[Marxism] CUBANOW: Argentina: Unfinished Business
aaron at mylists.fastmail.fm
Fri Jul 18 16:07:02 MDT 2008
The article reproduced below was posted in mid-June by Walter Lippman to a couple of lists, but not to this one. It seems to be very relevant to the discussions on Argentina that we've been having.
It's interesting that (1) this appeared on what appears to be a semi-official Cuban web site and (2) that it is no longer possible to find there -- or anywhere else on the web except in the archives of two lists where Walter posted it:
I also tried various combinations of search terms for the presumed original in Spanish, but without any luck! Is there a political/diplomatic explanation for the disappearance of this article, or is it a purely technical problem?
P.S. The words "That dust caused this mud"appeared at the very end of the first pragraph. I have deleted them since they obviously don't belong and probably got included by accident when Walter copied the article from its web page.
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Argentina: Unfinished Business
By Jorge Gomez Barata
http://www.cubanow.net/global/loader.php?&secc=10&item=4993&c=2 [URL NOT WORKING!]
Cubanow.- The crisis in Argentina is not agricultural, but structural. It's another chapter in a recurrent story that started in the historical minute that the large estates defeated the small farm and the oligarchy submitting to foreign capital prevailed over the national bourgeoisie; dilemmas that voluntarism, dictatorships and above all, the long neo-liberal interregnum accentuated.
Everything started when Columbus arrived by chance in America instead of China, and without asking anybody, the Spanish kings, who very precariously scarcely governed their own country, took possession of an immensely rich fifty million square kilometres of territory, almost five times bigger than all of Europe and 10 times more populated than Spain.
Although gold and silver awakened the conquistadors' greed, the feudal mode of production, its political superstructure and corresponding culture were closely linked with the land and it was land that the Crown awarded its servants, who received huge tracts, sometimes including its original population and other times with the possibility of importing slaves.
Such obsequious colonial land distribution policies, in a cattle ranching version, was fostered in Argentina, where it served as the germinator for the agro-exportation model. As in other places, the plantation, the extensive raising of livestock and cereal cultivation was imposed, based on large estates that eliminated possibilities for the development of a diverse, robust rural society, protagonist over its destiny. Nor did this situation stimulate capitalist development of the countryside.
The large estate and the plantation, the biggest structural distortions of the Latin American economy, destroyed any possibilities of developing a real class of farmers or a caste of rural businessmen, in the style of North American farmers.
It's a case of agricultural countries that grew at the countryside expense, but with structures, practices and legislation against the countryside that prevented the promotion of a diverse and prosperous rural society. Without able and independent farmers, neither competition nor concurrence developed; there was no demand for seeds, fertilizers, farm tools, draught animals or agriculture machinery, elements that together with consumption form the basis of the internal market without which no economy and no society can progress harmoniously.
The existence of countries like Argentina and Brazil that have become agricultural powers, without eliminating the large estates or developing a prosperous class of farmers, is one of the anomalies that best defines underdevelopment.
A type like Nils Orgerson who enjoys a perspective of the Argentinean, Brazilian or Uruguayan landscape from the air and sees their vast and well tended soy, sugar cane and eucalyptus fields, will have the impression of agricultural progress, basis for the existence of prosperous and happy communities. He'll be surprised to know that in many cases they are virtual 'green deserts' in which there are not only no birds nor butterflies, no expression at all of any biodiversity, nor people either, much less happy communities.
What's happening in Argentina today is not a protest of the peasant class, but demonstrations of nonconformity with the fiscal policies of a government of a caste of large landowners with computers and high technology, but sociologically as reactionary as those who initiated the reign of the oligarchy under the colonial administration.
In strictly sociological terms, it doesn't matter if the land is unproductive or operated as plantations, if the owners are national or foreign, if they raise sheep or sow soy, cane or peanuts; the impact and the significance of the large estates system is always the same.
To favor this situation and condition the development and progress of the nation to it is taking a risk with perhaps a price to pay. Cristina, the new president who has shown capacity and determination for managing the crisis, shouldn't forget that the structural solutions are still unfinished business and incidentally -- not only in Argentina.
*Translated by Rodney López
*Revised by C.F. Rey
June 11, 2008
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