#8 Everybody’s Got Money Issues

Inheriting the Grid #8

By Daniel Tucker — Crisis is not an unusual event for capitalism. This is something we have to be reminded of—for it is easy to forget since we are not often encouraged to know history beyond our own lifetime, or the lifetime of our parents. But maybe you were around for 1973/74 after the “oil crisis” and subsequent stock […]

Timeline of Financial Crisis in Chicago

By Ashley Weger — Ashley Weger with Lauren Cumbia. Designed by Dave Pabellon    Download pdf

Franklin Rosemont

By Friends of Franklin — Franklin Rosemont, celebrated poet, artist, historian, street speaker, and surrealist activist, died Sunday, April 12 in Chicago. He was 65 years old. With his partner and comrade, Penelope Rosemont, and lifelong friend Paul Garon, he co-founded the Chicago Surrealist Group in 1966, an enduring and adventuresome collection of characters that would make the city a […]

The Neighborhood Writing Alliance on Money

By AREA Staff — The Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA) runs free, weekly and ongoing writing workshops for adults in libraries, schools, and social service centers across Chicago. Participants are encouraged to write about their everyday lives and personal histories. Selected pieces are published in the Journal of Ordinary Thought (JOT) and performed at 25-30 events every year. Printed below […]

Who$e money is it anyway?

By AREA Staff — From 1971 to 1977 the American movement against redlining advances from local protests against banks on Chicago’s West Side to passage of new federal laws designed to bring finance under democratic control. The work of the organizations at the center of the story—the National Training and Information Center and National People’s Action—prove the possibility of […]

Fighting Friedman

By Rebecca Zorach — In May 2008 the University of Chicago announced the establishment of a Milton Friedman Institute, named after an economist who was a devoted champion (in popular media as well as academic work) of “free market” economics. Friedman was also infamous to many in Latin America for his association with the economic programs of brutal dictators […]

The Life of Crisis

By Patrick Dunn — When money is the dominant measure of value in society, the whole order of human experience becomes warped. Social relationships are governed by a calculus of profit and loss, credit and debt; each creative act is implicitly weighed on a scale of competitive marketability. Our basic perceptions of space and time are infected with hidden […]

Redefining the Commonwealth

By Bert Stabler — Politics on the American left has recently consolidated somewhat, split off primarily into realpolitik Democrats and a cultural-left coalition of issue or identity-based activists. Sweeping ideological positions have been decimated by principled and pragmatist critique. But in the dawn of what may become a period of unprecedented deprivation and instability, I propose a macroscopic response: […]

All in a Day’s Pay

By Tim Sarrantonio — The economic crisis that capital is currently facing has had its share of high profile "victims," with names like AIG and General Motors coming to Washington D.C. to plead their case. We hear their stories, their trial and tribulations, all the while news reports showcase faceless numbers without shining a light on the actual people […]

Economic Justice Organizations Directory

By Ashley Weger — AFL-CIO http://www.aflcio.org/ The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions, representing 11 million members.   American Friends Service Committee http://www.afsc.org/chicago/ The American Friends Service Committee carries out service, development, social justice, and peace programs throughout the world.   Arise Chicago Worker […]

183 Definitions of Capitalism

By Anonymous — In March of 2009, an anonymous survey was sent out to the subscribers to AREA Chicago’s email list and social networking websites asking a number of questions about work and life. The results of that survey are published in this issue of AREA Chicago #8 on pages 26-27. At the end of the survey the […]

Strike! Chicago

By Lauren Cumbia — Arguably, Chicago has one of the richest labor histories in the United States. The timeline below focuses on strikes and campaigns in Chicago (and Illinois) during the last 30 years. These workers actions are inspiring, empowering, and a constant reminder that the struggle for dignity is often found in workers uniting.   1979 Workers (members […]

Revolt on Goose Island

By Kari Lydersen — The Stakeout "Turn out all the lights right now," a supervisor at Republic Windows and Doors told Armando Robles as he was wrapping up the second shift at the factory on Goose Island, a small hive of industry sitting in the middle of the Chicago River. It was about 10 p.m. on November 5, 2008. […]

Day Laborer Organizing in the New Economy

By AREA Staff — Globalization Coming Home Full Circle When the economic ladder sinks, it’s the bottom rung that goes under first. As the rest of the country has recently begun contemplating the economic crisis of job instability and uncertain benefits, those who have walked across deserts, ridden for days beneath the floor boards of buses, and those who […]

Sex Work as Activist Niche

By Anonymous — I chose to major in dance in college and then dropped out in less than a year. Neither were very wise moves—at first glance—financially speaking. Especially in these times, we are encouraged to make very pragmatic and job-oriented choices about our lines of study and our work. The skills that we develop as artists, poets, […]

Congress Hotel Strike

By Rachel Wallis — For the last five years from 6 am to 9pm, anyone walking down Michigan Avenue could count on encountering what has become a familiar sight for Chicagoans: strikers from UNITE HERE Local 1 picketing outside of the Congress Hotel. But in recent months those picketers have been missing from the scene. The change doesn’t herald […]

Economic Nun-Sense

By Ajitha Reddy — Wanted: Members to participate in an economy where resources are shared and your unique contributions to community – from art-making to teaching to food preparation – are honored and not commodified or prioritized hierarchically. Where the focus is on justice and sustainable living for all – not the irrational escalation of the GDP. Healthcare, housing, […]

Free In / Free From

By Ashley Weger — view insert [PDF]   This issue of AREA Chicago is centered around a common theme: everybody’s got money issues. Throughout the publication’s pages, contributors tell the stories of the roles that various individuals, collectives, groups and institutions play in Chicago’s economy. Our city’s inhabitants have not been spared by the recession: from Hyde Park to […]

InCUBATE: 2nd Year Report

By InCubate — April 2009 marked the second anniversary of the Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and the Everyday. InCUBATE is a research institute and artist residency program dedicated to exploring new approaches to arts administration and arts funding. We at InCUBATE act as curators, researchers and co-producers of artists’ projects. These activities have manifested in a […]

A Day at Stateville

By Alice Kim — I shall create! If not a note, a hole. If not an overture, a desecration. —Gwendolyn Brooks   Transformation through Communication. That’s the name of a class at Stateville Correctional Facility in Joliet, Illinois taught by Jim Chapman, an attorney who volunteers his time to teach this class every Wednesday. The class is comprised of […]

Everybody’s Got Money Issues Survey

By Daniel Tucker — Over 200 people respond to questions about work, life, money and capitalism Survey organized by Kristen Cox & Daniel Tucker, designed by Dave Pabellon Click here to Download Survey in PDF format

Temporary Services On Money

By Jerome Grand — Temporary Services is Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin and Marc Fischer. During the last ten years, they have persistently created art with concerns for generosity, cultural exchange, and artistic experimentation. They have developed and sustained a DIY/self-publishing approach, using resources thriftily and making their work available for free. They have published 84 booklets and carried out […]

Mucca Pazza on Money

By Kristen Cox — Back in August 2008 when the Rude Mechanical Orchestra rolled through town playing a show at the Co-Prosperity Sphere, I chatted with Elanor Leskiw of Mucca Pazza while hanging outside on the street. It was during our exchange, after hearing about their creative corporate structure where they issue socks as shares to band members, I […]

Punk and Economics

By David Wolf — As a musician who’s done a fair bit of touring and releasing records in DIY punk bands over the past decade, I have become interested in the various ways that people find to pull off these activities and still live their lives. I asked a few friends from the “scene” to give me their thoughts […]

Urbs in Horto: Sidewalk Symposia

By Amber Ginsburg — In this moment of financial crisis, it is curious to look back on the responses of earlier Chicagoans to debacles of their time. Our city motto, Urbs in Horto, rather than alluding to the grand landscape of the city, stems from a call to action toward a self-sufficient food supply.   Chicago officially became a […]

One Question about Art and Money in Chicago

By multiple contributors — 5 Questions originated out of the Chicago portion of the Town Hall Talks organized by Daniel Tucker and Nato Thompson as part of Creative Time’s Democracy In America project, in which 20 artists from a selected city were asked 5 questions about their work in a group interview. After that project was completed AREA Chicago […]

Backstory Cafe

By Robin Hewlett — The rapid downturn in the state of our economy has many investors running scared. On the other hand, we at Backstory believe that there couldn’t be a more appropriate time for the investment we’re making. Along with the other businesses and projects based in the Experimental Station (and similar efforts around the city, the country […]

501(c) (3) Chicago

By Harish I Patel — I’m very much afraid of this ‘Foundation Complex.’ We’re getting praise from places that worry me.?—Ella Baker, June 1963   Introduction by Jill Doub In these tough economic times, grassroots nonprofit organizations suffer from declining funding and the looming possibility that they will have to close their doors and leave missions unfulfilled. The economic crisis […]

Food Not Bombs

By Raechel Tiffe — In its twenty-eight years of existence, Food Not Bombs (FNB) has been repeatedly accused of terrorism and remains under investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Pentagon. The offense? Feeding hungry people for free. FNB is a radical movement dedicated to providing nourishment through “re-claimed” food, through its protest of the insidious […]

Rebuilding Exchange

By Elise Zelechowski — How do you create an economically sustainable, community-based waste reuse program that engages a wide audience of users? And what about a project that both City bureaucrats and the broader community would formally support? This would maybe work in Portland, but Chicago? That was the question I posed to myself more than 4 years ago, […]

Donation Diaspora

By Dale Asis — Jean Pierre Malonga recently hosted a wine and cheese reception at an upscale furniture gallery near the Magnificent Mile to benefit an elementary school in the Republic of Congo. Jean Pierre seems unusual since he has continued his generous international philanthropy despite the current hard economic times. What really is unusual is that Mr. Malonga […]

The New Business of Art

By Lee Ann Norman — These days, the current economic crisis is most often compared to the Great Depression, since we have nothing in recent memory with which to compare it. Things are bad; they will get worse; but we’re not quite sure how or when, making it difficult to pull ourselves up by our collective bootstraps. No generation has […]

Money is Our Business

By Jeanne Kracher — Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary. —Martin Luther King, Jr.   The first progressive alternative funds were created by religious communities (in the late 1950’s Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock and Catholic Campaign for Human Development) and by […]

Boone School Funding

By Amanda Du — We are about eight students and two teachers that meet voluntarily after school on Thursdays to discuss school funding. We like our school, Boone, but there is definitely a lot that could be improved. We made up a long list of things that could change if we had more money, including the gross lunches, the […]

Toward a more coherent anti-capitalist theory and practice in the Chicago area

By Chicago Political Workshop — The contributions collected in this issue, by being placed together under the heading of an opposition to the problems of money (and maybe even to capitalism), give the impression of a coherent political project. Reading this issue casually, it may appear that the underlying wish for a unified left is something actual, and already achieved. […]


By AREA — Edited by Daniel Tucker   Designed by Jerome Grand   Copyediting Ashley Weger, Chuck Dadamo and Lauren Cumbia   Project Advisors Kristen Cox, Eric Triantafillou and Rebecca Zorach   Current Advisors Laurie Palmer, Beth G, Martha Boyd, Amanda Gutierrez, Salem Collo-Julin, Chris Cutrone, Charles Vinz, David Marques, David Omotoso Stovall, Erica Meiners, Euan Hague, Gabriel […]