Progressive Chicago

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Template:TOCnestleft Progressive Chicago was founded in 1993 as as the "sister organization" of the Chicago New Party.

Like the New Party, it was the creation of SEIU, ACORN, Democratic Socialists of America and the Communist Party USA breakaway group Committees of Correspondence.


Founded in early 1993, Progressive Chicago aimed to;

Unite progressive activists and organizations for progressive, grassroots electoral activity in local elections.
It is a renewal of the old Harold Washington coalition; activists and academics; women; unemployed and union; gay and straight; community organizations and churches; African American, Latino, Asian, native American and white; seniors and people with disabilities; low income and middle income; west and south side....[1]

New Party roots

Progressive Chicago was founded in 1993 by members of the New Party, in particular Madeline Talbott and Dan Swinney.

In an April 27, 1993 letter to prospective Progressive Chicago members, Dan Swinney wrote;

I recently have become interested in the New Party as well as committed myself to see if we can build a Progressive Chicago network, working with Madeline Talbott of ACORN - the local New Party convener.
I wanted to introduce you to the NP and Progressive Chicago and would like to talk to you about it to see if there is a role you want to play.
Enclosed is a brochure, a longer description of the NP and the ideas behind it...

A circa 1993 Progressive Chicago introductory pamphlet stated;

Progressive Chicago was started by members of the New Party who wanted to be able to put together an organization strong enough to win: If that means supporting a candidate running as a Democrat, then fine. If that means running our own candidates in aldermanic or state representative races on whatever line that gives them the best chance of winning, fine.

Sister organization

A Chicago New Party organizing report of June 2 1993 stated;

At some point in the future we will have elections for a steering committee, but at this point we are concentrating on building up the internal build up our sister organization, Progressive Chicago. Once we have built up our membership for the two organizations, we will then elect a steering committee and move forward...
Progressive Chicago would be a support organization for progressive political activity...This organization is modeled on Progressive Milwaukee and Progressive Dane...
We hope that Progressive Chicago will be able to rebuild the shattered Harold Washington Coalition and be a leading force in supporting progressive coalitions and progressive change...


On July 16, 1993 Progressive Chicago wrote a letter to Jackie Grimshaw of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, inviting her to join the network.

The letter was signed by;

A similar letter of September 22 1993, was signed by all the names above, but added six more;[2]

More activists

Those attending a Progressive Chicago meeting September 29 1993, included;[3]

Those attending a Progressive Chicago meeting November 17 1993 included;[4]

More contacts

A Progressive Chicago report to Keith Kelleher, dated October 27, 1993 listed several more contacts and potential members of the organization.

It stated that Alderman Joe Moore had agreed to participate and that State senator Alice Palmer was interested and was awaiting a call from Peter McClennon.

Members had been allocated people to contact;

Others targeted for contact, but not assigned, included Clem Balanoff, Sue Purrington of NOW, Jane Ramsey at JCUA, Erlean Collins, Westside Black elected officials and PUSH, TWO and Joe Gardner's Project Hope.[5]



  1. Progressive Chicago letter to Joe Gardner, September 22, 1983
  2. Progressive Chicago letter to Joe Gardner, September 22, 1983
  3. PC Sign-in sheet 11.17.93
  4. PC Sign-in sheet 11.17.93
  5. Progressive chicago report to K Kelleher October 27, 1993