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Program Information
Andy Thayer: defending the "Uptown Tent City"
Andy Thayer of Uptown Tent City Organizers
 Dale Lehman/WZRD  Contact Contributor
Nov. 14, 2017, 4:51 p.m.
From the program:
In recent weeks City leaders have dramatically escalated their ongoing battle against Chicago’s homeless population, repeatedly evicting Uptown’s Tent City — the most visible symbol of the city’s failure to house its own residents. The evictions are an attempt to set new precedents in guaranteeing even fewer rights to those who already have the least in our city.

The goal of guaranteeing profits for the real estate industry has long dominated decision-making in city politics. It determines City Hall policies towards the homeless, the near-homeless, and housing for all the other residents who also do the work that makes Chicago work.

However, lack of affordable housing and homelessness cannot be properly understood if viewed in isolation from other issues. Policies on policing, race, jobs, education, transportation and healthcare are all inextricably linked to housing policies. Homelessness is but one of the more brutal aspects of an ongoing war vs. the non-wealthy by those who run our city.

Long-time activist Andy Thayer of Uptown Tent City Organizers examines how homelessness relates to other issues, why homelessness is a human-manufactured crisis, and what we can do to solve it. Andy Thayer has worked on such other issues as 1st Amendment rights and ending U.S. wars. A protest organizer, Andy is a co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, a multi-issue LGBT rights direct action group which helped win equal marriage rights in Illinois. He’s been arrested in various protests, not only locally, but twice in Moscow, Russia for protesting against the government’s bans on gay rights demonstrations.

Open University of the Left
Q&A edited for radio, questions were off mic.

Chicago has an ugly history in its treatment of minorities, the working poor and the homeless (see Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960 by Arnold R. Hirsch). While its ruling families and real estate interests pay lip service to the plight of the most vulnerable of the Chicago's residents, Public Housing and low cost Single Room Occupancy (SRO) units continue to be lost to high end development (gentrification) with "investors" cashing out the market increase in land value, and for which there is no shortage of subsidies from Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, who doles out TIF funds to friends like billionaire businesswoman Penny Pritzker and other contributors to his political campaign; established practice in Chicago.

Andy Thayer speaks about the "Tent City" community in Uptown on Chicago's north-side, some 70 people, many working but still unable to afford rent in their gentrifying community, who were forced from their location under several viaducts of Chicago's Lake Shore Drive by the Mayor, the Ward's Alderman and police who act as enforcers for
Capital and than refused an alternative location to maintain their visible community. Thayer references the book, "How to Kill a City " by Peter Moskowitz for his understanding of the neoliberal logic and means used to displace humans in the interest of profit and the cultural destruction that attends the mono-culture of finance that colonizes the community to exploit the existing location and culture as "development" and "progress"..

Full program:

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01:13:44 1 Oct. 12, 2017
Lincoln Park Public Library, Chicago
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