Social Scientist. v 7, no. 79 (Feb 1979) p. 3.


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ERNEST FEDER

Regeneration and Degeneration of the Peasants:

Three Views about the Destruction of the Countryside

BEFORE entering into the main subject of this article—the evaluation of the current temperamental debate in Mexico about whether the campesinos are "here to stay" or whether they are bound to disappear—a few preliminary comments may be desirable. In the first place, attention is drawn to the happy, and at the same time the tragic fact that Mexico is practically thfe only country remaining in Latin America in which the perverse processes of the new, gigantic expansion of capitalist agriculture, und^r t he control of foreign (mainly US) capital and technology manipulated by giant agribusiness concerns of the transnational species, can still be openly discussed. Some of these perverse processes will be commented upon later. In most Latin American nations, governments are selling out (pronounce: give away) their country's agricultural resources to the highest bidders, the industrial countries. These transactions and their impact on the national economy and particularly on the rural population ren^ain well-guarded, almost military secrets shared only by them a'nd a handful of giant foreign agribusiness corporations and an occasional domestic firm. Their operations are tabu. The? middle-agj^s have descended on the agricultural scene of Latin America.1

The refreshing public debates in Mexico on the rural



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