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Back by popular demand: The Back Room Deal features radio personality and longtime Reader political writer Ben Joravsky arguing local Chicago politics with Reader senior writer Maya Dukmasova. With sharp wit and stinging analysis, Joravsky and Dukmasova cut through the smokey haze of the elections to offer you a glimpse of the 2020 Chicago-area Illinois primary races—local and Cook County-level and, of course, U.S. presidential. Will these historic elections be determined in back-room deals, ...
 
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“We can’t have a conversation about affordable housing without having a conversation about landlord profit.” If you were mad about landlords before, just wait until you listen to this conversation. The mainstream narrative on affordable housing has revolved largely around public housing, but a glaring absence is a much larger demographic: low-incom…
 
The Question by Henri Alleg is a short book with a lifelong impact on today’s special guest. The legendary radical activist and movement lawyer, Bernardine Dohrn, first read this anti-war, anti-colonial, anti-racist pamphlet from 1958 as a student in high school. The Question recounts French journalist Henri Alleg’s experience of thirty days of tor…
 
There are no shortcuts to disability justice. Access is a process, not a list that can be checked off in organizing work. Part-manifesto, part guide, part-memoir, and so many more parts, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Laksmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a necessary intervention in our largely ableist movements and world. In this episode, …
 
Audre Lorde is revered for her poetry and writings, rightfully so! Her works are fundamental to the development of Black Feminism. But what did she have to say about her own life? What were the themes and lessons she learned from her experiences? How does Audre, the person, differ from Audre "the icon" that many of us know? As Audre insisted: “If I…
 
An epic book and an epic guest: Welcome to episode 60! Since the start of this podcast, the Lit Review has always wanted to feature Marx’s Capital with someone who could really help organizers dig into it. Published in 1867, this 1,000+ page text offers a thorough, interdisciplinary critique of capitalism. This book is rich with history, philosophy…
 
The healing justice movement is an intersectional and organized resistance to the state and state violence, but why is it so often misunderstood as simply an opposition to grind culture? In this episode, we discuss ableism, disability, healing justice, and the book Kindling by Aurora Levins Morales with one of our sheroes and teachers, Shira Hassan…
 
bell hooks left us in this world with a literal STACK of wisdom and analysis about love, life, and feminism. Her work has transformed the thinking of many people we know in our organizing community. We couldn’t think of a better way to honor bell hooks’ legacy than starting off a new season with this virtual interview with Stacy Davis Gates, Vice P…
 
It’s a wrap for Season 3! In 8 episodes, we went deep on topics including colonization and land justice, civil rights history, and movement and organizing fundamentals. And in the midst of the pandemic, uprising, and elections, we did our best to highlight the amazing resistance work happening in Chicago. There’s no special guest on this season fin…
 
To close out the season, Monica and Page talk with Juliana Pino Alcaraz, Policy Director at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, about From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement by Luke Cole & Sheila Foster. This short but dense book focuses on the history of the Environmental Justi…
 
​Despite some truly 2020-style audio recording issues, our second to last episode of the season is here! Groundwork: Local Black Freedom Movements in America, edited by Jeanne Theoharis, Komozi Woodard, and Charles Payne, unearths the buried stories of the people, places, and struggles that laid the foundation for the Civil Rights movement. Monica …
 
Fannie Lou Hamer is increasingly recognized for her leadership with the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party, but did you know about the 600-acre Freedom Farm Cooperative she started? This is one of many examples of Black farmers organizing for power and self-determination highlighted in Monica White’s Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and t…
 
​This was a hard book to talk about, but we’re so glad that we did. The late Gloria Anzaldúa’s book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza is beloved to many and considered a fundamental text in Chicana and Latinx studies. With gorgeous prose, she richly captures the unique experiences of those who inhabit the borderlands; of place, gender, class…
 
Originally published in 1950, Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire directly and dramatically influenced the liberation struggles happening in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. A blazing collection of thoughts that affirms Black identity and culture, embraces surrealism as revolt, and demands decolonization movements that “decolonize our…
 
Have you ever heard of the term “Alinsky-style organizing” and the rules that are involved? For example, “A tactic that drags on too long is a drag” and “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Here in Chicago, Saul Alinsky is often mentioned both for what his analysis is missing, as well as for the helpful basics his traditio…
 
Ready to learn and get in your feelings? In this episode, Monica and Page connect with Stephanie Skora, Associate Executive Director of Brave Space Alliance and author of the Girl, I Guess Voter Guide.Stephanie shares her love and learnings from S. Bear Bergman’s Blood, Marriage, Wine & Glitter, a book of personal essays about their queer and trans…
 
There’s importance in collaboration and experimentation when it comes to organizing. But what does that work look like in a community you’re not from?​Monica and Page chat with Bettina Johnson, co-founder of Liberation Library and member of Chicago Afrosocialists & Socialists of Color of the DSA, about Hammer & Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Gr…
 
INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence hands us a sharp critique of the toxic role that the non-profit industrial complex can play in managing our movements in The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, published in 2007. ​Monica and Page talk with Joy Messinger, a queer disabled femme organizer, former Program Officer at Third Wave Fund, and currently th…
 
The race in the ward that economically drives the entire city of Chicago is totally uncontested, and Ben and Maya look at why. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios Hosted by Ben Joravsky & Maya Dukmasova Recorded a…
 
Ben and Maya look at the fight between low-income housing and neighborhood amenities in rapidly changing Uptown. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios Hosted by Ben Joravsky & Maya Dukmasova Recorded and mixed by Ed…
 
Departing progressive alderman Rick Munoz faces personal trouble in advance of the election, placing successor Michael Rodriguez's race in jeopardy, in staunchly independent Little Village. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impo…
 
The future site of the Obama Presidential Center and the home of the University of Chicago also encompasses parts of lower-income South Shore, which Ben and Maya think makes for a fascinating aldermanic race. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder a…
 
Ben and Maya look at an unpopular alderman who faces a strong challenge from a young activist, in a ward in serious need of economic development. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios Hosted by Ben Joravsky & Maya D…
 
The leading City Council proponent for putting the unpopular police academy in her far west-side ward faces a tough race, and Ben and Maya are excited. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios Hosted by Ben Joravsky & …
 
A classic political operator in the Bucktown/Wicker Park/Logan Square area leads Ben and Maya into a discussion of their relationships with Chicago's aldermen. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios Hosted by Ben Jor…
 
​In the U.S., it’s becoming increasingly trendier to “go green” and become more environmentally-conscious in our daily lives under capitalism. However, there’s a whole other movement of eco-consciousness and activism that is being heavily criminalized and repressed. In his debut book, Green Is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement …
 
The public face of some of Chicago's worst deals—the Olympics, ongoing TIF deals, and the parking meter sale—is City Council's new finance committee chair, and Ben and Maya have plenty to look at in the ward bound by Clark Street, Lawrence Avenue, and the Chicago River. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by…
 
Ben and Maya discuss Albany Park's powerful and well-connected alderman Deb Mell and her exciting DSA-backed challenger, Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios Hosted by Ben Joravsky & Maya…
 
Ben and Maya look at the North Center / Ravenswood neighborhood and outgoing alderman Ameya Pawar's pragmatic, thoughtful progressivism. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios Hosted by Ben Joravsky & Maya Dukmasova …
 
The former progressive champion turned mayoral rubber-stamper faces a tough race, and Ben and Maya are all about it. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios Hosted by Ben Joravsky & Maya Dukmasova Recorded and mixed b…
 
The indictment of the head of City Council's finance committee, who shook down a fast-food joint and kept a passel of guns in his office, offers plenty for Ben and Maya to consider. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Stu…
 
Marty Quinn, close ally of Michael Madigan, has accrued a lot of power in the 13th ward, but Ben and Maya are more interested in what his 19-year-old challenger means for the machine politician. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative…
 
Things get complicated in the ward set to tie for the most-aldermen-in-jail award, so Ben and Maya share their insights. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios Hosted by Ben Joravsky & Maya Dukmasova Recorded and mix…
 
Ben and Maya look at the flood of candidates that entered the mayoral race when Rahm Emanuel decided not to seek re-election, and analyze their campaigns. http://www.chicagoreader.com *** Chicago Reader's Back Room Deal is produced by Anne Elizabeth Moore. Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios Hosted by Ben Joravsky…
 
What does fascism look like today in the U.S.? Where does the alt-right fit into this? How can it be fought?!​Monica and Page sat down with Chicago-based Native abolitionist organizer, co-founder of Lifted Voice, podcast host of Movement Memos, and Truthout writer Kelly Hayes to discuss Shane Burley's Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It.…
 
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