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One member of POWER discussed the situation of wages in the global economy. People in the workshop asked a lot of questions and shared their experiences of working the domestic work industry and in agriculture. Towards the end of the workshop Grace Chang ended by discussing how slavery and trafficking are becoming important issues only when linked to sex trafficking but in fact trafficking for agriculture, the domestic industry and the service industry is far more common than sex trafficking. The problem, she points out, is that people focusing on prostitution because it is titillating. She continued stating that if the government tackled the real issue of trafficking in the other above mentioned industries, the economy would be drastically effect because it relies so heavily on cheap and “flexible” labor (field notes 2007).

At the end of the workshop, an announcement was made that all of the organizations present along with others were going to form a national network for domestic and agricultural worker rights. Those in attendance rose and cheered.

I spoke with Julia Perkins at the end of the workshop. She told me that the CIW is has a high percentage of Mexican indigenous migrants, mostly from Southern Mexico and from Chiapas in particular. Many of them she stated had been involved in labor movements back in Mexico. The CIW began organizing in 1993 on the heels of the Zapatista movement and had felt a strong affinity since. She stated that when the “Other Campaign” was launched in 2005, there was a great interest on the part of the membership to be involved to the extent that it was possible. In 2006, they sent Melody Gonzalez to Chiapas to attend the international gathering sponsored by the EZLN because they wanted to show solidarity with the EZLN.

In September of 2005, the EZLN held a gathering to organize the Other Campaign and invited participants from all over Mexico and the world. A representative of the CIW attended and spoke these words. The fact that the CIW sent a representative, Melody Gonzalez all the way to southern Mexico demonstrates the deeply felt commitment to the Zapatista political vision.

We understand that our struggle is already part of the Sixth thus we commit ourselves to the Sixth continuing the work we are already doing. And we also wish to strengthen our paths of communication and dialogue with the organizations and people in Mexico that also struggle against free trade and in favor of fair trade. We see this trip to Chiapas as an opportunity to learn what is being done and what is going to be done in Mexico. We are constantly learning from other struggles and this is part of our consciousness-raising. Many of our friends there [in Immokalee] are from Chiapas and since back in the day they have talked of the struggle here. We commit ourselves to continue learning from the struggle here and in all parts of Mexico, and also to assure ourselves that the Zapatista word continues being expressed in our work. We also wish to leave some materials from our struggle to share our experience with you. My compañeros in Immokalee send their greetings and brotherly hugs to the Zapatista communities and say that although you don’t know them in person, they know that work, commitment and consciousness converts us into compañeros. We are with you and the Sixth (Macani 2007).

The CIW’s participation in the Other Campaign is much more than a superficial or a temporal connection. Many of the workers in the CIW hail from southern rural Mexico, many even from the state of Chiapas. Their world view is shaped by a history of colonialism. Now, globalization has now thrown them into the thick of new working class struggles in the United States. Zapatismo, through the Other Campaign, is a political vision that offers immigrants of color in the U.S. a subject position to organize for their rights without having to wait for a political party or a union to protect them.

As Julia Perkins, a staffer for the last seven years with the CIW stated to me during an interview at the World Social Forum, “Most of our membership immigrated here in the 1980s and 1990s fleeing the ravages of war and structural adjustment policies in places like Mexico, Guatemala, and Haiti.. they brought their histories and experiences organizing with them to Florida and that shapes their view of organizing and social change” (Interview with Perkins 2007).

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