As a national publication based in Chicago, In These Times often provides better coverage of the local scene than its rivals – but this week’s issue  seems particularly noteworthy on that account.
There’s an interview with Kathy Kelly  of Voices for Creative Nonviolence  on why she’s joining the flotilla challenging the Israeli blockade of Gaza later this month; she also shares her views on Libya, Afghanistan, and the proliferation of drone technology.
There’s Kari Lydersen’s article (not yet online) on the growing relationship between steelworkers here and in Mexico, boosted by connections between the century-old Mexican community around Chicago mills and workers in Mexico. Blanca Morales came here from Monterrey when she was five and ended up working at Inland Steel for 25 years; now she’s part of Women of Steel, providing support for Mexican strikers who face brutal retaliation.
Steelworkers here point out that supporting steelworkers in Mexico – where the average manufacturing wage is under $4 an hour – will help “level the playing field” and reduce pressure on wages and working conditions here.
Yana Kunichoff reports  on the Unemployed Action Center organized by Chicago Jobs With Justice , which is planning a partnership with the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign  to fight foreclosures and evictions.
Theo Anderson highlights the work of Protestants for the Common Good , lobbying for legislation to help ex-offenders, and Interfaith Workers Justice,  fighting wage theft, as examples of “the re-emergence of the religious left as a powerful political force.”
Stephanie Shonekan of Columbia College shares her reflections on living in Naperville: “We found great neighbors and formed lifelong friendships with people whom I would never have known in my other walks of life. And the greatest lesson learned has come from the reflections on race inspired by the very acute experience of being a black person in a privileged white neighborhood.”
There are offerings from two of Chicago’s journalistic greats: David Moberg with another go at how unions can save America , and Salim Muwakkil on the controversy over Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm X. 
Finally there’s Chris Lehmann writing about the depature of Oprah Winfrey  from daytime television, and why “the grinding spectacle of Oprah’s farewell felt much more like an infomercial for feeling something, anything, rather than an actual outpouring of human emotion.”