I am Fernando E. Gapasin, a Chicano/Pilipino/American, working class, male, age 62, who was born ... more
I am Fernando E. Gapasin, a Chicano/Pilipino/American, working class, male, age 62, who was born and resides in the U.S.A. I am also a Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO) President, Labor Educator and author. I come from a family of farm workers who were founders of agricultural unions before the UFW and were themselves founders of the UFW. In 1963, I was involved in my first union strike and I have been an activist in a dozen different unions and three different central labor councils. I am an activist in both the Chicano/a movement and the U.S. union movement for 45-years. For the past 34-years I have been committed to the vision of creating a politically relevant international movement for socialism. As president of a small labor council in a rural area I have been committed to the idea of creating an on the ground model of what my co-author, Bill Fletcher, Jr. and I ,in our book, Solidarity Divided, describe as social justice unionism. My focus has been wrapped around the idea that unions can't organize workers by themselves and that it takes a whole community to organize workers and keep them organized. For the past 7-years we have been committed to developing cultures of solidarity especially around the idea of democratic rights for all immigrant workers. I am attracted to the Reimagining Society Project because I believe that before the people can create a world for all the people we have to recreate a vision for an alternative world that contrasts with the world of international capitalism. I want to expand the discourse for creating cultural values that enhance cultures of solidarity that promote self reflection, open mindedness, appreciation for all life, compassion and optimism. This ultimately manifests itself in political projects that improve the living conditions of all people by creating a societal base that provides shelter, health care, transportation, education, a healthy environment and fulfilling employment for all.