Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Where Rich People Congregate

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David Sirota argues that cities – at least city politics – are experiencing a sea change in favor of corporatist policies, what with the inception of business-friendly leaders like Bloomberg and Emanuel, which calls into question their reputation as being liberal bastions.

Thing is, cities are not all one thing or another – that’s more indicative of company towns, or communities that are small enough to be more homogenous, demographically. New York has always held corporatist ties, despite being as radically liberal as it’s been known to be. All those massive towers and headquarters in Midtown didn’t just crop up in the last nine years. Chicago’s been home to just such a duality as well.

Cities have always been the citadels of capital and the bastions of anti-capitalism. Chicago is the city of rail barons and rail strikes. New York is the city that built the Chrysler building on 42nd street at the same time the American Communist party set up shop on 23rd Street; the city that simultaneously housed robber baron John Rockefeller and anti-trust legislator Teddy Roosevelt. New York donates the most money to both the Republican party and the Democratic party. It’s no surprise that local politics would reflect the battle between the moneyed and the masses – and sometimes the moneyed win.

It’s not a new thing, per se. It’s exactly how things have always been!

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