As his biographer Miriam Pawel writes, “a surplus of labor enabled growers to treat workers as little more that interchangeable parts, cheaper and easier to replace than machines.”No kidding, it turns out St. Cesar understood micro-economics: supply and demand. N.B., "wets" is short for "wetbacks," a derogatory term rarely used today.
Pawel quotes Chavez as saying, “It looks almost impossible to start some effective program to get these people their jobs back from the braceros.”
Pawel relates Chavez’s response, from a tape recording of the meeting: “Chavez turned on (Dolores) Huerta angrily. ‘No, a spade’s a spade,’ he said. ‘You guys get these hang-ups. Goddamn it, how do we build a union? They’re wets, you know. They’re wets, and let’s go after them.’”
CA might want to think twice about celebrating his birthday today as a way to honor legal and illegal Hispanics. Perhaps Cinco de Mayo would be less controversial.