During the weekend of November 6-8 members of the Las Vegas Industrial Workers of the World, in conjunction with Food Not Bombs Las Vegas and Southern NV ALL, attended the Living Without Borders encuentro sponsored by the United Coalition for Im/migrant Rights (U.C.I.R.), which was held at UNLV. On the final day of the encuerto, we took part in a demonstration against the Chipotle across from campus organized by MEChA de UNLV in support of the Student/Farmworker Alliance (S.F.A.) and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (C.I.W.) and other farm workers who often work very long hours for wages that average below the poverty level.
The LV IWW, along with Fellow Worker Paul Lenart from the Reno IWW, rallied with other groups from the encuerto in solidarity with fellow workers being exploited by agriculture suppliers in Florida and throughout the industry. The demonstration was for the most part uneventful and garnered some support from passing cars and bystanders. However, at one point a group of Metro policemen (at least 10) descended upon us to preserve order by demanding to know who our leaders were and arrogantly declaring they were going to "teach us how to protest" so they wouldn't "have to" arrest anyone. Things got a bit tense after we responded that we didn't believe in hierarchies and therefore had no leaders and Paul informed the officer who was trying to tutor us on protesting that we weren't required to walk in a circle, as his lesson plan called for us to do. Not long after, a Metro sergeant arrived, spoke to us briefly, agreed that we didn't need to walk in a circle, wished us luck, and told the other Metro officers to leave. The rest of the morning was once again pretty uneventful and rather fun in general. In addition to displaying signs to passersby, we also provided people entering or exiting Chipotle with printed information about the C.I.W.'s grievances, resulting in several instances where potential customers turned away.
The C.I.W. is a community-based organization composed mainly of Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida. They have been organizing workers in the agriculture industry since1993 to fight for fair wages, better working conditions, and more respect from bosses, among other issues. Since 2001, they have been using targeted boycotts of fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and other large tomato buyers to encourage them to agree to pay one penny per pound more for tomatoes and other produce directly to the workers who picked them. The resulting increase is minimal for the buyers (25 cents/box), but could increase the average farmworker's wages by 2/3's of the current approximate salary of $10,000/year. In the recent past, such boycotts have successfully led to agreements with Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, and Whole Foods Markets to participate in C.I.W.'s penny-per-pound program, as well as agreeing to require that their suppliers respect the rights and safety of farmworkers. In spite of marketing themselves as a socially responsible business and promising customers "Food with Integrity," Chipotle has repeatedly refused to sign those same agreements with C.I.W.
Posts Tagged ‘Living Without Borders’
Living Without Borders / Viviendo Sin Fronteras: an encuentro for immigration freedom and radical liberation. Nov. 6-8, 2009, Las Vegas, Nevada
The 2nd Annual Living Without Borders / Viviendo Sin Fronteras encuentro will be held the weekend of November 6-9, 2009, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! Register to attend if one of the folks who might be interested is you yourself!
Living Without Borders is an activist and community meeting devoted to freedom and dignity for all immigrants, to the struggle against international apartheid, to envisioning and working to build a world without government borders, and to radical social transformation that tears down all the walls, including both the coercively-imposed boundaries of nation-states and also all the other, interconnected forms of oppression, exploitation and domination that confine and constrain us. The encuentro is organized by the United Coalition for Im/migrant Rights in Las Vegas; after the success of the first conference in August of 2008, we decided to make it an annual event, in the hopes that it will bring folks together, start conversations, make connections, and establish itself as an ongoing, transformative presence in our communities.
Here’s what the organizers* have to say about this year’s goings-on in Vegas:
This year’s encuentro will be devoted to the theme ofBuilding Autonomous Communities y Celebrando Cambio Social.
We’ll be starting conversations, sharing knowledge, meeting, connecting.
There’ll be keynote addresses by author Rinku Sen (The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization), and by Hilda Garcia from La Mujer Obrera (an autonomous women’s community in El Paso, Texas).
There’ll be workshops on immigration freedom, the criminalization of immigrants, the interconnection of struggles, community organizing, activist skill-shares, defending social justice through language, and more.
There’ll be tabling space for participants to connect with artists and organizations in the community.
There’ll be meals to share, with a free breakfast and lunch for registered participants.
And there’ll be cultura, entertainment, and engagement — art, music, a bit of teatro rascuache, and hands-on activism for social justice.
We welcome anyone interested in freedom, equality and dignity for immigrants — in a discussion of how borders limit consciousness and how to break through them — in building autonomous communities and activism for social transformation. We hope to see you there!
Sound good? Then register and come on down. Consider signing up to table for your project or your organization. I think it’d be great to see a strong left-libertarian and anarchist presence at the encuentro.
Radicals, ALLies, agitators, Anarchists, left-libertarians, border-crossers, counter-economists, and everyone committed to tearing down the walls — see you there!