Television cameras trained on the Democratic convention at Chicago’s International Amphitheater this August will play on scenes symbolic of tensions that divide the nation and the state of Illinois. The Amphitheater itself stands in the famous Stockyards, between immense black ghettos and the all-white workingclass “Back of the Yards” district. The mayhem inside could well surpass in bitterness the fierce political bloodletting of old for which the Amphitheater has been the site. But if efforts to work within political channels to promote racial progress and an end to the war are blocked, the protest in the streets outside the convention hall could make the confrontation inside seem like child’s play.

The police fear the sparks of violence will be furnished by an “influx of trained outside agitators.”In response to an anti-war group’s claim that it will have 500,000 protesters on hand during the convention, the police are outfitting their men with disabling chemical sprays, and giving tactical training to special anti-riot units.

It is not possible to say whether carefully planned anti-war protests will develop into full-scale race riots similar to those of the past three summers. Radical black leaders discreetly disclaim any planned violence (“We’re just gonna lay back, man, and let the whites cut each other up”), and even Dick Gregory claims that the marchers he proposes to lead will obey traffic lights. Nonetheless, the city is undeniably tense about the prospect of violence, and some responsible black leaders characterize the sensationalist reporting of several of the newspapers as selffulfilling prophecy. Chicago miraculously escaped serious outbreaks last summer, owing in part to cooperation from gang leaders who calmed incipient disorder. Relations between the gangs and the police have since deteriorated.

In an intriguing but disappointingly undetailed section of its report, the President’s Commission on Civil Disorders, headed by retiring Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, describes the typical rioter as being better educated than his nonrioting neighbor, and often employed but in a position which he feels does not reflect his capabilities. An independent expert, Irving J. Rubin of the University of Michigan, contends that detailed analyses of riot areas reveal that the most resentful blacks and most frequent rioters are not “riffraff’ but persons who believe that were they white, they would be seeing their efforts reflected in greater economic and social rewards.

Circumstances in Chicago seem to bear out this sociological analysis, at least in part. Successful blacks, unquestionably more bitter this year than last, commonly characterize the Kerner report as having nothing to say to the black community; its sole value in their eyes will be as the ultimate, official statement to whites about racism.

Riot for progress

This new attitude, which may be what the Kerner commission means by the “racial pride” it reported the typical rioter possessed, can be seen in the tripling of visitors to the city’s African-American History Museum in recent months, in die proliferation of black arts groups, and in the erection of a monumental “wall of respect” celebrating black power on the city’s South Side. Thus far it has not often meant that blacks refuse to work with whites; instead, they merely tend to go, increasingly and by choice, their own separate ways.

One aspect of the new attitude is a reluctance to deplore mass violence: “After all, only the riots brought any change at all.” Some of the more historically minded compare the situation in Detroit today with that of post-war Germany and Japan; they contend that areas can and will be rebuilt more quickly after they have been devastated.

For Mayor Richard Daley, these changes in sentiment mean trouble because with them comes polarization of the great voting blocs on which the Democratic machine is built. Daley is fond of stating that Chicago has more middle-class Negroes than any other city in the world. He stands to lose these voters if middle-class militancy increases. Daley also is aware that violence brings progress only so long as it incurs limited reaction. The black riots thus far have been largely destructive of their own communities, comparable in popular effect to self-immolation by Vietnamese Buddhist monks to draw attention to injustices. Once appreciable numbers of outsiders are injured, however, public reaction can dramatically change. Sargent Shriver felt early tremors of this in seeking O.E.O. appropriations last autumn from an increasingly backlashminded Congress. In Chicago’s eleventh congressional district, Democratic incumbent Roman Pucinski, once a favorite of the Americans for Democratic Action, shifted so far to the right after the West Side riots of 1966 that even his Republican opponent now calls him a “raving racist.”

Calculated accommodation

Mayor Daley would cleave to the camp of the unforgiving if there were to be violence this summer, particularly if it were to spread into the white neighborhoods which fringe Chicago’s ghettos. Daley has already criticized the Kerner report for failing to pin the blame for the riots on “criminal elements in our society.” Last summer Daley’s principal effort to keep the city under control was to instruct his police to make mass arrests whenever friction developed on the streets; Cook County judges frequently cooperated by setting bail bonds so excessively high that suspected troublemakers were indefinitely jailed.

Daley recently announced a Chicago version of the familiar smorgasbord of summer programs to get the kids off the streets and private industry into the ghettos. An aide optimistically predicts the programs will reach 800,000 Chicagoans this summer. But so far, Daley has been unable to devise any effective new approaches for alleviating racial tension. In part this is because the message that times are changing has not been communicated throughout the huge local government bureaucracy. Whatever good intentions the city machine may have at the higher echelons, the effect often is negated by lower-level bureaucrats and clerks. Because Daley is reluctant to delegate authority, programs are seldom devised by lower officials closest to the problems. And the problems demanding solution look more and more like dilemmas. For example, most blacks agree that lack of job opportunity is a high-priority complaint. But menial work is available to those willing to accept it. Daley’s difficulties are compounded by the fact that at this point he feels the prod of no clearly defined, articulate bloc to which he can respond by moving left. In the summer of 1966 Daley used the specifically itemized demands for improved housing of Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference as a shield against white resentment when he made concessions to King. A favorite Daley tactic, which might be termed calculated accommodation, was utilized to stop the tenant-union movement sponsored by SCLC. Apparently under pressure from city hall during the hair-trigger August days of that year, the realty firm chosen as the primary union target agreed to bargain with the SCLC tenants before they had sustained sufficient grievances to organize a truly unified group. After its premature victory, the union was never able to force the landlord to conform to the terms of their contract, and during the winter months the union, and SCLC, withered away. Although Dr. King talked bravely of challenging Daley at the polls in 1967, it was a forlorn exercise. There is now in Chicago no truly effective civil rights or tenant-union organization, and since last autumn there has been no single person speaking for a significant portion of Chicago’s black community.

Mayor Daley may have been too successful for his own good in laying waste the old-style rights pressure groups, like SCLC, which operated effectively outside the regular political process. Now, although some developments of interest to black power advocates are occurring within Cook County, significant political pressure has yet to be directed at the mayor. Accordingly, progress in race relations has recently been slow.

A case in point is the school board’s recent implementation of a minor busing plan for some 400 elementary school children. Even this innovation was very nearly canceled when a clamor of protest from white communities all but drowned out the good reasons — chiefly overcrowding in ghetto schools — for the transportation plan. A weakened busing proposal finally won out, but it was a victory not forced by blacks but engineered by whites such as Cardinal Cody, whose timely announcement of a mandatory busing program for Catholic schools set an example for the city to follow.

Paranoid politics

On paper Daley’s hegemony over Chicago looks as solid as ever, particularly in light of his overwhelming re-election to a new four-year term last year. But a leadership vacuum which becomes apparent when one looks closely at the civil rights and school board situations suggests that Daley’s appearance of invincibility exists in the absence of challenge. Despite Daley’s intervention, Democrats have lost important recent elections for board president, treasurer, and sheriff of Cook County. The county is traditionally a fiefdom subject to the control of the Chicago Democratic machine, even though the county in fact encompasses a large spread of suburban towns. Even more significant, the Democratic Party may lose control of the state government in the fall elections for the first time in eight years.

Parochial and even politically paranoid judgments contributed to the selection of perhaps the weakest Democratic slate in Illinois in years. Daley, sensing widespread disenchantment with the Johnson Administration, wanted at least one strong vote-getter on the Democratic ticket in Illinois. His choice was Adlai Stevenson III, who had proved his strength at the polls twice. He led the state ticket in an at-large election for the state House of Representatives in 1964. In 1966 he ran 500,000 votes ahead of the rest of his ticket to win election as treasurer in the face of the Republican landslide (which claimed as victims every other state Democratic candidate, including the venerable Senator Paul Douglas). Stevenson wanted to be slated for governor, but this was unappealing to the mayor, who did not relish having a man of young Stevenson’s independence in the governor’s chair. In addition, Daley lieutenants who are jockeying for position on the assumption that the mayor will not stand for reelection in 1971 objected to advancement for Stevenson, particularly to a position as governor, where he would have power and seniority over whoever among them might eventually win the Chicago mayoralty. Consequently, it was decided to slate Stevenson for U.S. senator against Everett Dirksen so that if Stevenson won he would move along to Washington, where he would be less of a threat to the futures of other state politicians.

But Stevenson did not get the message. With what he apparently thought was acquiescence from the mayor, he pressed his case for the governorship in an initial closed-door nominating session. Noting that if he were slated for the Senate rather than the statehouse he would be compelled to speak out on foreign affairs, Stevenson gratuitously warned that he might publicly differ with the President’s policy on Vietnam. Whether Stevenson felt that personal honesty required such a declaration, whether he was making a last desperate grab for the statehouse, or whether, as is probable, both considerations played a part, is now immaterial, for his statement provided the pretext for a no-holdsbarred attack on him by party machinists, who feared and distrusted his refusal to play politics at their level. When this local political resentment was reinforced by word from Washington that the President wanted no part of Stevenson, Daley finally felt constrained to drop him.

Johnson’s faux pas

Among the lessons to be learned from this contretemps which may be instructive in an election year often compared with 1948 is that Lyndon Johnson was in a far weaker position in Illinois than was Harry Truman. Twenty years ago the reform slate of Adlai Stevenson for governor and Paul Douglas for senator carried Illinois, and so helped ensure the election for Truman. By joining in the machine’s execution of the late governor’s equally reformist son this spring, Johnson demonstrated shortsighted judgment and lack of restraint in the face of dissent. By comparison with Johnson, Dick Daley seems a master Svengali. The President’s faux pas in tipping the balance against Stevenson was undoubtedly not lost on Daley. A fervent believer in party unity, the mayor was not publicly supporting anyone but the President before Mr. Johnson’s announcement that he would not run. But there were auspicious indicators for Kennedy partisans, in spite of the fact that Kennedy could not have won more than a handful of Illinois delegates without Daley support. Daley apparently suggested the proposal, later adopted by Kennedy, that the President appoint a commission to reappraise the war. In sponsoring Stevenson, a likely dove, for the Senate against Dirksen, a confirmed hawk, the mayor may well have been attempting to hedge his bets on the Vietnam issue.

Even in March the mayor seemed almost jovial in parrying questions about Kennedy’s entry into the race. Daley has close ties to the Kennedy camp; one is to Kenneth O’Donnell, a prominent member of both Kennedys’ “Irish Mafia.” Even before the New Hampshire returns were in, Daley’s public assertions of support for the President were sometimes tempered by the qualifier “if he runs.” He is now critical of the war. The mayor’s equivocal support for the President may have been one of the influential factors in LBJ’s decision to retire.

The Democrats’ problem now is that whoever wins the nomination will have the considerable burden in Illinois of carrying a mediocre Democratic slate. Although the candidates for the offices of senator and governor have been competent state officials, neither is likely to prompt much popular interest. Sam Shapiro, the genial gubernatorial candidate, has been with only slight unfairness described as “Illinois’ answer to Abe Beam”; William G. Clark, the choice for the Senate, at first blandly suggested, “Dirksen can run on his record and I will run on mine” as state attorney general. But Clark echoes Daley’s doubts about the war.

The Percy ploy

Republicans are jubilant. Says the leader of the party’s county chairmen, “The Democrats could not have picked a better slate from the Republican standpoint. I can’t understand if they are overconfident or don’t want to win.” They are particularly relieved because some feared that Dirksen would be susceptible to a strong challenge by Stevenson on the same issues which Charles Percy used to great effect in defeating Paul Douglas in 1966 — age (Dirksen is seventy-two, Stevenson thirty-seven) and the war.

The war figures prominently in any discussion of Richard Nixon’s prospects in Illinois because whatever subtle shadings he is adding to his position nationally, he is commonly regarded here as a hawk. Although Illinois Republican leaders favor Nixon, their support could not be called enthusiastic. In contrast, there is a strain of inarticulate but real dissatisfaction with the war among conservatives in the party. Illinois has no large defense industries to benefit from war spending, and business patterns in the department stores and other enterprises in the consumer-oriented sector of the economy are beginning to show distortion generated by the pressure of the war on the economy. Had Rockefeller vigorously sought the Republican nomination, he might have picked up important support in Illinois. Nixon’s commanding lead results as much from liberal GOP default as from conservative strength. Before Rockefeller’s March withdrawal, Percy was suggested as a favorite-son candidate, largely to keep the delegation free of commitments less easy to shake. He may now emerge as a vice presidential possibility, but his power base in Illinois is in fact weak.

Because the Republican slate in Illinois to emerge from the June 11 primaries will probably be formidable, the GOP national ticket, even if headed by Nixon, is likely to carry the state in November. This in turn would undoubtedly tip the current 12-12 balance in Illinois’ congressional delegation to the Republicans, which could be of particular importance if the election is thrown into the House of Representatives.

Whether a Republican victory would have important substantive elfects in Illinois is doubtful. The Republican organization in Chicago continues to be moribund, and if Richard Ogilvie, the president of the Cook County Board, succeeds as expected in his gubernatorial campaign, the patronage-rich board presidency will return by default to a Democrat and the Republican toehold in the Chicago area will be lost. Ogilvie, a former sheriff, has won the reputation of being a good administrator. He insistently harps upon a crime-in-the-streets theme, and unlike Percy, will not attract the state’s growing number of Negro voters.

The party is developing no significant new issues and appears unlikely, even if it wins in November, to experience the revitalization that might have occurred had Percy won election in 1964 as governor, where his considerable administrative and stalling talents would have been fully exercised. A Republican like Ogilvie in the statehouse would mean a return to the traditional balance of power — Democratic control in Cook County, Republican control downstate — that characterizes state ■ history and accounts for its backward policies in education (Illinois is 47th in state school support), civil rights (it has no open-occupancy and only weak fair-employment legislation), and finance (it has no income tax and verges on bankruptcy).

Ironically, Stevenson is the likely winner over the long run if the GOP wins a statewide victory. Because Stevenson’s term as treasurer will not expire until 1970, he may well be the only state Democratic official still in office after the November election. The infighting which led to his elimination from the ticket may ultimately redound to his benefit if he appeals to reform groups and to Negroes as a martyr knifed in a smoke-filled room because be dared to take a stand against the war.

Chicago has traditionally lacked reform politics similar to those in New York City. In part this has been because business and civic leaders have been little inclined to be political partisans; Professor Edward Banfield’s classic examination of political influence in Chicago is largely an analysis of how the socalled Establishment leaves important decisions to others through inertia and default. In addition, there is no distinct geographic area, like New York’s Silk Stocking district, where a local establishmentarian reformer such as John Lindsay could get his start. When promising figures have appeared on the scene, they have tended toward the Paul Douglas prototype of eloquent ineffectuality, or have been prematurely shunted to national prominence, like the elder Stevenson.

It is in this context that the emergence of independent young political figures of some charisma and ability, such as Stevenson, may be of significance. Abner Mikva, the favorite in the race for the second congressional district seat now occupied by eighty-five-year-old Barratt O’Hara, is, like Stevenson, bright and fresh, and perhaps more tough-minded in terms of organization. Mikva was narrowly defeated for the same seat by the Democratic machine in 1966 but runs now with Daley’s endorsement, demonstrating that an independent candidate can win party acceptance without excessive compromise if he forms his own strong base of voter support. A small group of independent black politicians, buoyed and counseled by Mayor Richard Hatcher of nearby Gary, Indiana, are beginning strenuously to contest machine control of their people. Sammy Rayner, Jr., one of their number who is challenging Daley’s most entrenched black captive in Congress, William Dawson, summarizes their platform as “Freedom and peace — in whatever order you desire.” By emphasizing themes with which young white political liberals such as Stevenson and Mikva can join, they may be introducing a welcome new element to Illinois politics. Stevenson’s wry description of a party honoring him after he was dumped from the ticket as the “liveliest wake” he had attended may well strike the tone that reformers in Illinois will be sounding if the party regulars are wiped out in November.

George A. Ranney, Jr.