tv Catholics and Immigrant Labor CSPAN May 23, 2015 8:25am-10:01am EDT
country's bosom. >> sometimes you have to just go with the music of the words the poetic images, the sound of the rhymes and also the way senator byrd did, you can pause and linger over a long phrase and stop and keep going. i think he's really using the rhythms of the language so he can take english and put it into high gear at one moment and then he can slow down. that's something that shakespear lets you do if you're a politician. >> good night. good night. parting is such sweet sweet sorrow. and it really is.
>> welcome to our final session. i'd like to introduce myself. i'm education archivist at the american catholic research center and i'm a historian and assistant director for the institute of catholic studies. this panel is concerned with immigration and labor specifically and obviously it's an extremely important topic. as most people who migrate to the united states, migrate here to work. and that causes all kinds of
thorny issues as we're going to see. just a couple of announcements before i introduce our speaker. we have a couple of books i want to point out. kimbell baker has a book called go to the worker on american labor priests. there's an order form on your table in case you want to order a copy. second, the authors of this book are here. this copy is available for free and you can get it on your way out. i left a copy of a set of panels from a publication called the treasure chest of fun and fact which is actually pretty good. it was a catholic publication, a comic book publication intended to counter what was seen as a negative comic book culture in
the 1940s. it was published by the commission of american citizenship. it went out to schools across the country between 1946 and 1972. i gave you this particular set because it concerns lina versot who was a labor activist from the 1920s to the 1950s. she was an extraordinary woman. she did great work for the conference. she did very detailed surveys of mexican migrants to the united states. she worked for minimum wage for women and children. and i just thought it might be interesting to see this panel. and this was published in 1953. catholic children were reading about her in their popular culture. a little addendum for you. i would like to introduce
our three excellent speakers that we have here. next to me is professor joseph a. mcarten. he's a professor at georgetown university where he's taught since 1999. he focuses on the -- he's really perfect for this panel which wants to look at public policy and history. his first book is labor's great war, the struggle for industrial democracy and the origins of modern labor relations. but his most recent book is collision course. the air traffic controllers and the strikes that changed america. this book examines the origins and implications of the 1981
national advisory council of catholic immigrant immigration for the center of migration studies. you saw the director this morning. to round our panel out, we have father evelio menjivar-ayala. he is a native of el salvador. he emigrated to the united states in the late 1980's to flee civil war in his native land. after spending a few years in los angeles, he moved to maryland for better employment opportunities, which i am sure he will tell us about. before he entered the seminary he worked as a janitor and took ged classes in the evening. as a priest, he has held different assignments in the archdiocese throughout
washington including parochial vicar in washington, thed.c. he possesses a bachelors in a liberal arts and a masters in divinity from the pontifical university of st. thomas aquinas in rome. now he is very involved in the washington community, especially advocating for immigrants, the homeless, and workers. he is a member of the priest labor social justice project initiative in chicago that focuses on continuing formation on priest and worker issues. the way we will proceed here is, professor mccartin will look at
historical approach, campbell baker will look at the technical aspects of labor, and we can mix it up and take your questions. mr. mccartin: thank you, thank you very much, maria, i am honored to share this panel with kim and father evelio. catholicism, immigration, and the labor question have long been intertwined in american history. so deeply intertwined, you could say that they constitute a kind of trinity. it is difficult to understand any one of the phenomenon, the history of the u.s. church, the history of the american immigration experience, or the
history of u.s. labor without understanding its interaction with the other two. organized labor, and the history of labor relation in the united states, everything relates to what we might call the labor question has been deeply influenced by both immigration and catholicism. the history of the catholic church in the united states has been deeply shaped by successive waves of immigration, and by the fact that for most of its history, this was a church whose pews were overwhelmingly filled by wage earning families, by workers. and the history of immigrants in the united states, even, i would argue, many who are not themselves catholic, has been deeply influenced by the interaction of catholicism and the labor question. not a good mic. sorry.
alright. so the trinity of catholicism, immigration, and labor i would say is a rich, complex, and multilayered inter-relayered relationship. i do not have time to go deepliy into the trinity but here, i would like to first focus on and briefly sketch out some of the ways that we can think about the long-term impacts of the immigrant catholic experience on the history of labor and second, to suggest some ways in which the experience of immigrant labor affected american catholicism, and finally, just offer some observations about the present moment and the ways we might see the new ways of the -- a new phase of the interrelationship between church and labor playing out right now and maybe in the coming years.
first, regarding immigrant catholicism and its effect on labor in america, i would argue that the catholic immigrant experience had a huge impact on american labor in terms of its leadership, its vision, it's politics, it's relation to government, it's very organizational structure, and more. the impact on catholicism i would say is indisputable. catholics, and especially catholic immigrants, played a disproportionate role in shaping the labor movement and its history in the u.s. catholics provided the leadership of many of the most significant efforts of american workers to organize. the leader of the largest labor organization in the 19th century was terrence powderly and the knights of labor. a child of irish catholic immigrants. the most prominent woman activist of the era in industrialization was mary harris jones, mother jones, of
an irish immigrant background. the founding president of the afl-cio was george meaney, of catholic immigrant stock. three of these people were also raised in the catholic church, while the only one who wasn't raised catholic, named kirkland, took his advanced degree from a jesuit university, georgetown. born and bred catholics played a huge role in the history of american labor and its leadership, and they continue to play an important role, i would say, even today, both in and outside the afl-cio. mary kay henry, the leader of the nation's largest general union, the service employees international union, argues that the values instilled in her catholic upbringing led her to her position as a leader. this helped shape the outlook of labor's leadership over generations.
the impact of catholicism on labor's vision in the u.s. is also, i think, also evident. the concept of the living wage which has been revived over the last couple of decades, as some of the people in this room well know, has been theorized and popularized more than a century ago by catholic theologians, johnny ryan -- john a ryan. the pastoral letter written by american bishops after world war i on what they called reconstruction helped legitimize and popularize the idea and vision for labor in the years leading towards and culminating in the new deal, it was a vision called industrial democracy. the bishops endorsed this vision, which became sort of central to the labor movement and articulating of its goals in
the mid-20th century. clearly, catholic influence also helped minimize the impact of socialism and communism within the u.s. labor movement. many scholars have written about that. it is a thing that i think most folks are familiar with. but we shouldn't look at catholicism influenced primarily for its negative impact, i think we really need to recognize its long-term vision is a positive force for defining a certain approach to government, and especially the uses to which government should be put and regulating workplace relationd. -- relations. catholicism also helped to influence the organizational structure of american labor unlike their coreligionists in other settings. catholics did not create
separate unions or catholic-themed unions and related parties. catholicism helped provide a unifying tie in the u.s. that mitigated, it didn't dissolve by any means, but it mitigated, to some extent, the rivalries that otherwise pitted rival groups against each other. making it somewhat easier to draw irish, french, canadian italian, and latino into the same organizations. it is difficult to imagine the cio of the 1930's without the influence that catholicism had in providing a common ground for workers who joined industrial unions. but it wasn't only that immigrant catholics that helped shape the labor movement in the u.s., immigrant workers helped shape the church. it pushed the church to articulate it social vision on labor, it opened up the church
to a deeper engagement with the religions and periodically, it , called upon the church to take a prophetic stance. the immigrant labor experience in the u.s. had a profound effect on the articulation on catholic social teaching. the controversy that swirled around the knights of labor, the labor of former henry george, or the activism of perhaps america's first labor priest edward mcglynn back in the 1880's, the controversy surrounding those things helped to bring to the surface the labor question in the u.s., at the same time it was emerging in europe, and it helped set the context for the issuing of the first great labor encyclical. it was largely in response to catholic workers and their
problems that ryan began articulating an american reading of the catholic church especially on that labor question in the early 20th century. i am by no means a church historian, and we heard from folks who are here earlier today, --but it seems to me that this had an impact on the church's relations with other religions in the united states. labor issues pulled the american faithful into working with non-catholics, and it pulled their clergy into efforts to work with others as well efforts that, you know, could be seen as early expressions of ecumenicalism. finally, i think the experience of immigrant workers has
periodically pushed the church to take on a more prophetic role. i think that was true in the 19th century when the church felt compelled to speak up for exploited workers, as someone like edward mcglynn did in the 1880's in new york city. he was so prophetic that for a time he was excommunicated for taking such a militant stance on some of these issues. it was true in the 1930's, when dorothy day race of the issues -- dorothy day raised up the issues of workers in the 1930's, many of whom were immigrants in a very prophetic way, it was true in 1960's when cesar chavez did the same for farmworkers and other exploited workers, and latino workers at that time -- and i think it is true recently when the bishops went to the border and have been so outspoken and speaking up for
the rights of the undocumented workers. so the church is periodically called to a prophetic stance by labor questions. over more than a half-century then, immigrant workers have help shape the church and are approached to labor questions. not only is there good question -- reason to think that these patterns have held for more than a century and that they may continue to hold, as we go forward, i think there are indications that we may be entering a new and more intense phase of this interrelationship . i think of the day laborers that congregate on corners and every large city of america, i think of the janitors like our co-panelist, father evelio, at a time when he was studying for the priesthood. janitors working in hotels or office buildings.
i think of the workers in food service and construction sites and the immigrant workers who are struggling today in the united states. it seems to me that the church is poised to bring to bear on the experience of these workers, and to draw upon their experience and to turn come in powerful ways, but i think can open up a new chapter in this long interrelationship. i think the church today is poised to do three things. first, the church can bring to our consideration of labor questions now a global vision. as the most expansive unitarian institution today, a universal institution -- the catholic church is better prepared than the labor movement, and i would argue more so than any other institution to understand the global nature of today's labor problems.
what is happening in jobs and the economy now is deeply intertwined with what is happening around the world to workers in other economies. and to deal with the problems , that immigrant workers face now requires that we also grapple with the problems that their colleagues are facing in the countries of their origins. so, a global vision. second, a church can bring global clarity to economic questions that are becoming more and more complicated. the current head of the department of labor's division of wage, and hour enforcement has just published a book that i would encourage everyone to read, because more importantly than anything i have read recently, it tells the story of why we are experiencing an explosion of inequality, it is
called "the fissured workplace." he argues that our economy has undergone a massive reorganization in the past generation including franchising and lengthened global supply chains, and that has destabilized what were along long stable relationships between workers and their employers. it has in fact learned what a worker is legally. is a person a worker or an independent contractor? it has blurred who is their boss. who ultimately are they working for? if you go into a hotel in the city today and you check in at the front desk, the person who is checking you in, they might be working for a contract that specializes in hiring out such specialized workers for those hotels.
who is their boss? it is not clear. in such jobs that are being fractured and fissured in this way, what we need is a moral vision the holds people accountable for labor conditions and standards. in such a world, i think the moral clarity that the church can provide is a necessary precondition for developing organizational and legal responses to the breakdown of labor standards that has led to these skyrocketing inequality that we are seeing right now. it is first a moral issue, and the church can help people articulate who is responsible. finally, i think the church can bring to bear a powerful language of solidarity that helps clear away the thicket of opposition to developing effective government action in dealing with the problems that immigrant workers today face.
we heard earlier today some reference to pope francis's exhortation of the gospel of inclusion, and placing the poor at the center of the gospel message, and that statement is one of the most important things -- he reminded us that catholic social teaching is based on the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity. what he also did and i don't think is emphasized enough about that statement, is that he brought up the right relationship between subsidiarity and solidarity. in recent years, some market worshiping catholics, who oppose labor regulation, have tried to make the principle of subsidiarity into an all-purpose critique against government itself. but francis reminds us that
subsidiarity is not a concept that is sort of equal in weight to solidarity. in his statement, he mentions solidarity 17 times, subsidiarity once. subsidiarity, for him, is a doctrine to exist in helping to achieve solidarity, and only when it does, is it of equal weight. what we need is a vision of solidarity, and francis has helped us articulate. that this is a vision we need now, i think, more than ever because our economy is fractured in the way that it now is, because of the separation that has occurred from those at the bottom, often of whom speak a different language from those at the top. we need to be able to articulate our oneness. the church can help. the church, then, is poised to
bring to theirbear the power of its moral vision, it's language of solidarity, and do so in powerful ways that can help us confront the powerful issues that confront workers today. as in the past, engaging with the problems of labor will not be a one-way engagement. if the church takes up this challenge, it will, as it has been in the past, be changed by the encounter. it will, as it has been in the past, i think as well, be renewed by that engagement. so, thank you very much. [applause] mr. baker: my thanks to dr. mazzenga and all of the others who have done such a great job today. for me today was quite a
homecoming for me since i did most of my research. so maria and tim and others here are very friendly faces. a special shout goes to john shepherd, i don't know if he is here, but he guided me through two great collections. those of the national catholic social action department. my experience was that if john couldn't find something, it didn't exist. interviewing higgins, i had to tell you, was the highlight of my research. i well remember visiting his apartment not far from here and sitting in a circle of stacks of his books and papers as he shared memories of the catholic social action movement. in his reminiscing, and this is true for all of the movement members i spoke with, there was a strong sense of having been part of something very
well-defined and tremendously significant and of that something have a great potential for good in both past and present. i offer my remarks in that spirit. the catholic social action movement was instrumental, in my view, with providing social and spiritual justice to workers catholic and non-catholic, in the united states in the new deal era and for several decades beyond. many, if not most were , immigrants or children of immigrants. many were lay activists, and i emphasize the word lay, because when you say labor priest, i take time to make this distinction. for most, activism was a true pathway into american life, and they saw it in that light. the chicago lay activists who was a son of polish immigrant said that it had opened a whole
new world to him. i was excited to find, he said that my work could be a social movement. not long after publication of my book, i decided to help immigrant workers. while visiting one such effort a new jersey project called new labor, i heard participants express the same sort of excitement, and i heard the worker injustices was being fought by these immigrants around the city of new brunswick about an organized -- u norganized workplaces, substandard wages and benefits and unsafe workspaces. what is often different now is
that immigrant workers must contend to the injustices stemming from a broken u.s. justice immigration system which is overly restricted delay-ridden, and results in too many deportations that results in divided families. in addition, millions of these workers are undocumented meaning that they still live in the shadows, and in fear of being deported. a situation in which many employers take advantage of. changes are now underway, we know, to alleviate some of the system's brokenness, but until this state deals forthrightly with this, it will continue to fester and impede national progress. you know this better than those in projects like new labor, yet i was impressed to find that its participants were full of optimism. i was also impressed by new
labor's sharp focus on the ecumenical approach. local churches representing several movements have opened up organizations, and one church took place in the catholic social action movement 70 years ago. new labor is one of interfaith justice's 75 affiliates around the country, and it is one of several social justice efforts that have received assistance from the catholic campaign for human development. in addition, the project cooperates with local unions rutgers university, and other advocates in the new brunswick area.
across this nation, there are many centers of labor, and many justice-seeking parishes like sacred heart, as we have been hearing today. they have many partners, often unions active in the industries in which both immigrants and lower income job workers dominate, home health care janitorial and construction, etc. the project parishes and partners is an important part of a growing movement. it is a rather loose movement at this point, but it is a movement, and it bears many resemblances to its predecessors. it indicates to us a number of possible dimensions and directions for the road ahead and i think i can best help this afternoon by highlighting a couple of common threads connecting the past, present and future of our cause. the major common thread is the
foundation of the bedrock of human values of dignity, the dignity of work and workers and the fairness of a society's welcoming of the strength and vitality of its immigrants. these values underlie monsignor practice can claim immunity from -- monsignor john ryan's 1936 assertion that no economic practice can claim immunity from the moral law. they underlie dorothy day's observation in a 1936 issue of her "catholic worker" newspaper. she said that workers want to be treated as not slaves but as human beings and be partners in the enterprises in which they are engaged. pius the 11th called out that employers and workers should that encyclical translates into the 40th year.
the first encyclical to champion . these are landmark arguments. we can well understand what a ray of hope it was for workers everywhere. by the mid-1930's, activists from the catholic movement were spreading the encyclical's message throughout the united states, especially among of the immigrant masses of industrial workers in the big cities. chicago, new york, detroit pittsburgh, boston, toledo, and all over. catholics teachings were an essential underpinning of reform . movement activists explored and applied to the teachings in a national network of labor schools and give expression
through organizing drives and by heavily influencing and advocating for many pieces of new deal justice worker legislation. the key measure was the national labor relations act of 1935. it was based on the union shop method of organizing whereby unions chosen by the majority of workers represented and advocated for all of the workers in that unit. organizing under that provision increased the proportion of u.s. workers unionized from a 7% at the beginning of the 1930's to one third at the end of the decade and for several decades thereafter. i will return to this point in just a few moments. the other common thread i would
like to highlight is the inclusivity of catholic social teachings. this is based on the concept of the mystical body of crisis which asserts that we are all god's children and are therefore sisters and brothers of one another. members of the church treat each other as central members. according to this, when you minister, you minister to the christ in that person. this aspect, i believe, enables parishes and other groups engaged in such ministry to face both inward and outward at the same time. i urge you read to read the recent book "the shared parish," as well as the new report entitled "u.s. catholic institutions to go."
hand in hand with this inclusivity, goes, or should go, a total commitment to diversity of religion, race, immigrant status, whatever. unfortunately, the commitment of even the social justice activists is often hampered by the biases of their era. otherwise i would have several women as subjects. what i have done is highlighted the achievements of the many women activists in the catholic social action movement. including union organizers and officers and labor schoolteachers and students. i also make it clear that dorothy day was a major influence in the lives and ministries of more than half of the chapter subjects. now i want to return to my point about unionization of u.s. workers going from 7% at the beginning of the authorities to one third at the end of the decade and for several decades thereafter.
at this instant you are probably thinking of that 7% figure is being the same percentage of u.s. workers unionized today which it is. you might even be thinking that this is a case of history repeating itself and so did i until i was recently reminded of mark twain's dictum that history does not repeat itself but it often rhymes. my thanks to my fellow panelists for that reminder. the key here is context. the united states now finds itself at a crucial historical crossroads. the unrestrained capitalism which contributed substantially to the nations great depression made a comeback after world war ii. the labor shop provision was replaced by the taft-hartley
provision, allowing right to work states, now 24 of them. when that act passed, social statesman immediately turned to the central provision as unfair and unworkable. since under it millions of workers become basically unrepresented and lack adequate worker protections. the percentage of u.s. workers unionized hubbard close to -- hovered close to a third for several decades after the act but spiraled sharply downwards after reagan broke the air traffic controller strike. that strike is well described by professor mccartin in his book. this brings us to the present when we are back to the 7% figure. and when unrestrained capitalism
contributed substantially to another great recession. the seeming repetition, however, in the context of the time, when a compelling case is being made about what the united states needs more than anything else right now is an economic system that fairly distributes the nation's resources and gives all of the nation's workers a greater voice in the workplace and a share of the management and profits. and by workers i mean the great majority of the people in this country. as we have seen, this case is at the heart of industrial democracy and conforms closely to catholic justice worker teachings. these have been buttressed since the heyday are the documents of vatican ii, by the encyclical on human work, by the american bishop's pastoral letter, and
just years ago by pope francis' "joy of the gossip" in which he exhorts us to return economics and finance to an economic -- ethical approach that favors human beings. practical applications of these teachings are all around us. i call your attention to groups who have been described as a new generation of labor priests and laity's. a member of one such group sees it as a legacy of the catholic social action movement and we will here in a minute from one of the members of such a group today. obviously, history is doing a lot of rhyming these days. the outcomes for immigration reform and integration will be profound. in the labor turmoil of the 1930's, it was the strength and vitality of immigrant workers which often made the difference
in worker justice advances. today's immigrant workers, i believe, using both old and new forms of organizing, and with help from us and social justice advocates everywhere, will again make a huge difference for good as the nation and its workers try to determine their destiny. thank you. [applause] father menjivar: thank you for inviting me to be a part of this conversation. as a pastor, i do not have much time to prepare. we prepare sermons the night before. so last night i was debating. should i write a sermon or have a conversation with those
attending the conference? knowing that i was going to be the last one to speak and also knowing that it was after lunch and all of that, i decided to have a conversation with them. so please feel free to talk. as i go along with my presentation. first of all, i encounter the church of the united states even before i entered the united states. i was trying to cross the border, the southern border, in late 1980's. i was 18 years old. and i made it to tijuana mexico. there i was caught by the
mexican police and we were put in a prison. a municipal prison, one of the worst prisons. there we were, for three days, waiting to be deported back to the mexican and guatemalan border. the only food that we were getting was from missionaries. people from the united states that would cross the border with food and would bring food to prisoners. and, when i left el salvador, i did not like onions. when i went back to el salvador, of course, i loved onions
because the huevos tacos, the egg and a sausage tacos had a lot of onions and i was so hungry that that was a feast for me. i ended up going back to el salvador liking onions and were ith three or four rosaries. in the bag, they would put a taco, a drink, and a rosary. i ended up returning with rosaries and i would pick up rosaries that others would not take and just put them in the bag. that was the gift that i brought to my mom and to others. so i came= across a great quote from pope francis in his
message. it says, "the church without frontiers, mother to all spreads throughout the world a culture of acceptance, solidarity, in which no one is seen as useless, out of place." this, for me, could be a great mission statement for the church. that we all can believe in and feel very proud to be a part of. a church that will put into practice this great mission to embrace, to accept everyone.
and it is a church for all. a church without frontiers. a church without borders, of course. so then we know that we have a responsibility to take care of all people regardless of where they are coming from or their background. talking about work, of course, we know that immigrants come here for a better life. or a safer life. and work means dignity. dignity. people do not come here to live out of a welfare system or just to beg. note people come here hoping to get a better life through hard work. work means dignity.
at the same time, i would say there is no dignity without solidarity. that is what we are talking about here. solidarity -- coming together to build up better communities where there is support. support in time of need and then support for those people who are just arriving. i am very lucky to be a pastor of our lady's parish in washington, d.c. it is claimed to be the first hispanic community in the area. we will be celebrating 50 years of hispanic presence in that beautiful building. one of the great leaders of that community was jean o'malley.
in his time or before his time there were great efforts to reach out to people. there was even a domestic worker's union or a domestic worker's association that would help the community with the help of the sisters, were able to rescue so many women that were treated as slaves or that were facing difficulties in work. and in a way that is how between -- how the community began helping those ladies. that is why the church is in the middle of embassy road in the
embassy district. there are so many ambassadors, ambassador residencies and beautiful apartments. that is why that community was started right there because people will have a support system right there in the heart where they were working. and of course now, the area has got so expensive that most of the people have to move to virginia or to maryland or to other places but they come there because they have great support and some people spend the whole day in the church because there is food, programs for the kids. all of that. it is a great community. it is very important, that kind
of solidarity with one another. and we know that we all need that. i became involved with the worker's priests movement. i went to chicago and i went through great training, meeting older priests that are walking side-by-side with workers. >> one of the priests over there. from reno, nevada. and this priest told us that he had a great experience wants.
-- once. there was a group of migrants who were working in the fields over there and they were brought by somebody but they were kept like slaves. and there was a time when they said, let us walk out from this situation and they all marched out of the farm and they went to be sure. -- went to the church. they did not know where else to go. this priest told us that he was not the pastor so he called the pastor and then the bishop and said, what should i do? what should i do with these people that are coming to the church because they cannot stand their situation at the farm any longer. and the bishop said, open the
church. and that is how he came in contact with the labor movement and helped them to get organized and to fight for their rights. so these workers, found themselves being supported and encouraged by the church kind of trying to find and do justice. they won the case. a great success for these workers. i have been involved, i have been involved after i went to chicago for training and to begin this support group, i have been going to rallies with sheraton hotel workers. lately, i just went to support the cafeteria kitchen workers for airlines.
they came from all over the united states and fighting for better treatment and for more, better compensation. what people want from priests is not big faith, it is just our presence. it is amazing how encouraged they feel when they see a priest with them. a priest supporting them. and it was funny that for this rally at liberty plaza in washington two weeks ago it was so cold and this guy, very young guy, he said, you know, i spend 10 hours a day in the freezer, very cold. so for me this is like summer. it was so cold. i was, again, the last one to speak. i said, stay with me, eric.
he took off his jacket to show that he was used to the gold. -- cold. i said, stay with me. and i wanted to show support to eric and say i have a heart. our job here. i took off my jacket and item said i am chilly and i have two sweaters, and i took them off and i was there freezing during the prayer. i almost get pneumonia off of that. it was good, i got a card from the organizers saying, thanks for providing a bit of entertainment for the ladies. [laughter] it is a matter of having fun, i would say. because there are some difficult situations but what is important is presence and that is what
they want to have. support and presence, knowing that the church is right there with them, and knowing that what they are doing is good. because sometimes when they are organizing they get mixed messages and they may even think that it is not right. that it is an immoral thing that they are doing. when they see the priest, they love it. so i am blessed and humbled to be a part of these great movements of priests that walk side-by-side with workers. from father edward, who was a knocker, he went to the north american college in rome.
and father kyle who just left us , back to chicago. it is wonderful. as the experts were saying that the history of the church in the united states has been precisely this. immigration, labor, and capitalism. it is this trinity that in a way continues to be part of we are -- part of who we are who we are called to be. i have been involved in small things. sometimes people get laid off and they do not have anywhere else to go and they come to church. and if i have the resources i help them. i was contacted by the national
education federation, something like that. because some workers had been laid off. it was during christmas. they channeled some help to these workers through the parish. there are so many things that a priest can do. so that it would be wonderful if we precisely put into practice the kind of church that francis is trying to, you know, build. and for all of us to have. just to finish, this is something that i have been preaching, i guess the pope has been listening to my sermons. [laughter] it is right what i have been
saying, immigrants that calm, in -- immigrants that come with a suitcase full of fears and desires, and i would add dreams. they undertake a hopeful and dangerous trip in the search for more human living conditions. when you come to face reality here, sometimes those dreams become a nightmare and all of that. but hopefully by keeping this safe, once you take from your backpack everything and hopefully they keep the faith and hopefully they joined a church, a community. and hopefully they find the support of priests and a community. and they are able to build up precisely that solidarity and
through that solidarity, you know, they find also dignity work, and a family. and a family. and just to end up, people the -- the pope told the cardinals not long ago, the gospel of the marginalized, the excluded, the poor, this is where our credibility is at stake. so if we continue being there, accompanying, being present in times of need for immigrants workers, i think that the church in the united states is going to continue thriving. questions? [applause]
ms. mazzenga: just a couple of observations from what our speakers have pointed out and i am noticing first of all the differences between how the catholic church addressed industrial society versus postindustrial society. and i could not help but think that, for example, professor mccartin mentioned the knights of labor, one of the triggers that helped pope leo the 13th. i would say it was an , interesting movement from the bottom up. the workers kind of generated the encyclical itself and the encyclical then generated activity all across the 20th century including labor priests, labor schools, all types of activities. you had a rippling back and forth from workers to priests to
bishops and a fluid chain of activity that was very beneficial to the worker. of course, after 1950 or so we have a shift in the economy. as i think professor mccartin is recommending for a postindustrial society that a church would address he has , three recommendations. a moral clarity and solidarity. as was echoed by our other speakers as well. i would get to the point where i would ask, could we put a finer note on, address more clearly how the church could address a postindustrial economy with respect for workers?
there is a globalization element to it. how do we do that? i see elements in what father evelio started talking about with churches and servicing parish in our needs. how do we do that? we are talking about a postindustrial economy old methods will not work. can each of you perhaps talk more about how that might look? mr. mccartin: that is an important question and a challenging question to answer because i think we are trying to figure that out. what i am excited by today is sort of, maria, i would go back to what you just said about the knights of labor and the extent to which from the bottom up something was generated in the late 19th century. and i would say there are a lot of similarities between what we are going to today and what people went through a hundred years ago.
in all kinds of ways. the reorganization of our economy. that is exactly, a different kind of reorganization, but between 1870 and 1920 that is what was happening, the economy was being reorganized. the emergence of the large-scale corporation of mass production marked that period. immigration and global migrations marked those years as well. as did economic instability between 1873, 1893, 1907, their economic panics in the u.s. similar in some ways to the great recession we've lived through that there was also in those years conflict over the role of government and -- in american life. and there was also great
division among those who wanted to organize workers, about what is the proper model to do that. the afl emerged as the model that survived while the knights of labor declined in those years. from the beginning, the afl was shadowed by the critique of craft unionism represented by something like the industrial workers of the world, because they showed from the beginning the afl does not aspire to organize all workers. so, those years were years marked by dynamics that were similar to the ones we are going to today. now, to the question of where does change come from? i think really change begins mostly from the bottom. and you know, while pope francis is finally important right now even before pope francis was
named father evelio was beginning to engage in his work. without the other people who try to revive this labor mission among workers, there isn't much for francis's message to resonate off of, but there is, because of all this work, and because of the other models that have been created today around things like worker centers as alternative ways of organizing workers that have especially appealed to the immigrant. so, what does it look like for the church to bring about a new period of solidarity? i don't think we can actually really answer the question, but i think we are living the question right now. and we're living it in ways that rhyme with the pass. they cannot repeat what happened before. but the thing i'm most
encouraged by is what father evelio has just outlined what he is doing, and he is not alone. i think there is the hope and the future of the american church because it is embracing through work like that the problems of the immigrant worker. mr. baker: i would just add one thing, some of you have probably seen the video the center for migration studies put out based on the recent book. about the shared parish. a lot of parishes change where there may be ethnicities represented among the congregation and different ways of dealing with that. one thing that occurred to me was that if going out from parishes into the community, again, where the action really is has a way of uniting the
differences that exist within those parishes, because if you are together working on some worthwhile activity like helping workers organize, then somehow the differences between you become less significant and also you feel part of something you are doing together. so and just when i visited new labor, they go out -- the undocumented workers go out into the community. there are cases of wage theft. they have rallies to go to the deportation centers where families are divided and they need to take action. one thing that all of us can do is think of ways to take part in going into the community and standing by the side of these people. as the father mentioned.
so, that was the secret of the priests and lay people of the catholic social action leagues that they were able to work with other people based on a reform clause. so they could work with people from other faith traditions. and that was the united thing that united them. and let them do further togetherness. i mean, that is one thing somebody mentioned about mobilizing. how can we mobilize this? well, there are lots of chances to have events or do something throughout the community that will involve people who are actually going to the stuff they can tell their life stories just like you told your story, that made it much more effective. you can mobilize opinion and other people to get active and help these causes.
father menjivar: i guess human beings are, we are a migrant species. from time of the early history of human beings we are hunters. so, people have been moving around just -- anthropology, whatever -- have been moving around they find food. they find opportunities. there are factors and conflicts. people move around. that has been the history of humanity. and certainly, you know, that continues to be. so, it is, um, it is a global problem. it is not a problem of the united states. immigration is not a problem of
the united states. it is certainly very present in africa, and asia, in europe, latin america. most of the people in argentina, they, even pope francis, he is an italian descended. so, this is the history of humanity. not only of the church in the united states. this is humanity just moving around. so for a global problem, we need a global solution. and the pope, pope francis says the solution is to create a culture of encounter. he says that this is the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world. of course the problem is how can we build a culture of encounter? and we have to begin at home.
at our parishes, our unities, in our neighborhoods, in our cities, and then we can spread that culture. -- in our communities. that is what people, people don't want to be just, you know, receive something without offering anything. what we need is to kind of a change. there was a theory at st. matthew's cathedral in the homeless program that we should be charging 25 cents per meal to the homeless because then that is offering them dignity because of they just come and they feel like they are being fed just for free, then you take away the dignity from them.
but then if they come and they pay 25 cents, they will feel like they are considering. -- contributing. but what i have -- they will feel like they are contributive. but what i'm trying to say is that we have to build up that culture of encounter. not to see each other as threats, but as part of the solution of this global problem. obviously, you know, we see that kind of, a counterculture of encounter. even in parishes and all that where people do not feel welcome. don't, where we try to ignore maybe just the problem of immigrants and all that because we know there are people that will oppose us. so, that is something that we have to -- there is a field for
evangelization. even when the church is packed we have to continue evangelizing people knowing that this is what jesus said. he identified himself with the stranger. as the pope says, there is where our credibility is at stake. if we see the face of jesus in the strangers, in those people in need. maria: a counterculture of encounter? that's good. so, now at this point, let's open it up -- if the panel is ok. you have questions from the audience? bill, you are first. wait. i need to walk. >> there seems to be more of this market worshiping
trickle-down, catholic libertarianism afloat these days. i recognize there is not a single social causality operative. but would you say something about your own sense of whence cometh this? an expression of what todd mentioned this morning that creeds, denominational affiliation does not count near as much as where one finds oneself on this left-right ideological spectrum. something else is driving this. professor mccartin: i teach young people. i am finding more attraction that young people feel towards the libertarian idea, toward the idea of just complete freedom.
freedom is a value that is valued but i think they misunderstand freedom in some ways and don't think about it and the ways that catholic teaching has taught about it, at least. why is this libertarian ideal gripping us today? i think it is for a number of reasons. we can't let liberals off the hook. on this, because in part i think what at its edges it started to be corrupted into a kind of libertarianism itself. and the liberalism that emerged over the course of the early 20th century, you know, gary -- used to teach here and was maria's mentors, and gary wrote one of the great articles that summarize this point about what he called the protean character
of american liberalism, that liberalism changed over time. in the 19th century it meant a sickly libertarianism. -- basically libertarianism. free markets. than the encounter with industrial society and that transportation between 1870 and 1920, that change liberals. people that wanted to hang on to liberalism, the free market liberalism did not achieve the good society. they first called themselves progressives. then they came in time to call themselves new dealers. for them the labor question was central, right? i think what happened over the course of time since the 1930's in american liberalism is that the labor question started to drop out. in part for some good and important reasons. the issue of racial equality
came to the fore. the issue of the need to bring gender equality came to the fore. and the rights revolution occurred. and those were necessary and good things, but i think in some ways what happened after that is that liberalism sort of lost the core idea of what it means to act collectively to bring about a good society. and that was at the heart of what liberals were trying to construct in the 1930's and 1940's, but by the end of the 19th century, liberals -- the 20th century, liberals themselves became too shy about trying to talk about what a good society was. in some ways as that happened, they left the stage open to a way of talking about rights that, you know, has been called rights talk. that i think it has impoverished our ability to express the need
for solidarity. as that happened, i think, that was one of the things that opened the door toward this recent sort of interest in libertarianism. i think the internet and other things have played a role in that, too. it is a complicated question but i think it is important. mr. baker: to me, so much of it seems to be about values. that is something we are going to have to -- we are increasingly facing in this country but i think we will have to face even more. in a society where your primary value is money and has been for some time, and the values we talk about or the pope talks about consistently, that we are going to have to look at our values and not just worship money, but look at our other values. the values -- sometimes we talk about it as if the economy is
the whole thing. it is also the political democracy that is supposed to be existing side-by-side with it. actually supposed to be at the top of it, not the economic part. so i think we, unfortunately, we know have an international problem -- talk about it being a global problem. [coughs] a french economist has written a book in which deals with the fact of inequality and that it can harm a society. it is no accident that we just recently saw the koch brother's about they have raised enough money and made enough political contributions to dwarf, that they contributed as much as either political party. now, if that is not a problem with our values that triples down into all the other aspects of her life, then i do not know what is. so, i mean, i just think the
they'll use is at the crux of the whole situation you raised. >> first of all, splendid panel. thanks to you and to the organizers. a very encouraging reminder of where we come from and where we should be going or just to build on joe's point, contrast the energy in the democratic party and the progressive movement around reproductive rights and gay rights versus worker rights and poverty. the democrats in the senate are holding up a human trafficking bill at this point because it won't break the precedent and pay for abortions. the right, they are for mediating institutions but never for unions. their culture war tendencies give way to protecting the
market at every stage. one of the things that struck me is how inspiring this panel is but how untypical you are. i'm at georgetown. joe is not the typical georgetown professor. i cannot speak to you, kim, but you are not the typical historian. george higgins was here. i admire the work of the institute, but is that voice here in the same way? and you are not the typical pastor. at one time, all our parishes looks like queen of the americas. we had all come from someplace else. we were all struggling. so, before we knew -- we had in our hearts that we had to stand with workers. that is not true today. in that lots of priests, lots of
catholics are middle-class or upper class. chevy chase blesses sacramento does not look like queen of americas. so, we have to find a different way to share this tradition in a way that invites people in. and it seems to me that requires academic institutions, parishes, the church, and frankly, the labor movement to change. a labor movement that when it organizes low income workers when it organizes hotel workers, janitors, inspires at least me. too often the way the movement is seen as protecting others that are already inside the movement. the church seems preoccupied by other things. so i think pope francis gives us a moment, but i think we have to acknowledge pope francis does not talk a lot about unions.
he talks a lot about solidarity. and it is up to the labor movement to persuade us that unions are, in fact, an exercise in solidarity. it is up to our pastures and people to persuade us that parishes can be an exercise in solidarity. and our cap again diversit-- our catholic universities ought to be an exercise in solidarity. i would be very discouraged except that you reminded us that in the 1920's and 1930's they were even in worse trouble and found a way to build this wonderful tradition. my question is, how do we renew parish life? how do we renew the labor movement? how do we renew catholic education so this tradition comes alive again? father menjivar: i believe most of those well-off catholics and
chevy chase, in kensington, and all the places benefited fomr our-- from our collective power and solidarity we call unions. jim -- some of you may know him is a hard-core irish. so, he used to tell me that before if you wanted to work in the elevators, industry, you must be irish. if you knew, if you were irish you could almost guarantee that your sons will end up working there because that was solidarity. the whole industry was taken by the irish. but that meant, you know facilitating other irish -- and
their children to work. as we know, because the unions you know, the -- were better. now it is precisely the opposite. you have to fight in order to survive. and you have to fight with your own brothers and sisters for work and all that. so, i think, as we said, you know, not only the united states was saved from you know, all these communist-socialism ideas to infiltrate in society because the labor movements they kind of -- catholic, but also, many people get education and all that because of their parents, where -- were workers that were
benefiting from a collective power and solidarity through the unions. mr. baker: workers have become marginalized to since world war ii, and this was a conscious effort on the part of the powers that be, the employer organized employers. workers marginalized in the sense that workers were made to sound like they only were talking about menial labor, or marginal labor or production line labor. the whole idea of workers basically being most of the country and needing representation of one sort of another has kind of gone by the boards, because we have been made to think of workers as just
this lower income group at the bottom. like i said, my research did uncover that this was a conscious effort, a concerted effort to do this, to portray labor in that context. so i think one thing we can do is realize when we talk about workers we are really talking about most people in this country. and they need to start thinking about what they have to do to protect themselves. to make their voices known. professor mccartin: well, i would just add to what's been said, when john you asked, how do we renew labor, how do we renew the church? i think francis has emphasized making the poor central. and i think is very important for labor and the church. what the labor movement needs to do more of is to expand its energies on behalf of those
workers who are suffering the most. and i am really encouraged in that respect by what we have seen over the past couple years, especially in what unions have done in really making major commitments like lciu has done in the fight for 15, for trying to raise the wages of fast food workers. i think that is up our full -- and even a kind of prophetic statement. this is an institution that has to worry about survival and its budget and things like that, and there is no immediate prospect that they are going to organize fast food workers into dues payers, and yet it seemed that taking that stand is crucial to do now. i think putting the poor front and center is crucial.
i think the other thing that i would say is really important right now is provoke -- for both the church and labor is young people. john, we are lucky that we get to work in a place where young people are there. and i think that places like this and here at catholic university wherever young people are we have to figure out ways to put them in touch with these questions. and what they bring with them i think is a sense of hope that we really need. like you, john, it is easy to look around and get discouraged right now, but when you see young people getting engaged in these issues that has a powerful effect. and that makes you feel hopeful. and i think that word hope is like very important. it is not the same as being optimistic or just being blind to the realities we are confronted with, but feeling that through let's call it the work of the holy spirit over time through people that change
will happen. and when you see young people get engaged in these kind of issues, i think, that puts you in touch with that feeling. father menjivar: one more thing. i guess education is essential both on the part of the church parishes, but also education coming from the labor, the unions. i think some unions have, or have been very comfortable in just, you know, if some members, somebody is higher, for example, in an industry where they are unionized already, they do not bother to educate those new employees. i have an example. you know, people, my sister.
my sister works in a cafeteria for p.g. county board of education, for the school system. and she was never educated as a union worker. so they are having problems in the kitchen, you kno and they are not exercising, their power and the right. why? because they never have been educated. you get a job there, you become part of the union, but they are not educated. so you have to also kind of educated people, evangelize them, make them believers of what unions do and can do. so, i would say it is both. the church has to educate in the sense that just educate people in the value, in the necessity of collective power, but at the same time, unions have to
educate their members and have to make an effort to go out and educate not only to get members, you know, for membership, but to spread the good news of collective power. maria: it is 4:00. let's thank our panelists. thank you for coming. great job, you guys. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] you are watching american history tv. to join the conversation, like us on c-span history on our facebook. this sunday night, influence and
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