The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

Remember the Chicago Seven When You Think of the New York Five

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The five men facing trial in the Sept. 11 attacks will plead not guilty so they can air their criticisms of U.S. foreign policy. . . . ‘Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, said Sunday that while the men may attempt to use the trial to express their views, ‘we have full confidence in the ability of the courts and in particular the federal judge who may preside over the trial to ensure that the proceeding is conducted appropriately and with minimal disruption, as federal courts have done in the past.’ . . . ‘I have every confidence that the nation and the world will see him for the coward that he is,’ [Attorney General] Eric Holder told the committee. ‘I’m not scared of what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has to say at trial—and no one else needs to be, either.’”

When have you heard this line of reasoning before? If you are under 50 years old, you probably don’t know much about the trial of “The Chicago Seven.” The seven (originally eight) defendants—Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner—were charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and other charges related to protests that took place in Chicago, Illinois, during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Thousands of people came out to protest President Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam War policies. It was a revolutionary free-for-all. You can read about it here. The trial began on September 24, 1969, and on October 9 the National Guard was called in for crowd control as demonstrations grew outside the courtroom.

Subsequent to the protests, charges were filed, and the alleged conspirators went to court. Bobby Seale, who later had a separate trial, verbally attacked the judge “calling him a ‘fascist dog,’ a ‘pig,’ and a ‘racist,’ among other things.” When Seale refused to be silenced, the judge ordered Seale bound and gagged in the courtroom. You can view an artist’s rendering here.

[T]he defendants, particularly Yippies [members of the Youth International Party] Hoffman and Rubin, mocked courtroom decorum as the widely publicized trial itself became a focal point for a growing legion of protesters. One day, defendants Hoffman and Rubin appeared in court dressed in judicial robes. When the judge ordered them to remove the robes, they complied, to reveal that they were wearing Chicago police uniforms underneath. Hoffman blew kisses at the jury. Judge Hoffman became the favorite courtroom target of the defendants, who frequently would insult the judge to his face. Abbie Hoffman (no relation) told Judge Hoffman “you are a ‘shande fur de Goyim’ [disgrace in front of the gentiles]. You would have served Hitler better.” He later added that “your idea of justice is the only obscenity in the room.” Both Davis and Rubin told the Judge “this court is bulls**t.”

There were numerous convictions that resulted in fines and jail time. But on November 21, 1972, all of the convictions were reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on the basis that the judge was biased by not allowing defense attorneys to screen prospective jurors for cultural and racial bias. The Justice Department decided not to retry the case. During the trial, all the defendants and both defense attorneys had been cited for contempt and sentenced to jail, but all of those convictions were also overturned. The contempt charges were retried before a different judge who found some of the conspirators and their defense attorney William Kunstler guilty of some of the charges but decided not to sentence the defendants to jail or fines. They all got off and became anti-establishment heroes.

What were the motives of the protests and subsequent trial? Co-prosecutor Richard Schultz, then an Assistant U.S. Attorney, “believes the alleged conspirators came to Chicago to destroy the government. Yippie co-founder Nancy Kurshan believes Schultz is correct in this belief.”

The New York Five have similar aspirations, and they will use every means possible—there are a lot more of them at their disposal today then there were in 1969—to make their case against America. Some may think this is a good idea. Maybe it will bring down our corrupt government. But maybe it won’t. It might lead to ideological capitulation to the Muslim world that seeks world domination.

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