America’s most successful boycott is the Grape Boycott. At the time, a great depression had just hit America. Many people were left unemployed and with no help because of this many Caucasian people took over the jobs of migrants. This meant that the Mexican’s and Filipino’s would do anything just to get buy, which was cheap labour. Working conditions for horrible, and the pay was even worse. In the 1930s, the drought that struck the southwest caused more needy workers to migrate to California. Since there was such a demand for labour, farmers lowered their wages in order to be able to afford hiring many people. In 1951, Public Law 78 was passed in which connected workers in Mexico to farms in the U.S. This meant that U.S. farmers were able to hire “braceros” when there was a shortage of domestic farmhands. Farmers took this law to their advantage because braceros would work for longer days, for less and with horrible conditions.
By 1964, a movement arose across America in which the union United Farm Workes Association (or UFWA) was formed with 1,000 members. These farm workers wanted better ages, better working conditions, and better living conditions. In August of 1965, an independent walkout of Mexican and Filipino grape workers in Delano, California caught the leader of the organization UFWA attention. His name was Cesar Chavez. An even larger strike was led by Filipinos against all the grape companies in Delano, California and was supported by the UFWA. When the strike was not successful in completely stopping field work, Chavez organized a march into California’s state capital to inspire farm workers to actually join the union. The march was effective in receiving national attention, but it was not enough to get the grape producers to negotiate. The UFWA decided to call a boycott of the Schenley Liquor Company who owned most of the vineyards in San Joaquin Valley. This however, was successful and soon other grape producers were forced to sign contracts. Chavez sent representatives across the country in order to coordinate boycott meetings and fundraising events. Over the next four years, the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee decided to boycott all table grapes. This event was extremely successful and received wide public support. This is the most successful boycott in American history.
I chose this boycott due to the fact it was so successful. The people were not given proper working/living conditions and were not getting paid properly. They needed to have their voices heard so they joined a union. It really showed that if they tried, their living, working and income conditions will improve, and in the long run they did. Imagine if today, every American stopped buying Apple. It would show that we are not under their “spell” or advertising. That instead of them thinking they control us, we control them because we are the consumers. We are the people who buy the product in the first place, so if we don’t like it, we won’t buy it, it doesn’t hurt us in the end. It hurts the producer. This is similar to the grape boycott because the people were empowered and could show that they were not under the farmers. That without the workers, the farmers were nothing. This boycott was extremely effective due to the fact that it was well organized, and properly executed. The farmers were not mindlessly quitting their jobs, they had people behind them. People powerful enough to have something done in the end, and action was taken.
In order for boycott to be effective I believe there must be two things, organization and a cause. Without a probable cause, boycotts are ineffective but even if there is a probable cause, there was must organization. If there is no one at the front leading the boycott, then it will be difficult to organize anything.
- Choose an issue which you and a large group of individuals believe is in need of arrangement.
- Establish why the issue is important and how it can appeal to both sides of the situation.
- Join or create a union of individuals who all understand what the issue.
- Establish, organize events and boycott so that your issue is heard by people who can make a difference.
- Proceed to boycott until you have reached your goal, which is too be heard. Make sure that the people you are trying to reach have everything you want to be changed.