Tea Part(ies) of the Left?
Former Congressional staffers have distilled their observations on the techniques used by the Tea Party and they have compiled them in a document, Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda. Your editor thinks it’s worth reading, though it leaves out money and is focused almost entirely on Congress. Even if most Tea Party groups operated on a potluck basis, you can assume that they brought more money and access to the table than most lefty groups would be able to scrape up: Political outsiders, maybe, but with more ammunition. Likewise, there were several reasonably well-monied national groups that were able to finance Tea Party events around which local groups could organize or otherwise use for networking. These national centers led many lefties to dismiss the Tea Party as an astroturf phenomenon when in fact it may have been better described as “sod.” National centers with some money are not totally absent on the left (think People’s Summit, for example), but this lack will require some experimentation. Nonetheless, this is a good guide to self-organizing. You can read the document HERE.
Welcome to the Second Redemption
In the first of a 3 part series at Mayoral Tutorial, Jack Knight writes:
Our first foray into multiracial democracy did not go well. The words “ended in tears” would not begin to cover the bitter racist reality that asserted itself in the wake of our first failed experiment with hope and change. Right from the start white Americans in the “reconstructed” states resisted with communal, legislative, judicial and economic violence and would only move as far as the federal government was willing to take them. When and wherever white citizens took control of their states their laws reflected their views and they fought federal law very hard in ways that actually did damage to not only their interests but those of their children. Reconstructed states rejected everything from education to infrastructure to deny them to freed slaves. If this sounds like the refusal to take Obamacare and federal infrastructure money and looks like what the GOP is doing in every state where they hold control the legislature, judiciary and/or the executive branch then it should.
Here’s how things went down. From 1865 to 1877 the feds made an attempt to create a multiracial democracy. The states resisted. The white citizens resisted federal legislation from Congressional Bills to Constitutional Amendments and did not just roll back local and state laws that protected the rights of newly freed slaves they eradicated them. Communities were terrorized by first random individuals, then by organized groups of angry white citizens, then by legislation and social norms of the most strident white citizens and finally by full force of state sanctioned violence carried out by white citizens. America went from being on the path to multiracial democracy to spending from 1877 to the Civil Rights era creating Jim Crow and its attendant horrors. From the occasional pogrom like the destruction of Greenwood/Tulsa and/or the more personal carnival like lynchings to the creation of public policy designed to bar Black Americans from not just public services but from private participation in economy and wealth creation, the new status quo severely limited the freedoms and safety of Black Americans.
Lobby the Electoral College
Demonstrations are being organized in every state capitol on December 19 to call on electors to vote their conscience. MORE INFORMATION.
Women’s March on Washington
In addition to counter-inaugural demonstrations on January 20, there will be a Women’s March on Washington on January 21. You can get information on Chicago participants HERE. A good article on the organizing effort was posted at DNA Info.
Keith for DNC
For those interested in intervening in the affairs of Democratic Party Inc, Congressman Keith Ellison’s campaign to become Chair of the Democratic National Committee is coming to Chicago for a rally fundraiser. This will be on Sunday, January 8, 3 PM to 5 PM at the Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie Blvd in Chicago. The campaign is asking $100 for tickets, and you can obtain tickets HERE.
Time Limits to Housing Assistance?
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Housing Authority have come up with the brilliantly stupid idea of reducing the size of the waiting list for housing vouchers (now up to 43,000) by limiting the length of time families can collect housing assistance. The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability has a reality check HERE.
Meanwhile, Emanuel and his City Hall Disciples have been setting up slush funds that are not especially transparent or accountable, and TIFs are only one of several varieties. Curtis Black at Chicago Reporter has a good survey of the goodies. It’s a bit outside the scope of the article, but Black misses one cute aspect. Intended to finance capital improvements to the CTA Red Line, the new transit TIFs represent a dedicated revenue stream that ought to increase from the improved CTA service. That revenue stream could be borrowed against or even sold (as part of a “public / private partnership”) should the Federal money not come through… or even if it does.
At the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability:
Every year, Chicago divvies up $65 million among its 50 aldermen — or about $1.3 million per ward — as “menu money,” which each alderman gets to spend however they choose. According to PB Chicago, at least nine wards use “participatory budgeting” to assign menu money to local projects, bringing together constituents to suggest, debate, and vote on a particular road resurfacing project, park rehabilitation, or mural they’d like to see completed.
But how do all of these decisions — made at a participatory budgeting hearing or in a ward office — add up? What’s the big picture on what Chicagoans are getting for this $65 million?