their kids to school? It was better to have them
driving the oxen, or with the team; working the
soil; bringing firewood; bringing hay for the donkeys; taking care of the goats or the pigs; or this
or that. They would say that the schools were a
thing of the devil,
Nowj when there are classes^ when the schools are
open, the children don't go to work. But when they
get out of school, their parents are there to pick
them up and take them to work. Mothers take their
babies to work with them, too, because they don't
have enough money to have someone else take care
of them. So there they ale with their bottles, in
the surij in the windj exposed to poisons from the
warkj to insecticides All that's very dangerous.
D.M.: So if the kids don't learn anything else,
they are going to spend their lives working in the
J.C.: Well, at most, they finish high school; but
most stay to work in the fields. If ail of the
food is produced by the campesinos, everything
the lower classes eat and the upper classes, and
all the communities, educated and not educated,
then it can't end.
So campesioos have to exist anyway; if we're all
going to be educated and the government wants ua
all to go to school, then what are all those educated people going to do?
D.M.: What about technology? It is said that all
of that work is going to be done by machines in
the future. So what's going to happen to campesinos?
J.C.: Yes, exactly. Most are going to be unemployed.
One machine does what hundreds of workers can do.
But many people have told us that we should go to
school since the government has so many education
programs, and stop going around like trouble-makers
and agitators. So why are we struggling? I tell
them that if education were enough to end all the
exploitation, if there wouldn't be any more exploited campesinos, I'd go to school. But if I go
to school and} nevertheless3 there is still exploitation for hundreds and hundreds who are out in
the fields, then what good does it do for me to go
to school* THEY still won't respect our opinions.
Only what THEY say goes. I can't say 1 don't like
this work, or that's not the right way you're
doing it, can I? Just the way THEY say, that's the
way it is. For example, in many states they've done
away with the short hoe.
ENRIQUE LOPEZ: And in Texas? Can they use the short
J.C.: They've got us bowed down, and really bowed
down. If the boss comes to the field and we're not
bent over we're fired.
E.L.: Why do they use the short-handled hoe?
J.C. Well, ideas that the bosses have. They think
the work is done better. Long hoes have always
worked well, but the bosses don't think so. If I
tell the boss or contractor I'm not going to work
with a short hoe and bring my own long-handled hate
from home, then they have a saw in the fields and
they cut it off.
And up in the northern states people say the
bosses don't give them short hoes. But I tell them,
don't think it's because the boss loves you so
much. The boss has never loved us, all he loves
is his big sack of money, that's all he wants.
People don't matter to him They want to have
people in stock, to have a lot of people of every
type, of every age, of every size, every kind of
people, Like a basketful of apples, and from it the
buyer, the boss, whoever is goin' to buy that mer-
chandise, he's picking out and picking out, all
number one* all number one* and all the number twos
and number threes he leaves there or he throws
away. They're no good, according to him, because
he's going to choose the best* That's the way he
wants us, the people, the campesinos* No. he
doesn't want to have us that way^ he has us that
way, do you see? Because they pick the best and
the strongest, the ones that can do a lot of work,
not the weake/ ones.
They want to have a lot of people so when a
bunch die, or one dies, they put in ten more. One
dies, they put in ten more- They want to have extra
people like extra machines. They don't want to lose
them, They're not going to lose, for example« ten
trailers of cantaloupes, ten trailers of whatever is
waiting there without ice and without being crated,
so it moves, it has to be moved,
D.M,: Is there a law protecting the workers from
insecticides, from poisons used in the fields?
J.C: The workers have none. That's why we make
these marches, and make these protests, and make
strikes, because the campesinos aren't protected.
D.M.: So for example if a group of workers is in a
field and a plane passes by spraying insecticides,
J.C: No —not "for example"! They do pass and they
do spray us,
D.M.: They don't pay any attention to the workers?
J.C: No, they don't pay any attention to us, because we don't have any laws to back us up* People
have even been killed in the fields by the planes
because they fly so low that even if the people
lie on the ground they have been hit,
D.M.: How many years have you been doing this?
J.C: Well, as for being a campesino, my whole
life because I don't know how to do anything else,
D.M.: From what age?
J.C From the age of eight, which is a child's
age, isn't it? I worked because we have always been
very poor, my parents have always been very poor* I
never went to school. I've never seen a school from
the inside, just from the outside^ from the sidewalk.
D.M.: Some people say you worked harder than anyone
else during the march to Washington,
J.C.: Well, I can't say I was the hardest worker, because who knows? For me it wasn't work at all. Although I would work here and there and then I'd cook
for all the strikers and I'd distribute the newspaper
I'd distribute leaflets and I'd go around to the
houses and talk to the people.
E.L.: Some would be marching and there would go Julio
and some others distributing papers, or they'd have
run forward, the marchers would pass by and they'd
run again. And the rest would be just marching and
marching. It's hard.
J.C: For me it wasn't work since I'm used to it.
I'd even go barefoot And I never got a blister,
I'm used to walking around like that. Look, I think
I have ehough callouses.
E.L.: And a lot of people in the union would make
fun of you because you're gay wouldn't they?
J.C: Oh, yes. Well, no. They just „ . . they liked tcj
to play with me,
E.L.: And you loved it
J.C: 0h; I did, yes.
E.L.: But they accepted you anyway.
J.C.: Oh, yes, they had no reason not to accept me.
It's not against the law.
E.L.: Do you think the march to Washington was a
good idea even if you didn't get to talk to Carter?
J.C: Well, I think It was a good idea even if he
continued on oa^e 2"c