Cesar Chavez

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Cesar Chavez
Cesar Chavez

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Cesar E. Chavez (1927-1993), was founder of the United Farm Workers union.

Alinsky influence

In 1947, Saul Alinsky hired Fred Ross, an experienced organizer among California's migrant farmworkers. Ross built the Community Service Organization in several cities, mostly among Latinos, recruiting new members and identifying potential leaders through house meetings and one-on-one conversations. In San Jose, California, one of the people Ross recruited was César Chávez, whom Ross hired and trained as an organizer. Chávez would later adopt these organizing ideas in starting the United Farm Workers union.[1]

Ending the "bracero" program

In 1964, Chicano civil rights movement activists like Bert Corona, Ernesto Galarza, Cesar Chavez, and Dolores Huerta forced Congress to end the guest worker "bracero" program. The next year, Mexicans and Filipinos went out on strike in Coachella and Delano, and the United Farm Workers was born.

That year, in 1965, they went back to Congress. Give us a law, they said, that doesn’t make workers into braceros or criminals behind barbed wire, into slaves for the growers.[2]

UFW leaders 1973

The United Farm Workers Executive Board in 1973 included veteran farmworker organizers and activists:(l-r) Dolores Huerta, Mack Lyons, Richard Chavez, Cesar Chavez, Eliseo Medina, Philip Veracruz, Gilbert Padilla, Marshall Ganz and Pete Velasco.

Democratic Agenda/Socialist Caucus

For groups and organizations seeking radical social change within the Democratic Party, the National Convention of 1980 had at least one historic first - formation of a Socialist Caucus of delegates. Organized by the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee and by the Democratic Agenda which was DSOC's cadre and supporters within the Democratic Party and was based in DSOC' s New York office and at 1730 M Street, NW, Washington, DC. Some 31 delegates and alternates from twelve states and Democrats Abroad attended the Socialist Caucus.

As a preliminary to the convention's Socialist Caucus meeting, , indeed as a "building event" and as a continued show of support for Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), the Democratic Agenda sponsored a convention rally at New York's Town Hall. The speakers included Herman Badillo, Julian Bond, Fran Bennick, Harry Britt, Cesar Chavez, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI}, Douglas Fraser, Murray Finley, Michael Harrington, Terry Herndon, Ruth Jordan, Ruth Messinger, Eleanor Smeal, Gloria Steinem and William Winpisinger.

DSOC works within the Democratic Party, said Harrington, because of the party's relationships with organized workers, blacks, feminists, environmentalists and other "progressive groups."

The Socialist Caucus circulated a list of convention delegates who were caucus members, including;[3]

"New Directions"

Allegheny Socialist, March/April 1986
Allegheny Socialist, March/April 1986

Opposing loans to Chile

In 1987, Joanne Landy, Thomas Harrison and Gail Daneker, Directors, Campaign for Peace and Democracy/East and West, New York, circulated a statement Against Loans to Chile calling upon the Reagan Administration to oppose all loans to Chile.

It has been signed by leading "peace, labor, human rights, religious and cultural figures from the United States, Western Europe and Latin America." They were "joined by a large number of activists and writers from the USSR and Eastern Europe, many of whom have been persecuted in their own countries for work in independent peace and human rights movements."

Cesar Chavez endorsed the call.

The majority of signatories were affiliated with Democratic Socialists of America.[4]

Chavez and Corona

Cesar Chavez had a long and close relationship with Communist Party USA activist Bert Corona.

Greeting Chris Hani

More than 250 labor, peace, civil rights and political leaders greeted South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani at his April 27, appearance in Los Angeles. The crowd contributed more than $12,000 towards the People's Weekly World fund drive and the work of the South African Communist Party.

Los Angeles City Council member Robert Farrell, presented Hani with a resolution signed by Mayor Tom Bradley and City Council president John Ferraro, welcoming him as "one of the most highly respected and powerful voices of the anti Apartheid movement."

The welcoming committee included reps Maxine Waters, Mervyn Dymally and Matthew Martinez, State senator Diane Watson, Los Angeles School board president Jackie Goldberg and more than 30 labor, civic and entertainment leaders including Cesar Chavez of the United Farmworkers.

Waters sent a letter of greeting to Hani and Yengeni saying, "as the struggle within South Africa continues to develop from one stage to the next, please be assured that all of us will continue to be at your side. Your struggle is our struggle".

Evelina Alarcon, chair of the Southern California district of the Communist Party USA, introduced Hani, She drew rousing cheers as she pledged, on behalf of the audience and the welcoming committee, continued efforts to maintain sanctions against South Africa.[5]

References

  1. {http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/the-right-wing-resurrects_b_1663154.html, Peter dreier, The Huffington Post, The Right Wing Resurrects Saul Alinsky, Posted: 07/10/2012 6:45 pm}
  2. Democratic left, Fall 2009
  3. Information Digest, Septemer 19, 1980, p 333
  4. New York review of books, Vol 34, Number 10, June 11, 1987
  5. Peoples weekly World, May 4, 1991, page 2
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