With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Friday, January 3, 2014

Waiting for a Chicago de Blasio?

Interesting piece in yesterday's S-T, "Chicago lefties look for their own Bill de Blasio"Dan Mihalopoulos obviously has his ear to the ground.
A nation — or at least the left-leaning activists of this one big city — is eager to turn its lonely eyes to someone who can take on the Chicago mayor whom lefties deride as “Mayor 1%” and the quintessential DINO (Democrat in Name Only).... Meanwhile, all the talk from the East Coast about combating income inequality, reining in charter-school expansion and other leftist issues has warmed Chicago lefties who see de Blasio as the sort of mayor this city needs instead of Rahm Emanuel.
But Mihalopoulos must understand that it's not just "lefties" or the CTU who want to take out Rahm. His positive ratings are lower than snail shit and there's even a significant section of Chicago's ruling class who have grown tired of the chaos, violence and corruption that have marred the city's image.

Mihalopoulos is right on top of things when he focuses on the lack of a unified labor movement in Chicago. Many of the city's union leaders are still tied to the Democratic machine by a thousand threads. Patronage rules the city council with the exception of a small but energized Progressive Caucus. BdB rode to victory on the strength of an independent political movement, the Working Families Party, led by organized labor. The WFP not only won for de Blasio, it elected dozens of councilmen as well. De Blasio's victory was also mirrored in Rochester with the election of Lovely Warren.

Mihalopoulos writes:
By the end of 2014, we will know whether the self-styled real Democrats of Chicago can transform such rhetoric into action. Before there can be a Chicago incarnation of de Blasio, one or all three of the big anti-Rahm labor groups could have to convert public discontent with Emanuel into the actual political muscle that would support a legitimate challenger, whoever that may be.
What he doesn't say is that there's much more involved in winning City Hall. Big money rules modern day elections and no independent candidate can possibly match Rahm's war chest, filled to the brim by a gaggle of billionaire cronies. But if there is any hope for the 99% in Chicago, it rests with the building of a WFP-style movement with an independent election strategy.

Mihalopouls' piece recalls for me the title of Clifford Odets depression-era play, "Waiting for Lefty" as well as the horrible teacher-bashing film, "Waiting for Superman". Rahm and many of his city council toadies can be had in 2015. But we can't wait for a de Blasio.

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