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Matt Reichel

Page history last edited by Cassandra Hartung 10 years, 2 months ago


Matt Reichel is an activist and a candidate for Congress in Illinois's 5th congressional district Special Election.


He announced his candidacy on December 2, 2008 in the online newsletter Dissident Voice. Reichel personally maintains a campaign blog.



On the issues

Here are Reichel's positions, quoted directly from his campaign site. (NOTE: If other contributors want to summarize them, go ahead.)


Middle East War
I will not let the Obama administration sell Americans a bill of goods by trading in a Republican war for a Democratic war. The people voted for peace in 2006 and 2008, and it’s about time the government gives them the peace they so desire. This will mean immediately de-funding the Middle East war and using the money that exists in the coffers to bring back all American combat troops from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We must then work to retrieve all private mercenary militias working under the U.S. flag and commit to turning 100% sovereignty over to the Iraqi and Afghani parliaments.

We will then work to spend a just figure on reparations, whose allocation shall be monitored by an international peace keeping force led by the United Nations.


Health Care
The first thing I will do as congressman is add my name to the list of co-sponsors of HR 676: the bill written by Rep. John Conyers to bring Americans the same high quality level of care held by the rest of the developed world. I will not waste any of my precious time attempting to compromise with a market approach to health: the free market is a means of exchanging goods and services, not human needs. I will also support efforts to end our disastrous obesity epidemic by requiring health warnings be added to all billboards, magazine ads and television commercials developed by fast food and other junk food manufacturers. We have taken the lead on warning Americans about the dangers posed by tobacco products, but lag behind the developed world in our commitment to fighting this costly and tragic obesity epidemic. This must be changed.
Immigrant Rights
Illinois’s 5th District is a fitting representation of the American Dream: a place where people from throughout the world could come to escape political persecution and poverty whilst pulling themselves up in a new homeland. The rights of the many immigrants in this district, be they from Poland, Mexico, Serbia, India, Pakistan or elsewhere, need to be defended just as much as the rights of those who were born in the district or elsewhere in the country. First and foremost, I will work to end the visceral scapegoat-ing of immigrants by the outgoing administration and certain members of our society. I will work to uphold due process of immigrants who have increasingly been prosecuted and imprisoned in extralegal fashion. I will also recognize that we need to create a path to legality if ever to effectively combat the issue of “illegals.” The current “Temporary Work” program is failing this country by not providing a viable path to permanent residency, while also not protecting immigrants by guaranteeing just wages, enforcement of workers’ rights, and just mobility between the U.S. and their homeland. I will work and actively push the congress towards immigrant reform built upon the concept of protecting immigrant workers’ from persecution by our courts, over-zealous employers and right wing members of our society. Lastly, I will work to overturn the disastrous “free trade” regime of NAFTA and the WTO, which makes immigration to the states inevitable by locking the developing world into a dependent economic status. I will work to re-negotiate international trade deals built upon the concept of workers’ rights and human dignity: where the goal is growing sustainable employment throughout the globe and not just creating artificial “economic growth” at home.
LGBT Rights
I will do all in my power as congressman to prevent any future Proposition 8’s from occurring, while also striving to guarantee full marriage benefits for gay, lesbian and transgender couples. It is absolutely crucial to the health of our Republic that we stand up for the rights of all minorities, lest we become a dictatorship of the majority. From marriage rights to workplace rights, I will be a champion of the causes of Chicago’s LGBT community.
Civil Liberties
I feel that our Republic is in danger when I need even comment on the issue of civil liberties. As a Congressman, I will take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. This will be my one official job requirement, and I will stand behind it with my life. I will carry out the duty to protect my constituents against encroachment by an over-zealous executive, whilst seeking to overturn the excesses of the Bush administration aka the Patriot Act, Military Commisions Act and FISA. Meanwhile, we cannot allow the outgoing presidential administration off the hook for their egregious crimes against humanity, including lying to the public in order to build support for war, a general disregard for due process and writ of habeas corpus, the use of secret detention camps, and the use of torture in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. George W Bush should have been impeached for his high crimes and misdemeanors, and it is quite upsetting that the Democratic leadership in Washington refused to uphold the Constitution on this matter. However, it is not too late to make the Bush administration pay for their crimes by bringing them before a federal court to seek punishment for their usurpations of power.
Nuclear Disarmament
The longer that nuclear weapons exist on this planet, the closer we are taken to certain nuclear Armageddon. We cannot let petty political differences cloud our judgment on the need to abolish nuclear weapons in this world once and for all. This requires shifting our nuclear posture from one of offense to one of respect and decency. We need to immediately cease funding the provocative and offensive “missile shield” in Eastern Europe and recommence negotiations with Russia and other nuclear states on reaching full disarmament within the next decade. We cannot afford to continue living with a Cold War logic in an era where the cost in financial terms is billions of dollars each year, and the potential human cost will be catastrophic.
The United States has much catching up to do in the realm of the environment, and our first step must be signing onto the Kyoto Protocol and affirming our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint in the world. What’s more, we must commit to a culture of decency, wherein we work to promote alternative forms of transportation, so as to wean our society off of its dependency on the automobile. We must also work to reduce the amount of unnecessary packaging in commercial products, while also working to vastly reduce output from existing coal plants by increasing our investment in cleaner energy alternatives.
Reproductive Rights
The right-wing hysteria created over the issue of abortion has been used as a convenient tool to blind society from the divisions of class and gender that plague our country. While I will do all in my power to stand up for abortion rights, I will also go the extra distance in fighting to make abortion less necessary. This will mean working towards an end to abstinence-only education, and for just access to contraceptives and birth control.
Free Trade
What is sold to Americans as “Free Trade” by the ruling elite is neither free nor trade: instead it is a tightly controlled means of running the international economy to the detriment of genuine free trade. As congressman, I will join the chorus of opposition to NAFTA, the WTO, the IMF and all other components of the international “free trade” regime, which has sent labor outside of the United States while tying our developing neighbors into an unsustainable state of dependency on us. As congressman, I will push for a commitment to fair trade, wherein labor is not seen as expendable, but rather as indispensable. I will stand up for the sovereignty of our congress by voting against any international “trade deals” which set in motion a neo-liberal logic that threatens to prevent fair and just trade between nations.
The Congress has already approved greater than $4 trillion in federal funds to bail out the financial sector in hopes of overturning the current economic malaise. Much of this capital has been offered with no congressional oversight, while all of it is given based on the same backward logic that brought our country into this mess in the first place. By injecting capital into corrupt companies in the financial sector, we are doing little to prevent more of the same criminal speculation of investments that has caused the current state of precariousness.

The only bailouts I will support will be for my constituents in the 5th district of Illinois, and by this I mean New Deal style projects to develop our infrastructure in a manner that is just and sustainable. With the real unemployment rate reaching towards 15%, and the number of un- and under-insured Americans over 100 million, it is clear that the average working American is desperately in need of a bailout and a sincere return to a culture of respect and decency.




Matt Reichel was born June 7th, 1981 at Skokie Valley Hospital in north suburban Chicago, and grew up in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. He attended elementary school at Joyce Kilmer Elementary School and continued his education at the Whitney Young academic center beginning in 7th grade. He stayed on at Whitney Young through the end of high school, before earning his bachelor’s in political science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


While in high school, Matt was active in marching, concert and jazz bands: playing alto saxophone in all three. He also took an early interest in politics, having from a young age been brought along to help volunteer for politicians on Chicago’s north side: including 49th ward alderman Joe Moore and 9th district U.S. congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky.


Until going off to university, Matt lived between his parents’ houses in Rogers Park and Albany Park: half growing up in the 9th district and half in the 5th district. As a native of Chicago’s north side born of two parents whose lineage dates back to Chicago’s northwest side for most of the 20th Century, there can be no question regarding Matt’s connection to Chicago, and this district in particular.


In the summer of 2000, Matt began working with Illinois Peace Action: the state chapter for the nation’s largest peace and nuclear disarmament organization. His initial job with the organization was as an entry-level canvasser, though gradually he took on an increasingly diverse role.


During the school year, he began organizing students at the Champaign Urbana campus to fight for a divestment of the University from corporations that fund nuclear arms and support the ongoing Apartheid in Israel. He was in the process of working to inform students about the totalitarian practices of companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, who were busily recruiting at a career fair on campus, when the attacks of 9-11 occurred. When those 4 Boeing jets were used as weapons against American civilians, Matt Reichel was busily informing students about the danger posed by military contractors like Boeing to the health of our Republic. No other moment in Matt’s life was as important as this one in setting him up to be an activist, and advocate of peace, for the duration of his life.


Matt continued to fight against the wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq: ultimately having a hand in organizing some of the largest rallies ever in central Illinois as the Bush administration commenced military operations in Iraq.


Upon graduation from the University, Matt was hired to be the office manager of National Peace Action’s new regional office in Chicago, where he continued to be a key organizer in the Chicago area anti war movement. He oversaw a growth plan within Peace Action that saw the organization’s membership double in a year’s time in the Chicago area.


In the fall of 2004, Matt decided to pursue his graduate studies in Paris, a city that had always intrigued him for its unparalleled cultural and political history. He could think of no more appropriate location to pursue a graduate degree in international relations than that city which has played the role of being the diplomatic capital of the world for centuries.


While living in Paris, Matt worked on several political movements, including the “non” vote on the European Union (EU) Constitution, the resistance to the anti-labor Contrat Première Embaunche (CPE), and the ensuing movement against the Fillon bill. He was inspired by the French culture of legislating from the streets, and the overall sense of freedom felt by activist organizations operating outside of the specter of a totalitarian government.


He returned to the states in the Fall of 2007, and began immediately working for the Kucinich for President campaign in Las Vegas, Nevada, after which he joined the Congressman’s re-election campaign in his Cleveland district during the primary season. Since that time, Matt has been working as a freelance French translator and interpreter, while continuing to contribute to various progressive news sites and blogs as a political analyst.


He is now located on Chicago’s Northwest side and actively campaigning for his progressive bid to be the next congressman from Illinois’ 5th district.



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What the papers say:

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External Links

Matt Reichel Campaign Website


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