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Chávez, César (1927–1993) and the United Farm Workers

Cyrus Ernesto Zirakzadeh

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Northern America » United States of America

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics bibliography, revolution, rural, strikes

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00329.x


Toward the end of the twentieth century, César Chávez promoted a distinctive type of social rebellion in the United States, which became associated with the phrase la Causa and with a hybrid poor-people's organization, the National Farm Workers Association (later renamed United Farm Workers, or UFW). Chávez, a passionate activist who knew how to arouse listeners, celebrated the spirited and unruly citizen who confronts bosses and government officials alike and who refuses to suffer injustice silently. Conversely, Chávez distrusted the selfish ambitions of not only the wealthy but of elected politicians (including self-described liberals), and sought to pressure government leaders into action that they (in Chávez's opinion) would normally not undertake if exposed to convincing arguments alone. César Chávez (center), leader of the National Farm Workers' Association (NFWA), walks a picket line in California in 1996. In 1962 Chávez, along with Philip Vera Cruz, Dolores Huerta, and Larry Itliong, founded what later became the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) to urge migrant workers to join in the fight for better wages and workers' rights. (Paul Fusco/Magnum Photos) In his autobiography Chávez attributes his moral sympathies largely to his parents' experiences, their egalitarian maxims, their commitments to unions, their hostility toward violence, and their compassion toward others ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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