Thursday, March 20, 2014

Guzzardi -- “The whole city is watching what we did here. This election didn’t happen in a vacuum.”

In These Times photo
A POWERFUL MOVEMENT IN CHICAGO... Dan Mihalopoulos gets it (sorta) in this morning's Sun-Times ("Victories few for Preckwinkle on Election Night") about Toni backing machine candidates on Tuesday. A while back I was chanting "Run, Toni, Run." I didn't mean run into the arms of Rahm/Madigan.

Mihalopoulos writes:
Still, you can’t help but contrast the gloom felt Tuesday night by many of Preckwinkle’s friends with the soaring rhetoric about Chicago’s “progressive movement” at the Guzzardi victory party in Logan Square. “The whole city is watching what we did here,” Guzzardi told supporters. “This election didn’t happen in a vacuum.”
According to the triumphant political neophyte, he’s part of “a powerful movement in Chicago.” Guzzardi has lived in Chicago just five years but referenced an event that occurred here long before he was born: The 1983 election of Mayor Harold Washington. Guzzardi claimed his win was another milestone for a movement that once elected Washington.
In his campaign and in the speech, the 26-year-old Guzzardi laid out the key issues he believes are motivating the movement these days: 
Improving traditional public schools, as opposed to opening new charter schools. Preserving pensions for public employees. Changing a tax structure in which “the very wealthy and the biggest corporations ought to be held accountable to pay their fair share, just like the rest of us.”
BATTLE'S NOT OVER...While we on the north side are still celebrating (and I am) Will's monumental victory, let's not forget that our brothers and sisters on the south side are still fighting. Jay Travis is within a few hundred votes of Christian Mitchell and is refusing to concede until "every vote is properly counted." Of course, as we know from our own experience on Tuesday, they haven't been. And shame on Preckwinkle for calling Travis's claims of poll irregularities "delusional."

From the very beginning,  Will's campaign and that of Jay Travis should have been essentially linked, targeting the same corrupt political machine. In the course of fighting and often winning these school and election battles, our eyes remain on the prize. We are building an independent, labor-led, community-based movement that can hopefully challenge Rahm Emanuel next year and help redefine politics in this city.

The Travis campaign is facing much tougher odds right now, including obscene amounts of money flowing into Mitchell's coffers from groups like Stand For Children, DFER, and even from California billionaire school privateer Eli Broad. For Travis to be this close to victory is testimony to the power of her message, her organization and her base of support in the community.

Thanks to my FB friend Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle for posting the following:
Little piece of research I just did, fascinating to see that Mitchell's entire base of support comes from the white areas of his district, pretty telling about our political system that the corporate-backed candidate can win a seat in state assembly by depending pretty much exclusively on the whitest areas of his district: Analyze where Mitchell's "victory" came from. He was CRUSHED in predominately black areas, in fact in most areas. His entire victory came from the 42nd ward which is 70% white, the 2nd ward which is 78% white, and the 43rd ward, which is over 80% white. Meanwhile, he lost in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 10th and 20th. 
Last year we waged an important battle against the school closings and won important victories here on the north side. But in the city's predominantly black communities, 50 schools were closed, leaving thousands of families' lives in turmoil and their neighborhoods further blighted.

Let's not let the politics of divide-and-rule undo what we've been able to accomplish. To my way of thinking, the battle in the 26th is over when Jay Travis says it's over.

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