Chicago,1 with a population of about three and a half million, is the
second largest city in the United States(New York is the first). It is a
centre of industry for the middle part of the country, the most important
Great Lakes port,2 the largest city of Illinois and the seat of Cook-

   Chicago is also the place where Mayor "King Daley"6 directed the  police
 to brutalize the young people protesting against the US aggression m South-
 East Asia while the Democratic Party convention  was  going  on  there  in
 August 1968.
  The city is first  in  the  nation  in  manufacturing  of  machinery  and
electronic parts. Famous are  the  stockyards  and  meat-packing  plants,  i
where cattle from the western prairies are shipped and from  which  meat  is
distributed all over the couritry.7 Called the "Great Central Market of  the
USA", Chicago is the railroad and grain centre of the nation. Chicago has  a
vast commerce by many railroads and by the lake,  and  exports  wheat,  meat
and manufactured goods.
   An unrivalled rail centre, Chicago is called the "Cross-Roads of the
 Continent". It is served by 19 trunk lines and handles 50,000 freight Cars
 daily. Also, 40 per cent of the country's motor freight moves in and out of
 Chicago. More airlines converge on Chicago than any other city of the USA.
   Chicago is also an important centre of culture and science. It is the

seat of the University of Chicago and of several other institutions, and

has -important libraries and art collections. Chicago was the site of the

first nuclear chain reaction (1942) and is still a leader in nuclear

        Owing to its position, Chicago has been the  meeting-place  of  many
political conventions. From six to seven million tourists come  to  Chicago
fevery year, and another million and  a  half  who  come  to  business  and
political gatherings.
  In its rapid growth, Chicago survived the great fire of 1871,9  the  gang
 wars of 1920's and early 1930's, political machinations of its "bosses" and
 financial speculations of its tycoons. The city was from the  start  a  big
 melting-pot of different nationalities. For  years  Chicago  had  a  racial
 stratification unusual even for American cities.  It  was  German,  Polish,
 Italian, Slavic, Greek, Jewish. Half a million Black Americans live in  its
 South Side, which is one of the most exclusively black areas in the  world.
 About one in four Chicago citizens is black. The Chicago Negroes are almost
 as numerous as those in New York, a city twice as large. Chicago's  Negroes
 have a long history of participation in basic industry. They are  the  most
 proletarian of all nationality-ethnic groups, and today together with other
 militant workers they wage a particularly bitter and difficult  battle  for
 their right to live and work. Called the "City of the  Big  Shoub  ders",10
 Chicago has long become the centre of American  working-class  movement  In
 the 1880's Chicago was already a scene of bitter labour wars, and  the  big
 strike of Chicago workers of 1886 led to the establishment of  May  Day  as
 the holiday of workers of the whole world.

                         OF SUPERLATIVES

   Chicagoans like to claim that their city has the biggest and greatest of
 just about everything. Chicago is the second largest city, in  the  United
 States; it is also the tenth biggest in the world. It is important not  to
 say this in Chicago. The point to bear in mind about Chicago while talking
 to Chicagoans is that, no matter what its own size,  it  has  the  biggest
 everything in  the  world.  Other  places  in  America  have  the  biggest
 something, but Chicago has the biggest everything. You  may  be  convinced
 after all that most Chicago things are bigger than anywhere  else;  it  is
 unfortunate that they are never the things  that  one  wanted  to  be  big
 enough. There is, for example, the Merchandise Mart, which  claims  to  be
 the world's largest commercial building, with seven and a  half  miles  of
 corridors and its own police force.

   In their claims to the biggest and greatest, Chicagoans in a  remarkable
 number of ways are right Although it is no  longer  the  nation's  largest
 meat-packing centreOmaha, Nebraska, now claims this distinction,  Chicago
 is the nation's busiest air, rail and truck centre, and, since the opening
 of the St Lawrence Seaway in 1959, the world's  greatest  inland  seaport.
 Chicago also has the world's largest grain exchange (the Chicago Board  of
 Trade), the world's 'largest hotel (the Conrad Hilton with  2,600  rooms),
 and the world's largest convention and trade-show  facilities.  Chicagoans
 resent any implication that their home is in any sense the  "second  city"
 in the US, as New Yorkers have been known to call it. They believe Chicago
 is really an American city (while" "New York is not  America")  and  point
 with pride to, among other things,  the  number  of  red-blooded  American
 authorsincluding Theodore Dreiser," Frank Norris,12 Upton Sinclair'3  and
 Carl Sandburg14who have called Chicago home.

                         SKY-SCRAPERS IN THE PRAIRIE

   When you arrive in Chicago, you may find it hard  to  believe  that  this
busy, noisy, modern metropolis with its  towering  sky-scrapers  was  until
well into  the  19th  century  a  muddy  onion  swamp.  But  by  1871  this
unpromising site had become a city of 300,000, the metropolitan  centre  of
the American Midwest. Then, on October 8 of that year, disaster struck.  It
all began in the barn of a certain Mrs. O'Leary on  West  De  Koven  Street
where, as the legend goes, a cow kicked over a kerosene lantern, starting a
fire that quickly swept the city. The  blaze  destroyed  more  than  17,000
buildings that left third of the city's people homeless. Yet in  one  sense
this tragedy  was  responsible  for  Chicago's  main  contribution  to  the
development of modern architecture. The fire levelled the  entire  business
district, and the city's engineers and architects . had  to  rebuild  from
the ground up.  Armed  with  a  series  of  technological  innovationsmost
notably steel framework and the hydraulic, liftthey set to work and in the
last decades of the  19th  century  the  sky-scraper  was  born..William-Le
Barren Jenny, one of the construction engineers, used this new method  when
he received the  commission  to  build  the  Chicago  office  of  the  Home
Insurance Company. It was ten stories high, much taller than  any  building
ever before erected.
  The building was the first "sky-scraper", a term now so common for a high
building that few people realize that, to begin with, a "skyscraper"  was  a
triangular sail used high on the mast of sailing vessels  before  steamships
came into use.15 Quickly a new Chicago arose of brick and  stone.  Within  a
year the business district was restored along the crescent  formed  by  Lake
Michigan in the city's west. Here lies America's  second-ranking  canyon  of
finance, La Salle Street, where the Board of Trade Building towers  above  a
forest  of  sky-scrapers.  Each  sky-scraper  is  stamped  by   a   specific
commodity: the Wrigley equals chewing-gum, the  "Chicago  Tribune"  and  the
"Daily News" mean newspapers, the Continental Illinoisbanking, the  Chicago
Templeoffices of reputed firms, the Merchandise Martwholesale  dry  goods,
the imposing Marshal  Fielddepartment  store  de  luxe,  and  so  on.  Each
building stands as if a huge monument to a trust.  While  you  ride  through
Chicago you have an opportunity to see a little of  the  city.  The  streets
are usually crowded with traffic at whatever  hour  you  arrive.  Over  your
head thunders the local elevated train, which runs on a  platform.  If  your
route takes you near the shore of  Lake  Michigan,  you  will  see  a  broad
boulevard along the water-front with eight  lanes  of  fast-moving  traffic.
Beautiful, tall office buildings  and  hotels  make  a  spectacular  picture
against the blue waters of the lake. If your route  lay  further  back  from
the lake, you would see narrow, crowded streets lined with rows and rows  of
red-brick houses.
Vegetable sellers may push little carts through the  streets  and  call  out
\the names of things for safe in any one of a number of languages. \ One  of
Chicago's many nicknames is the "Windy City",  and  despite  me  US  Weather
Bureau, which lists Chicago as only the nation's 19th  windiest,  it  richly
deserves this nicknameas you will  soon  agree  if  you  a\e  caught  on  a
Chicago street corner when an icy January gale screams oflf  Lake  Michigan.
Wind is not the only extreme characteristic of the  lo^al  weather.  Chicago
is noted for its subzero (Fahrenheit) temperatures in  winter  and  90-plus
temperatures in summer. And don't be misled if you arrive in winter  and  it
seems unreasonably warm. Chicago weather changes quickly.
                         THE CENTRE OF CLASS WARS

    The most proletarian of American cities, Chicago was a scene  of  bitter
 labour wars, of the Haymarket affair (1886)  and  of  the  Pullman  strike
 (1894).   .
    Called the "Red Square" of Chicago, Haymarket  has  become  world-famous
 for the Haymarket affair of 1886. (The official US history books  call  it
 the "Haymarket Riot".)
The spring of 1886 was marked by a national strike movement for  the  8-hour
working day.  At  the  giant  McCormick  Harvester  plant  in  Chicago,  six
striking workers were killed by the police. A mass meeting for May  the  4th
was called in the Haymarket. Suddenly the  crowded  square  shook  with  the
explosion of a bomb thrown by an unknown  hand.  Seven  policemen  and  four
workers were killed, and many were injured. Amid wild hysteria eight  labour
leaders were arrested. All eight arrested workers were convicted in what  is
now commonly recognized as a frame-up. Four of themParsons, Spies,  Fischer
and Engelwere hanged. Five years later, Governor John Altgeld of  Illinois,
a rare type in US politics, freed the four Haymarketers remaining in  prison
and proclaimed their innocence. The movement for the 8-hour working day  and
the Haymarket affair caused a  great  swell   of  trade-union  organization.
Furthermore International May  Day  emerged  from  this  movement,  for  the
International Socialist Congress, convened in France in  1889, declared  May
the 1st as the day of celebration by world labour. A monument in  honour  of
the Haymarket martyrs,  erected  by  the  labour  movement,  now  stands  in
Waldheim Cemetery outside Chicago. The Chicago  police  have  not  forgotten
Haymarket either. In fact, they put up.  a  monument  on  the  site  of  the
tragedy. Not to the victims, but to their executioners: a 3-metre statue  of
a policeman was put up on a tall pedestal in the hope, apparently, that  the
people of Chicago would cover it with flowers in  token  of  their  respect.
There were no flowers, but there were bombs. In fact, the "New  York  Times"
remarked that this was "Chicago's most frequently bombed statue". There  was
a series of explosions in October 1969 in protest against the police  attack
on a youth demonstration during the  Democratic  Party  convention.  A  year
later there was another explosion; it cost $ 5,500  to  repair  the  damage.
Guarding the statue became a problem. In 1970, after it had  been  repaired,
it was placed under round-the-clock  guard.  To  make  double-sure,  it  was
constantly scrutinized by a hidden TV camera., This cost the city  $  68,000
a year, more than the statue had cost. There were  several  suggestions  how
to reduce the cost. 'In the end,  it  was  decided  to/  remove  the  bronze
statue from Haymarket Square and put it in a safe place. It  now  stands  in
the lobby of Chicago police headquarters.
                         THE "GANGLAND CAPITAL OF THE USA"

   In its bustling growth, Chicago survived the political machinations of
 mayors like "Big Bill" Thompson,16 the speculations of Samuel Tnsull17 and
 the gang wars of Al Capone's days.18 The one thing for which Chicago is
 known around the world is crime. In January 1919, the sale of whiskey was
 prohibited in the USA. Prohibition gave rise to the. illegal liquor trade
 with big profits for the powerful criminal gangs who shared the money with
 the police and politicians in order to buy immunity from arrest. The gangs
 competed with each other in the illicit liquor trade ("bootlegging"),
 gambling, the operation Or "protection" of night-clubs and illicit bars
 ("speakeasies"). They also supplied strike-breakers to employers and the
 trade-union chieftains who used them against the militant left-wing.
 Murder, arson and vandalism were engaged in as business enterprise on a
 practical basis. The combination of war profits, polyglot political
 structure, building boom and prohibition turned Chicago,  figuratively,
 overnight in the crime centre of the USA, the "gangland capital of the
 USA".     And even now, thanks to countless film and television shows
 depicting that era of ^Chicago's history, some visitors expect to see black
 limousines filled with scarfaced gangsters roaring about the streets.
 Organized crime is still a part of Chicago's lifeas it is in most US
   Crime has become an integral  part  of  the  American  way  of  life.  As
Americans themselves put it, "in the US you feel very afraid  to  walk  the
streets at night. Even  in  the  daytime  it  is  sometimes  dangerous  but
especially so at night."*

   1 "Chicago" seems to have a clearly established than usual. A French
explorer who visited the region in 1688 said the natives called it
"Chicagou" because of the abundance of wild onions growing there. Scholars
have thought it was the disagreeable odour Of the little wild onions that
inspired the Indian name, and that "place of the bad smell" might be more
accurate interpretation of the name.
2 Among Chicago's numerous nicknames are the "Lake City" and the "Queen
City of the (Upper) Lakes".
3 Similar to other US cities, Chicago has a dual city and county
government. Chicago and its suburbs comprise Cook County which exercises
certain governmental functions over the entire area. Other functions are
retained individually by the City of Chicago and the suburbs in a municipal
form. This political structure, based on a capitalist economy, provides

fat profits for bankers, bondholders, real-estate dealers, public utility;

interests, politicians, the police and criminals.
4 The American Peace Crusadean American organization embrac/ ing peace
supporters of all walks of life.
5 The   Young   Workers   Liberation   Leaguea   progressive   youth
organization of the United States. It fights against militarism and racism,
for democracy and socialism, for all young people's demands for work and
education. Its main aim is a democratic government and full civil rights *'
for all.
6 "King Daley"Richard J. Daley, former mayor of Chicago, "boss" of the
Democratic political machine fbr Cook County. Got notoriety in 1968 when he
brutally dispersed the peaceful demonstration of students during the
Democratic Party nominating convention in Chicago.
7 Today new process and techniques have made it unnecessary to move
America's meat to Chicago for processing (the butchers have gone to the
prairies) and the memories of those moutains of flesh, that pervasive scent
of the stockyards, are like many other things of Chicago's past, just a
terrible ghost-story.
8 In 1942, at the University of Chicago, Enrico Fermi and other scientists
set off the world's first controlled atomic reaction.
9 The Chicago fire (October 89, 1871) devastated an area three and one-
half miles square, left almost 100,000 persons homeless. By 1871 Chicago
was a city built of wood. Even the side-walks were of pine and a dry season
preceding the fire made the city a virtual tinder-box.
10.The phrase is taken from "Chicago" (1914), a poem in free verse by Carl
Sandburg: "Hog Butcher of the World, Tool-Maker, Stacker of Wheat; Player
with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler: Stormy, Husky, Brawling
City of the Big Shoulders."
11. In 1912 Theodore Dreiser (1871  1945) published "The Financier", a
novel about Frank Cowperwood, a shrewd and ruthless businessman, who
accumulated a fortune through financial machinations. The fashionable North
Side of Chicago could not bear "The Financier", for it cut too close to the
bone, so the publisher, Harper's, refused to publish its sequel "The
Titan". Frank Cowperwoo,d was too clearly identified with Charles Yerkes,
the Chicago magnate (who donated the Yerkes Observatory to the University
of Chicago). Yerkes' earlier corrupt manipulation of Philadelphia's
municipal funds, followed by imprisonment, was known to his colleagues in
Chicago, but he was given access to the public funds again. Dreiser had
become familiar with tVse "robber barons" while working as a journalist in
12 "The Pit", a novel by Frank Morris (18701902), brought to life the
spectacular wheat market on La Salle Street in Chicago. "The Pit" was
actually a sequel to "The Octopus", which tells of the struggle between the
California wheat farmers and the railroad companies.
 13. "The Jungle", a novel by Upton Sinclair (18781968), was published in
1906. Its detailed first-hand description of conditions in the Chicago
stockyards sparked off a campaign that led to the passage of a Pure Foodand
Drug Act and a Meat Inspection Act by the US Congress. The novel gave a
most compelling picture of the humans engaged in the industry where only
the squeals of the animals escaped being converted into profits.
14. Sandburg, Carl (18781967). Born in Illinois, Carl Sandburg wrote in
his free verse of the turbulent life he had observed in the small prairie
towns of Illinois and in the raw metropolis in Chicago. He first gained
reputation with his "Chicago Poems" (1915). He was awarded the Pulit-zer
Prize (1951) for his "Collected Poems".
15. Within a decade, however, New York City captured the tallest sky-
scraper lead and held it. The champion until May 1973, was Manhattan's
1,350-feet-high, twin-towered World Trade Center, which tops the Empire
State Building by 100 feet. But now, after a lapse of about 80 years,
Chicago again boasts the tallest towerthe Sears, Roebuck and Co. Building,
which soars 1,450 feet above the city.
16. "Big Bill" Thompson (18691944) served three terms as mayor of Chicago,
became notorious for political machinations. Thompson practised what in
American political terminology is known as the "spoils system""to the
victor belongs the spoils". In the 1920's it seemed that power in Chicago
was shared between Thompson, entrenched in City Hall, and Capone, sitting
with his gunmen in the Lexington Hotel. This state of bliss was enjoyed by
the financiers, industrialists, gangsters and
17. Samuel Insull (18591938)public-utilities financier. By 1907 he
overcame the competing publjc-utilities companies in Chicago and soon he
came to control the city's transit system. When the Depression broke out in
1929, Insult's pyramid of corporations was one of the first to collapse
into bankruptcy. Thousands of his stockholders were ruined. Insull
disappeared before he could be brought into court
18 Al Caponet(18991947)American gang leader in Chicago in the 1920's. He
received tribute from businessmen and politicians. His crime syndicate
terrorized Chicago and controlled the gambling there. Capone' was
mysteriously murdered and given a funeral featured by more than twenty
truckloads of floral wreaths and numerous limousines filled "with
gangsters. Thousands watched while the newsreel cameras cranked away. Crime
as big business went on; in time the warfare between gangs produced a new

" "