Thursday, November 10, 2011


Ramsin Canon (via Sharon Higgins):

(b) A New Source of Patronage. For the neoliberal city machines modeled after Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Machine Lite, traditional patronage was undesirable and in some cases impossible due to legal strictures. Putting that patronage at a step remove was all the rage: you didn’t have to force the Parks Department to hire your precinct captains, you just privatized Park cleaning service, gave the contract to your buddy, and he handled the rest. Charterification is precisely this. This phenomenon is invisible to Beltway and think tank Panglosses with little understanding or experience with actual big city politics besides what they’ve seen on The Wire. Teachers unions prevent this type of patronage both by enforcing standards and also by protecting teachers through contractual due process. You can’t fire a teacher because she’s campaigning openly against the Mayor’s policies. The head of one of the most influential Charter chains in Chicago, Juan Rangel, was a co-chair of Mayor Emanuel’s campaign. How likely do you think his at-will employees are to become active in their community in any way disproved of by their boss? Voila. Patronage.

I'd add that philanthropy is becoming so big that it is practically a kind of privatized patronage.

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