diane in beautiful guerneville
Eliza Lindsay wrote:
> On Sun, 20 Dec 1998, joel b gruver wrote:
> I have a few comments more or less relevant to your question. They do not
> answer your question directly but may provide some resources and
> > Hello to all...
> > Today, I read that 42% of the agricultural laborers in California between
> > 1995 and 1997 were illegal aliens.
> Well, honestly I think "nation states" are imagined communities (Ben
> Andersen's book by that name inspired my use of "imagined communities".)
> And, I don't like the word illegal aliens. I prefer undocumented and
> documented workers. FWIW
> > I am wondering if anyone can comment on what sort of structural changes
> > would be necessary for California to meet its agricultural
> > labor needs using legal laborers ? What volume of total laborers does 42%
> Ah heck. You know the answer. How high is unemployment in the usa in
> general? What we need is a complete change of our current agsystem. Yeah,
> that's the ticket. Sustainable agriculture has human as well as
> environmental dismensions.
> This is a tricky issue, it's like Pandora's Box. I'm going to try an
> analogy that helps me think about it a little bit. If you don't share my
> persepctive on the "drug wars" then it may not help you, but I hope it
> does a little bit.
> I don't know how you understand the "drug wars". But if like me you
> believe the govt and the status quo system benefits from the illegality of
> drugs and all the money put into "enforcement" and "incarceration" and
> that the solution is not more war but a creative and deep rooted social
> change. And, if, like me, you believe there is a lot of focusing on the
> wrong issues/facts and a lot of downright falsehoods circulating all of
> which helps to keep the system (which includes the incredibly costly in
> any way you consider costs, lives, money, etc., drug wars) going...And you
> think we've therefore got to be really careful in where we get our
> information and how we think about it...you might try this same outlook on
> the issue of undocumented workers (in general, not just in agriculture).
> That is, you might think hmmm, the status quo system benefits from
> undocumented workers. Let's look and see how. Now, we know farmers don't
> benefit much form the current systems so maybe even though we're being
> told they benefit from using undocumented workers, maybe they really
> don't. Let's look and see if that's so. What about this war on
> "illegal aliens"? Who's benefitting? What's really going on? AS the
> question what's really driving the influx of drugs (and it's prior
> question is there really an influx?) are good questions so
> too here: What's driving the influx, if there really is one (this too is a
> good prior question) of undocumented workers? Hmmm, and
> the myths begin to unravel and we see that, we need social change, deep
> rooted social change to bring about more justice to farm workers and
> farmers and to end our belief in imagined communities.....
> Pieces that connect to these issues.
> H-2 status and the Bracero Bill's attempts to make things worse.
> Interestingly, several of Oregon's finest were sponsors of the Bracero
> Bill in congress (attempts to take away further rights from H-2 workers,
> as if they had much of any to begin with, and attempts to make it easier
> for "farmers" to temporarily import workers through use of H-2). PCUN one
> of our local farm workers' organizers and advocay non-profits has done a
> lot to educate and protest this. They point out that we don't actually
> even really have a shortage of willing and able ag workers in Oregon,
> contrary to the standard media portrayals. (When we accept that the
> hoopla around undocumented workers is full of piss/vinegar and hot steam
> we realize that we're going to be surprised as we learn what's really
> going on.) I think PCUN has a home page as well.
> Consider the irony of the INS busying itself with the threats to economic
> stability and national securitiy presented by "illegal aliens" while at
> the same time congress is trying to extend the use of H-2 workers and take
> away more of their marginal rights and thereby take away more of the
> bargaining power than currrent farm workers have.... HMMMMMM...I hate to
> sound like a died in the wool leftist but it IS one of those cases where
> all us losers: The farmers who are being squeezed out, and all the farm
> workers from the h-2, to the us citizen, to the undocumented to
> the...end consumer should be in it together, should band together to
> resist and change....What's that about Workers of the World Unite? :-)
> Check out America's Farmworkers home page....
> Also, there is a neat little documentary called I think "H-2 Worker". It's
> set in sugar cane harvest in Florida. Really, California is a big ag state
> but you'll find documented/undocumented workers lots of places and abuse
> of farm workers in every state...ah what a nice cheery thought :-)
> A very different set of questions comes up then the ones you ask if you
> consider the issues from the perspectives I am suggesting. It's not easy
> to do since almost all of our standard information including lots of
> academic and historical work bolsters the status quo perspective. But
> dissenting views and histories are out there.
> Hope this wasn't too esoteric for you, and hope all ag grad students would
> be required to study social history with an ag focus...and not just status
> quo dogma history.
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