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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Obama File 69 The Communists, Obama and the Cesar Chavez Holiday Campaign

Obama file 68 here

For several years a leading Communist Party USA activist has been campaigning to honor the memory of late Chicano Farm Workers Union leader Cesar Chavez with a national holiday.

The campaign has already been successful in California;

On August 18th, the state of California recognized that legacy when Governor Gray Davis signed into law the creation of an official state holiday which will be celebrated starting in 2001 on Cesar Chavez’s birthday March 31st. Also established will be a Cesar Chavez day of learning and service in the state’s public schools where the state’s youth will be taught about Cesar and his union.

But the campaign is working to extend the holiday nationwide.

The mission of Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday, a public benefit organization, is to work for national recognition of Cesar E. Chavez on his birthday March 31. We are forming national, state and local coalitions; organizing volunteer committees; and providing education about the value to our nation of honoring Cesar E. Chavez.

The campaign's director is Californian based activist Evelina Alarcon-who has held several senior positions in the Communist Party USA, including chair of the party's Southern California District and Secretary of its National Mexican American Equality Commission.

Alarcon clearly views the Chavez campaign as a communist campaign-with the potential to build the party's influence;

If someone would have asked me one year ago, can my District really lead thousands? I probably would of hesitated. But today, I say yes, because a few comrades in my district are literally leading a movement of thousands in California for the Cesar Chavez holiday. We are a key part of the core of leaders who are coordinating the whole campaign...

Our participation has opened many formerly closed doors. The California leaders who agreed to my being the public leader and state coordinator of the Cesar Chavez holiday campaign are prominent statewide and even national leaders. Most of them know that I am a Communist. Has this built the Party's influence? Yes. Has it built the Party's credibility? Yes. Is it opening new doors to us in other areas of labor and people's movements? Yes.

Understandably Evelina Alarcon was over the moon in April 2008 when no less a figure than Democratic presidential primary candidate Barack Obama came out in support of a Cesar Chavez Holiday.

From the Cesar Chavez National Holiday website.

April 1, 2008 Washington DC--Evelina Alarcon, Executive Director of Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday welcomed the backing for a Cesar Chavez national holiday from Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama who issued a statement on Cesar Chavez’s birthday Monday, March 31, 2008.

“We at Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday appreciate the backing of a national holiday for Cesar Chavez from presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama. That support is crucial because it takes the signature of a President to establish the holiday along with the Congress’s approval,” stated Evelina Alarcon.

Several others in Obama's circle are also big Cesar Chavez fans, including Los Angeles mayor and appointee to Obama's Transition Economic Advisory Board, Antonio Villaraigosa-who endorses the national holiday campaign.

Villaraigosa marched with Chavez as a teenager and also worked for Chavez's friend and colleague, leading Southern California Communist Party member Bert Corona.

Villaraigosa is reportedly a close friend of both Evelina Alarcon and her brother Los Angeles Councilman Richard Alarcon.

According to the Communist Party's Peoples Weekly World of June 20 1996;

The Southern California Friends of the People's Weekly World tribute to two of Los Angeles' finest labor leaders, Jerry Acosta and Gilbert Cedillo, became a dynamic rally of elected officials, activists, labor and community leaders in solidarity with labor struggles and in the fight to defeat the ultra-right in November.

"The People's Weekly World and all of us in this room feel very strongly about who we honor today," said Evelina Alarcon, chair of the Southern California District and national secretary of the Communist Party USA, one of the emcees of the tribute...

State Assemblyman Antonio Villaraigoza sent a message and 17 elected officials and more than 50 labor leaders put their names in the program book honoring Cedillo and Acosta...

Presentations to the honorees were also made by...Antonio Aguilar, on behalf of State Senator Hilda Solis, California's first Latina elected to the State Senate...

Hilda Solis is now Obama's Labor Secretary and also a Cesar Chavez admirer. When still in the US Congress Solis sponsored House Resolution 76 which urges the establishment and observation of a legal public holiday in honor of Cesar Chavez.

Not content with presidential candidate Obama's support, Evelina Alarcon went after another member of the Obama family-Barack Obama's younger sister Maya Soetoro-Ng.

According to the LA Progressive website June 22 2008

Addressing a largely Latino audience in East Los Angeles yesterday, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng shared stories about her childhood with her older brother, Barack Obama, and the effect he has had on her life. Held in El Sereno’s Hecho en Mexico restaurant, the event drew more than a hundred enthusiastic community activists, local elected officials, and regular citizens...

Clearly designed to draw support to her brother’s presidential candidacy from two key voting blocs—women and Latinos...

Evelina Alarcon (pictured below with Soetoro-Ng), a notable Obama supporter and the sister of long-time Los Angeles politician Richard Alarcon, presented a poster to Obama’s sister commemorating the life of Cesar Chavez.

Alarcon recounted the accomplishments of the late Chicano leader and argued persuasively for honoring his accomplishments with a national holiday. Reminding those in attendance that Barack Obama supports the call to make Cesar Chavez’s birthday a national holiday. Alarcon trusts that if Obama is elected president the holiday will become a reality.

Obama has been quoted recently to say:“As farmworkers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages, we find strength in what Cesar Chavez accomplished so many years ago and we should honor him for what he’s taught us about making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation. That’s why I support the call to make Cesar Chavez’s birthday a national holiday. It’s time to recognize the contributions of this American icon to the ongoing efforts to perfect our union.”

The anniversary of Cesar Chavez's birthday is due March 31.

It will be very interesting to see what President Obama does to progress "notable Obama supporter" Evelina Alarcon's goal of a Cesar Chavez national holiday.

Obama file 70 here


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