Rural movements have recently emerged to become some of the most important social forces in opposition to neoliberalism. From Brazil and Mexico to Zimbabwe and the Philippines, rural movements of diverse political character, but all sharing the same social basis of dispossessed peasants and unemployed workers, have used land occupations and other tactics to confront the neoliberal state. This volume brings together for the first time across three continents - Africa, Latin America and Asia - an intellectually consistent set of original investigations into this new generation of rural social movements.
These country studies seek to identify their social composition, strategies, tactics, and ideologies; to assess their relations with other social actors, including political parties, urban social movements, and international aid agencies and other institutions; and to examine their most common tactic, the land occupation, its origins, pace and patterns, as well as the responses of governments and landowners.
At a more fundamental level, this volume explores the ways in which two decades of neoliberal policy - including new land tenure arrangements intended to hasten the commodification of land, and new land uses linked to global markets -- have undermined the social reproduction of the rural labour force and created the conditions for popular resistance. The volume demonstrates the longer-term potential impact of these movements. In economic terms, they raise the possibility of tackling immiseration by means of the redistribution of land and the reorganisation of production on a more efficient and socially responsible basis. And in political terms, breaking the power of landowners and transnational capital with interests in land could ultimately open the way to an alternative pattern of capital accumulation and development.