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They saved the crops : labor, landscape, and the struggle over industrial farming in Bracero-era California / Don Mitchell.

By: Mitchell, Don, 1961- [author.].
Material type: TextTextSeries: JSTOR eBooks.Geographies of justice and social transformation: Publisher: Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Press, 2012Edition: 1st ed.Description: 1 online resource (xii, [6], 529 pages, [24] pages of plates) : illustrations, maps.Content type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 9780820344010; 082034401X.Subject(s): Human geography -- CaliforniaAdditional physical formats: Print version:: They saved the crops.DDC classification: 331.5/440979409045 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
The agribusiness landscape in the "war emergency": the origins of the bracero program and the struggle to control it -- The struggle for a rational farming landscape: worker housing and grower power -- The dream of labor power: fluid labor and the solid landscape -- Organizing the landscape: labor camps, international agreements, and the NFLU -- The persistent landscape: perpetuating crisis in California -- Imperial farming, imperialist landscapes -- Labor process, laboring life -- Operation wetback: preserving the status quo -- RFLOAC: the imbrication of grower control -- Power in the peach bowl: of domination, prevailing wages, and the (never-ending) question of housing -- Dead labor -- literally: (another) crisis in the bracero program -- Organizing resistance: swinging at the heart of the bracero program -- The demise of the bracero program: closing the gates of cheap labor? -- The ever-new, ever-same: labor militancy, rationalization, and the post-bracero landscape.
Summary: At the outset of World War II, California agriculture seemed to be on the cusp of change. Many Californians, reacting to the ravages of the Great Depression, called for a radical reorientation of the highly exploitative labor relations that had allowed the state to become such a productive farming frontier. But with the importation of the first braceros-guest workers from Mexico hired on an emergency basis after the United States entered the waran even more intense struggle ensued over how agriculture would be conducted in the state. Esteemed geographer Don Mitchell argues that by delineating the need for cheap, flexible farm labor as a problem and solving it via the importation of relatively disempowered migrant workers, an alliance of growers and government actors committed the United States to an agricultural system that is, in important respects, still with us. They Saved the Crops is a theoretically rich and stylistically innovative account of grower rapaciousness, worker militancy, rampant corruption, and bureaucratic bias. Mitchell shows that growers, workers, and officials confronted a series of problems that shapedand were shaped bythe landscape itself. For growers, the problem was finding the right kind of labor at the right price at the right time. Workers struggled for survival and attempted to win power in the face of economic exploitation and unremitting violence. Bureaucrats tried to harness political power to meet the demands of, as one put it, the people whom we serve. Drawing on a deep well of empirical materials from archives up and down the state, Mitchell's account promises to be the definitive book about California agriculture in the turbulent decades of the mid-twentieth century.
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Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
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HD1527.C2 M59 2012 (Browse shelf) https://ezproxy.uttyler.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/j.ctt46nkrp Available ocn784959321

Includes bibliographical references and index.

The agribusiness landscape in the "war emergency": the origins of the bracero program and the struggle to control it -- The struggle for a rational farming landscape: worker housing and grower power -- The dream of labor power: fluid labor and the solid landscape -- Organizing the landscape: labor camps, international agreements, and the NFLU -- The persistent landscape: perpetuating crisis in California -- Imperial farming, imperialist landscapes -- Labor process, laboring life -- Operation wetback: preserving the status quo -- RFLOAC: the imbrication of grower control -- Power in the peach bowl: of domination, prevailing wages, and the (never-ending) question of housing -- Dead labor -- literally: (another) crisis in the bracero program -- Organizing resistance: swinging at the heart of the bracero program -- The demise of the bracero program: closing the gates of cheap labor? -- The ever-new, ever-same: labor militancy, rationalization, and the post-bracero landscape.

At the outset of World War II, California agriculture seemed to be on the cusp of change. Many Californians, reacting to the ravages of the Great Depression, called for a radical reorientation of the highly exploitative labor relations that had allowed the state to become such a productive farming frontier. But with the importation of the first braceros-guest workers from Mexico hired on an emergency basis after the United States entered the waran even more intense struggle ensued over how agriculture would be conducted in the state. Esteemed geographer Don Mitchell argues that by delineating the need for cheap, flexible farm labor as a problem and solving it via the importation of relatively disempowered migrant workers, an alliance of growers and government actors committed the United States to an agricultural system that is, in important respects, still with us. They Saved the Crops is a theoretically rich and stylistically innovative account of grower rapaciousness, worker militancy, rampant corruption, and bureaucratic bias. Mitchell shows that growers, workers, and officials confronted a series of problems that shapedand were shaped bythe landscape itself. For growers, the problem was finding the right kind of labor at the right price at the right time. Workers struggled for survival and attempted to win power in the face of economic exploitation and unremitting violence. Bureaucrats tried to harness political power to meet the demands of, as one put it, the people whom we serve. Drawing on a deep well of empirical materials from archives up and down the state, Mitchell's account promises to be the definitive book about California agriculture in the turbulent decades of the mid-twentieth century.

Print version record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Mitchell (geography, Syracuse Univ.) examines the impact on California of the government's bracero program, one of the most significant experiments in US labor and immigration history. Begun in 1942 as part of the effort to address the labor shortage at the outset of WW II, the program brought guest workers from Mexico as railroad and farm workers. It continued to provide cheap Mexican agricultural labor until its termination in 1964. The use of braceros provided a model of how US agribusiness could benefit from Mexican workers without the long-term problems created by open-border immigration policy. As Mitchell makes clear in his focus on the "landscape" of the program, California agriculture both shaped and was shaped by the infusion of low-cost bracero laborers with little regulation of working conditions. The author's research is extraordinarily thorough and well documented, making the volume indispensable for scholars of agriculture, immigration, and labor. Mitchell reveals his theoretical social science framework in 13 short inter-chapter interruptions in the historical narrative, which uninterested readers may simply skip without loss of what is an effective social history of a topic still relevant more than a half century later. Summing Up: Highly recommended. For a wide range of specialists and ambitious readers at other levels. C. K. Piehl emeritus, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Don Mitchell was born in 1961. He is a graduate of San Diego State University and Pennsylvania State University. He received a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1992, working with Neil Smith. He taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder before joining Syracuse University as a professor of geography in the late 1990s. He is best known for his work on cultural theory and the People's Geography Project. He works on labor struggles, human rights, and justice. In 1998, he became a MacArthur Fellow, and in 2008 a Guggenheim Fellow. He was awarded the Anders Retzius Medal from the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography in 2012. <p> He is the author of several books including The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space, The People's Property?: Power, Politics and the Public, and The Freedom Summer Murders. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)

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