Friday, June 13, 2014
New Clear Vision | Civilizational Shift:
In the twentieth century, American agriculture abandoned its traditions of family farming. This was no small change. Like the centuries-long enclosure movement in England whereby the landlords used the law and violence to privatize the commons and throw
out of the land uncounted number of peasants, American large farmers have been using the power of the state to bring about a civilization shift in rural America.
They transformed a way of life for raising food and sustaining democratic society to a massive factory industrializing both farming and food and farmers, making rural America a colony for the extraction of profit.
This tragedy left behind millions of broken family farms, contaminated water and land, and a wounded rural America.
According to the 1884 “Transactions of the California State Agricultural Society,” “there will be too few farms and these too large. A republic cannot long survive when the lands are concentrated in the hands of a few men. Any man will fight for his home, but it takes a very brave man to fight for the privilege of working for half wages.” This premonition has come to fruition.
According to the 1902 Reclamation Act, the federal government would deliver water to farms no larger than 160 acres. Landowners with farms larger than 160 acres would have to sell their excess land to the federal government. Unfortunately, these democratic ideas were never translated into policy.
Large landowners and agribusinesses in the West have been corrupting the county, state, and federal governments. They siphon off billions of dollars of public subsidies while they cannibalize the family farmers and wreck the communities and ecology of rural America.
Posted by JOlmsted at 5:57 AM