The people of Chicago are presently grappling with a big question that nearly every urban place faces: Can anyone really govern such a sprawling, brawling city?
Reclaim Chicago — an upstart populist coalition that has become a major force in the city — says the answer is a great big “NO.” Moreover, asserts this grassroots group, no one should. Rather, the many should, and if they’re organized through a democratic network, the people can be their own government, producing egalitarian policies that improve the lives of everyone, advancing the whole city.
Indeed, the problem in Chicago has been that “one” has been in charge, imposing corporate rule that further enriches the rich, while holding down everyone else. At present, the city’s Numero Uno is Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Wall Street Democrat who uses everything from privatization schemes and tax favoritism to harsh budget cuts and arbitrary police action to shift money and power away from the people and the common good, into the coffers of the moneyed elites. Plutocratic ruthlessness aside, however, “Mayor 1-Percent,” as the people have dubbed him, thinks he’s untouchable.
Reclaim Chicago, however, is about to test that. This independent coalition is backing a top-notch slate of 14 peo ple’s candidates to challenge incumbent city council members who’ve been tailwagging lapdogs for Emanuel’s corporate rule. And Mayor 1-Percent himself has drawn two opponents for the Feb. 24 election.
Of course, Emanuel is floating on a boatload of special interest cash, but Reclaim Chicago has hundreds of its seasoned and trained members holding personal, door-to-door conversations with Chicagoans. Win or lose in this go-round, Reclaim Chicago will keep moving onward and upward — and that’s what it takes to build a winning people’s movement.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.