Farmworkers—The Basis and Bottom of the Food Chain

Events in recent years have triggered a reawakening across the United States of a movement that acknowledges the importance of worker rights and of protecting the livelihoods of this country’s working class. Historically, however, one group of workers has routinely been excluded from the gains made by the larger labor movement, i.e. farmworkers—the people who weed, pick, harvest, and pack, often in 100 degree weather, while routinely being exposed to hazardous chemicals.

Approximately 700,000 farmworkers reside in California at any given time. Farm employment is unstable and the average farmworker is employed for only seven months of the year (nine months in California). For female workers the employment season is even shorter. Jobs are scarce, even during high season. In California, about 350,000 jobs are available from April to October and 275,000 from November to March. Historically, migrant workers returned home during the winter months. However, with the increased militarization of the border, this practice has become harder and many migrants remain in the U.S. out of fear even in the rainy season when they have little or no income. And although a majority of farmworkers are male, women and children are increasingly crossing the border and entering the workforce, as men can no longer maintain a seasonal migration.

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Santa Ana’s Sanctuary Struggle - We Will Not Leave Anyone Behind

By Carolina S. Sarmiento

“Permanecer  y Prosperar” Remain and Flourish,  (cc) 2017 Equity for All.

On January 18th, 2017, three days before Donald Trump assumed the presidency, Santa Ana, California enacted a law making it a sanctuary city. Santa Ana is Orange County’s second largest city, but stands in sharp contrast to the white affluent and conservative portrait that is most often represented in the media. Unlike larger cities like Los Angeles and New York that are also at the forefront of the sanctuary movement, Santa Ana is a mid-sized city with approximately 350,000 people, of which over 85 percent identified as Latino in the US Census. It stands out as one of the largest Mexican and immigrant cities and despite the county’s Republican political history, Santa Ana has an all-Latino all-Democratic Party city council.

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Expanding Sanctuary

Expand sanctuary convening in Philadelphia. ©2017 Steve PaveyBy Karina Muñiz-Pagán

The word sanctuary means a sacred place of refuge and protection where predators are controlled and hunting is illegal.1 What does sanctuary mean today when the Federal government’s renewed calls for “law and order” are euphemisms for predatory attacks on communities of color?

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The Economics of Climate Change

By Noam Chomsky

Last June, a group of MIT scientists released the results of what they describe as the most comprehensive modeling of how much hotter the Earth’s climate will get in this century. It shows that “without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated” a couple of years ago. It could be even worse than that because their model does not fully incorporate positive feedbacks that can occur, such as the melting of permafrost in the Arctic regions caused by the increased temperature. It will release huge amounts of methane, which is worse than carbon dioxide. 

“There’s no way the world can or should take these risks,” says the lead scientist on the project. “The least-cost option to lower the risk is to start now and steadily transform the global energy system over the coming decades to low or zero greenhouse gas-emitting technologies.”

At present there’s very little sign of that happening. Furthermore, while new technologies are essential, the problems go well beyond that. In fact, they go beyond the current technical debates in Congress about how to work out cap-and-trade devices. We have to face something more far-reaching—the need to reverse the huge state-corporate and social engineering projects of the post-Second World War period, which very consciously promoted an energy-wasting and environmentally destructive fossil fuel economy.

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