James C. Scott on Peasant Resistance: Quote of the Day!

In my further search for forms of resistance against the androcratic empire of globalism and its minions I ran across an informative as well as well-written entertaining work on Peasant Resistance by James C. Scott. Below he mentions Brecht and The Good Soldier Schweik by Jaroslav Hašek which offers a vision of resistance as withdrawal or exit, at once non-confrontational and exasperating to the authorities that try to control and dominate the behavior of these poor with little or no success:

For these reasons it seemed to me more important to understand what we might call everyday forms of peasant resistance— the prosaic but constant struggle between the peasantry and those who seek to extract labor, food, taxes, rents, and interest from them. Most forms of this struggle stop well short of outright collective defiance. Here I have in mind the ordinary weapons of relatively powerless groups: foot dragging, dissimulation, desertion, false compliance, pilfering, feigned ignorance, slander, arson, sabotage, and so on. These Brechtian— or Schweikian— forms of class struggle have certain features in common . They require little or no coordination or planning; they make use of implicit understandings and informal networks; they often represent a form of individual selfhelp; they typically avoid any direct, symbolic confrontation with authority. To understand these commonplace forms of resistance is to understand much of what the peasantry has historically done to defend its interests against both conservative and progressive orders. It is my guess that just such kinds of resistance are often the most significant and the most effective over the long run. Thus, Marc Bloch, the historian of feudalism, has noted that the great millenial movements were “flashes in the pan” compared to the “patient, silent struggles stubbornly carried on by rural communities” to avoid claims on their surplus and to assert their rights to the means of production —for example, arable, woodland, pastures.  Much the same view is surely appropriate to the study of slavery in the New World. The rare, heroic, and foredoomed gestures of a Nat Turner or a John Brown are simply not the places to look for the struggle between slaves and their owners. One must look rather at the constant, grinding conflict over work, food , autonomy, ritual— at everyday forms of resistance. In the Third World it is rare for peasants to risk an outright confrontation with the authorities over taxes , cropping patterns, development policies, or onerous new laws; instead they are likely to nibble away at such policies by noncompliance, foot dragging, deception. In place of a land invasion, they prefer piecemeal squatting; in place of open mutiny, they prefer desertion; in place of attacks on public or private grain stores, they prefer pilfering. When such stratagems are abandoned in favor of more quixotic action, it is usually a sign of great desperation.1

Excellent book! The powerless finally have their own power of resistance… we need to learn more, study carefully the actual strategies of the weak in the face of the machine, the will to resist lives on…

1. Scott, James C. (2013-12-15). Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (Kindle Locations 153-170). ACLS Humanities E-Book. Kindle Edition.

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