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

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Overview

"Deftly tracing the legacy of Cesar Chavez and the UFW, Randy Shaw finds their influence in the grassroots electoral model that now dominates progressive political campaigns; in the modern reshaping of the American labor movement; in the growth of Latino political power; in the fight for environmental justice; in the burgeoning national movement for immigrant rights; and elsewhere. Many of the ideas, tactics, an strategies that Chavez and the UFW initiated or revived - the consumer boycott, clergy-labor partnerships, and grassroots voter outreach - are now so commonplace that their roots in the farmworkers' movement have been forgotten." Beyond the Fields also describes how the UFW became the era's leading incubator of young activist talent. The group spawned a generation of skilled alumni who went on to play key roles in a wide range of social justice struggles and became mentors to new generations of activists. Shaw recounts the inspiring life stories of many of these UFW alumni, offering a rare glimpse into how young people's lives can be transformed when they join with others to make a positive difference in the world.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
"A seminal new work not only for historians and devotees of the Chicano Movement, and the UFW in particular, but for all those working for progressive causes."--The Sixties

"Invaluable for anyone interested in the evolution of unionization over the past forty years."--The Washington Monthly

"A useful resource for anyone interested in organizing, activism, or social movements."--Daily Kos

"Examines the enduring influence of the United Farm Workers' model of grassroots organization." Starred Review--Publishers Weekly

"[An] important study."--Z Magazine

The Sixties - Susan Marie Green

“A seminal new work not only for historians and devotees of the Chicano Movement, and the UFW in particular, but for all those working for progressive causes.”
The Washington Monthly - T. A. Frank

“Invaluable for anyone interested in the evolution of unionization over the past forty years.”
Daily Kos - Misslaura

“A useful resource for anyone interested in organizing, activism, or social movements.”
The Washington Monthly

“Invaluable for anyone interested in the evolution of unionization over the past forty years.”
Z Magazine - Steve Early

“[An] important study.”
Labor - Bill Knight

“Shows the enduring value of the UFW’s approach . . . on the job and in the community.”
Labor Studies Journal

A serious and reflective account.
Talking Union Blog - Chris Tiedemann

“Shaw’s book provides valuable history to guide activists in the battles to come, and is an inspiring read.”
Colorlines: Race Culture Action - Victor Corral

“Shaw does a stellar job of writing the history of the UFW and its key figures.”
Journal Amer Ethnic History - Juan R. Garc���a

“A thoughtful, informative, and provocative book.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520268043
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 762,614
  • Product dimensions: 6.94 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet 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.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1 Cesar Chavez and the UFW: Revival of the Consumer Boycott 13

2 The UFW Boycott Transformed 51

3 Building the Clergy-Labor Alliance: Reviving the Fast 75

4 Yes We Cane: Miami's Janitors Struggle for Justice 97

5 The UFW Battles Pesticides 121

6 The UFW Grassroots Political Model: Legislative Advocacy and Voter Outreach 142

7 The Labor-Latino Alliance 165

8 Building the Immigrant Rights Movement: Si Se Puede! 193

9 The Immigrant Rights Movement Explodes 226

10 The Decline of the UFW 249

11 Harvesting Justice beyond the Fields: The Ongoing Legacy of UFW Alumni 268

Conclusion: Fostering Social Justice in the Twenty-first Century 295

Notes 305

Index 335

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