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(en) First of May Anarchist Alliance Broadsheet: Anarchist Revolution JAN-FEB 2016 - Chicago: Moment of Crisis

Date Wed, 3 Feb 2016 14:49:02 +0200

Chicago is in crisis. Gun violence is out of hand, schools are underfunded, rents are up, and pollution plagues poor neighborhoods. Two-thirds of residents now oppose Mayor Rahm Emanuel even though he was just re-elected last spring. The day after Christmas, police shot and killed a 19-year-old college student and a 55-year-old mother of five, both black. Major social struggles erupted in 2015, and have created an opening for bigger movements in 2016. ---- First the election. Emanuel won, but it took two rounds. Elections don’t solve fundamental social problems, and Rahm’s main opponent was hardly a radical alternative. Still, the runoff highlighted anger against policies that help the rich at the expense of poor and working people.

Then came the fight over Dyett High School, which sits empty after decades serving an
all-black neighborhood. Rahm wanted to let a private charter school operator take over
the building, but community activists staged a hunger strike and disrupted multiple
public events, demanding it remain a regular public school. Across the city, anger with
Rahm grew even though he agreed to reopen Dyett as a public school.

In November, the city was forced to release video of a white officer shooting a black
teenager named Laquan McDonald sixteen times, killing him. People were horrified by
the footage even though many know police shoot people every week on average and kill
someone almost monthly. But violent cops are almost never punished. Dozens of
protests disrupted business as usual, and most were organized by young people of color
including many queer and trans activists. Public anger forced Rahm to fire his police
chief and now many demand he resign himself.

What’s next? The latest killings may escalate the fight sparked by McDonald’s murder.
Meanwhile Chicago is almost bankrupt and the Teachers Union recently voted to
approve what would be their second strike in four years. Protests amidst the crisis show
regular Chicagoans are coming to realize we have collective power in spite of a bullying
mayor, a racist school system and trigger-happy police. Maybe 2016 can be the year we
take things to the next level. – Francis Coyle (Chicago M1)

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