Chavez and the Farm Workers

By Ronald B. Taylor | Go to book overview

possible.The farm workers were stepping from the shadows of the Wheatland Riot and the Pixley massacre into the full glare of the sun.They were just beginning to sense the meaning of Walter Reuther's words: "There is no power like the power of free men working together in a just cause ..."


CHAPTER NINE : FIRST SUCCESSES

What had started six months earlier as an unplanned, ill-prepared farm labor dispute over wages in an obscure part of the San Joaquin Valley had developed into a burgeoning worker movement that was creating a momentum of its own. La Causa was like a runaway freight train rolling down a steep grade into a complex switching yard filled with alternative routes and blind sidings.

As the speed built up there was less and less time to contemplate or deliberate; long-range plans had to be brushed aside as each new crisis rushed into view; once a decision was made, it irrevocably altered the route; the onrush of the next crisis arose out of the last decision. There was no time for picking and choosing, no time for right and wrong, but only fleeting impressions of what seemed best.

This lack of control, this necessity to react to events, did not paralyze Cesar Chavez and his followers; rather, they seemed to thrive on the conflict and the result was that the movement developed a unique character, a character consistent with the life and environment of the seasonal farm worker.Cesar Chavez, as the son of a migrant farm worker, had learned to adapt to a life that had to be met day to day, a life that was chaotic and beyond the control of his parents.

But Chavez's life hadn't always been rootless.His highly romanticized memories of living on the family farm in the north Gila Valley gave him feeling for the land and — like the Mexican revolutionary, Emiliano Zapata — a feeling for

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Chavez and the Farm Workers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Chavez and the Farm Workers *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Chapter One - : the Farm Workers 1
  • Chapter Two - : the Union 13
  • Chapter Three - : A Bloody Past 36
  • Chapter Four - : Chavez 57
  • Chapter Five - : Early Organizing 75
  • Chapter Six - : La Causa 106
  • Chapter Seven - : Delano Grape Strike 129
  • Chapter Eight : Power Struggle 156
  • Chapter Nine : First Successes 180
  • Chapter Ten : the Fast 208
  • Chapter Eleven : the Teamsters Again 249
  • Chapter Twelve : Agribusiness Conspiracy 284
  • Suggested Reading 333
  • Index 335
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