1967 October 21

Yippies Try to Levitate Pentagon; Pentagon Stays Put


The Yippies (for Youth International Party), a colorful 1960s countercultural protest group, attempted to both exorcise and levitate the Pentagon as an anti-Vietnam War protest. All reports indicated that the Pentagon did not move. The Yippies had no membership or organizational structure, and was largely the brainchild of Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and their friends.

The march on the Pentagon was the subject of the book, Armies of the Night, by the noted author Norman Mailer, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction.

The Vietnam War created a number of civil liberties crises. They include (1) the lack of a Congressional Declaration of War as required by the Constitution (June 3, 1970); (2) threats to freedom of the press in the Pentagon Papers case (June 30, 1971); (3) spying on the anti-war movement by the CIA (August 15, 1967); (4) threats to freedom of expression, for example high school student protests (February 24, 1969); censorship of television programs (February 25, 1968); and directly and indirectly some of the events that led to the Watergate Scandal (May 9, 1969; January 27, 1972).

Watch protesters march on the Pentagon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDiFkckszCw

Read the Pulitzer Prize-winning account: Norman Mailer, The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History (1968)

Learn more: http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/the-day-they-levitated-the-pentagon/

Learn about the anti-Vietnam War movement: Michael Foley, Confronting the War Machine: Draft Resistance During the Vietnam War (2003)

Watch Abbie Hoffman discuss Yippie tactics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oujcg_Tifw

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