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Argentina, Grito de Alcorta Peasant Rebellion, 1912

Horacio Tarcus


Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place South America » Argentina

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics agriculture, revolution, rural, strikes

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00125.x


Extract

In June 1912, in Alcorta in the province of Santa Fé, a group of farmers declared a rural strike that became known as the Grito de Alcorta and extended to other Argentinian provinces. The farmers were small family producers, many of them immigrants, who rented the land they worked under extremely onerous conditions, paying landowners, colonial companies, or large commercial corporations (such as Dreyfus and Bunge & Born) between 34 and 50 percent of their production. They were also responsible for threshing, packing, and leaving the produce at the train station. According to the terms of their lease, tenants were forced to buy everything from food to clothes and tools at company-owned grocery stores and warehouses and to sell landowners their surplus, which was then resold in the stores. They had to use their own threshing machines and buy bags, seed, and even insurance from the landowners. Contracts forbade farmers from keeping pigs or other farm animals; they even had to fight locusts themselves, in addition to maintaining streets and roads. The leases had to be renewed yearly, and tenants could be evicted if they failed to comply with any of the clauses. Nevertheless, the definitive trigger of the Grito de Alcorta was the poor harvest of 1910 and the fall in the international price of cereals, while the rent, fixed in an earlier period of economic prosperity, remained ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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