As I presently live on the road, like a young Michael Yates with friends couches instead of motels, I arranged to be in Chicago for mayday this year, after having to work on the last few may days (curses! organizing workers on may day! awful!). It is a wonderful spring day here- chicago is horrific in the summer and worse in the winter, but for oh eight days in spring it lives up to everything nelson algren ever said about it. I went to the immigrants rights march, which was awesome, police said 150,000, down from half a million last year but still retaining momentum better than in most places. Wonderful march. I thinl I need three or four mass marches like this per year to sustain me.
Chicago is such a great labor town. I'm visiting my friend Tom Zablocki, a young ex-teamster I used to work with at the ohio seiu local. He now works for the seiu nursing home local in chicago where he grew up. His housemate, who works at a grocery store, is an activist in his ufcw local, and as he speaks polish has been helping out in an organizing drive at a food processing plant in the city where the workers are mostly polish. In fact almost everyone I know in this town has some connection to a union.
The unions managed to knock out 8 pro-Daley aldermen in the most recent election in punishment for their caving in to wal mart. Daley is much weakened but unfortunately because both Jesse Jackson Jr and Lucio Guttierez are reps, in the recent turnabout in congress they now have good committee assignments, so neither are going to take a run at knocking out Daley. Alas. Municipal social democracy will have to content itself with villaraigosa in LA.
Jesus christ the city's been so gentrified tho. I had heard it was off the hook but it really is amazing. Oh well. There's always Gary IN holdin it down across the way for those who like their rustbelt rusty. And hellishly poor.