The slogan Yes we can!A"-in the form Si Se Puede!A"-predates Obama's 2008 presidential campaign by more than four decades. It was the coinage of the United Farm Workers' cofounder Cesar Chavez: a man who led his organization to many victories and secured collective bargaining rights for California farm workers. A charismatic leader who continues to inspire much controversy, Chavez built the United Farm Workers into a major force and a voice for the Mexican-American community, previously excluded from national politics.
Frank Bardacke is a teacher and labor organizer in Watsonville, CA who worked the fields in the Salinas Valley for seven years. He is also the author of Good Liberals and Great Blue Herons and a translator of Shadows of Tender Fury: The Letters and Communiques of Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.