Caesar Chavez

In 1971 the Western Growers Association wanted Chavez in Federal Penitentiary.
They failed.

Today there is an enormous amount of talk about the divide between Red and Blue, which could be called the Second American Civil War.  But this is not a real divide,  it has been fostered in our minds to make it impossible for Americans to get traction for action, needed to enact real direct democracy.  To perpetuate the Divide we have been manipulated by the .001% using the major media, operatives, and a steady flow of money for payoffs.  They have rewritten history, changing the meaning of what it is to be a Conservative.  It was a CNN graphic artist who recently labeled the GOP as 'Reds'.  This is a lame joke.  
The grape boycott had won in 1970 using non-violent, militant protest as their tool. Started on September 8, 1965, Hispanics joined with the original Filipino effort, choosing the path of non-violence.   Chavez was a student of Gandhi, who was, himself was a student of Alice Paul.
Improved conditions had been hard-won. Cesar Chavez had put his life at risk, drawing attention nationally to their boycott with a hunger strike which lasted 25 days.  He had succeeded in gaining Port-a-Potties and better pay from the Western Growers Association (WGA).

Brock d'Avignon

Cesar Chavez

The California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), funded by the state and staffed by pro bono attorneys, had assisted with these. 
Before his death, Robert Kennedy had helped solve the problem faced by migratory families to ensure their children received earned academic credit for their school work records sent by satellite as the families moved on to new harvests.  (Pre-Internet!) Before, it had been usual for the laborer’s children to be denied graduation because their, perhaps, mailed records were lost or never caught up with them in six-week moves.  The solution was a satellite system contracted to Chavez and his United Farmworkers of California for ensuring records promptly followed each student to their new school. 
Despite the money and power of the Western Growers, farm laborers had won the right to organize. Their children would find ever-increasing opportunities opening to them.  The future held unfolding promise. 
The Western Growers Association (WGA) signed a contract enumerating the list of demands issued by Cesar Chavez, included port-a-potties for use in the fields.  Over those years, farmworkers had experienced active abuse and harassment by local sheriffs, enduring wretched living conditions, routine job injuries, deaths, polluted conditions, housing which was not as good as a dog house and no running water in many areas. 
But did anyone stop to wonder what the Western Growers Association thought about these recent events? 
In early July 1971, Brock d’Avignon, Editor-in-Chief of The New Horizon, an 8-page youth tabloid newspaper, about to be in its third issue, published in Los Angeles and Orange Counties - decided this was a hot topic.
New Horizon was read by 15,000 to 25,000 young people who supported Young Americans for Freedom; its editorial policy was Jeffersonian Libertarian.  At the time, Brock was Chair of the Orange County-Young Americans for Freedom (OC-YAF) Chapters.  As the YAF Chair, Brock had recently been in the news, challenging Nixon to stay home from China; and the California State Department of Equalization floor price for haircuts.    They had also protested the murder of 56-million Chinese political prisoners to keep Communist China out of the United Nations.  This appeared on nation-wide media.
Recently, they had done a 'Free Mark Huessey Protest'.  Huessey was held for six months for commenting to an East German, as he watched Soviet tanks roll by, that their country would be better off without the Soviets.  He was arrested for making the suggestion. 
Brock opened his phone book, located the Western Growers Association on Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, and arranged to go in for an interview.  At the same time, he provided the information needed for them to take out an ad.  1/16th of a page for $250.
Arriving at the WGA office on Wilshire Blvd., the receptionist in the business-like entry told Brock they were waiting for him upstairs.  The first gentleman greeted Brock as he came up the stairs, introducing himself as the President of the WGA, shaking Brock’s hand.  
Escorting Brock into the conference room, the president introduced their communications specialist and an attorney.
They sat down in a semi-circle, away from the conference table.  Brock asked for their point of view.  He said, “I understand that farming is a narrow profit-margin business.”  He told them about his own history picking oranges and lemons and his familiarity with barrios in Orange County. 
Brock expected a discussion of economics.  They immediately told Brock they were all for free enterprise.  But.  They wanted to pass a law against secondary boycotts at the retail level.  Because consumers could pressure retailers to pressure growers they were concerned “consumers were being deluded and propagandized,” said their communications specialist.
Brock said, “As far as I can tell the farmworkers want two things Port-a-Potties and a raise in pay for things like housing.”  Blank looks from the Growers.  “It seems to me that consumers would like to know their strawberries and food are not being pissed on.  For a couple of pennies a pound, you could provide that and look good.”  The Growers all laughed or chuckled at this, looking at each other.    They then sobered. 
The attorney said they were being denied the opportunity to be confronted by their accusers.  Brock, continuing, asked about the demand of farmworkers for contracts.    Western Growers did not want to make contact with UFWOC workers or to give their workers benefits. 
"If you don’t get what you want, what do you plan to do?"   Brock asked.
They told Brock they wanted to put Cesar Chavez in the Federal Penitentiary for the illegal use of the Migrant Farmworker Student School Record Satellite System, which Robert F. Kennedy had put in the care of Cesar Chavez.  The system costs $250,000, this being from a Federal Grant for education. Chavez was illegally using the satellite system for organizing UFWOC across the South-West.
Brock had asked several times about the cost to growers for raising the wages paid to farm workers.  No answer was forthcoming.  During the interview, the attorney slides the check for $250 across the table to Brock.  It was to be a display ad with their name, logo, slogan, address, and phone. 
Brock asked when they planned to get their lawyers to do this.  Pretty soon, pretty soon, they said, handing him a sheaf of papers with lots of statistics.  Sitting there, Brock had realized these men, and the organization they ran, were enemies of freedom willing to use State power against peaceful opponents.  He did not mention this to them, or the fact he very much supported secondary boycotts as a necessary tool to free enterprise.  
 After returning to the YAF office, d’Avignon called information and obtained the phone number for the United Farm Workers.  Dolores Huerta answered.  Brock told her he was doing a feature article for New Horizon, the largest youth newspaper in Southern California, and asked to talk directly to Cesar, saying, “I have some important information for Cesar; but I can only talk to him.”
When Cesar came on the line Brock said, after providing his name and publication, “I’m looking at a headline I do not want to publish.  It says, “Cesar Chavez thrown in Federal Pen for illegal use of the Migrant Student School Records Forwarding Satellite System (MSSRFSS).”  Brock paused,  “What I would like to write is, “Cesar Chavez leases the MSSRFSS to UFW for $1 a year.”
There was silence on the line for a long while. 
Cesar said, “Thanks, kid,” and hung up.   Read more about Cesar Chavez at the
Cesar Chavez Foundation


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Today there is an enormous amount of talk about the divide between Red and Blue, which could be called the Second American Civil War.  But this is not a real divide,  it has been fostered in our minds to make it impossible for Americans to get traction for action, needed to enact real direct democracy.  To perpetuate the Divide we have been manipulated by the .001% using the major media, operatives, and a steady flow of money for payoffs.  They have rewritten history, changing the meaning of what it is to be a Conservative, a Libertarian and a Liberal.  


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