Joe Kenehan Center

Thursday, August 22, 2002
 
NAFTA At Work

I’ve put Joseph Stiglitz’ new book on the flaws of market-driven globalization, Globalization and Its Discontents, on hold at the library, but luckily it hasn’t come in yet because I wouldn’t have had time to read it anyway.

In the meantime, labor journalist David Bacon provides a detailed account on the huge hurdles that Mexican workers have to jump to try to organize independent unions. On paper, Mexican workers have a lot of rights written into Mexican law and even into the labor side agreement of NAFTA. But in practice those laws are worthless. Now corporate interests want Mexico to get rid of those rights, even if they're just on paper.


The Long March

The Farmworkers are marching through California’s Central Valley to keep the heat on Gov. Gray Davis to sign the bill to help give migrant farmworkers a stronger voice about their working conditions.

Some highlights: a warm reception from Anglo working people along the march. Also, former California Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa -- who nearly won an upset victory to become mayor of Los Angeles -- shows up in the crowd. I was working in Los Angeles while Villaraigosa was running for mayor. I still have a Villaraigosa sticker on my truck even though I live in Washington State. Antonio is probably the most interesting politician in the progressive movement today -- a charismatic, intelligent figure who is able to articulate a compelling vision for a multi-racial agenda of jobs and progress. Kind of like RFK with an East L.A. accent.


Apples and Trees

I don’t really care much about Ann Coulter. In comparison to her loony harangues, my late grandfather’s racist, anti-Semitic cracks now seem like cogently-argued Edmund Burke polemics.

But I will say that it is very telling that Coulter grew up in the privileged environs of New Canaan, Connecticut, the daughter of a corporate attorney for Phelps Dodge Corporation. (Follow link and scroll about half way down.)

In 1983 Phelps Dodge provoked a vicious strike at its mine in Morenci, New Mexico and eventually destroyed the unions there. (Writer Barbara Kingsolver chronicled the strike in her book Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983.)

Monday, August 19, 2002
 
Strike Hiatus

The Joe Kenehan Center is on a short hiatus while the staff helps out on a strike.