Friday, 5 February 2010

Steal this...

I'm currently gearing up to write a chapter on culture and its importance to the conceptual landscape of horizontal politics, and part of the background reading I've been doing is Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book. I may make more comment when I've digested it a bit. However, my first impressions are:
-If it is bourgeois not to adopt the ideas in this book wholeheartedly, I guess I am bourgeois and past it. I prefer to think Hoffman is engaging in hyperbole though.
-I'm amazed at how much you could get away with in those days in terms of publishing stuff about guns (ok it was America...) and homemade explosives. Two people at my university were arrested a year and a half ago merely for downloading a terrorist group's ideological document from the State Department website for research purposes. And Hoffman was printing this stuff under his own name, either he was very brave or very stupid.
-And was also mildly shocked at the open references to violence - use of guns, pipe bombs etc - going beyond the unarmed/primitively armed (sticks, stones etc) defensive context or property damage.
-Beyond that, so much of it could have been written at any point in time, evidently the Yippies have had a fair bit of influence.
-The Yippies were unequivocally a political movement, rather than say an artistic one, making it a bit odd that they get less attention this side of the pond than the Situationists.
-In today's context it feels like a bit of a jarring note whenever animals are mentioned - discussion of how to get free meat from an abbatoir, inclusion of pets under 'how to get free stuff' - clearly there was a limit to the examination of types of oppression!

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