Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers. Jackie Serrato and Rossana Rodriquez.

 

Both Jackie and Rossana have been on Hitting Left before so we all laughed when they screwed up the intro.

Live radio.

We asked them both to come back because we wanted to spend some time talking about the recent events in Puerto Rico and issues of immigration and white supremacy.

Mike had originally asked our old friend and comrade Cha Cha Jimenez, the founder of the Young Lords Party in the late 60s to come on the show. But Cha Cha couldn’t work the schedule and it was he who suggested Jackie.

A writer for the Chicago Reporter, Jackie has been covering events in Little Village and Pilsen. She’s also been doing a story, yet to be published, on the Rainbow Coalition that was created in Chicago 50 years ago. It was made up of the Young Lords, the Black Panther Party, an Uptown group of white working class youth called the Young Patriots and Students for a Democratic Society.

When my brother asked Jackie about one of the things she learned from looking back at that history, Jackie’s response was both surprising and full of insight.

She said that as a woman who was not born yet at the time of that Movement, she was impressed that the idea of what we call intersectionality today is not new. She saw it in that Movement from 50 years ago.

Rossana explodes with energy just walking into the Lumpen Radio studio on Morgan Street in Bridgeport.

She is the City Council member representing the north west side 33rd Ward that extends from parts of Logan Square up to the multi-national, multi-racial working class neighborhood of Albany Park.

A member of the Democratic Socialists of America, she ran as a socialist for a seat as council member and beat the remnants of the old Richard Mell Machine.

When I asked her how her enthusiasm carries over into council chambers, she laughed when she told us that  she sits between Carrie Austin on one side, who is currently under federal investigation, and Scott Waguespack, who is the new head of the Finance Committee – replacing the indicted Eddie Burke.

We asked what makes the Socialist Caucus different from the Progressive Caucus, Rossana responded, as she did about most of the issues we talked about. She said it was less about the legislation that they offered than about the way they used their offices to organize.

She made the same point when she talked about recent events in Puerto Rico and the relationship between street protests – like the massive ones that forced the resignation of the Puerto Rican Governor – and elections.

What unites the two is that they are just different ways of organizing the people.

Rossana grew up on the Island. Her story of the devastation that followed Hurricane Maria is truly moving.

You can hear it on our podcast.

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