Thirty-three years ago today the second American revolution was supposed to begin. I sometimes wonder if it was all an elaborate joke the Old Man (aka Gerald Dodein aka Gino Perente) played on us. Setting a date like that. February 18th 1984, like revolution was a haircut you could make an appointment for. That it wasn’t just a con, a way to get power and women, but an actual joke. Safehouse as performance art.
During an interview about Red Star Tattoo a reporter said to me “At least in a way you still believe all the same things you did even then. That has to be some comfort. It’s not like you believed in aliens or something.” I’d never quite thought about it that way but of course she was right. Maybe I didn’t believe in revolution anymore but I still believed in good housing, healthcare, equality.
Most of the people I’ve remade contact with from the organization are still concerned with social justice. The Old Man said it didn’t matter why people came in the door, it was why they stayed that mattered. But actually he had it backwards. It was why we joined, the urge we had to try and help fix the brokenness of the world, that mattered. We stayed for so many reasons. Because we still believed, or because we were scared to leave or because we had no place to run away to. But we walked through the door because we wanted a more just world.
This year, I am reflecting not so much on the elaborate lie of Gino Perente’s revolutionary promise but on the big-hearted people I met who wanted to improve the lives of the vulnerable and the oppressed. Who still want this. Even after all these years they are my comrades in hope