The Sandinista state that governed Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990 was considered by many as engaged in a transition to socialism which also included the aspect of national liberation. Social revolutions in dependent capitalist countries were faced with the core issue of development, and in particular of agrarian development. The key questions studied in this paper relate to state-peasant relations as manifested through co-operativisation where I consider the extent to which the Sandinista visions of agrarian development integrated the interests of the peasantry and attempt to find reasons why the co-operativisation process was not more effective.
The point-of-departure for considering these questions is the models of class analysis put forward for rural structures in Nicaragua where these models resulted in corresponding visions of agrarian development. The two visions - the 'Modernistic' and the 'Peasant Farmer' - had differing priorities on the organisation of the economy, technology and collectivisation as well as on the role of the peasantry. The debate around the application of these visions would shape Sandinista agrarian policy over the period where both the visions influenced agrarian policy with varying effects.
This thesis studies the role played by these visions on co-operativisation where this involves going into policy formulation on agrarian reform and on co-operatives, documenting the main policy decisions in these two areas. The effects of the visions are further considered in relation to co-operativisation policy measures along the two variables, land redistribution and credit disbursement and the ways in which these were used to implement co-operativisation policy. Finally, the results of state co-operative policy as well as peasant response are evaluated through co-operative development - total numbers, membership levels and their part in land tenure.
This study found that the adoption by the Sandinista state of a model for development that promoted modernisation and gave priority to large-scale production tended to alienate the peasantry. Collectivisation into state farms worked against integrating the majority of the peasants into the revolutionary project whereas a fl