructive strain now evident on the hippie-cum-acid head sector of the New Left.

(The "Crazies," it turned out, were led by George Demmerle ("Prince Crazy" or "Crazy George"), an agent-provocateur and paid government informant.22)

As for the "acid head" faction, Brooks writes: "The Up Against the Wall types want to turn The Movement on. But, much more alarmingly, the Mothers have raised the slogan: 'The Future of Our Struggle is the Future of Crime in the Streets.' Their statement in New Left Notes last fall went on: 'Being outside is the characteristic of all those opposing America now, and being outside creates the needs that will motivate our struggle until it has destroyed all that we are outside of . . . A New Manifesto: There Are No Limits to Our Lawlessness.'" Brooks adds: "Some skepticism still exists within SDS toward this sort of mindlessness. Specifically refuting the Mothers, [SDS Education Secretary] Fred Gordon . . . asks: 'What will the traditional working class (and other social groups) think of a new lumpen class that lives off other people and celebrates violence in the streets as a potential program?'"

Ben Morea saw things differently. During an SDS debate over former SDS president Carl Oglesby's claim that U.S. capitalism was split between a "Yankee" and a "Cowboy" faction and that SDS should view the "Yankees" as potential allies, an agitated Morea recalled: "I got up and said 'This is all bullshit, I don't know about you guys, we're not the Yankees or the Cowboys – we're the Indians!'"23

The UAW/MF "Indians" had their biggest impact on the New York SDS sub-culture that included Mark Rudd and John ("JJ") Jacobs and their "Jesse James Gang" counterparts in the mid-West. These groupings now advocated the use of increasingly violent confrontational tactics in an attempt to imitate and co-opt the Motherfucker "junkyard dog" vibe and lay the basis for a new "wild in the streets" "Revolutionary Youth Movement." Rudd and JJ argued not only against the Labor Committee and PL but also against the Praxis group's new working class views, which still had strong support inside SDS. They claimed that the vast majority of white college students would never become real revolutionaries because they too were hopelessly compromised by their own "white skin privilege" and high income. The driving force for the revolution would have to emerge from young white working-class "greasers" just trying to enter the labor force, alienated high school youth, and counter-culture drug outlaws of "AmeriKKKa"; all of whom would look to alliances with groovy inner-city blacks. Together they would hasten the collapse of the system. By so doing, they would further empower Third World revolutionaries in the global fight against Yankee imperialism. Using such arguments, Rudd and JJ helped co-author the June 1969 RYM I/Weatherman manifesto You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows.24

Rudd and JJ's views bubbled out of the cauldron of the struggle at Columbia and there are occasional references to the events at Columbia in the Weatherman founding document. From Immanuel Wallerstein and Paul Starr's book on the crisis at Columbia:

The rationale for the creation of a youth movement as opposed to a student movement manifested itself as early as the 1968 Columbia strike in a leaflet by one of the few members of SDS who at that time publicly called himself a communist, John Jacobs (known as JJ). What caught attention at the time the leaflet was written was JJ's open advocacy of terrorist tactics to shut down Columbia.
Particularly relevant here, however, is JJ's analysis of the "coming American revolution." "Even though revolution is in the interests of the majority of the people within the American economic empire, nevertheless, within the territorial U.S. the majority of people are materially a privileged group. Still, the need of the system to regiment and pervert people's lives is so great, that many youths will revolt against being the well-fed but-spiritually-castrated cogs in the oppression machine." That succinctly summarized the logic of forming a revolutionary organization whose focus would not be the American working class, but youth.25

JJ didn't just advocate terrorist tactics. On 22 May 1968, he torched the Hamilton Hall office of a Columbia professor named Orest A. Ranum, an act that destroyed 10 years of Ranum's research on early modern European history.26

Kirkpatrick Sale continues the story:

And as the school year began [Fall 1969], Weatherman continued its up-against-the-wallism. Weather leaders, with Rudd the most visible, scoured the country trying to drum up support for the National Action by haranguing student audiences, engaging PLers and others who disagreed with them in bloody fist fights, coming on with macho toughness.
Rudd's appearance at Columbia on September 15 was typical, involving skirmishes between regulars and PLers, two separate meetings with guards at the doors, and Rudd's usual pitch to the regulars about how they should all be in Chicago on October 8. Rudd in heavy boots, work shirt, leather jacket and cloth cap, gave off vibrations of restless energy during his speech, pacing back and forth at audience level in front of an unused podium, brandishing a chair leg he had used in the PL battle, yelling at students there for being soft and "wimpy," and bragging of how he was preparing for the revolution ("I've got myself a gun – has everyone here got a gun? Anyone? No!? W-el-ll you'd better fucking get your shit together!").27

Had NY SDS reached such an absurd level that Up Against the Wall Motherfucker could remain an SDS chapter in good standing but the New York SDS Labor Committee had to be anathematized because in the fall of 1968 it publicly supported the New York City teachers' union, a union whose opposition to the Lindsay administration had been endorsed by the entire New York City organized labor movement?

Clearly the answer was "Yes."

Part Two


One of the SDS workshops in the 1968 SDS National Convention in East Lansing that the Motherfuckers didn't crash was particularly interesting. As former SDS president Carl Oglesby recalls in his memoir Ravens in the Storm:

At our 1968 convention in East Lansing, we posted a workshop on sabotage and explosives to draw the agents out of our serious workshops, a stratagem that apparently worked. One agent came from the sheriff's office of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, attended the sabotage workshop, and lager told a Senate committee, "everyone who didn't fit the mold, who appeared to be agents, undercover workers, FBI or local police intelligence units, all went to the sabotage and explosives workshop."28

Yet groups like the Motherfuckers and the "Action Faction" now would embrace exactly the sort of "pick up the gun" rhetoric that would have labeled them police provocateurs at East Lansing.

Not surprisingly, both PL and the Labor Committee grew highly suspicious of a proudly anarchist group like the Motherfuckers whose professed goal was to dismantle national SDS. UAW/MF even issued this ditty as its "Chapter Report" on the East Lansing convention:

A Molotov cocktail
Is a bottle filled with
Three parts kerosene
And one part motor oil.
It is capped
And wrapped
With cotton
Soaked in gasoline

To us –
Light cotton
Throw bottle
Fire and explosion occur
On impact with target

A "white radical"
Is three parts bullshit
And one part hesitation.
It is not revolutionary
And should not be
At this time

Respectfully submitted,
Up Against the Wall

The Labor Committee later became convinced that UAW/MF had been backed by some shadowy government operation intent on destroying SDS. Yet the idea of outside funding for the Motherfuckers wasn't just the Labor Committee's paranoid hallucination. Charges of covert government funding even appeared in the pages of the New York Times. At the center of the controversy stood an organization called ESSO (The East Side Service Organization – sometimes known as the East Side Survival Organization); its headquarters was a Motherfucker store front at 341 East 10th St.29 Tom Neumann recalled that ESSO was the "business name" established by UAW/MF so that "liberal churches" could give the group money, ostensibly to help with the influx of hippies and street people who began to flood into the Village in the mid-1960s.

According to Ben Morea:

We were always trying to connect the hippy part of the Lower East Side community with the street and homeless part. . . . We set up a store front to give homeless people as well as ourselves a place to hang out. We had free clothes, doctors and lawyers on retainers, a mimeograph, information for people who wanted to dodge the draft and get fake ID, information on crash pads, etc. It was a general help center. We did free food a couple of nights a week, but also held free food events in a hall or a church . . . where we would feed up to 300-400 people. We got some papers from a church saying we were a non-profit and that allowed us to get day old or incorrectly marked stuff from the produce markets and food outlets for free. Some people worked, others made donations and the same papers helped us to hustle up grants from liberal churches to rent places, etc.30

Abbie Hoffman biographer Marty Jeter states that ESSO received funds from "a New York City antipoverty agency" although he fails to supply any details.31 As for Hoffman, he became chairman of ESSO's "Board of Directors," which now legally incorporated to receive outside funds. With support from its friends at ESSO, Tom Neumann recalls:

By the beginning of 1968, we had become a formidable presence on the Lower East Side. We ran free stores and crash pads. We organized community feasts in the courtyard of St. Marks Church. We propagandized against the merchandizing of hip culture and shook down the psychedelic stores for contributions to our cause. We scammed and shoplifted. Communists took jobs at factories, to be close to "the people." Motherfuckers hung out on the streets to be close to our people, the "freaks" as we fondly called them. Communists went to work. We did as little work as possible.32


In addition to Hoffman, ESSO's "board of directors" included his fellow Yippie leader Jerry Rubin.33 Inspired by the San Francisco Diggers, on 21 September 1967 Hoffman and his friends established their own Free Store at 264 East 10th Street, just a short stop from the UAW/MF ESSO headquarters at 341 East 10th Street. Ed Sanders, the famed "Fugs" musician and poet who ran the Peace Eye book store in the neighborhood, reports that Hoffman's first free store received "another $1,000" in start-up money "slipped to the organizers" by a "New York City antipoverty agency."34

When Hoffman came to East 10th Street, he was 31-years-old and on the brink of national fame in spite of the famous 1960s admonition "Don't Trust Anyone over Thirty." While a student at Brandeis in the late 1950s, Hoffman studied under Tom Neumann's stepfather Herbert Marcuse. Hoffman later drew on both Marcuse and Marshall McLuhan (author of the famous book The Medium is the Message) in his attempt to use the mass media to convey his political message. Hoffman went to Mississippi in 1964 for Freedom Summer. He returned in the summer of 1965 to teach at a Freedom School in McComb Country. From 1966 to late 1967, Hoffman ran "Liberty House" at 345 Bleeker Street. Founded by Ellen Maslow, Liberty House was a SNCC-linked crafts co-op store that sold goods from black artists living in the Deep South and shared the profits with both the artists and SNCC.35 After Stokely Carmichael and other Black Power activists advised Hoffman that Freedom House should be run by blacks, he turned it over to new management and threw himself into organizing against the Vietnam War.

On 24 August 1967, Hoffman and other protesters disrupted the New York Stock Exchange. One of the participants, an anti-war and later gay rights activist named Jim Fouratt, told the head of security for the Stock Exchange that their group was named ESSO.36 In a 20 June 1968 Village Voice article, reporter Don McNeill wrote: "During the last few weeks on the East Side, the police have cracked down on several elements in the hip community. Esso, the East Side Service Organization, and its militant core, the Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers, famed East Side chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, have been under hard police pressure." Clearly the borders between ESSO and the Motherfuckers were porous.


In May 1968 ESSO issued a leaflet calling for an 11 May march from Washington Square Park to a rally in Central Park's Sheep Meadow. Then on 12 May a bus caravan would pick up people "on [the] way to D.C." On 17 May the caravan would arrive in Washington and stay for a week as part of the SCLC-organized "Poor Peoples' Campaign" that officially launched on 12 May 1968. The leaflet is important because it shows ESSO organizing for political actions outside the city. As we shall see, it seems possible that ESSO recruited demonstrators to attend the street protests scheduled for the Democratic Convention in Chicago that August.

Chicago was very much on Abbie Hoffman's mind. At a New Year's Eve gathering on 31 December 1967, Hoffman and his friends decided to create a new Youth International Party (YIP). The organization went public at a 19 March 1968 press conference at the Americana Hotel on West 57th Street. The Yippies announced that they would organize a Yippie Music Theater Festival Convention in Chicago to coincide with the Democratic Party convention. Hoffman told the press that "while the Democrats are holding their death convention, we are going to be holding a life convention." He explained that "the plan is to take over a block in Chicago, pitch tents and make other provisions for living on the grounds for six days. There will be a song fest, rock music, performances by acting troupes from all over the country and other Yiptivities."

To generate publicity for Chicago, the Yippies announced a "Yip-In" for 22 March 1968 at Grand Central Terminal. A leaflet for the event described it as "a spring mating service celebrating the equinox, a back-scratching party, a roller skating rink, a theater . . . with you as performer and audience." At the gathering, you could get acquainted with "other Yippies, for other Yiptivities and Chicago YIP Festival this summer bring: Flowers, Beads, Music, Radios, Pillows, Eats, Love and Peace. Meet later on at Sheep Meadow to Yip Up the Sun." The Grand Central Yip-In eerily foretold Chicago. After thousands of young people crammed into the building at midnight, a small group of protesters (quite likely members of UAW/MF) amid the flower power suburbanites began taunting the cops, unfurling banners such as "Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker," and chanting "Burn Baby Burn." Also present at the demonstration was Barry Gottehrer, who ran Mayor Lindsay's Urban Action Task Force (UATF) and who will play a prominent role later on in our story.37 Seeing the Yip-In growing out of control as select demonstrators began vandalizing parts of the building, Gottehrer and a top police official named Sanford Garelik ordered the cops to clear the area. The NYPD proceeded to do just that in a brutal way.38 Undaunted by the human consequences of the disaster and thrilled by the publicity it generated, on 26 March the Yippies – whose "international headquarters" was a room in a building at 32 Union Square East – announced that they had sent a letter to Chicago's Mayor Daley requesting that the city help them organize a "National Youth Festival" in Grant Park from 25-30 August.

Given that the festival was Hoffman's top priority and that Hoffman had close Motherfucker ties via ESSO, it seems not all that implausible that he used ESSO and the Motherfuckers to build support for Chicago. In The Strawberry Statement, James Simon Kunen reports on an extraordinary briefing he heard at Columbia's Summer Liberation School on 28 July about the recently concluded SDS gathering in East Lansing, where the name "Esso" surfaces in a strange way:

In the evening I went to the U. to check out a strategy meeting. A kid was giving a report on an SDS convention. He said that J. Edgar Hoover had said that we were as big a threat as the Communist Party. This evoked peals of laughter as we consider the C.P. to be a stodgy old group who are no threat compared to us.
The Hoov reported to Congress that there was, at this convention, a workshop on sabotage. There was, but the only people there were the guy who called it plus the sixteen other FBI agents and an SDS guy who was sent to keep an eye on them.
There was some chagrin expressed at the convention that Columbia SDS had on its own piddling initiative called the First International Students' Conference, to be held at C.U. in the fall.39
"New York is like looked on as a real insane place," the kid said. "People are always surprised if they like someone from New York.
"Also at the convention, men from Business International Roundtables – the meetings sponsored by Business International for their client groups and heads of government – tried to buy up a few radicals.40 These men are the world's leading industrialists and they convene to decide how our lives are going to go. These are the guys who wrote the Alliance for Progress. They're the left wing of the ruling class.
"They agreed with us on black control and student control. They were for kicking out [Columbia U. President] Kirk. Only thing they disagreed with us on was imperialism. They figure we've got the technology the world needs, and we ought to have some control over where it goes and for what.
"They want [Eugene] McCarthy in [RFK having just been murdered – HH]. They see fascism as the threat, see it coming from Wallace. The only way McCarthy could win is if the crazies and young radicals act up and make Gene look more reasonable. They offered to finance our demonstrations in Chicago.
"We were offered Esso (Rockefeller) money. They want to make a lot of radical commotion so they can look more in the center as they move to the left."41 (115-16)

Kunen erroneously assumed that "Esso" must be the huge Seven Sisters' oil company instead of the Hoffman/Motherfucker front group.


As the deadline for the Chicago Democratic Convention approached, rumors circulated that protesters were planning acts of violence as well as dropping LSD into the city's water supply. Whatever the combination of rumor, deliberate fabrication, and media exaggeration, UAW/MF embraced an apocalyptic vision of violent revolt. As Tom Neumann recalled: "We asked ourselves who would be willing to take up the gun if, as was inevitable, legitimate political processes failed. The Motherfuckers bought shotguns and pistols, cut the shotguns down, and stashed them beneath the floorboards of our apartments. We were preparing for the coming flood of violence and counter-violence."42

You didn't have to be "Tom Motherfucker" to know that factions inside SDS were embracing the new turn to violence. All you had to do was read RAT.

RAT (RAT Subterranean News) was Jeff Shero's New York City-based underground newspaper that he launched in the spring of 1968.43 A radical leader at the University of Texas at Austin, in 1965 Shero was elected SDS vice-president. After editing an Austin underground paper called The Rag – and later New Left Notes – Shero moved to New York. With a few of his old Austin friends, he founded RAT as an overtly political alternative to the "psychedelic" East Village Other. Known as an "SDS paper," Rat's first issue appeared on 4 March 1968. RAT ran its most famous scoop in its 3-16 May 1968 issue. With a front page headline entitled "Heil Columbia," RAT published a series of papers taken from President Kirk's office in Low that documented Columbia's ties to the military-industrial complex. RAT also opened its pages to Motherfucker rants and published diagrams illustrating how to build crude bombs. RAT even issued its own guide to Chicago; it was singled out by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who went on TV with a copy and proclaimed: "And this, this is the terrorists' guide to Chicago."44

In an example of practicing what you preach, in 1969 RAT staffer and Swarthmore grad Jane Alpert took part in a series of bombings before she was arrested while planting dynamite on National Guard trucks. Pat (Patricia) Swinton, RAT's advertising manager as well as a member of the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), also participated in the bombings.45 RAT now came under intense government scrutiny and federal agents forced a family living across the street from RAT's office to relocate so that a 24-hour-a-day observation post could be established in their apartment. Shero recalled that RAT never paid its phone bill because the government was so intent on taping its phones that it prevented the phone company from canceling service. For our purposes, RAT remains a textbook example of the political and cultural nexus formed by the "Action Faction" wing of New York SDS with groups like the Motherfuckers, all of whom now embraced a highly incendiary brand of politics.


Although Ben Morea knew Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin well, UAW/MF attacked the Yippies as "egotist" would-be media stars. Tom Neumann recalls the mixture of jealousy, contempt, and admiration that the Motherfuckers felt for the Yippie "Karl Marx meets Marshall McLuhan meets the Marx Brothers" political media tripping, the polar opposite of the UAW/MF's Fantomas-like shtick:

Unlike the Motherfuckers, who were always in battle mode, both Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin played the revolution for laughs. Prancing in front of television cameras they acted the part of revolutionaries having fun playing at being revolutionaries. The revolution would be televised. Revolutionaries would become media personalities. The media was there to be manipulated. It had to be seduced into spreading subversive messages. The first rule for revolutionary engagement with the media was unpredictability: dance between seriousness and put on; invent realities on the spur of the moment; keep them guessing; charm, beguile, threaten, and disrupt; turn politics into a theater of the absurd. . . . We were both envious and contemptuous of the Yippie media stars. We were the antithesis of the Abbie and Jerry show. The media could not speak our name.
We clung to the grubby reality of the Lower East Side. The Black Panthers were more our kin than the Yippies. We did not fuck around. (96)

Yet for all his disdain of all things Yippie, Neumann sought out his fifteen minutes of fame in Chicago:

In Chicago, without Ben and most of the other Motherfuckers, I felt diminished. I managed – not entirely by accident – to avoid the focal points of confrontation. I stayed just outside of harm's way when the police charged and the billy clubs began to flail, but gave militant speeches in the evening at meetings where we planned the next day's actions. Towards the end of the week, I found myself with thousands of demonstrators penned into Grant Park, with National Guard troops on one side and Chicago police on the other. We were trapped. Our choices were to stay in the park and have an ineffectual rally or attempt to break out of the encirclement. I was on stage with Tom Hayden and the other speakers. He gestured to me to come up to the microphone and suggested that I give a speech encouraging the crowd to break through the police lines and take the demonstration to the streets. I gave an appropriately hyperventilating speech, the crowd began to move, and the bloody confrontation continued for another day. Perhaps because of my speeches, and perhaps because I was the most visible Motherfucker in Chicago, I was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the indictment that launched the Chicago Conspiracy Trial. (103)

As for Morea, in the spring of 1968 he was hit with an attempted murder charge after a Motherfucker confrontation with a group of right-wingers in Boston. During the melee, Morea stabbed a Vietnam vet who almost died. His trial was scheduled to take place in early October and he may have felt the need to lay low. However someone with Morea's street smarts could have wondered why the Yippies were receiving so much free publicity.46 Was the press really that naive? Or could there be some larger agenda aimed at elevating a tiny handful of minor New York radical ne'er-do-wells almost overnight into major "Movement" stars?

Whatever Morea's reason, Neumann resented it:

Ben's decision not to go to Chicago represented a turning point for the Motherfuckers. Chicago could have been an opportunity to grow and expand. But we missed it, and remained confined largely to our ghetto. We began a process of withdraw and shrinking. Ben has since confessed that his decision reflected an internal change, which he kept secret from me at the time. He was beginning to realize that things were not going to change the way he hoped. He was beginning to search for a new direction.47

But why was "Tom Motherfucker" in Chicago in the first place? I suspect the answer may be part Tom Hayden and part Abbie Hoffman. Hayden's connection to the Motherfuckers went back at least to the Columbia strike when the Motherfuckers and Hayden helped occupy Mathematics Hall. Hayden then used Neumann as his Grant Park mouthpiece to encourage fresh confrontation with the cops. As for Hoffman, it seems clear that there were deep disagreements inside UAW/MF about Chicago; the fact that Neumann and some other members later went to Chicago suggests that they may have come down on Hoffman's side of the nebulous debate, at least to the extent of participating in the protests at all.48


On 11 October 1968, the New York Times reported on a New York City Council investigation of fraud in the Human Resources Administration (HRA) that administered some $1.5 billion in anti-poverty funds. As fate would have it, ESSO Board of Directors chairman Abbie Hoffman played a key role in the ensuing controversy. Two City Councilmen – Queens Republican Joseph Modugno and Bronx Democrat Bertram Gelfand – charged that HRA money "was used to transport youth demonstrators to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August," charges that HRA director Mitchell Ginsberg deemed "utterly false." The accusations, however, were based on a series of investigations into the Neighborhood Youth Corps; investigations that led to seven city employees being charged with the embezzlement of $1.5 million over a 14-month period.

Gelfand, a former Bronx Assistant District Attorney, charged that anti-poverty funds were used to send protesters to Chicago.49 The key funding conduit came from a $30,000 appropriation from the Mayor's Urban Action Task Force (UATF) "headed by Barry Gottehrer, an assistant to Mayor Lindsay" to the city's Youth Service Agency for the establishment of a Free Store on 14 Cooper Square. The Free Store was adjacent to the New York City Youth Research Institute at 15 Cooper Square where Hoffman listed himself as a "consultant."50 The Free Store opened its doors on 15 June 1968; it doubled as "a gathering place for hippies and Yippies who are members of the Youth International Party." Again, all this took place at a time when the Yippies were furiously organizing for Chicago. A 9 November 1968 New York Times follow-up piece included an interview with Youth Services Agency director Herbert Moore, who ran the Free Store with what he said was some $40,000 in city money. Moore told the paper that

the store staff had consisted of one other Youth Service Agency member in addition to himself and eight hippies recruited from the neighborhood. In addition about 20 Neighborhood Youth Corps enrollees were used during the summer and the store channeled 20 to 25 other corps youths to churches and non-profit organizations . . . The operation's best known aide was Abbie Hoffman . . . . A Human Resources Administration spokesman said Mr. Hoffman worked 17 days between July 15 and September 20 as a consultant who provided "insights" at $40 a day.

The HRA investigation established that between 24 June and 16 September 1968, New York City paid Hoffman a total of $840.00. Yet this was not the first time that Hoffman received funding from the city. Sometime in either late 1966 or 1967, Ted Mastroianni – another aide to Mayor Lindsay – reorganized the Lower East Side Youth Council after the Lindsay administration incorporated the citywide Youth Board into the HRA. He then hired Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and Jim Fouratt to serve as members of the Lower East Side Youth Council, where they were paid $100 a week.51

Hoffman, Fouratt, and Rubin actually were hired by a section of the Lower East Side Youth Council called the Lower East Side Task Force. The Lower East Side Task Force, in turn, was a branch of Barry Gottehrer's intelligence gathering agency, the Urban Action Task Force. Thanks to Gottehrer, Hoffman – for all his "anti-pig" rhetoric – maintained a special understanding with the cops. From historian Vincent Canatto's book The Ungovernable City:

Lindsay's aide Ted Mastroianni was head of the Lower East Side Task Force (a unit of the Urban Action Task Force) and worked together with Hoffman. . . . The Lindsay administration used the same theory on Hoffman as it used with black militants in the city's ghettos. They would try to co-opt him and get him to help them cool down the tense East Village. He and some of his compatriots were put on the city payroll. Hoffman was a "community liaison" for the Urban Action Task Force, receiving $100 a weekly from the Lower East Side Youth Council (as did his compatriots Jerry Rubin and James Fourrat [sic]). Similarly, Captain Joseph Fink, the commander of the Ninth Precinct in the East Village, worked closely with Hoffman. According to Barry Gottehrer, Hoffman and Fink "had an informal agreement that Abbie could have a good deal of leeway if he didn't put Fink in the position of having to arrest him. They negotiated around the letter of the law, and Abbie would get his hippie demonstrations, his street theater, and his publicity, and Fink was spared the threat of having to arrest dozens of hippies daily on all kinds of charges. Fink wouldn't put up with smoking dope in his precinct house, but his police didn't go out of their way to find it on a hippie either."52

During this same time, Hoffman and his friends organized the invasion of the New York Stock Exchange. Once the press found out that Hoffman and Fouratt were being paid by the city, attention turned to Gottehrer, who personally met both Hoffman and Fouratt and approved their hiring.53 Gottehrer's Urban Action Task Force, on whose payroll Hoffman now found himself, was designed to give reliable "real time" information on threatened urban unrest. As UATF head, Gottehrer worked in close liaison with the New York police "red squad" BOSSI (Bureau of Special Services and Investigations) in particular.54

In the summer of 1968, Gottehrer called on Hoffman yet again for a plan that he worried "could be close to illegal." It involved laundering yet more money to Hoffman via the ESSO pipe line:

I had decided that Abbie Hoffman had the sort of credibility with young people that we needed, and enlisted him to write a pamphlet explaining where there were safe places to stay, what hospitals to call if they had a bad drug trip, what clinics would help if they got VD. I promised Abbie complete editorial freedom, and gave him a list of the information we thought young newcomers to the city should have. Knowing Abbie, I figured he would also give them some information we did not think they should have.
Working with Abbie was risky enough without stressing his financing, so I didn't want the cost to show up on my books. I worked out an elaborate arrangement with the minister of a church in Greenwich Village. I agreed to pay a certain amount of money from our private funds for what we described very generally as a publication, the church subcontracted the project out to a writer and then had it printed. I paid the church and the church paid all the bills. The deal was arranged around the premise that the writer would be Abbie.55

Although Gottehrer never says who supplied the "private funds," the UATF received private funding.56


The 30 page pamphlet produced by Gottehrer's covert project was entitled Fuck the System.57 The pamphlet included a plug for the ESSO store at 341 East 10th Street. Since Hoffman was ostensibly supposed to help deal with the influx of hippies and runaways into the Village, it would not have been difficult to launder money to ESSO and provide yet another quasi-legal way to fund UAW/MF.58

In the wake of the investigation into Hoffman's paid position at the Youth Services Administration Free Store on Cooper Square, news of the covert financing of Fuck the System became public. Hoffman, it turned out, had gotten much more than the $840 in "consulting fees" for the Free Store. He had been paid $100 a week for his role on the Youth Board as well as an unknown sum from "private funds" laundered through Gottehrer, ostensibly for Fuck the System. Also recall that in September 1967 Hoffman received under-the-table money from the city for his first Free Store on East 10th Street. The revelation that Abbie Hoffman was paid by a covert intelligence operation wired into BOSSI, whose job was to prevent "urban disorder," co-opt radicals, and develop a high-level informant network, clearly threatened his star status. In his 1968 book Revolution for the Hell of It, Hoffman tried to limit the damage. Instead of admitting his paid relationship with the UATF, Hoffman instead focused on Fuck the System:

There is a rumor that the City of New York paid for the Book. The rumor is TRUE. I made a deal that I would never tell where the money came from and it was an honest deal. I can say it is true now because there is so much garbage spread out in this book that you are still not sure. Somewhere in New York in a safe deposit box are photostatic copies of all the check transactions between the City of New York, the in-between party, and the printer. The Red Squad (Bureau of Special Services) knows all this and would like to use the evidence against Mayor Lindsay. If I ever get killed or convicted on serious charges in New York the photostatic copies go straight to the Daily News. The duty of a revolutionist is to stay out of jail.59 (253)

Who was Hoffman really threatening? I think it is obvious that it is Gottehrer's UATF. Hoffman knew that the Daily News was the most conservative paper in New York; its reporters enjoyed close NYPD and BOSSI ties; and it despised John Lindsay. Hoffman knew the paper enjoyed excellent contacts inside the NYPD, contacts who despised Gottehrer's "Mod Squad" liberalism. Hoffman made his threat around the same time that Councilman Gelfand was charging that "anti-poverty money was used to transport youth demonstrators to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago," as Richard Reeves reported in the 11 October 1968 New York Times.

When Councilman Gelfand made his attack, the Democratic Party was still reeling from Chicago and the election for president was just a few weeks away. Proof that the Yippies who organized the protest were secretly abetted by top aides in the Lindsay administration would have been stunning. In his memoir The Mayor's Man, Gottehrer writes somewhat disingenuously that Gelfand "had set up a cry for yet another investigation of my office, this time the charges were that we had financed the Yippies' activities at the Democratic Convention. I never did find out where this story came from, and it disappeared from the newspapers after a day or two . . ."60 James Simon Kunen's report in The Strawberry Statement makes the story even more fascinating. Recall that Kunen said that he first heard about ESSO and Chicago on 28 July, just a few weeks before the convention took place.


Press reports about Hoffman's feculent finances caught the attention of the FBI. On 6 December 1968, the New York FBI office sent Hoover two copies of a proposed COINTELPRO leaflet against Hoffman. The cover note explained, "This leaflet is written in the jargon of the new left, necessitating the use of a certain amount of profanity. This leaflet is designed to discredit and embarrass the subject." If Hoover approved, the leaflet would be "produced on unmarked mimeograph paper and will be sent anonymously to various peace groups, new left organizations, and individuals in the NYC area." The proposed leaflet was entitled "A Clown is a Clown is a Clown is a Clown." Like the FBI's COINTELPRO leaflet "The Mouse Crap Revolution" meant to discredit Tony Papert and the Labor Committee, "Clown" is written in a simple style that begins:

Dear hearts, we have in our midst the greatest – absolutely the biggest fruitcake of them all. He's been described as the best stand-up comedian in the country, an appellation he well deserved. We speak, of course, of that loveable, self-proclaimed idiot Abbie Hoffman. Everywhere that Abbie goes the pigs are sure to follow. He's that darling of the New York Times, of TV, of the FBI. What more could a real nut want? He's the idol of the nut fringe of the movement. He's the king of the kids.

The leaflet then noted:

We see by the papers that Abbie gobbled the establishment bread during the summer of 1968. He worked as a "consultant" (of all things) in the Youth Service Agency of the Human Resources Administration. Get this . . . . He rocked those middle class, plastic taxpayers to the tune of $40.00 per day for 21 days. Pow! Bam! Bang! That's enough to keep an acid-head happy for a year.

The FBI pretended that PL produced "Clown": "Some of us do believe in the student-worker revolutionary efforts. It seems a bit of a shame when the squares identify the movement through the actions of a clown." It concluded: "Do your thing, Abbie. Entertain the world. In the meantime, we in PL and SDS will try and do our thing. We ask one thing, pal. Give us a chance." "Clown" is signed: "Columbia SDS."


Looking back at the twisted tale of ESSO, Abbie, and the Motherfuckers, one fact is crystal clear; a great deal of what really happened remains remarkably murky. As for the Motherfuckers and the Labor Committee, the Motherfuckers are referenced in the 20 January 1971 issue of New Solidarity as part of a series of articles on the Columbia strike:

In contrast, Fayerweather Hall, seized Thursday morning, was distinguished by large numbers of politically backward graduate students who had yet to break away from a son-to-father relationship with their liberal and leftish-liberal professors. Mathematics Hall, the last building to go on Friday, was again another story: it was characterized by a rough alliance among the Lower East Side anarchist group "Black Mask" now posing as an SDS chapter, action-freak rejects from Low and elsewhere (e.g. John Jacobs), and, significantly, Tom Hayden, a stale leftover from SDS' pre-1966 militant-liberal phase.

There is also no conspiracy-oriented critique of ESSO in the September 1968 Campaigner either, perhaps because the issue appeared before the press revelations of ESSO funding.

The leftist group most concerned about UAW/MF at the time was, not surprisingly, the Motherfuckers' number one villain, PL. For months PL confronted the Motherfuckers and their Action Faction allies in a series of violent clashes. From Mark Rudd's memoir Underground:

In September [1969], at a public meeting of Columbia SDS, the first of the new school year, I paced back and forth brandishing a chair leg I had just used in a brawl with PL supporters who'd tried to crash the meeting. "You can't be soft and wimpy anymore! You've got to be prepared for the revolution!" I screamed at the crowd of several hundred students in an auditorium in the basement of Butler Library.61

The confrontation with PL extended to an apartment building not far from Columbia, where PL cadre forcefully evicted a group of Action Faction-allied Motherfuckers.

The September-October 1969 issue of the Campaigner described another clash at a RYM I/Weatherman regional "NY SDS" gathering that Mark Rudd called for the second week of July, just a few weeks after the Chicago SDS debacle:

Mark Rudd and his local followers convened a rump SDS regional gathering at New York University's Loeb Student Center. Rudd's elaborate internal security checks, loyalty oaths, passwords, and so forth set the tone for what was immediately to follow there. . . . Admission to the meeting was limited to a single-wing of a double-door of the auditorium, behind which a gaggle of musclemen and fingermen singled out unwanted applicants for admission, and otherwise occupied themselves in conducting political interrogations, administering oaths, and celebrating other rites of political democracy.
At first push by a RYM muscleman, PL took the anarchists' bait and mobilized to surge en masse against the barred doorway. While PL expressed the conviction that "it is better to give than receive," Rudd's goon squad barely managed to hold the doorway. Behind the front line of Ruddite plug-uglies, another RYM theoretician, wielding a long, metal-tipped pole, attempted to puncture PL skulls at a discreet distance. A flying potted palm, flanked by accompanying chairs and bric-a-brac, added counterpoint to the main theme of pounding fists. Later, as RYM brought a fire-hose into play, toe-to-toe slugging was superseded by successive rushes.
Just as PL marshaled its forces for a final rush (which would have certainly carried), three New York City policemen rushed forward, pistols drawn, to rescue the beleaguered Rudd forces. At this juncture, PL student "floor leader" Jeff Gordon seemed undecided whether to be more enraged at the drawn guns of the police or more gratified to discover Rudd and the police on the same side of the barricades. After delivering himself of several sentences using the word "pig," Gordon led the groups outside to a brief rally in an adjacent park. Meanwhile under continued police protection, the assembled anarchists listened to Rudd promising reenactments of the preceding affray on many campuses.

As for the Motherfuckers, sometime in mid-1969 they collectively decamped from New York for a new commune in northern New Mexico. Morea now joined forces with Alianza, a group dedicated "to reclaim ownership of the original Spanish and Mexican land grants that had been incorporated into the National Forest." Neumann then recalled:"Isolated, no longer able to imagine ourselves at the center of history, the remnants of the Motherfuckers began to turn on each other. Ben's tyrannical nature became even more intolerable.62

Deciding he could take it no longer, "Tom Motherfucker" fled "the Family.



In the October 1968 issue of PL that attacked the Labor Committee, PL also took aim at Herbert Marcuse. In a long essay by Jared Israel and William Russel entitled "Herbert Marcuse and his Philosophy of Copout," PL accused Marcuse of attempting to prove "that workers love the system." Quoting One Dimensional Man's claim that "the worker and his boss enjoy the same television program and visit the same resort places . . . the typist is as attractively made up as the daughter of her employer . . . the Negro owns a Cadillac . . . ," Israel and Russel fume: "Here, in one sentence, he manages to refute Marxism, absolve the bosses, sneer at the workers, toss a crumb to male chauvinism, and accept a racist jibe as fact."

PL returned to Marcuse in the February 1969 issue of Progressive Labor with an expose entitled "Marcuse: Cop-Out or Cop?" The article documented not only Marcuse's work for the OSS during World War II but his later ties to the State Department's Central European Branch, which operated under soon-to-be top CIA honcho Frank Wisner, as well as Marcuse's later sojourns at the U.S. intelligence-associated Russian Institute at Columbia and the Russian Research Center at Harvard, where Marcuse's "Project on the Soviet Social System" was funded by a grant from the U.S. Air Force. (For Marcuse's leading role in the U.S. intelligence community - and the State Department's analysis section in particular - see Tim Muller, Krieger und Gelehrte: Herbert Marcuse und die Denksysteme im Kalten Krieg (Hamburg, 2010).)

The presence of multiple members of the Marcuse family during the Columbia events may have piqued PL's interest. Tom Neumann, after all, was one of the leaders of the UAW/MF SDS chapter that bitterly attacked PL. However Neumann makes it clear in his memoir that he loathed his stepfather. As fate would have it, however, Tom's younger brother and Marcuse's other stepson, Michael, was a student at Columbia. A member of Columbia SDS, he even was Mark Rudd's college roommate. From a 19 May 1968 New York Times profile of Rudd by Steven Roberts:

The turning point in Mr. Rudd's political development came when a friend introduced him to the leaders of a newly-former chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. The friend was Mike Neumann, the stepson of Herbert Marcuse, the philosopher whose criticisms of the "repressive" nature of contemporary society have made a great impact on New Left thinking. Mr. Rudd described what happened: "I had always had a humanist bent, but when I got to Columbia I started reading people like Marcuse and Lenin. Marcuse was very important to me. He made it clear that revolutions come from the will to revolution, which is itself a product of historical situation. Marcuse showed that within that process people can play a revolutionary role."

Tom Neumann recalls that his brother Michael "agreed with Herbert that universities, whatever their shortcomings, were realms of comparative freedom, and therefore disrupting them was counter-productive." Herbert Marcuse's opposition to the strike may be reflected in a curious passage in LaRouche's Conceptual History of the Labor Committee:

Secret negotiations were made with Mark Rudd, who had been profiled as a weak link, and others. An earlier effort at intervention to abort the strike had been made by former OSS and CIA operative Dr. Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse had made the blunder of revealing his thinking to Papert and therefore failed in the initial effort to get by Papert and work through Rudd. However, Marcuse's nephew [LaRouche means Tom Neumann] succeeded where his uncle had failed. Rudd and associates were given Ford Foundation funding through a covert conduit.63

It seems, then, that one Marcuse stepson, Michael, agreed with his stepfather and opposed the strike, while Tom wanted to escalate the violence.

Finally, there is yet another Marcuse who should be mentioned – Herbert's biological son Peter, who was 40 years old in 1968. Born in Berlin in 1928, his mother was Sophie Marcuse, whom Herbert divorced shortly before marrying Inge Neumann. After getting a BA at Harvard in 1948 and a JD at Yale Law School in 1953, Peter Marcuse received an MA at Columbia in 1963. In 1968, he was at Yale getting a Master's Degree in Urban Studies, and in 1972 he earned a PhD in Urban Planning at Berkeley. After teaching at UCLA from 1972 to 1975, Peter came to Columbia to teach Urban Planning. He seems to have been the only male member of the Marcuse family who played absolutely no role at Columbia during the 1968 Strike.


1 Although I will at times use both "Lower East Side" and "East Village," the people involved referred to the area as the "Lower East Side." The term "East Village" was seen as a name invented by a real estate agent or real estate developer to make the area sound more desirable.

2 Kirkpatrick Sale, SDS (New York: Random House, 1973), 462-63.

3 Tom Neumann changed his name to Osha Neumann in the early 1970s. He was also known in the UAW/MF period as "Tom Motherfucker." I will call him Tom Neumann, his name at the time of the events I describe.

4 See Osha [Tom] Neumann's memoirs, Up Against the Wall Motherfucker (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2008), 89. For an overview of the Motherfuckers, I have relied on Black Mask & Up Against the Wall Motherfucker: the Incomplete Works of Ron Hahne, Ben Morea and the Black Mask Group (London: Unpopular Books & Sabotage Editions, 1993); interviews by Morea with Eve Hinderer and Iain McIntyre; an article/interview by John McMillian of Morea in the 3 May 2005 New York Free Press; and UAW/MF leaflets from an archival source. Murray Bookchin's "Post-Scarcity Anarchism" was first published in the New York-based anarchist magazine Anarchos (3/1969) and later appeared as part of a larger work also entitled Post-Scarcity Anarchism (Berkeley, CA: Ramparts Press, 1971). For a well-researched recent uncritical homage to UAW/MF, see Gavin Grindon, "Poetry Written in Gasoline: Black Mask and Up Against the Wall Motherfucker," in Art History, 38/1 2015. In end note 151, Grindon mentions the Campaigner critique of UAW/MF and the group's reply although he has no discussion of the Campaigner and its background.

The John Rees private spook organization National Goals, Inc. sent an infiltrator to the Lansing SDS Convention. The spy's report is now available in John Rees/National Goals, Inc. files at at The very detailed report points out the irony that as much as PLP and UAW/MF despised each other, they both opposed any increased centralization by the SDS National Office network. The anonymous author provides a colorful description of the UAW/MF at the convention and reports that UAW/MF

organized a contingent to the 1968 convention and carried three or four black flags of anarchy into each plenary session. The personal style of the "Up Against the Wall" chapter contrasted sharply withe the staid, closely-shorn Progressive Labor (PL) delegates. They frequently interrupted debate and shouted down speakers. One of them wore a black cowboy hat and dark glasses, in addition to the beard and dark clothes affected by most of them. Another of them spent most of the convention wearing swimming trunks and an American Indian headband, he has been identified as Melvin Margulis of New York City.

(Melvin was an activist whose last name is sometimes spelled Margolis or Margulies. He was a member of the RAT collective and Newsreel and he shot most of the footage for the Newsreel documentary on Columbia.)

The author notes that UAW/MF "works closely with the East Side Service Organization (ESSO) in New York of 341 East 10th Street (212-533-5930). It is this group (ESSO) that produces most of the anti-administration and 'hate cop' pamphlets in New York's East Side and is closely associated with many subversive groups in New York City . . ." At a workshop entitled "Self-Defense and Internal Security," UAW-MF submitted this proposal:

"We must acknowledge the escalation of struggle both offensively and defensively and become aware of the necessity to protect ourselves. If SDS is to survive organizationally, it must at some time deal with this structurally (defense committees). At this time all members must become aware of tactics which might in the future save them from getting busted (over the head and/or into jail). We propose a committee to prepare a pamphlet dealing with the following on local, regional and national levels: police identification; laws relating to SDS functions (gun and riot laws); needs for basic self-defense (karate); tapping of available information (research, right-wing); counter police tactics (demonstration, infiltration); first aid; utilization of peripheral forces (funds, underground networks). All members/chapters wanting to supply information for the pamphlet should send the material to a central editing body. Up Against the Wall M-F, N.Y. chapter, humbly offers to serve the function of assimilating the stuff."

In other words, the very group that was itself being covertly financed by Barry Gottehrer's intelligence network via Hoffman/ESSO was volunteering to collect information on the cops!

[The UAW/MF "intervention" to disrupt SDS discussions at the Convention, by the way, mimicked a Digger protest that occurred in a "Back to the Drawing Board" SDS gathering held in a camp in Denton, Michigan, in June 1967. The Diggers -- led by Peter Berg and Emmett Grogan -- tried to disrupt the gathering. Grogan even physically attacked some SDS members and called them all cowards before the Diggers walked out of the gathering. Abbie Hoffman and Jim Fouratt witnessed the incident and loved it. See Marty Jezer, Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel, 109-10.]

The Rees-sponsored report also lists various members of the SDS Labor Committee at the convention including Steve Komm,Tony Papert, and Steve Fraser as well as many other individual SDS members. It also gives a very useful description of numerous workshops, plenary sessions, and a colorful protest by women SDS members against male chauvinism.

5 Neumann, 79-80.

6 Vin Berg, "The History of the Labor Committee (Part 7), From U. of Penn. Sit-In to Bomb Plot Arrests," 12-16 April 1971 New Solidarity.

7 For a fascinating analysis of radical leftist currents and fascism, see A. James Gregor, The Fascist Persuasion in Radical Politics (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1974).

8 Ben Morea may still be best known for his friendship with Valerie Solanas. If there ever was the definition of a would-be "lone nut assassin" it was Valerie Solanas, the Village street person, poet, manifesto writer, and paranoid schizophrenic who tried to murder Andy Warhol on 3 June 1968. In 1996 Solanas' story became a movie entitledI Shot Andy Warhol. In one scene in the movie Solanas is shown with another character who is identified as a member of the Motherfuckers. That scene may have done more to publicize the Motherfuckers than any other moment in its history.

Morea and Solanas first met when Morea was selling copies of Black Mask on 8th Street in the West Village. After he gave her a copy, she gave him her SCUM Manifesto. In a 2006 interview with the New York Free Press, Morea was asked:

Tell us about Valerie Solanas, who you were close to and wrote a defense following her murder attempt on Andy Warhol in 1968. There was a deafening silence in the underground press around her ideas and actions following the shooting. This seems a little odd given the fact that by this point the New Left had begun to increasingly glorify political violence.
Ben: Valerie used to stay with me quite a bit as she was fairly homeless and always on the move. There was a lot of parody and irony in her writing, but she was also, and I don't mean this in a bad sense, a fairly crazy person. She saw a need to raise a lot of issues around what happens to women and the Manifesto was the best way she could express herself. I always loved people who were loose cannons, who didn't fit the mold. Sometime later when Black Mask had wrapped up and The Family had started we were involved in the occupation of Columbia University. Valerie came up there and found me and asked "What would happen if I shot somebody?" I said "It depends on two things – who you shoot and whether they die or not." A week later she shot Andy Warhol.
After she shot him I wrote a pamphlet supporting her. I may have been the only person who did that publicly. I went up to MOMA and handed it out there. Everybody I met was very negative about it, but, hey, I disliked Andy Warhol immensely and I loved Valerie. I felt she was right in her anger and that he was way more destructive than she was because he was helping to destroy the whole idea of creativity in art. Some people dislike the term, but I feel that creativity is a kind of spiritual act, a profound thing for people to do. Warhol was the exact opposite; he tried to deny and purge the core of creativity and put it on a commercial basis. As a person he was really despicable as well and that's why Valerie hated him. He used and manipulated people.
The attack on Andy was met with silence on the Left and I think that was because it raised issues that no one could deal with. This wasn't violence occurring in some far off place. Also Andy had become a star, almost an honored image, and here she was striking at it. Even the people who liked her feminist approach couldn't deal with the fact that she would harm Andy. Black Mask and The Family drove the political people nuts because we didn't fit into any of their blueprints, because we were loose cannons, so you can imagine how they looked upon Valerie.

9 See

10 See Eve Hinderer statement at

11 Gorz was a friend of Marcuse, and Marcuse's publisher, Beacon Press, had Gorz's Strategie Ouvriere et Néocapitalisme published as Strategy for Labor in the Age of Imperialism, possibly at Marcuse's request. As for the "The Port Authority Statement," the title was a pun on SDS's 1962 founding document, "The Port Huron Statement."

For LaRouche's (as "Lyn Marcus") pithy take on Gorz, "the Ford Foundation's Triple Revolution project," and what he called the "the former 'Praxis' cult associated with Carl Davidson, David Gilbert, and others during the 1967-68 period," see Dialectical Economics, p. 444, fn. 16.

12 Sale, 338.

13 In 1971 Calvert and Neiman later published A Disrupted History; the New Left and the New Capitalism (New York: Random House, 1971).

14 On the importance of Davidson's paper, see Sale, 290-92.

15 For Mills' essay, see

16 For more on cybernetics and Triple Revolution theory, see Smiling Man from a Dead Planet.

17 Lenin, in turn, had been influenced by Engels' views of a British "labor aristocracy."

18 For more, see Dave Gilbert, Love and Struggle: My Life in SDS, the Weather Underground and Beyond (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2012). For a look at Columbia SDS from an insider sympathetic to Mark Rudd, see Bob Feldman's blog Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories at

19 See

20 In a 7 May 1967 interview in the New York Times, then-SDS National Secretary Calvert stated: "We are working to build a guerrilla force in an urban environment. We are actively organizing sedition . . . . Che's message is applicable to urban America as far as the psychology of guerrilla action goes."

21 Gordon Fels, "The History of the Labor Committee (Part Five): The Philadelphia Story," 15 March 1971 New Solidarity.

22 For Brooks' New York Times article, see On the Crazies, see . From Bob Feldman's blog Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories available at :

At this time, Jane Alpert was out on bail after being charged with joining Sam Melville in some kind of bombing conspiracy. Sam had been locked up a few months earlier and charged by an agent-provocateur named "Crazy" George Demmerele [sic], the head of the Lower East Side's anti-war "Crazies" group, with plotting to bomb a National Guard armory truck.

An article in the Village Voice also labeled Demmerle an informant. See,3938524. Demmerle appears to have been a paid FBI informant. He served as a key prosecution witness against Jane Alpert and Sam Melville for the bomb plot.

23 See Morea's interview at On the "Yankee-Cowboy" debate, see the appendix "SDS: Three Puzzles" at

24 "You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows" was published in the 18 June 1969 edition of New Left Notes.

25 Immanuel Wallerstein and Paul Starr, The University Crisis Reader (2) (New York: Random House, 1971), 200.

26 See This is an article by John Castellucci from the 14 February 2010 issue of Chronicle of Higher Education.

27 Sale, 601.

28 Carl Oglesby, Ravens in the Storm (New York: Scribner, 2008), 167.

29 The organization is written as ESSO and Esso. The reader should keep in mind that there are two "ESSOs" – the first is the incorporated group with its "board of directors" while the second is the actual ESSO store front on East 10th Street. My guess is that the storefront headquarters was known as the "East Side Survival Organization" while the legal entity remained the "East Side Service Organization."

30 See Morea's interview at

31 Marty Jezer, Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel (Rutgers, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1993), 84. Also see Larry Sloman, Steal This Dream (New York: Doubleday, 1998). Sloman's book, an oral history, includes some interesting comments from Barry Gottehrer and others although ESSO is never mentioned. In his autobiography, Hoffman very briefly alludes to his employment by New York City and he only mentions Barry Gotteher's name once as one of a group of Mayor Lindsay's "well meaning" aides, who were unable to stop the police attack on the Grand Central Yip-In. See Abbie Hoffman, The Autobiography of Abbie Hoffman (NY: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1980/2000), 94, 142. Hoffman wrote the book when he was still "underground" and trying to surface publicly and avoid spending time in prison on the cocaine selling charges.

32 Neumann, 68-69.

33 On Rubin and ESSO, see Don McNeill, "Summer's a Bummer When the Heat's On," 20 June 1968 Village Voice.

34 Ed Sanders, Fug You (New York: De Capo Press, 2011), 271. The famous double murder of "Linda and Groovy" took place right by the store. See

35 Ellen Maslow's father, the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow, taught Hoffman at Brandeis.

36 See When Hoffman's group showed up at the Stock Exchange, the suspicious head of security asked them where they were from before letting them in. Fouratt said they were from the East Side Service Organization (ESSO) because the name sounded respectable.

37 For more on Gottehrer and the UATF, see my appendix "Mayor's Man." Also see Gottehrer's discussion of Hoffman in Barry Gottehrer, The Mayor's Man (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975)

38 Vincent Cannato, The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York (New York: Basic Books, 2001), 222-23. Also see

39 On the meeting, see John Kifner, "Student Revolutionaries Seek Bigger Causes," 25 September 1968 New York Times. The "International Assembly of Revolutionary Students" lasted six days.

40 I have never heard of people from Business International attending the SDS convention. I think the speaker meant that the issue of Business International was discussed at East Lansing. Most likely either the person reporting from East Lansing or Kunen garbled the meaning of the ESSO reference. On Business International, see my appendix "SDS: Three Puzzles" at

41 James Simon Kunen, The Strawberry Statement (New York: Random House, 1969), 115-16.

42 Neumann, 97.

43 Shero later changed his last name to "Nightbyrd."

44 John McMillian, Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America (New York: Oxford U. Press, 2011), 129.

45 They were part of a group led by Sam Melville who later died in the Attica Uprising.

46 Morea undoubtedly knew that Hoffman maintained a special relationship with the Lindsay administration and the local police, something I will discuss later in this chapter.

47 Neumann, 103.

48 The UAW/MF might have tried to repeat the Grand Central "YIP-in" on a much larger scale. In other words, the UAW-MF presence in Chicago may have been part of a larger Action-Faction style attempt to "radicalize" the protesters by provoking a violent response from the police.

49 It would be quite interesting to know if Gelfand had been fed information by the NYPD. As a former Bronx Assistant DA, he obviously had ties to the police.

50 I believe "the New York City Youth Research Institute" was actually the Youth Board Research Institute. An in-house research agency of the Youth Services Administration, it specialized in studying "juvenile delinquency" and related issues. Given that the Free Store was created by the Youth Services Administration, it seems likely Hoffman meant the Youth Board Research Institute. For more, see my appendix "Mayor's Man" at

51 Fouratt also collected $123 a month from the welfare department. Gottehrer, 141-42.

52 Cannato, 220-21.

53 For more, see my appendix "Mayor's Man."

54 For an interesting look at BOSSI, see Tony Ulasewicz, The President's Private Eye (Emoryville, CA: MACSAM Pub. Co., 1990). Ulazewicz ("Tony U") was a BOSSI detective; he later was recruited by the Nixon Administration and played a role in the Watergate affair.

55 Gottehrer, 144.

56 On the UATF and its funding, see my appendix "Mayor's Man." However the short answer is that the UATF began as the Summer Action Task Force with private funding from wealthy citizens and corporations. In September 1967, it was established as a permanent body and renamed the UATF. Therefore Gottehrer could employ private funds without drawing on the city's treasury.

57 For a copy of Fuck the System, see

58 One ESSO leaflet lists other contact places such as the Psychedelicatessen on Avenue A at 10th Street; the Provo Office (possibly an East Coast version of the Diggers) at Avenue A between 9th and 10th; Liberty House at 425 Bleeker Street; and Underground Uplift at 28 St. Marks Place.

59 When this same passage is quoted in Gottehrer (146), he omits the last all-italicized sentence.

60 Gottehrer, 147. In Mayor's Man, Gottehrer tries to muddy the waters even more. He says that Hoffman and his lawyer Gerry Lefcourt wanted to talk to him about a drug arrest for a small amount of pot and that Hoffman had the idea of threatening him with damaging revelations to "shake him down." Gottehrer says that "he was going to tell everyone that I had financed Fuck the System." Gottehrer then adds, "I was aware that he himself had announced the news in a book he had written called Revolution for the Hell of It." Gottehrer quotes from the passage on page 253 of the book. He then comments: "So I told him he couldn't threaten me with a secret he had already given away for nothing." (146)

Revolution for the Hell of It was published in late 1968. It obviously came out after the reports in the press about Fuck the System. I believe that Hoffman clearly threatened to make new revelations that went beyond the already public facts. Given that the book (with its Richard Avedon cover photo) was published sometime in late 1968, the meeting between Lefcourt and Gottehrer could only have happened after the book was published. My guess is that it took place at some time in early 1969. Hoffman went underground in the early 1970s after being arrested on cocaine-smuggling charges. After Hoffman publicly surfaced in 1980, Gottehrer wrote a letter to then-Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau lauding Hoffman and pleading for leniency. Hoffman received a one year sentence and served just four months.

61 Mark Rudd, Underground (New York: William Morrow, 2009), 157.

62 Neumann, 128.

63 LaRouche means ESSO.

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