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Sugar Cane Production


Sugar Cane Production – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Sugar Cane Production

Sugar Cane Production
  • From Personalized Patronage Relations
  • Skilled Work
  • to
  • Corporate Ownership New Solidarities
  • (Political activity, Union organizing, and
    Religious conversion)

Some key dates in Puerto Rican History
  • 1508 Spanish colonization of the island
  • Transition to sugar monoculture, 18th century
  • Abolition of slave trade in the Atlantic, 1807
  • End of slavery, 1874
  • Spanish-American war, 1898 US gained dominion
    over Cuba and Puerto Rico
  • A Wisconsin troop arriving in PR

The Triangular Trade
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Slaves cutting sugar cane, 1823
  • Approximately 10 million people taken from Africa
    over 400 years
  • 5.5 million taken in the 100 years of the 18th
  • Decade of the highest number 1780s

Capitalist Agriculture Sugar Plantations
  • Dependent on unfree (slave) labor which was
    imported from Africa
  • Product was a commodity (grown to be sold for
  • Product was exported important for the caloric
    needs of the working-classes in Europe who
    themselves had lost access to the land
  • Sugar is not really a source of food and
    nutrition people can go hungry
  • Sugar cane required vast inputs of labor
    planting, plowing (p. 58-59), harvesting,
    irrigating, processing/burning into sugar and rum
  • Monocrop agriculture lack of diversification in
    the economy which makes it more vulnerable to
    shifts in the world economy

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Sugar cane plantations after slavery
  • Personal relations of domination and control
  • Sugar cane plantations owned by a family who
    lived near the land (case of Pastor Diaz) who
    functioned paternalistically and sometimes
  • Foremen (mayordomos) were sought after as
    compadres (p. 159-160)
  • Some laborers were resident on the plantations
    and others were not (p. 169-170)
  • Explain piecework p. 70, 131, 136, 137
  • Skilled (palero digging) and unskilled jobs, p.
  • Children worked on the land at a young age (when
    did Don Taso begin working? Compare to Nisa.)
  • People supplemented their income by growing their
    own crops on unused land (p.159).

The landowners had political as well as economic
control. What did they do to maintain their
political power, particularly when challenged by
other parties?
How did Don Taso survive his blacklisting?
Changes in Sugar Cane Agriculturein Don Tasos
  • US investment went into sugar cane plantations
  • US corporations (Aguirre) owned by US banks
    bought up or rented land from the landowning
  • Aguirre controlled 95 of the land in the
    municipality of Barrio Jauca
  • They also took the common land which people were
    using to keep cows or grow food, so people were
    more dependent on a cash wage
  • The landowning families moved to the cities or to
    the US or Europe (p. 207) Don Pastor Diazs
    family went to San Juan
  • Loss of personal relations (one could not curry
    favor with a company in the way one could with a
    family over generations)

Changes in Sugar Cane Agriculture in Don Tasos
  • Corporations introduced new techniques new
    mills with increased grinding capacities,
    internal railroad networks, electrification, and
    internal combustion engines.
  • Skilled labor less necessary now all workers
    were the same

Stratified Societies
Changes in Sugar Cane Agriculture results in
Political Class-based Solidarities
  • Conversion from social stratification based on
    personal relations to a class system based on
    relations to the mode of production
  • Workers were now completely a rural proletariat
    poor, landless, wage-earning, buying all their
    goods from the stores.
  • Because there was now more identification between
    them, they began to organize themselves and feel
    themselves to be a social class of
    workers---Socialist and Popular parties gained
    power and unions were formed.
  • Translation Celebrate Labor Day. The day workers
    are respected. Long live Santiago Iglesias Pantin
    (labor leader).

After World War II
  • US investment in light industries, where women
    worked pharmaceutical, textile
  • US encouragement of Puerto Rican migration, first
    as seasonal farm workers
  • Widespread emigration to the US
  • Puerto Rican poverty

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Current Political Status of Puerto Rico
  • Puerto Rico is not an independent country.
  • It is a non incorporated territory. According
    to the United States Supreme Court, an
    unincorporated territory is a territory
    appurtenant and belonging to the United States,
    but not a part of the United States.
  • Its current powers are delegated by the US
    Congress and are not fully protected by the US
  • The Federal Relations Act of 1950 and the
    Constitution of 1952 gave Puerto Rico
    substantially more authority to regulate local
  • Otherwise its laws are those of federal laws.
  • Puerto Rico is not a state of the Union and has
    no voting representative in the United States
  • The Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917 gave US
    citizenship to Puerto Ricans.