The first years of World War II were marked by a series of battles in and over the fields of California. Workers struggled with growers, growers struggled with the state, and federal and California bureaucrats struggled to gain control over the anarchic labor conditions that marked California agriculture. The introduction of a guest worker program - the bracero program - that brought farmworkers from Mexico to the harvests of California and other states, brought these battles to a head as growers ought to secure their traditional access to 'cheap labor' and their presumed right to control the farm labor process in the state. This paper examines these battles to show how growers fought - and managed - to preserve a landscape of great power and profit. The paper argues that the agricultural landscape extant at the beginning of the war shaped the nature of these multifaceted struggles, even as it was an object of those struggles.
- Bracero program
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development