"The Sangham Strategy: Lessons for a Cooperative Mode of Production"
by Mookerjea, Sourayan (2010)
Dalit women farmers in the district of Medak, Andhra Pradesh, India formed a mutual aid credit cooperative (MACC) in the early 1990s with the support of a development NGO, the Deccan Development Society (DDS). In India, mutual aid credit cooperatives come out of a new wave of reform that emerged within the Indian cooperative movement as transnational financial institutions began to gain control of microfinance banking. Taking the DDS-MACC as an example of the “new cooperativism,” this essay reports on the work and struggle of nonliterate and landless Dalit women farmers in organizing a network of credit and marketing cooperatives into an egalitarian political body of production they call a Sangham (a term derived from Buddhist traditions). The essay outlines the conjunctural transformations through which the subordination of Dalit small farmers to national and world-scale assemblages of domination and accumulation by dispossession have increased in recent decades; it describes the formation of the Sangham network and its projects for gaining autonomy and draws some general theoretical conclusions from the Sangham strategy regarding the historical situation of the new cooperativism.
KeywordsDalit Women, India, Cooperative, Mutual Aid Credit, Non-Governmental Organisation, Development Studies, Indian Context, Empirical Study, Subordination, History
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