LOS ANGELES, CA, August 9 –– After another day of CHALLENGE sales, house visits, and study groups, L.A. Summer Project volunteers took a trip through history when one of the main PL organizers of the migrant worker struggles, Epifanio Camacho, hosted a “carne asada” (BBQ). With the smell of collectively-prepared barbeque in the background and under a large shade tree, PLP volunteers squeezed into Camacho’s yard, many unsure of what to expect.
Camacho began speaking of the political work in Delano of organizing workers, comparing it to birds spreading seeds. In Delano, often workers from Mexico would learn communist politics and then return home where the lessons and politics they learned could one day bear fruit. This is one way that communism spreads around the world. Camacho fielded questions from PL youth and former Delano Project participants alike, opening up discussions that are still echoing through the Summer Project
Camacho spoke about his experiences working with Cesar Chavez, the misleader of the United Farm Workers Union. When asked if he thought Chavez, who would regularly turn workers over to immigration officers and make deals with bosses behind the workers backs, should be given a holiday, he instantly said, “Hell no!” He told stories of how Chavez went on a hunger strike to stop violence against scabs (the bosses canonized him in the media). Later Camacho told how he and the workers of his town organized a demonstration against the fascist police who were terrorizing and killing workers. The militant demonstration was held in the police station were the workers threatened to burn the station down if they did not stop the fascist attacks. This action chased out the cops –– almost 20 years ago –– and they never came back. His stories were inspirational to everyone.
Just like the work in Delano sent seeds of communist thought through Mexico, so will the L.A. and Seattle Summer Project participants spread the lessons we’re learning and the excitement we’re building through CHALLENGE sales, study groups, and collective living across the country when we return to our home cities.J
(Camacho’s memoirs are on PLP.org)