When the Hartland Hotel burned down, I first met David McGuire. The Mission Agenda was working with people displaced from the hotel in order to make sure that no one became homeless because. David was a tenant at the Hartland, and welcomed the partnership.
I remember about David was that after he had just faced an intense personal trauma, he was insisting on organizing a Hartland Tenants Union.
No one had to explain to him that the only way to make sure that everyone ended up with a roof was to work together, collectively. We didn’t have to train him or send him to a workshop on “power analysis,” David McGuire knew what time it was and led the fight in many ways, actions at City Hall, press conferences he was always there with his fellow and sister tenants.
David stayed in the struggle even after his own housing situation got better. He worked at the Mission Agenda, participated in the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition and never stayed away when other hotels burned. He was always there insisting that tenants organize and stand up for themselves.
David was well-read beyond belief. Some called him a conspiracy theorist, but actually he was a conspiracy scholar. If there is a heaven above, I hope it has a large library that with the real deal on JFK’s assassination, Area 51, the Freemasons, the Illuminati and George Bush Sr.’s ties to neo-nazis. That would be a heaven worth living in for David.
Through working with David I found out that he was a great poet as well. I encouraged him to start reading his work at the open-mikes at the Paradise Lounge and Brainwash Café. He quickly impressed everyone with his wit and meticulous attention to double-meanings in his poetry.
How to remember David? Take time out from the revolution for movies and poetry and books.
Keep an active imagination and always look for the man behind the curtain. Don’t stop organizing, because despite his battles with depression and alienation David had a deep faith in the ability of people to change their situations together.