Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers episode #21.


I’m back with my brother to co-host this week’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers, episode #21.

The guys at Bridgeport coffee noticed I was gone and it’s always nice to be noticed as missing.

We were joined on the show by intersex activist, educator and film maker, Pidgeon Pagonis.

Pidgeon’s own personal story brings to life the oppressive position of intersex folks who are as common in the general population as red heads.

They are born with a mix and a range of male and female components which has historically been treated as something to be fixed by the medical profession.

The fix consists of surgical interventions including genital mutilation.

But intersex requires no medical procedure and is nothing to fix.

While some may view the practice of genital mutilation as something done by others, in other countries and other cultures, Pidgeon points out that as an unnecessary medical procedure, genital mutilation was invented here.

Of course, we got into a discussion of the he/she they/them pronoun, which Pidgeon treats with a combination of good humor and seriousness.

Control of the language, the labels and how those with little or no power define and name themselves is power indeed.

Here is the podcast for listening or downloading.

Best. Show. Ever.


We’re talking gender issues on Friday’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers.

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In-studio guest Pidgeon Pagonis (left) on the cover of January’s National Geographic.

Friday’s in-studio live guest is Pidgeon Pagonis, intersex activist, academic and artist.

11AM. 105.5FM in Chicago. Streaming live across the galaxies and podcast later in the day on hittingleft.libsyn.com

Coming up on future shows: former leader of the Illinois Bernie Sanders campaign, Clem Balanoff with Amalgamated Transit Union local presidents Keith Hill and Ken Franklin.

We are also talking with gubernatorial candidates Ameya Pawar on June 23rd.

Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers episode #20.


Here is the podcast for Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers episode #20.

The in-studio guests are the Chicago Teachers Union’s political and legislative director Stacy Davis Gates and the President of the union of Chicago charter teachers, Chris Baehrend.

Sitting in as co-host this week was producer and master of all things Lumpen Radio, Jamie Trecker.

I am in Brooklyn this weekend, with family, attending granddaughter’s middle school graduation.

I missed a great show.

If you noticed, a common theme running through many of our Hitting Left discussions is the future of the city, who is the city for, who benefits and who suffers from the loss of schools and the loss of our industrial base?

It was the topic of conversation again on episode #20.

A brand new multi-million dollar high school is being built in the Englewood community of Chicago along with a Whole Foods and a Starbucks.

Meanwhile four existing high schools are being closed.

What does this mean for the people who currently live in Englewood?

That is a big part of this discussion.

Chicago’s public teacher union and charter teacher union plan how to merge. Hear about it on this coming Hitting Left with the Klonsky brothers minus one brother.


The Chicago Teachers Union legislative director Stacy Davis Gates and Chris Baehrend, head of ChiACTS, the Chicago charter teacher union (pictured here with Chuy Garcia).

I will be in Brooklyn this coming weekend to celebrate my granddaughter’s graduation from middle school to high school.

Which means I will miss my co-hosting job on Friday’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers at 11AM on 105.5 FM, streaming live on http://www.lumpenradio.com and podcasted at Hittingleft.libsyn.com

I will be sorry to miss the conversation my brother will be having with the Chicago Teachers Union’s Political and Legislative Director Stacy Davis Gates and Chris Baehrend of ChiACTS, the charter teachers union.

Both groups, currently separate affiliates of the American Federation of Teachers are working on merger. ChiACTS as voted to do so.

Even the charter organizers have described Chicago as the epicenter of charter union organizing.

And don’t forget to listen to this week’s conversation with Ed Marszewski, the futurist of Bridgeport.

Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers episode #19.


My brother Mike and I are back from our Hitting Left Left Coast Listening Tour.

This is my first blog post since returning after a terrific three days in the land of my formative years and teenage angst.

We had to get back for this morning’s #19 edition of Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers and our special in-studio guest, Ed Marszewski.

Ed is a Bridgeport guy and a visionary. A kind of a south side futurist.

He claims to be a product of the sixties without having the luxury of having actually lived through that great decade.

Someone described this episode of Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers as a radio version of Seinfeld.

Rather than being about nothing, it was really about everything, less un-moored and more wide-ranging.

Which not only made it the best show ever, but the one with the most laughs.

Don’t let that keep you from taking in the many serious points that are made.

There are plenty.

Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers. Episode #18.



The Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers Episode #18 is up and downloadable.

We met up with singer Sima Cunningham over at Bridgeport Coffee at 31st and Morgan.

She came strolling down 31st street with a guitar on her back. She had enough time to grab a coffee (maybe it was a cappuccino) and a bagel with too little cream cheese. But, look. It’s Bridgeport. The coffee is good even if the bagels are needy.

Over at the Lumpen Radio station producer Jamie Trecker was waiting.

So was Rabbi Brandt Rosen of the Tzedek congregation and regional director of the American Friends Service Committee.

And then in came Pastor Tom Gaulke (rhymes with sea gull kee). His religious home is Bridgeport at the First Lutheran Church of the Trinity.

I guess you could call him our neighborhood pastor since it is right around the corner from the Lumpenradio station.

We were fortunate enough to get Sima Cunningham to sing three beautiful songs with her beautiful voice.

Pastor Tom and Rabbi Brandt are in the social justice mold of Reverend William Barber of the North Carolina Moral Monday Movement.

We talked some about the budget fight in Springfield.

And we talked about the fight for justice around the country.

“Do you guys ever just sit around, have a beer and talk theology,” brother Mike asked.

They both looked at each other and laughed.

Best. Show. Ever.

Friday’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers. Music and a social justice moral movement.


Chicago singer Sima Cunningham.


Pastor Tom Gaulke.


Rabbi Brant Rosen.

Join us Friday at 11AM for this week’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers.

We will be joined in-studio by singer Sima Cunningham. 

Also coming by our studio in the always sunny neighborhood of Bridgeport on Chicago’s south side will be social justice activist and Pastor Tom Gaulke of Bridgeport’s own First Lutheran Church of the Trinity.

Joining  Pastor Tom will be Rabbi Brant Rosen of Chicago’s Tzedek congregation. Rabbi Rosen is also a social justice religious leader. In addition to his work with the non-Zionist Tzedek Congregation he is is Midwest Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee.

We will be talking about the activities in Springfield where the legislative session is winding up and where the Capitol Rotunda was filled with protesters. We will be also discussing what the Rev. William Barber calls the revolution of values.

Friday, 11AM

105.5 FM in Chicago.

Live streaming at http://www.lumpenradio.com

Podcast as HittingLeft.libsyn.com

Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers. #17


This week we had our first real adventure in live radio.

We were so pleased about having our old friend Prexy Nesbitt on our show. Prexy has been to South Africa over 40 times and has much to share.


Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers. Jamie Trecker, Mike and me.

Following up on last week’s show with Jerry Harris, head of the Global Studies Association, we wanted to get into what is happening in the third world, particularly Africa in the age of Trump and globalization.

But weather in New York and at La Guardia had a different plan and Prexy couldn’t get a flight out.

Which we found about, through no fault of Prexy’s, a few hours before our live show.

But my bro and I are nothing if not light on our feet, even if a few steps slower these days.

Did I mention Mike had a birthday yesterday.

Alderman John Arena called in to talk about the fight for affordable housing in the 45th ward, where opponents think too much density is an acceptable euphemism for racism and segregation.

It’s not.

And we spent the rest of the hour talking about our favorite topics: Schools, funding, choice, vouchers and Betsy DeVos.

Some live listeners (not all – so that’s weird) reported they couldn’t hear the De Vos sound bite. But it is all here on our podcast.

Best. Show. Ever.

Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers #16. Globalization.


Here is this week’s podcast of our radio, Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers.

Anne and I were at the welcome back parade for returning Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar Lopez Rivera yesterday, down Paseo Boricua in Chicago’s historically Puerto Rican Humboldt Park neighborhood.

After Mikes intro, I shared a short sound montage of what really was more of a party than a march.


Mike Klonsky, Jerry Harris and me.

The rest of the show – aside from a little fingering wagging at Illinois Democrats who voted for pension theft last week – was all about globalization with the head of the Global Studies Association, Jerry Harris.

The trick here is to make this conversation not too academic.

It’s kind of like pensions in that sense. I’ve learned that if I get too weedy, eyes start to glaze over.

I find it is the same with the issue of globalization.

It is easy to get too academic.

But Jerry is a working class guy, veteran of the south Chicago steel mills and a product of generations of a family of working class intellectuals.

And aside from that, we have been friends since eighth grade in Los Angeles. Mike and Jerry’s brother Paul went to the same L.A. high school and played basketball together.

So, this hour of Hitting Left is no graduate seminar on global economics. It is down-to-earth conversation.

Globalization is not a spectator sport.

Check it out.

Best. Show. Ever.

Eve Ewing.

Eve Ewing with my brother, Michael Klonsky on our Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers radio whow and (right) with Chicago playwright Ike Holter (Chicago Magazine photo).

I am so glad to see our friend Eve Ewing included in Chicago Magazine’s Who’s Got Next?

Of course, we had her first on our weekly radio show, Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers, which you can hear each Friday at 11AM, FM in Chicago or streaming live on http://www.lumpenradio.com all across the universe. Our show is also downloadable from iTunes or from Liberated Syndication.

You can listen to our one hour conversation with the brilliant Logan Square native here.

And here is the Chicago Magazine feature:

Ignore Eve Ewing at your own intellectual, political, and cultural peril. The 31-year-old education scholar, scribe, and artist has got a lot to say, and people—including her 50,000 Twitter followers—are listening. In the past two years alone, the Logan Square native has coedited a fiction anthology, contributed to a collection of breakbeat poetry, served on the board of a major youth organization, and written features and opinion pieces for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic, and The New York Times. 

By the end of next year, the Harvard alum and former schoolteacher will have released a collection of her own poetry and prose, seen the production of a play she wrote with poet Nate Marshall, assumed an assistant professorship at the University of Chicago, and released her much-anticipated book When the Bell Stops Ringing: Race, History and Discourse amid Chicago’s School Closures (University of Chicago Press), which promises to propel her directly to the center of the heated debate over the fate of public education in America.

“I want teachers and policymakers and students to have something to hold in their hand when they’re fighting this fight,” she says of the book. “I think my role is to be an amplifier, to be a bullhorn, to be a storyteller.” Ewing is all those things and more. —Hannah Nyhart