David Bacon

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David Bacon

David Bacon is associate editor at Pacific News Service; author of books on immigration, most recently Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants; and a reporter and documentary photographer for 18 years whose work has appeared in such publications as TruthOut, The Nation, The American Prospect, The Progressive, and the San Francisco Chronicle.[1]

Red diaper baby

All my life I've known about Spain. I grew up singing Freiheit and Viva la Quince Brigada and Los Cuatro Generales, and knew the names of some of the places in Spain where the big battles were fought. I owe a lot to my parents, and to the culture they helped create. They didn't go to Spain, but they were brave people nonetheless. When Paul Robeson went to sing in Peekskill, my dad was one of the union members from New York City who lined the roads to protect people from the rocks thrown by the fascists of upstate New York. In 1953, the year the Rosenbergs were executed, they brought my brother and me here to Oakland, where I grew up. That's why I'm an Oakland boy, and not a Brooklyn boy.[2]

Communist youth conference

After the Conference of Socialist Youth in March 1964, it was decided to hold the next convention in Chicago, and there form a new national youth organization. The Coordinating Committee determined to switch the meeting place to San Francisco, however, and to hold it on June 19 through 21, 1964. The New organization was named the W.E.B. DuBois Clubs of America and would serve as the youth wing of the Communist Party USA.

Those who signed the “call” for this June 1964 convention, as set forth on page 15 of The Convener No. 4, included David Bacon of the Berkeley High School Socialist Club.[3]

Free Speech Movement


David Bacon at 16 - the skinny kid in the middle with glasses in the back - singing inside Sproul Hall on the University of California campus in Berkeley, during the Free Speech Movement sit-in. After midnight that night, 800 students were arrested and dragged out, for defending the right to recruit people on the campus for civil rights demonstrations, especially against racist hiring practices at Bill Knowland's Oakland Tribune.[4]

Meeting Corona

David Bacon met Coleman Persily, because they were both friends of Bert Corona, the founder of our modern immigrant rights movement [5]

WEB DuBois Clubs of America

In 2014, David Bacon, was listed a a friend on the DuBois Clubs Facebook page.[6]

California Rural Legal Assistance

Today Bacon works with California Rural Legal Assistance, as a photographer and a journalist. Growing up in Oakland, I didn't know much about life in rural California, or who farm workers are and the work they do. But I come from a union family, so when he got back from Cuba in the early 70s, full of revolutionary enthusiasm, the place where I thought I could fight for real change here was the farm workers union. He went to work, learning from people like Eliseo Medina the nuts and bolts of how to organize strikes, win union elections, go on the boycott - the basic toolkit of working class struggle.

There he met Ralph Abascal, who had helped to organize California Rural Legal Assistance. With a nod and a wink, after the lawyers had gone home at the end of the day, our crew of workers and organizers would come in and use the typewriters and photocopy machines all night to put together our legal cases against firings and grower dirty tricks. That's what I loved about CRLA and the way he ran it - it was a part of the workers movement, and its resources were shared. He wanted the union and the workers to fight and survive. It was no surprise to me later to learn that Ralph's family came from Spain, and that his uncles fought in the Civil War.[7]

Peoples Weekly World

In the 1980s, David Bacon was a staff member of the Peoples Weekly World.

Communist Party reformer

In 1991 David Bacon was one of several hundred Communist Party USA members to sign the a paper "An initiative to Unite and Renew the Party"-most signatories left the Party after the December 1991 conference to found Committees of Correspondence.[8]


David Bacon was a California delegate to the 1991 Communist Party USA convention in Cleveland.

Niebyl Proctor-Marxist Library

David Bacon is listed as a sponsor of the Niebyl Proctor-Marxist Library in Oakland California.[9]

CoC National Conference endorser

In 1992 David Bacon, labor organiser Berkeley endorsed the Committees of Correspondence national conference Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s held at Berkeley California July 17-19.[10]

Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s

The Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s was the Committees of Correspondence's first national conference held in Berkeley, California July 17-19, 1992.[11]

Workshops that were held at the conference on Saturday, July 18 included:[12]

Unorganized What should be the left's role in organizing the unorganized? Can labor's current decline be arrested?

"Full Employment in an Age of Globalization"

On June 8 1997 over 50 Bay Area DSA members and friends met to engage in a panel discussion on "Full Employment in an Age of Globalization". Focusing on Representative (and DSA Vice Chair) Ron Dellums' Living Wage, Jobs for All bill, HR 1050, the panel included David Bacon, labor reporter, John Katz of DSA, Ying Lee, legislative assistant to Congressmember Dellums and Barbara Arms of the Full Employment Coalition. [13]

"Beyond Identity Politics"

"Beyond Identity Politics: Emerging Social Justice Movements in Communities of Color" by John Anner

"A long-awaited roadmap to the grassroots social justice movements of the 1990s and beyond. The strikingly diverse array of multiracial struggles presented here succeed, in various ways, by moving by simplistic identity politics. In an era when the right-wing seems to be winning all battles, Beyond Identity Politics presents a critical inside look at progressive victories.

Contributors were Clarence Lusane, Mark Toney, N’Tanya Lee, Don Murphy, Lisa North, Juliet Ucelli, Hoon Lee, Van Jones, Gary Delgado, David Bacon, Andrea Lewis.

Center for Political Education

In 1998 David Bacon, labor journalist, gave a talk entitled "International Labor Solidarity vs. International Business Unionism". The talk was sponsored by the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism linked organization, the Center for Political Education.[14]

In 2001 David Bacon, Victor Saldana, a DeBug youth organizer, Susana Aguilar of SEIU Local 1877 and Jim Steele of Enloe Hospital and the California Nurses Association gave talks entitled: Fighting the Union Busting Machine: Rank and file workers discuss the contemporary class warfare. The talks were hosted by the Center for Political Education.[14]

In 2004 David Bacon gave a talk entitled: "The Children of NAFTA", a discussion on the political economy of the US/Mexico border and the impact cross-border movement has had on US and Mexican politics. The talk was hosted by the Center for Political Education.[14]

Sacramento Marxist School

On Sept 18 2003 David Bacon lectured at the Sacramento Marxist School on International Labor Solidarity.[15]

On Dec 12 2006 David Bacon presented a photo presentation at the Sacramento Marxist School on NAFTA and Immigration.

Committees of Correspondence conferences

At the Committees of Correspondence National Conference and Convention, July 25-28, 2002 San Francisco State University.

Disarmament and the Military Budget. Panelists included: Kenneth Riley, David Bacon,, Marilyn Albert, Renee Saucedo, Angela Sambrano, Cathi Tactaquin, Marty Price, Patrice Sewell, Joan Cohen, Claire Carsman, James Campbell, Peter Orris, Thelma Correll, Edith Pollach, Amaha Kassa, Harry Targ, Steve Williams, Karen Talbot, Mort Frank, David Cohen.[16]

CCDS Convention


David Bacon addressed the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism 5th National Convention, July 21-23, 2006.

The "Economic and Social Justice" panel featured:[17]

David Bacon spoke at the 6th National Convention of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) at San Francisco's Whitcomb Hotel July 23-26 2009 at the labor workshop. It pulled together more than 45 activists working in and around many of the major unions in the country. Four veteran activists in the labor movement: Bill Fletcher, Jr., the former Education Director of the AFL-CIO, David Bacon, labor and immigrant rights journalist, Maria Guillen, SEIU and Frank Hammer, former UAW local union president from the Detroit area spoke.[18]

A key issue addressed by the workshop was the struggle of U.S. workers against global neo-liberal policies of capital. Hammer said that "in a world of globalization we are all foreign workers."

Key issues in the struggle against neo-liberalism highlighted by the workshop are the right to organize and defend against union busting, union democracy, the plight of undocumented workers, and the need for broad forms of struggle by workers such as working people's assemblies, unemployed councils, and municipal movements.

DSA member

In 2007, David Bacon was a member of Democratic Socialists of America.[19]

DataCenter Donor

In 2007 David Bacon was listed on the DataCenter's annual report as a donor to the organization. The Oakland, California based DataCenter is widely regarded as the intellegence wing of the United States Left and has close ties to Cuba.[20]

With Missouri comrades

Tony Pecinovsky November 26, 2008:


Here is a Photo of me, (from left) Jim Wilkerson, Joan Suarez, Nafisa Kabir, David Bacon, Zenobia Thompson and Quincy Boyd at the MO/KS PWW 2007 'Working Class Media & Demo9cracy' forum.

Progressive Forum 2008

Sacramento Progressive Alliance's Progressive Forum 2008, was held Forrest Suite: University Union. CSU –Sacramento Oct.9 , 2008.

Join us for a dialogue on current issues facing the progressive movements and their allies in our region. The Progressive Forum seeks to bring together scholars, students, social justice and union activists, and policy makers to nurture a new kind of conversation from within the campus and the social movements.

9 am

  • Bill Fletcher, Jr., author . Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path Toward Social Justice.
  • David Bacon, author, Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants.
  • Renee Saucedo; Immigrant Worker Organizing Centers


Center for Labor Renewal

In 2009 David Bacon was listed as an endorser of the Center for Labor Renewal.[22]

"Real World Labor"

Real world labor.jpg

In August 2009 Dollars & Sense, produced an anthology entitled "Real World Labor", edited by Immanuel Ness, Amy Offner and Chris Sturr and the Dollars & Sense Collective.

Contributors included David Bacon, Kim Bobo, Aviva Chomsky, Steve Early, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Staughton Lynd, Arthur MacEwan, John Miller, Frances Fox Piven, Robert Pollin, Jane Slaughter.[23]

Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward


Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward was a phone in webinar organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization in the wake of the 2016 election.

Now what? We’re all asking ourselves that question in the wake of Trump’s victory. We’ve got urgent strategizing and work to do, together. Join Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of the Movement for Black Lives and Freedom Road, Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Jodeen Olguin-Taylor of Mijente and WFP, Joe Schwartz of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Sendolo Diaminah of Freedom Road for a discussion of what happened, and what we should be doing to build mass defiance. And above all, how do we build the Left in this, which we know is the only solution to the crises we face?

This event will take place Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific.

Those invited, on Facebook included David Bacon.[24]

"Sanctuary for All Californians"


Sanctuary for All Californians was the theme as People’s World/Mundo Popular supporters gathered at the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library July 4 2018, demanding “No Ban, No Wall, No Mass Incarceration.”

The keynote speakers—photojournalist David Bacon; Zahra Billoo, executive director, Council on American-Islamic Relations-San Francisco Bay Area; and Leo Mercer and Zay Coleman from the Oakland-based Urban Peace Movement—shared insights about urgent issues in today’s struggles for human rights, democracy, and social and economic justice.

Juan Lopez, speaking for the People’s World/Mundo Popular, warned of the grave danger to democracy posed by the policies and actions of Donald Trump and his Republican allies, and called on all present to engage fully in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Bacon focused on the problems faced by migrants attempting to come here from Central America and the conditions underlying that harrowing journey.

The current migration from Central America began with the civil wars of the 1970s, and the ways the U.S. was relating to the region, Bacon said. “Our taxes didn’t just pay for war and maquiladoras—this whole thing evolved into an even larger strategy of encouraging foreign investment through privatizing state utilities, services, and assets, and then negotiating free trade agreements in Mexico and Central America.”

Migrants are now seeking to reunite with families divided by war and previous migration, fleeing threats of violence caused by criminalization and deportations of previous migrants, and looking for economic survival.

Reminding the audience that massive pressure from the Civil Rights Movement forced Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act in 1965, as well as to end the highly repressive bracero immigrant worker program and to establish the family preference immigration system, Bacon said, “We have changed our world before, and we can do it again!”


Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area, recalled her growing-up years in a middle-class family that had emigrated from Pakistan, with parents who easily obtained U.S. citizenship. Sept. 11, 2001, she said, “was when we realized, as a Pakistani-American family, that we were not seen as welcome here.”

When Billoo and others at CAIR examined the factors behind the continuing growth of anti-Muslim sentiment, she said, “We found ‘an Islamophobia industry.’ From 2009 to 2013, 33 groups spent $205 million” donated by wealthy individuals and large foundations to spread anti-Muslim hate, including training law enforcement on how to spot “terrorists, and every image they showed of a terrorist looked like me and my family.”

During Trump’s campaign, Billoo recalled, he urged a complete ban on Muslims entering the U.S. And in the 10 days following his election, “we saw more hate crimes targeting the Muslim community than in any other period since 2011.”

She called attention to the current administration’s targeting of others as well, including people of color, women, the undocumented, and the LGBTQ community. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has just approved the third version of Trump’s travel ban, and the “zero tolerance” immigration policy has led to separation of over 2,000 children from their parents at the border.

Billoo urged all present to “use today, July 4, to commit, to be courageous, to take risks and to fight alongside each other, “because we are talking about a system that won’t be fixed with band-aids, it’s going to take actual abolition…. We know that when we fight, we can win.”

Speaking for the Urban Peace Movement and its DetermiNation Black Men’s Group, Mercer and Coleman relayed a message from UPM’s program and policy campaign coordinator, Dr. Prince White, who was unable to participate. And they related the challenges they themselves face as young black men growing up in Oakland’s poor working-class communities and confronting the devastating social and economic injustices youth and others in the black community experience daily.

In his message, White urged support for “the leadership of youth of color. We have to listen to them,” he said, “bring them into spaces, and let them take leadership roles.”

White observed that July 4th “has always been a complicated holiday for black people,” adding that in his view, “the major forces shaping the world” since World War II have been white male supremacy and capitalism. Fighting against those forces is “the best thing one can do with one’s life.”

Calling his generation “angry and upset,” Mercer said that he believes older generations haven’t fully transmitted the values young people need to succeed in today’s world, and “as young people, we have to move forward for all the things that have been happening in the last 300 to 400 years.”

Young black men who live in the ‘hood “are going to be scary, they’re going to be intimidating,” he told the crowd. “But you’ve got to build a bridge, start talking to some of us, because we have a lot of intellect that could benefit this world.”

Juan Lopez warned that the Trump administration is “out to destroy the rights our people have won since before the birth of the nation,” as well as the social and economic advances of the 1930s New Deal and Congress’ passage of the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Act in the 1960s.

He called for full engagement in the 2018 and 2020 election campaigns, at both national and state levels. “Already this year, the early races are showing a new crop of candidates running and winning in Congressional districts that have been controlled by Republicans,” he said. “They are women, youth, smart, tenacious, multicolor, multi-generational, with different political views, all progressive.

“We are moving in a good direction, but we’re at a crossroads now,” López added. “One road leads to an authoritarian, anti-democratic, and even fascist regime; the other leads to the extension of democracy like we’ve never seen before, and a new society where we the people become masters of our own destiny.”


MCs Michelle Kern and Alex Farr presented the keynote speakers with certificates from area Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, expressing appreciation for their work.

Akberet Hagos’ performance of “This Land is Your Land,” by the great 20th century American folk singer Woody Guthrie, had everyone helping to fill the hall with the classic ballad’s soaring refrains.

Cassandra Lopez, known affectionately in the community as “Mama Cassie,” offered the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library as “the place for the people” to meet and hold events. [25]


Template:Reflist Template:Endorsers of the Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s Template:Center for Labor Renewal endorsers

  1. Democratic left, Fall 2009
  2. PW The legacy of Spain and the Lincoln Brigade Print Email to a Friend by: David Bacon December 7 2015
  3. University of California website: The New National Organization of Communist Youth
  4. PW The legacy of Spain and the Lincoln Brigade Print Email to a Friend by: David Bacon December 7 2015
  5. PW The legacy of Spain and the Lincoln Brigade Print Email to a Friend by: David Bacon December 7 2015
  6. FB friends page
  7. PW The legacy of Spain and the Lincoln Brigade Print Email to a Friend by: David Bacon December 7 2015
  8. Addendum to Initiative document
  9. http://www.marxistlibr.org/sponsors.html
  10. CCDS Background
  11. Conference program
  12. Proceedings of the Committees of Correspondence Conference: Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the '90s booklet, printed by CoC in NY, Sept. 1992 (Price: $4)
  13. [Democratic Left • Labor Day Issue 1997. page 8]
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Center for Political Education website: Past Classes (1998 - 2007)]
  15. http://www.marxistschool.org/default.aspx?page=allspeakers
  16. [The Corresponer Vol 10, number 1, June 2002 http://www.cc-ds.org/pub_arch/CorresponderX1-2.pdf]
  17. CCDS 5th Conference agenda
  18. http://www.cc-ds.org/convention_2009/Socialism_and_the_Emerging_Progressive_Majority.pdf
  19. [1]
  20. DataCenter 2007 Annual Report
  21. Wednesday, September 24, 2008 Progressive Forum: Fall 2008
  22. http://www.centerforlaborrenewal.org/?P=EN
  23. TYR, Sep. 2009
  24. [2]
  25. People’s World event in California calls for ‘Sanctuary for All’ July 11, 2018 12:25 PM CDT BY MARILYN BECHTEL