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Other titles in the Pitt Latin American series:
End of the Peasantry: The Rural Labor Movement in Northeast Brazil, 1961-1988 (Pitt Latin American)by Anthony W. Pereira
Synopses & Reviews
The rural labor movement played a surprisingly active role in Brazil’s transition to democracy in the 1980s. While in most Latin American countries rural labor was conspicuously marginal, in Brazil, an expanded, secularized, and centralized movement organized strikes, staged demonstrations for land reform, demanded political liberalization, and criticized the government’s environmental policies.
In this ground-breaking book, Anthony W. Pereira explains this transition as the result of two intertwined processes - the modernization of agricultural production and the expansion of the welfare state into the countryside - and explores the political consequences of these processes, occurring not only in Latin America but in much of the Third World.
The rural labor movement played a surprisingly active role in Brazil's transition to democracy in the 1980s. While in most Latin American countries rural labor was conspicuously marginal, in Brazil, an expanded, secularized, and centralized movement organized strikes, staged demonstrations for land reform, demanded political liberalization, and criticized the government's environmental policies. This new movement, unlike Latin American reform movements of the 1960s, had as its most dynamic elements wage workers and small farmers rather than peasants.
In this groundbreaking book, Anthony W. Pereira explains this transformation as the result of two intertwined processes: the modernization of agricultural production and the expansion of the welfare state into the countryside. He centers his research on the vanguard of the national movement, the trade unions in the sugar zone of Pernambuco. Through Pernambuco, Pereira traces the movement to its beginnings in the early 1960s, analyzes the changes it underwent after the repression of the 1964 coup, and assesses the impact rural unions had on politics up until the passage of the 1988 constitution.
Pereira argues that when Brazilian politics became liberalized in the 1980s, the emergent rural labor organizations reflected the marginalization of the peasantry, a consequence of state policies, some administered by the unions themselves. His analysis explains the recent radicalization of grass-roots movements of the landless, which have frequently gone around the formal union structure in order to press their demands. The End of the Peasantry addresses the transformation of the "peasant question" in Latin America and explores the politicalconsequences of the agricultural mechanization and capitalization that is occurring in much of the Third World.
"This volume will be of great interest not only to those engaged in the study of Brazilian society, but also to those interested in Latin America, as well as democratization and collective action". Mauricio A. Font, Queens College / CUNY
"The End of the Peasantry presents a thorough and broad analysis of the literature on agrarian problems, unique data gathered from rural labor leaders, an unprecedented analysis of rural labor politics in the late 1980s and 90s, and provocative generalizations and challenges to the transitions to democracy and new social movements literature". Cliff Welch, Grand Valley State University
Table of Contents
From peasant leagues to unions in rural Brazil — The past as prologue — Structural change and conservative modernization — The regulation of conflict — Sons of cane : leadership dilemmas within the unions — Sugar with the taste of blood : the state and violence — The candidates : the unions and political parties — The struggle for heaven and Earth : agrarian reform — Conclusion : the end of the peasantry.
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