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Why David Sometimes WinsLeadership, Strategy and the Organization in the California Farm Worker Movement$
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Marshall Ganz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195162011

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162011.001.0001

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A Storm Gathers

A Storm Gathers

Two Responses (1963–1965)

(p.93) Four A Storm Gathers
Why David Sometimes Wins

Marshall Ganz

Oxford University Press

Between 1963 and 1965, the imminent demise of the bracero program and the gathering momentum of the civil rights movement created new organizing opportunities and new resources for farm worker organizers. As the farm labor market grew unsettled, the arena of contention shifted from Washington to California and from legislative committees to the fields. Both the AFL-CIO's Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) and the Farm Workers Association (FWA) found they had to respond to these new conditions. In early 1965, both groups were drawn reluctantly into strikes. The difference was that the FWA leaders had the strategic capacity to learn from this experience in ways that the AWOC leadership did not. The FWA leaders actually enhanced their strategic capacity by expanding and diversifying their team. This development set the stage for the radically different ways the two groups would conduct the Delano grape strike beginning in September 1965.

Keywords:   farm workers, farm worker organization, labor organizing, Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, AWOC, Farm Workers Association, FWA, strategic capacity, Delano grape strike

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