Democracy Now!   Leave a comment

Familias Unidas Por La Justicia (FUJ) and its supporters participated in an International Day of Action to raise awareness of the worker exploitation of Driscoll and Sakuma Berries.

Our action at Costco in Burlington, WA was covered by a film crew from Democracy Now! (TV).  

Now, that’s compelling television!

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/5/9/driscolls_workers_call_for_cross_border

Posted May 12, 2016 by garykanter in Uncategorized

On The Raddio…One More Time   Leave a comment

Thanks to Charles Showalter for inviting me back to The Union Edge to talk about “Ballad of Sakuma Farms”…it’s origin and union funding.

https://www.theunionedge.com/protest-music-farm-fields-supporting-sakuma-berry-workers/

Posted May 12, 2016 by garykanter in Uncategorized

“Phil Made Me Do It!”   Leave a comment

“The Sixth Annual Phil Ochs Celebration of Life” concert and fundraiser.
Saturday, April 9, 9-10:30 pm (PDT), Egan’s Ballard Jam House, Seattle

Phil Ochs-Kept Press-1969-2

April 9th will be the 40th anniversary of the death of arguably the most prolific and inspirational folksinger of the 60’s-70’s. Each April, for six straight years we come together at Egan’s to commemorate his death and celebrate his life and his work.

To further honor Phil, we use the occasion to raise funds and awareness for causes we deem worthy. For the second consecutive year all donations will go to our state’s farmworkers who are locked in a toxic struggle with agribusiness Sakuma Farms for a fair contract.

This year’s theme is “Phil Made Me Do It!”, featuring a multi-talented group of performers who were inspired by Phil and his tradtion to social activism through music. Each will perform some of their favorite Phil songs followed by examples of original and other songs of change.

Our Lineup:
~Linda Allen~
~Reggie Garrett~
~Casey Graham~
~Gary Kanter~
~Rebel Voices (Susan Lewis, Janet Stecher)~

$10 suggested donation at the door

Dinner and seating reservations are highly recommended as space is limited.
http://www.ballardjamhouse.com/index.html

Posted April 7, 2016 by garykanter in Uncategorized

“Ballad of Sakuma Farms” CD Is Done!   Leave a comment

Thanks to my union local (Local 76-493, AFM) which financed this project, “Ballad of Sakuma Farms”, a single-song CD is complete.

All proceeds for the first 100 copies of CD will go to benefit of Familias Unidas Por La Justicia (FUJ), Washington State’s independent farmworkers union.

Cost of the CD is by donation.

Visit the boycott website at:  http://boycottsakumaberries.com/donate/ballad-of-sakuma-cd-by-gary-kanter/

Sakuma CD Front_cr Sakuma Back Cover_crSakuma CD Disk Art

 

Posted February 23, 2016 by garykanter in Uncategorized

“The Joe Show”   Leave a comment

TheJoeShowLogo

On July 2, I joined my friend, Joe Teehan, on his daily progressive radio talk show in Bellingham (KBAI-AM 930) to talk about the upcoming Farmworkers Third Annual March for a Contract, 7/11, Burlington, WA and debut my song, “Ballad of Sakuma Farms”, a narrative of the three-year-old struggle.

The previous day, Sakuma had implemented a new wage formula that they hailed as an increase for the workers and, which, was dutifully trumpeted to the media and legislature as a major increase in worker compensation.  This was quickly disproven by the workers who demonstrated it to be an actual decrease.

In addition, Sakuma dispatched the workers into the fields in small staggered groups, isolating the union and non-union folks from each other.  The tactic, designed to keep the non-union folks from hearing the union side, fooled no one and all 200 walked off the job in protest.

So, my appearance on Joe’s show the next day provided an opportunity niot only to publicize the march…but to provide a live cell phone update from the scene by Rosalinda Guillen, Executive Director of Community To Community Development (C2C) http://foodjustice.org.  Rosalinda is one of my labor and cultural heroes, a remarkable activist, organizer, and communicator.

Check out the show.

http://930kbai.com/the-joe-show/the-joe-show-for-7215/

And join the March!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1608111789460551/

 

Posted July 7, 2015 by garykanter in Uncategorized

Worker Memorial Day   Leave a comment

Workers Memorial MonumentI was honored to perform at the 2015 Workers Memorial Day in Bellingham.  Last year’s music provider was the great Anne Feeney. The day is commemorated throughout the United States and several countries throughout the world to remember workers who were killed and injured on the job…or as a result of the job. In the USA, there are approximately 12 work-related deaths each day and nearly 4 million injuries per year.

My labor guru, Mark Lowry, President of the Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, facilitated the event with his usual blend of dignity and intensity.
WMD-Lowry
 

Ramon Torres, president of FUJ, the state’s farmworkers union, with translation assistance from Rosalinda Guillen, related a story of a berry picker with severe symptoms of pesticide poisoning who was told by his bosses to basically “shut up or be replaced.”  He died shortly thereafter.
WMD-Rosalinda y Ramon
 

The names of the remembered were read by two union brothers while a bagpiper played “Amazing Grace.”
WMMD-Rosalinda and Ramon
RIP

Posted May 1, 2015 by garykanter in Uncategorized

“An Evening With Phil Ochs & Victor Jara”   2 comments

April brings showers, baseball, Passover, and Easter.

This April 11 saw our 5th annual Phil Ochs Celebration of Life concert at Egan’s Ballard Jam House in Seattle.  For the second consecutive year the recipient of the funds raised by the event was Familias Unidas Por La Justicia (FUJ), Washington’s sole farmworkers union.

Ochs-Jara Poster Final

This year the show was different. We called it “An Evening With Phil Ochs and Victor Jara.”  Victor Jara was the Chilean folksinger/poet/actor who was known as “Chile’s Pete Seeger.”  Phil met Victor during a visit to Chile and was devastated when Victor was  murdered by the same bloody hands that had killed Chile’s democratically-elected president, Salvador Allende, in the Kissinger/CIA coup that installed Pinochet’s military dictatorship.  Victor’s death was considered one of the emotional blows that exacerbated Phil’s mental tailspin and subsequent suicide.

 

 

My co-conspirator in the event was Patricia Mazuela, a Chilean-American, of the remarkable Latino trio, Sin Fronter20150411_213612as.   We had been talking about such a program for two years, having met while performing on the same bill.  I had talked of Phil as an inspiration of mine, and she talked of the group’s affinity for Victor.  Since that time, we performed together at various fundraisers and rallies.  I even interviewed them on “We Do The Work”, the Skagit Valley Community radio show of which I am a revolving host.  (KSVR-FM 91.7, http://www.ksvr.org)

So, with the annual Phil show scheduled, we finally got it together.  It was quite the process, like planning20150411_215838 a Jewish-Catholic wedding.  On Phil’s side I selected Casey Graham, one of the  most knowledgeable Phil-osophers around and a talented performer in his own right who, if you close your eyes, seems to be channeling…not imitating…Phil.  I also asked one of my favorite Chicana poets, Angelica Guillen, to present the Spanish lyrics to two of the songs Casey sang, “Hands” and Changes.”

20150411_213749

 

Lorna Dee Cervantes,  one of the nation’s most acclaimed Chicana poet and writer, newly-arrived in Washington and old friend, actress/filmmaker/professional20150411_231438 clown Maristela Diaz Sanchez, presented Victor’s lyrics and poetry.

Patricia and one of her Sin Fronteras partners, Abel Rocha, provided the music of Victor Jara with their impeccable musicianship and harmonies.  Victor would’ve been pleased.

 

I performed my “Annotated Love Me I’m a Liberal” and updated “Draft Dodger Rag” in the first half and my original homage to Phil, “Farewell, Troubadour” after intermission. (See “Videos” on this website.

20150411_220231Representing FUJ were President Ramon Torees and Vice President Felimon Pineda, who updated us, through an interpreter, the history of abuse, wage theft, and in20150411_220231timidation heaped upon the workers by Sakuma Berry Farms in Skagit County.  They shared their hopes for their children, and desire to earn a living wage.  They were remarkably effective  as they spoke of the Boycott against Sak20150411_220231uma products and customers.

We generated almost $400 and spread the word for the boycott.  www.boycottsakumaberries.com

I think Phil and Victor would have approved.

 

 

 

Posted April 22, 2015 by garykanter in Uncategorized