As the influence of ward organizations wanes amid the larger decline of patronage politics in Chicago, followers of Howard Dean are trying to provide a new model for progressive activism in Chicago.
The city’s Northside Democracy for America group remains among the largest affiliates of the national organization, which began in 2004 as Dean for America, the grass-roots arm of Mr. Dean’s presidential campaign.
“Groups come and go, but this is one of the few that has been around for all six years, and they really carved themselves into the milieu of Chicago politics,” said Jim Dean, Democracy for America’s chairman and the brother of the former Vermont governor.
The Northside group interacts with the national organization, but it is registered as its own political action committee, said Ed Mullen, its chairman. The group has 120 voting members, each of whom had to attend at least three group meetings and volunteer for three campaigns before joining.
Sandra Verthein, a co-founder of the Northside Democracy for America, said progressives joined her group because they found the local Democratic Party inhospitable. For example, she said she found it difficult to meet with other political activists in the 48th Ward. “If you are a progressive activist,” she said, “you have no place to be involved.” MORE...
Friday, November 19, 2010
Seattle Progressives: Check this Out!
"Dean Camp Courts Chicago Progressives" (NY Times):