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Developing a Palestinian Resistance Economy through Agricultural Labor

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The paper analysis the experience of Amoro, a mushroom farm in Jericho, and its failure in order to engage in a critical discussion on how to move forward resistance to the settler-colonial project. Recognizing the failure of Oslo and the damaging effects of the neoliberal project stemming from it, the author suggests that the development of labour especially within the agricultural sector may be critically important to foster capitalistic investment. As he highlights, this is not to suggest that resistance could be done through the same means of capitalistic exploitation that have created the need of resistance in the first place, but that it could be seen as a strategy whose goal is the reunification of a fragmented working class. The author wants to detach from the romanticised narrative of working the land as a form of resistance per se and sheds light on the fact that Amoro found itself completely alone when faced with obstacles and when embarking into a risky venture. Moreover, the author focuses on the aim of the Amoro producers, who, decided first and foremost to launch the mushroom enterprise for “themselves”, to have the feeling that they were producing something outside of the logics of aid dependency. El Zein, recognizes the contribution of several scholars advocating for various modes of collective or cooperative agricultural production as a form of resistance, but he still insists that for-profit, capitalistic oriented growth is an intermediary step towards an equitable distribution of resources. The case Amoro is particularly relevantto his case as the farmers decided to go for a for profit initiative and pushes forward his argument about the need to de-romanticise agriculture and resistance. While recognising the limits of the PA in the scope of its policies, it suggests that if economic growth remains the goal for Palestine, the PA needs to focus in developing the agricultural sector, encouraging investments and redirecting rents toward growing resource-focused capital to develop Palestinian labour.  

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Journal of Palestine Studies