[Marxism] Re: land titles and cooperatives and Venezuela

rrubinelli rrubinelli at earthlink.net
Sat Aug 6 14:22:15 MDT 2005

Not exactly a mutual admiration society, but credit where credit is due:
Fred gets to the real issue when he suggests:

" And I also re-emphasize that I think the decline of the peasantry in
the  last few decades is more a product of imperialist  decay, than
capitalist progress, and thus "progress" will consist on reversing, not
just building on, the conquests of globalization."

Here Fred centers the point of convergence, and consequently divergence,
for Marxists and Marxist analysis of agricultural production:
convergence in that land, landed property, the proprietorship of
agricultural production, is genesis of modern capitalism.  Somewhere,
the Grundrisse?, Marx writes that all history/economics is the history,
the economics of relations between city and countryside.  (Marx also
says the same thing about economics and time, and it would be great to
do some inquiry into the transformation of time, concepts of time,
accompanying the rise of modern capitalism-- from seasonal to daily, to
the hour, to piecework, etc.)

Divergence?  In that I would go a bit further, or back, or differently-- 
the decline in the peasantry is in fact the hallmark of capitalist
progress and capitalist progress is simply indivisible from imperialist
decay... so that at origin, capitalism does not find its progress in the
transformation of the peasantry into farmers,  landowners producing for
exchange, but finds it then and now in the immiseration of the
peasantry, its expulsion from the land en masse, and subjugation to the
land in part through tenant arrangements, leasing, subsistence
ownership-- just enough to maintain a source of rural labor.

Further divergence in that I don't think we can undo, the
"progress/decay" that capital has wrought through this eclipsing of the
peasantry-- attempts to restore something that never really existed have
not proven successful in support of the proletarian revolution.  Sooner
or later, the decomposition of collective property forms through the
subsidization of individual agricultural ownership reaches a critical

So in  Venezuela, or the Philippines, or China,  I think "land to the
tiller," the individual tiller is fruitless--  My inquiries into
Venezuela over the past couple of years made it clear, that at its root,
the movement in the countryside was NOT about individual ownership of
small farms-- that the movement itself was basically collective,

That being said-- Fred has also identified something tactically,
strategically essential in the need for cooperative, and collective,
agricultural production-- and that is defense against the latifundistas'
death squads.

Expropriation, and the defense of expropriation, is impossible on the
individual level.  In the struggle itself is the necessary
reorganization of property.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Fred Feldman" <ffeldman at bellatlantic.net>
To: <rrubinelli at earthlink.net>
Sent: Saturday, August 06, 2005 2:05 PM
Subject: [Marxism] Re: land titles and cooperatives and Venezuela

> Rrubinelli's thoughts on this are a useful addition. He wrote:
> Part of the issue, I think, is that Venezuela has not had, and does
> now have, an actual peasantry.  Individual, small, agricultural
> proprietors, producing for individual/family use, engaging in exchange
> as a secondary, supplementary, activity are pretty well absent from
> history of Venezuelan agricultural production.

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