By Susie Day
In a recent PBS interview with Bill Moyers, journalist Chris Hedges discussed protest for social change. “Revolt,” he said, apropos of salvaging a collapsing world, “is all we have. It is our only hope.”
I agree. So would my friend Tito Gerassi, who believed all his life in revolution. And, since rising unemployment is part of the collapse of our world, I think Tito would have enjoyed making occupying Wall Street, and other forms of social activism, into respectable occupations. Think of the job market potential…
WANTED: Revolutionary Wackos
Applicants must retain childhood ability to identify with the powerless. Must have at least seven years experience believing that humanity is capable of living by kindness and cooperation, rather than by greed and competition. Applicants must not be inclined to laugh upon reading this last sentence. (Those who did laugh, please refer to Form 1186 regarding job openings for U.S. President.)
Applicants must enjoy out-of-doors activities such as marching, singing, chanting, blocking, sitting-in, dying-in, self-chaining, brick-hurling, and storming, either singly or in groups of fellow Wackos, to protest various social inequities and/or oncoming disasters.
Applicants must stay informed about socio-political crises, especially atrocities directly caused by U.S. policies but largely ignored by U.S. mainstream: invasions, kidnappings, torture, financing of foreign death-squads, etc., etc. Applicants must accept occupational hazard of being called “Wacko” by U.S. mainstream for caring about these things in the first place.
When explicating political positions, applicants must be able to fire off accurate data—e.g., 80,000 U.S. prisoners currently held in isolation; 400,000 immigrants detained on U.S. mainland; 1,145 Afghan civilians killed by NATO in the first six months of 2012—while maintaining Zen-like awareness that each statistic represents individual, unrepeatable human beings who would probably not appreciate being subsumed into a number for the sake of an explication.
Artistry with spray paint and/or computer graphics encouraged. Poetic ability to compose refreshing updates for such time-tested rhyming couplets as “Racist Sexist Antigay/first name last name GO AWAY!” is a real plus.
WANTED: Movement Leaders
The most important qualification for this job is that the applicant does not want it. Applicants must be impervious to assassination attempts, long prison sentences, and lucrative book contract offers. Must possess depths of humanity no less than 11,030 meters. Must be informed about and critical of racist-patriarchal-homophobic-capitalist ruling class, while committed to delivering non-rhetorical sound bites. Symmetrical facial features and ability to look good on t-shirts – possibly coins, if revolution succeeds – highly recommended.
At least twenty-five years experience as one of The Masses. No imperialist oligarchs need apply.
While there is one soul whose house is in foreclosure, you are not free.
WANTED: The Masses
Humanity a must. Equal opportunity employer. Women, people of color, queers, the poor encouraged to apply. Must see own life as inextricably linked to nearly 7 billion other members of The Masses, within context of planetary ecosystem. BYO drums, babushkas, machetes, tractors, smart phones. Guaranteed lifetime employment.
WANTED: replacement for Professor John (Tito) Gerassi
Applicant must have been born in 1931 in France and called “Tito” (diminutive of “Juan” or “Juanito”) from childhood. Applicant must have grown up in Paris around artists and intellectuals, including Marc Chagall, André Breton, and Simone de Beauvoir, who were friends of Applicant’s parents. Atheist Jean-Paul Sartre must have been Applicant’s “non-godfather.” Applicant’s father Fernando must have been abstract painter who left for Spain in the 1930s to become a Revolutionary Wacko in the Civil War against fascist General Francisco Franco. Applicant’s mother must have acknowledged at the time that, although the war was already lost: “Fernando is not fighting because we’re going to win. He’s fighting because one must fight fascism.”
Applicant must have come to the United States as a boy, becoming one with The Masses, later a journalist for Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times, interviewing the likes of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. In 1965 Applicant must have written The Great Fear in Latin America, a book inspiring thousands of 1960s Revolutionary Wackos; then in 1966, The Boys of Boise, one of the first books to explore homophobia in America. Applicant must then have become popular professor at San Francisco State College, where, during campus demonstration in 1968, Applicant’s lower back was permanently injured by police.
Although Applicant was offered professorships at various prestigious universities, he must instead have chosen to teach courses on revolution and class warfare to poor and working-class students at Queens College, NY. Eschewing the post of Movement Leader, Applicant must have spent years teaching, writing, organizing, and being increasingly adored by students and hundreds of friends, most of them Revolutionary Wackos.
At home, Applicant must have loved espresso, cute pictures of bears, and his daughter Lara. Applicant must also have enjoyed occasional furtive smokes on his balcony in full view of disapproving loved ones and Western medicine. Finally, upon turning 81, after years of courageously fighting cancer, Applicant must have lost his battle on July 26 of this year. Applicant must be missed widely and mourned deeply by thousands of Revolutionary Wackos, Movement Leaders, and The Masses.
No one need apply.
© 2012, Susie Day
Bill Moyers interview with Chris Hedges:
U.S. prisoners in solitary confinement:
Immigrants detained, abused:
Afghan deaths this year:
John Gerassi Obituary, Le Monde: