Twenty-First Century Socialist Agriculture?: The Fordist-Neo-Populist Turn in Venezuela
Aaron Kappeler (University of Edinburgh)
Paper short abstract:
This paper seeks to fill a gap in the existing literature on The Pink Tide by providing an ethnographically-grounded, multi-scalar account of the efforts of the Venezuelan government to transition from regimes of growth based on the capture of rent to a productivist model based on internal markets.
Paper long abstract:
In recent decades, the so-called 'Pink Tide' or the rise of a number of 'left' governments in Latin America has garnered the attention of scholars for its challenge to the neoliberal consensus and inspiration of popular movements across the region. Yet little attention has been paid to the ways in which these leaderships have sought to restructure capital accumulation and convert resource-based surpluses into new forms of labor, livelihood, and value. This paper seeks to fill a critical gap in the existing literature on The Pink Tide by providing an ethnographically-grounded, multi-scalar account of the efforts of the Venezuelan government to transition from a regime of growth based on the capture of rent from natural resources to a more productivist model based on internal markets for agricultural and industrial products. Taking its inspiration from Terry Byres (2004) and Henry Bernstein's (2010) critique of 'neoclassical-neo-populism,' it uses the concept of 'Fordist-Neo-populism' as a lens to investigate the coupling of large-scale, state-run, industrial enterprises with small-scale, peasant farming and the ways in which these different forms of value and labor relations intersect with and diverge from Venezuela's historical resource capitalism. Seeking to move beyond the theoretical impasse represented by world systems theory and the dependency school (both of which are notorious for their neglect of value and slippery definitions of class)(see Roseberry 1985), the paper provides a molecular account of the processes involved in the relocation of the frontiers of capital accumulation in Venezuela and its implications for subaltern struggles.
Rearticulating labour: staying, moving, and mobilizing along global commodity chains