Truthout interviewed David Bacon, author of In the Fields of the North/En los campos del norte, about how amplifying the voices of migrant agricultural workers can help in the struggle for social justice.
Mark Karlin: Before we launch into the book, can you tell us a little about your background and how you arrived at being an indefatigable chronicler and photographer of Mexican agricultural workers in the United States, immigrants, and those who work to create unions and just pay in Mexico?
David Bacon: I was a union organizer for 25 years, including for the United Farm Workers. It was the union and the workers in it who taught me everything from Spanish to what life is like for farm workers and rural people. Later I worked with other unions where immigrant workers were most of the workforce. I was increasingly interested in why people chose to come to the US, which led to an interest in Mexico and its politics and labor movement. Almost 30 years ago, I began working as a photographer and writer, documenting originally what I'd been seeing and hearing as an organizer. I became an immigrant rights activist as a result of these experiences, and the work in this book is intended to help people understand the reality of life for migrant workers.