This paper examines the 'labour question' in light of the wider agrarian questions, with a focus on the ways to understand activities of trade unions, NGOs and political parties as key actors in seeking to mobilize farmworkers. Drawing on research on farmworkers in Zimbabwe and engaging with literature concerning farm labour in the drastic changes to large-scale agriculture in this country since 2000, the paper emphasizes the importance of examining the wider terrain of politics that influences the actions and abilities of extra-farm organizations to operate with farmworkers. Through critically engaging with the wider literature concerning the political economy of farm labour, the paper proposes the importance of attending to what it calls the 'cultural politics of belonging', which strongly shapes both the forms of attachment of farmworkers and farm dwellers to the farms and the strategies of mobilization and demobilization taken by these organizations. Through attending to such relationships and the wider terrain of politics, this paper proposes an alternative analysis to those currently found in the polarized literature on farmworkers and the Fast Track Land Redistribution Programme in Zimbabwe.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Agrarian politics, Farmworkers, Labour question, Zimbabwe
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/joac.12065
Journal Journal of Agrarian Change
Citation
Rutherford, B. (2014). Organization and (de)mobilization of farmworkers in Zimbabwe: Reflections on trade unions, NGOs and political parties. Journal of Agrarian Change, 14(2), 214–239. doi:10.1111/joac.12065