[Marxism] Re: land titles and cooperatives and Venezuela,

David Walters dwalters at marxists.org
Sat Aug 6 16:46:43 MDT 2005

A very useful discussion. I agree with Fred here on the land question  
vis-a-vis private ownership. Historically, the cry "Land to the  
Peasants!" (or whatever version) was seen as individual peasants  
getting title to the land in *some fashion*. Like "Self- 
Determination" it wasn't up to revolutionaries to *dictate* the form  
this takes. It has more to do with local conditions than anything.  
Thus, in Peru in the late 1950s, Trotskyist peasant leader Hugo  
Blanco was raising exactly the demand for land title, not some  
mechanical version of the Spanish Revolution, the only historical  
event I'm aware of where the rural proletariat and peasantry were  
demanding collectivization under self-management.

It's my view, too, that this can be very radicalizing. While Fred, in  
an earlier post, elevated this question to one of centrality for the  
Venezuelan revolution, might be overstating his case. I think it is  
is only relatively 'central' in that:

1. Any sharp struggle in the class struggle can be a catalyst for  
deepening that revolution and raising the question of the capitalist  
nature of Venezuela's still-capitalist economy and

2. Venezuela can, but doesn't, feed itself. That simply *developing*  
the sustainable agricultural sector of the economy is critical,  
regardless if the country remains wedded to the market or proceeds  
toward becoming and out-and-out workers state.

I believe that the 'land question' in South America is still vital,  
it is not as vital as it once was. Countries like Colombia, Mexico,  
Brazil, etc, are increasingly more urban than rural, as Michael L.  
pointed out...80% of Venezuela is urban and proletarian (formal and  
informal). The same is true in the Philippines, for example,  
something the old CPP doesn't understand in terms of what kind of  
revolution will be developing there. Thus the focus on the UNT and  
the role of the organized working class as the motive force behind  
support for the revolution.

David Walters

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