Archive for September 7th, 2009

by jhwygirl

I find myself in the very disheartening position of having had to remove a post that I and many have found offensive. It’s not something I take lightly, nor something I relish.

People whom I’ve voted for (and people I haven’t) have voted contrary to my own private wishes many times. Some of these include my very favorite council people. Those same have made statements with which I’ve disagreed, just as they have proposed legislation or resolutions or ordinances with which I’ve opposed.

I can not imagine a vote or a proposal that deserves to draw the reaction that was posted today.

Frankly – I can’t fathom how it is any different from teabaggers standing with Hitleresque Obama signs and shouting down reformers.

I try and not take myself too seriously – but I will say that in the 5 1/2 years I’ve been at this (a neophyte by many standards), I have and continue to take pride in what I do. This stuff takes time. It’s rarely something that is slapped together in 5 minutes. It reflects personally on me, and frankly, progressives in generally. I have posted at Daily Kos, Left in the West and Montana Netroots (those of which, very sadly, were lost to hackers) – and there are 764 previous posts here. Some of them have bombed…and yep, I’ve even made some I’ve regretted along the way.

4&20 is a community-type of blog. There are a number of authors and a variety of opinions. We don’t always agree with each other, but I do respect everyone’s right to put out there what it is they have to say.

The situation here that precipitated this unprecedented removal of a post has crossed a line that of responsibility to the readers of this blog. I’m not naive enough to think that there aren’t people out there that will agree with this. In fact, I’m not naive enough to think that this might not bring on an attack or two against me. If that is the case, so be it.

There’s a certain amount of catharsis to writing…and and great amount of catharsis to writing stuff that is put out there for others to read. Blogging is selfish, in that sense. It serves for me as a way to vent and to articulate what, oddly, many never listened to when, in my pre-blogging days, I spoke publicly and privately to water quality, land use planning, affordable housing and other natural resources issues (to name a few).

I get that catharsis. It’s needed. To some degree, it’s what blogging is about. In this case, it crossed the line.

by JC

“We are human beings and we should be treated with dignity”


Here is an excerpt from “Bearing the fruits of their labor,” from the Institute for Southern Studies. Some not-so-light reading on worker justice for your Labor Day’s relaxation and BBQ:

Bearing the fruits of their labor

“We used to own our slaves — now we just rent them.”

Those were the words a Florida farmer used to describe his migrant farmworker labor force to reporter Edward R. Murrow in the classic 1960 Thanksgiving television documentary Harvest of Shame. The documentary would go on to shock U.S. viewers with its depiction of the bleak plight of the Florida farmworkers who put food on America’s tables.

Fast forward 50 years later and still much of their story remains the same. Just replace the African-American migrants of the 1960s with the Mexican, Central American and Haitian immigrants of today.

These farmworkers are responsible for putting food on most of our tables, yet they remain among our country’s most vulnerable groups. These tomato pickers endure low pay and dangerous job conditions. They work seven days a week, between 10 to 12 hours with no overtime pay, no health insurance, no sick days, no benefits and no job security. They often have wages withheld, face beatings and violence, and live in deplorable living conditions where they are packed like sardines into trailers. In the most extreme cases they are enslaved.

With some U.S. labor laws still mired in the legacy of racism, laws offer few protections for farmworkers who are not guaranteed the legal right to overtime pay or collective bargaining, and who can be fired at will. Three-fifths of all farm workers in the U.S. earn less than $10,000 a year.

Despite the harsh conditions of their labor, over the past few years a small group of migrant workers from southwest Florida have been making waves across the country in their battle for worker justice. They have waged one of the most successful labor campaigns in a generation.

Led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a South Florida-based grassroots workers’ rights organization, these farmworkers have gone on to win major, landmark victories against some of the largest corporations in the United States… [read the rest of the story]

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