Dolores Huerta

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Dolores Huerta


Dolores Huerta is co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America and a longtime board member of People For the American Way[1].

She was the long time partner of the late Richard Chavez, brother of United Farm Workers founder Cesar Chavez.

Dolores Huerta was long the vice-president of the UFW and its chief negotiator of contracts, as well as the primary advocate for farm worker rights in the California legislature.

She is the president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, a 501(c)(3) “non-profit organization whose mission is to build active communities working for fair and equal access to health care, housing, education, jobs, civic participation and economic resources for disadvantaged communities with an emphasis on women and youth.” The foundation was started with funds received from a settlement after she was assaulted and severely injured by police at a 1988 anti-war demonstration in San Francisco and beaten so severely her spleen had to be removed.[2]

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.[3]

Farmworkers Union

Dolores Huerta, along with Cesar Chavez, Philip Veracruz and others, created the United Farm Workers (UFW) union, the first successful union of farm workers in U.S. history.Huerta and Chavez chose to build a union that incorporated the strategies of social movements and community organizing and allied itself with churches and students as well as other unions. The successful creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing in the Southwest and contributed significantly to the growth of Latino politics in the U.S. [4]

Leaders 1973

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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.

UFW strike

In 1965 the UFW launched a strike and national boycott against California grape growers who refused to recognize the union. Huerta became east coast coordinator of the boycott, a key to the success of the UFW in winning union contracts with the growers in 1970. Chavez said that Huerta “is totally fearless, physically and mentally.”[5]

Prominent DSOC member

Huerta was reruited into the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee by founder and chairman Michael Harrington.[6]

According to Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee founder and chairman Michael Harrington, the influence of the group is disproportionate to its size because of the positions held by some DSOC members within the Democratic Party.

In 1980 prominent DSOC members included Rep, Ronald Dellums (D-CA); Hilda Mason, D.C. City Council, Harlan Baker, Maine state legislature; Jerry Nadler, New York state legislature, Perry Bullard, Michigan state legislature; Ruth Messinger, New York City Council; Harry Britt, San Francisco Board of Supervisors; Patrick Gorman, chairman of the board, Amalgamated Meatcutters; William Winpisinger, president, International Association of Machinists ; Irving Bluestone, vice president, United Auto Workers; Martin Gerber, vice-president, UAW, Sol Stetin, senior vice-president, Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers , Joyce Miller, national president, Coalition of Labor Union Women ; Dolores Huerta, vice-president, United Farmworkers, Cleveland Robinson, president, District 65, UAW; Victor Gotbaum, head of District Council 37, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees , New York, Mildred Jeffrey; Victor Reuther; James Farmer; Nat Hentoff; Gloria Steinem; Rosemary Reuther; Harvey Cox and Irving Howe.[7]

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;[8]

Dolores Huerta and Communist Party Fronts

The organizations listed below are various fronts of the Communist Party USA CPUSA, the Socialist Workers Party SWP or the Workers World Party. Many have been exposed in congressional hearings, studies and reports placed in the Congressional Record CR, or in various books, studies, and newspaper articles published since 1967.

New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam/ New Mobilization Committee

Dolores Huerta was listed as a scheduled speaker at the upcoming anti-Vietnam war rallies scheduled for November, 1969, one of which was the New Mobilization Committee West which held a meeting on Oct. 11, 1969 to decide who was to participate. From a HISC hearing, Committee Exhibit 12, "October 24, 1969, a memo - To All National Steering Committee Members of the New Mobilization Committee, Memorandum Re; "San Francisco November 13 action and its problems", From: Marjorie Colvin, National Steering Committee member and project director, New Mobe West, pp. 1640-1644, came the following paragraph, p. 1642:[9]

PCPJ was the Communist Party's faction in the old New Mobilization Committee while NPAC was controlled by the Socialist Workers Party Trotskyites. PCPJ was formed out of the Milwaukee Strategy Action Conference of June 27-28, 1970, also reported on in this same HISC hearing, Part 1.

"The Hallinan {i.e. Terence KO Hallinan) group's position lost the democratic vote. The tentative list of speakers agree upon by the New Mobe West working committee on Oct. 11 is as follows:

NB: Terence Hallinan was identified as a leading member of the CPUSA front, the W.E.B. DuBois Clubs of America and of the Communist Party USA. He also was known as "KO" Hallinan, in part because he was a former boxer and in part because he beat up or threatened to beat up people who disagreed with him, as happened at this Oct. 11, 1969 meeting, p. 1642. He was also known by the nickname "Dynamite Hallinan", most likely more for his temper than his boxing skills.[10]

Ring Around The Congress, June 22, 1972

Described as "An action by the women and children of America for the women and children of Indochina", this protest of circling the Capital Building/Congress was further described in the invitation flier:

"Join with the thousands of us who will be standing side by side in a circle around Congress. We stand in spirit with the Indochinese, and demand an immediate cutting off of the funds which perpetuate their slaughter, make victims of young American men, and deny the needs of our poor people at home."

This "Ring" was actually a project of the Communist Party-dominated Women Strike for Peace and supporting groups. Among the "Sponsors" on this undated flier was:

While some of the sponsors were not communists, a good part of the Hanoi Lobby was represented including Bella Abzug, Barbara Bick, Anne Braden, Kay Camp, Ruth Gage-Colby, Ruby Dee, Jane Fonda, Libby Frank, Sylvia Kushner, Ruth Myers, Louise Peck, Vivian Raineri, Rosalie Riechman, Beulah Sanders, Dorothy Steffens, Amy Swerdlow, Edith Villagstrigo, Dorothy Hayes, Ethel Taylor, and Cora Weiss.

Members of WSP included Abzug, Bick (id. CPUSA), Myers (id. CPUSA), Villastrigo, Taylor, and Weiss (daughter of id. CPUSA member and possible Soviet agent of influence Samuel Rubin. Members of the CPUSA-influences and partially dominated Women's International League for Peace and Freedom included Libby Frank a CPUSA and Committees of Correspondence member), Riechman, and Steffens. Identified CPUSA members included Bick, Braden, Kushner, Myers, Rainieri . The information on other CPUSA members has not been made public.

Marxists and spouses/children of avowed marxists included: Dee, Friedan (reportedly a one-time member of the CPUSA and its labor unions), Tina Hobson (wife of Julius Hobson), Jeanie Palmondon, Louise Peck (wife of (Sidney Peck, a former CPUSA member), and Roslyn Zinn, among others.

Los Angeles Martinez Jobs Bill support rally

On October 18 1997, Matthew Martinez, State senators Hilda Solis and Diane Watson, City Councilman Richard Alarcon, Miguel Contreras, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles Federation of Labor and Geraldine Washington, president of the Los Angeles NAACP addressed a Los Angeles "show us the living wage jobs" rally, as part of a national day of action, calling on Congress to pass the Martinez Jobs Bill. there were concurrent rallies in nearly 20 cities, organized by the Communist Party USA dominated National Labor-Community Coalition For Public Works Jobs.[11]

Rev. Jesse Jackson and Dolores Huerta, also agreed to address the rally.[12]

Cesar Chavez rally

On November 6 1999, a rally was held in Los Angeles, at Placita Olvera kiosk, calling for a holiday to mark the birth of Cesar Chavez. Contact for the rally was Evelina Alarcon of the United Farm Workers and the Communist Party USA.

Speakers included Dolores Huerta of the UFW, and Majority leader of the California State Senate, Richard Alarcon, who introduced Senate Bill-984, which would make March 31, Chavez's birthday a paid public holiday.

Also speaking were Los Angeles Board of Supervisors member Gloria Molina, who introduced a similar measure at county level, Art Pulaski, of the California State Federation of Labor executive, Los Angeles City Council member Jackie Goldberg, Los Angeles Federation of Labor executive member Miguel Contreras, and Paul Chavez, son of Cesar, and president of the National Farm Worker Service Center.[13]

National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression

From May 11-12, 1973, the Communist Party USA CPUSA created a new front out of the old Angela Davis Defense Organization and Angela Davis Defense Committees. It was called the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Dolores Huerta was both a sponsor and speaker at this conference, and was identified as Vice President, United Farmworkers Union . This information came from conference press releases, lists of participants, and summary report about it, all of which are found in a House Internal Security Committee hearing.[14]

Socialist Workers Party fronts

Huerta was an equal-opportunity endorse, sponsor and speaker for several American communist/marxist/trotskyite parties including the Socialist Workers Party SWP. One such example occurred at an October 12, 1973 rally at Columbia University to "to express solidarity with the thousands of political prisoners who have been tortured and murdered by the Chilean junta since the Sept. 11 coup. The U.S. Committee for Justice to Latin American Political Prisoners USLA organized the meeting."

The USLA was described as an SWP front in "Trotskyite Terrorist International", Hearings, SISS, July 24, 1975, pp. 66-67, with letterhead of staff and endorsers (some of who will be found in the "Visitors to North Vietnam/Hanoi During the War" KW page).

Public mention of Huerta and her UFWU (United Farm Workers Union as both a sponsor and speaker was found in the SWP weekly newspaper The Militant, October 19, 1973, p. 5, "National Action Week Hits Chile Repression" by SWP member Caroline Lund. A few excerpted paragraphs explain who was sponsoring the event and some of whom were endorsing it and participating in it.

"The actions are being organized by a number of organizations, primarily the U.S. Committee for Justice to Latin American Political Prisoners USLA, the Chile Solidarity Committee ChileSC (a significantly CPUSA influenced organization if not creation), Non-Intervention in Chile NICH (which had a lot of SDS members influence), and the North American Congress on Latin America NACLA, (an SDS creation)."

"A broad, united protest rally is scheduled in New York for Oct. 12. Initiated by USLA, the rally has the backing of the United Farm Workers Union; the Joint Board of the Fur, Leather and Machine Workers Union (controlled by the CPUSA); Carlos Feliciano Defense Committee (a defense group for the terrorists of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party PRSP); the Latin American Student Organization at Columbia University; Black Panther Party BPP; former Senator Eugene McCarthy; Joan Baez; Betty Friedman; Socialist Workers Party; International Socialists; and many others."

"Speakers are to include several eyewitnesses of the repression in Chile; Dolores Huerta of the Farmer Workers; Dr. Benjamin Spock; and other trade unionists and movement figures..."

In the October 26, 1973 issue of The Militant, a report was published about the Oct. 12th demonstration at Columbia University, "1300 at NYC rally demand justice for victims of brutal terror in Chile", by SWP leader Cindy Jacquith.

Regarding Dolores Huerta, Jacquith wrote:

"While defense of the junta's victims was the central theme of the rally, speakers expressed a wide range of views on the lessons that can be drawn from the Chilean experience."

"Black attornery Conrad Lynn and United Farm Workers UFW Vice-President Dolores Huerta both pointed to the serious defeat for the left that the coup represents. Lynn called it a "tragedy," likening it to "the crushing of the Spanish loyalists in the 1930's"."

"Huerta told the audience she grieved "for all the Latinos slain in Chile." She said the coup "is such a terrible, horrible thing that it is almost hard to speak about."".

A picture of Huerta at the speaker's podium appeared on the right side of the article with the caption: "Huerta: Express solidarity with those slain by the junta". P. 15.

Committee for Responsive Democracy

The Committee for Responsive Democracy began a series of hearings in New York, on November 13, 1990, on the "need for significant reform of the two party political system, as well as the feasibility of forming a new party". Sixteen hearings were planned, in eight major cities across the US. New York City Comptroller Liz Holtzman greeted the commission, saying that "many people don't see themselves as being represented".

Witnesses included Manhattan Borough president Ruth Messinger, Simon Gerson, chair of the Political Action and Legislative Commission of the Communist Party USA, Fern Winston of the Party's Womens Equality Commission. Civil Rights attorney Joseph Rauh urged work to invigorate the Democratic Party rather than turn to a third party.

Among the Commission's 49 members were former machinists Union president William Winpisinger, former California Supreme Court justice Rose Bird, former New Mexico governor Toney Anaya, environmentalist Barry Commoner, farm workers union leader Dolores Huerta, former Attorney general Ramsey Clark, author Barbara Ehrenreich, Joseph L, Rauh, Jr. and former Congressman and Presidential candidate John Anderson.[15]

Socialist Debs award

Every year since the mid 1960s the Indiana based Eugene V. Debs Foundation holds Eugene Debs Award Banquet in Terre Haute, to honor an approved social or labor activist. The 1993 honoree, was Dolores Huerta.[16]

Chicano movement

The 40th Anniversary Commemoration Committee of the Chicano Moratoriums was formed in the summer 2009 by the Chair of the National Chicano Moratorium Committee of August 29, 1970 along with two independent Chicano Movement historians whom although not of the baby boomer generation, have become inspired by the Movimiento.

The organization posted a list of significant “Chicano movement” activists on its website which included Dolores Huerta, a member of the United Farm Workers.[17]

Anti CCRI campaign

In 1996 Democratic Socialists of America activists in California were deeply involved in the unsuccessful struggle to defeat Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights initiative, which sought to ban "affirmative action". At DSA's 1995 National Convention, the organization made opposition to CCRI a "major focus for our Activist Agenda".

According to campaign co-ordinator, Sacramento DSA leader Duane Campbell, "several prominent DSAers also contributed to the effort against 209. DSA Honorary Chair Dolores Huerta was a tireless campaigner and fundraiser. Huerta, alongwith Jesse Jackson, Eleanor Smeal, Patricia Ireland and Elizabeth Toledo, participated in a Freedom Bus tour throughout California, Each of them spoke from their own views on the significance of this campaign in building a spirit of hope and of struggle. The tour, well covered in the media, clearty showed the need to work together to build broad coalitions of labor, civil rights, and women's organizations..[18]

"Making Trouble"

'Making Trouble- Building a Radical Youth Movement' was held April 17-19, 1998 Berkeley, California.

"Making Trouble" is a conference for young radicals from all over California to meet, form coalitions, and get informed. We will focus on the Prison Industrial Complex and the contemporary Labor Movement, but there will also be workshops on Environmental Justice, the Unz initiative, Art and Revolution, Immigration, Third World Organizing, Economic Globalization, Affirmative Action, Reproductive Rights, and much more.

Keynote Speaker: Barbara Ehrenreich

Invited speakers included;[19]

2003 DSA conference

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DSA Leader

The Democratic Socialists of America leadership structure in 2009 consisted of[20];

Huerta and Hillary Clinton

Huerta with Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton

Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta and her partner Richard Chavez, brother of the late Cesar Chavez, kicked off a two-day, seven county tour of California, December 22, 2007, attending "Holiday Parties for Hillary" in Fresno, Sacramento, Richmond, and San Francisco with hundreds of Hillary Clinton supporters.

At the parties, Huerta joined local elected officials and residents to phone bank area voters in support of Clinton. Holiday party goers took to the streets and went door-to-door and to local shopping centers to talk to voters.

"We're traveling throughout the state to deliver the message from Hillary Clinton that when she's in the White House, no American will be invisible to her," said Dolores Huerta. "As President, Hillary will ensure we have universal health care, affordable housing, quality education and the opportunity to achieve the American dream."

The "Holiday Parties for Hillary" was also the launch of the Clinton Campaign's new and ongoing voter contact effort known as Bring-Your-Own-Phone parties. The BYOP parties allow supporters to use their personal phones to come together and make hundreds of calls to area residents in support of Hillary Clinton.

The statewide tour started on Saturday morning in the City of Fresno at the home of David L. Schecter, Associate Professor of California State University at Fresno, and special guests included Fresno Councilmember Cynthia Sterling. The tour continued in Sacramento, attending a party hosted by campaign volunteers and supporters at the home of Karen Thomas and John McFadden. Early evening, Dolores was in the Bay Area attending the Richmond Holiday Party at the home of Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia and Jennifer Peck with guests Pinole Councilmember Stephen Tilton, Berkeley Councilmember Kriss Worthington, Oakland Councilmember Jean Quan and Mayor of San Leandro Anthony B. Santos.

The first day of the tour concluded in San Francisco at the home of Miguel Bustos and Alex Rivera. In attendance were Supervisor Jose Sandoval and Maria Echaveste, former Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton.[22]

SB1070 march, Phoenix

The Phoenix 5 mile march and rally held Saturday, May 29, 2010, in solidarity against SB1070 was quite a sight to see.

SEIU Executive VP Eliseo Medina joined a laundry list of influential minds including Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, National Day Laborer Organizing Network Executive Director Pablo Alvarado, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Co-founder of United Farm Workers Dolores Huerta, singers Jenni Rivera and Alex Lora of El Tri.[23]

UFW 50th Anniversary convention

The United Farm Workers' 50th Anniversary convention was held Saturday, May 19,2012. Rabobank Convention Center. Keene, California.

• A three-hour program (1-4 p.m.) honoring the UFW pioneers, with special segments on the 1962 founding convention, 1965-1970 grape strikers and boycotters, 1966 peregrinos who marched from Delano to Sacramento, the Filipino American grape strikers and the farm worker ministry. Among the speakers were Dolores Huerta, Chris Hartmire and Luis Valdez, whose Teatro Campesino performed old union songs and actos throughout the program.

• Other speakers included California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton and Maria Elena Durazo, former farm worker and head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.[24]

Presidential Medal of Freedom

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On April 27, 2012 President Barack Obama named Dolores Huerta as one of the thirteen new recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

President Obama said, "These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our nation. They’ve challenged us, they’ve inspired us, and they've made the world a better place. I look forward to recognizing them with this award."[25]

The "Cuban 5"

The Cuban 5 should be released and returned to their families, declared a resolution passed unanimously by the Coalition of Labor Union Women at its national convention in November 2013.

Citing its longstanding role as an advocate for human rights, peace, solidarity and friendly relations with working women around the world, CLUW also urged its members to contact Secretary of State John Kerry, urging the U.S. State Department to grant a visa to Adriana Perez, wife of Cuban 5 prisoner Gerardo Hernandez, in order that she may visit with her husband.

"We Americans would certainly have appreciated it if, before it happened, someone had uncovered and prevented the horrid terrorist plot of 9/11, " said CLUW delegate Diane Mohney, speaking in favor of the resolution. "That's what the Cuban 5 were doing for their country," not spying, she added. Mohney, a retired Philadelphia school nurse.

The resolution was submitted by the Chicago chapter of the coalition. It cited a compelling video by one of the organization's founders, United Farm Workers leader Dolores Huerta. In the video, Huerta dramatically calls for freedom for the five in order "to show the world that the U.S. is a country of compassion, honesty and fairness."[26]

External links

References

  1. http://www.poderpac.com/inthenews.html
  2. Democratic Left • Spring 2010
  3. Democratic left, Fall 2009
  4. Democratic Left • Spring 2010
  5. Democratic Left • Spring 2010
  6. Democratic Left • Spring 2010
  7. Information Digest, September 19, 1980, page 331
  8. Information Digest, Septemer 19, 1980, p 333
  9. National Peace Action Coalition (NPAC) and Peoples Coalition for Peace & Justice (PCPJ), Part 1, Hearings, House Internal Security Committee HISC, May 18-21, 1971.
  10. The Communist Party Youth Program: Documents of the Subversive Activities Control Board SACB on Advanceand Burning Issues Youth Organizations, Center for Marxist Education CME, and the Young Workers Liberation League YWLL, House Internal Security Committee, April, 1974, and Fifteenth Report Un-American Activities in California, 1970, Report of the Senate Fact-Finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities, to the 1970 Regular Session of the California legislature, Sacramento, California.
  11. PWW, October 11, 1997, page 6
  12. PWW, October 18, 1997, page 1
  13. PWW, October 30, 1999, page 3]
  14. Revolutionary Activities Directed Toward the Administration of Penal or Correctional Systems, Part 4, Testimony of Richard R. Norusis, Investigator, Minority Staff, Hearings, House Internal Security Committee, July 25, 1973 (in Part), Including Index, HISC, esp. pp. 1749-52, which is her address to the conference.
  15. PWW December 8, 1990, page 4
  16. Eugene V. Debs Foundation homepage, accessed March 14, 2011
  17. Chicano Moratorium website: Moratorium Participants (accessed on April 16, 2010)
  18. Democratic Left • November / December 1996 • page 19
  19. Dem. Left Issue 1998, page 6
  20. http://www.dsausa.org/about/structure.html
  21. http://www.dsausa.org/about/staff.html
  22. Press Release - Dolores Huerta Kicks Off "Holiday Parties for Hillary" December 22, 2007
  23. SEIU Blog, National Resistance to SB 1070 Escalates; Thousands March in Phoenix on May 29th By Kate Thomas June 1, 2010
  24. Talking Union, U.F.W. 50th. Anniversary Convention,Posted on May 2, 2012 by dcampbell1
  25. Obama 2012 website, President Obama honors Dolores Huerta with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, By Adrian Saenz, National Latino Vote Director on April 27, 2012
  26. Union women call for freedom of Cuban 5, by: ROBERTA WOOD december 17 2013