Harry Gaynor: fighter for open housing, social justice

Harry Gaynor, a longtime fighter for peace and justice, died in Chicago on Aug. 19 of heart failure. He was 90.

Chicago hosts world film fest

The 41st Chicago International Film Festival runs Oct. 6-20. One hundred five films representing 36 countries, and four programs of shorts, will be featured at the AMC River East (Illinois and Columbus) and the Landmark (Diversey and Clark). Nineteen films will compete for the gold Hugo Award at this country’s longest-running film festival. Chicago will star in four homegrown features.

Liberation music for the rebel soul

Internationally acclaimed jazz bassist Charlie Haden has convened the Liberation Music Orchestra for the fourth time since its inception in 1969. It began as a jazz response to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Although the ensemble has undergone vast personnel changes between recordings, it has been consistently and markedly progressive and has taken its inspiration from sources such as popular Latin American movements, the Black liberation movement and the Spanish Civil War.

Jazz, struggle and Katrina

Actor Danny Glover and actor/singer Harry Belafonte made these remarks at the PBS/BET-televised Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit concert on Sept. 17.

The cry was and is unity!

“How do we stop Bush?” is the burning question of the day for the working class and democratically minded people, fighting against vicious attacks on our unions, living standards, democratic liberties and even our very lives. This challenge was brought into sharper focus with Bush’s racist betrayal of poor and working-class African Americans during and after Hurricane Katrina.

Hurricanes and snowmobiles

In 1565, Queen Elizabeth was whisked off to Windsor Castle. The idea was to escape the plague, which was ravaging London. Understanding the contagiousness of the disease, she ordered her henchmen to hang anyone who ventured to her castle door from London. The poor were left to fend for themselves. In other words, escaping the plague was class-driven.

Capitalism at $3 a gallon

After the New Orleans disaster, gas prices skyrocketed in a matter of days, shooting well over $3 a gallon everywhere in the U.S. While the prices have begun to come down somewhat, they are still substantially above what they were before the storm, and analysts are predicting that home heating oil will rise by 31 percent this winter.

My son has gone to Iraq

Last week, my son left the United States for Iraq. I yelled at him, I cried, and did everything I swore I would not do on our last visit. I can hardly mention the subject without floods of tears and a sense of overwhelming insanity.

Editorial: Torture authorized at the top

A collective sigh of relief must have rippled through the Pentagon and the White House Sept. 26 when 22-year old Army Private Lynndie England was convicted and sentenced for her despicable torture of detainees at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. Her superiors, including the commander in chief, were off the hook.

Justice is not blind

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black remarked in a famous decision, Griffin v. Illinois (1956), “There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.” Black’s statement can be viewed as a central argument in two uniquely different books on the American criminal justice system: “No Equal Justice,” by David Cole, law professor at George Washington University and a legal analyst for The Nation magazine, and “Courtroom 302,” by Steve Bogira, longtime writer and staff member of The Reader, a Chicago newsweekly. Cole offers an overview of the system, and Bogira relates the daily happenings in an urban criminal courtroom.

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