Farming in California

In the 1930's California did not have alot of people in it because it was hard to get too. Then the Dust Bowl hit and the Okies and Arkies came from there. They came because California promised farming and thats all these people knew how to do. They were not being paid much though so they went on strike. The growers then went and fired people but it backfired on the growers and was more effective for the strikers.

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The economic depression of the 1930s was longer and harder than any other in American history because it was followed by one of the longest and hardest droughts on record. There are cycles of drought, but this was one of the worst ever recorded. The decade started with dry years in 1930 and 1931 especially in the East. Then, 1934 recorded extremely dry conditions over almost 80 percent of the United States. Extreme drought conditions returned in 1936, 1939 and 1940. Walter Schmitt calls this the "double whammy" of drought and depression.

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. FDR.

This study examines labor unrest during the 1930s in the San Joaquin Valley, which was rooted in the unfavorable relationship that existed between industralized agriculture and an exploited force of Mexican workers, whose incomes were well below subsistence levels. The San Joaquin Valley cottom strike is regarded as a landmark event in California's labor history and represents a classic racial-class conflict. The development of large-scale agricultural operations demanded the employment of gangs of wage labor, often on a seasonal, periodic basis. The ordinary social relationships between the small grower and the farm laborer working side by side, will give way in an industrialized setup to an impersonal relationship. Therefore, a major factor determining the size and frequency of agricultural strikes was contingent upon the size of the farm, with large scale farms tending to underpay their labor force to reap greater profits. The political and economic influence established by cotton growers and ginners not only exploited farm workers by denying them decent wages and living conditions, but also enfringed upon smaller growers who depended on cotton gins for financing the cultivation and harvest of their crop. Mexicans comprised a significant part of the San Joaquin Valley's agricultural work force. These workers had to contend with racial attitudes that justified their lowly station in society, an image that they could be easily controlled by employers. During the course of the cotton strike, the preconceived notions that depicted Mexicans as inferior, docile, and subservient influenced growers to take action which they believed would quickly end the strike. However, the oppressed Mexican workers were willing to risk their lives to combat this injustice. The strike succeeded in raising the pay rate form $.60 to $.75, and inspired workers to renew strike activity whenever employers established unfair wages.

Fear the time when the strikes stop while the great owners live - for every little beaten strike is proof that the step is being taken … fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is the foundation of Manself, and this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe.
The Grapes of Wrath