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Chicago! City of broad shoulders. Plutocratic hog butcher. Tool maker for progressive change. Stacker of the wheat of grassroots power, wheat separated from the chaff of corporate politicians. Stormy, husky, brawling. Planning, building, breaking, rebuilding. Under its wrist is the pulse and under its ribs is the heart of the people. Laughing! Proud to be hog butcher, tool maker, stacker of wheat.
Apologies to Carl Sandburg for my butchering of his 1914 poetic paean to the rise of this colossus of a working-class city – but I see a promising new movement of broad-shouldered populist change for all of America arising today from the heart of Chicago’s workaday people. Under the banner of “Reclaim Chicago,” a dynamic, politically-savvy progressive coalition has emerged, engaging thousands of grassroots Chicagoans in a people-led democratic movement to reclaim their city from the cabal of corporate elites and corrupt politicians now reigning over them.
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These are not just mad-as-hell ranters, but mad-as-hellers with a bold agenda for moving their city toward fairness and justice for all. They’re mad-as-hellers who have a shared vision; a long term plan; a democratic organizational framework; a range of trainers to provide movement skills and tools for all involved; a network for developing, electing, and holding accountable their own office holders; and – most important – both a strong sense of purpose and an energizing sense of fun. After all battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on!
Reclaim Chicago is not merely an election apparatus, but a democracy movement – building a permanent progressive majority that functions year-’round, year after year, so the people truly can become self-governing. Tune in to these democracy builders at www.ReclaimChicago.org.
“Chicago,” www.carl-sandburg.com, March 1914.