The Mexican Revolution and the Limits of Agrarian Reform, 1915-1946

The Mexican Revolution and the Limits of Agrarian Reform, 1915-1946

The Mexican Revolution and the Limits of Agrarian Reform, 1915-1946

The Mexican Revolution and the Limits of Agrarian Reform, 1915-1946

Excerpt

In November 1991, the government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari modified Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution to allow the rental and sale of lands held by ejido peasant communities and to encourage private investment and promote greater foreign involvement in the agricultural sector. Salinas announced the end of the agrarian reform initiated in 1915. Government representatives insisted that the new measures would modernize, not destroy, the ejido; at the same time, they implied that the regime no longer needed the once crucial political support of the ejido peasantry. The initiative was praised by business interests, the right, and the Church; peasant organizations and the left almost unanimously declared them a disaster for ejidatarios, agricultural workers, and the rural poor. The news media reported both a rush to speculate in ejidal lands and confusion and anger among the peasantry.

These developments are not surprising. First, they concur with the many other steps taken by Salinas's government to privatize and allow greater foreign penetration of the Mexican economy—an economy that industrialized and entered the twentieth century under State protection. Second, they have been advocated for decades by prolandlord forces and in many cases merely give legal sanction to a state of affairs that already existed. As this book will show, the Mexican agrarian reform was defunct by 1946; its main institution, the ejido peasant community, declined with respect to large-scale, private agriculture after a brief period of expansion and relative prosperity in 1936-1940. Much of the economic rationale for the ejido— as a wage-cost subsidy for private agriculture and as a producer of basic food crops—has been immaterial for at least 25 years. The Mexican regime now seems to think that increased private and foreign investment in agriculture, and in the economy as a whole, will generate enough prosperity to take the ejido's place as a political and . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.