¡Si se puede! (in celebration of the birthday of Cesar Chavez)


There have been early screenings of the new Diego Luna biopic about him, notably in LA, NYC, and disgustingly, the White House.  You may already know that Obomba appropriated ¡Si se puede!  (yes we can!) for his own campaign…  Clinton honored the UFW, Latinos, and Cesar by jamming NAFTA through, and Obomba?  Well, never mind.

This is the Offishull Trailer:


‘The story of Cesar Chavez‘ at the United Farm Workers website.

Illegal immigration is a hot-button topic in the current political landscape, but it is hardly a new issue. In January, 1948, a plane crashed carrying 28 migrant farmers being deported by the U.S. government. All 32 passengers were killed in this tragedy, but when newspapers and radio stations reported the incident they only mentioned the names of the pilot, co-pilot, stewardess and guard. The workers were described only as “deportees.”

This incensed Woody Guthrie, who felt the workers were just as human as the other victims. Thus inspired, he wrote a poem expressing the injustice of the situation. Since the workers’ names were not known – 60 years later, 12 of the victims are still unknown – he made up names.

Ten years later, Guthrie had been hospitalized at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital for what would later be diagnosed as Huntington’s disease. Although Guthrie was very much out of the public eye, learning his music became a rite of passage for the musicians in the burgeoning folk revival. Schoolteacher Martin Hoffman was inspired by Guthrie’s “Deportee” poem and set the words to music. The song was quickly passed around the folk community and Guthrie’s friend Pete Seeger added it to his repertoire.

Guthrie’s lyrics not only pay respect to the departed workers, but question the system that seduces workers to leave their families and risk their lives to find unsecured work under questionable conditions. In addition to the 28 workers who died in the plane crash, Guthrie jumps to first person and pays tribute to the other workers who either died on the job in America or perished trying to reach a better life.”

“We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died ‘neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same. “

After restoring humanity to the anonymous deportees and chronicling the plights of their families and countrymen, Guthrie delivers some damning questions in the final verse.

“Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except “deportees”?

7 responses to “¡Si se puede! (in celebration of the birthday of Cesar Chavez)

  1. Somewhat OT, wendye, but very much thanks for this reminder of the good cesar chavez, and even though the focus was different I think he’d approve Sunday’s spirited but peaceful protest in Albuquerque. (See my comment downpage at the following link):-


  2. i assume you mean james boyd’s summary execution? if so, yes, i’ve been reading and watching since it happened. anonymous has gotten in on it:


    this may have been the march. 25 protest, not yesterday’s; it’s a bit confusing, but good to see.

  3. Thank you, wendye; that was yesterday’s march. There was a second killing a day after the videoed one, but I don’t know the details on that. The Albuquerque police seem geared to triggering violence in a confused mind, of which sadly there are too many in that city. And the Justice Department seems to be footdragging on their investigation of the situation, so people are frustrated, parents of young men particularly fearful.

    Also, the mayor’s claim of ‘mayhem’ on the part of protestors does nothing to help the situation, which as far as I could see was peaceful on the part of the protestors. I was watching live coverage on tv, and no violence was reported when the tear gas was deployed.

  4. the one the following day was a name that reminded me of Redwine, but my mind works in images, not words sometimes. and the abq journal articles about it came in with text as grey lines in all three of y browsers; odd.

    but if you have time, and know how to find the place online, could you go on my ‘tooth’ thread and place the link so mafrc could ee more of your icons?

    i’m in a big mess here, trying to place our coop order online through our local natural food store’s account, and not making any sense of it, grrrr.

  5. yes, the second apd killing was alfred redwine:

    “As the video of Boyd’s murder went viral, the story began to garner national attention. The public outcry materialized in the form of a sizable protest on March 25th. Later that day, Alfred Redwine, 30, was killed by Albuquerque police. Multiple reports suggest that witnesses claim to have seen Redwine holding a gun to his own head – but never pointing it at officers. Witnesses also say that the police officers shot him without giving him a chance to surrender.”


    the apd chief of police looks a lot like robert gates. brrrrr

  6. Thanks, wendye. Remembering conversations we had back in the day with realitychecker, who is and was as far as I know very much in favor of concealed carry laws, it now does strike me that such are a real boon to police overkill perpetrators – since how does an officer know that cellphone isn’t a weapon?

    All of us are thereby concealedcarry operatives, and there is no way we can appear harmless thanks to such ‘helpfully protective’ legalities. I sure wish I could have brought up this real life consequence to rc at the time. It is far more real than the protection aspect – and I think statistics would bear that out in Albuquerque.

  7. i dunno, ww; a lot of cops need no confusion to shoot people, esp. the Disposable ones like mister boyd. here, i think, is a big part of the problem: too much dhs equipment, money, and preferential veteran hires (they know how to use the equipmment, *and* learned only too well about *the enemy*. this is from apd chief eden’s resume:

    “Major Accomplishments:
    Created the Transitions with Honor program that facilitates entry by Armed Forces personnel with appropriate job classification into civilian law enforcement. Worked with The U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Army, New Mexico Department of Veteran’s Services and New Mexico National Guard to develop civilian curriculum, and New Mexico State Legislature to adopt necessary legislative changes.”

    Click to access Eden-Resume.pdf

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