Inspired by the victory of Socialist Alternative activist and Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, the Chicago Socialist Campaign has launched with the goal of running a candidate for City Council in 2015.
On May Day, the campaign announced who that candidate would be: Jorge Mujica, a long-time immigrant rights and labor organizer, who plans to seek election as the Alderman for Chicago’s 25th Ward.
Chicago has endured dozens of socialist Aldermen – from Obama mentor Leon Depres back in the day, to Joe Moore and Helen Shiller in the modern era. Unlike Mujica however, Chicago’s socialist Aldermanic candidates usually run as Democrats.
Mujica is the first to run a serious, openly socialist campaign in many decades.
I have been a socialist for all of my life. I joined the Communist-Mexican Youth when I was 15 years old.
In the United States, it may sound like socialists are a thing of the past—the term is even an accusation many times. But many immigrants are used to thinking about Leftist political parties participating in the electoral arena.
So to immigrants, to the residents of this ward, it is not strange to look at someone who organizes and identify that person as a Leftist or socialist.
While in Chicago, Mujica has aligned himself with all three of the City’s main Marxist currents – Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, Committees of Correspondence and the Communist Party of Illinois.
At the Chicago Communist party’s annual People’s World fundraising dinner in 2006, Mujica’s March 10th Movement was honored; they were organizers of the first gigantic immigrant rights rally in 2006 in Chicago. This march helped spark rallies nationwide, including one million who later marched on May Day in Chicago. Mujica clearly has the potential to mobilize a significant campaign.
While almost every major city in America has socialist councilors, are we seeing a new era? Socialists are stepping into the sunlight. Does Bill de Blasio‘s successful mayoral campaign victory in New York, the late Chokwe Lumumba‘s similar achievement in Jackson Mississippi and Kshama Sawant’s win in Seattle, signal a disturbing new trend in modern American politics?