I just got back to the States (more about that later), but I got this
message from former list-member Aron Kay on another mailing list.
Stew was a founder of Yippie! and, like Phil, an unindicted
co-conspirator in Chicago. His memoir, Who the Hell is Stew Albert, is
worth picking up.
Small consolation in Stew's death: Phil gets mentioned in the New York
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: stew albert passes on
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2006 01:04:26 -0500
From: ARON KAY <pieman@...
February 1, 2006
Stew Albert, 66, Who Used Laughter to Protest a War, Dies
By DOUGLAS MARTIN
Stew Albert, who with Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and a handful of
similarly scruffy, leftist anti-establishmentarians formed the Yippie
party to protest the Vietnam War, mock institutional authority and
nominate a pig, Pigasus, for president, died on Monday at his home in
Portland, Ore. He was 66.
The cause was liver cancer, said his wife, Judy Gumbo Albert.
Mr. Albert was not as famous as Mr. Hoffman or Mr. Rubin, nor did he
dream up the nickname for their Youth International Party: Paul Krassner
But Mr. Albert was a leader of the Yippies, inasmuch as there were
leaders, from before the formal hatching of the self-styled gang of
political absurdists in January 1968 until they faded away after Vietnam.
It was he who lectured the 82nd Airborne on the larger lessons of the
Lone Ranger during the March on the Pentagon in 1967, and he who caused
considerable laughter after Yippies were arrested after nominating
Pigasus outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968.
Afterward, he quoted a policeman's comment while he was in jail: "I have
bad news for you, boys. The pig squealed on you."
When it came to what were called New Left politics, Mr. Albert did not
miss much. He participated in demonstrations for free speech at
Berkeley; dropped money from the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange
to satirize capitalism; befriended Black Panthers; and was investigated
in connection with bombing the United States Capitol but never charged
His close friends included Tom Hayden, a protest leader who became a
conventional politician; Phil Ochs, the folk singer; Allen Ginsberg, the
poet; William Kunstler, the radical lawyer; and Bobby Seale, the Black
Panther. He went to Algeria to facilitate the introduction of Timothy
Leary, the LSD advocate, to the exiled Eldridge Cleaver, a Panther leader.
When the police clubbed Mr. Albert in the head at the Chicago
convention, he felt it was almost worth it when the rogue writer William
Burroughs patted him on the back and Jean Genet, also a writer known for
unconventionality, said, "Not bad."
In 1970, shortly after being released from the Alameda County jail in
California, Mr. Albert campaigned to replace the sheriff who had
supervised his incarceration. He lost, but got 65,000 votes, and carried
the city of Berkeley.
Steward Edward Albert was born in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of
Brooklyn on Dec. 4, 1939. His father worked as a clerk for New York
City, and his mother's strong anti-Communism came about partly because
the Communists had a picnic on the beach on Yom Kippur. As a teenager,
the young Mr. Albert enthusiastically supported the United States in the
Korean War, but joined local protests against the execution of Caryl
Chessman in California in 1960.
He attended James Madison High School and graduated from Pace University
with a major in politics and philosophy. He worked in the city welfare
department before buying a $99, 30-day bus ticket to go to San Francisco
and heal a broken heart. He headed straight to City Lights bookstore,
famed for its beatnik heritage, and met Mr. Ginsberg.
He soon went to Berkeley and befriended Mr. Rubin, who was a graduate
student and social activist. Mr. Rubin wrote that the man he called
Socrates Stew was a more effective educator than most professors as he
sat behind a table for the Vietnam Day Committee engaging students.
After participating in Mr. Rubin's unsuccessful campaign for mayor of
Berkeley and becoming a friend of Bobby Seale and other Panthers, Mr.
Albert moved to New York in the spring of 1968 to organize antiwar
demonstrations with Mr. Hoffman.
He lived in a rent-free cellar with his wife; she and their daughter,
Jessica Pearl Albert, are his only immediate survivors.
Ms. Albert said the idea for the Chicago convention protest was to have
a rock festival, but that organizers were repeatedly denied permits.
Most bands, except for Country Joe and the Fish and MC-5, became uneasy
about potential confrontation and pulled out.
The protests involved many parties, but the Yippies got much of the
publicity. Some leftists resented them because they believed their
antics trivialized serious issues. Mainstream observers, like Theodore
H. White, writing in "The Making of the President, 1968" were
unimpressed for different reasons. He called the Yippies "a strolling
farce of lost and forlorn people."
Eight protesters were charged with conspiring to riot. After Mr. Seale
was dropped from the group, the remaining seven were tried in a trial
lasting five months. Five were convicted, but these convictions were
reversed.Mr. Albert was an unindicted co-conspirator. His wife said the
reason was that he was working as a correspondent for The Berkeley Barb,
a status that raised free-press issues.
In 1971, Mr. Albert appeared before grand juries investigating the
bombing of a bathroom in the United States Capitol and an alleged plot
to bomb a Manhattan bank. He was not charged in either case.
In 1978, the F.B.I. fired two supervisors for illegally planting
listening devices in a home where Mr. Albert was living in the Catskills.
For the last 21 years, Mr. Albert lived in Portland, where he wrote
articles and books, ran a Web site and participated in organizations
fostering racial harmony.
Last Friday, in his next-to-last blog entry, he wrote, "My politics have
a.. Copyright 2006The New York Times Company