#3 Solidarities

Inheriting the grid #3

By Daniel Tucker — Stepping Back: when we say we?, , This issue of AREA was inspired by an absolute mess of different sources and recent events committed to critically exploring the very basic political question of solidarity 1. This theme provided a departure from the issue-oriented themes of our first two publications (privatization/service-cuts and food-related activism). It brings […]

Solidarity Stories

By Anonymous — I’m a teacher, so mostly what I do is to make students feel aspirational anxiety about what’s valuable about them. This situation can’t be good for anyone. So I’ve developed a thing to say in class about what it means to see a classroom as a solidaristic space. I say, I could lecture you via […]

Mexico Solidarity Network

By Ryan Hollon — We—activists, organizers, and aspiring movement builders—have been taught that creating positive social change means responding to the political possibilities and limitations of our context. While this is perhaps inevitable, the Mexico Solidarity Network (msn) believes we must also challenge the ways these possibilities and limitations are created. The following interview with Tom Hansen, co-founder and […]

Introducing: Chicago Couriers Union

By Chicago Couriers Union — The following interview was conducted by members of the Chicago Couriers Union (ccu) who felt it was best to remain anonymous for various reasons. As a truly democratic organization, we feel that consensus in our actions is a necessary component in the work that we do, including how we represent ourselves publicly. For these reasons, […]

When Art Scene’s Say We: Pilsen Open Studios

By AREA — “Pilsen Open Studios is an artist-run art fair that takes place the third weekend in October. Each year artists, galleries, spaces and cafes open their doors for special hours during this weekend. If you are an artist and would like to participate, email us if you live between Racine/Western and 16th/Cermak.”http://www.subaltern.org/pilsen.html/, What is the formation […]

Sending Clear Signals: Radios Populares

By Aaron Sarver — Radios Populares is a Chicago-based collective that formed in the spring of 2002, when they sent radio equipment to The National Center for Rural Workers (cntc) in Honduras. Since then, the group has traveled to Nicaragua, Ecuador, Mexico, and Honduras to help build radio stations and train individuals in those communities to run and maintain […]

The (Original) Rainbow Coalition

By James Tracy — Bobby Lee moved to Chicago in the late 1960s as a VISTA volunteer, and joined the Black Panther Party. He was instrumental in bringing together the first Rainbow Coalition—a teaming of the Puerto Rican Young Lords and the white Young Patriots Organization. This is a short excerpt of a longer interview with Lee, for an […]

Nicaragua Solidarity Committee

By Daniel Tucker — In 1979, when the Nicaragua Solidarity Committee of Chicago (nscc) was first organized to build popular movements around the struggles in Nicaragua, what kinds of organizations evolved doing similar work in Chicago? In addition to the nscc, there was Citizens in Solidarity with the people of El Salvador; there was also Pastors for Peace here […]

The Speculative Landscape: Signs of the Times

By Jason Reblando — Chicago has always been in a constant state of flux. With the interest in the renewal of urban living in the last decade, the city is attempting to beautify areas it considers to be blighted, and is pouring resources into building luxury condominiums in every corner of the city, resulting in real estate speculation and […]

Introducing: Platypus

By Chris Cutrone — The producers are more than ever thrown back on theory … by virtue of insistent self-criticism. … Following the schematic division of physical and mental labour, they split themselves up into workers and intellectuals. This division cripples the practice which is called for. … The growing opacity of capitalist mass society makes an association between […]

Contested Chicago: Pilsen and Gentrification

By Paul Lloyd Sargent — The term “parachuting” is probably familiar to anyone who has ever worked on a community-specific public project. It is a word that public artists and activists alike dread, as it is usually remarked in derision: it poses questions of authenticity, legitimacy, and sincerity, and critiques the artist’s role within, or commitment to, the community for […]

How Chicago’s Community of Doulas Is Making it Work

By Bonnie Fortune — The word doula is one you probably aren’t familiar with. It is a Greek word originally meaning “servant”, but is now most often defined as a woman supporting another woman through labor and the postpartum period. Being a doula is a relatively new profession, first appearing in the US in the 1960s and gaining in […]

Introducing: Student Tenant Organizing Project

By Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle — “Let us in to see the plans they’re rolling out for our community!” says Marie Goodwin, an elderly poet and Woodlawn tenant, standing at the entrance to the Hilton Hotel downtown on a hot July day. “U of C is Exclusionary” reads a sign held by a University of Chicago student next to her in […]

Missing Landfills

By Therese Quinn — While working at a local museum, a label in an exhibit I developed was censored by the museum’s director. She objected to a quote I included as a caption to a photo of an environmental activist working on toxic waste clean-up in one low income community. The activist, a woman with a history of noted […]

Cuentos: A Solidarity Story

By Michele Feder-Nadoff — The theme of solidarity is an inspired one; it is less of a question than it is a hopeful answer, as it presumes, in a generous and supportive way, that we can build solidarity. This could be an end in itself, but really this subject begs another question— how (can) we use our solidarity as […]


By Laurie Palmer — The Northwest Incinerator at 700 N. Kildare between Chicago Ave. and Lake St. was constructed with great fanfare in 1971 as a state-of-the-art, waste-to-energy garbage burner. It promised to reduce the city’s volume of trash headed for landfills by 90%, to be safe and pollution-free, and to produce energy at the same time. It burned […]

Solidarity and Its Fracturing in ACT-Up

By Debbie Gould — Lately Ive been thinking about the internal conflicts that exploded in the street aids activist movement, act up, and trying to make sense of the role they played in the demise of the movement in the early 1990s. The story is comple explore this topic in great detail in a book Im writing about aids […]

Introducing: School Without Walls

By Ryan Hollon — If oppression is the force that divides, then solidarity is the practice of reclaiming our unions and bonds. In a city like Chicago— where neighborhood boundaries, gang turfs, and racial segregation keep people separated from one another—it is difficult to see all the ways that we are connected. Occasionally there are those moments when we […]

Six Fragments from “The Thrill is Gone”

By Mary Patten — Originally published as a full text in The Passionate Camera, edited by Deborah Bright, Routledge 1998 one It is now a truism, cited by men and women alike, that had it been lesbians instead of gay men who were struck down in such numbers by this plague, the same degree of solidarity from “our brothers” […]

Who Are We Now? Getting Connected

By Elena Gonzales — Mexicans and African Americans combine to make up a huge percentage of the population in the US, and a majority (56%) here in Chicago. Bringing these two groups together could result in important social changes that could take the shape of anything that is meaningful to both groups, from reforming the public education system to […]

Introducing: Chicago Freedom School

By Kristen Cox — The early Civil Rights movement was led, in part, by unsung heroes in their teens. In 1951, 16-year-old Barbara Johns organized a walkout and twoweek strike at Moton High School in Farmville, VA. This case became one of five reviewed by the Supreme Court when it declared segregation unconstitutional in the 1954 Brown v. Board […]

Introducing: Roll Call Chicago

By Cassie Fennell — It’s hard to imagine a sea change emerging from the ranks of men and women with little to no earning power, little to no voting power, and few reliable sofas on which to stretch out their limbs each evening. Yet since winter, members of Roll Call, a group of ex-offenders and their allies, have met […]

Practicing Solidarity

By Christopher Hayes — As the summer war between Israel and Lebanon threatened to spiral out of control, a rarely-used word began to wend its way into news accounts and editorials: solidarity. Groups from Orange County, CA, to St. Louis, held “solidarity vigils” in support of Israel, while Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praised the “spirit of solidarity of […]

Thoughts on Solidarity

By Mary Patten — Depending on who you’re talking to, forms and expressions of solidarity include the general strike, the hunger strike, the die-in, and the march; the human billboard, the mask, the wheat-pasted poster and the stencil; the refusal to testify before a grand jury; flowers at the site of disasters, the giving of blood, the writing of […]