Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Reading notes - Fascism and Big Business by Daniel Guerin

10. Fascism in power: Agricultural policy

....fascism's agricultural policy tends to reconcile what it calls the "interests of agriculture" and the "interests of industry"-in reality those of the big industrialists 339 and big landowners-on the backs of the poor peasants and urban proletariat. It does not protect the small peasantry against capitalism; on the contrary it completes capitalism's invasion of the land.

....In spite of its verbose demagogy, it has no great designs; it lives from week to week; it aspires to nothing more than to keep a handful of monopolists and big landowners alive through wage cuts, state orders and subsidies, seizure of small savings, and autarky. And in order to prolong the reign of this oligarchy, at the price of a restriction of free enterprise, it hastens the ruin of all other layers of the population-wage earners, consumers, savers, working farmers, artisans, and even industrialists manufacturing consumer goods.

....opposes dividing up the land and tries to reassemble large and medium-sized farms at the expense of the small peasantry.

....agricultural laborers are deprived of their independent unions, fixed hours of labor are no longer guaranteed, medieval forms of exploitation are imposed on them, they are excluded from unemployment insurance, and their wages are cut below the subsistence level. The result is that many of them try to escape their wretched condition by pouring into the cities, and the rural districts are depopulated. But access to the centers is severely forbidden them, and they are pitilessly herded back onto the land. Various archaic systems are revived, such as the payment of wages in kind, in order to bind them more securely to the soil. the big landowners and well-to-do peasants all sorts of favors-tax exemptions, subsidies, debt relief, etc.-which scarcely benefit the little dirt farmer.

....tariffs and prices favors the big landowners and rich farmers almost exclusively at the expense of the small peasants.

....a compromise that safeguards the interests of both the big landowners and the industrialists, but that is paid for by the small peasants.

....To win over the small peasants, the fascist demagogues promised to free them from exploitation by the banks, the big agricultural machinery trusts, the fertilizer trusts and the power trusts; they promised to emancipate them from the big speculators and middlemen with a monopoly on farm products, who buy cheap from the producers and sell dear to the city consumers. But once in power, the fascists do exactly the opposite and aid in every way capitalism's penetration into agriculture.


From: Fascism and Big Business by Daniel Guerin

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