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

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2020 VISION: Vision—The UFW established a foundational model for modern-day activism with its ideas, tactics, base, and messaging. If we study history to learn from our mistakes and avoid repeating them, Shaw’s study of Chavez and the United Farm Workers is a manual for modern-day activists that unpacks the activist playbook and creates a vision for a labor movement that serves the times and the people.


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 revived--including the boycott, the fast, clergy-labor partnerships and door-to-door voter outreach--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 "Yes We Can" as his 2008 campaign theme, he confirmed that the spirit of "Si Se Puede" has never been stronger, and that it still provides the clearest roadmap for achieving greater social and economic justice in the United States.

About the Author

Randy Shaw is the Director of San Francisco's Tenderloin Housing Clinic, and is Editor of the online daily newspaper, His previous books are The Activist's Handbook and Reclaiming America, both from UC Press.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780520251076
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: January 1st, 2009
Pages: 368
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Created At: 3/20/2014 04:55pm
Last Updated At: 9/27/2018 11:05pm