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Indybay Feature

Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century

Date:
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Time:
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Event Type:
Speaker
Organizer/Author:
Andrea Buffa
Location Details:
YWCA Berkeley
2600 Bancroft Way (at Bowditch Street)
Berkeley, CA

Join us for an evening with Randy Shaw, author of the new book Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century. In Beyond the Fields, Shaw reveals the untold story of how the spirit of “Si Se Puede” that began with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in the 1960s still sets the course for today’s social justice movements. Shaw finds that the influence of Chavez and the UFW has ranged far and wide: in labor campaigns like Justice for Janitors, in the building of Latino political power, in the fight for environmental justice, in the growing national movement for immigrant rights, and even in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. In fact, many of the ideas, tactics and strategies that Chavez and the UFW so skillfully employed, like grassroots organizing and the cultivation of young activist talent, were integrated into the Obama campaign and even overseen by former UFW disciples like Marshall Ganz.

Randy Shaw is the Director of San Francisco's Tenderloin Housing Clinic, and is editor of the online daily newspaper BeyondChron.org. His previous books are The Activist's Handbook and Reclaiming America.

"Randy Shaw shows how the spirit, strategies, and tactics of the UFW in its heyday still strengthen the U.S. labor movement."
-Eliseo Medina, former member UFW Executive Board, now Executive Vice President of SEIU

Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, Institute for the Study of Social Change, Chicano Studies, Institute of Governmental Studies, and others.
Added to the calendar on Fri, Jan 9, 2009 5:32PM

Comments (Hide Comments)
by Aaron Aarons (indy [at] aarons.f-m.fm)
"In fact, many of the ideas, tactics and strategies that Chavez and the UFW so skillfully employed, like grassroots organizing and the cultivation of young activist talent, were integrated into the Obama campaign and even overseen by former UFW disciples like Marshall Ganz."

At least with Chavez and the UFW, there was some pretense of struggle against the ruling class, or part of it. The Obama campaign, OTOH, proved that "grassroots organizing", where the "grassroots" don't debate and decide policy but merely act as tools of those who do, can easily serve to strengthen the domination of the ruling class rather than weaken it.

By the way, for all the energy that went into supporting Obama instead of fighting for real social change, the only difference if Clinton had won would have been that she would have been President and Obama would have been Secretary of State. Otherwise, the composition of the government would have been pretty much the same.
by rank-and-file #1
With no disrespect to UC Berkeley's Chicano Studies and Labor Studies Depts., it is a disgrace that Shaw speaks about the UFW, Chavez, and Unions when he has no respect for the SEIU union members who work in his non-profit housing organization. The SEIU 1021 rank and file members at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic (of which Shaw is the reigning emperor/CEO for the past two decades) don't get the same acknowledgment or fair treatment.

Check out the interview with Shaw and worker Nate Holmes on kpfa's morning show a couple of months ago:
http://kpfa.org/archives/index.php?arch=29577
(Don't get caught up by the slickster lawyer talk by Shaw, he is a liar and an elite who has no respect for the rank and file. )
The interview starts at about minute '35 (or 7:35am).

The Black THC worker, Nate Holmes, was recently fired by Shaw for Union activity exposing management abuses. There are also practices to drive out Black and Latino workers with Union leadership (i.e., shop stewards). The members are currently fighting to put Nate back on the job. Nate had been a desk clerk at the THC, serving homeless and low-income tenants, for the past 10 years.

For those of you going to this event, make sure you question him on this.
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