The 15th anniversary of the Iraq War. And Wednesday’s special Hitting Left is about 1968 and the Rainbow Coalition.

2003. Chicago protests the Iraq War.

Fifteen years ago the United States invaded Iraq based on lies about connections to 9/11 and non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction.

That war led to the sending of troops to Afghanistan where the war still rages.

How many wars are we engaged in now? Five? Seven? Wars we don’t even know about.

War without end.

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On Wednesday’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers we will be joined by Billy Che Brooks, Cha Cha Jimenz and Susan Klonsky to recall the Rainbow Coalition – The Black Panther Party, The Young Lords Organization and Students for a Democratic Society – and we will see what lessons can be learned for today’s movement. A special Wednesday live broadcast at noon, CDT. Streamed at and later on podcast at, iTunes and Spotify. Also available on Mixcloud.

Friday we will return to our regular time with a wrap-up of Today’s Illinois primary election and prospects for November.

Darwin School’s LSC election.

Darwin Boundary

Darwin elementary school is located two blocks from our house. It is a neighborhood public school – an endangered species in the City of Chicago.

One of our now-grown daughters attended Darwin. Since retiring I have volunteered some time teaching ukulele at Darwin.

Darwin is an important asset to a community we have lived in for over 4 decades. That’s why I am following our Local School Council elections.

Local School Councils are one of our city’s most democratic institutions. LSCs were established in 1989 in a wave of community-based reform sparked by organizing around the 19-day Chicago Public School (CPS) teacher strike in 1987.

City-wide elections for Local School Councils will take place on April 18th.

From my neighbor and friend, Jeff Young:

I’m a CPS graduate (James B Farnsworth Elementary, ’88), the proud parent of a CPS student and a long time (20+ years) Logan Square resident. Two years ago I was elected a parent representative at Darwin, where my daughter attends, with a lot of votes from the community. I’m asking for the community’s help again on April 18th for another two years.
During the last two years on the LSC I have worked to give voice to the concerns of parents and staff at Darwin; these concerns are often difficult to raise and not easy for the principal to hear but it is important they are addressed. I have also tried to contribute to a more efficient and inclusive council, encouraging as many parents as I can to come and participate in the meetings.
Darwin is a Level 1 school and has improved substantially since my daughter started pre-k, thanks to the dedication of the staff and administration. I want to see this progress continue. We deserve good schools in Logan Square that attract local families.
If you live within Darwin’s attendance boundary (see the attached image) you are eligible to vote on April 18, all you need is a driver’s license or other ID that proves your address. Voting occurs at the school from 6 AM to 7 PM; Darwin is located at the corner of Belden and Albany.
It’s a lot to ask someone to take 20-30 out of their day to vote in LSC elections but your participation sends a strong message that you value good schools in your neighborhood and critical oversight over those schools by people who care. Thank you for your support. 
I recommend also voting for the following other candidates, many of whom I’ve served with over the last two years:
Kate Carolan (for community rep)
Amanda McBee (for community rep)
Erin Rensink (for parent rep)
Dawn Herrera Helphand (for parent rep)
Erika Tellez (for parent rep)

Looking ahead to tomorrow and a year from tomorrow.


Election day in Illinois is tomorrow.

Actually, with Illinois’ progressive voting laws now in place, the election has been going on for weeks.

Thanks to voting rights activists like Chicago Votes, voting in Illinois has become more inclusive even as so much of the country has seen increasing voter suppression.

Frankly, the choices at the top of the Democratic ticket are disappointing. Coming off of the strong showing of Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary, a stronger Left candidate might have been expected. Instead we have a choice between two millionaires and a repentant pension thief. It is an opportunity gone to waste. The failure of the Democrats to offer a single choice at the top of the ticket who is neither white nor male is a scandal.

In another state-wide race – the one for Attorney General – the top two contenders are State Senator Kwame Raoul (backed by Speaker Madigan) and our state’s version of How Can We Miss You If You Won’t Go Away, former Governor Pat Quinn.

I’m going with the genuine progressive, Aaron Goldstein.

Locally, the news is better.

My Congressman, Luis Gutierrez, is retiring and will be replaced by long-time progressive Chuy Garcia.

Marie Newman has mounted an aggressive campaign against the worst Democrat in Congress, Dan Lipinski. She might pull it off.

Our friend Brandon Johnson is fighting hard to depose the business-backed County Commissioner, Richard Boykin.

Our Sate Rep, Will Guzzardi, is arguably the most progressive member of the State House. He is running unopposed.

Fritz Kaegi looks like the likely winner to unseat the corrupt County Tax Assessor and Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Machine, Joe Berrios.

A state rep race to fill an open seat will send a progressive to Springfield, whether it is Delia Ramirez or Anne Shaw.

Then there is a year from now.

The good news is that the Mayor is polling in the negatives.

The bad news is that there is little movement to back a candidate to defeat him.

It’s only a year from now.

That’s not much time.


This week.





This week’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers with guests Jitu Brown and Kady McFadden.




Blog posts.

Boss Berrios tanking and undecided for governor is in second place after having spent nothing on the campaign.

Boykin running scared from Brandon Johnson’s grass roots challenge.

David Brooks hearts Chicago.

In the 17th Illinois state representative district, Chow ignores IEA cease and desist order. She is not IEA endorsed.

In the 17th Illinois state representative district, Chow ignores IEA cease and desist order. She is not IEA endorsed.

Union members donate thousands of dollars to the unions’ PACs. An endorsement claim should be real.

“It’s unfortunate that your blog is furthering Madigan’s agenda,” wrote a supporter of Candance Chow after I posted about Chow’s misleading use of the Illinois Education Association logo on her campaign mailers. Chow is a candidate in the 17th state rep district.

I have never been accused of being a Madigan stooge before. It would come as a surprise to Madigan.

The 17th is an open seat because the current state rep, Laura Fine, is running to replace Dan Biss as state senator from Skokie. Biss, as you know, is running for governor.

I wrote about the dirty business last week.

The Readers’ Digest version is that Chow sent out mailers suggesting she was endorsed by the IEA and by Laura Fine.

She is endorsed by neither.

The District 65 school board has launched an investigation into whether campaign emails from Chow’s campaign were sent to school district employees at their work email and if that violated any rules or state laws.

Of course it does.

As a District 64 union local president I was strictly forbidden to use my work email to contact any employee, union member or not, for political purposes. In fact, ALL of my work emails were the subject of a FOIA request by a Michigan-based anti-union group whose intention was to find a violation. They failed.

Since my post last week, the IEA attorney’s have issued a cease and desist order to stop the Chow campaign from using the official IEA logo on its campaign materials.

“By this communication, you are advised to cease and desist from using the name, logo or any other reference to the Illinois Education Association in your campaign advertising,” attorney James Nally wrote in a March 9 letter to the leaders of Friends of [Candance] Chow, one of the candidate’s campaign committees.

The local endorsement committee of the IEA has endorsed Mary Rita Luecke, a former District 65 school board member who, by the way, has no connection or support from Michael Madigan.

Undeterred, Chow has since sent out another mailer. It still has the IEA logo.

But, with which must be considered amazing chutzpah, Chow has added the logo of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

The IFT has also endorsed another candidate.


Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers. Episode #57. Jitu Brown and Kady McFadden.


We’ve known Jitu Brown for years. A long time social justice, schools and community activist, he’s expanding his efforts to other cities now.

It was just a few years ago we were at Dyett Hight School where Jitu and a dozen activists were engaged in a hunger strike to save the school.

Photo: Fred Klonsky

Why did it even need a hunger strike to save an open admissions neighborhood high school in Chicago?

The school was saved.

It says a lot about how the city’s powerful think and act when it comes to schools in communities of color that it took such extreme measures.

Now four more neighborhood high schools in the city’s Englewood neighborhood are set for closing.

But Jitu believes, as as many of us do, that the struggle is one about the city’s leadership. It is about the Mayor and the lack of an elected school board.

90% of Chicagoans support an elected school board. It has passed the Illinois House. It is being blocked by Rahm, Senate President John Cullerton and the Governor.

Kady McFadden’s work focuses on the environment. But she made headlines when she did a #MeToo on sexual harassment in Springfield.

Kady describes the everyday facts of life of women working in the culture of Springfield where a legislator will schedule a meeting with a female lobbyist or staffer for no other reason than to sexually harass them, and the gentleman’s agreement where even men who aren’t the harassers remain silent about those that are.

The podcast is here.