The former farm workers organizer now fronts for corporate Democrats and cashes checks.
“The problem, and the solution, is always a matter of role-models and optics, the stuff of identity politics.”
Just when one hoped she would fade away into a postage stamp, United Farm Workers co-founder and darling of the neoliberal establishment, Dolores Huerta, is at it again. One would think she might have arrived at some contrition by now— by being Hillary’s surrogate instead of supporting Sanders, she helped usher in the Trump regime. (And, of course, one of Trump’s boys went on a murderous anti-Mexican rampage in Texas.) But Huerta has been deeply invested in the non-profit industrial complex for years, is even the head of her own foundation, a 501c3 named after herself— so she knows better than to stand up to the corporate masters who run the non-profit game, and every other game that pays. If she did, she would be out of business. Hucksters like her need social injustice in order to peddle “social justice.”
“Huerta has been deeply invested in the non-profit industrial complex for years.”
Huerta appeared recently on Democracy Now, opposite Sanders supporter Dr. Cornel West. Huerta, it was announced (why am I not surprised?), is the co-chair of Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign— along with a “progressive” who’s seen more progressive days, Black California congresswoman Barbara Lee. A potent mix I would say: Black misleader plus Brown misleader equals diversity con. Huerta’s sad performance consisted of generalizing about how wonderful Harris is, while not responding to criticisms of Harris’s reactionary political history. In fact, Huerta was so not up to challenging the Democratic Party neoliberal agenda that she did not have much to say at all; during the segment, as West connected dots in his critique of austerity and empire, it sometimes seemed as though Huerta had disappeared, was not even on the show. Then she would be asked a question, respond with a bit of fluff, before West continued with an actual analysis.
“Huerta’s sad performance consisted of generalizing about how wonderful Harris is, while not responding to criticisms of Harris’s reactionary political history.”
Notwithstanding Biden’s racism and unwavering service to corporate Amerika, it is hard to find a candidate who can live up to Hillary’s vile hypocrisy and penchant for violence. But if anyone has the sociopathic nature, as well as a proven track record for inflicting pain on the most dispossessed, that would be Harris. She worked dutifully at the other end of Bill & Hillary’s enhanced prison machine, locking up Black and Brown “super predators”— and making sure they stayed locked up to “work” for slave wages fighting fires in California. Harris even got off by terrorizing those not yet imprisoned, laughing at low-income mothers who feared being jailed as a consequence of her scheme while San Francisco D.A., a threat to lock up and fine the parents of truant children. Harris’s potential for brutality writ large is downright frightening. For someone who has not yet had the “opportunity” to savage communities on a global stage, like Hillary’s bloodletting around the world, Harris demonstrates great promise, even finding humor, like Hillary, in other people’s suffering. But back to Harris’s sista in the diversity hustle, Dolores Huerta. When West brought up Harris’s failure as California attorney general to prosecute Trump’s head of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin. for foreclosure violations, (a swindle which disproportionately robbed Black Americans of their homes) — Huerta shamelessly claimed she had not heard of the scandal.
“Harris worked dutifully at the other end of Bill & Hillary’s enhanced prison machine, locking up Black and Brown ‘super predators.’”
It is hard to take Huerta seriously, except as an enabler of capital and empire. But here in Los Angeles, KPFK radio, the local Pacifica affiliate, is even more nuts about Huerta than it is about “Russian interference in our elections.” Recently I learned during one KPFK installment of Doloresmania that local Latinx academics and artists had successfully lobbied Jose Huizar, a Los Angeles Democratic councilman, to establish a Dolores Huerta Square in his district. Since this amounts to little more than a placard, their next goal, their real goal, is to get a Dolores Huerta street— hopefully to intersect (I am not making this up) with the already existing Cesar Chavez Avenue. In the estimation of “inclusion” activists, Latinx youth are not realizing their potential because we are not highlighting the achievements of icons and celebrities. The problem, and the solution, is always a matter of role-models and optics, the stuff of identity politics. Huizar’s district has been hit hard by gentrification, but instead of riding him about that, the “inclusion” activists want to rename a street. I suppose they would rather not ruin their inclusion dream by thinking too hard about the possibility that in ten years it might be hipsters making that street their own, while Brown working-class folk end up ethnically cleansed from their own neighborhood and exiled to the hinterlands.
Unfortunately, there is a glut of faux left Latinx misleaders in every sector, from politicians, to union officials, academics, artists, and hucksters in the non-profit industrial complex. Forget about the corner of Chavez and Huerta. If the broader Latinx community remains tethered to the neoliberal agenda of the Democratic Party and its servants in the Brown misleadership class, we will continue to remain stranded at the intersection of austerity and endless war.
Quetzal Cáceres is a Xicanx educator and socialist living in Yanga (Los Angeles), land of the indigenous Tongva people.