The Complete and Somewhat Dubious History Of

Hippe Money

Upstate New York – November, 1973

In a remote cabin at the foot of the Catskills on the banks of Kaaterskill Creek in an area known to locals as “Kisskatom”, the Woodstock Nation was taking it’s biggest step ever toward national legitimacy. Richard M. Nixon’s presidency was spiraling into oblivion and the government in general, due largely to it’s endless entanglement in the Viet Nam War, was losing credibility with the American people. Sensing this vulnerability, members of the hippie elite, the movers and shakers of social change, attended a clandestine meeting to discuss its options. For years the Youth Movement had been chipping away at the conservative monolith that was American society backed by its “Big Brother” government, but only so much could be done for a lack of funds. Characteristically, hippies were poor. The Movement lacked funding but into the late night of a November full moon, an idea began to form. The idea was so simple it astounded even its creators. For years, a social war had been waged against “the Man” but it was waged with United States government currency. The realization took hold that as long as the Movement used “the Man’s” money, the war had to be waged on “the Man’s” terms. In essence, by using the U.S. Government’s currency, the Movement was unwittingly buying into the idea of its own subjugation by a centralized, all-powerful government. If the Woodstock Nation were to ever truly break free and gain any credible status, it would have to start acting like a sovereign power by funding its own enterprises with its own currency.

The idea moved quickly, taking on a life of its own as the momentum grew. What better way to promote the universal hippie ideals of peace, love, and understanding than by visibly communicating concepts such as renewable resources, sustainable technology, social justice, spiritual awareness, and environmental responsibility on Woodstock Nation currency? Keeping these ideas in front of the public consciousness, it was determined, would eventually bring about the desired positive changes in American society. Working in small groups, the task of creating the new currency was secretly undertaken. Issues of design, reproduction, and the logistics of transportation and distribution had to be identified and resolved. Artists and printers worked together to create the designs, to find the proper inks, and to master the appropriate printing techniques. Throughout the entire process, secrecy was stressed and uniformly maintained. After months of concentrated effort, the last piece of the puzzle fell into place as currency paper was located and shipped from Venezuela. Finally on March 21,1974, at a small print shop in Kingston, New York, and with a fresh in-rush of celestial energy from the Spring Equinox, the first printing of the new currency began. Over the following 21 days, $10,000,000 of new currency for the Woodstock Nation, in seven denominations from $1.00 thru $100.00, was printed, cut, counted, packaged and boxed.

The new currency would be announced and distribution would begin on Earth Day, April 22,1974. Months earlier, two buildings, one just off of Haight Street in San Francisco, California and another on Tinker Street in Woodstock, New York had been leased, the windows papered over, and both had been redecorated in preparation for the grand opening of the first two branches of the Woodstock National Bank. The banks would exchange the U.S. Government’s Federal Reserve Notes for the new Woodstock Nation currency of equal value. At the end of each “banking” day, all the “the Man’s” money would be ceremonially incinerated with much fanfare. Such a display was calculated to get the attention of the national media thereby spreading the message nationwide, for free.

On the night of April 12,1974, the new money was loaded into a converted school bus which headed up Rt. 212 to make a $5,000,000 delivery in Woodstock. Returning, the bus turned south onto the New York Thruway to make a second far-distant delivery. It continued on to Highway 84 and west, toward San Francisco and a new beginning. The plan was real, the time was at hand, and the players were in motion.

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