Protest Chicago

by Jodie Eason
The rise of activism has made it difficult for action-minded people to find out where and when people are gathering to raise their voices. The volume of protest events is large and increasing, and it’s hard to find a comprehensive list of events in one place. is an online guide to Chicago-area protest events, striving to consolidate all area protests into one easy-to-use website. accepts any protest and rally event notifications from progressive organizations and lists them in a simple, clean format. Events are displayed in chronological order, and include all the relevant details  — including links to organizers’ own promotional media –- with no analysis, opinion, or comment. Visit the site to find the protest nearest you or use the submission form to submit events that aren’t listed.

Content is limited to progressive public rallies and protests.

Anti-Inaugural Address for Daley Plaza

by Alec Hudson
Afternoon everyone. You all know why we are here. The American political system has given us one of the most depraved, corrupt, and bigoted leaders in our lifetime.

While there is no escaping this far-right reality that is ahead of us, the sight of all of us out here in the streets standing up for justice and liberation for black and brown people, working people, women, lgbtq people, immigrants, and all oppressed communities gives us reason to hope. No matter how bleak the future seems we all have a vision of a society beyond the evils of racism, capitalism, misogyny, colonialism, and white supremacy. Our visions may not look exactly the same, but it does not matter. We who believe in progress must remember that an injury to one is an injury to all, that we cannot have true liberation from economic  oppression without liberation for all communities suffering from the evils of racism, capitalism, colonialism, and white supremacy.

We in Democratic Socialists of America are  willing to work and struggle with anyone who has a vision of a future beyond these evils. We want to organize with those who do not care about loyalty to a party, particularly a party that talks progress but brings privatization to our public schools and black sites to our police departments. We want to organize for a system that cares about human need more than profit or property rights. There is much work to be done, but if we continue to stand and organize we will not only defeat the far-right but the very system of American capitalism, racism, homophobia, and oppression. We hope to see you in the streets. Thank you so much.

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Demonstrations! Who Need ‘Em?

At Jacobin, Kenzo Shibata argues that the anti-Inaugural and Women’s Marches were important and best understood from the stand point of collective bargaining, specifically the tactic of a “contract rally”.

On Saturday, marchers showed their leverage over the president, essentially declaring themselves ungovernable. Trump clearly laid out an agenda of taking away the rights of every marginalized and exploited group in America while on the campaign trail. This was a preemptive show of force against that agenda.

The power of the march was in its diversity. Had only the “usual suspects” turned out — professional organizers, community leaders, political militants, and politicians — it could have been easily dismissed by Trump. Instead, it was a broad coalition, much like the most successful contract campaign rallies. The marches’ success can be measured in part by how it seemed to send the Trump campaign into a tailspin on its first full day in office.


A Welcoming Illinois

On January 14, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights put together a platform of policies to make local communities, Illinois, and the United States a welcoming place for refugees and immigrants. They are planning a lobby day in Springfield on February 15. To find out more about the platform, to sign up to lobby, and more: CLICK HERE.

In west suburban Cook County, Oak Park and Melrose Park are considering ordinances making them welcoming communities. Greater Oak Park DSA helped turn out at the Oak Park Village Board meeting and provided testimony in support.

Know Your Rights

At South Side Weekly, Meaghan Murphy writes:

Chicago is often referred to as a sanctuary city, a city that protects immigrants. But as the August 5 raid showed, the specific parameters of those protections matter a great deal. Chicago protects immigrants through city ordinance, through CPD directives, and through public services. The primary mode of this protection is “non-cooperation”: the City of Chicago and its departments will not cooperate with federal authorities to arrest, detain, or deport undocumented residents. This is what the Welcoming City Ordinance ensures. But many in Chicago are demanding more.


Poisoned at the Roots

At Religious Socialism, Adam Joyce writes:

The violence of U.S. life, from police brutality to entrenched economic exploitation, is regularly blamed on “bad apples” — individual aberrations in an overall just and good system. The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States makes it plain that we are dealing with more than rotten apples or even rotten trees, but with an orchard rooted in white male supremacy and exploitative capitalism. This twisted orchard has been planted and sustained by many, but white Christians are some of its primary cultivators.


A Left Vision for Trade

At Dissent Magazine, Eric Loomis outlines the problem and has some suggestions for solutions:

…we must seek to appeal to the concerns of working-class people who either voted for Trump or were so unmotivated by Clinton that they did not vote at all. Articulating a progressive line on trade policy, following the lead of politicians such as Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Bernie Sanders, and Keith Ellison, while also seeking to guide those politicians with new ideas need to be major goals for the labor left. Ultimately, we must spend the next four years advancing a positive agenda for global labor that both rejects the neoliberalism that has dominated national debate for the past four decades and empowers workers around the world to fight for their rights.


Everyone Is Joining the Resistance

by Bob Roman

Everyone is joining the resistance to the Trump agenda, whatever that may be, for we all fear the worst and anything less than that is still pretty bad. Everyone is joining, including what passes for the Democratic Party in Chicago’s 48th Ward, where U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky held her “Anger to Action” community forum on Saturday, January 7. All the local politicians were on the program: 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman, State Representative Kelly Cassidy, State Senator Heather Steans, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. Appropriately, 48th Ward Committeewoman Carol Ronen served as the master of ceremonies.

The event was held at the old Broadway Armory on Broadway near Thorndale. It drew somewhere between 1,200 and 1,400 people (estimates vary). It was standing room only for a crowd that was largely older and white. The people of color in the audience were mostly not African-American.

Had this rally been held in a January prior to an election, it would not have been all that unusual and it would have had a fairly tight focus on mobilizing election volunteers to action and on getting money to flowing. But without an election, having Democratic politicians organize such an event is decidedly unusual. It was one of several rabble rousing events that Representative Schakowsky appeared at between the New Year and the Inauguration.

While the rally had some ordinary organizational aspects (list building, for example), the emphasis was very much on getting attendees active in non-electoral politics, of which the Women’s March on Washington was the headliner yet but one of several options presented. There was even an organization fair after the rally and a promise of follow-up emails with more activism opportunities. Senator Steans attempted to incite a Twitter bomb, though I’m inclined to think it fizzled, and there was a social media workshop after the rally as well.

The rally did not get much coverage in the media. Indeed, it did not seem to be designed as journalist bait. Among other things, the politicians actually gave speeches rather than providing the strings of sound bites that, in the worst cases, become one non sequitur after another. The speeches were largely what you would expect from a Democratic Party gathering: reproductive rights, LBGT rights, the Illinois budget impasse, education, Obamacare (most especially Obamacare), Social Security…. What is missing from this list? Labor. The labor movement was mentioned precisely three times. The first time was not by a politician but by an activist thanking SEIU for their assistance with the Women’s March on Chicago. The next two times were by Representative Jan Schakowsky who mentioned the need to defend labor rights and, later, the need for $15 / hour and a union.

The point is not to beat up on clueless liberal politicians (though if you wish to do so, dear reader, be my guest). The fact is, having a tin ear is not a survival trait for professional politicians, and this was not a largely union audience. Yet despite the audience, Schakowsky touted the labor movement. That labor was not an automatic inclusion for the others suggests that the labor movement is becoming, even in the minds of liberal Democratic politicians, what conservatives have always accused it of being: a special interest, supportive mentions optional. Friends like these do not have your back; labor has gone from having a seat at the table to being on the table.

Representative Schakowsky, at least, gets this. Even supportive mentions in passing are important. Liberal non-union audiences need to understand that the success of their agenda depends on the health of the labor movement, that there is a considerable overlap between the agendas, that the people who oppose labor’s agenda are largely the people who oppose theirs. All politicians who profess themselves to be friends of labor need to take part in this public education else they are not really friends.

The complete video of the forum is available via the Women’s March on Washington – Illinois Facebook page.

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Oak Park as a Sanctuary City?

According to the newsletter of the Oak Park Democratic Party, there’s a move afoot to make Oak Park a Sanctuary Village, where the village would not cooperate with ICE regarding undocumented migrants. This would be considered at the Oak Park Village Board meeting, to be held at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, January 17, at the Village Hall, 123 Madison in Oak Park. As details become available, we’ll post the event on the Chicago DSA Events Page as this is something folks should attend.

The Economy We Have

Largely based on research and policy papers issued during 2016, the Economic Policy Institute has put together 13 charts that “show the difference between the economy we have now and the economy we could have.” It’s worth a look (and easy to spread via social media) HERE.

Keith for DNC

The Illinois Rally / Fundraiser for Keith Ellison has moved from the Logan Square Auditorium to the Wild Hare Restaurant, 2610 N. Halsted in Chicago. It’s Sunday, January 8, 3 PM to 5 PM. You can get in for as little as $50. MORE INFORMATION.

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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.

Menu Money

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?


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DSA in the News

compiled by Bob Roman

DSA member Jeffrey Durand was interviewed on Dan Yorke’s “State of Mind” program on FOX Providence. Seth Goldstein explained why he joined DSA at Raging Chicken Press.

Conservative post-election gloating featured DSA in a piece by Joshua Alvarez at The Swanee Purple.

A lefty post-election dismay piece by Alex Payne included DSA at Medium.

It’s difficult to profile Cornel West without at least mentioning DSA, and Connor Kilpatrick is no exception at Jacobin.

Fidel Castro, Ed Sullivan, Jack Paar and… DSA? in a piece by Jesse Walker at Reason.

The Washington Standard reposted a blog item that mixes Barack Obama, Frances Fox Piven, DSA, and professional anti-Communist Manning Johnson for a predictable stew, worth noting not so much for the venue but that the item has had multiple postings on right-wing blogs.

We Fight for Socialism Over Barbarism

A 11/13/2016 statement by DSA’s National Political Committee begins:

On November 8, voters in the United States narrowly elected an openly racist, misogynist and nativist candidate for president. Donald Trump succeeded in defining himself as an anti-establishment candidate who will end dynastic rule in Washington, D.C., by elites who care little for “forgotten Americans.” The grain of truth in this rhetoric masked an ideological appeal to a “white identity” that Republicans have long cultivated — in this instance, focusing on fear of immigrants, Muslims and people of color. The facts go against the liberal media’s narrative that “poor white people” were the primary force behind Trump’s rise. We must understand “Trumpism” as a cross-class white nativist alliance; the median family income of the 62 percent of white voters who supported Trump was higher than that of Hillary Clinton voters and wealthier than Bernie Sanders’ primary base.