Conspiracy? Hell, we couldn’t agree on lunch.
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 an introduction by Jon Wiener setting the events in context. An afterword 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.
Conspiracy in the Streets: The Extraordinary Trial of the Chicago Eight
Edited with an introduction by Jon Wiener – Afterword by Tom Hayden – Illustrations by Jules Feiffer – cover photo by Richard Avedon. published August, 2006 by The New Press.