Category Archives: Chicago and Illinois News

Chicago Marches to Oppose U.S. War Moves Against Iran, 4 January 2020

Photoessay: Chicago’s progressive and socialist left turns out to demonstrate against the impending war against Iran on Saturday, January 4, 2020. The demonstration was organized by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition; dozens of organizations from Christian peace groups and Filipino left parties to revolutionary Maoists, and Trotskyists participated.  The demo was held just across the Chicago River from Trump Tower. At its peak, we estimate that the demonstration was several thousand strong.

Conspicuously absent were Chicago’s powerful trade unions, whose pro-capitalist Democratic-Party-subservient “leadership” *never* dares to bring their members into contact with the socialist left at events like this, quite correctly fearing that if they did, “their” members would be “led astray” and never again be happy, complacent & obedient pro-capitalist Democratic Party sheep.

The demonstration begins, 4 January 2020 at about 11:45AM. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demonstration against war with Iran, 4 January 2020, 12 Noon, photo by IWPCHI.

Chicago, IL, USA demonstration against war with Iran, Wacker and Wabash Ave’s, 4 January 2020, approx. 12 noon. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – Sample of protest signs #1. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – Sample of protest signs #2. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – Sample of protest signs #3. Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Presente! Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – Rally across river from Trump Tower #1. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave., #1. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. #2. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. #3. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed #1. Photo by IWPCHI


Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed. By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was starting to take up both sides of Michigan Ave. #1. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was starting to take up both sides of Michigan Ave. #2. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was starting to take up both sides of Michigan Ave. #3.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was taking up both sides of Michigan Ave. #3.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was taking up both sides of Michigan Ave. #4.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was taking up both sides of Michigan Ave., shutting down traffic on both sides #5.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – The demo progressed up Michigan Ave. until it reached the Water Tower, then headed east towards the lake. Here, it starts to move north on the frontage road on the west side of Lake Shore Drive. Navy Pier is in the background.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – The demo progressed up Michigan Ave. until it reached the Water Tower, then headed east towards the lake. Here, it starts to move north on the frontage road on the west side of Lake Shore Drive. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – The demo progressed up Michigan Ave. until it reached the Water Tower, then headed east towards the lake. Here, it starts to move north on the frontage road on the west side of Lake Shore Drive. Navy Pier is in the background.  A few minutes later the police apparently arrested a person or persons, or at least attempted to (this was the only instance of a confrontation between the cops and the demonstrators we witnessed).  The crowd started chanting : “Let him (or “them”) go!”  Photo by IWPCHI










Emanuel Emails Reveal Close Collaboration Between Democrats, Republicans to Destroy Unions, Rob Workers

We are pleased to publish the full set of the recently released emails from Chicago Democratic Party Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s private email server that were finally divulged after a lawsuit brought against the Emanuel Administration by the tepidly reformist “Better Government Association” (BGA – former Chicago TV newsman Andy Shaw’s hobbyhorse).  We’ve also added the court documents released by the BGA along with the emails, because you never know when the BGA’s website will “lose” the links to the emails and start producing the usual “404 error” page we see all the time with releases like this.


  1.   rahm-emanuel-personal-email-court-documents
  2. 122116-wls-bga-emanuel-emails settlement agreement
  3. BGA vs City of Chicago_Rahm Emanuel private email server emails (3276 pages. censored)

Like the infamous and insecure private email server of Hilary Rodham Clinton, Rahm Emanuel’s email server is purpose-built to help Democrat Emanuel to hide his behind-the-scenes close collaboration with the Dems’ Republican “opponents” as well as the allegedly pro-union Democrats’ secret collaboration with the anti-union capitalists who bankroll both the Democratic and Republican candidates for all the major political offices here in the “Land of the Free”(TM).  Under the toothless “government transparency” laws, all emails and other correspondence from and to government leaders is supposed to be carried out via official  communications channels where they can be archived and preserved as public records, reviewable by the citizenry via Freedom of Information Act requests.  Every communication of every President, Senator, Congressperson and on down through the government to local mayors is supposed to be subject to public scrutiny – if only after a number of years have passed.  The “secret” private servers of Clinton, Emanuel and other “public servants” are kept secret only from the supposedly supreme power in the US’ phony democracy: the citizens.  In fact, private, illegal communications networks set up by top US politicians and federal agency heads are constantly being revealed which prove to anyone paying attention that the only people who these bought-and-paid-for public servants “protect and serve” are the wealthiest people in the USA: the 10% of the US population who own 75% of the national wealth.  Billionaires like Penny Pritzker and Bruce Rauner have full access to the ears and eyes of politicians like Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel via these “secret” email servers, where they can conspire against you behind your back while they publicly pretend to be at each others’ throats.  These repulsively wealthy people, who actually run the USA in their own selfish interests, have 24/7/365 access to the big-city mayors and all the top politicians who are in their turn busily stuffing their and their friends’ pockets with whatever they can filch from the hundreds of billions of dollars in tax money stolen every year from you, the struggling members of the working class.

Even the cursory examination of the emails which we’ve been able to do provides a rare glimpse into the backroom deals constantly being engineered by the phony “friends of labor” Democrats and their real friends among the capitalist 1%ers who actually run Chicago and the USA.  The billionaire who is now the Republican governor of Illinois – Bruce Rauner – whom the Democrats publicly pretend to be their enemy – turns out to be on a first-name basis with Rahm and is revealed to be actually a member of the (very small) Rahm Emanuel fan club.  “You’re a good politician” Rauner gushes at Rahm in an email in which he and the “friend of labor” Emanuel administration conspire to coordinate their attacks on perhaps the last popular and powerful bastion of union labor in Chicago, the Chicago Teacher’s Union.

Rauner conspires with Emanuel to Crush Chicago Teachers' Union

Emanuel and his Republican allies are seen in the emails conspiring to carefully engineer their attacks on the Teachers Union so as to justify smashing the union. They plan to take pains to minimize the “psychological shock” to the pro-teachers’ union majority of the working-class population of the city when they launch their final assault on the union’s ability to protect tenured teachers from summary dismissals based on their poverty-stricken students’ weak GPAs. In other words, the US capitalist class and their politicians are cutting funding to the very social and educational programs necessary for students to excel in school, and then they plan to use the low test scores generated by their cuts to justify the gutting of the seniority rights of “underperforming” teachers!

The emails were released in a single .pdf file of over 3200 pages, which makes searching the individual emails a chore to say the least.  The Chicago press corps and the BGA itself have bent over backwards to downplay the significance of the evidence of close collaboration between the two capitalist-owned-and-operated political parties of the USA when it comes to attacking the teachers’ union and shoving the greedy agenda of the Chicago capitalist elites  down the throats of the workers of Chicago and Illinois.  The head of the teachers union, Karen Lewis, is herself a close friend of her “opponent” Rahm Emanuel and spends her time in a pantomime of opposition to the union-busting operations of her own Democratic Party directed at “her” union.  As we have pointed out to the workers time and time again, the Democratic Party is not now and never has been composed of the “friends of labor” but is in fact owned and operated – just as the Republican Party is – by the mortal enemies of the workers of the US and the world: the US capitalist class.  So long as the leadership of the US trade union movement is politically shackled to the pro-capitalist dung-cart of the Democratic Party the union movement will not advance a single step but will continue on its downward trajectory into oblivion.  Only a class-struggle Trotskyist leadership of the union movement dedicated to the overthrow of the capitalist system which systematically robs the working class of the fruits of its labor can lead a resurgence of the US labor movement.

The emails also reveal the careful massaging of the news media constantly being undertaken by the Democrats in order to get the most positive coverage possible for their never-ending attacks on the unions and the working class in general.  The masses must be kept blind and must always have pro-capitalist propaganda driven down their throats continuously lest they discover how badly they are being screwed by their political “friends”.   And of course the media – like the politicians themselves, wholly owned and operated by the 1%ers – dutifully obliges, covering up the actual collaboration between the anti-union capitalist class and the “friends of labor” in the Democratic Party.  “Everyone” wins – except the vast majority of the population in the working class, who see their standard of living being steadily eroded.

The close collaboration betwen the “friends of labor” Democrats and their murderous, racist police is also laid bare by the emails.  Emanuel and ex-Chicago police chief McCarthy fret over news media coverage of the latest atrocities committed by the police and desperately try to maintain the fiction that the police in a capitalist state are supposed “to protect and serve” the working class.  As every intelligent worker knows, the police are the mortal enemies of the workers, racist thugs who think nothing of shooting workers – especially black and Hispanic workers – who dare to stand up against racist police terror.  The cops in a capitalist state have one role to play: they defend the racist capitalist status quo, crushing any attempt of the working class to fight for their rights.  The cops defend capitalist private property and the “inalienable right” of the 1% to 75% of the national wealth!

Democrats have been running the murderous, racist police departments in almost every major US city for ever. Source: Rahm emails, page 220.

Democrats have been running the murderous, racist police departments in almost every major US city for ever.  Source: Rahm emails, page 220.

Democrats' killer cops ever-vigilant to protect citizenry from themselves.  Cop "intelligence" confused by "Guy Fox" masks.  Source: Rahm emails, page 269.

Democrats’ killer cops ever-vigilant to protect citizenry from themselves. Cop “intelligence” confused by “Guy Fox” masks.  Source: Rahm emails, page 269.

We wish we had the time to do a thorough dissection of these emails so we could present you with the juiciest evidence of how the Democrats are selling you out to their wealthy owners day in and day out, but we just don’t have the personnel to enable such a project.  We need honest, hard-working workers to put down their TV remotes and dedicate themselves to fighting for the rights of the working class by joining our party or at least helping us do this work on a regular basis.  Until you start to take your working class political responsibilities to yourselves and your families seriously you will continue to get pummeled by the endless assaults being launched against you by your mortal enemies: the capitalist greedheads and their political hatchetmen in both the Democratic and Republican parties.  The enemies of the vast majority of the population of every capitalist nation-state – the working class – needs the kind of 24/7/365 representation that the top 3% have.  Until you build that kind of organization you will be stuck impotently “speaking truth to power” to a ruling class that is so completely insulated from you that the desperate pleas of your hundreds of millions of workers sounds like a plaintive whisper they need not trouble themselves to notice.

Independent Workers Party of Chicago


New Surveillance Device Being Tested in Chicago Suburbs? What IS This Thing?

A correspondent sent us the following report and accompanying photographs of what appears to be a prototype of a new mobile surveillance device which is apparently being tested in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

It was photographed at a storage facility in Morton Grove, IL, where it was being operated by one man who was part of a team of as many as 5 men who were accompanying or escorting the main vehicle with the prototype surveillance device.

Here is our correspondents’ report:

“A friend and I were at his storage space in Morton Grove chilling out and drinking a few beers on Aug 31 when my friend noticed what he said was a car with a bunch of cameras on the roof.  I thought he’d been in the sun too long; I could see that there was a weird looking thing on the car’s roof but I’m couldn’t see it clearly because I’d left my glasses at home.  My buddy walked past the vehicle on his way to the bathroom and when he came back he said he’d never seen anything like it and they must be some kind of cops or something.  So I walked over and took a look.  As soon as I got near the vehicle with the cameras, I could see it was something really strange and so I whipped out my cell and started shooting pictures of the thing. 

Unidentified surveillance device spotted in Morton Grove, IL on August 31, 2014. "Test engineer" is sitting in the passenger seat.

Unidentified surveillance device spotted in Morton Grove, IL on August 31, 2014. “Test engineer” is sitting in the passenger seat.

“There was a guy sitting in the passenger’s seat with what looked like a laptop computer closed up in his lap; the driver was somewhere else.  I asked the guy “What is this thing?”  He said that “it’s for surveying roads”.  Not satisfied with that answer I asked him: “for who?”.  He said he didn’t know who the customer was and that he was just helping to test the device to make sure it was working well. 

“I started to examine it more closely to see if it had a manufacturer’s name tag on it somewhere and went around to the opposite side of the vehicle to take pics of the other side.  So far as I could see there were no decals identifying the manufacturer of the device.  It wasn’t a drone; it had no propellers or fuel tank that I could see.  It was apparently designed to sit on the roof of the car.  As I got ready to take the picture, a man got out of the passenger’s side of a second vehicle parked beside the test vehicle and told me that I should stop taking pictures of the device.  He said “it’s not a public space”.  I immediately took another picture and told him that that was nonsense because it was certainly in a public place and anyone had a right to take pictures of it. I asked him what it was and he said “that doesn’t matter” or something like that.

Unidentified surveillance device spotted in Morton Grove, IL on August 31, 2014.

Unidentified surveillance device spotted in Morton Grove, IL on August 31, 2014.

He made no attempt to physically prevent me from photographing and just went back to his car.  The driver got out at the same time but just stood there and said nothing and made no attempt to stop me from taking photos.  They were mildly intimidating though, so when they got back in their car I turned around and took a photo of their car so I could get their license plate.

Escort vehicle accompanying unidentified surveillance device spotted in Morton Grove, IL on August 31, 2014.

Escort vehicle accompanying unidentified surveillance device spotted in Morton Grove, IL on August 31, 2014.

“I then walked to the bathroom and noticed another guy walking towards me from the bathroom as I headed in that direction.  He must have been the driver of the test vehicle.  He said nothing and just walked past me.

“I have seen these guys back at the same location; they appear to be storing the device in that storage facility and have been driving it around for the past several days at least.”

This could very well be an innocuous surveyor’s vehicle or even a test bed for some kind of scientific instrument of some kind; or it could be a “Google Street View”-type surveillance device – who knows?  If any of our readers have any insights into what this thing is, leave a comment and we’ll try to figure it out.

Full sized image - left front of device

Full sized image – left front of device


Full-sized image; right rear side of device

Full-sized image; right rear side of device



New York Times Censorship: Revolutionary Socialist Ideas Are “Not Fit to Print”

The flagship propaganda outlet for US imperialism, the New York Times, claims to publish “All the News Fit to Print” – which doesn’t include ideas that would lead to the overthrow of their owners in the US capitalist class – the most despotic ruling class in world history.  This is not surprising, and it isn’t “news” to veteran socialists; but it is real and it has to be brought to the attention of the working class and a major campaign by the socialist parties of the United States must be fought to smash the capitalist class’ censorship of public discussion.

The NYT publishes all kinds of pro-regime news, and only very carefully edited exposes of the most flagrant violations of bourgeois etiquette – like the mass torture of prisoners by the US military at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay and the global spying scandal revealed by Edward Snowden and the US Government claiming the “right” to assassinate US citizens – make it through their fine sieve of bourgeois propriety.  Even then, the New York Times goes out of its way to allow the United States Government to conduct pre-publication censorship of the Times’ own articles on these subjects.

The words “Communist” and “Communist Party” or even “socialist” rarely find their way into the bourgeois press unless they are being used as pejorative terms. Even in death the Times’ obituary columnists routinely “forget” to mention the fact that the deceased person(s) whose virtues they are forced to extol (due to the departed’s vast contributions to US and/or world culture) was a lifelong communist.  “Not fit to print” apparently.  Musn’t let the children know that there was ever anything good that came from the communist movement!

This amounts to nothing less than a long-running attempt to falsify the historical record.  Actually, almost everything “good” that has happened in the past 150 years (including the US civil war) came about due to the political intervention of the anarchist, socialist and communist movements: the anti-slavery movement, the 8-hour day, equal rights for women, the civil rights movement, the ban on child labor, the imposition of basic safety rules on the job and much, much more.  Nary a one of these reforms originated in the greed-addled brains of the capitalist class.  And it took years of bloody struggle by the socialist workers movement to achieve every reform we take for granted today.  The revolutionary socialist movement is now and has always been a force that looks forward and proposes new ideas that are necessary in order to continuously advance human civilization  – and to keep it from being incinerated by the capitalists in the next big inter-imperialist war.  To attempt to keep socialist ideas out of the public arena in the “Age of the Internet” is akin to the fruitless attempt by the Catholic Church to suppress heliocentrism: it is a thoroughly reactionary censorship that places itself firmly athwart the road of human progress.  This censorship must be overcome, and it will be overcome – by us, and by you, the workers of the world!

So, why would the New York Times go out of its way to deny socialists today access to their Augean “comments” section?  We say it is because their capitalist masters are so very frightened at the appearance of even the tiniest pinhole in their well-grouted pro-capitalist propaganda dikes that they are convinced that allowing the socialists regular access to the public fora they manage could bring their entire rotten, tottering capitalist system crashing to the ground in a matter of weeks.  The capitalist class, in spite of their ruthless shows of “force” enacted all over the world and their endless murderous wars for profits are actually – especially in the case of the US capitalist class – very “thin on the ground” as the saying goes.  The US capitalist class makes up only a tiny fraction of the 4.5% of the world’s population represented by the people of the United States, and they think that they have the “right” to run the whole planet as if it was their rightful possession.  The US capitalists are running scared and are always looking over their shoulders to see if one of the servants is sneaking up on them with a butchers’ cleaver or something.  They can’t sleep – and for good reason.

Like so many other socialist groups, we regularly try to add our revolutionary voices to the cacophony of “inside the box” thinking so tiresomely peddled by the New York Times’ housebroken journalists and editors – and most of their well-trained readers.  The comments section of most New York Times articles are so filled with banalities and Mobius-strip philosophizing that any one of them could be prescribed to any thinking person as a cure for insomnia.  On occasion, we manage to break through the Times’ wall of censorship of revolutionary socialist ideas, but most of the time we don’t.

So, we are going to demonstrate just how extensively the New York Times’ censorship of socialist ideas is by consistently trying to break their blockade on revolutionary ideas by posting to their comments sections of articles on subjects of national and international importance.  When our comments are deemed to be “not fit to print”, we will publish them here, so everyone can see if they think that our ideas deserve to be made part of the national and international discussion of the important topics of the day.  We encourage our readers to do likewise and take some time every day to put your 2 cents in to the discussions going on in every major local and national newspaper.  We simply must not allow the right wing blowhards and partisans of the twin parties of US imperialism: the Democrats and the Republicans – to monopolize the discussion of what must be done to prevent WWIII from happening and about what must be done to create a better future for the working people of the world and for future generations of workers all over the globe.  In Chicago this means that we must all try to post at least one short essay on the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times newspapers, as well as on our local newspapers (Pioneer Press, etc.).  Let’s open up the left side of the political spectrum to public discussion and by doing so smash through the capitalist class’ stranglehold on political thought in the United States.

Workers of the World, Unite!IWPCHI

What It’s Like to Be Incarcerated in Cook County Jail – Part II

By far, the most popular article we’ve presented here on our website has been “What It’s Like to Be Incarcerated in Cook County Jail”, which we published in 2012.  That article has been read by people all over the world; most likely they were friends and family of people thrown into Cook County Jail for some reason, seeking information on conditions in this notoriously overcrowded and violent prison.

We’d like to try to answer what are probably some of the most pressing questions family and friends of prisoners might have about Cook County Jail.  We welcome questions from our readers about this subject and will try to obtain answers to any questions you have.  All questions will go through a moderation process; if you’d like your question to be kept confidential, just ask and we’ll make sure that your name will be removed from your post before it is published. – IWPCHI

Q: My friend/family member has just been arrested and is now in Cook County Jail.  Will he/she be in danger of being raped or attacked by the prisoners or guards?

We have correspondents who have been incarcerated in Cook County Jail several times over the past decade – some for several months at a time –  and we can reassure you that the dangers to minimum-security prisoners from the other inmates at Cook County Jail seem to us to be vastly exaggerated.  In all the time our correspondents were in the jail, no one was observed being sexually assaulted, although there were some minor fights between individuals, some of which resulted in minor injuries.  Our reports indicate that, if your friend or family member was jailed for a relatively minor crime – drug possession, parole violation, failure to pay child support, DUI, or some other minor crime – then it is likely that they will be in jail with other relatively law-abiding people accused of similar minor crimes, and they’ll be fine, so long as they aren’t openly racist scum or feel threatened by being forced to live in close quarters with a lot of strangers.  The vast majority of reports we’ve received from Cook County Jails – and Will and Kane County as well – is that it is most remarkable how well everyone manages to get along under the rotten conditions they’re forced to endure in the jail.  The prisoners in the more minimum-security sections of the jail seem to have an attitude of patient endurance of their plight and will go out of their way to help new prisoners adjust to things.  People regularly share food, books, paper and pens for writing letters and will even help your incarcerated friend/family member make phone calls to you.  “Some of the most decent people I’ve ever met in 20 years in Chicago I met in Cook County Jail” wrote one of our correspondents.  But you have to be careful, because everyone is under a tremendous amount of pressure, and events like a reversal of fortune in someone’s case could cause them to be very edgy, as can be expected.  But for the most part, the prisoners at the county jails are pretty good to each other.

The guards are another matter.  Many of the guards are pretty laid-back (probably because they are vastly outnumbered by the prisoners); but there are some who obviously enjoy having daily opportunities for kicking the shit out of a defenseless prisoner.  People who are mentally ill, or who don’t quite understand that they are in jail and not at a weird version of summer camp can get the shit kicked out of them by the guards for just wandering past the perimeter of the dorm where they are being held.

Q:  My friend/family member who is in the jail needs medicine/has a medical condition that needs constant attention.  Will the prison officials respect his/her medical needs?

A:  This is a bit of a crapshoot.  As you can imagine, the US capitalist class and their politicians, who have been getting elected and re-elected by bragging about how they are “tough on crime” have not exactly been making sure that life in America’s jails and prisons is a model of civilized treatment of prisoners.  At Cook County, when you first get processed into the jail, you are taken through a medical screening process where actual nurses and maybe even a doctor or two will ask you if you have any medical conditions and if you require any medications – and then they actually do make a serious attempt to provide these medications immediately to the prisoners, or within a couple of days after you’ve been processed in.  We’ve heard reports of prisoners being denied medication for days, but most people do seem to get their meds relatively quickly.

Eyeglasses and contact lenses are another matter; the jail does not seem to pay much attention to these issues.  People have reported that they have been denied eyeglasses for days and even weeks; and contact lens fluid and lens containers seem to have been “overlooked” by the medical staff on many occasions.

Medical treatment in the jail is very substandard.  We have a report of an eyewitness who saw a man have a seizure – his fellow prisoners immediately protected him from injury and notified the guards – who had no idea what to do.  They had no clue how to perform first aid for someone having a seizure, and it took a half an hour for a medical team to get to the inmate.

We’ve also had reports of the medical staff taunting people who were attacked and injured by guards.  One report stated that a woman who gave a guard the finger by sticking her hand through the food tray slot in her jail cell door had her arm broken by a female guard, who snapped her forearm by grabbing her wrist and shoving it down against the slot until it broke.  Taken to the prison hospital, the “doctors” there let her sit untreated and in tremendous pain for an hour with her arm broken at an angle.  The guards and the doctors laughed as the female guard who broke the prisoner’s arm told the story of what happened.  The prisoner had to beg the doctors to treat her.

Basically, medical treatment is better than it once was, but it is still too often given at the whim of the guards and the staff, who, if they don’t like you or believe you are really sick, will refuse to give treatment.

Q: What is the quality of the food like?

A: “Quality” is not the word to use here.  Food at the Cook County Jail is pure garbage.  Lots of undercooked potatoes, undercooked bread (especially bagels) and not enough vegetables or fruit results in most prisoners developing serious constipation within a couple of days of being jailed.  And we mean SERIOUS constipation, to the point where you go for days or even a week without being able to take a dump.  This is a human rights violation of the first order, no question about it.  The food is simply not nutritious or even edible.  The only exception to this rule is that if a prisoner requests a special diet for medical reasons, in which case they will get actual pieces of fruit and actual chicken and vegetables to eat.  Most people are forced to eat the garbage served by the prison kitchens.

Q: I heard that the prisoners can order food from the commissary that is much better than the food served up from the kitchen.  What’s the deal with that?

A: The deal with that is that the criminals who run the Cook County Jail are making a shitload of money off the prisoners by feeding them food so lousy that everyone spends as much as they possibly can for commissary items – overpriced cookies and candy and other junk foods – as well as some halfway decent stuff like foil packages of salmon and tuna.  The privatized commissary makes millions of dollars every year through this scam, much of the money which undoubtedly finds its way, as if by magic, into the pockets of the Sheriffs Department officials and the corrupt Democratic Party politicians who run Chicago like it was their own private piggy bank.  If you can afford to do it, you can send money to the prisoners so they can buy some edible food from the commissary to keep them from getting sick from eating the prison food.  But what’s really necessary is for the working class of Chicago to DEMAND that the Cook County Jail authorities start providing quality food to the prisoners.  The more money they are forced to spend on decent food and medical care, the more expensive it is for the capitalist class to throw people in jail and the more likely it is that they’ll be forced to reduce the jail population for economic reasons – the only logic the capitalist class understands.

Q: Do the prisoners get any exercise while they are in jail?

A:  This may be changing now, since the new prison building does have crappy excercise yards built into it on all floors; but it has long been the practice of Crook County Jail to not allow prisoners ANY exercise of ANY kind for YEARS ON END!  This major human rights violation has gone unreported and unaddressed for YEARS at the Cook County Jail.  None of our correspondents who were in the minimum security sections of the jail ever were allowed to exercise while they were incarcerated – some of whom went up to 3 YEARS without ever being allowed to do any kind of exercise other than walking around the perimeter of their dorm!  This, combined with the rotten food, utterly destroys peoples’ health and results in serious deterioration of their physical conditioning.  The gang members at the jail go through all kinds of hassles to obtain odds and ends of various items with which they create weights they can use for weight lifting just so they can stay somewhat in shape.  This stuff is, of course, considered to be contraband by the Crook County Jail officials, but is largely allowed by the guards.  If it wasn’t for the ingenuity of the prisoners in constructing their own weights, they’d have no real physical exercise at all.  We’ll have to wait and see if the new prison’s exercise facilities are going to actually be provided to the prisoners.  The old sections had basketball courts and even a huge, well-equipped gym that was never allowed to be used by the prisoners for anything but assembly hall-type events.  The bourgeois press knows all about these HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS at Cook County Jail, and says nothing.  The “lesser evil” Democratic Party RUNS THIS JAIL SYSTEM.  It should be a major scandal.

Q: Can the prisoners get access to daily newspapers and reading material?

A:  Our correspondents never saw a copy of any newspaper while they were in Cook County Jail.  Magazines and books are sent in by friends and family of the prisoners; the jail authorities pretend that the jail HAS NO LIBRARY, even though the forms which the prisoners use to request visits to the law library specifically lists “LIBRARY” as a place that exists in Cook County Jail.  The denial of daily newspapers to the inmates is ANOTHER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION.  The only opportunity for keeping abreast of world events occurs when the prisoners get to watch the crappy local and national TV news programs – which are often cut off by the guards because they are broadcast at the same time that lunch and dinner are served.  There should be a concerted effort made by prisoners’ rights advocates to force the jail authorities to allow prisoners to use their commissary money to purchase newspapers, magazines and books.  Why don’t the supposedly struggling Tribune and Sun-Times attempt to force the jail to allow them to sell newspapers to these prisoners – most of whom haven’t even been convicted of a crime yet!

[To Be Continued – IWPCHI]

The U.S. Police State was Alive and Active Today in Morton Grove, Illinois!

We were having a nice day today here in northern Illinois, where winter has “come in like a lion” and has no apparent intention of “going out” any time soon.  It was a bracingly cold morning in the thriving metropolis of Morton Grove, Illinois (pop.  23,270). It was partly cloudy, with a weak winter sun trying to break through the clouds; the outside air temperature was 16 degrees F (-9 C) with a lovely breeze cooling things down to a more character-building -1F (-18C).  We decided to stroll through the forest preserve to say hello to the deer herd that hangs out there; but first we went to… (play devil’s triad here) STARBUCK’S! for a cuppa coffee so we could stand the arctic zephyr outside.

We did find the deer, just inside the gate, where they wait for people to come and feed them (there is a small but determined contingent of “nature lovers” who misguidedly persist in feeding the wild deer  human food such as corn chips, Cheez-Doodles and rice, thereby increasing the size of the herd far beyond what the forest preserve can maintain & resulting in many deer vs. car/train encounters which the deer rarely win).  Tried to take a photo of them one-handed but only managed to spill some coffee and drop the camera into the 4″-deep snowpack on the bicycle trail.   This is what resulted:


Disgustedly, we gave up on that, seeing that the spilled coffee froze on contact with our leather gloves into little brown globules, and not wanting our hands to freeze to the cellphone in a similar fashion.  The deer herd is there every day and it’ll be there tomorrow, too; waiting expectantly for some dingbat to come and give them some McDonald’s leftovers.  We’ll photograph them on a warmer day.

We continued on our aimless journey of discovery, with the semi-tame deer herd following us close behind.  They had mistaken the spilling coffee for dropping food and had descended on it and lapped it up, and were now following us to see what else we’d bestow upon them.  To their chagrin, we betstowed only imprecations to eat the natural food that exists in abundance throughout the forest preserve and telling them to avoid junk food – and the roads – at all cost. They were not outwardly pleased by this, so far as we could tell.

“It’s a beautiful day here in the ‘Land of the Free!'(TM) we said to ourselves as we merrily shufled our feet through the snow, admiring the little flock of birds that was flying through the tall grasses and searching for seeds by using their beaks to toss the snow side-to-side until they reached the bare ground.  “How can they stand to do that? ” we asked ourselves.  If we put our nose in the snow for 5 seconds, we’d have to go inside and thaw it out for 15 minutes before we could go out again.  Plus, if we had wings, we’d have flown south long ago, anyways!

We continued up to the river, where we looked both ways before taking the popular shortcut across the busy railroad bridge across which runs a couple dozen passenger and freight trains every day.  The river that passes under it (the north branch of the Chicago River) was already almost frozen over.  This is how it looked late last week:


As we crossed the bridge, just as we got to the road to the train station, we suddenly heard a large flock of Canadian geese flying overhead – going north!  And of course, being socialists, this immediately brought to mind the importance of any group having not just the right leadership in order to achieve anything of importance, but that they must also possess the correct PROGRAMME of action as well!  Even in the natural world, this is the case, which proves once again how very correct the great pioneers of the socialist movement – Marx, Engels and Lenin – were in attempting to make this point crystal-clear to the working class.  In the case of this flock of geese, though it was clear that they had a good leader capable of organizing a large group of his or her fellow geese into following him wherever he would go (which is probably not easy to do as you would know if you ever tried to keep Canadian geese from shitting all over your lawn), he did not possess a good PROGRAMME of action for the flock he was leading, and instead of leading them South to warmer winter quarters he was unaccountably determined to stay here in northern Illinois where the unusually cold weather will probably kill quite a few of his followers for no good reason at all.  “Truly, there is a lesson in this for the working class!” we immediately realized.  “We must figure out a way to incorporate this important lesson from nature into our revolutionary propaganda at the earliest opportunity!”   (And so we have!  Hey. we’re almost as surprised as you are!)

We continued on our way to the train station, wiser for our absolutely incomprehensible decision to walk in the snow on a day like this.  At the train station, we met a friend who offered to drive us to our destination.  We happily accepted this kind offer.  And this provided us with yet another insight into the benefits of mutual cooperation as elucidated by the socialists over the selfish impulses espoused by the capitalist class!  What an amazing day!  We’re so glad that we decided to walk instead of taking the car!  Otherwise, how would we have…

[Add sound effect of phonograph needle scratching across an LP here]

What the hell is this??  There’s a big, yellow, diamond-shaped warning sign on the road that says: “CAUTION: POLICE TRAINING AREA” – or words to that effect – and then we see this:

IMG_20131212_101113“What the f… is this …?  “NIPAS”?  “Rescue Vehicle”!  The bullshit just never stops here in the US, does it?

A police state “rescue vehicle” full of heavily armed… “rescue-ers?” inside it!  And another one behind the building!  What the f…..?

We went by so fast that we didn’t have time to sweep the snow of our cellphone camera to take a photo, initially.  Our friend the driver decided immediately to pull a U-turn and… go back to take pictures!   We salute you, Noble Proletarian!

We stopped the car almost directly across from the “whatever the hell they ares” and took the first photo; then we heard a police car’s  klaxon blare a couple of times and realized that we had inadvertently stopped right in front of the “commander’s” car.  We pulled up a little and took another one:

IMG_20131212_101116Those aren’t stretchers those “police rescue personnel” are carrying!

Barely resisting the urge to shout revolutionary slogans at these reactionaries, we drove away, expecting to be incorporated into the “training session” at any minute (we weren’t).

So, what do we make of this?  There is no mention of any police training activity for today listed on the Village of Morton Grove’s  website or on the section of that site for their police department.  So what the hell is “NIPAS”, anyway? We’ve never heard of it before.  We were guessing that it was some kind of advanced paramilitary training school the cops had ginned up for themselves.  Well, thanks to the Internets, that mystery is now (partially) solved:

(WARNING: this link goes to a police website!) The Northern Illinois Police Alarm System, or NIPAS , it turns out, is yet another branch of the ever-growing police state of the United States, aka “The Land of the Free”(TM).  Not content to have “just” the local police, the county police, the forest preserve district police, the state police, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Guard at their disposal, the extremely cautious, extremely tiny and apparently sleep-deprived capitalist class of northern Illinois has seen fit to create NIPAS.  See if this makes sense to you:

“Northern Illinois Police Alarm System

Sweet logo, huh?  Whose talented 6-year old won the contest to design a new logo for this anti-union, anti-immigrant, anti-democratic quasilegal paramilitary police agency?

Sweet logo, huh? Whose talented 6-year-old won the contest to design a new logo for this anti-union, anti-immigrant, anti-democratic quasilegal paramilitary police agency?

“The Northern Illinois Police Alarm System (NIPAS) represents a joint venture of suburban municipal police departments in the Chicago metropolitan area. Fifteen police agencies created NIPAS in 1983 to ensure effective police mutual aid in times of natural disasters. From these humble beginnings, the system has grown to include law enforcement agencies of 93 cities, villages, and towns in five counties [our emphasis – IWPCHI].

A governing board consisting entirely of police chiefs directs NIPAS and approves its annual budget, [our emphasis – IWPCHI] which serves as the basis for all NIPAS expenditures. Member agencies pay a set annual fee to participate, thus providing both the staff and the finances needed to manage the system.”

Awesome!  It’s a super-police agency not under the control of any civilian elected officials at all!  Completely under the control of the police chiefs themselves!  And paid for from the police budget that the elected officials approve only with the express permission of the citizens, right?  Right?

Check out the cover story for this paramilitary police-state operation:


“In 1982, severe flooding nearly devastated several small communities along the shores of Lake Michigan north of Chicago. Public safety resources, especially those of law enforcement agencies, became stretched to the limit. Although neighboring communities responded with assistance, police leaders realized they needed a better organized system with pre-planned deployment procedures. The following year, chiefs of fifteen police agencies in Illinois’ northern Cook and southern Lake counties established NIPAS through an intergovernmental mutual aid agreement. This legal document authorized neighboring agencies to work together in times of need. In 1988, bylaws formalized the original agreement.”

Oh, well, then it’s O.K., right?  It’s only for coordinating the response to natural disasters!  Read no further, and let our “public servants” carry out their important responsibilities!  “Carry on, police state!  We trust you!” NOT!

Here’s the next two paragraphs, which drop the pretence in the previous one:

“Activating the System

“Whether faced with a natural disaster [“or” – IWPCHI] the unexpected results of a special event, [our emphasis again – IWPCHI] a member agency may request assistance for any situation its command staff believes the agency cannot handle with its own resources. The requesting agency’s incident commander contacts the system’s dispatching center, Northwest Central Dispatch System, and identifies the level of response needed. There are ten levels, each one calling for an additional five officers to respond according to a pre-determined alarm plan. Thus, Level 1 requires five officers to respond; Level 10 requires fifty.

“The dispatch center quickly sends the appropriate number of fully equipped officers to a pre-selected mobilization point within the requesting agency’s jurisdiction. The incident commander also deploys a personnel officer, who records each officer’s arrival and assigns each one as required.”  This thing operates by itself, and is set into motion by one of its police-chief members.  No mayor or town council member needs to be bothered in order to get their prior approval.  The system operates as a 50-strong police detachment that takes orders only from its own internal commanders.  Like a death squad.  Ohh, now we’re reverting to communist scare-mongering again!  Like a bunch of lily-livered chicken-shit commie bastards!

Read some more, and you decide:

“Additional Resources

“NIPAS member agencies have the option of participating in two additional NIPAS programs… a special tactical squad [our emphasis – IWPCHI] know [sic – IWPCHI] as the Emergency Services Team and a special crowd control team known as the Mobile Field Force.” [Source: NIPAS website at:

Ohhhh…. lol!  We knew it!  God Bless the “Land of the Free (TM)” and it’s gorgeously multifeathered police state!   O.K., we’re in; what the hell is the “Emergency Services Team”?  It was very kind of these young Hitlers to provide us with a link:

[WARNING: this link is to a police website!] “NIPAS Emergency Services Team


est_badge_logo_subduedThe title of the image for this NIPAS logo is: “est_badge_logo_subdued.png”.  We’ll venture a guess that the original badge did not feature an 18th-century flintlock musket, but a firearm that, shall we say, was more representative of what is issued to these heroes – like a submachine gun.

“Member agencies can deploy the Emergency Services Team for hostage/barricade incidents, high-risk warrant service, major crime scene searches, search and rescue missions, dignitary protection, and similar tactical incidents. The team follows the original principles of NIPAS… agencies pooling their resources to provide the best service possible for their communities, the retention of local control, and cost savings through the sharing of specialized equipment. Member agencies participate in the Emergency Services Team voluntarily. However, if they choose not to supply resources to the team, they may not request its services.”

Ho, ho, ho!  No pay, no play!  If you want to play with THESE toys, you have to be a full member and pay dues!  We wonder how many communities – if any – opted out of participation in this paramilitary wing of NIPAS?

“But wait: there’s more!”

“In 1989, the Emergency Services Team acquired a fully equipped mobile command post, and in 2001, the team acquired an armored rescue vehicle. In 2006, the Emergency Services Team purchased a new fully equipped mobile command post, and in 2010, the team acquired an equipment transport truck. A NIPAS member agency maintains each of these vehicles and equipment.

“Team members are selected through a careful screening process which includes physical agility, media, [our emphasis – IWPCHI] psychological, and interviews. The prospective member must pass a Basic Emergency Services Team course as well as Advanced Emergency Services Team course. Through this selection process, NIPAS is able to provide the best officers possible for emergency response.

“The team is structured in nine units for more efficient use during high risk situations. Each unit has a unique function, although most units are cross-trained to provide back-up in certain situations. Units include coordinator, assistant coordinators, entry, containment, marksmen, negotiations, tactical medical emergency services, canine, and support services.

“The team provides professional, efficient, and cost effective response to high risk situations for its member agencies.”  [Source: NIPAS website at

LOL! “Cost effective”?  What is this?- a non-cop-union special police force that works for straight-time only?  We doubt it. Here’s a description of a case in Schaumburg where this SWAT team was unleashed on a house full of dangerous terrorists uh, we mean a bunch of young people having a house party:

In this case we see how the Schaumburg Police, pissed off that the citizens at the house party – guilty only of wanting to enjoy themselves in a boisterous fashion in the long-accepted manner of  young adults all over the US – refused to kiss the cops’ asses and asserted their Constitutional right not to open their home to an illegal police search.  So, the cops invented the claim that these law-abiding citizens – who by now had probably quieted down quite a bit – were screaming to the cops that someone had been murdered at the party; this in order to justify calling in the NIPAS SWAT team.  Turns out there were no dead bodies and only one minor injury.  This is, in fact, what these SWAT teams are most often used for: to force entry into citizens’ homes when those citizens exercise their Constitutional right to not allow the cops into their homes without a search warrant.

“And if you order right now…!”

Well, as nauseous as all this has made us, we still have at least one more blast of staank to smell before we’re done opening up this rotten carcass of a police state operation, so let’s hand out the clothespins and dig in…. oh, god! The horror! The horror…   JACKPOT!

And YOU thought we were paranoid! Ha! This is a long way from the phony "Rescue Squad" bullshit, ain't it? And holy crap...  they've got a f***** helicopter!

And YOU thought we were paranoid! Ha! This is a long way from the phony “Rescue Squad” bullshit, ain’t it? And holy crap… they’ve got a f***** helicopter!

Or perhaps we should say: JackBOOT?

“NIPAS Mobile Field Force

LOL! We just KNEW there'd be a homoerotic edge in here somewhere!  Here it is!  Men in Tights!  "In days of old, when Knights were bold..."  And again, this badge is a redesign and is entitled: "mff_patch_subdued".  Woner what the original design loked like?  Maybe it had a helicopter on it!

LOL! We just KNEW there’d be a homoerotic edge in there somewhere! Here it is! Men in Tights! “In days of old, when Knights were bold…” And again, this badge is a redesign and is entitled: “mff_patch_subdued”. We wonder what the original design looked like… maybe it had a helicopter on it! Or a burning infidel tied to a stake or something!

Responding to our own caption: We don’t imagine this gang of neo-fascist “knights” even allows “girls” into their treehouse at all.  And they’re showing off their usual police “intelligence” – and respect for the bourgeois revolution that created the United States by overthrowing the remnants of the feudal system of government imposed by England on the 13 colonies – by festooning their insignia with… a goddamned knight in shining armor! And this is the “scrubbed” version of the logo!  Did the original version portray a witch-burning, perhaps?

What a mess!  Now read their PUBLISHED raison d’etre:

“The NIPAS Mobile Field Force was created in the Spring of 1994 to maximized [sic – IWPCHI] the effectiveness of initial response efforts by police when a major civil disturbance occurs. Civil disturbances, union conflicts, public demonstrations, and other events involving large or disorderly crowds require skillful response by police agencies. [our emphasis – IWPCHI]

“Identical to the Emergency Services Team, the Mobile Field Force follows the original principles of NIPAS… agencies pooling their resources to provide the best service possible for their communities, the retention of local control, and cost savings through the sharing of specialized equipment. Member agencies participate in the Mobile Field Force voluntarily. However, if they choose not to supply resources to the team, they may not request its services.

“The social, economic, and political mood of our country, as well as other countries, raised the speculation that the 1990s and beyond may be trying times, and civil unrest could occur. To effectively deal with events such as labor-related conflicts, as well as social and political demonstrations, NIPAS adopted the Mobile Field Force concept. The Mobile Field Force program is designed to provide rapid, organized, and disciplined response to civil disorder, crowd control, or other tactical situations.

“The NIPAS Mobile Field Force provides its member agencies with a planned, organized, and rapid response to:

  • control unruly crowds (either hostile or passive);
  • seal off problem areas, regardless of size;
  • rescue citizens or officers from crowds;
  • clear an area of hostile individuals by use of proactive tactics; and
  • apprehend multiple offenders, if required.

“The team provides professional, efficient, and cost effective response for its member agencies.” [Source: NIPAS website

Well, well, well!  Hasn’t this been a lovely morning in “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!”(TM)?   We’ll keep trying to find information on this unpleasant cesspool of police Bonapartism here in Northern Illinois.   We already tried a search for “NIPAS” on Google only to find nothing but police websites and an occasional mention on some of the participating communities’ websites.  The Forest Park police website claims that “NIPAS was formed in 1994 when the World Cup Soccer came to the United States and Illinois especially. With the large crowds and unruly fans that go with world cup soccer games the local towns and villages got together and formulated the NIPAS organization to supplement manpower issues.” [Source: Forest Park Police website at:  They also say that the Mobile Field Force has another name: “The Riot Team” – that is used for defending the Ku Klux Klan’s alleged “right to free speech” when they dare to invade the Chicago region as well as  for dealing with – not at all coincidentally – “immigration issues.”

A professional photographer’s website boasts a series of shots of NIPAS’ “Emergency Services Team”‘s “Entry Team” attacking a citizen’s (hopefully abandoned) house here.

But we have not found a single news article from the bourgeois press analyzing the propriety of the idea of creating a paramilitary police force that is answerable only to its membership – which consists solely of police chiefs!  Isn’t that [un-] surprising?

We have discovered a .pdf from a briefing by a Warrenville, IL cop touting the benefits of joining NIPAS (Warrenville is a tiny town of 13,316 people – why they would ever need a SWAT team is only answerable by someone with a police state fetish).  Warrenville_IL_061013backupF4NIPASwebsite_201306071457327305

The long list of NIPAS member communities is presented below; as we find the NIPAS pages on the various communities’ websites we’ll activate the links:

NIPAS Agencies

As we uncover more info we’ll add it here or, if necessary, in new articles.  And if you, our dear readers, find anything, please send it along!

1) Northbrook, IL budget document showing $34,000.00 expenditure for NIPAS/NORTAF in FY 2012/13 – an increase from $26K spent in FY 2011/12 (page 16)


Mark Neiweem of NATO 5 Has Term of Solitary Confinement at Pontiac Correctional Ctr. in Illinois Extended 6 Months for “Crime” of Being an Anarchist

The burgeoning U.S. capitalist class’ police state, facing not even the tiniest bit of pressure from the U.S. working class – thanks to the pro-capitalist labor traitors “leading” the AFL-CIO – is becoming more and more vicious every day.  While the capitalist-owned press brays in its inimitable lying fashion about how the U.S. government is reducing the prison population, conditions of life for those unfortunate enough to have fallen into the black hole of the U.S. prison industrial complex and their friends and families know better.

Here in Illinois – the most corrupt state in the United States – the prison system until just this past January included one of the most notorious torture centers on the face of the Earth: the Tamms Correctional Center  Supermax prison in Tamms, IL.  Here, prisoners were kept in solitary confinement in rooms where the lights were left on 24-hours a day in order to “break the resistance” of people confined to these modern-day dungeons.  The lying news media often portrays these prisons as being built to house only the most dangerous inmates in the U.S.; but in fact, among the prisoners being tortured in these dungeons are many political prisoners.  The intent in these cases is to break the will of the activists who have spent their entire lives fighting against U.S. imperialism and the systemic racism and oppression faced by political activists in the supposedly “free” United States.

In January of 2013, hapless puppet “Governor” Pat Quinn announced the closure of Tamms, citing not the draconian conditions in which its victims were kept but “budget constraints” of the State of Illinois (which is essentially bankrupt) as his justification.

Meanwhile, at the supposedly more “sophisticated” and “civilized” Pontiac Correctional Center, the use of long periods of solitary confinement of inmates for the most trivial reasons is a growing menace to the well-being of prisoners there.  The case of Mark Neiweem, an anarchist from Chicago who was arrested during the anti-NATO protests in Chicago in 2012 is a graphic example of how the capitalist class of Illinois likes to handle political activists who attempt to embarrass them.

Neiweem was arrested in Chicago on bogus charges of “terrorism” and thrown into the Cook County Jail to await his trial.  In this shithole, he was held for 329 days without any physical exercise AT ALL and forced – like all the inmates who are held there – to eat food that no one would feed to a dog.

“The politically motivated prosecution and abuse Mark suffered in Cook County Jail point to a degree of coordinated state repression and coercion which was physically and psychologically unbearable,” said Rachel Unterman of the NATO 5 Defense Committee. “Ultimately, Mark decided to end his ordeal and be transferred out of Cook County Jail by taking a non-cooperating plea deal.”

[Source: “RELEASE: NATO Arrestee Pressured into Guilty Plea”  retrieved from Pastebin via #OpPenPal]

As part of his plea deal, Neiweem pled guilty “to felony charges brought on by interactions with undercover Chicago police officers who had infiltrated activist groups prior to last May’s NATO protests. Neiweem pleaded guilty to a probation violation charge from a previous conviction and to solicitation and attempted possession of an explosive or incendiary device.”  In return for his plea, he received a 3-year sentence, to be served out at Pontiac Correctional Center.

Life for Neiweem at Pontiac has been no better than at Cook County Jail.  At Pontiac, he has now (as of September, 2013) been held in solitary confinement for more than two months has now had his time increased by six months “for being in possession of Anarchist symbols (including the Anarchist Black Cross logo) and Anarchist literature!”

“Since our previous call-in campaign, Mark has been found guilty on two disciplinary violations:

  • Gang or Unauthorized Organization Activity, for his possession of “unauthorized” Anarchist symbols and friendship with another Anarchist in the prison
  • Dangerous Written Material, for his possession of “unauthorized” Anarchist literature

“These rules exist to limit gang activity within the prison but are being used in this case to target Anarchists and label them as an imminent threat to the facility. He is still being held in the most restrictive type of cell within solitary, behind a solid steel door.

“Mark’s punishment for being found guilty of Anarchism is: 6 months in solitary confinement; 2 months of yard restriction (no time outside); 6 months restricted visits; and he is losing 3 months time off for good behavior, which will see him released next February instead of mid-November.”

[Source:  “UPDATE: Mark of the NATO 5 To Spend Six Months in Solitary for Anarchism” at  #OpPenPal]

This naked attempt by the Illinois capitalist state to criminalize the philosophy of anarchism must not be allowed to stand!  Anarchism is not a criminal conspiracy but a legitimate political philosophy which, along with socialism, has inspired generations of workers all over the world to fight against capitalist exploitation.  Anarchists from Chicago – most notably anarchist Albert Parsons and the German worker-socialists and anarchists of Chicago – led the fight for the eight-hour day, launching the Eight-Hour Movement in the United States and the very first International Workers Day (also known as May Day) celebration for workers’ rights on May 1, 1886.  They also led the struggle for the legalization of trade unions in the U.S., which were themselves, until the 1930s,  considered to be “criminal conspiracies” or “combinations” of the working class to “force” the capitalists to pay higher wages!  Without the self-sacrifice of generations of anarchist workers, the economic basis for what is today considered to be the middle-class “American Dream” of a shorter work day and higher wages and benefits would never have come into existence at all.  But to the American capitalist class, all this is just more “evidence’ that the anarchists are a “criminal” threat to the “freedoms” of the capitalists to rape, pillage and murder the world’s workers – as they are preparing to do now to our brothers and sisters in Syria.

Mark Neiweem’s comrades have been organizing a call-in campaign to keep the future inmates of Pontiac Correctional Center (now known as the “prison authorities”) aware that their campaign of harassment of Mark Neiweem is not going to pass unnoticed.

We endorse this campaign and call on all our readers to immediately hit the phones to demand that the harassment of Mark Neiweem by the scum running the Pontiac Correctional Center cease immediately!

Here are the phone numbers and addresses to send your protests to:

S. A. Godinez, Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections:

(217) 558-2200 (8:30-5PM Monday-Friday);  email  Director Godinez at

Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois, at (217) 782-0244;  email  Governor Quinn at:

Demand that Mark Neiweem be released from solitary confinement immediately and that all his rights be respected while he is in prison!

Workers of the World, Unite!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

“Bolivarian Revolution” of Hugo Chavez: Pompous but Accurate Name for Pro-Capitalist Bourgeois Reformism

Venezuela is still reeling from the death of Hugo Chavez, the beloved self-styled “socialist” leader of the “Bolivarian Revolution”.  Having raised up the long-held hopes of the impoverished and hideously exploited Venezuelan workers, peasants and indigenous peoples that, finally, their deliverance from capitalist wage-slavery was at hand, Chavez and his fellow “leaders” of the “Bolivarian Revolution” squandered 14 YEARS of opportunities to overthrow the capitalist system in Venezuela and replace it with a socialist workers republic, instead opting for timid reforms of capitalism and leaving the capitalist class deprived of only a fraction of their wealth and the workers and peasants mired in somewhat less desperate poverty.

At a meeting held at the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) office in Chicago, Illinois this weekend, two representatives of the “Bolivarian Revolution” from the Venezuelan consulate pleaded for “more time” to gradually expropriate more capitalist private property when our reporter pointedly asked them “when are you going to overthrow capitalism?”

“We have nationalized perhaps 30 per cent [of the capitalists’ property] so far.  I personally hope that we will be able to move more in that direction in the future” said the Venezuelan government representative at the meeting in response to our question.  “It will take time”.

Well, time is exactly what the leaders of the bourgeois reformist “Bolivarian [non-] Revolution ain’t got.  With the United States disengaging its imperialist military forces from Afghanistan and Iraq, over 300,000 US troops are being paid to do nothing right now – and that’s something the capitalists hate more than anything.   There are more than a few “investors” on Wall St. and lobbyists for multinational corporations in Washington D.C. who think that the US has been neglecting affairs in “its own backyard” for far too long.  In the past 15 years or so, left-liberal and pseudo-socialist governments have won national elections in Ecuador, Argentina and Venezuela – something that the US would never have allowed to happen 30 or 40 years ago.  These governments have pretended to be “socialist” in order to win the support of the masses, and have instituted mild reforms of capitalism after years of being “in power”.  Of course, under capitalism, a class society, all “power” resides in the hands of the bankers and big capitalists, who possess the actual “power” no matter who sits in the ceremonial “Presidential palace”.  So long as those “socialists” do not tamper with the capitalists’ “inalienable” property rights, the capitalist class may decide to tolerate them – for a time.  But as soon as the economy starts to sputter or the “socialists” get it into their reformist heads to “nationalize” major industries or to prevent the capitalists from extracting profits from the toil of the workers, then the capitalists’ toleration for the trappings of bourgeois democracy begins to wear thin.  And this is precisely what is happening in Venezuela today.  “Time” is precisely what the fake-socialist leaders of the “Bolivarian Revolution” do not have, having already squandered 14 YEARS worth of it.

Like the monumental blowhard and military incompetent coward for whom their “Bolivarian Revolution” is aptly named, the Chavistas do not deserve to be called “revolutionaries” in anything other than words.  In a revolution, it is deeds that matter, and here, as with the legend surrounding the cowardly dictatorial Simon Bolivar, the followers of Hugo Chavez come up far short of their bombastic rhetoric.  In 14 years, the Chavistas have enacted nothing more than mere minor ameliorations of the grinding poverty suffered by the workers and peasants of Venezuela for centuries.   Far from having enacted permanent changes to the economic system in Venezuela, the Chavistas have aimed only to reform the capitalist system, and have left the Venezuelan capitalist class and their vast holdings of wealth squeezed from the blood of the Venezuelan workers entirely intact.   This ruling class, having been humiliated by their inability to overthrow the opera bouffe “revolutionary” Hugo Chavez in a coup, have been licking their wounds and preparing for a comeback.  Their candidate in the elections that will be held next month has already declared that, if he wins, he will immediately rescind all support to Cuba, whose economy is hugely dependent on heavily-subsidized oil exports from Venezuela, very commendably offered to Cuba by Chavez while his party was “in power”.    Of course, Capriles knows that it would be folly to announce BEFORE the elections that he intends to overturn ALL of the Chavez-era reforms if he wins.  But that will undoubtedly happen.  Thus have the Chavistas pissed away the most promising opportunity for the overthrow of capitalism in a major country since Chile’s Salvador Allende traveled the same reformist road to his own – and his country’s – doom in 1973.

This weekend’s fete at PSL headquarters was intended to polish the credentials of Chavez who the PSL described in their email invitation to the event thusly:

“Latin American revolutionary and president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, led a life of dedication to the struggle of the people of Latin America for independence and self-determination.

“He also led Venezuela in an effort to build a better society, redistributing resources in Venezuela to the benefit of the masses of working and poor people. Since his untimely death, millions of Venezuelans, Cubans and people around the world have paid homage to his legacy. Some 33 heads of state and representatives of 50 governments attended Chávez’s funeral.

“The massive outpouring in Venezuela is not just an expression of deep sentiment for a fallen leader. The cries of “We are Chávez!” and “Chávez Vive!” are a resounding commitment by the people: they are more determined than ever to defend the Bolivarian Revolution.

“Join us at this public forum to commemorate Chavez’s legacy and discuss how to build solidarity with the struggle for Latin American self- determination within the United States.”

You can fault the PSL leadership for a lot of things, but, so far as we can see, you can’t fault them for being dishonest.  Although they do hallucinate when they call Chavez a “revolutionary”, they quite accurately describe the poverty of the results of his faux “revolution”: he has not overthrown capitalism, the PSL admits (by omission) – he has merely “led Venezuela in an effort to build a better society”.  That is the textbook definition of – not revolution – but reformism.  Chavez, the PSL says “led a life of dedication to the struggle of the people of Latin America for independence and self-determination.”  Independence from what?  The US?  The Venezuelan ambassador’s representative at the PSL’s meeting admitted that “around 50%” of Venezuela’s foreign trade is with the US.  In fact, he decried that fact that their economy was, after 14 years, still too dependent on trade with the US.  But that wouldn’t change even if Venezuela DID overthrow capitalism.  Who else would buy their oil?  An isolated workers state like Venezuela would be in that case would be forced to trade with capitalist countries until capitalism was overthrown in all those countries – and only then could you talk about the “political” independence of Venezuela – but not “economic” independence!  No country in the world is both “politically” and “economically” independent of the rest of the world.  And under world socialism, not only would nations not be “independent” of each other, they would be thoroughly integrated in a global socialist economy and, hopefully, in a political way as well, as equals, brothers and sisters, for the first time since the human race left Africa 100,000 years ago!  North Korea has “achieved” the most thorough political and economic “independence” from the rest of the world, with Iran not far behind!  Are their precarious situations desirable?  No!

And what the hell does “self-determination” mean?  What country, in a capitalist world run by the big banks in the US and Europe can claim to be a “self-determining” (is that a word?) economic or political entity?  Until capitalism is overthrown worldwide, every capitalist and “socialist”! – country is not master of its own fate!  Every socialist worthy of the name should understand this!  Every country under capitalism is bound together in a web of competing nation-states endlessly squabbling over everything from the demarcation of their borders with neighboring states to the life and death struggle for access to resources necessary for those countries’ economies to prosper!   “Self-determination” is a term that means only one thing in a case like Venezuela’s: it means that the Venezuelan leadership of the “Bolivarian [non-] Revolution” can make political error after error and can pursue a thoroughly reformist bourgeois – as opposed to revolutionary socialist – program as long as they want, because NO ONE IN THE REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALIST WORKERS MOVEMENT HAS THE ‘RIGHT’ TO CRITICIZE their leadership’s stalwart defense of capitalist private property!  The only “role” revolutionary Marxists are allowed to play vis-a-vis Venezuela, according to the PSL, is merely to “build solidarity with the struggle for Latin American self- determination within the United States”!

In fact, the representative from the Venezuelan consulate told our reporter as much in his remarks.

We should back up here and set the scene for our readers so they can see how this was done in a very subtle way.  There were two representatives present from the Venezuelan consulate, if we are not mistaken.  One spoke fluent English and had probably spent a great part of his life in the United States.  The other had a very good command of English but was not fluent – and it was THIS man who gave the presentation on Venezuela’s behalf!

We wish we could speak Spanish as well as this man spoke English; but the fact was that he often struggled during his presentation to find the precisely right words to express various political nuances.  We ask you to have this in mind when we relate this response to our question to him.  We did not record the speech and the Q and A session electronically, although someone videotaped the presentations and at least part of the discussion afterwards.  But we did take some notes, and present them here.

During the question and answer session at the end of the Venezuelan Ambassador’s representative’s presentation, our reporter rose and made approximately the following statement “You consider yourselves to be revolutionaries and socialists, correct?  You have been in power for 14 years: when are you going to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela?  You seem to believe that you have plenty of time to do this.  But while you are waiting, the capitalist class of Venezuela is regrouping and preparing to return to power.  Already Capriles has announced that, if he wins the elections, he will cut off all aid to Cuba.  After all the Cubans have done for the world, do they deserve that?  What kind of socialist revolutionaries allow all their work to be overturned as a result of a bourgeois democratic election?  The Venezuelan capitalist class is not going to sit around and wait while you play games with their private property rights.  And there are more than a few people in Washington who think that the United States Government has been neglecting ‘its own backyard’ for far too long now.  If you don’t overthrow capitalism now, you will end up like Allende’s forces in Chile in the 1970s.  Time is not on your side.  So when do you plan to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela?”  Or words to that effect.  As we say, the exchange was videotaped, so hopefully it will soon be on YouTube or the PSL’s excellent website.

The Venezuelan Ambassador’s rep made a long rambling response to the effect that they needed “more time”; that it is easy for people outside Venezuela to make criticisms and to demand that the Venezuelans “overthrow capitalism NOW”.  And the he said, directly addressing our reporter (who is “white”): (in this case, we have an exact quote:) “When you evaluate from dogma or theory, you have a checklist [and you just go down your checklist ticking the ‘revolutionary’ boxes – ed].  The truth is, we have been, with our mistakes, we have been giving power to people.  It takes to reality and to our times.  We are not in the times of Marx or in the times of [Allende?].  Sometimes I feel that criticism comes from supremacist perspective. [emphasis added – ed]”. 

Our reporter definitely got the message that maybe the reason that our reporter and our party were so “quick” to criticise the “Bolivarian Revolution” was because we were racists who thought the Venezuelans were stupid!

Of course, this man who did not possess the fluency in English of his compatriot sitting right next to him throughout this meeting can now say that he was misquoted or misunderstood by us.  And that may be true.  But this “misunderstanding” would not have occurred if the OTHER representative of the Venezuelan government – the one who spoke seemingly flawless English – had given the presentation instead.  “The right to self-determination” is here taken completely out of its Leninist context – where it refers to the right of independent nation-states to secede from countries that are, essentially, holing national minorities in political and economic bondage – and turns it into a demand for a “criticism-free-zone” where fake-socialist “revolutionaries” can spout all kinds of political nonsense in defense of their stalwart determination NOT to overthrow the capitalist system.

“Theory is important, but we cannot be kidnapped by theory” the Venezuelan ambassador’s representative stated.  But the “Bolivarian Revolution” HAS been “kidnapped by theory” – the erroneous theory that it is “impossible to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela at this time”!

[The Venezuelan Ambassador’s representative was a very nice and thoughtful, eloquent man, as you would expect an ambassador’s rep to be.  He patiently listened to our comment and responded very honestly and without rancor.  We would be happy to discuss these matters with him at any time; there was no anger or vituperation in the course of our conversation with him.  We don’t want people to get the wrong impression from our criticism here that our interaction at the meeting was harsh in any way; it was not.  We shook hands and conversed with him after the meeting as well.]

Political errors may seem small and even trivial to those who haven’t studied the history of the workers movement, where seemingly “trivial” errors, once committed, oftentimes lead to enormous difficulties or even the failure of an entire revolution, resulting in the mass executions of not just the erring political leaders but the very best self-sacrificing revolutionary elements of the working class and peasantry as well.  A good analogy might be this: if you are trying to send a spacecraft to Mars from Earth, an error in the trajectory of that launch by as little as 0.00000001% might seem “trivial”; but unless that original trajectory error is corrected during passage to Mars, that spacecraft is going to miss the planet by maybe a half-million miles and will be lost in interstellar space forever – or crash into the planet. (Something very much along these lines happened to NASA’s  “Mars Climate Orbiter” back in 1998 when a simple failure to properly covert the stupid United States’ archaic English units to Metric units of measurement caused the loss of a $600-million-dollar space mission!)  These small errors of trajectory add up quickly, and this is as true in politics as it is in astrophysics.  Only difference is: in politics, the price is paid with workers’ LIVES.  This is something that far too many self-styled “revolutionary leaders” “forget” to include in THEIR political “calculations”.

In the case of the “Bolivarian Revolution” their “trajectory error” is this: they never “aimed” their revolution to overthrow capitalism in the first place!  That’s why, after 14 years, they STILL haven’t overthrown capitalism!  It’s not a mere “trajectory error”: their program never included “the overthrow of capitalism in a socialist workers revolution” at all, and all the apostles of Hugo Chavez among the “socialist” parties all over the world have “failed to notice” this simple fact.  In the place of this glaring “trajectory error” of the Chavistas, these fake-“socialist leaders” of the left – the PSL not least among them – have substituted, not the “trajectory correction” of criticism, but the abandonment of their responsibility to point out this fatal “error” to their Venezuelan comrades, on the grounds that, due to the Venezuelans’ “right to self-determination” no corrections to the false trajectory of the “Bolivarian [non-]Revolution” are permissible – especially if those corrections come from outside the Chavista party in Venezuela!  So, all we are permitted to do is to stand by and cheer as we watch the “Bolivarian [non-]Revolution” sail off into interstellar space, missing its “target” by half a million miles or more!  Bye!  Don’t forget to write!  What bullshit!

Thank god that this is not how the scientists at  NASACERN or researchers in any other branch of the “hard” sciences operate!  They allow their “comrades” to freely criticise their work and to notify them if, at any time, they find errors of ANY magnitude in their calculations!  Only in the political sphere are we supposed to keep our mouths shut when we see our comrades headed off in the wrong direction, perhaps to their executions!  And they call themselves scientific Marxists, do these leaders of the PSL and others who declare this idiotic moratorium on criticism in the name of “the right to self-determination”!  It is the purest nonsense, thoroughly unscientific, and therefore utterly sub-Marxist!

We’ll have more to say about our discussion with the representatives of the Venezuelan Ambassador in another article.

For the Overthrow of the Capitalist System in Venezuela and Around the World!  Workers of the World, Unite!