Although much has been written on agrarian reforms in India, there are few in-depth studies of specific states and none concerning the relevance of agrarian reforms to the economic development and political stability of Bihar— a state containing one-tenth of the people of India, a population comparable in magnitude to that of the United Kingdom or France. F. Tomasson Jannuzi's field research in Bihar, beginning with village-level surveys and interviews in 1956 and extending through repeated visits through August 1970, has enabled him to provide a unique perspective on events and issues associated with the continuing struggle to transform Bihar's agrarian structure.
Agrarian Crisis in India is at once a history of post-independence agrarian reforms in an important state of India, a detailed critique of the statutory loopholes that have frustrated successive land-reform measures, and a penetrating analysis of the economic, political, and social implications of the failure of agrarian reforms to be implemented in twentieth-century Bihar. The author's analysis of the case of Bihar provides insights not only into the agrarian crisis in Bihar but also into other agrarian societies in the midst of social and economic transformation.
Experts in the field of economic development traditionally have held that the goals of increased production and distributive justice must be approached in sequence. It has been considered almost axiomatic that economic growth will result initially in growing inequalities among classes within a region and among regions within a country. Professor Jannuzi suggests that in Bihar a compelling alternative to this conventional wisdom is an economic-development strategy based on the recognition that the agricultural-production and distributive-justice goals are inseparable and must be addressed simultaneously. He suggests that economic growth in rural Bihar may become impossible if distributive justice continues to be denied to significant sections of the peasantry and, conversely, that distributive justice will prove an illusory target unless economic growth can be assured. Professor Jannuzi recommends the implementation of specified agrarian reforms in Bihar as the prerequisite for meeting the agricultural-production and distributive-justice goals.
Dwyer weaves together elite and subaltern history and highlights the intricate relationship between domestic and international affairs. Through detailed studies of land redistribution in Baja California and Sonora, he demonstrates that peasant agency influenced the local application of Cárdenas’s agrarian reform program, his regional state-building projects, and his relations with the United States. Dwyer draws on a broad array of official, popular, and corporate sources to illuminate the motives of those who contributed to the agrarian dispute, including landless fieldworkers, indigenous groups, small landowners, multinational corporations, labor leaders, state-level officials, federal policymakers, and diplomats. Taking all of them into account, Dwyer explores the circumstances that spurred agrarista mobilization, the rationale behind Cárdenas’s rural policies, the Roosevelt administration’s reaction to the loss of American-owned land, and the diplomatic tactics employed by Mexican officials to resolve the international conflict.
Contributors. José Batista Gonçalves Afonso, Sonia Maria P..P. Bergamasco, Sue Branford, Elena Calvo-González, Miguel Carter, Horacio Martins de Carvalho, Guilherme Costa Delgado, Bernardo Mançano Fernandes, Leonilde Sérvolo de Medeiros, George Mészáros, Luiz Antonio Norder, Gabriel Ondetti, Ivo Poletto, Marcelo Carvalho Rosa, Lygia Maria Sigaud, Emmanuel Wambergue, Wendy Wolford
This is an examination of the broader context for the re-emergence of land reform and resource conflicts in Africa. Efforts to change the race based systems of land ownership and land tenure in Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe have pushed land issues to the forefront of social and economic discourses in Africa. This collection examines the broader context for the re-emergence of land reform and resource conflicts.
The case studies examine the links between identity maintenance, tenurial changes, state intervention, and forms and modes of conflict. The authors emphasize the need for a deeper understanding of local histories, cultures, and motivations if efforts to attain a more just distribution of resources are to succeed. The book contributes to a field that has been developing rapidly in the decade since the publication of Melissa Leach and Robin Mearns' collection The Lie of the Land and Mahmood Mamdani's Citizen and Subject. Those two books started a wide ranging discussion of the political reasons for failed development in Africa, as well as the environmental and natural resource dimensions of that failure.
Mallon recounts the land usurpation Nicolás Ailío endured in the first decades of the twentieth century and the community’s ongoing struggle for restitution. Facing extreme poverty and inspired by the agrarian mobilizations of the 1960s, some community members participated in the agrarian reform under the government of socialist president Salvador Allende. With the military coup of 1973, they suffered repression and desperate impoverishment. Out of this turbulent period the Mapuche revitalization movement was born. What began as an effort to protest the privatization of community lands under the military dictatorship evolved into a broad movement for cultural and political recognition that continues to the present day. By providing the historical and local context for the emergence of the Mapuche revitalization movement, Courage Tastes of Blood offers a distinctive perspective on the evolution of Chilean democracy and its rupture with the military coup of 1973.
The rural labor movement played a surprisingly active role in Brazil’s transition to democracy in the 1980s. While in most Latin American countries rural labor was conspicuously marginal, in Brazil, an expanded, secularized, and centralized movement organized strikes, staged demonstrations for land reform, demanded political liberalization, and criticized the government’s environmental policies.
In this ground-breaking book, Anthony W. Pereira explains this transition as the result of two intertwined processes - the modernization of agricultural production and the expansion of the welfare state into the countryside - and explores the political consequences of these processes, occurring not only in Latin America but in much of the Third World.
In the Shadows of State and Capital tells the story of how Ecuadorian peasants gained, and then lost, control of the banana industry. Providing an ethnographic history of the emergence of subcontracting within Latin American agriculture and of the central role played by class conflict in this process, Steve Striffler looks at the quintessential form of twentieth-century U.S. imperialism in the region—the banana industry and, in particular, the United Fruit Company (Chiquita). He argues that, even within this highly stratified industry, popular struggle has contributed greatly to processes of capitalist transformation and historical change.
Striffler traces the entrance of United Fruit into Ecuador during the 1930s, its worker-induced departure in the 1960s, the troubled process through which contract farming emerged during the last half of the twentieth century, and the continuing struggles of those involved. To explore the influence of both peasant activism and state power on the withdrawal of multinational corporations from banana production, Striffler draws on state and popular archives, United Fruit documents, and extensive oral testimony from workers, peasants, political activists, plantation owners, United Fruit administrators, and state bureaucrats. Through an innovative melding of history and anthropology, he demonstrates that, although peasant-workers helped dismantle the foreign-owned plantation, they were unable to determine the broad contours through which the subsequent system of production—contract farming—emerged and transformed agrarian landscapes throughout Latin America.
By revealing the banana industry’s impact on processes of state formation in Latin America, In the Shadows of State and Capital will interest historians, anthropologists, and political scientists, as well as scholars of globalization and agrarian studies.
Weaving together ethnography, archival research, and cultural history, Bobrow-Strain argues that prior to the upheavals of 1994 landowners were already squeezed between increasingly organized indigenous activism and declining political and economic support from the Mexican state. He demonstrates that indigenous mobilizations that began in 1994 challenged not just the economy of estate agriculture but also landowners’ understandings of progress, masculinity, ethnicity, and indigenous docility. By scrutinizing the elites’ responses to land invasions in relation to the cultural politics of race, class, and gender, Bobrow-Strain provides timely insights into policy debates surrounding the recent global resurgence of peasant land reform movements. At the same time, he rethinks key theoretical frameworks that have long guided the study of agrarian politics by engaging political economy and critical human geography’s insights into the production of space. Describing how a carefully defended world of racial privilege, political dominance, and landed monopoly came unglued, Intimate Enemies is a remarkable account of how power works in the countryside.
Half of Indonesia’s massive population still lives on farms, and for these tens of millions of people the revolutionary promise of land reform remains largely unfulfilled. The Basic Agrarian Law, enacted in the wake of the Indonesian revolution, was supposed to provide access to land and equitable returns for peasant farmers. But fifty years later, the law’s objectives of social justice have not been achieved.
Land for the People provides a comprehensive look at land conflict and agrarian reform throughout Indonesia’s recent history, from the roots of land conflicts in the prerevolutionary period and the Sukarno and Suharto regimes, to the present day, in which democratization is creating new contexts for people’s claims to the land. Drawing on studies from across Indonesia’s diverse landscape, the contributors examine some of the most significant issues and events affecting land rights, including shifts in policy from the early postrevolutionary period to the New Order; the Land Administration Project that formed the core of land policy during the late New Order period; a long-running and representative dispute over a golf course in West Java that pitted numerous local farmers against the government and local elites; Suharto’s notorious “million hectare” project that resulted in loss of access to land and resources for numerous indigenous farmers in Kalimantan; and the struggle by Bandung’s urban poor to be treated equitably in the context of commercial land development. Together, these essays provide a critical resource for understanding one of Indonesia’s most pressing and most influential issues.
Contributors: Afrizal, Dianto Bachriadi, Anton Lucas, John McCarthy, John Mansford Prior, Gustaaf Reerink, Carol Warren, and Gunawan Wiradi.
Land is a significant and controversial topic in South Africa. Addressing the land claims of those dispossessed in the past has proved to be a demanding, multidimensional process. In many respects the land restitution program that was launched as part of the county’s transition to democracy in 1994 has failed to meet expectations, with ordinary citizens, policymakers, and analysts questioning not only its progress but also its outcomes and parameters.
Land, Memory, Reconstruction, and Justice brings together a wealth of topical material and case studies by leading experts in the field who present a rich mix of perspectives from politics, sociology, geography, social anthropology, law, history, and agricultural economics. The collection addresses both the material and the symbolic dimensions of land claims, in rural and urban contexts, and explores the complex intersection of issues confronting the restitution program, from the promotion of livelihoods to questions of rights, identity, and transitional justice.
A valuable contribution to the field of land and agrarian studies, both in South Africa and internationally, it is undoubtedly the most comprehensive treatment to date of South Africa’s postapartheid land claims process and will be essential reading for scholars and students of land reform for years to come.
In 1969, Juan Velasco Alvarado’s military government began an ambitious land reform program in Peru, transferring holdings from large estates to peasant cooperatives. Fifty years later this reform remains controversial: critics claim it unjustly expropriated land and ruined the Peruvian economy, while supporters emphasize its success in addressing rural inequality and exploitation.
Moving beyond agricultural policy to offer a fresh perspective on the agrarian reform, Land without Masters shows how ideological assumptions and state interventions surrounding the reform transformed Peru’s political culture and social fabric. Drawing on fieldwork in three different regions, Anna Cant shows how the government adapted its discourse and interventions to the local context while using the reform as a platform for nation-building. This comparative approach reveals how local actors shaped the regional impact of the agrarian reform and highlights the new forms of agency that emerged, including that of marginalized peasants who helped forge a new social, cultural, and political landscape.
Making novel use of both visual and cultural sources, this book is a fascinating look at how the agrarian reform process permanently altered the relationship between rural citizens and the national government—and how it continues to resonate in Peruvian politics today.
The year 2008 is the deadline set by President Mbeki for the finalization of all land claims by people who were dispossessed under the apartheid and previous white governments. Although most experts agree this is an impossible deadline, it does provide a significant political moment for reflection on the ANC government’s program of land restitution since the end of apartheid.
Land reform (and land restitution within that) remains a highly charged issue in South Africa, one that deserves more in–depth analysis. Drawing on her experience as Rural Land Claims Commissioner in KwaZulu–Natal from 1995 to 2000, Professor Cherryl Walker provides a multilayered account of land reform in South Africa, one that covers general critical commentary, detailed case material, and personal narrative. She explores the master narrative of loss and restoration, which has been fundamental in shaping the restitution program; offers a critical overview of the achievements of the program as a whole; and discusses what she calls the “non–programmatic limits to land reform,” including urbanization, environmental constraints and the impact of HIV/AIDS.
Reassessing the Cambodian genocide through the lens of global capitalist development.
James Tyner reinterprets the place of agriculture under the Khmer Rouge, positioning it in new ways relative to Marxism, capitalism, and genocide. The Cambodian revolutionaries’ agricultural management is widely viewed by critics as irrational and dangerous, and it is invoked as part of wider efforts to discredit leftist movements. Researching the specific functioning of Cambodia’s transition from farms to agriculture within the context of the global economy, Tyner comes to a different conclusion. He finds that analysis of “actually existing political economy”—as opposed to the Marxist identification the Khmer Rouge claimed—points to overlap between Cambodian practice and agrarian capitalism.
Tyner argues that dissolution of the traditional Khmer family farm under the aegis of state capitalism is central to any understanding of the mass violence unleashed by the Khmer Rouge. Seen less as a radical outlier than as part of a global shift in farming and food politics, the Cambodian tragedy imparts new lessons to our understanding of the political economy of genocide.
The peasants known in popular memory as Jaramillistas were led by Rubén Jaramillo (1900–1962). An agrarian leader from Morelos who participated in the Mexican Revolution and fought under Zapata, Jaramillo later became an outspoken defender of the rural poor. The Jaramillistas were inspired by the legacy of the Zapatistas, the peasant army that fought for land and community autonomy with particular tenacity during the Revolution. Padilla examines the way that the Jaramillistas used the legacy of Zapatismo but also transformed, expanded, and updated it in dialogue with other national and international political movements.
The Jaramillistas fought persistently through legal channels for access to land, the means to work it, and sustainable prices for their products, but the Mexican government increasingly closed its doors to rural reform. The government ultimately responded with repression, pushing the Jaramillistas into armed struggle, and transforming their calls for local reform into a broader critique of capitalism. With Rural Resistance in the Land of Zapata, Padilla sheds new light on the decision to initiate armed struggle, women’s challenges to patriarchal norms, and the ways that campesinos framed their demands in relation to national and international political developments.
On the eve of the twentieth century, Peru seemed like a profitable and yet fairly unexploited country. Both foreign capitalists and local state makers envisioned how remote highland areas were essential to a sustainable national economy. Mobilizing Andean populations lay at the core of this endeavor. In his groundbreaking book, The Rural State, Javier Puente uncovers the surprising and overlooked ways that Peru’s rural communities formed the political nation-state that still exists today.
Puente documents how people living in the Peruvian central sierra in the twentieth century confronted emerging and consolidating powers of state and capital and engaged in an ongoing struggle over increasingly elusive subsistence and autonomies. Over the years, policy, politics, and social turmoil shaped the rural, mountainous regions of Peru until violent unrest, perpetrated by the Shining Path and other revolutionary groups, unveiled the extent, limits, and fractures of a century-long process of rural state formation. Examining the conflicts between one rural community and the many iterations of statehood in the central sierra of Peru, The Rural State offers a fresh perspective on how the Andes became la sierra, how pueblos became comunidades, and how indígenas became campesinos.
A massive land-seizure movement first erupted in Peru in 1958 and spread across the Andean highlands in 1963–1964. Several hundred peasant communities in the Peruvian Andes occupied neighboring haciendas in an attempt to retake lands they felt had been stolen from them over the years. Hacienda peasants also participated in this movement, forming peasant sindicatos (unions) to improve their labor conditions.
The land-seizure movement brought with it an upsurge in community political mobilization. Throughout the highlands, village leaders banded together in regional federations, often allying themselves with progressive or radical urban groups. Radical activists from labor unions and university student groups joined with indigenous peasant leaders, breaking down the highland peasantry’s traditional isolation from the political system.
Struggle in the Andes is an analysis of the causes and consequences of extensive social and political mobilization among Peru’s peasant population in the 1960s. In addition to describing the growth of the peasant land movement, Howard Handelman investigates the social and economic conditions that contributed to rural unrest. Using data that he collected in forty-one diverse highland communities, Handelman examines the correlates of peasant political activity, concluding that land seizures in the traditional southern sierra had different origins and political implications than did unrest in the more socioeconomically modernized central highlands.
The data suggest a model of peasant mobilization that calls into question prevailing scholarly hypotheses on the relationships between modernization, peasant political mobilization, and radicalization. Handelman discusses the land-reform program and the accompanying rural mobilization that was being implemented by Peru’s reformist military regime. Using his model of peasant mobilization, he speculates on the possible effects of the government’s contemporary programs on future peasant political behavior.
Drawing on extensive ethnographic research, Wolford compares the development of the movement in Brazil’s southern state of Santa Catarina and its northeastern state of Pernambuco. As she explains, in the south, most of the movement’s members were sons and daughters of small peasant farmers; in the northeast, they were almost all former plantation workers, who related awkwardly to the movement’s agenda of accessing “land for those who work it.” The MST became an effective presence in Pernambuco only after the local sugarcane economy had collapsed. Worldwide sugarcane prices dropped throughout the 1990s, and by 1999 the MST was a prominent political organizer in the northeastern plantation region. Yet fewer than four years later, most of the region’s workers had dropped out of the movement. By delving into the northeastern workers’ motivations for joining and then leaving the MST, Wolford adds nuance and depth to accounts of a celebrated grassroots social movement, and she highlights the contingent nature of social movements and political identities more broadly.
"The time of freedom" was the name that plantation workers—campesinos—gave to Guatemala’s national revolution of 1944–1954. Cindy Forster reveals the critical role played by the poor in organizing and sustaining this period of reform.
Through court records, labor and agrarian ministry archives, and oral histories, Forster demonstrates how labor conflict on the plantations prepared the ground for national reforms that are usually credited to urban politicians. She focuses on two plantation zones that generated exceptional momentum: the coffee belt in the highlands around San Marcos and the United Fruit Company’s banana groves near Tiquisate. Although these regions were unlike in size and complexity, language and race, popular culture and work patterns, both erupted with demands for workers’ rights and economic justice shortly after the fall of Castañeda in 1944.
A welcome balance to the standard "top-down" histories of the revolution, Forster’s sophisticated analysis demonstrates how campesinos changed the course of the urban revolution. By establishing the context of grassroots mobilization, she substantially alters the conventional view of the entire revolution, and particularly the reforms enacted under President Albenz.
A rare look at the German roots of radicalism in Texas, Toward a Cooperative Commonwealth illuminates the labor movements and populist ideas that changed the nation’s course at a pivotal time in its history.
Mayer interviewed ex-landlords, land expropriators, politicians, government bureaucrats, intellectuals, peasant leaders, activists, ranchers, members of farming families, and others. Weaving their impassioned recollections with his own commentary, he offers a series of dramatic narratives, each one centered around a specific instance of land expropriation, collective enterprise, and disillusion. Although the reform began with high hopes, it was quickly complicated by difficulties including corruption, rural and urban unrest, fights over land, and delays in modernization. As he provides insight into how important historical events are remembered, Mayer re-evaluates Peru’s military government (1969–79), its audacious agrarian reform program, and what that reform meant to Peruvians from all walks of life.
Undoing the Revolution looks at the way rural underclasses ally with out-of-power elites to overthrow their governments—only to be shut out of power when the new regime assumes control. Vasabjit Banerjee first examines why peasants need to ally with dissenting elites in order to rebel. He then shows how conflict resolution and subsequent bargains to form new state institutions re-empower allied elites and re-marginalize peasants.
Banerjee evaluates three different agrarian societies during distinct time periods spanning the twentieth century: revolutionary Mexico from 1910 to 1930; late-colonial India from 1920 until 1947; and White-dominated Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) from the mid-1960s to 1980. This comparative approach also allows examination of both the underclass need for elite participation and the variety of causes that elites use to incentivize peasant classes to participate, extending from religious-ethnic identity and common political targets to the peasants’ and elites’ own economic grievances.
Undoing the Revolution demonstrates that both international and domestic investors in cash crops, natural resources, and finance can ally with peasant rebels; and, after threatened or actual state collapse, they can bargain with each other to select new state institutions.
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