'60s radicals: student activism alive, well in '80s


SEATTLE -- Students are growing 'restless' and more active in political protests at home and abroad, said three leaders of the 1960's protest movement.

'I'm here trying to dispel the myth that there's no one under 30 you can trust,' said Abbie Hoffman, who along with Timothy Leary and Hunter S. Thompson, addressed a packed hall of students at the University of WashingtonTuesday night.


In a free-wheeling news conference that saw Thompson arrive 20 minutes late with a drink in hand, all three leaders of the 1960's radical movement accused the press of not doing its job.

Contrary to reports that students in the 1980s are apathetic, Hoffman said, 'Students out there are active out there and the wheel is turning, and history moves in cycles and contradictions.'

'When you think the forces of the empire are strongest, already the natives are restless and the colonies are getting restless and the young at home are getting restless again, too.'

He pointed to a recent gathering of 1,100 student organizers from all over California at UC Santa Barbara to draft a student Bill of Rights, and to the 7,000 students who have committed civil disobedience protesting apartheid during the past two years.


He also cited his upcoming April 6 trial with Amy Carter and 40 other students for occupying a building at the University of Massachusetts while protesting CIA recruiting on campus.

'I don't think the media have put this all together,' he said.

'What you have with Abbie Hoffman and Hunter Thompson and myself are three influential American dissidents,' said Leary, a former Harvard psychology professor who helped give birth to the psychedelic era of the 1960s by advocating the use of the hallucinogenic drug LSD.

'I believe that you judge a country not only by its military leaders and politicians, but by its entertainers, its poets, its philosophers and above all, by its dissidents,' Leary added.

Hoffman said he is working with a group to sue the Army for false advertising on television, 'the kind the ads, you know, that say, 'I learned brain surgery and super electronics in the Army.'

'I've got a feeling you learn how to clean toilets and kill people,' said Hoffman, a founder of the Yippies and one of the Chicago Seven, a group of anti-Vietnam War activists convicted but later aquitted of organizing violent demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in 1968.

Thompson, an author and frequent writer for Rolling Stone magazine and the San Francisco Examiner, said he would warn apathetic students: 'When Ivan Boesky is a major cultural hero, a cult figure hero on college campuses, you're in trouble.'


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