What Chicago can teach us, with Alex Han
The organizer and executive director of In These Times on Brandon Johnson’s path to victory, other progressive hopefuls, and left media
Hello from a 90-degree day in New York!
This week, we’re joined by Alex Han, executive director of In These Times and a longtime organizer based in Chicago. Alex previously worked for Bernie’s 2020 campaign and SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana. We get into the context behind the surprise mayoral win by former teacher and organizer Brandon Johnson, over “corporate reformer” Paul Vallas. We discuss [15:45] the values (neoliberal versus progressive) at stake in this race, [25:08] which strategies can, and can’t, be reproduced by other candidates, and [1:01:30] the role of left-labor publications like In These Times in counteracting corporate media.
In this episode, we ask:
What made the Chicago Teachers Union become such a central player in city politics?
How has “defund the police” evolved, rhetorically, on the left?
How do you build a coalition that’s led by progressives but populated by centrists?
What should left media do to engage young people and other big yet hard-to-reach groups?
For more, read:
This reflection on bargaining for the common good and the influence of the CTU
An interview with Alex on the past and present of In These Times: What Do Movements Need from Progressive Media?
The book Jay mentions, After Black Lives Matter: Policing and Anti-Capitalist Struggle, by Cedric G. Johnson
Horrifying news of the shooting of 16-year-old Ralph Yarl in Kansas City