By: Trevor Loudon
No man is more responsible for the recent passage of California’s “Dream Act’ than State Assembly member Gil Cedillo.
Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Dream Act this past Monday, giving undocumented college students access to privately funded financial aid. Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, the author of the bill, is already seeking to expand the bill to give these students access to state-funded tuition aid.
Cedillo has championed drivers licenses for illegal aliens, and has twice (2006, 2011) introduced a version of the DREAM Act into the California State Assembly.
Through his ties with labor unions and community organizations, Cedillo actively organized an opposition campaign to Proposition 187, California’s 1994 initiative to ban public benefits such as health care and education to undocumented immigrants. His efforts culminated in a 150,000-person march, one of the largest mass marches in the history of Los Angeles.
The pattern is the same across the United States. Virtually all major Latino immigration activists have ties to marxist organizations – mostly the Communist Party USA, or Democratic Socialists of America.
Gil Cedillo is no exception to the rule.
Cedillo announced the introduction of the California Dream Act with a “coalition of business, education and labor leaders” including: Javier Nunez, President, Executive Board, Laborers International Union, Local 300, socialist affiliated Kent Wong, Director, UCLA Labor Center, the National Council of La Raza, Nancy Ramirez, Western Regional Counsel, MALDEF and David Huerta, Regional Vice President, SEIU United Service Workers West.
Cedillo has worked with labor unions and radical groups since his youth.
For many years Cedillo has been a close friend and political ally of Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who he has known since High School.
Through an Upward Bound program, Cedillo was accepted at UCLA, Villaraigosa went to East Los Angeles College and then transferred to UCLA. The friends both became active in Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan or MEChA, a radical Chicano separatist group with a strong Marxist-Leninist underpinning.
Both attended the Peoples College of Law, a night school dedicated to producing public-interest lawyers. Peoples College of Law was founded in 1974 along with the Asian Law Collective, the La Raza National Lawyers Association and the communist affiliated National Conference of Black Lawyers and the National Lawyers Guild.
Villaraigosa and Cedillo worked on the C.A.S.A. newspaper, Sín Fronteras. “At CASA, we wanted to organize the undocumented into unions, instead of seeing them as a threat,” Cedillo said
Cedillo served as General Manager of the Service Employees International Union, Local 660, from 1991 to 1996, Los Angeles County’s largest union representing nearly 50,000 workers.
The Southern California Friends of the People’s Weekly World tribute to two of Los Angeles’ finest labor leaders, Jerry Acosta and Gilbert Cedillo, became a dynamic rally of elected officials, activists, labor and community leaders in solidarity with labor struggles and in the fight to defeat the ultra-right in November…
“The People’s Weekly World and all of us in this room feel very strongly about who we honor today,” said Evelina Alarcon, chair of the Southern California District and national secretary of the Communist Party USA, one of the emcees of the tribute. “Jerry Acosta and Gilbert Cedillo represent the new fightback vision of the Sweeney, Trumka, Chavez-Thompson leadership in the AFL-CIO. They represent the rank and file that is pushing from the bottom for that new vision!”
According to the World, Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, brother of Southern California Communist Party leader Evelina Alarcon, spoke on behalf of the council which adopted a resolution honoring Acosta and Cedillo:
“Gil Cedillo and Jerry Acosta have changed the whole dynamic of what it means to be for the working class and what it means to fight for workers rights. Because of them and other labor leaders, we have seen a resurgence of strength of the least empowered in our country…”
In June 2008, the Socialist International Migrations Committee held a Migrations Reform, Integration, Rights forum in Los Angeles.
Democratic Socialists of America, the US’s largest Marxist organization, and the SI’s main U.S.affiliate was represented by D.S.A. National Director Frank Llewellyn plus Duane Campbell and Dolores Delgado Campbell of D.S.A.’s Anti Racism and Latino networks.
California State Senator Gil Cedillo was also in attendance.
In January 2008, California State Senator Gil Cedillo and former state Democratic Senator Martha Escutia of Los Angeles, were two of the first prominent Latino politicians in Southern California to endorse Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Most local Latino politicians then favored Hillary Rodham Clinton, including Cedillo’s old friend Antonio Villaraigosa, who served as Clinton’s national campaign chair.
Since January 2010, Cedillo’s Principal Assistant and Communications Director has been Conrado Terrazas, a long term activist in his own right and the son of late Los Angeles Communist Party activist Mauricio Terrazas.