When I moved to Madison to go to school several years ago, all I knew about the city was that people often referred to it as the "Berkeley of the Midwest" because of its history of radical politics. And while – like Berkeley itself – that intense thread of resistance is not nearly as palpable as it must've been back then, the vibe of the city is still very progressive. As one example, I don't know of any other city in the United States with as many worker collectives/cooperatives.
I knew I was close to home when I started hearing corn crop fungicide commercials on the radio.
I got into Minnesota a day early, because I took a wrong turn leaving Chicago and by the time I called the folks I was supposed to meet up with, they laughed (kindly) and told me to keep heading West, as it would've taken another two hours of backtracking to get there.
Clearly I'm not one of those people who can keep my blog up-to-the-minute, but I want to mention two more things about my visit to Detroit, even though I'm actually two states beyond at this point.
Before I left town, I had lunch with some staff members of Labor Notes, an incredible and radical organization/magazine that provides a forum for union activists to honestly examine problems within the labor movement (i.e., not just ever-weakening labor laws and employer offensives, but problems like weak unions and union leaders not doing their job). Similar to Bitch, they're a nonprofit organization that publishes a magazine. They also publish pamphlets and books (including one of my favorites, The Troublemakers Handbook: How to fight back where you work and win) and organize a bi-annual Labor Notes conference. I highly encourage everyone to read what happened at their most recent conference in April. There's some f'd-up stuff going on in union organizing these days.