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SmashTheState's avatar

What career paths are open to a notorious anarchist troublemaker?

Asked by SmashTheState (9617 points ) April 12th, 2012

I’ve spent most of the last 20 years fighting with riot cops, organizing protests and demonstrations, setting up unions, walking picket lines, giving press conferences and interviews, posting flyers, waging war on city hall, and looking rakish in a tactical police vest and military cap.

I find myself at loose ends these days, having turned over much of my former responsibilities to others and having completed many of my previous projects. Activists tend to be young and idealistic; they have little time or patience for battered, old, bitter warhorses who no longer have all the answers. As a result, I’ve been thinking about finding some new, tolerable way to use the skill set I’ve developed.

My question is twofold:

(1) Can you think of potential career paths and occupations for which I would be qualified as a professional rabble-rouser who has run out of rabble to rouse?

(2) What kind of employer would be willing to consider hiring a hulking, bearded, notorious anarchist who is known on sight by every cop in the city and has spent half his life in court, in the media spotlight, or both?

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28 Answers

ucme's avatar

Royal butler, the possibilities for unhinged chaos are simply endless.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Security consultant. Maybe set up your own business. Then you could pick and choose who you work for and you can turn down whatever business that goes against your views.

FutureMemory's avatar

Circus clown.

zenvelo's avatar

Writer, journalist. Union organizer. Lawyer for non-profit agencies that work pro-bono.

Brian1946's avatar

Given the present administration, Kanada could use its own Michael Moore.

Rock2's avatar

Dogcatcher.
I wouldn’t hire you as one though.

Maybe Obama would hire you.

FutureMemory's avatar

Writer would actually be a great choice!

If you were writing for public consumption you’d probably need to tone down the rhetoric, but in terms of raw skill, I’ve always thought your ability to clearly express a thought was second to none.

ro_in_motion's avatar

If you want a new career might I make a suggestion? Drop the past. I don’t mean to forget it. But look at this as a new chapter in your life and open yourself up to change.

Find something that excites you and do that. It’s really that simple. Even in good times, there are people who accept the first job that comes their way, hate it and yet stay there for a very long time.

janbb's avatar

Community organzier for a non-profit?

marinelife's avatar

You can simply call yourself a community organizer (it worked for Obama). Say that you skills included managing staffs, organizing and running working groups, preparing media materials,etc.

A perfect job for you but unlikely if you are well-known in your current local area would be PR or media relations.

You could also run a warehouse or shipping operation.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The problem, if I were going to hire you, is – what kind of an employee is an avowed anarchist going to be? Is he going to helping the organization or trying to bring it down? Why would I want to hire someone that isn’t trusted to have the goals of the organization at the top of his work priorities?

I think you’re going to have to think of a good and non-threatening way to promote your energies.

tom_g's avatar

My wife was an organizer with ACORN and the PIRGs for many years. This is far from revolutionary work, however, and you’d likely find this type of thing rather conservative (from an anarchist perspective). But if you’re looking for something that might bring in a tiny bit of money and allow you to use your passion/skills for organizing, this might be the way to go.
Note: I know ACORN is no more. But I suspect/hope that there are other opportunities in community organizing.

wundayatta's avatar

ACORN still is. They call themselves something else. Sometime, oddly enough, that reminds my wife of Citizens United. Our next door neighbor’s son who went to my Alma Mater is starting work for them this week. My wife couldn’t remember the name exactly.

But ACORN is for hardcore organizers only. They are very strict and pay very little. It really is young person’s work.

I was an activist for about five years after college. I then went back to grad school to get a degree in labor relations so I could work for a union. I worked for what passes for a radical union in these parts for a few years and then ended up as a policy wonk, where I made more money and worked more regular hours. Now, making more money is a relative thing. I made more than I had been making, but I never made nearly as much as most people of my level of education.

Now that I work in academia (those who can’t do, teach?), I make close to a median salary, I think. But as my coworkers back when I worked as a consultant for a radical think-tank always said, with respect to my salary, there has always been a case of market failure. If I hadn’t married my wife, who made a good deal more, things would not have been so easy. But I did good and she did well and between us it worked out.

Which is to say that you might want to go back to school. That’s how most people indicate to employers that they are ready to make more money. It’s also how you “retool.” My advice is that you continue to follow your bliss. Do what really fulfills you. Do not think about career paths. Think about the work you want to do, and then do that. Get a degree if it helps.

Trillian's avatar

Dictator for life?

SmashTheState's avatar

FYI, ACORN are union-busters. ACORN’s workers came to the IWW to organize themselves, and ACORN broke the union using the same shitty tactics that Wal-Mart uses. I happen to be aware of this because I’m a card-carrying Wobbly.

janbb's avatar

@SmashTheState I didn’t know the Wobblies still existed! Cool.

filmfann's avatar

You could probably get a consulting job for Union organizing, or for (swallow hard…) the FBI on how to deal with such protestors.

wundayatta's avatar

I have found the unions are some of the most dedicated union busters there are. Not surprised that ACORN does the same. ACORN is very hard ass. I don’t know if this is currently the case, but at one point they used to demand that organizers live at the same standard of living as the people they organize. Or so I heard. I don’t know how they managed that, other than refusing to pay organizers more than minimum wage.

When I was a canvasser, there were some aborted attempts at organizing the staff. Management fought that off successfully, telling us we didn’t need a union, same as real managers tell real unions.

Having said that, there are one or two unions that do not fight staff unions. So some people put principles first—in a way. You’d think, though, that unions would want to treat their employees the way they’d want to be treated, but no. Unions are as dysfunctional an organization as any other business. The one I worked for used the family model of organization: father knows best. Yeah. Right.

Jaxk's avatar

Maybe you could write songs for the Wobblies. I heard they wrote all the unions songs. I can’t think of any organization that would want a person with a background of destroying organizations.

augustlan's avatar

Some ideas that don’t have anything to do with your experience, but probably won’t mind your past/appearance:

Bouncer at a bar.
Oil rig rough neck.
Tattoo parlor receptionist.
Security.

I do think you could make a go as a writer, too. At least on the side.

flutherother's avatar

Autobiography/political writer (the pen is mightier than the sword)
Gardener.

YARNLADY's avatar

Your description fits an acquaintance of mine. He operates a Martial Arts School and Shooting Range.

SuperMouse's avatar

My first thought is that you are a born advocate, you just need to find someone/something to advocate for. My first thought was an attorney or social worker. The only problem with those two is that you have to work within the system rather than work to bust it. You would probably also be an awesome high school or college teacher.

Are you at all athletic? Do you enjoy the outdoors? It is really easy for me to see the person you described as a outdoor guide kind of person. You know, the guy who leads hikes, bike rides, river rafting, or gives nature tours.

Of course as others have said, you would probably be a fabulous (investigative?) journalist.

mrrich724's avatar

well you have relevant experience to be a lobbyist or political action member of some sort.

Also, unless you’ve done something REALLY wrong, typically metropolitan police departments like troubled people b/c you can relate to/ think like the criminals you chase.

If you can’t make something work, you can always opt into the inmate lifestyle ;0 J/K.

ninjacolin's avatar

Consulting. You should start writing books about your experiences and helping others to learn the art of waging war against city hall.

No joke.

Judi's avatar

Concert promoter, DJ, community organizer.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Librarian at a radical lending library.

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