What Was "Farm Fascism"?


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"In 1962 … agricultural workers in the United States were virtually powerless … growers routinely used vigilante violence and terror to prevent the 'unionization of farm labor on any basis.' [Carey] McWilliams uncovered the existence of a concentration camp near Salinas that was built to imprison farmworker union activists. One grower claimed that the camp was constructed 'to hold strikers, but of course we won't put white men in it, just Filipinos.' McWilliams characterized the authority that agribusiness exerted in California as 'Farm Fascism.' Growers' federations, backed by the banking interests that controlled much of California agriculture, exerted enormous control over state legislature and raked in tens of millions of dollars each year in federal subsidies. In contrast, farmworkers received no federal benefits and had no voice in Sacramento or in Washington, D.C." ~ from The Human Cost of Food, page 357.

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