Honesty in Chicago Politics??? An OPEN Socialist Runs for City Council

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Inspired by the victory of Socialist Alternative activist and Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, the Chicago Socialist Campaign has launched with the goal of running a candidate for City Council in 2015.

Jorge Mujica, Kshama Sawant, following an April 4 public meeting in Chicago

Jorge Mujica, Kshama Sawant, following an April 4 public meeting in Chicago

On May Day, the campaign announced who that candidate would be: Jorge Mujica, a long-time immigrant rights and labor organizer, who plans to seek election as the Alderman for Chicago’s 25th Ward.

Chicago has endured dozens of socialist Aldermen – from Obama mentor Leon Depres back in the day, to Joe Moore and Helen Shiller in the modern era. Unlike Mujica however, Chicago’s socialist Aldermanic candidates usually run as Democrats.

Mujica is the first to run a serious, openly socialist campaign in many decades.

Says Mujica:

I have been a socialist for all of my life. I joined the Communist-Mexican Youth when I was 15 years old.

In the United States, it may sound like socialists are a thing of the past—the term is even an accusation many times. But many immigrants are used to thinking about Leftist political parties participating in the electoral arena.

So to immigrants, to the residents of this ward, it is not strange to look at someone who organizes and identify that person as a Leftist or socialist.

While in Chicago, Mujica has aligned himself with all three of the City’s main Marxist currents – Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, Committees of Correspondence and the Communist Party of Illinois.

At the Chicago Communist party’s annual People’s World fundraising dinner in 2006, Mujica’s March 10th Movement was honored; they were organizers of the first gigantic immigrant rights rally in 2006 in Chicago. This march helped spark rallies nationwide, including one million who later marched on May Day in Chicago. Mujica clearly has the potential to mobilize a significant campaign.

While almost every major city in America has socialist councilors, are we seeing a new era? Socialists are stepping into the sunlight. Does Bill de Blasio‘s successful mayoral campaign victory in New York, the late Chokwe Lumumba‘s similar achievement in Jackson Mississippi and Kshama Sawant’s win in Seattle, signal a disturbing new trend in modern American politics?

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Comments

  1. Not sure why this would be a disturbing trend, even if one is opposed to socialism. There is widespread dissatisfaction with the American political system, on both left and right. Hence the rise of the so-called “Tea party” right– demonstrating their dissatisfaction with Republican politics and practice. While I am not especially sympathetic with Tea partiers, I actually am quite pleased that someone is challenging party orthodoxy– I perceive this to be a sign of a healthy democracy, where even deeply entrenched power can be challenged. Likewise, though I am not a socialist, I am pleased that someone is challenging Democratic orthodoxy. I don’t think that expanding the range of views that can be openly discussed and considered is at all disturbing. Quite the contrary. The more views are brought into the light, the better we can judge them, and realize that we aren’t stuck with two fossilized parties.
    I’m old-fashioned enough to accept the traditional idea that the best way to evaluate ideas is by bringing them out into the open–into the sunlight– and talking about them freely. If socialist and Tea partiers are willing to do that, this is a very positive thing, as far as I’m concerned. Now we can discuss the relative merits and demerits of each view and let the people decide. (And notice there was no discussion at all on this page of the merits or demerits of socialism in general or Mujica’s views in particular. If something is terribly wrong with socialism, or Mujica’s views, shouldn’t it be possible to carefully explain what that something is— rather than just pointing and screaming “Socialist!” as though that ended the discussion?)

  2. ? This is rather puzzling, to say the least. It is, as a matter of simple descriptive fact, the American political system. The only sense I can make of this is that you believe that it *should not* be the American political system, which is of course a possibility. But then if we do believe that the current system should be changed in some way, it is surely a positive thing that the system is being challenged from several sides, which was my point.

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