I’ve asked my fellow Vermonters Corey Decker and Jeremy Hansen to convey my very best wishes for a productive and successful conference this weekend. We need many more people like you, throughout our country, who are willing to challenge the stranglehold of big money on politics. Continue reading →
Local historian John Gurda is slated to give the second annual Frank P. Zeidler Memorial Lecture tonight on Milwaukee’s Socialist legacy. But he spoke with the Shepherd last week about his thoughts on how the Socialists saved Milwaukee. Here are some of his observations:
Shepherd: What was going on in Milwaukee when the Socialists emerged?
Gurda: They began to run candidates for office in 1898. That was the first year that David Rose was in office [as mayor]. Milwaukee was thoroughly corrupt. It was as bad as Chicago on a bad day. Everything was for sale, which was not atypical. That was the pattern in American politics back in what was called the Gilded Age. Milwaukee was also very heavily industrialized. This was a working-class town. More than half of the male working population would have been engaged in manufacturing of some sort. It was a visibly dirtier city than it is today with coal smoke and just incredible pollution in the rivers. It was also very compact and congested. When you look at the older part of town today there are a lot of open spaces, there has been renewal or removal of some kind. That was not true then. It was cheek by jowl.
The results are in, and the truth hurts. Rahm Emanuel will sit in the mayor’s office on the fifth floor of Chicago’s City Hall four more years. Despite fudging police stats to make murders disappear, despite stonewalling on police torture and atrocities, despite deliberately shortening red light camera intervals to raise revenue for his buddies, despite closing and privatizing more than 50 public schools, almost exclusively in black and brown neighborhoods, than anywhere in the country, and despite his facing a solid progressive Democrat challenger, Rahm Emanuel carried every single ward in black Chicago, not by big margins, but by enough. Continue reading →