Start Date

9-12-2012 10:30 AM

End Date

9-12-2012 11:45 AM

Description

Against the Grain: A Comparison of Peasants’ Cooperatives in Brazil and China

Abstract

During the 1980-1990s, neo-liberalism dominantly prevailed in the world. Brazil was in serious crisis caused by huge foreign debt, escalating inflation, high unemployment, rampant crimes and social conflicts. More and more people are driven to struggle for their own survival with scarcely anything to hold on, no jobs, no land to farm on, and no shelter. As for China around that period, the launching of economic reforms turned China’s central economic planning policy in attempting to earn a place in the world centre, by adopting an export-oriented policy. This led to millions of the laid-offs of state-own factory workers and rural exodus. The three dimensional agrarian problems of peasant, agriculture and rural society aggravated under the force of marketization and commoditization, that constitute the driving force of process of modernization in China, and have still remained to be solved. Amidst the mainstream ideology of speedy modernization, urbanization and capitalization, it seems that there is no future for small peasantry and rural community. The situation of those marginalized and neglected by the power structure steering the nations are certainly deteriorating, yet they remain resilient in the face of such adverse attack. This paper propose to look at and compare subaltern initiatives, not just to survive their plights, more importantly to forge a path for a future that the present crisis-ridden world may learn from them.

This paper takes COOPERATIVA DE PRODUÇÃO AGROPECUARIA UNIÃO DO OESTE (COOPERUNIÃO) in Santa Catarina, of Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST) of Brazil, which was established in 1988, and Puhan Rural Community of Yongji City of Shanxi Province of China, which was originally formed in 1998, as examples to illustrate how local initiatives from below negotiate with two problems: privatization of common resources; and money-oriented human relationships. MST is one of the biggest social movements in Brazil that struggles for agrarian reform for more than 25 years. COOPERUNIÃO is always represented as a model of MST Cooperative. Puhan Rural Community is the former Yongji Peasants Organization which was the first registered peasant organization in the whole country. Now it is proclaimed as a model of peasant association.

The two communities work hard to keep ‘the identity and reality of peasantry’ alive: living on land as way of life and means of livelihood, supported by small-scale manufacturing industry. Both of them adopt collective management of the commons such as land resources and labor-power. COOPERUNIÃO built cooperatives on the settlement areas after land occupation. Puhan established several cooperatives against the trend of individualization and privatization. The goals are neither to be an agri-business nor to be subject to them. The basic of social structure is family units working hand in hand with community management. The practices of organic farming embodied the values of ecology and ethics, become more and more important. Rural-urban interaction and cooperation are carried out through fair trade of farm products.

Apart from economic business, there are various cultural and social activities. The marginalized group such as women, the elderly, the youth, and even the handicapped are all encouraged to be involved in any activities of community building. Particularly, the youth education and leadership training becomes the utmost task for the future of rural society.

All these are carried out with such understanding of the importance of the cultivation of social relations constituted on the basis of interdependence, mutual support and recognition, rectifying that these are genuine wealth of the people, rather than monetary value determined by capitalistic relations.

[逆流而上: 巴西与中国农民合作社比较]

摘要:

1980-1990年代,新自由主义风行于全世界。当时巴西危机四伏,(外)债台高筑、通胀恶化、失业率上升、罪案频发,社会冲突此起彼落。越来越多的人一无所有,无以为计,无耕种之地,无栖身之所。另一边厢,中国推行经济改革,采取出口导向的政策,企图在世界中心占一席位。结果引致成千上万的国有工厂工人下岗,农民涌入城市打工。中国现代化借着市场化与商品化的推动,急速发起来,在这股浩浩荡荡的浪潮下,三农(农民、农村、农业)日趋衰落,极待解决。面对急速的现代化、城市化与资本化的主流意识形态,小农村社似乎没有将来可言。被国家权力机构边缘化和忽略的庶民,生存条件越趋恶劣,越见其直面困难的韧力和创造力。本文尝试了解与比较庶民自发组织的力量与实践,他们在寻求生存之道的同时,往往给我们提供了走向摆脱目前困境的、不一样的未来的启示。

本文以巴西无地农民运动(Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra,MST) 于1988年,Santa Catarina 州,成立的西部农牧生产合作社(COOPERATIVA DE PRODUÇÃO AGROPECUARIA UNIÃO DO OESTE, 简称COOPERUNIÃO),及1998年成立的中国山西省永济市浦韩农村社区为例,阐述民众如何自发组织起来,解决两大难题: (1)公共资源的私有化;(2)以金钱为本的人际关系。MST乃巴西最大的社会运动之一,为争取土地改革而奋斗了超过25年。COOPERUNIÃO被喻为MST合作社模范之一; 浦韩农村社区前身是永济市农民协会,是中国第一家注册的农民组织。现在被喻为农民协会的典范。

两地农村社区努力保存农民的身份及付诸实践: 种地为生,兼经营小工业。两个合作社采取集体管理公共资源像土地与劳动力。COOPERUNIÃO在占领土地之后便成立合作社。蒲韩农村社区成立数个合作社,抗拒个人主义与私有化的浪潮。他们的目的并非有朝一日变成大型粮农企业或者屈从其下。两者的社会结构乃家庭为单位,兼由村社共同治理。两者不断推动体现生态与伦理价值的有机耕作。还有,透过农产品的公平贸易,达至城乡良性互动与合作。

除了经济活动,两者均组织文化与社区活动。被边缘的群体像妇女、老人、青少年、残疾人等都获得机会参加各式各样重建社区的活动。两者均以青年教育与领袖培训为建设未来农村社会工作的重中之重。

两者全力推行以上所有活动乃基于此信念:人民真正的财富乃培育互为依存的、互助互惠的、互相敬重的社会关系,而非以金钱为核心价值的资本主义的社会关系。

Streaming Media

Zheng Bing-abstract-chi.docx (14 kB)
蒲韩乡村社区简介

Zheng Bing-abstract-eng.doc (26 kB)
Puhan Rural Community

Recommended Citation

Zheng, B., & Sit, T (2012, December). Against the grain : a comparison of peasants’ cooperatives in Brazil and China. Paper presented at 2012 International Conference on Sustainability & Rural Reconstruction, Southwest University, Chongqingng, China.

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Dec 9th, 10:30 AM Dec 9th, 11:45 AM

Against the grain : a comparison of peasants’ cooperatives in Brazil and China

Against the Grain: A Comparison of Peasants’ Cooperatives in Brazil and China

Abstract

During the 1980-1990s, neo-liberalism dominantly prevailed in the world. Brazil was in serious crisis caused by huge foreign debt, escalating inflation, high unemployment, rampant crimes and social conflicts. More and more people are driven to struggle for their own survival with scarcely anything to hold on, no jobs, no land to farm on, and no shelter. As for China around that period, the launching of economic reforms turned China’s central economic planning policy in attempting to earn a place in the world centre, by adopting an export-oriented policy. This led to millions of the laid-offs of state-own factory workers and rural exodus. The three dimensional agrarian problems of peasant, agriculture and rural society aggravated under the force of marketization and commoditization, that constitute the driving force of process of modernization in China, and have still remained to be solved. Amidst the mainstream ideology of speedy modernization, urbanization and capitalization, it seems that there is no future for small peasantry and rural community. The situation of those marginalized and neglected by the power structure steering the nations are certainly deteriorating, yet they remain resilient in the face of such adverse attack. This paper propose to look at and compare subaltern initiatives, not just to survive their plights, more importantly to forge a path for a future that the present crisis-ridden world may learn from them.

This paper takes COOPERATIVA DE PRODUÇÃO AGROPECUARIA UNIÃO DO OESTE (COOPERUNIÃO) in Santa Catarina, of Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST) of Brazil, which was established in 1988, and Puhan Rural Community of Yongji City of Shanxi Province of China, which was originally formed in 1998, as examples to illustrate how local initiatives from below negotiate with two problems: privatization of common resources; and money-oriented human relationships. MST is one of the biggest social movements in Brazil that struggles for agrarian reform for more than 25 years. COOPERUNIÃO is always represented as a model of MST Cooperative. Puhan Rural Community is the former Yongji Peasants Organization which was the first registered peasant organization in the whole country. Now it is proclaimed as a model of peasant association.

The two communities work hard to keep ‘the identity and reality of peasantry’ alive: living on land as way of life and means of livelihood, supported by small-scale manufacturing industry. Both of them adopt collective management of the commons such as land resources and labor-power. COOPERUNIÃO built cooperatives on the settlement areas after land occupation. Puhan established several cooperatives against the trend of individualization and privatization. The goals are neither to be an agri-business nor to be subject to them. The basic of social structure is family units working hand in hand with community management. The practices of organic farming embodied the values of ecology and ethics, become more and more important. Rural-urban interaction and cooperation are carried out through fair trade of farm products.

Apart from economic business, there are various cultural and social activities. The marginalized group such as women, the elderly, the youth, and even the handicapped are all encouraged to be involved in any activities of community building. Particularly, the youth education and leadership training becomes the utmost task for the future of rural society.

All these are carried out with such understanding of the importance of the cultivation of social relations constituted on the basis of interdependence, mutual support and recognition, rectifying that these are genuine wealth of the people, rather than monetary value determined by capitalistic relations.

[逆流而上: 巴西与中国农民合作社比较]

摘要:

1980-1990年代,新自由主义风行于全世界。当时巴西危机四伏,(外)债台高筑、通胀恶化、失业率上升、罪案频发,社会冲突此起彼落。越来越多的人一无所有,无以为计,无耕种之地,无栖身之所。另一边厢,中国推行经济改革,采取出口导向的政策,企图在世界中心占一席位。结果引致成千上万的国有工厂工人下岗,农民涌入城市打工。中国现代化借着市场化与商品化的推动,急速发起来,在这股浩浩荡荡的浪潮下,三农(农民、农村、农业)日趋衰落,极待解决。面对急速的现代化、城市化与资本化的主流意识形态,小农村社似乎没有将来可言。被国家权力机构边缘化和忽略的庶民,生存条件越趋恶劣,越见其直面困难的韧力和创造力。本文尝试了解与比较庶民自发组织的力量与实践,他们在寻求生存之道的同时,往往给我们提供了走向摆脱目前困境的、不一样的未来的启示。

本文以巴西无地农民运动(Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra,MST) 于1988年,Santa Catarina 州,成立的西部农牧生产合作社(COOPERATIVA DE PRODUÇÃO AGROPECUARIA UNIÃO DO OESTE, 简称COOPERUNIÃO),及1998年成立的中国山西省永济市浦韩农村社区为例,阐述民众如何自发组织起来,解决两大难题: (1)公共资源的私有化;(2)以金钱为本的人际关系。MST乃巴西最大的社会运动之一,为争取土地改革而奋斗了超过25年。COOPERUNIÃO被喻为MST合作社模范之一; 浦韩农村社区前身是永济市农民协会,是中国第一家注册的农民组织。现在被喻为农民协会的典范。

两地农村社区努力保存农民的身份及付诸实践: 种地为生,兼经营小工业。两个合作社采取集体管理公共资源像土地与劳动力。COOPERUNIÃO在占领土地之后便成立合作社。蒲韩农村社区成立数个合作社,抗拒个人主义与私有化的浪潮。他们的目的并非有朝一日变成大型粮农企业或者屈从其下。两者的社会结构乃家庭为单位,兼由村社共同治理。两者不断推动体现生态与伦理价值的有机耕作。还有,透过农产品的公平贸易,达至城乡良性互动与合作。

除了经济活动,两者均组织文化与社区活动。被边缘的群体像妇女、老人、青少年、残疾人等都获得机会参加各式各样重建社区的活动。两者均以青年教育与领袖培训为建设未来农村社会工作的重中之重。

两者全力推行以上所有活动乃基于此信念:人民真正的财富乃培育互为依存的、互助互惠的、互相敬重的社会关系,而非以金钱为核心价值的资本主义的社会关系。