Tom Wetzel

In Deer Hunting With Jesus Joe Bageant says "those who grow up in the lower class in America often end up class conscious for life" and so it has been with me.After leaving high school I worked as a gas station attendant for quite a few years and got let go from that job in one of the first job actions I was involved in. I gradually worked my way through college and in the early '70s was part of an initial group who organized the first teaching assistants' union at UCLA in which I was a shop steward. I had been involved in the anti-war movement in the late '60s and first became involved in socialist politics at that time.After obtaining a PhD at UCLA I was an assistant professor for several years at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee where I taught logic and philosophy and in my spare time helped to produce a quarterly anarcho-syndicalist community newspaper. After I returned to California in the early '80s, I worked for a number of years as a typesetter and was involved in an attempt to unionize a weekly newspaper in San Francisco. For about nine years I was the volunteer editorial coordinator for the anarcho-syndicalist magazine ideas & action and wrote numerous essays for that publication. Since the '80s I've made my living mainly as a hardware and software technical writer in the computer industry. I've occasionally taught logic classes as a part-time adjunct.During the past decade my political activity has mainly been focused on housing, land-use and public transit politics. I did community organizing at the time of the big eviction epidemic in my neighborhood in 1999-2000, working with the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition. Some of us involved in that effort then decided on a strategy of gaining control of land and buildings by helping existing tenants convert their buildings to limited equity housing cooperatives. To do this we built the San Francisco Community Land Trust of which I was president for two years.

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