New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Archive for the ‘David Bacon’

Immigration and Solidarity

June 30, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Bacon, Economy, Politics

Charting the Growing Ties Between Mexican and U.S. Labor

by David Bacon

One indispensable part of education and solidarity is greater contact between Mexican union organizers and their U.S. counterparts.  The base for that contact already exists in the massive movement of people between the two countries.

Miners fired in Cananea, or electrical workers fired in Mexico City, become workers in Phoenix, Los Angeles and New York.  Twelve million Mexican workers in the U.S. are a natural base of support for Mexican unions.  They bring with them the experience of the battles waged by their unions.  They can raise money and support.  Their families are still living in Mexico, and many are active in political and labor campaigns.  As workers and union members in the U.S., they can help win support from U.S. unions for the battles taking place in Mexico.

This is not a new idea. (more…)

Solidarity on the Border

June 10, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Bacon, Economy, Politics

Cooperative Efforts Link U.S.-Mexico Labor Movements

by David Bacon

The growth of cross-border solidarity today is taking place at a time when U.S. penetration of Mexico is growing — economically, politically, and even militarily.  While the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico has it’s own special characteristics, it is also part of a global system of production, distribution, and consumption.  It is not just a bilateral relationship.

Jobs go from the U.S. and Canada to Mexico in order to cut labor costs.  But from Mexico those same jobs go China or Bangladesh or dozens of other countries, where labor costs are even lower.  As important, the threat to move those jobs, experienced by workers in the U.S. from the 1970s onwards, are now common in Mexico.  Those threats force concessions on wages. In Sony’s huge Nuevo Laredo factory, for instance, that threat was used to make workers agree to an indefinite temporary employment status, even though Mexican law prohibited it. (more…)

Justice, Equality, and a Decent Life

April 26, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, David Bacon, Economy

Decades After General Strike, Bay Area Workers Continue Struggle

by David Bacon

In the 150-year history of workers in the San Francisco Bay Area, the watershed event was one that happened over 70 years ago — the San Francisco general strike. That year, sailors, longshoremen, and other maritime workers shut down all the ports on the West Coast, trying to form a union and end favoritism, low wages and grueling 10- and 12-hour days. Ship owners deployed tanks and guns on the waterfront and tried to break the strike [3].

At the peak of this bitter labor war, police fired into crowds of strikers, killing two union activists. Then workers shut down the entire city in a general strike, and for four days, nothing moved in San Francisco [4]. The strike gave workers a sense of power described in a verse in the union song Solidarity Forever[5]: “Without our brain and muscle, not a single wheel can turn.” (more…)