By James C. Scott
This ebook examines a few of the "everyday" methods peasants may possibly face up to their oppressors. particularly, the writer studied a small Malaysian peasant village within the past due Nineteen Seventies. This electronic version was once derived from ACLS Humanities E-Book's (http://www.humanitiesebook.org) on-line model of a similar name.
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Additional resources for Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance
In Sedaka, this process can be seen most palpably in the brief history of the Farmers' Association, established by law in 1967 and designed originally to provide extension and credit facilities for paddy production for all farmers in the locality. It may never quite have lived up to its original promise, forty seven. Settlers must, in theory, be younger than fortyfive years old, although in practice it is possible to bribe to have an identity card (Kad pengenalan) altered to show a later birth date. forty eight. The only possible exception was after a major drought and crop failure in 1954 in Kedah, when many ablebodied villagers left to find work on rubber estates and in the cities. forty nine. Tinggal orang tak larat sabaja. Page 126 but it has served other uses admirably. The local branch in nearby Kepala Batas theoretically serves over twenty villages and a population of some eighteen hundred households. Only six hundred families have ever become members. The vast majority of smallholders and tenants have never joined, judging the costs too great and the benefits too small. Local members of the Malay opposition political party (PAS), including many who are quite welltodo, have never joined, judging—in most cases correctly—that the Farmers' Association was run by the state in the interests of the ruling party. The Kepala Batas branch has, like most others, thus become the creature of rich peasants affiliated with UMNO. When farmers speak of the Farmers' Association they call it MADA, referring not to the Farmers' Association or its elected leadership, but to the government agency that directs its activities. Its main function, both as they view it and in practice, is the provision of production credit and fertilizer. Credit is allocated to members, on the basis of area farmed, to cover tractor costs (M$30 a relong for two passes in 1979) and fertilizer, which is supplied in kind. 50 When the 1978 irrigated season was cancelled, creating much hardship, MADA also served as the manager of a large program of drought relief (bantuan kemarau) consisting of generous wages paid to labor gangs for clearing draining and irrigation canals. MADA also makes small loans for such ventures as fish ponds and beef cattle raising as well as organizes occasional "study tours" at state expense to such farflung places as Sumatra and Singapore. MADA is thus seen not so much as the seat of an autonomous Farmers' Association but as the font of credit and patronage distributed, above all, to its membership. The principal beneficiaries of this largesse in Sedaka are the eighteen village members (sixteen families) listed in table 4. 10. They stand out in several respects from the village as a whole. All but two are from among the richest half of the households in Sedaka. Twelve are from the richest twenty families. They farm an average of 8. three relong apiece, far above the village mean, and, taken collectively, a total of 139. 5 relong, or fully 43 percent of the total paddy land cultivated by villagers. Politically, all but two are members of the local branch of the ruling party.