El Salvador

Andy Daitsman adaitsma at mail.cc.trincoll.edu
Tue Mar 7 04:01:08 MST 1995

>Louis Proyect:
>Now that I've re-read your original post, I'm still not sure what
>this has to do with going backward from capitalism to feudalism. The
>farm you describe sounds like nothing more nor less than an
>agriculture-based village trying to fend for itself in the midst of
>capitalist agribusiness. Backwardness and poverty does not equal feudalism
>the last time I checked.

We might want to think about taking this to email, but here goes.

I'm not citing "California" (the name of the former estate in question) as
an example of regression from capitalism to _feudalism_, but rather as a
regression from capitalism to a pre-capitalist mode of production.
Village-based agriculture should not be construed as feudalist -- which in
my mind involves large landed estates, single owners, bound resident labor,
and certain kinds of reciprocity between landowner and serf.  Nor can it be
considered completely Asiatic, a mode of production which implies a highly
organized state which mobilizes the resources of many villages in order to
support a bureaucratic elite and to create and maintain massive public works
projects which make village agriculture possible.

Village agriculture in the Americas -- especially in Mexico and Central
America -- is largely self-sufficient.  The village is an autonomous entity
which organizes access to resources, especially land, through various kinds
of collective mechanisms.  As far as I know, it is a particularly American
mode of production -- although I freely confess that I don't know enough
about southeast asian villages to make this statement with a great deal of

The main point, though, is that it is clearly not capitalist.  Its
reappearance on what had been a showcase estate of Salvadoran agrarian
capitalism I think is interesting.


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