Friday, March 27, 2009

A revealing condolence!

Death is always a sad thing. When two long time members of the movement died recently, John Morris and Gary Gennazio, I became sad, I knew one of them, John, personally, from my time in Philly 1992. I stayed at his apartment for some weeks.

The circumstances around their death is not very clear. It was a traffic accident and it had to do with them running out of gas and having a broken car and being hit by a truck. This is by the way typical for the organization. The US organization earns millions of dollars a year and can only have junk cars!


While reading this condolance bý Matt Guice It all came back to me! I remember how American organizers used to call a friend in another part of the USA, to discuss something or just to talk a bit. Often they would ask if the friend, or the organizers at the other "local" had hit the quota or not (that is, had raised the required amout of money for the week or not yet), even before they asked the friend how he or she was doing.

After all... The members in the fundraisning teams were making phonecalls about eight to nine hours a day, six to seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, so  this was no small issue for them... The older field members were doing the same day by day, the same for them!

As a reminder of this quota-fixation I read how the memorial for John Morris starts out with a thing, reminding that John always tried to hit he quota. His smile, his personality, his ideas, his life is of less importance, the fact that he always tried to hit the quota, is most important!

Dear John! That is what remain as a memory of you... You wanted to hit the quota!


(Source:   )

"I called John Morris the day he died to ask him if he’d gotten quota for my birthday. He told me about the deployment he had made with Gary in the small Indiana town where I had once been stuck for several hours on a hitch-hiking trip during my misspent youth, and we bantered back and forth for a while about the organizing. He told me about the then current plans for deployment in Detroit in the days to come. I stressed the global importance of getting the field squads in the Chicago region up to higher standards. He ended our conversation by saying, "Well, we can work on the $500 orbit tomorrow." I wish he had been right.

      In my memory John is always smiling like that and thinking about the future in that optimistic way. Most of the time he is also striking goofy-looking poses as he stretches while organizing. He loved to organize in the field and wanted to make it work.

      He will be sorely missed."

I met Gary too in 2002. he was one of these longtime fighters for the movement.

But when reading this article about how he "demonstrated" against Henry Kissinger some years earlier, it once again strikes me how mad the organization I once was a member of is..."

Read how the demonstrators behaved against him and what arguments they used!

This was two years after Reagan was shot at. To shout and slam and scream "hands up" to a person that often received death threats is not very smart at all... The bodyguards protecting Kissinger did a great job. They could have shot Gary, but did not. Gary, was really lucky! 

Such behavior as the organization showed at this demonstration is just outrageous.

The condolance continues...

 "I have worked with Gary Gennazio many times over the years, seen  him at countless ICLC national conferences, too often at such events only nodding or speaking with him briefly, though sometimes longer. Recently, I have had the privilege of organizing with him at tables in Chicago and its suburbs in this last year, in the ongoing revival of field operations there. But Gary will always be, first and foremost in my memory, the guy who chased Henry Kissinger around the block. I am proud that I was with him when this happened.

      It was 1983, I believe, and Henry had been hauled out to appear on “Night Lies” on ABC, hired by them as an expert consultant of some kind to sabotage Lyn’s influence in the Reagan administration. I had been called while out organizing at La Guardia Airport with another member, told about a rally planned at ABC studios in mid-Manhattan, and so we cut a little early and shared a cab into town with two other members who had just flown in from Boston. The cabby who drove us in to Manhattan heard us all talking about Boston organizing, a recent trip one of us had taken to Denver to organize, another about Chicago, etc. and assumed we had each flown in from one of these different places to join up to go rally against Fat Henry here in New York City. He hated Kissinger, too, being Lebanese or something like that. He volubly regretted that he had to earn a living, or he would have joined us, too.

      When we arrived at 67th Street and Central Park West, the cabby was even more impressed, since there were already 25 or more ICLC members gathered, singing songs about Henry loudly, of which I remember most clearly, “Stranger Than The Night”, with its lyrics about “Kissinger and Cohn/exchanging hand jobs/little boys get blown/by these two fat slobs,” etc.. The noise they were raising, the crowd they were gathering, all made it appear like quite a boisterous gathering.

      When Kissinger arrived at the 67th Street entrance, the ABC security team worked with his Secret Service retinue to hustle him inside quickly, while our rally went on, un-bothered by any ABC (or other) cameras. After the segment with Ted Koppel was taped, all and sundry surrounding the studio prepared to get Henry on his way out. No doubt in order to protect their charge, however guilty he was of the crimes we were citing in song, sign, leaflet, and chant, the Secret Service had Kissinger’s limousine pull up to the entrance on Central Park West this time, not the side door on West 67th. Most of our forces moved around to respond when he made his exit.

      This was only a feint, however. I found myself standing next to Gary Gennazio, there by the 67th Street door, with only a few other organizers, when a gaudily painted Tavern On The Green panel truck pulled up, and Fat Henry, bundled under a raincoat or something, was escorted by a lone Secret Service agent to the rear door of the truck, hoisted quickly in, and the doors slammed.

      Gary saw this happen and took instant action. “Henry Kissinger, the notorious international criminal, is trying to make a getaway in this truck!” he shouted, and ran to the rear, before it could pull away, pounding on the truck’s locked door. “Come on out you little faggot murderer!” Gary cried, or words to that effect. “Come on out with your hands up! You’re wanted for genocide! Crimes against humanity!”

      The Tavern On The Green employee driving that truck must have gotten a shouted order to drive then, because he floored the gas pedal, ground gears, and took off down the street,  leaving the smell of burnt rubber in his wake. This noisy and sudden departure and Gary’s continued cries attracted the attention of our colleagues around the corner on Central Park West, who began to run towards us. Gary ran screaming loudly after the truck, and I followed his lead, however hopeless the task looked. After only a few paces, though, our luck seemed to improve. The traffic light on Columbus Avenue changed to yellow as the truck approached it, and the driver, obviously respecting laws far more than his passengers, slowed to a stop. This gave Gary time to catch up, with me not far behind. He banged his fist on the side of the truck as soon as he reached it, shouting, “Come on out, Kissinger! You can’t hide from justice, you child molesting monster!” Pointing dramatically at the truck, Gary stepped back and shouted out to a cabby nearby, who was waiting on West 67th for a fare, “Henry Kissinger, the international criminal, the butcher of Beirut, mass murderer of Biafra and Bangla Desh, is hiding in this truck!”

      “Henry Kissinger? THE Henry Kissinger?” asked the cabby.

      I assured him it was true, while Gary called out to two more cabbies on the other corner. The first taxi driver looked like he might be Pakistani, so I added, “Kissinger has Ali Bhutto’s blood on his hands, you know!” On hearing this, he grabbed his radio microphone from the interior, chattered something into it excitedly, and slammed the door. Gary was pounding on the truck again, shouting, “Come on out, you sick murderous hit man for the British Empire! Your days of quietly driving off and escaping justice are over!”

      The light changed, but instead of going straight, the driver turned the corner, intending to make a box and return to Central Park, where he came from, I guess.  Now, this is where Columbus Avenue meets Broadway, so there was another light only a few feet down, and it was red already. The driver dutifully stopped. I am certain that  Henry was cursing Gary as he lay cowering in the rear of that panel truck, and we were close enough to hear the Secret Service man’s agitated voice raised to high volume through the metal door. We were joined by the Pakistani cabby, who had deserted his cab, shouting something about Kissinger being a murderer while Gary beat a fine rhythm on the walls of the truck. The light changed, and again the driver turned left, onto West 66th Street, this time, with Gary giving hot chase, pounding on the truck as long as he could, shouting out indictment charges against Henry Kissinger, leading myself and now also the cabby, and alerting a handful of passing New York City spectators, one of whom began to cheer us on, “Go get him!” Halfway down the block, which was a longer one this time, I began to run out of steam, while the Paki taxi driver faded away completely, as the truck seemed to be getting too far away.

      This didn’t stop Gary, who plunged on at full throttle, shouting as he ran. He caught the truck at the next corner, just before the red light it had stopped there for turned to green. I watched as Gary pounded away on it, calling on Henry to surrender and come out with his hands up, then chase the truck around the corner and into Central Park at the Tavern On The Green back parking lot.

      I caught up to him just as the Limousine, now holding Kissinger, who had switched cars in the lot, tried to run down Gary. He had stood in its path, shouting imprecations, and banged its hood as it swerved at the last moment, giving him just barely enough room to jump away. Without more than a moment to catch his breath, Gary was off again, this time to call a police officer over.

      “I want to report an attempted vehicular murder,” he said to the officer who responded.

      “Who was the intended victim?” asked the cop.

      “Me,” said Gary. “I have the plate number of the car in question. An international dope pusher, murderer, and gangster tried to have his driver run me over with his limousine.”

      The cop looked askance at this, but asked, “Who would that be?”

      “Henry Kissinger,” said Gary, without missing a beat. And without taking any guff for it, Gary went to the Police Precinct Headquarters to file a complaint against Henry Kissinger for attempted vehicular homicide. THAT was Gary Gennazio.

by Matt Guice

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