Last week may have been shortened by a holiday, but there was certainly no shortage of outstanding progressive policy writing. We had enough really strong contenders that we hated to choose just one winner. But choose we must! This week’s #TCFBest winner comes to us from Rick Perlstein (@rickperlstein), whose “Chicago Rising” cover story for The Nation explores “A resurgent protest culture [fighting] back against Rahm Emanuel’s austerity agenda.” Perlstein looks at the hundreds of Chicagoans who turned out to protest Chicago Rahm Emanuel’s plan to close 54 public schools—the largest mass closing of school’s in recent history. Says Perlstein:
To many national observers, this rebirth of the city’s militant protest culture seemingly came out of nowhere. But it didn’t. It’s the product of years of organizing from sources both expected and surprising. And while the radicalized CTU under the leadership of Karen Lewis has deservedly received much of the credit, the teachers union is just the current tip of the spear in a long and potentially transformative movement.
Chicago’s resurgent protest culture has implications well beyond teachers and school closings. As Century fellow Moshe Marvit writes (also at The Nation), Chicago cab drivers have recently gotten an historic win in their battle for a living wage. You should also check out Century blogger Douglas Williams, who argues for bringing some of that Chicago-style activism down to the U.S. South.
And in the meantime, we’d suggest that you take Perlstein’s advice and “watch Chicago,” as “the next battle in the global war against austerity, privatization and corruption just might spark off right here.”
Also, we’d suggest that you go read the full piece.
Oh, and remember what we said about really strong contenders this week? We think you should check them out, too. Particularly noteworthy this week:
- “Are Less-Visible Taxes Really the Answer?” from The Roosevelt Institute”s Elizabeth Pearson (@ewestpearson) explores what Century Fellow Suzanne Mettler has called The Submerged State. Pearson argues that Americans should rely more on visible taxes such as the progressive income tax, and less on regressive but less-visible taxes such as sales taxes. Roosevelt’s Dante Barry (@dantebarry) submitted this excellent piece.
- “Wage Growth and Unemployment in the States,” from Colin Gordon, writing at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, says that “paltry wage growth” has led to a median wage that was just 5.7 percent higher in 2012 than it was in 1973. Gordon a number of explanatory factors, but says that a big problem “is simply slack in the labor market.” Thanks to regular Century Foundation reader Mark Price (@price_laborecon) for the nomination.
- “Pay It Forward Plan Would Make College Tuition Free in Oregon,” from the Associated Press’s Steven Dubois, looks at a plan just passed by the Oregon state legislature that would provide free tuition to the state’s public universities in exchange for a 3% deduction from students’ post-graduation paychecks for the next 25 years. The bill is expected to be signed, though the state still faces about $9 billion in startup costs.
As always, thank you for all of the wonderful recommendations. If your favorite didn’t win this week, don’t despair. Nominations are now open for next week’s #TCFBest. Submit your nominations in the comments below, on our Facebook page, email us at [email protected], or on Twitter using #TCFBest.