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ERIC Number: ED165929
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1977
Pages: 56
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Race, Labor Repression, and Capitalist Agriculture: Notes from South Texas, 1920-1930. Institute for the Study of Social Change Working Papers Series #102.
Montejano, David
Racism and racial exploitation, rather than disappearing with the march of capitalist development, appear instead as its intimate companions. The racial experience of the Mexican in South Texas was shaped by the rapid development of agriculture there in the early part of the century, between 1900-1910 and 1920-1930. The agrarian land revolution collapsed the existing Mexican class structure; by 1920 the Texas Mexican had generally been reduced to the status of landless and dependent wage laborers. A system of migratory wage labor began to emerge and with it "labor repressive control," which was basically the use of extra-market criteria and sanctions for organizing the recruitment, work activity, and compensation of wage labor. Mexicans were subjected to such exploitation as immobilization through debt, horsewhipping and other forms of physical abuse, shotgun dismissal to avoid payment of wages, and cancellation of credit at the local store. Their movement was restricted by vagrancy laws, local "pass" systems, manipulation of labor contracts, and labor agency laws. "Imperial Texas" was not a sovereign state, however, and labor repression failed to become a formal, coherent system because of external limitations. Rising demand for the Mexican worker in other parts of the U.S. along with certain federal court decisions resulted in the failure of the white commercial farmers (and white industrial workers) in their efforts to keep Mexicans in the fields. (Author/DS)
Institute for the Study of Social Change, 2420 Bowditch Street, Berkeley, California 94720 ($1.50)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas