I don’t think any one event, or any one day, or any one action,
or any one confrontation wins or loses a battle. You keep that
in mind and be practical about it. It’s foolish then to try and
gamble everything on one roll of the dice—which is what violence
really gets down to.
I think the practical person has a better chance of dealing with
nonviolence than people who tend to be dreamers or who are
impractical. We’re not nonviolent because we want to save our
souls. We’re nonviolent because we want to get some social
justice for the workers.
If all you’re interested in is going around being nonviolent and so
concerned about saving yourself, at some point the whole thing
breaks down—you say to yourself,
‘Well, let them be violent, as long as I’m nonviolent.’
Or you begin to think it’s okay to lose the battle as long as you
remain nonviolent, the idea is that you have to win and be
nonviolent. That’s extremely important! You’ve got to be
nonviolent—and you’ve got to win with nonviolence! What do
the poor care about strange philosophies of nonviolence if it
doesn’t mean bread for them?
~ Cesar Chavez
|“We know we cannot be kind to animals until we stop exploiting them — exploiting animals in the name of science, exploiting animals in the name of sport, exploiting animals in the name of fashion, and yes, exploiting animals in the name of food.”
César Chávez a farm worker in California, who became a community organiser, labour leader and civil rights activist, and inspiration in non-violent campaigning for change.
Chávez, and Dolores Huerta, established the National Farm Workers Association, which became the United Farm Workers (UFW), and in the process showed what non-violent, compassionate, passionate activism can achieve.
In fighting for the rights of farm workers, the UFW was fighting for work place rights on behalf of a group of workers who had / have working conditions that very few other work places would find acceptable. As the recent death of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez due to heat stroke shows.
However, a family member says that Chávez was vegan. Camila Chavez, his niece, said: Cesar was a vegan. He didn’t eat any animal products. He was a vegan because he believed in animal rights but also for his health
Building on those who went before, Mexican Revolutionary – Emiliano Zapata, Martin Luther King, and Indian revolutionaries Nehru and Gandhi, he used as many tools as he could to gain rights for farm labourers.
|“There is no such thing as defeat in non-violence.”
31 March, César Chávez’s birthday, is a state holiday in California, in honour of his community service.
And in the way that Chávez was inspired by those who went before him, maybe he can inspire a new generation of animal rights activists, inspired by his slogan “Yes, you can” (Sí, se puede).
Perhaps, vegans could adopt that day also, for a day of Animal Rights activism, non-violent acts of Revolution and community vegan activism?
|“I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry and unhappy like we do. I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings.”
This video examines the legacy of Chávez, his fight for justice, human rights, work place safety, and even environmental protections with his attention to the use of pesticides in food production. Among those paying tribute are Robert Kennedy and Martin Sheen.