Friday, May 05, 2006

The Border and La Causa

Happy Cinqo de Mayo! Brandon has a wonderful post that describes the events that are commemorated today, and Lisa Tolliver looks at the cultural (and commercial) aspects (HT: Natalie.)



I had wanted to do something about Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, but alas, baby stuff kept me busy. I did, however, find this letter, written by Chavez to the Los Angeles Times (March 13, 1977, Pro Quest subscription required), which blows out of the water the idea that Chavez was a relentless opponent of illegal immigrants:
Illegal immigration is not a problem peculiar to the United States and Mexico. It exists wherever highly industrialized nations border underdeveloped countries . . . . At issue are larger questions of world economics and inequalities in standards of living.

For our part, we will not decide who eats and who does not. This is not a decision for mortal men to make. If growers can import illegal workers to exploit them, we can organize illegal workers to liberate them. We fought hard to ensure that California's farm labor law would guarantee the right to vote and participate in collective bargaining to all farm workers, regardless of residence status. (Emphasis mine)


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