Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers

Bloggers, activists and brothers Mike and Fred Klonsky get together each week, often with special guests in studio and from around the country, to discuss current topics involving politics, education and social justice "from the Left side of the plate." The topics covered may be local, national or international but always with a Chicago sensibility and perspective.
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Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers


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Aug 3, 2018

AFSCME's Elijah Edwards joins us to talk about life after Janus. Ronald Kitchen, author of My Midnight Years, is one of the Death Row Ten and a victim of Jon Burge torture and false conviction.

Jul 27, 2018

Dan Cooper is co-author with Ryan Lugalia-Hollon of The War on Neighborhoods: Policing, Prison and Punishment in a Divided City. Amanda Klonsky is a Chicago teacher, activist and researcher of youth incarceration. 

Jul 20, 2018

Ricardo Muñoz joins us in-studio again to talk about Chicago property taxes (they're up!), family separations at the border and kids being held in Chicago, Amazon and the window washers strike. We remember Rudy Lozano and talk about Chuy in Congress. Ric declares himself part of the socialist wing of the Democratic Party and promises a Latinx candidate for mayor.

Jul 13, 2018

Chicago poet Nate Marshall reads his Chicago poem, talks about culture and politics in Chicago. Alderman Munoz joins us late, but will be back with us next podcast. And Jennifer sings her latest about families separated.

Jun 29, 2018

Lori Lightfoot is running against Rahm Emanuel for Mayor of Chicago. An hour wasn't long enough, as usual. But we got into police conduct, the cop academy, immigration, pensions, taxes, school closings. Don't underestimate Ms Lightfoot. She was quarterback back in the day, and she's tough.

Jun 22, 2018

Rus Bradburd joins us to talk about his book, All the Dreams We've Dreamed: A story of Hoops and Handguns on Chicago's West Side. It is a story about sports, coaching, college recruitment, schools, gun violence and real folks, like Shawn Harrington. Shawn went to Chicago's storied Marshall High School. 

Harrington, 41, was a Division II All-American at Northwest Missouri State, where he landed after playing at Mineral Area (Iowa) Junior College, then New Mexico State following graduation from Marshall in 1993. 

His career as a basketball coach was cut short by a bullet as he covered his daughter and saved her life and who now sits in a wheel chair, tells as much about this city’s Black flight and transformation to a city for the rich, as any sociologist’s academic study.

Jun 15, 2018

Progressive political strategist and consultant Joanna Klonsky brings us up to date on the #MeToo Movement in Illinois' state capital. Greg Kelley, President of the midwest local of SEIU Healthcare talks about the labor response to the impending Janus decision and their experience with Harris v Quinn, where the court ruled against SEIU.

Jun 8, 2018

Our old friends, Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, join us to report on their trip to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice that opened recently in Montgomery Alabama. Our discussion covers issues of the criminal justice system in Chicago, gun violence, the CPS sexual abuse scandal and more. An hour talk among friends.

Jun 1, 2018

Brother Mike returns this week with our guest, polyglot Amara Enyia. Amara is a Chicago Renaissance Woman and Iron Woman. Enyia ran for Mayor last time around but hasn't found a candidate to support yet. She thinks Rahm is very beatable and we talk about a Progressive pathway to the Mayor's office.

May 25, 2018

With great friends in the studio, you hate for things to go wrong. Especially when your big brother is off for the week. The music didn't play. We almost lost the podcast version. Things turned out okay in the end. Brandon talks about his view of his role as a new Cook County Commissioner. Juanita Irizarry, Executive Director of Friends of the Parks talks about the Obama Presidential Center and the use of parks as a tool for democracy and as a weapon against poor folks and for gentrification.

May 18, 2018

Mike has just come back from a trip with Susan to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with their friends in Arapaho territory. They visited friends who run a language immersion school. I expressed concerns over state funding to retired teacher health care. And the Grassroots Collaborative's Nathan Ryan talks about the community organizing and political work going on in Chicago and downstate.

May 11, 2018

Ra Joy ran as Lt. Governor with Christopher Kennedy, losing to JB Pritzker in the Democratic primary. Joy is backing Lori Lightfoot for Mayor against a large and growing field. What makes a progressive a progressive? What is the role of the press in the election process? What do Democratic progressives have to say to the most oppressed, the victims of gun and police violence and the lack of economic development in communities of color? 

May 4, 2018

The Chicago Public Schools has created an algorithm for families who are choosing a public school for their children. But this $250,000 no-bid deal is neither transparent no does it address the issues of race and segregation. Our guest is Dr. Charles Tocci of Chicago Loyola who recently wrote about this in the Washington Post. Can you include social justice in an algorithm?

Apr 27, 2018

Ralph Martire is the Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. We discuss school funding, fair taxation and the use of data in dealing with funding adequacy equity. Can you have equity without adequacy?

Apr 20, 2018

The Trauma Show. Author and journalist Mark Miller and University of Chicago professor Dr. Dexter Voisin join us to talk about the personal and institutional impact of trauma: From a Philadelphia Starbucks to Parkland, Florida to the west side of Chicago, how do we respond to trauma? On a individual level some can turn it into positive action. Others become paralyzed. What about the trauma of slavery or of capitalism? This is our topic on today's show.

Apr 13, 2018

Progressive political strategist Joanna Klonsky and Cook County Commissioner elect Brandon Johnson join us to talk about union democracy and the Red State Teacher Revolt and progressive politics in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois and the nation.

Apr 6, 2018

Author Pat Thomas joins the Klonsky Brothers to talk about his new book on Jerry Rubin. Did it! Yippie to Yuppie. Jerry Rubin, American Revolutionary. Then the brothers talk about schools, strikes and stuff.

Mar 30, 2018

Dr. Jeffreen Hayes and Dr. Therese Quinn join us for a conversation about the lack of representation of women and people of color on boards, management and curatorial positions in art museums and museums in general. #MuseumsSoWhite.

Mar 24, 2018

We talk about the Tuesday Illinois primary.

Mar 21, 2018

Looking back at the 1968 Rainbow Coalition of the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords Organization and Students for a Democratic Society with Chicago leaders of all three organizations.

Mar 16, 2018

Jitu Brown is a long-time Chicago community, schools and social justice activist. Several years ago he led a successful hunger strike to prevent Rahm Emanuel's closing of Dyett High School on Chicago's south side. Now he is expanding his work nationally through his Journey for Justice. Kady McFadden, deputy director of Illinois' Sierra Club recently made headlines exposing the culture of sexual assault in Springfield.

Mar 9, 2018

The day after International Women's Day. Women led the wildcat strike in West Virginia. We are joined by Lorraine Forte, veteran Chicago African American woman journalist, newly hired to sit on the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board. 

Mar 2, 2018

We spend some time talking about the teachers' strike in West Virginia and then it's all Marie Newman. Marie is running against an old blue dog Democrat and current incumbent congressman from the Illinois 3rd District, Dan Lipinski. Dan has never seen a bill defending women's reproductive choice that he likes. He is a son of the old Chicago Democratic Machine, it is time for a change and national attention has focused on this race. And Marie Newman seems to be the new face of the Democratic Party on the south west side of Chicago.

Feb 23, 2018

This week we talk about the issue of gun violence and then we turn to movies. The Oscars are coming up and The Black Panther is heading for a billion dollars at the box office. Dr. Kerns teaches film at Chicago's Columbia College and is an organizer of the Chicago Feminist Film Festival. Floyd Webb returns to our podcast. Floyd is an accomplished film maker, producer and writer of all things film. On the show he joins us in discussing the impact and the reaction to The Black Panther in the African American community.

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