Categories: History

This month marks exactly 40 years since the first publication of YIPL (later renamed to TAP) in June 1971. Long before 2600, there was YIPL or Youth International Party Line - a publication started by the YIPPIEs founder Abbie Hoffman and "Al Bell". Its mission was originally to disseminate information on fighting monopoly, specifically Ma Bell. Here is an excerpt from the very first issue:

Published						     June, 1971


			       We at YIPL would
				 like to offer
				   thanks to
				all you phreeks
		      out there.  Most of you who are now
		receiving this met us in Washington on Mayday,
	       where we distributed 10,000 promo flyers.  So far
	       we have received over 50 responses, complete with
	       contributions, encouragement, and spirit.  We may
	       not have done well percentage-wise, but the fact
	    that there are 50 people all over the country willing
	    to fight back speaks for itself.  We are sure that from
	    the spirit of response, YIPL membership will really
	    skyrocket.	However, more important than our numbers,
	    in our opinion, is the feeling and motivation for this
	    movement.  The disappointment we feel toward Amerika has
	    turned to hatred as we saw the futility of the movement
	    to improve it, and to frustation as our outside efforts
	    were repressed and forbidden.  But we did NOT turn our
	    backs on the movement for change.  YIPL believes that
	    education alone cannot affect the System, but deucation
	    can be an ivaluable tool for those willing to use it.
	    Specifically, YIPL will show you why something must be
	    done immediately in regard, of course, to the improper
	    control of the communication in this country by none
	    other than the BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY.

	    So if your friends want to get in on the fun, let them
	   read your newsletter, and you might want to research your
	  own questions in your local library, and help to start the
	 education of your community of the phone company's part in the
	war against the poor, the non-white, the non-conformist, and in
       general, against the people.  Show your neighbors, friends and the
      representatives of your area how the Bell System and the Amerikan
     government are co-conspirators.  If your friendscan't subscribe to
    YIPL, that; is cool, is convenient for our small staff, and is right on
   if they can send a buck as a donation and read your newsletter.  We also
  need stamps, letters, and envelopes, which maybe they can get from their
  office at work.  Because we are already sending out issues to people short
 on bread, we really do need this kind of help.  We will report on all of our
 finances from time to time, and if you can dig it, we will probably need some
 kind of bail fund set up.  If any YIPL busts happen, we'd like to ask you all
  in advance to work extra hard for the cause.	People, thanks again.  Love

In addition to a large number of color box schematics (e.g. Red Box, Black Box, and the all time favorite Blue Box), the magazine has published several controversial articles like How To Not Get Caught Making Fake Credit Card Calls, The Burglar's Tool Box, and others on the topics ranging from home-made explosives to computer hacking.

In 1973 Al Bell renamed the publication to TAP (Technological American Party) - The Hobbyists Newsletter For The Communications Revolution to reflect its role as a technical resource covering a wider array of technical topics with less "political crap". The publication has changed editors twice with Tom Edison taking over in late 70s until his apartment was firebombed at which point Cheshire Catalyst kept the publication running until its death in 1984. Most of the TAP/YIPL readers have switched to the shiny new phreaker/hacker publication at the time called 2600: The Hacker Quarterly which started printing the very same year TAP/YIPL died. As a result, 2600 Magazine was directly influenced (and still is) by the ideals first set forth in YIPL.

Interestingly there were several brief attempts to resurrect TAP from the ashes first in 1989-1991 by Aristotle and Predator and later in 2009 by John Galt. Ultimately both attempts failed to live up to the heydays of the original publication.

In celebration of YIPL's anniversary join me by leafing through some of the old issues online provided courtesy of textfiles.com and Green Bay Professional Packet Radio.

Fuck Ma Bell!

Posted by iphelix