Conspiracy in the Streets

The Extraordinary Trial of the Chicago Eight
Edited by:

On the stand with yippies, Black Panthers, and political activists at the conspiracy trial that defined the youth rebellion of the 1960s

“Conspiracy? Hell, we couldn’t agree on lunch.” —Abbie Hoffman

Michael Moore mocks George Bush and Al Franken ridicules Rush Limbaugh, but the mixing of play and politics today is polite and respectful compared to the carnival of contempt known as the Chicago Eight trial.

Opening at the end of 1969, the trial brought Yippies, antiwar activists, and Black Panthers to face conspiracy charges arising from the massive protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The defendants openly lampooned the proceedings, with Abbie Hoffman blowing kisses to the jury and the defense bringing a Viet Cong flag into the courtroom. The judge ordered Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers bound and gagged for insisting on representing himself. And an array of celebrity witnesses appeared, including Timothy Leary, Norman Mailer, Arlo Guthrie, and Allen Ginsberg, who provoked the prosecution by chanting “Om” on the witness stand.

This book combines an abridged transcript of the trial with astute commentary by historian Jon Wiener. A foreword by defendant Tom Hayden examines the trial’s relevance for protest today, and drawings by legendary cartoonist Jules Feiffer help re-create the electrifying atmosphere of the courtroom.

Books by Jon Wiener

Historians in Trouble
Plagiarism, Fraud, and Politics in the Ivory Tower

Jon Wiener