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The Revolution Within the Revolution

The Revolution Within the Revolution: Workers' Control in Rural Portugal

Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 284
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  • Book Info
    The Revolution Within the Revolution
    Book Description:

    In this dramatic story of the making and unmaking of Portugal's agrarian reform, Nancy Bermeo probes the origins and effects of the workers' actions.

    Originally published in 1986.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5783-8
    Subjects: History, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. I The Emergence of Workers’ Control in Agriculture

      (pp. 3-8)

      Late in the evening of April 24, 1974, Portugal’s state-run radio station broadcast a song entitled “Grândola.” Named for a southern agricultural town known as a center of resistance to the dictatorship, the song glorified a sun-baked “land of fraternity” where “the people ruled.” For those who knew that “Grândola” had been banned, the broadcast provoked some puzzlement, but for a small group of middle-ranking military officers, it provoked a frenzy of activity. For these men, stationed at strategic points throughout Portugal, the song was a secret signal to begin a revolution. Troops converged on major government centers, and within...

    • ONE The Preconditions for Radicalization
      (pp. 9-34)

      In order to understand the emergence of workers’ control in agriculture, one must understand those aspects of rural social structure that fostered radicalization. Most are rooted deep in regional history.

      The patterns of landholding that the rural proletarians of the South sought to obliterate were established in the twelfth century at the time of theReconquista. It was then that Afonso III ended more than five hundred years of Moorish domination, ceding huge tracts of territory to military leaders as defense posts against the Moors. When the battles were over, the Christian victors were rewarded with permanent possession of the...

    • TWO The Political Revolution as a Prelude to the Occupations
      (pp. 35-59)

      So far this discussion has focused only on the potential for radicalization in the rural South. But one must explain how this potential was realized in order to understand the seizure of property and the resultant emergence of workers’ control. What forces prompted the rural proletariat to abandon its previous patterns of behavior and forcibly seize the land? What, in other words, were the forces that made this classinitself a classforitself?

      The best place to begin is to look more closely at the seizures themselves. The chronology in Table 2.1 illustrates the rate of land occupation...

    • THREE The Social Revolution and Mass Mobilization in the Countryside
      (pp. 60-83)

      The officers who engineered the April coup were united in their belief that the colonial wars should be ended but were of greatly varied opinion on other important political issues. As the participatory institutions that emerged during the political revolution began to articulate citizens’ demands and to solicit an immediate government response, the political differences within the military became more public and more marked.

      The moderate third provisional government (lasting from October 1974 to March 1975) confronted more serious internal conflicts than any of its predecessors. Three related factors explain why. First, the simple passage of time made it more...

    • FOUR “The Land to Those Who Work It”: The Revolution in Portel
      (pp. 84-98)

      Thus far, we have seen the drama of the occupations in a broad panorama. Viewing the process from a distance, we have become familiar with the setting in which the drama took place, the rhythm of the action, and the names of the major actors. We know that the occupations were confined to an area of latifúndia, that they were initiated by dayworkers, and that the movement eventually included the whole spectrum of landless cultivators.

      However, many questions fundamental to the drama remain unanswered. Although there were cases in which whole towns occupied properties, Portugal’s land seizures usually attracted only...

      (pp. 99-100)

      Reviewing what has been illustrated in the preceding chapters, we see that the land seizures were not orchestrated by political forces outside the rural proletariat. They did not begin as machinations of the Communist party. In fact, they were not the result of any single force.

      We see instead that the land occupations and the experiment with workers’ control that grew out of them emerged from a complex set of forces: some rooted deep in Portuguese history, others rooted in the twentieth-century sociology of the South, and still others resulting from the disequilibrium brought on by first a political and...

  8. II The Consequences of Workers’ Control in Agriculture

      (pp. 103-105)

      The land occupations proved to be only the first phase of a continuing drama. As 1975 drew to a close, the social revolution withered away, and the occupations ceased, but the fruits of the occupations remained behind. The land seizures had given rise to more than five hundred new production units—each organized collectively and controlled by workers. The units were concentrated exclusively in the southern half of Portugal in the area outlined in Map 5.1.

      At their peak, the new farms occupied a total of 2,920,000 acres and provided employment for approximately 71,900 men and women.¹ In some counties,...

    • FIVE Workers’ Control and Its Effects on the Workplace
      (pp. 106-130)

      Advocates of workers’ control typically argue that changing the structure of enterprise decision making changes the behavior of enterprise workers. If workers are given control of and access to managerial roles, they will behave differently. Management will no longer be the task of an elite but of all the producers in an enterprise system. One of the consequences of the institution of workers’ control is thus “participatory management,” a situation in which fixed enterprise hierarchies are reduced and even eliminated by workers’ active participation in decision making.

      The participatory management hypothesis has a long history. It is rooted in the...

    • SIX Workers’ Control and the Lives of Workers
      (pp. 131-157)

      Social scientists’ predictions concerning the consequences of workers’ control extend beyond the workplace and into the public lives of the workers involved. Proponents of what might be called the participatory society hypothesis argue, first, that the democratization of enterprise structures stimulates workers to participate in politics outside the firm and, second, that this increase in participation serves the interests of democracy, social consensus, and good government in the society as a whole.

      John Stuart Mill was one of the first to connect the management of industry, the behavior of workers, and the strength of democracy in a single argument. In...

      (pp. 158-160)

      The consequences of workers’ control in Portugal are many and diverse. Some correspond fully to what the advocacy literature would have us predict, some correspond to a limited degree, and others correspond not at all.

      The formal institution of workers’ control has not produced fully egalitarian participatory management. Sharp educational differences remain insurmountable and perpetuate a hierarchy that could only be dismantled at a great cost to production. There is no evidence that workers seek to dismantle the existing system anyway. The democratic nature of interpersonal relations within the farms gives workers the sense that they can exert control if...

  9. III Workers’ Control and the Problem of Articulation

      (pp. 163-170)

      How would worker-controlled farms interact with Portugal’s emerging liberal democracy? As the postrevolutionary state began to take shape, the question became more and more pressing. The Constitutional Assembly (elected in April 1975) had drawn up a constitution that promised both socialism and liberal democracy. Its first articles referred to the goal of “a classless society” and to “the transition to socialism,”¹ but the document also laid the foundations of a liberal democracy which was similar to that of other Western European states. Lawmaking power in government would be shared by a directly elected president, a freely elected National Assembly, and...

    • SEVEN Party Politics and the Problem of Articulation in Portugal
      (pp. 171-204)

      The problem of articulation in Portugal began with the formation of the sixth provisional government in September 1975. Though the institutions of representative democracy were not yet in place, this was when the Socialist party gained de facto control of the government and thus when the problems of party competition and structural articulation began to crystallize. Both the Communists and the Socialists had reasons for misgivings as the sixth provisional government began.

      The future looked bleak for the PCP in the fall of 1975. When nine leading members of the MFA successfully released a document that decried the “excesses” of...

    • EIGHT Conclusion: Lessons from the Portuguese
      (pp. 205-222)

      This study began with a report of two men who risked and lost their lives in the defense of a worker-controlled farm. The chapters that followed illustrated how such workers came to control the land in the first place, how the control of property affected their own lives, and finally how their new enterprises affected and were affected by the postrevolutionary state. The human drama that lies at the foundation of this study is, essentially, that of a struggle for change in power and property relations. Like most dramas, the study has shown its characters across time and in a...

  10. APPENDIX I. Questionnaire, 1980
    (pp. 223-238)
  11. APPENDIX II. Chronology of Constitutional Governments, July 1976 to June 1983
    (pp. 239-240)
    (pp. 241-258)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 259-263)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 264-264)