Land Reform or Red Revolution
Economic Surplus and the Dynamics of Political Violence
[1980 / Part 2]
VI. THE REMEDY
NINETEENTH century agrarian socialists advocated that land -- but not
the capital created by identifiable individuals -- should be
distributed equally among all, so that any ensuing inequalities of
income would be a function of differences in the toil of labourers
rather than as a result of the control over natural resources.
Attempts had been made to apply the agrarian principle to modern
societies, but "The secret of achieving it in practice has not
been found," according to Bertrand de Jouvenel in a lecture
delivered at the University of Oxford in 1949. The "secret"
of how to accomplish this ideal had in fact been energetically
promoted by Henry George in the 188Os; he took his solution from San
Francisco to New York, across the ocean to London, up to Scotland and
down to Australia.
George knew that crude schemes to redistribute land could not
work, and he proposed a fiscal solution: a tax on the value of all
land. Present owners need not be dispossessed: they could continue
possess the land so long as they paid the tax, which was
levied on the annual rental value which is determined by the market.
The virtues of a charge on the economic surplus (rent), in relation to
our present problem, can be summarised as follows:
- Data on the quality of land is generally poor or non-existent.
This creates an obvious difficulty for the proposal to physically
allocate land: how can two peasants be treated equitably if the
tracts assigned to them were not comparable in terms of their
income-generating potential? And how can those charged with
assigning land know, accurately, the quality and quantity of land
available for an equitable distribution? Countries like Brazil
have terrain ranging from lush grasslands to Amazon forests and
arid deserts, a mixture which poses problems when it comes to
deciding who should have what. The land value approach, however,
avoids this problem. It levies a charge on the value of the land,
which is determined by fertility, location and the demand arising
for the products and services of the land. Everyone associated
with the agricultural sector benefits through the public
expenditure financed by taxes on land values and from a more
prosperous agriculture. All this is achieved, then, through the
mechanism of redistributing values, not land per se.
- Variations in the man:land ratio do not present an obstacle. A
market free of monopolistic encumbrances, in conjunction with the
enterprise of the land users, would determine the optimum sizes of
farms and the number of people employed upon them. A charge on
land values forces possessors to make optimum use of the land;
failure to do so results in their inability to meet their fiscal
obligations, and so compels them to relinquish holdings to more
competent farmers. This encourages the division of inefficiently
farmed latifundia. in Latin America, and encourages the
amalgamation (rather than further fragmentation) of farms in Asia.
- The process outlined in (2) pressurises the rural sector
towards efficient commercialisation of farms. One consequence of
this modernisation process would be the displacement of
landworkers who were, in productivity terms -- redundant. This
would create an even larger pool of "landless" workers,
a serious effect only if they could not be absorbed in the
urban-industrial sector. But land-value taxation accelerates the
general rate of economic growth:
- By placing the fiscal burden on land values -- which cannot
be passed onto consumers through higher prices -- taxes can be
reduced on wages and on the interest received on capital. This
would expand the domestic consumer market, which is a crucial
limitation on the development of industry in Third World
countries; and encourages fresh fixed capital formation -- all
of which amounts to a rise in living standards and the
creation of new jobs.
- Land-value taxation removes the deleterious effects of
speculation. The growth of industrial economies has been
seriously hindered by the shortage of funds which have been
attracted into land speculation. The dislocations arising from
speculation have been serious: land in desirable locations has
been held idle by owners in the confident expectation of
higher capital values in the future; this has pushed up the
rents of land in use, forced the sub-optimum use of land
arising from urban sprawl, and generated higher costs (such as
in transportation). A 1OO per cent tax on land values smites
the dead hand of the speculator and removes these obstacles to
- One of the major problems to industrialisation in Third
World countries is the inadequate infrastructural services --
roads, water, power, and so on. These "lumpy"
capital investments have been undertaken by the public sector,
because they often prove to be unattractive to private
investors; returns tend to be low and spread over a very long
period. Rent is an attractive source of revenue for such
investments. The land tax is suitable for financing such
developments, for, unlike taxes on wages and interest, it
complements -- rather than deters -- capital formation in the
- Social justice is an integral part of a cohesive
socio-political system. Without it, the economic side of life
suffers. We have seen how latent discontent can explode into
revolutionary turmoil. Land-value taxation is an instrument
for justice as well as economic progress. It shares out,
through the exchequer, the value created not by individual
effort but by the presence and activities of the whole
community. The highest values are concentrated in the urban
centres; through land-value taxation, these can be enjoyed by
farmhands on the poorest of soil on the margins of the
economy. The mineral wealth in far-flung places can be shared
by the small entrepreneurs and workers in the urban
connurbations. As economic growth accelerates, so land values
rise: everyone shares in the spoils. As children are born, so
they stake their claims to the resources of nature
irrespective of whether their parents work as office clerks or
possess 10,000-acre farms.
The implications of all this for uniting class-divided societies into
symbiotic systems are patently clear. But it may be objected that,
given the rich variety of traditional land tenure systems which have
been developed to equip human societies to deal with specific local
conditions, it is wrong to propose just one alternative model. Most of
these systems, however, have already been destroyed during the
colonial era. Nonetheless, it is true that there are indigenous
societies which, left alone, would prefer to continue to exist
according to tribal customs. Most societies, however, have consciously
adopted a programme of modernisation, wishing to be integrated into
the world economy. The land-tax model is without exception suitable
for these societies. In advocating it, I do not deny the right of
surviving tribal systems -- the sort still found deep in the heart of
Latin America and in Oceania -- to continue outside the cash economy,
free from market influence if this is their choice.
But the failure to incorporate land-value taxation into the initial
agrarian reforms of developing Third World countries can have serious
developmental consequences. A crude programme based solely on the
physical re-allocation of land creates self-centred acquisitiveness
among the new landowners who consequently join the reactionary class
which opposes social justice and the economic growth generated by the
implementation of land-value taxation.
In Bolivia, for example, immediately after the revolution in 1952,
over 324,OOO peasants received nearly one million hectares of land
which they had formerly worked in exchange for unpaid labour. In 1968
the Government decided that a land tax would be a good idea: the
peasants, however, thought otherwise. They succeeded in thwarting the
plan. As new landowners with a vested interest, they rejected the
idea of sharing with others the surplus production (rent) over and
above the returns to their labour and capital. They had joined the
privileged class and insisted on exercising monopoly power without
recognition of any social obligations arising from their control over
VII. THE PRICE OF PEACE
BY using economic theory to analyse the problems associated with the
distribution of the economic rent of land, we have deepened our
understanding of the political processes, including the conditions
which lead to the resort to violence. Some conclusions can now be
reached which should enlighten policy formation.
Industrial economies have been able to maintain relative stability
and avoid revolutionary ruptures. Nevertheless, it is now apparent to
all that a heavy and growing price has had to be paid. For in order to
finance the economic and social welfare programmes necessary to
maintain relative harmony, the public sector of the western economies
"has had to be enlarged in a seemingly inexorable process. Even
Marx, who was fond of perceiving historical inevitabilities, noted
"Modern fiscality, whose pivot is formed by taxes on
the necessary means of subsistence (thereby increasing their price),
thus contains within itself the germ of automatic progression.
Over-taxation is not an incident, but rather a principle."
From the public debts incurred in the UK in the early 1800s, there
has indeed developed this "automatic progression." Both
debasement of the currency (which is a concealed form of taxation
operating through rising prices) and increased public borrowing have
been necessary to re-finance state spending. Marx, on the basis of
this observation, ought to have drawn the logical conclusion in terms
of the potential resilence of the industrial system. For, provided
technological developments continued to offset, in part at least, the
impact of the increasing tax burden, there was no reason why the
proletariat -- as a class -- should take to the barricades.
Yet Marx may have the proverbial last laugh. The demands of pressure
groups, representing those in need, which succeed in penetrating the
defences of the state system (through, for example, public
demonstrations or direct access to the influential decision-makers in
the corridors of power) have to be met by extra enabling laws,
bureaucratic machinery and the kind of centralised power which is
necessary for the system to balance conflicting demands in a
reasonably efficient way. As a result, the character of society is
inexorably changing in a direction at variance with that envisaged by
19th century liberals who proposed the initial state-financed schemes
for humanitarian reasons. Individual freedom and self-esteem are
necessarily eroded when people apply for a share in someone else's
wealth, as monitored by state agencies.
In addition, the structural development of the economy itself can
leave us in no doubt that the system is heading towards the
centralised control of the means of production eulogised by Marx and
Engels in The Communist Manifesto. Weak firms and industries
seek state protection against foreign competitors and even cash
subsidies to fill the balance sheet hiatus created by their own
inefficiences or by cyclical depressions not of their making. So the
public grows increasingly infatuated with a philosophy which requires
centralized political solutions to their every problem, thereby
necessitating the creation of extra layers of bureaucracy,
inflexibility in the system and a narrowing of individual liberties.
And the cyclical crises which disrupt progress of trade has led to a
consensus view that the economy has to be "managed" (a term
familiar to socialist economists as "central planning") and
jobs and firms absorbed into the public sector.
Those who defend the direction of change in capitalist society do so
sincerely on the grounds that many people are receiving a better
standard of health, housing and education than would have been the
case without the institutional modifications to 19th century
capitalist society. In general, this cannot be controverted. But the
defence is a superficial one. It assumes that there is no alternative
model available, one which would match or improve upon - these
distributive gains by the masses while enlarging individual liberty at
the same time.
VIII. PROPERTY RIGHTS
WE have seen that equal rights to land, not capital, are the crucial
factor in determining social harmony and the general level of income
for the majority of people. Thus, property rights is at the centre of
the issue of policy-formation.
The world is polarized into two great blocs. The West, dominated by
the USA, fails to perceive the economic and ethical distinctions
between the private ownership of land and capital. The East is
suffused with the Marxist ideology that the means of production --
land and capital -- should be collectively owned.* This crude
conceptual division arises from, on the one hand, greed (the West),
and on the other, an unsophisticated reaction to that greed and its
consequences. The policies arising from these two extreme positions
are, I contend, in the end doomed to failure.
Washington, for example, seeks to maintain stability in the global
regions under its influence by "buying peace": namely, by
the transfer of wealth created on the North American continent to
those who will bolster an ideological system compatible with Western
values. This foreign "aid" takes the form of military
equipment (to reinforce the power of the controlling elites), cash,
equipment and technical know-how to shape the economy in the favoured
direction. This policy may defer change, by temporarily suppressing
discontent, but it has demonstrably failed to stop the dominoes
falling in Asia and Africa. Ultimately, by side-stepping the need for
qualitative reforms, the scale of the problems (and the ensuing
reactions) are magnified into violent reaction which the West has
failed to contain to its advantage.
Of equal importance is the impact of US foreign policy on its own
destiny. Foreign aid has to be financed through increased taxes, which
diminish domestic consumption (and therefore economic growth) and
deter fresh capital formation. All of this contributes towards the
cyclical bouts of unemployment which cause the discontent which finds
violent expression in crimes by individuals and riots by groups.
Even the size and growth of the US armaments industry has a
destabilizing effect. On the face of it, the manufacturers of weapons
provide people with jobs, and therefore incomes with which to buy
goods, but this is dangerous reasoning for at least two reasons.
First, the goods produced by this large group of workers cannot be
sold on the domestic market. To that extent, a significant proportion
of national income is earned out of producing goods which are not fed
back through the supply side of the system. As a result, the aggregate
demand is larger than the supply of products. This threatens to
increase prices for goods except insofar as the government sucks out
of the system an equivalent amount in taxation in order to maintain
equilibrium between supply and demand. Either way, discontent is
artificially created. People resent rising prices, and are encouraged
to lodge pay claims unmatched by increasing productivity. Equally,
they object to paying taxes -- a psychological cost to the system.
The second problem impinges directly on world peace. To maintain full
employment in the economy, the armaments industry has to be supplied
with fresh orders, which means that new users for the weapons of death
have to be found a process of escalating friction between wary
neighbours which can only generate the number and scale of conflicts
(thereby apparently justifying the manufacture and sale of an
increasing volume of arms technology). The implications for the
quality of life of people in the Third World have been dramatised by
Ruth Leger Sivard, At the beginning of 1979 -- the International
Year of the Child -- the average family paid more in taxes to support
the world arms race than to educate its children. Only one government
in three spent as much on health services as on defence, and
developing nations spent more on their armed forces than on education
and health combined! There is now one soldier for every 25O
inhabitants in the Third World, compared with one doctor for 3,700.
And despite food shortages, developing countries spend five times as
much foreign exchange on imported arms as on agricultural machinery.
If the Washington-led axis is reactionary, however, Moscow and Peking
ill-serve mankind by advocating a system which over-simplifies the
ideological alternatives. While there are obvious differences in the
detail of the Russian and Chinese models (the former is an industrial
society, while the latter is still predominantly composed of peasants
working on the land), the main thrust -- the centralisation of
political power at the expense of individual liberty -- is
Yet there are several reasons for believing that, ultimately, there
will be a shift away from the Marxist model. There are limitations to
the efficiency of the bureaucratic method of controlling a complex
industrial economy, and the system itself -- if it is not to break
down -- will force a loosening of the constraints. In addition, the
creative spirit of man requires for its full expression the conditions
of individual freedom: this freedom can be curtailed for a determinate
time, but cannot be snuffed out altogether.
Russia violently repressed the changes in Hungary (1956) and
Czechoslovakia (1968), but the internal pressure for reform is still
at work. Poland has a large agricultural sector successfully operating
on the basis of the individual rather than the collectivised farm.
Hungary, in the late 1970s, developed a profit-and-risk taking ethos
which was justified on the basis of its compatibility with the
socialist system. How long these experiments will be allowed to
continue highlighting the shortcomings of the socialist mode of
production remains to be seen.
Eventually, however, there will be practical concessions by the
Marxist-Leninists which will significantly alter the way in which the
Eastern bloc evolves. The detail of how this internal change might
manifest itself cannot be elaborated upon here. We can be confident,
however, that people reject the extreme forms of collective ownership
and behaviour. There are a variety of signals indicating a stepping
back from extreme left-wing forms of social organisation. The
peasants, dissatisfied with their economic condition, appear to be in
the vanguard of protest. Even in Peking, for example, where the
doctrinal roots of Mao Tse-tung had sunk deeply, several hundred
peasants participated in an unprecedented banner-waving protest
demanding "Down with starvation; down with oppression; we want
democracy." The Chinese detente with the USA in 1979 appears
to signify an important shift in the ideological orientation of
post-Mao China. How far this will develop in the future will depend on
the outcome of the power struggle within the Chinese leadership (for
an analysis of the factions straining for supremacy in Peking, see the
report by Victor Zorza). In any event, there emerged in 1973, a
more realistic awareness of the shortcomings of the Chinese model.
After thirty years of socialism, a speaker told a meeting of the
Communist Party's committee in Amhwei province: "Many people in
the rural areas still do not have enough to eat and are poorly
The fall of Pol Pot's communist regime in Cambodia demonstrates that
communist societies are not immune from the crucial role played by
land tenure in the dynamics of society. Cambodia fell to communist
forces (the Khmer Rouge) in 1975, and the state was renamed Kampuchea.
The new leaders emptied the cities of "unproductive" people,
and so began a massive programme aimed at forcibly resettling the town
dwellers in the countryside. They were organised into agricultural
cooperatives. The human suffering and economic dislocation generated
by this "Revolution" resulted in internal opposition.
Anti-government guerrillas, supported by Vietnam, succeeded in waging
a war which resulted, in January 1979, in the collapse of the Pol Pot
government and the creation of a new power structure committed to a
reversal of the previous regime's agricultural policy.
IX. CONCLUSION - LAND THE KEY
TOWARDS the ideal system Henry George's model of the ideal society
has yet to be found theoretically defective. It offers the best set of
conditions for an economically prosperous and politically free
society. It rests on the fact that people are most productive when
their latent energies are freed, and when they know that they can
enjoy the fruits of their labours.
George's vision of the desirable society incorporated an ethical
dimension: that nature was "given", and ought to belong to
the whole community. He derived his ethical convictions from a
profound belief in Christianity. But the model of a society based on
land value taxation commends itself on purely economic and political
criteria, as the most efficient of all available systems.
Without a lasting solution to the land issue, there can be no
long-run stability in the industrialised economies. And we have seen
that, in the Third World, political conflicts over the possession of
land, and starvation among untold numbers of people, can be resolved
only by instituting the right land reform.
The emphasis we place on the logic of the reform would presumably not
now be contested by the Shah of Iran. In the early 1960s the Shah used
his power to force through land reform, guided by an awareness of the
fate which had befallen one of his predecessors, the "vacillating
Ahmad Shah", who in 1923 had "departed for an indefinite
stay in Europe". The Shah implied in his autobiography, that this
could never happen to him, for he had observed the dictum of an
earlier king that "there can be no power without an army, no army
without money, no money without agriculture, and no agriculture
But the agricultural system which the Shah favoured was land
monopoly. The benefits of that monopoly were shared out among a larger
number of people (by the mid-1960s over 500,000 acres had been divided
among 25,000 farmers), but there was no bridge between those who
acquired land, and the rest -- the landless peasants and urban workers
- who could not possibly have been allocated tracts for their personal
use. The distribution of land in the 1960s was over-shadowed by a rise
in unemployment in both the rural and urban sectors; and whereas in
every other Third World country rural unemployment was lower than the
urban rate, the reverse was true in the case of Iran.
The oil price boom in the 1970s telescoped the political life of the
Shah, for it speeded up the process of raising people's expectations
while exposing them to an acute awareness of their economically
dependent condition. As Martin Woollacott reported:
"In Mohammed Reza's Iran, however, oil replaced
agriculture as the source of wealth, and justice was reduced to a
process of handing out benefits which, while not contemptible, was
vitiated by manipulation and condescension".
The agricultural base was relatively neglected (Iran had to rely
increasingly on imported food), trade unions were suppressed, and
conditions were created which encouraged critics of the Shah to flirt
with comnmunism. In 1975-76 the Shah spent $l0,405m. (one-quarter
of the nation's GNP) on the military, with the result that Iran could
not balance its books: subsequent deals were on an arms-for-oil
basis. By 1977-78 the value of oil revenue in real terms began to
fall, and in the end the black gold beneath the desert was not
sufficient to buy the peace desired by the Shah.
Ayatolla Khomeini, the religious leader of Iran's Islamic population,
had opposed the form taken by the Shah's land distribution programme,
which had been shaped by US influence. The Ayatollah's opposition
resulted in his imprisonment between 1962-64, and his departure into
exile in Paris, from where he continued his opposition until he proved
instrumental in the Shah's downfall and departure into exile in
January 1979, a king rejected by the majority of Iranians as the man
of anything but justice.
But were the Iranians in for anything better? On February 8, 1979,
shortly after Khomeini's triumphant return to Teheran, one of this
associates, Nasser Meenachi, announced that the first concern of the
new Islamic Government would be land reform; land would be
redistributed, ending absentee ownership. Five days later
Khomeini's appointees assumed the reigns of power. The Ayatollah's
policies, however, were fundamentalist. The Koran banned the use of
land as an instrument for exploiting those who tilled the soil, but
the religious principles of an earlier economic era need to be
administered in a modern context. The tax on land values would have
served perfectly. The Ayatollah's wisdom, however, seemed to stop at
the idea that more people should quit their modern living conditions
in the cities, and their office and factory jobs, and return to work
on the land in the countryside.
The call for enlightened land reform will not commend itself to those
with power and money to lose: they will resist for as long as they
can, using every device to postpone the day when they are forced to
recognise the basic rights of all men to share the resources of nature
and therefore become citizens with full political rights in civil
society. We do not however, have to sit back and wait for the
landlord class to be struck as if from heaven by a crisis of
conscience. The opportunity exists for all of us to create a
favourable climate for change through moral suasion and continuing
research and education in an attempt to solve the problem rationally.
As Gunnar Myrdal observed:
"And any thorough study of the agricultural problem
-- the under-utilization of its labour force and the threat that
this will increase still more as a result of the population
development and recent trends in agricultural technology --will, of
course, uncover again the problem of land reform which has recently
been swept under the rug in both developed and under-developed
- These are reviewed by P.
Lupsha, 'On Theories of Urban Violence', in Murray Steward
(editor), The City, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972.
- Originally published in 1879:
hereafter referred to as PP. In the preface to the 1905 edition
(New York: Doubleday, Page & Co.), George's son, Henry George
Jnr., conservatively estimated that over 25m. copies had been
printed within the first 25 years.
- The first-past-the-post
method, i.e. a non-proportional system which ensures that the
candidate with the numerically largest vote in each constituency
is elected, even if he failed to get an absolute majority.
Minority parties are thus effectively frozen out of the political
- See D.O. Sears, Los
Angeles Riot Study: Political Attitudes of Los Angeles Negroes,
1967, UCLA Institute of Government and Public Affairs, and D.
Boesel and P.H. Rossi, Cities Under Siege, New York: Basic Books,
1971, Chapters 3 and 18.
- There were even charges that
the Communist Party in France betrayed the rioters and the workers
by failing to push the.case for change at the moment when the
established political system was most vulnerable.
- PP, Bk. Ill, Ch. VI
- Fred Harrison, "On Wages",
in R.V. Andelson (editor), Critics of Henry George,
Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1979.
- Supplementary Benefits
Commission Annual Report, 1977, p. 129, Table H.5.
- The Guardian, London,
- Charles Issawi, Egypt in
Revolution, London: Oxford University Press, 1963, p. 155.
- Poverty and Landlessness
in Rural Asia, Geneva: ILO, 1977, p.23.
- Ibid., p.32; and Keith
Griffin, Land Concentration and Rural Poverty, London:
- See, e.g., Jeffery M. Paige,
Agrarian Revolution, New York: The Free Press, 1975, p.49,
and Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing
Societies, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968, p.298.
- Op.cit., George goes
so far as to argue that land monopoly has the effect of pushing
wages down to "the wages of slavery -- just enough to keep
the labourer in working condition" (Bk. VII, Ch.II). This may
reveal his failure to anticipate the institutional protection
accorded to many workers in the industrialized world (to be
discussed below), which has raised income above the level which
would be accorded to slaves. At the same time this understates the
effect of landlordism in the agrarian Third World countries --
witness the many thousands who die annually from malnutrition, for
want of work, unable to obtain sufficient income to keep them "in
- Poverty and Landlessness,
op. cit., p.25.
- A.R. Prest, 'What is Wrong
with the UK Tax System', The State of Taxation, London:
IEA, 1977, p.4.
- Ibid., and Maurice
Preston, 'On the Nature and Extent of the Public Sector', Three
Banks Review, Sept. 1965.
- Ivor F. Pearce, 'Taxing the
Dole', in The State of Taxation, p.96.
- C.G. Hanson, 'Welfare Before
the Welfare State', in The Long Debate on Poverty, London:
IEA, 1972, p.117.
- James E. ThoroId Rogers, The
Economic Interpretation of History, London: T. Fisher Unwin,
1888, p. 181.
- If farmers qua owners of
capital had to pay part of their interest as wages, it follows
that they would sooner or later decide to get higher yields by
transferring their capital to other uses.
- Jane McLoughlin, '£800m
losses predicted for "job" projects', The Guardian,
- NUAAW Press Release, 19.V.78.
- 'Poor Families and Fiscal
Reform', Lloyds Bank Rev., Oct. 1967.
- The theory of violence as a
necessary political weapon was developed in Russia and appeared as
a systematic device in 1879, according to Feliks Gross, Violence
in Politics, The Hague: Mouton, 1972, Ch.2, where he states
(p.27): "The autocratic institutions maintaining their power
by coercion, even violence, supported by religious orthodoxy,
generated a strong response and contributed to the development of
centralistic parties and tactics of violence as an effective
method of change".
- Eric R. Wolf, Peasant Wars
of the Twentieth Century, London: Faber & Faber, 1971.
- Op. cit., p.291.
- Ibid., p.292.
- Fred Harrison, 'Marx on Land
as the Key to Revolution1, Land & Liberty, Jan.-Feb.
1977. Lenin, writing of Russia, observed: "Obviously, the
state authorities, the government itself (even the Tsar's
government) will always dance to the tune of these big landowners
.... As long as the rural poor fail to unite, and by uniting
become a formidable force, the 'state' will always remain the
obedient servant of the landlord class." To the Rural
Poor (1903) , Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1967, pp. 21-22.
- "Was not the cry of land
distribution Lenin's chief slogan in Russia, though used with a
view to promoting a very different revolution?" wrote
Bertrand de Jouvenel, The Ethics of Redistribution,
Cambridge: University Press, 1951, p.4.
- See, e.g., Paige, op.cit.,
p.26, and Huntington, op.cit., pp. 298-99.
- See his Peasant Rebellion
in Latin America, Harmonds-worth: Penguin, 1973, p.61.
- Huntington, op.cit.,
- Gabriel Baer, A. History
of Landownership in Modern Egypt, 1800-1950, London: Oxford
University Press, 1962.
- Marx had succeeded in
conditioning the attitudes of his followers through his own
condescending view of the peasant, who lived in what he described
as "the idiocy of rural life" (The Communist Manifesto,
Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967, p.84). Spiritually under-developed,
the peasant, when living on small landed property, "creates a
class of barbarians standing halfway outside of society" (Capital,
Vol. Ill, Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962,
- See R. Stavenhagen (editor),
Agrarian Problems & Peasant Movements in Latin America,
New York, 1970, and Ernest Feder, The Rape of the Peasantry,
New York: Anchor Books, 1971, Ch.18.
- Rene Dumont and Bernard
Rosier, The Hungry Future, London: Andre Deutsch, 1969,
- Op. cit., p.157.
- E.J. Hobsbawm, Primitive
Rebels, Manchester: The University Press, 1959.
- Committee on Foreign
Relations, US Senate, Washington DC, 15.1.68, doc. 86-4O6, p.8;
- George M. McBride, Chile:
Land and Society, Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1971
(first published 1936), p.379.
- Selected Works of Mao
Tse-Tung, Vol.1, Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1967, p.112.
- Ibid., p.113.
- Paul Bairoch, Urban
Unemployment in Developing Countries, Geneva: ILO, 1973, p.15,
- Source: Centre de
Investigaciones Agrarias, quoted in Huizer, op. cit., p.47.
- See, e.g., Huntington, op.cit.,
- Paul Friedrich traces the
emergence of a revolutionary ideology appropriate to the material
conditions of a particular group of exploited peasants in Agrarian
Revolt in a Mexican Village, Chicago: The University of Chicago
Press, 1977. On a national scale, the ideology of the Mexican
revolutionaries was influenced by the anarcho-syndicalism of
Ricardo Flores Magon, whose writings have been compiled by David
Poole in Land & Liberty, Sanday (Orkney): Cienfuegos Press,
1977. Lenin wrote To the Rural Poor as an appeal to the peasants
to unite with urban workers, following the first peasant uprising
(1902), which was crushed, he diagnosed, "because it was an
uprising of an ignorant and politically unconscious mass, an
uprising without clear and definite political demands, i.e.
without the demand for a change in the political order" (op.
- Kathleen Gough, 'Green
Revolution in South India and North Vietnam', Monthly Review,
- Ibid., p.13.
- Ibid., p.17
- Ibid., p.2O
- Op. cit., pp. 38O-1
- In his early study of the
Chilean land system, McBride described the hacienda as "an
agency of conquest ... with its monopolization of the land ..."
- Kyle Steenland, Agrarian
Reform Under Allende, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico
Press, 1977, pp. 7-8.
- Robert R. Kaufman, The
Politics of Land Reform in Chile, 1950-1970, Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard University Press, 1972, Ch.V
- Steenland, op.cit.,
- Ibid., p.22.
- For a Trotskyist critique of
Allende and his policies, see Les Evans, editor, Disaster in
Chile: Allende's Strategy and Why It Failed, New York:
Pathfinder Press, 1974.
- Steenland, op.cit.,
- Ibid., p.26,
- Florencia Varas, 'General
Pinochet wields unlimited power', The Times, 5.8.78.
- For a full analysis of the US
strategy, see J.ames F. Petras and Morris M. Morley, How
Allende Fell, Nottingham: Spokesman Books, 1974, Ch.V.
- McBride, op.cit.,
- Immediately after the 1973
coup the junta received an $llm. military credit from Washington.
- McBride, op.cit.,
p.374. The demise of Allende has been used as propaganda by Hugo
Blanco, the Trotskyist leader of the Peruvian peasant movement.
(See his Land or Death,New York: Pathfinder Press, 1972). After
his release from a Peruvian prison, Blanco went to Chile where he
was a witness to a democratic attempt by a communist politician to
effect change. The 1973 coup confirmed his prejudice - that the
Marxist ideal had to be secured outside liberal democratic
institutions; and so he fled to Mexico, to continue promoting his
Trotskyist prescriptions for socio-economic change by revolution.
- Selected Works, op.
cit., p.l04, n.17.
- Op. cit., p.7.
- PP, Bk. VI, Ch. I, sec. vi.
- Arguably not "a tax"
at all but a charge or due in exchange for exclusive possession
and use of land.
- Japan used the land tax to
finance its infrastructural developments when she decided, as a
matter of policy, to start the process of industrialisation in the
- Huizer, op. cit., pp.
- Capital, Vol. I,
Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1954, p.708: our emphasis.
- It is not just the "working
class" which has to benefit from state hand-outs. A dynamic
economy needs creative people, on whom there has to be what de
Jouvenel called "formative expenditures". He explained
(op. cit., pp. 65-66): "The clipping of the upper and
middleclass incomes therefore necessitates an increase in public
expenditures and in public taxation .... Thus a father is not to
be spared sufficient income to cover the cost of sending his son
to Paris to study painting, but the State may pay for it ....
Unless, indeed, all prevailing values be discredited, it is
inevitable that the redistributionigt State should assume the
upkeep of these values. But with this further charge on its
takings from higher incomes it has nothing left with which to
swell the nether incomes".
- "The more one considers
the matter, the clearer it becomes that redistribution is in
effect less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the
poorer, as we have imagined, than a redistribution of power from
the individual to the State." De Jouvenel, ibid.,
- "Insofar as the State
amputates higher incomes it must assume their saving and
investment functions, and we come to the centralization of
investment." De Jouvenel, ibid., p.77.
- But, because of the logistical
implications of planning, the means of production are ultimately
controlled by an elite class of bureaucrats, not the people.
- Ruth Leger Sivard, World
Military and Social Expenditures, Leesburg, Virginia: WMSE
- See, e.g. Mark Prankland,
'Gather ye profits while ye may1, The Observer, 24.12.78
- On the Polish farming sector,
see Christopher Bobinski, "Subtle pressures on private
farmers', Financial Times, 14.12.78.
- Nigel Wade, "Protest by
peasants in Peking", Daily Telegraph, 9.1.79.
- "Secrets Behind China's
Smile", The Guardian, 27.1.79.
- The Economist,
- John Gittings, 'Plain living
on wealth", The Guardian, 2.2.19.
- For an analysis of the
influence of Marxism-Leninism on the future leaders of the Khmer
Rouge, who were educated in Paris, see Lek Hor Tan, "The land
that abolished money", The Guardian, 8.1.79.
- Bairoch, op.cit.,
p.49, Table 15.
- "How the imperial
Meccano set fell apart", The Guardian, 9.1.79.
- The Iranian Working Class,
London: CARI, 1977
- See, e.g., Massoud
Ahmadzadeh, Iran: The Struggle Within, New York, SCIPS,
- Bombs for Breakfast,
London: COPAT, 1978, pp. 34-5. The concentrated purchase of US
weapons which skewed public spending and led to the Shah's
downfall was blamed on Dr. Henry Kissinger by a former US
Under-Secretary of State, George Ball. President Richard Nixon and
Kissinge] encouraged the Shah's "Obsession with elegant
weapons", said Ball, in a letter to The Economist,
17.2.79, p.4. This led to a cut-back on construction and
precipitated a financial squeeze which hurt the citizens, said
Ball in his analysis.
- Bill Paul, "Possible
Khomeini Minister of Finance outlines anti-western economic plans",
The Wall Street Journal, 8.2.79.
- Martin Woollacott, 'Why the
new Iranians resist the rule of ancient wisdoms', The Guardian,
- One device is to prevent the
collection of data on land-ownership and tenancy, or suppress the
statistics once these have been collated. (Gunnar Myrdal, The
Challenge of World Poverty, Harmondsworth: Pelican, 1971, p. 424.)
This, for example, was a charge levelled by Lenin against the
Russian Government in 19O3. See To the Rural Poor, p.2O,
- Op.cit., p.425.
to Part 1