Agrarian Question

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Agrarian Question


broadly, the question of the laws of development of capitalism in agriculture, the relations between classes which arise on this basis, and the class struggle connected with it. In developed capitalist countries, the agrarian question concerns the classes of capitalist agriculture under state monopoly capitalism and the paths of development of large-scale agricultural production based on modern technology.

In the narrower sense, the question concerns the paths and methods of the elimination of precapitalist—that is, feudal, and in certain backward countries, prefeudal as well—relations of production in agriculture. In this sense, the agrarian question is one of the basic tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution and is associated with the confiscation of all the landed property of the landlords. However, as historical experience shows, because of its class limitations, the bourgeoisie cannot finally resolve the agrarian question. The complete resolution of the agrarian question is possible only as a consequence of socialist revolution, which not only solves the problem of the expropriation of large landed property and the distribution of lands among peasants, but also creates the conditions for the socialist transformation of agriculture.

The land question arises with the beginning of the social division of labor, the development of commercial exchange, and the division of society into classes. The development of class inequality led to the usurpation of landed property by the exploiting classes. By the start of the capitalist era, landed property had become concentrated in the hands of the feudal landowning class, which exploited the peasants through the extraction of land rent in its various forms: labor, payments in kind, and money. The transitional stage to capitalism in agriculture was marked by the decay of the feudal landlord economy, the evolution of the peasantry’s feudal dependence toward capitalist relations of production, and the spread of peasant land leasing.

Peasant and bourgeois land ownership arose with the decay of feudal and prefeudal land ownership; it formed the basis of small-scale peasant and capitalist structures in agriculture. The formation of the capitalist structure usually proceeds in two ways: with the establishment of either large-scale capitalist or kulak landed property.

Capitalism arose and developed on the basis of the separation of the actual producer from ownership of the means of production, the forcible appropriation of the peasant’s lands, and the transformation of the peasants into free proletarians on the one hand and the monopolization of ownership in the means of production by the capitalist class on the other. The continuing alienation of the independent producer from the means of production is evident in capitalist countries today. Land is the primary means of production in agriculture. Peasants were robbed of their property, and the greater part of the land was concentrated in the hands of capitalist enterprises, which constituted a small percentage of all farms. The mass of peasants were left with a negligible amount of land. It is difficult to determine precisely the proportion of landowners of each group. Almost none of the capitalist states keeps statistics on land property, for fear that the enormous centralization of ownership might be exposed. As a rule, statistics give the distribution of land among groups of farms classified by size.

Until the beginning of the 20th century, the rural population predominated in the majority of countries of the world, with the exception of England; it predominates even now in developing countries that have rid themselves of colonial oppression. The growth of commercial agriculture and the appearance and development of capitalist relations are accompanied by the class differentiation of the peasantry; this leads to the destruction of old patriarchal relations in the countryside and the creation of new social groups in the rural population—the rural bourgeoisie and the rural proletariat. Both landlord enterprises and the farms of prosperous peasants become increasingly commercial and entrepreneurial in nature. A process of specialization in agriculture takes place. The demand for hired labor, tools, and articles of personal use produced by industry increases among the rural population; this broadens the internal market for capitalism. In the area of agriculture, capital utilizes not only purely capitalist, but also precapitalist, forms of exploitation. Vestiges of feudal forms of exploitation were particularly widespread under capitalism in the 19th and early 20th centuries; they survive even now in Spain, Portugal, southern Italy, and elsewhere, particularly in developing countries.

Different social conditions determine the paths of capitalist development in agriculture: the so-called Prussian path, taken by Germany and tsarist Russia, and the American path. In the Prussian case, the feudal landlord economy slowly develops into a bourgeois Junker type: “the transformation of feudal bondage into servitude and capitalist exploitation on the land of the feudal lords— Junkers” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 16, p. 216). The American path generally means the absence of feudal and landlord agriculture; in this sense, it means the free development of peasant and farmer agriculture without precapitalist forms of exploitation: “the main background is the transformation of the patriarchal peasant into a bourgeois farmer” (ibid.). Lenin noted the presence of both tendencies of capitalist development in prerevolutionary Russian agriculture: the Prussian was evident in the agricultural center of Russia, while the American was found in the outlying agricultural areas and also in all those areas of Russia where landlord and peasant agriculture proceeded side by side. From the time of the reforms of 1861 until the Great October Socialist Revolution, the struggle between landlord and peasant interests was a struggle between these two paths of development: the landlords and Russian liberal bourgeoisie fought for the Prussian path, and the peasants, for the American path.

The separation of the landowner from his land, characteristic of capitalism, is achieved in two forms: mortgage indebtedness (interest-bearing loans) and the leasing system. Capital exploits the working peasant not only as a hired laborer, but also as a proprietor, by extracting exorbitant rates for mortgages, rental payments, and state taxes. Marx himself wrote that individual capitalists were exploiting peasants by mortgages and usury, while the capitalist class was exploiting them by state taxes. Capital exploits both the worker and the peasant. Hence, the interests of the peasants are in irreconcilable contradiction to the interests of the bourgeoisie, and the peasants’ natural ally and leader under capitalism is the working class.

The peasantry ceases to be a unified class as a result of internal class differentiation. The classification of farms according to the amount of land they contain is insufficient to analyze and determine the proportions of different class groups in agriculture. The correlation between family and hired labor on the farm must be taken into account. Analyzing the data of the 1907 census in Germany, Lenin gave a scientific definition for the groups of enterprises: proletarian, peasant, and capitalist. The proletarian category embraces those farms whose proprietors are essentially hired workers, for whom work on their own farm is a secondary occupation. In Europe, farms of up to 2 hectares usually belong to this group. The tiny size of these farms does not allow the full utilization of the available working forces on the farm. This gives rise to the phenomenon of so-called surplus labor power and rural overpopulation; people flee from their villages in search of work.

In the category of peasant farms, Lenin placed farms in which family labor exceeds paid labor. Although temporary workers are hired on the majority of peasant farms, only large peasant farms, the farms of the peasant bourgeoisie, require one hired worker per farm. Within the category of peasant farms, Lenin distinguished between small (usually from 2 to 5 hectares), middle (from 5 to 10 hectares), and large (from 10 to 20 hectares) peasant farms. In prewar Germany, farms of up to 10 hectares made up more than half of all farms. The proprietors of the majority of these farms and members of their families went to the city for work.

The category of capitalist farms contains those in which hired labor exceeds family labor. It includes medium (from 20 to 100 hectares) and large (100 hectares and up) capitalist farms. With certain modifications, this classification retains its value for contemporary developed capitalist countries.

Prerevolutionary Russia. Lenin characterized the agrarian question in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century in these terms: “An ‘agrarian problem’—to use this common and accepted term—exists in all capitalist countries. In Russia, however, there exists, alongside the general capitalist agrarian problem, another, ‘truly Russian’ agrarian problem. . . . But purely capitalist relations in our country are still overshadowed to a tremendous extent by feudal relations. The distinctive character of the Russian agrarian problem lies in the struggle which the mass of the population, above the peasantry as a whole, are waging against these relations” (ibid., vol. 21, pp. 306, 307).

In Russia even after the peasant reforms of 1861 a large portion of the land continued to be owned by the landlords and the landlord state. According to the Agricultural Statistics for 1905, out of the total of 395.2 million desiatinas (1 desiatina = 1.09 ha) registered in European Russia, 101.7 million desiatinas were privately owned, 138.8 million desiatinas were allotment land, and state, church, crown, and other lands amounted to another 154.7 million desiatinas, of which approximately 39.5 million desiatinas were used for agricultural production. Private agriculture was dominated by large proprietors. Out of 85.8 million desiatinas of privately owned land (for which there are data on distribution according to size of holding), 619,000 small proprietors who owned up to 50 desiatinas each held 6.5 million desiatinas, while 134,000 large landowners held 79.5 million desiatinas. Of the total of private land holdings, 72.3 percent (62 million desiatinas) was held by the 28,000 largest landowners, who owned over 500 desiatinas each. In addition to the land owned by the dvorianstvo (nobility), which in 1905 amounted to 53.2 million desiatinas, or 61.9 percent of all privately owned land, there were 7.8 million desiatinas of land in European Russia which belonged to the royal family. More than 50 million desiatinas of land were owned by the tsar himself. At the same time, more than 10 million peasant farms accounted for only 73 million desiatinas of land.

With the development of capitalism in agriculture, landlords began to use hired labor. But the landlord economy as a whole in Russia adhered to the serf bondage system rather than to the capitalist one.

The source of livelihood for the majority of peasants was allotment land, which was unevenly distributed. Even in postreform Russia, allotment landholdings retained features of feudalism and serfdom: until the Stolypin agrarian reforms, they were virtually withheld from circulation— that is, they were not subject to sale and purchase. At the beginning of the 20th century, land hunger forced peasants to rent 35–37 million desiatinas of land from landlords, the treasury, and the crown; peasants held small, short-term cash leases, worked off their rents, or sharecropped. By the end of the 19th century, the prosperous upper elements, constituting 20 percent of peasant households, accounted for half of peasant agricultural production. Half the peasants could not survive on the basis of their own farms; peasants were forced to sell their labor power. The Stolypin reform intensified the development of capitalism in agriculture: class stratification deepened in the countryside; the kulak sector grew significantly; and large-scale capitalist agricultural enterprises were formed.

In the last decade before the October Revolution, Russian and foreign monopoly capital began to penetrate Russian agriculture. The supply of agricultural machinery—nearly half of which was imported in 1913—was concentrated in the hands of capitalist monopolies. Finance capital became influential in private agriculture through credit based on the mortgaging of land. By 1917, 66.5 million desiatinas of land—that is, 60 percent of all privately owned land in Russia—was mortgaged to state and private land banks. With these lands appraised at an enormous sum (6.314 billion gold rubles) as security, banks advanced loans amounting to 3.989 billion rubles to landowners. Land banks were tied up with, and dependent on, the whole system of Russian and foreign finance capital.

The development of monopoly capitalism complicated the agrarian question in Russia still further. Monopoly capitalism hindered the development of agricultural forces of production, maintaining the vestiges of feudalism and serfdom connected with backward agricultural organization and technology. The economic interests of the landlord class and the big bourgeoisie became increasingly more interwoven.

The agrarian question was one of the fundamental questions of Russia’s socioeconomic and political life. The agrarian programs of political parties and organizations contained different methods of resolving the agrarian question. The right-wing bourgeois parties, the Octobrists and the Cadets, proposed that the peasants be allotted supplemental lands for redemption, while landlord property was to be maintained. The agrarian programs of the petit-bourgeois parties—the SR’s, the trudoviki (labor), and others— expressed the interests of the peasantry in its struggle against the landlords to varying degrees. But only the agrarian program of Bolshevism aimed at the consistent revolutionary resolution of the agrarian question in Russia.

After the October Socialist Revolution the confiscation of all landlord holdings was carried out on the basis of the Decree on Land (October 26 [November 8]) and the provisions of the Law on the Socialization of the Land (Jan. 27 [Feb. 9], 1918) which elaborated on it. All land became the public property of the state—that is, the land was nationalized. Landlord, royal, church, monastery, and other lands controlled by nonworking elements, with the exception of a small portion set aside for the organization of state soviet farms, passed without redemption to the working peasants. The peasants received over 150 million desiatinas of land; they were freed completely from annual rental payments for land, expenditures for purchase of new lands, and the repayment of debts to the State Peasant Bank for purchased land—debts which totaled 700 million gold rubles.

In addition to completing the tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, the October Revolution made a start in the socialist transformation of agriculture. The confiscation of lands mortgaged to land banks and belonging to the bourgeoisie and landlords was an extremely powerful blow against capitalism in agriculture. Large landlord farms of the capitalist type were transferred to the Soviet government, thus being nationalized; they became the basis for the creation of socialist agricultural enterprises. The equalization of land tenure based on the nationalization of land in 1918 meant that surplus lands above the established equalizing norms for the working utilization of land were taken away from kulaks. In all, 50 million desiatinas out of 80 million desiatinas of kulak land were taken away. The confiscation of a portion of their land, as well as part of their livestock and equipment, undermined the economic hegemony of the kulaks among the peasantry. With the transfer of landlord and kulak lands and inventory to the laboring peasantry, the middle peasants, the most numerous class group, became a majority of the peasantry. The Soviet state aided the poorest and middle peasants and limited the development of the kulak economy by all its policies and measures in land tenure, taxation, and the supply of equipment, fertilizer, and seeds.

The formation of collective peasant farms began in 1917–18, but in the course of the first decade of Soviet power these farms involved a small part of the peasantry. The beginning of the socialist industrialization of the country, the development of the simplest forms of agricultural cooperatives, and the implementation of V. I. Lenin’s Cooperative Plan prepared the ground for the broad development of kolkhozes. The triumph of the kolkhoz system and the construction of sovkhozes brought the agrarian question in the USSR to its final resolution.

Foreign socialist countries In the course of peoples’ democratic revolutions in foreign socialist countries, just as in the USSR, radical democratic transformations were carried out which restricted capitalist relations and eliminated precapitalist ones in agriculture; subsequently, the transition to socialist transformation was achieved. In these countries, the agrarian question was fully resolved. In the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the People’s Republic of Mongolia, the agrarian question essentially centered on the need to eliminate precapitalist and to limit capitalist economic forms; in the European socialist countries and in Cuba, it centered on the resolution of the contradictions of capitalist agriculture.

Developed capitalist countries In developed capitalist countries, the content of the agrarian question changed in the course of the development of capitalism. After World War II—especially in the USA, Canada, and the Federal Republic of Germany—significant technical progress was made in agriculture. From the early 1950’s, the massive introduction of tractors and complex machines, the increased use of artificial fertilizers and chemicals for pest control, and the mechanization of livestock breeding sharply increased the productivity of agricultural labor. Thus, according to American calculations, in 1950 one person engaged in agriculture in the USA produced sufficient food for 15 people; in 1964, the figure had risen to 33 people. At the same time, the minimum amount of capital necessary to run a farm profitably increased. The small farmer had previously escaped complete ruin by unceasingly straining his own physical powers and worsening his own diet and that of his cattle; now, if he was unable to acquire the latest machinery (which was not always profitable for his farm), he was forced to liquidate his farm or cut it to the minimum, retaining only a small strip for a kitchen garden while he went to the city in search of work. The agrarian policy of the exploitative ruling classes, aimed at the liquidation of small and medium-sized farms, speeded this process.

Worldwide, the rural population decreased from 62 percent in 1937 to 52 percent in 1965. In 1965 the rural population constituted 74 percent of the total in Africa, 65 percent in Asia, 53 percent in Central America, and 23 percent in Western Europe. The independent agrarian population in developed capitalist countries declined by more than 40 percent from the end of the 1930’s to the early 1960’s. There was an absolute decline in the number of people engaged in agriculture. The index of agricultural production (1952–56= 100) for the world as a whole was 138 in 1966; for Western Europe it was 133, and in Eastern Europe (including the USSR) it was 165.

In developed capitalist countries, the result of the change in the nature of farming—the specialization of production—has been that farm owners sell the majority of their agricultural produce to processing industries—that is, to industrial and commercial monopolies. Often the farmer is supplied with the means of production, cattle for fattening, seed, etc.; thus, he is transformed into a more complicated type of hired or semihired laborer working at home for a large firm. The complexity of the farmer’s situation consists in this: although he still has his own means of production (often mortgaged to a bank)—land, cattle, and some machinery and farm buildings—his property is often fictitious since his indebtedness amounts to a large percentage of the value of the property. As the process of concentration develops further, the farmer is pushed out of agricultural production.

Under state monopoly capitalism, the process of regulation is carried out in the interests of the monopolies and to the detriment of the peasants or farmers; it results in the forced withdrawal of land from small landowners on a massive scale—the official policy of the exploiting classes. Millions of farms and peasant households are liquidated as a result of the policy of accelerated displacement of “unprofitable” peasant farms and the encouragement of the spread of large-scale capitalist farms with ties to monopoly capital. For example, from 1940 to 1964 the number of farms in the USA decreased by 2.9 million, or approximately by half; in the Federal Republic of Germany, more than 600,000 farms of up to 10 hectares (or 38.6 percent) were liquidated from 1949 to 1967, while the number of large farms increased; and, the countries of the European Economic Community (the Common Market) face the task of displacing 8 million “surplus” peasants from agriculture.

Scientific and technical progress in agriculture has led to a relative decline of hired labor on farms. However, this has not changed the general tendency to concentrate production and destroy small farms.

The displacement of peasants from agricultural production not only takes the form of outright destruction and liquidation of farms; often it takes the form of turning a self-sustaining peasant farm into a sideline. The proportion of such farms has increased among small and middle-sized farms. The enormous growth in the number of small kitchen gardens and farms of up to ½ hectare must be included in this calculation: in West Germany, their number grew from 3.8 million in 1939 (on what is the territory of West Germany today) to 4.7 million in 1950 and 5.5 million in 1961. These are farms whose owners have essentially been turned into industrial hired laborers. Many of them are the small and middle peasants of yesterday who had operated self-sustaining farms.

The development of productive forces and the concentration of production inevitably lead to large-scale agriculture. But an objective analysis of agrarian relations must show which class is the leading influence in the enlargement of farms and in whose interests this takes place. While the scale of agriculture increases in the interests of the peasantry and the whole nation in socialist countries, in developed capitalist countries it is carried out in the interests of monopoly capital and to the detriment of millions of peasants and small farmers. The peasants and small farmers actively resist their displacement from agricultural production, attacking the agrarian policies of monopolistic capital. There have been massive actions of small farmers against the agrarian policies of the ruling classes in a number of countries. In this struggle, the working masses of the countryside have received support from the working class—its ally and the only completely revolutionary class in contemporary society.

The importance of an alliance of the working class and the peasants in developed capitalist countries was emphasized by the International Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties (Moscow, June 1969) in its document ‘The Tasks of the Struggle Against Imperialism in the Current Stage and the Unity of Action of Communist and Workers’ Parties and of All Anti-imperialist Forces.” The document states: “The strengthening of the alliance of workers and peasants is one of the basic conditions of success for the struggle against the monopolies and their power” (Mezhdunarodnoe soveshchanie kommunisticke-skikh i rabochikh partii, 1969, p. 307). The peasantry is supporting unity of action with the working class with increasing frequency.

In the struggle against the monopolies, the revolutionary proletariat has an interest in an alliance with the peasants as a powerful force. In 1965 the proportion of the economically active population in agriculture was 25 percent in Italy, 18 percent in France, 34 percent in Spain, 40 percent in Portugal, 32 percent in Finland, and 10 percent in Australia. Even in countries like West Germany, Canada, and the USA, where the proportion of the economically active population engaged in agriculture amounts to 11 percent, 11 percent, and 6 percent, respectively, farmers constitute an important reservoir of democratic forces in the struggle against monopolistic capital.

Developing countries In developing countries, the agrarian question is most accute. The disintegration of the colonial system of imperialism and the conquest of national independence by many countries after World War II made the resolution of the agrarian question a primary task. In most developing countries agriculture is the most important sector of the national economy. In many countries semifeudal production relations are dominant; in these cases, the agrarian question is intimately bound up with the struggle against imperialism and neocolonialism for economic independence. In the first stage of the national liberation movement, the agrarian and peasant question was part of the general struggle for political sovereignty. In the present, second stage of revolution in the East, when nations that have won political independence are confronted with the task of implementing profound economic and social transformations, the resolution of the agrarian question is a part of the general struggle for social liberation. In the political scheme of developing countries, the agrarian question is the position of the bulk of the population and implementation of democratic reforms. To a large extent, the path of development the peoples of these countries choose is determined by whom the peasants follow.

As early as the first stage of national revolution, two basic lines for the resolution of the agrarian question—representing the interests of different classes—took shape: on one side was the working class and the peasantry, on the other, the bourgeoisie and the landlords. One line, involving the liquidation of the feudal landlord class, was the revolutionary breakup of the precapitalist agrarian structure. The second line was the gradual reconstruction of the old agrarian system in a capitalist manner, by implementing agrarian reforms aimed at creating and further developing the capitalist structure in agriculture on the basis of landlord and kulak farms.

The configuration of class forces in the struggle for the resolution of the agrarian question in developing countries changes as the agrarian structure is modified by agrarian reforms. The national bourgeoisie, which is in power in many liberated countries (in some cases, in blocs with other classes), has undertaken the resolution of the agrarian question—that is, the elimination of precapitalist relations of production in agriculture—because of the demands of economic and social development and the pressure of the peasant movement. This is the essence of the reforms which were carried out. The process has not yet been completed in any of the developing countries. The extent of resolution of the agrarian question and of the survival of precapitalist structures, on the one hand, and the level of the development of agricultural capitalism, on the other, are determined by three groups of factors: the prereform agrarian structure; the strength and scope of the peasant movement; and the nature of power.

In the course of capitalist evolution in these countries, complex, multifaceted economies of a transitional type have arisen, in which the sector engaged in small-scale production has been preponderant in agriculture—in terms of numbers employed and proportion of the gross product—but the guiding force has been the capitalist sector. Under these conditions, a rural bourgeoisie is formed from the feudal landowning class and the upper levels of the peasantry. It is characteristic of both types of bourgeoisie that capitalist and precapitalist methods of exploiting the actual producer are closely interwoven—for example, hiring of agricultural workers, investment in city real estate, and the purchase of shares in industrial enterprises in combination with enslaving leasing and usurious and commercial speculative operations. Even in the relatively most advanced Asian, African, and Latin American countries the leading rural elements that are being made bourgeois personify not only industrial capital in agriculture, but also usurious and commercial capital. In the majority of Asian and African countries, the small and middle landlords and the rich peasants are scarcely distinguishable economic types. They gradually form a single class of the developing rural bourgeoisie. Although the landlords still remain the main exploiting stratum in the countryside, economically, and to a still greater degree politically, they consolidate with the national bourgeoisie. The formation of a labor market in these countries is influenced by the legacy from the colonial period of high relative agrarian overpopulation, which, because of the nature of industrialization in these countries—slow tempos and low levels of employment in modern large-scale enterprises—has not yet shown any marked tendency to decrease. On the contrary, underemployment has continued and in some cases even increased (up to one-third) among the agricultural population; its land supply worsens and the migration to the city increases. A great many of the peasantry, usually 50 to 70 percent, are individuals with property or leasing rights to small strips of land; they are thus systematically forced to resort to selling their labor power.

Semiproletarian and proletarian elements constitute the bulk of the economically active population in the majority of developing countries of Asia, North Africa, and Latin America. Although feudal vestiges no longer dominate in the agrarian structures in the majority of developing countries, agricultural capitalism in these countries is still basically at the stage of primary accumulation, and the industrial revolution in agriculture has only just begun. Under these conditions, the main question involving all spheres of social and political life in developing countries is the struggle over the path of further development. The struggle for the choice of the path of development infuses the agrarian question, too, with a new content, because it is not a matter of what type of capitalist evolution of agriculture might prove most acceptable for the country in question, but rather first of all whether the countryside is destined to develop along a capitalist or a noncapitalist path.

This new content of the agrarian question decisively influences the arrangement of the class and political forces within the countries themselves and the evolution of the views of the opposing forces. The development of agricultural capitalism in multifaceted, transitional economies complicates the contradictions in the rural areas of Eastern countries and makes the establishment of a united front in the peasants’ struggle for land, the improvement of conditions of land tenure, and the liquidation of enslaving conditions of loans more difficult. At the same time, the possibility of a common struggle for the establishment of acceptable prices for agricultural produce, for cheap credit, for the lowering of taxes, and so on still exists. For this reason, underlying the tactics of the working class and its party is the demand for a flexible combination of unity with the whole peasant class—on some questions, with as much neutralization of the upper elements of the peasantry as possible, on others, with reliance on proletarian and semi-proletarian strata. In those places where agrarian reforms have not yet been introduced and precapitalist relations of production retain the role of the largest sector of agriculture, the struggle unfolds under one of two slogans: the slogan of antifeudal unity of the whole peasantry—for example, in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan, Nepal, Ethiopia, and certain areas of Latin American countries—or the slogan of transition from the patriarchal rural commune through different cooperative forms, bypassing capitalism, to a noncapitalist path of development—as in most areas of tropical Africa.

The enormous importance of peasants as a powerful revolutionary force in Asia and Africa was noted at the International Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties. The question of the peasants’ position is the central one in these countries because there the peasantry constitutes a majority of the population. The alliance of the working class with the peasantry in countries which have been liberated from colonial oppression—as that of the alliance of the entire international working class with the peasantry and all the working people of recently liberated states—is of international significance.

The nature of agrarian programs of the communist and workers’ parties in capitalist and developing countries is determined by an analysis of the agrarian relations in those countries. They form a part of the parties’ general programs and determine the guiding principles of their policies with respect to the agrarian question. The agrarian demands of the programs are worked out on the basis of scientific Marxist-Leninist analysis of the objective social, economic, and political conditions in the countries, with due consideration of the interests of the toiling peasants and the real distribution of class forces in the countryside. The demands of communist and workers’ parties with respect to the agrarian question are determined by the specific conditions in each individual country. With the development of the revolutionary movement and the victory of the socialist revolution, the agrarian programs of communist and workers’ parties also change.


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Lenin, V. I. “K kharakteristike ekonomicheskogo romantizma.,,Ibid., vol. 2.
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Lenin, V. I. “O prodovol’stvennom naloge.” Ibid., vol. 43.
Lenin, V. I. “Rech’ na Vserossiiskom s”ezde transportnykh rabochikh 27 marta 1921 g.” Ibid., vol. 43.
Lenin, V. I. “O tezisakh po agrarnomu voprosu frantsuzskoi kommunisticheskoi partii.” Ibid., vol. 44.
Lenin, V. I. “O kooperatsii.” Ibid., vol. 45.
Petrushov, A. Agrarnye otnosheniia ν stranakh Zapadnoi Evropy posle vtoroi mirovoi voiny. Moscow, 1959.
Martynov, V. A., M. A. Men’shikova, and A. I. Tulupnikov. Strukturnye sdvigi ν sel’skom khoziaistve SShA. Moscow, 1965.
Manukian, A. A. Problemy poslevoennogo razvitiia ekonomiki kapitalisticheskikh stran, part 1. Moscow, 1966.
Sereni, E. Staroe i novoe ν ital’ianskoi derevne. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from Italian.)
Agrarno-krest’ianskii vopros na sovremennom etape nats.-osvoboditel’nogo dvizheniia v stranakh Azii, Afriki i Latinskoi Ameriki. Moscow, 1965.
Agrarnyi vopros ν stranakh Azii i Severnoi Afriki. Moscow, 1968.
Agrarnyi vopros i problemy osvoboditel’nogo dvizheniia ν stranakh Latinskoi Ameriki. Moscow, 1968.
Agrarnoi vopros i krest’ianstvo ν Tropicheskoi Afrike. Moscow, 1964.
Shestakov (“Nikodim”), A. V. Kapitalizatsiia sel’skogo kh-va Rossii (ot reformy 1861 g. do voiny 1914 g.). Moscow, 1924.
Gaister, A. Sel’skoe kh-vo kapitalistich. Rossii. Ot reformy 1861 g. do revoliutsii 1905 g. Moscow, 1928.
Egiazarova, N. A. Agrarnyi krizis kontsa XIX v. v Rossii. [Moscow,] 1959.
Anfimov, A. M. Zemel’naia arenda v Rossii v nachale XX veka. Moscow, 1961.
Anfimov, A. Rossiiskaia derevnia ν gody pervoi mirovoi voiny (19l4–fevral’ 1917 g.). Moscow, 1962.
Dubrovskii, S. M. Stolypinskaia zemel’naia reforma. Iz istorii sel’skogo khoziaistva i krest’ianstva Rossii v nachale XX veka. Moscow, 1963.
Osobennosti agrarnogo stroia Rossii ν period imperializma. Moscow, 1962.
Tarnovskii, K. N. “Problemy agrarnoi istorii Rossii perioda imperializma ν sovetskoi istoriografii (1917–nachalo 1930–kh godov).” Istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 78. Moscow, 1965. Pages 31–62.
Sharapov, G. V. Razreshenie agrarnogo voprosa ν Rossii posle pobedy Oktiabr’skoi revoliutsii (1917–1920 gg.). Moscow, 1961.
Sharapov, G. V. Kritika antikommunizma po agrarnomy voprosu. Moscow, 1966.
Pershin, P. N.Agrarnaia revoliutsiia ν Rossii, books 1–2. Moscow, 1966.
Iakovtsevskii, V. N. Agrarnye otnosheniia ν SSSR ν period stroitel’stva sotsializma. Moscow, 1964.
Trapeznikov, S. P. Leninizm i agrarno-krest’ianskii vopros, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1967.
Danilov, V. P. “Izuchenie istorii sovetskogo krest’ianstva.” In Sovetskaia istoricheskiaia nauka ot XX k XXII s”ezdu KPSS. Istoriia SSSR. Moscow, 1962. Pages 449–492.
Istoriia sovetskogo krest’ianstva i kolkhoznogo stroitel’stva ν SSSR. Moscow, 1963.
Poliakov, Iu. A. Perekhod k nepu i sovetskoe krest’ianstvo. Moscow, 1967.
Mezhdunarodnoe soveshchanie kommunisticheskikh i rabochikh partii: Dokumenty i materialy, Moscow, 5–17 iiunia 1969 g. Moscow, 1969.

A. M. GUREVICH and G. G. KOTOVSKII; E. A. LUTSKII (section on the agrarian question in prerevolutionary Russia)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Next, Jose Amilton de Almeida and Cristina Simoes Bezerra return to the classic debate on the agrarian question in Brazil (Agrarian question: capitalism and rural proletarization in Brazil) and Luciene Ferreira Mendes de Castro, using the Marxian explanation of the rules of reproduction of capital, discusses the concrete determinations of poverty in bourgeois society (Poverty and social inequality: social and historical foundations).
These revelations suggest that within agrarian economies gender struggles and poverty lie in the distribution of social reproduction tasks between the state and the family and in the context of the latter between women and men asserting gender equity as the unresolved contemporary agrarian question.
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Hungry for change; farmers, food justice and the agrarian question.
(1) William Roseberry, "Beyond the Agrarian Question in Latin America", en Confronting Historical Paradigms, eds.
Friedmann, H (2006) 'Focusing on agriculture: a comment on Henry Bernstein's "Is there an agrarian question in the 21st century?"', Canadian Journal of Development Studies 27.
The Peasantry and Modernization: The Agrarian Question in
In addition, there are welcome excavations of early-twentieth-century Marxist analyses of the agrarian question by Alf Budden and CM.
The introduction frames the debate on the crisis of left theory with a discussion of the agrarian question, namely how agriculture is transformed by capitalism.
Doyle, Nations Divided: America, Italy, and the Southern Question (Athens, GA, 2002); and Enrico Dal Lago, "States of Rebellion: Civil War, Rural Unrest, and the Agrarian Question in the American South and the Italian Mezzogiorno, 1861-1865," Comparative Studies in Society and History 47 (2005): 403-32.
The new agrarian question is the result of that unequal development.