Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez, one of America's great citizens, lived within the tradition of the non-violent practices of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, St. Francis of Assisi and, of course, Jesus Christ, whose non-violent tenets are completely ignored by all too many who shout his name loudest while wrapping their greed and ambitions in his mantle and the flag...

He came to his destiny the hard way. The son of migrant farm workers who spoke only Spanish at home, Chavez and his brother attended 37 schools by the time he graduated from the 8th grade, the end of his formal education. He hated the Anglo schools and the racism he encountered there. He was a self-taught man who never stopped learning. He read. He worked. He spoke. He listened to his friends as well as his enemies. Chavez was a practical organizer who did not let his integrity and idealism get in the way of his vision. We need reminding that in 1969 he told Peter Matthiessen, "People can be organized for the most ridiculous things. Look at the John Birch Society. Look at Hitler. The reactionaries are always better organizers. The right has a lot of discipline that the left lacks. The left always dilutes itself. Instead of merging to go after the common enemy, the left splinters, and the splinters go after one another. Meanwhile the right keeps after its objective, pounding away, pounding away." He had a large library of books on philosophy, economics, cooperatives, unions, biographies on Gandhi and the Kennedy brothers, and he lived by his credo that "The end of all education should surely be service to others."

That last line is something most law students should consider reflecting upon...


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