Is Rahm on his way out?


by Eric Kerl and Todd St. Hill 

Rats fleeing a sinking ship.

That’s how a lot of people in Chicago are describing the wave of pink slips, resignations, and unexpected “retirements” of high-ranking Chicago cops and politicians. These days, it isn’t just longtime opponents but former supporters who are demanding the resignations of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez for their roles in the cover-up of Laquan McDonald’s execution by Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke.

According to a recent opinion poll, Emanuel’s job approval rating has dropped to 18 percent, just slightly ahead of congressional Republicans, and more than half of those surveyed say he should resign.

The mayor appeared before the City Council he usually presides over like the dictator of a one-party state to issue a teary apology, but it did nothing to quiet the daily protests and widespread outrage. As one demonstrator’s sign summarized: “Crocodile tears won’t fix this. #ResignRahm.”

The mayor’s handpicked Police Chief Garry McCarthy was the first to go within days after the horrifying video of McDonald’s execution was finally released. But with more revelations of the Chicago Police Department’s racism and brutality continuing to emerge, more heads will undoubtedly roll–and as unlikely as it might have seemed just weeks ago, Emanuel’s might be among them. Continue reading


MidwestMarxismPosterMark your calendars! Click here to RVSP. Free childcare will be provided to all who need it. A suggested donation to cover costs will be collected at the door but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

The conference will be held at Bodhi Spiritual Center (2746 N Magnolia Ave, # 2750, Chicago, Illinois 60614).

There will be two sessions:

(1) BUILDING THE PARTY — How the Bolsheviks organized themselves and what activists today can learn from their experience.

(2) HOW THE REVOLUTION WAS WON — The role of the revolutionary party in the course of a revolution.

We are recommending that attendees read Paul Leblanc’s book Lenin and the Revolutionary Party in preparation for the two sessions. Those unable to read the Leblanc should read Ahmed Shawki’s excellent piece “Eighty Years Since the Russian Revolution.”

We look forward to seeing you there!

What Socialists Say About Rahm’s Tax Hike

Not a single tax increase on working people. (1)

Rahm is proposing the biggest property tax increase in modern Chicago history — in a city that already has the highest sales tax in the whole nation. Rahm says it’s “inevitable” if the city is going to stay in the black. The corporate press says the city’s finances are a mess and “tough choices” — more cutbacks, thousands of layoffs, big tax hikes on ordinary Chicagoans — must be made. What do socialists say about all of this?

First of all, we say that this is not a complicated issue. It’s actually quite simple. Chicago is not broke. We live in one of the most wealthy cities in the world. Some of the biggest corporations in the world and richest individuals in the US call our city home. Scarcity isn’t our problem — it’s backward political priorities that favor the wealthy few to the detriment of the majority.

We say: not a single cent increase in taxes or fees on ordinary working-class Chicagoans. None. Period.

Not a single cut to our schools, roads, transit, libraries, health clinics, and so forth. Not one.

Not a single layoff for teachers, bus drivers, librarians — for city workers of any kind.

The solution to Chicago’s budget woes are simple: tax the rich. And then tax them some more.

Tax big-ticket financial transactions on LaSalle Street just like they tax us when we buy socks. Tax luxury assets in excess of $1 million. Tax the big landlords in the loop with high-powered lawyers to get them out of paying property taxes.

And while we’re at it, we could stop wasting precious city funds on handouts to the rich — you know, stuff like: TIF’s, corporate subsidies, tax breaks for the likes of Boeing, and interest/service fees for the fat cat banks that hold Chicago city debt.


On Hunger Strike Till Victory is Won


City officials offered a deal to the hunger strikers at Dyett High School, but that only strengthened their resolve.

by Bob Simpson 

THE WORDS of James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing” echoed down Drexel Avenue on Chicago’s South Side on the mild summer evening of September 8. Down the street from the Chicago home of President Obama, the Dyett hunger strikers and their supporters, holding candles in the deepening darkness, shared this song that is often called the Black National Anthem:

Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
let our rejoicing rise,
high as the listening skies, let it resound loud as the rolling sea
sing a song full of faith that the dark past has taught us,
sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

It was an opportunity for the hunger strikers and their supporters to reflect on the centuries-old African American struggle for freedom and their role in the struggle–Day 23 of the hunger strike to create the Walter Dyett High School for Global Leadership and Green Technology at the now-closed Dyett High School building in Chicago’s Washington Park. Continue reading

Event at Loyola Coming Up! (1)

We’re expecting a big turnout for our first event at Loyola for the fall semester! If you’re interested in progressive politics or simply curious about what socialism means, you won’t want to miss this event. We’ll kick things off with a brief presentation on what socialism is and then open things up for discussion. Hope to see you there!


We’re Glad You’re Here!

Check it out!

The Chicago district of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) welcomes you to our newly renovated website. The site has a number of important new features that you should make sure to check out: an events page, pages dedicated to explaining our basic political perspective, as well as a series of pages with information on the current activist campaigns our membership is prioritizing at any given time.

In particular, however, we want to draw your attention to our all-new Chicago-centric blog which will feature frequent contributions from our members on events, activism and political developments in the city.

We are proud to have branches throughout the city full of members who are active in a variety of different kinds of activist work. The blog will feature short posts that reflect the depth and breadth of our members’ participation in political movements in Chicago. We’ll also periodically post cutting-edge political commentary on city politics, such as articles and editorials about Chicago published in our organizations newspaper