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Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Centuryby Randy Shaw
Synopses & Reviews
Cesar Chavez is the most prominent Latino in United States history books, and much has been written about Chavez and the United Farm Worker's heyday in the 1960s and '70s. But left untold has been their ongoing impact on 21st century social justice movements. Beyond the Fields unearths this legacy, and describes how Chavez and the UFW's imprint can be found in the modern reshaping of the American labor movement, the building of Latino political power, the transformation of Los Angeles and California politics, the fight for environmental justice, and the burgeoning national movement for immigrant rights. Many of the ideas, tactics, and strategies that Chavez and the UFW initiated or revivedand#151;including the boycott, the fast, clergy-labor partnerships and door-to-door voter outreachand#151;are now so commonplace that their roots in the farmworkers' movement is forgotten.
This powerful book also describes how the UFW became the era's leading incubator of young activist talent, creating a generation of skilled alumni who went on to play critical roles in progressive campaigns. UFW volunteers and staff were dedicated to furthering economic justice, and many devoted their post-UFW lives working for social change. When Barack Obama adopted and#147;Yes We Canand#8221; as his 2008 campaign theme, he confirmed that the spirit of and#147;Si Se Puedeand#8221; has never been stronger, and that it still provides the clearest roadmap for achieving greater social and economic justice in the United States.
"Bay Area community organizer Shaw (Reclaiming America) examines the enduring influence of the United Farm Workers' model of grassroots organization, which he pointedly credits with the majority of labor's successes since the 1960s and a wellspring of 21st-century movements for democratic rights. He retells the story of Cesar Chavez and the UFW's unprecedented success in mobilizing a broad coalition as well as winning political clout and material gains for workers through such tactics as boycotts, appeals to spiritual values, fasting and community-centered organizing. Shaw describes a generation of young activists passing through the UFW's crucible of idealism, sacrifice and individual initiative, and into a lifetime of service to social justice causes; indeed, it was the very success of the UFW's campaigns that contributed, ironically, to a gradual power drain on the union in the 1980s. Leading organizers and political strategists like Susan Sachen and Marshall Ganz went on to work for other unions like SEIU or were hired away by mainstream electoral campaigns. Finally, Shaw evaluates the capacities of today's labor movement to build on the UFW's legacy of self-directed, on-the-ground training, political solidarity and far-reaching social idealism." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"If the Documentation Project could enforce a required reading list, Randy Shaw's Beyond the Fields would top the list. For former UFW Volunteers, whether their service was one month, one year, or a decade, Randy Shaw's book is a MUST READ."and#151;LeRoy Chatfield, Farmworkers Documentation Project
"An important, stunningly original, and forcefully argued book."and#151;Ruth Milkman, Director of the UCLA Institute of Industrial Relations and author of L.A. Story: Immigrant Workers and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement
"The most powerful social earthquake in California history struck the farm town of Delano in 1965 and, as Randy Shaw explains in this fascinating, invaluable study, its aftershocks are still shaking workplaces and elections across America."and#151;Mike Davis, author of In Praise of Barbarians
"Offers a powerful and moving account of how the UFW transformed people's lives, instilling a lifetime commitment to social justice. Shaw shows how the spirit, strategies, and tactics of the UFW in its heyday still provide workers, immigrants, faith-based activists and others seeking social justice with a roadmap to win local struggles and national campaigns. If you want to understand the roots of 'Si se Puede' (Yes, We Can), read this book."and#151;Fred Ross, Jr, UFW community and labor organizer
About the Author
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, both from UC Press.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1. Cesar Chavez and the UFW: Revival of the Consumer Boycott
2. The UFW Boycott Transformed
3. Building the Clergy-Labor Alliance: Reviving the Fast
4. Yes We Cane: Miami's Janitors Struggle for Justice
5. The UFW Battles Pesticides
6. The UFW Grassroots Political Model: Legislative Advocacy and Voter Outreach
7. The Labor-Latino Alliance
8. Building the Immigrant Rights Movement: Sand#237; Se Puede!
9. The Immigrant Rights Movement Explodes
10. The Decline of the UFW
11. Harvesting Justice beyond the Fields: The Ongoing Legacy of
Conclusion: Fostering Social Justice in the Twenty-first Century
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History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Hispanic American Studies