Dependency theory debate in Latin America

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Jun 7 09:52:58 MDT 2001

>In fact, the growth of towns in Latin America is not in itself a
>negative process: I know Lou Pr will not agree with what follows, but
>_there is_ an "idiocy of the rural environment".

I advocate democracy. When a multinational company like Delmonte or United
Fruit Company buys up millions of acres of fertile farmland in Central
America to convert into cattle ranches or banana plantation, I defend the
right of the peasant to retain the land especially since the fate awaiting
them in Guatemala City is not "proletarianization" but selling drugs,
chewing gum or their bodies.

>Nor can these towns be explained away in the way Louis Pr. does
>above. What should be stressed (and DT proponents don't) is the
>inherently contradictory character of capitalist growth under the
>conditions of dependency. A city is the society traced on the soil,
>said the Italian Marxist geographer Massimo Quaini once, and I believe
>that this is a very profound assertion.

The sharpest expressions of the class struggle in Latin America involve
peasant resistance against "primitive accumulation". This is what produced
the revolt of Farabundo Marti, "La Violencia" in Colombia, the Guatemalan
Indian guerrilla army of the poor, Hugo Blanco's guerrilla movement in
Peru, the Mexican Revolution of 1910, and the landless movement in Brazil
today. To adopt a posture of left-Hegelian complacency in the face of the
onslaught of agribusiness condemns us to irrelevancy in the eyes of the
most deeply exploited.

Louis Proyect
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