Building on the first and second installment of the Electoral & Radical Politics series with activists and alderpeople, BrownTown talks electoral politics, grassroots organizing, and everything in between with Stephanie Skora, creator of the popular "Girl, I Guess" Progressive Voter Guide. With everything that is 2020 as the backdrop, the team breaks down the Cook County General Election ballot, Chicago politics, and the role of and opinions on voting within movement circles. In this third installment, BrownTown leans hard into into the much-loved voter guide, using it as a site to discuss topics ranging from progressive shifts in popular opinion, factions within the two-party system (Tea Party in 2010, democratic socialists in 2018), inaccessible language, literal fascism, and vote shaming in 2020). Originally recorded October 1, 2020.
Stephanie shares her background creating the guide (originally with her friend Ellen Mayer) and the differences between Chicago municipal, Democratic primary, and general elections. The team breaks down ballot items such as the Fair Tax Amendment and the importance of judges (peep #TrappedByToomin, Judges Matter, Injustice Watch) set to the backdrop of coronavirus, summer uprisings, and an already high voter engagement. Each give their opinion on vote shaming amongst the normally politically inactive, vote-dodging amongst the highly politically active, and how to understand voting as simply a tool and by no means the path to liberation. Once again, they wrap by exploring the current state of next year's Chicago city budget and a re-energized call to defund the Chicago Police Department, noting the 87% of Chicagoans who are calling for it, despite an unwilling Mayor Lightfoot.
With everything that is 2020 as the backdrop, how do we work towards actual liberation while participating (begrudgingly) in the current violent settler colonial system? Or do we? Here's their take. Originally recorded October 1, 2020.
Stephanie Skora is a Chicago-based unapologetic femme, a statistically middle-aged genderqueer trans woman, a lesbian reclamationist, and an anti-racist, anti-Zionist white Jew practicing her spiritual tradition through the Religious Anarchist Jewish practice. Born with some pretty bad paperwork errors, raised in a deeply conservative suburb of Chicago, Illinois, and brought up in a sheltering, faux-liberal, and Zionist family with an abusive parent, Stephanie had the making of an activist from an early age. Stephanie is a renowned educator, organizer, researcher, and non-profiteer whose work is recognized and sought after across the United States, and in the Midwest in particular. Her activist work centers radical queer and trans justice, liberation for Palestine, and the dismantling of antisemitism, while employing black liberation and decolonial praxes, and works towards building and teaching survival in a society and culture hostile to all forms of queerness, transness, and racial resistance and life. She is currently the Associate Executive Director of Brave Space Alliance, and serves as Board President for the Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity.
Opinions on this episode only reflect David, Caullen, and Stephanie as individuals, not their organizations or places of work.
Episode Correction: The electoral college is part of the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2 and 3.
CREDITS: Intro song "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" by Heaven 17. Outro song You About to Lose Yo Job (Remix) by iMarkkeyz and DJ Suede using original video with Johniqua Charles. Audio engineered by Genta Tamashiro.