This fascinating tidbit just in from Chicago!
It appears that a number of Chicagoans, apparently spurred to action by recent revelations about Illinois Chairman Blago, created an organization called Folks for the Ethical Treatment of Americans (FETA) and signed a document called The Chicago dEMOCRATIC Charter.
“Change is no longer optional,” said Gouda Syreček, FETA’s big cheese. He acknowledged that this kind of action is all but unprecedented in Chicago, and admitted that the Chicago democracy movement has hardly made progress since the 1931 Republican Mayoral Massacre. (Then, as today, the Republicans’ wounds were largely self-inflicted.) “Since then,” Gouda said, “Chicago politics have been frozen in place – downright Illinoian.”
But the document FETA issued yesterday marks a significant new chapter in the fight for political freedom. More than 450 Chicagoans from all walks of life published the FETA Charter on the Internet. The Charter calls for an end to the Illinoian freeze of the political scene and the establishment of multiparty democracy. It includes a scathing account of the decades of rule by The One Party, and gives a moving account of Chicagoans’ yearning for a political system in which the governmental organs, instruments of enforcement and coercion, courts, schools, places of worship and all other institutions are accountable to laws rather than to an all-powerful political party.
“The purpose of FETA is to instill a feeling of hope,” Syreček stressed. “And, we want to see change we really can believe in.”
This is a daring move in a year that has seen political dissent crushed and opponents ruthlessly smeared, not just in Chicago but nationwide to ensure the success of a hardened Chicago politician’s presidential campaign. FETA’s Charter is brutal in its frankness: “Our political system continues to produce economic disasters, human rights disasters, social crises and terribly educated children.” It continues: “The Windy City’s ruling elite, all loyal members of The One Party, continues with impunity to strip away citizens’ rights to freedom, property and the pursuit of happiness. We see the powerless here becoming more militant because they no longer have any hope for change. This has all the makings of a disaster, as if what The One Party has done to date was not disastrous enough. The One Party’s system, as typified by the recent steamroller presidential campaign which eerily resembled the steamroller political campaign that swept Illinois Chairman Blago into office in 2003, has reached the point where the Illinoian freeze on genuine change in city politics is no longer an option.”
A distinguished Chicagologist, who declined to be named for fear of retaliation, likens the FETA manifesto to Charter 77 that was signed by Václav Havel and other Czechoslovak dissidents in 1977. “The Czechoslovak dissidents had to wait 13 years to realize their democratic dream,” he said. “In Chicago, the reality of genuine dEMOCRATIC government also seems far off. I’m sure that the FETA Charter won’t produce immediate change. But the bravery of its authors suggests that the dEMOCRATS’ day will come. After all,” he added, “Chicago stinks like a cheese factory. Indeed, whenever northerly winds blow, we receive reports that numerous children and elderly residents of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula have to be hospitalized after being overcome by the airborne miasma from the Windy City. Even localities in Ontario, hundreds of miles to the north, have reportedly begun to issue gas masks to its residents.”