Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the Legacy

Celebrate Labor History

Chavez

“When we are really  honest with ourselves, we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us.  So it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of people we are. ..I am convinced that the truest act of courage..is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally nonviolent struggle for justice.”
Cesar Chavez (1927-1993)

by Duane Campbell

On March 31, 2017, Eleven states and numerous cities will hold holidays celebrating labor and Latino leader Cesar Chavez.

Conferences, marches and celebrations will occur in numerous cities and particularly in rural areas of the nation. A recent film Cesar Chavez: An American Hero, starring Michael Peña as Cesar Chavez and Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta presents important parts of this union story.

The current UFW leadership, as well as former UFW leaders and current DSA Honorary Chairs Eliseo Medina and Dolores Huerta are recognized leaders in the ongoing efforts to achieve real  immigration reform in the nation.

UFW President Arturo Rodriquez says, “We urge Republicans to abandon their political games that hurt millions of hard-working, taxpaying immigrants and their families, and help us finish the job by passing legislation such as the comprehensive reform bill that was approved by the Senate on a bipartisan vote in June 2013,” Rodriguez said. “The UFW will not rest until the President’s deferred relief is enacted and a permanent immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants, is signed into law.” http://www.UFW.org

Let us be clear. Chavez was religious, but he was not a saint. Neither were the growers, their Teamster collaborators, nor corporate agribusiness saints. Celebrations should not be about hero worship or uncritical praise, nor should we ignore the present oppression of farm workers in the U.S. Continue reading

Labor Veteran Dolores Huerta on What’s at Stake in the 2016 Elections

huertaAlly Boguhn, Rewire

Since the founding along with Cesar Chaves and others of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union, through her current work in supporting union democracy, civic engagement and empowerment of women and youth in disadvantaged communities, Huerta’s influence has been profound. The 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. .

Republican nominee Donald Trump launched his campaign for president in June 2015 with a speech notoriously claiming [1] Mexican immigrants to the United States “are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and their rapists.”
Since then, both Trump’s campaign [2] and the Republican Party at large have continued to rely upon anti-immigrant [3] and anti-Latino rhetoric to drum up support. Take for example, this year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where Sheriff Joe Arpaio—whose department came under fire [4] earlier this year for racially profiling Latinos—was invited to take the stage to push [5] Trump’s proposed 2,000-mile border wall. Arpaio told the Arizona Republic that Trump’s campaign had worked with the sheriff to finalize his speech.
This June, just a day shy of the anniversary of Trump’s entrance into the presidential race, People for the American Way and CASA in Action hosted an event highlighting what they deemed to be the presumptive Republican nominee’s “Year of Hate.”
Among the advocates speaking at the event was legendary civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, who worked alongside [6] César Chávez in the farm workers’ movement. Speaking by phone the next day with Rewire, Huerta—who has endorsed [7] Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton—detailed the importance of Latinos getting involved in the 2016 election, and what she sees as being at stake for the community.
The Trump campaign is “promoting a culture of violence,” Huerta told Rewire, adding that it “is not just limited to the rallies,” which have sometimes ended in violent incidents [8], “but when he is attacking Mexicans, and gays, and women, and making fun of disabled people.”

Huerta didn’t just see this kind of rhetoric as harmful to Latinos. When asked about its effect on the country at large, she suggested it affected not only those who already held racist beliefs, but also people living in the communities of color those people may then target. “For those people who are already racist, it sort of reinforces their racism,” she said. “I think people have their own frustrations in their lives and they take it out on immigrants, they take it out on women. And I think that it really endangers so many people of color.” Continue reading

California Teachers’ Unions Oppose Vergara

Huerta-SliderCalifornia Unions Appeal Decision in Meritless Vergara Lawsuit
Civil Rights Icon Dolores Huerta Joins Educators and Community Supporters in Urging Court to Overturn Flawed Decision for the Sake of All Students

LOS ANGELES — Attorneys representing more than 400,000 members of the California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers appeared in the California Court of Appeal today in downtown Los Angeles, to ask that the June 2014 ruling in the deceptive and meritless Vergara v. State of California be overturned for the sake of California’s six million students.

At a press conference before arguments were presented to the Court, Attorney Michael Rubin laid out the case for reversing the faulty opinion of Judge Rolf M. Treu. Appearing with Rubin were longtime union and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta ( A DSA Honorary Chair), southern California elementary school teacher Gaby Ibarra, and Martha Sanchez, a concerned parent who believes current laws work best for students.

Stating that Judge Treu’s decision striking down five California Education Code provisions “is without support in law or fact,” the speakers predicted that Treu’s numerous errors will be clearly visible to the appeals court, and the earlier Superior Court judgment will be overturned. Treu’s decision was stayed pending appeal. But if upheld, it would cause great harm to public education. Continue reading

If We Do Not Vote, The Haters Will Win – Dolores Huerta

by Duane Campbell

Dolores Huerta, who co-founded United Farmworkers with Cesar Chavez and who is an Honorary Chair of Democratic Socialists of America, spoke during a news conference Tuesday morning Nov. 10, before the Republican candidates debate  in Milwaukee  and said it’s “really unfortunate” that GOP leaders are trying to win by attacking innocent people.

Huerta has led movements for organizing union rights and  social justice  since the founding along with Cesar Chavez, Philip Vera Cruz and others  of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. She continues through her current work in supporting union democracy,  civic engagement and promoting Latino Voter participation.

Organizing Latino voter education and outreach is an important part of defeating Republicans in 2016. And, it is working.poll

Huerta calls Donald Trump the face of the Republican Party, and accuses him of dehumanizing Latinos. With organized work, GOP positions on immigration and union rights may sink Republicans in the 2016 elections.

Huerta says Trump’s primary opponents are no better.

“When we think about people like Rubio and Ted Cruz, even Jeb Bush, who speaks Spanish, they may have a Spanish last name — but they do not have a Latino heart because they don`t care about immigrants. They don`t care about our community,” Huerta said. Continue reading

Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and Why Unions are Needed

by Duane E. Campbell

On March 31, 2015, Eleven states and numerous cities will hold holidays celebrating labor and Latino leader Cesar Chavez. ChavezConferences, marches and celebrations will occur in numerous cities and particularly in rural areas of the nation. A recent film Cesar Chavez: An American Hero, starring Michael Peña as Cesar Chavez and Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta presents important parts of this union story.

The current UFW leadership, as well as former UFW leaders and current DSA Honorary Chairs Eliseo Medina and Dolores Huerta are recognized leaders in the ongoing efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform in the nation.

ArturoUFW President Arturo Rodriquez says, “We urge Republicans to abandon their political games that hurt millions of hard-working, taxpaying immigrants and their families, and help us finish the job by passing legislation such as the comprehensive reform bill that was approved by the Senate on a bipartisan vote in June 2013,” Rodriguez said.  Similar compromise proposals, negotiated by the UFW and the nation’s major agricultural employer associations, have passed the U.S. Senate multiple times over the last decade. The same proposal has won majority support in the House of Representatives, even though House GOP leaders have refused to permit a vote on the measure. “The UFW will not rest until the President’s deferred relief is enacted and a permanent immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants, is signed into law.” www.UFW.org Continue reading

Immigration Reform, Activism, and Moral Certainty

by Duane Campbell

English: Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice Preside...

English: Eliseo Medina, former Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union, testifying on immigration reform before the Subcommittee on Immigration of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, April 30, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An argument is being made in many places in the Latino community condemning Obama for his not taking executive action on immigration and condemning Civil Rights veterans such as DSA Honorary Chairs Dolores Huerta and Eliseo Medina for their positions of not condemning the Obama lack of action. Here is an example. http://voxxi.com/2014/09/24/latino-leaders-wrong-obama-immigration/

A problem with this effort is that attacking our allies does not move immigration policy forward. And, an argument from a position of moral correctness does not necessarily change policy. We need to be on the morally correct side, as Huerta and Medina are, but that is not enough. See prior posts on this blog about Medina and Huerta.

I learned this in the anti war movement against the war in Viet Nam. We had hundreds of thousands in the streets opposed to the war, but the war went on. 58,000 U.S. soldiers died, 100,000s were injured. Over 1.2 million Vietnamese died. Although we were morally correct, the war went on.

In El Salvador between 1982 and 1992 the U.S. backed government carried out a civil war against the population. At least 75,000 were killed. In Nicaragua between 19 79-1990 at leas 40,000 were killed. In Guatemala the civil war cost at least 200,000 lives. Our solidarity efforts in the U.S. were morally correct, but our efforts did not change U. S. policy.

Moral correctness does not change policy because political and economic power largely controls this country. We have a political oligarchy- the control of our government by the super rich. Our government is dominated by corporations. We need to study and to understand neoliberal capitalism. Then, we will need to go to work to change it.

In the current immigration debate. Continue reading

Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta recognized for their labor leadership

Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta recognized for their life long contributions to organized labor and social justice.

Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally.

Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cesar Chavez Day is a state holiday in California – one of eight states to recognize the  date, and one of the few holidays  in the nation  dedicated  to a labor leader.   Sacramento and dozens of cities, counties and labor federations will celebrate the life of Cesar Chavez on March 31, 2013.

The  year  2012 was the 50th. anniversary of the founding of the U.F.W.  by Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz and others.  The   celebrations focused  on  the struggle for union rights and justice in the fields of California.

The United Farm Workers  (UFW) was the  first successful union of farm workers in  U.S. history.  There had been more than ten prior attempts to build a farm workers union.   Each of the prior attempts  were destroyed by racism and corporate power. Chávez and Huerta  chose to build a union that incorporated the strategies of social movements and community organizing  and allied itself  with the churches, students,  and organized labor.  The successful creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing  in the Southwest  and contributed significantly to the birth of Latino politics in the U.S. Continue reading

Dolores Huerta given Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 29:  Civil rights and wom...

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 29: Civil rights and women’s advocate Dolores Huerta is presented with a Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama during an East Room event May 29, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. The Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, is 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. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Not accepting tales of its  own demise, in May of 2012 the UFW celebrated its 50th. anniversary at a convention in Bakersfield, California, with over 3,000 farm workers  in attendance.   President Arturo Rodriguez announced new contracts with improved wages and benefits in tomatoes fields  and in lettuce. On the final day, U.S.  Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dolores Huerta co founder of the UFW and a DSA Honorary Chair.  President Barack Obama send a video message of support to the convention and awarded the prize at a White House ceremony on May 30.    The convention planned its next decade of work.  That’s pretty good for an organization that some writers are  arguing  failed.

For a video on the award to Huerta see

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/social_issues/jan-june12/doloreshuerta_05-30.html

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Dolores Huerta to recieve Medal of Freedom from Obama

United Farm Workers President Arturo S. Rodriguez and Cesar Chavez Foundation President Paul F. Chavez issued the following joint statement from the farm worker movement’s Keene, Calif. headquarters on the announcement that President Obama will present Dolores Huerta with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Cesar Chavez once described Dolores Huerta as “completely fearless, both mentally and physically.”

Over six decades, Dolores Huerta put the nonviolent fight for civil and labor rights ahead of her personal interests, and sometimes before her personal safety. Like all the farm worker strikers and boycotters, she accepted a life of voluntary poverty for many decades. Her dynamic and inspiring leadership through the most difficult and turbulent times in the farm worker movement’s history established her not only as a leader of farm workers but as a role model for women and men across this nation and beyond.

We congratulate Dolores on receiving the nation’s highest civilian honor. No one is more deserving after a lifetime of self-sacrifice and deep dedication to defending the poorest and most abused people in our country.
Dolores Huerta is an Honorary Chair of DSA

Cesar Chavez Day marks 50th. Anniversary of the UFW

by Duane E.  Campbell

Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally.

Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cesar Chavez Day is a state holiday in California – one of eight states to recognize the  date, and one of the few holidays  in the nation  dedicated  to a labor leader.   Sacramento and dozens of cities, counties and labor federations will celebrate the life of Cesar Chavez on March 31, 2012,

On March 26, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis honored Cesar Chavez and the UFW founders by dedicating the auditorium at the Department of Labor in Chavez’s name.

Mexican labor leader Jose Humberto Montes de Oca of the SME, electrical workers union will lead the Sacramento  march on March 31.   Montes do Oca and the SME  in Mexico are fighting for survival against a repressive government.  In central Mexico 44,000 Electrical Power Workers (SME) were fired to  privatize the industry and destroy the union.

This year, 2012 is the 50th. anniversary of the founding of the U.F.W.  The Cesar Chavez celebrations focus on  the struggle for union rights and justice in the fields of California.  Along with Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz, and others, César created the United Farm Workers  (UFW) the first successful union of farm workers in  U.S. history.  There had been more than ten prior attempts to build a farm workers union. Continue reading