Grapes and Consumption in Cold War Chile and the United States  HEIDI TINSMAN


american encounters / global interactions A series edited by Gilbert M. Joseph and Emily S. Rosenberg This series aims to stimulate critical perspectives and fresh interpretive frameworks for scholarship on the history of the imposing global presence of the United States. Its primary concerns include the deployment and contestation of power, the construction and deconstruction of cultural and political borders, the fluid meanings of intercultural encounters, and the complex interplay between the global and the local. American Encounters seeks to strengthen dialogue and collaboration between historians of U.S. international relations and area studies specialists. The series encourages scholarship based on multiarchival historical research. At the same time, it supports a recognition of the representational character of all stories about the past and promotes critical inquiry into issues of subjectivity and narrative. In the process, American Encounters strives to understand the context in which meanings related to nations, cultures, and political economy are continually produced, challenged, and reshaped.

Grapes and Consumption in Cold War Chile and the United States HEIDI TINSMAN
Duke University Press Durham and London 2014

© 2014 Duke University Press All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper ∞ Designed by Courtney Leigh Baker Typeset in Whitman by Westchester Publishing Services Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Tinsman, Heidi, 1964– Buying into the regime : grapes and consumption in cold war Chile and the United States / Heidi Tinsman. pages cm — (American encounters/global interactions) Includes bibliographical references and index. isbn 978-0-8223-5520-5 (cloth : alk. paper) isbn 978-0-8223-5535-9 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Grape industry—Chile. 2. Chile—Foreign economic relations—United States. 3. United States—Foreign economic relations— Chile. I. Title. II. Series: American encounters/global interactions. hd9259.g7c55 2014 382′.41480983—dc23 2013029332

In memory of my father, r. hovey tinsman jr.

And for my mother, margaret neir tinsman


Acknowledgments ★ ix Introduction ★ 1 one The Long Miracle Collaborations in the Chilean Fruit Industry, 1900–1990 ★ 25 two Fables of Abundance Grape Workers and Consumption in Chile ★ 64 three The Fresh Sell Marketing Grapes in the United States ★ 103 four Boycott Grapes! Challenges by the United Farm Workers and the Chile Solidarity Movement ★ 146 five Not Buying It Democracy Struggles in Chile ★ 207 Epilogue ★ 255 Notes ★ 267 Bibliography ★ 331 Index ★ 349


Buying into the Regime marks my effort to participate in debates about transnational studies and world history. While bearing my name as author, the book directly springs from collaborative scholarship. I am particularly indebted to two smart and talented women, Sandhya Shukla and Ulrike Strasser. My work with Sandhya at the Radical History Review and in our coedited volume, Imagining Our Americas, provided the framework for examining Chilean and U.S. history together. Sandhya pushed me to think across the boundaries of Latin American and U.S. area studies, insisting that interdisciplinary frameworks could reconceptualize area and region in ways especially relevant to historians. Ulrike and I cotaught the University of California’s first large survey course on gender and world history, coled a faculty research seminar at the uc Humanities Research Institute titled “Historical Problematics of Gender, Sexuality, and the Global,” and coauthored several articles on masculinity, gender, and world history. Ulrike’s sharp insights concretized why feminist analysis must be central to any serious project on “the world.” It was also Ulrike who taught me the importance of studying disconnections as well as connections in transnational dynamics. While collaborative work is given more lip ser vice than real recognition in many humanist disciplines, this book would never have happened without the thrilling opportunity to think, write, and publish with others. Buying into the Regime is also the product of the rich intellectual environment at the University of California, Irvine. The Department of History’s leadership in developing world history as a dynamic research and teaching field provided an inspiring place to craft a transnational project. I thank Ken Pomeranz, Steven Topik, Bob Moeller, Jon Wiener, Mark Poster, Jeff

Wasserstrom, and Jaime Rodriguez for their scholarly examples and sturdy support of my work. I have benefited tremendously from the Gender History Faculty Group, particularly feedback from Alice Fahs, Sarah Farmer, Lynn Mally, Nancy McLoughlin, Laura Mitchell, Rachel O’Toole, Emily Rosenberg, and Vicki Ruiz. Colleagues in the Department of Women’s Studies distinctly shaped my conceptual framework: thanks to Laura Kang, Kavita Philip, Inderpal Grewal, Jennifer Terry, and Robyn Wiegman. At the uc Humanities Research Institute, I benefited from spirited questioning by Anjali Arondekar, Cynthia Brantley, Michelle Hamilton, Eve Oishi, David Serlin, and Pete Sigal. Thanks to Marc Kanda for his help with images and crucial managerial talent. The idea of tracing the consumer dynamics that link Chilean grapes to the United States was first motivated by a conversation with Jolie Olcott as we reflected on the legacy of Michael Jiménez, a passionate teacher and historian of commodities who inspired us both to make a career of studying Latin America. I thank Jolie for her numerous engagements with my project, including the chance to workshop an early version at Duke University. I am grateful to other colleagues who also generously gave their time and institutional resources to sponsor me in public lectures: Florencia Mallon and Steve Stern at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Elizabeth Hutchison at the University of New Mexico; Claudio Barrientos and Manuel Vicuña at Universidad Diego Portales; Soledad Zárate at Universidad Alberto Hurtado; Vanessa Schwartz at the University of Southern California; Wally Goldfrank at uc Santa Cruz; Margaret Chowning at uc Berkeley; Gonzalo Leiva at Universidad Pontifícia Católica de Chile; and Tom Klubock, then at Ohio State University. Many thanks to Barbara Weinstein, Temma Kaplan, Karin Rosemblatt, Ericka Verba, Margaret Power, Peter Winn, Julio Pinto, Joel Stillerman, Lorena Godoy and Elizabeth Dore for their longstanding support of my work. At Duke University Press, Valerie Millholland and Gisela Fosado expertly guided this work to publication. Thanks to Rebecca Fowler and Danielle Szulczewski for their careful edits. Julie Greene and an anonymous reader provided outstanding critical comments on the original manuscript. Funding for Buying into the Regime was provided by Fulbright-Hays, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Science Research Council, the uc Pacific Rim Research Program, the uc Institute for Research on Labor and Education, the uc Humanities Research Institute, and the uc Irvine School of Humanities. I thank Gonzalo Falabella and participants at the former Casa del Temporero for sponsoring my original fieldwork in Santa María, Chile.

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This is a project heavily based on oral histories and interviews, so I am indebted to the many people who shared their perspectives, stories, and contacts. In Chile, special thanks to Ericka Muñoz, Olga Gutiérrez, Selfa Antimán, María Elena Galdámez, María Tapia, Olivia Herrera, Daniel San Martín, the Sindicato Interempresa de Trabajadores Permanentes y Temporeros de Santa María, and Confederación Unidad Obero Campesino. I am also grateful to Ronald Bown at the Asociación de Exportadores de Chile, Jorge Valenzuela, Constantino Mustakis, and José Luís Ibañéz. In California, I especially thank Bruce Obbink of the California Table Grape Association, John Pandol, Darrel Fulmer, and Rick Eastes. At the United Farm Workers of America, special thanks to Irv Hershenbaum and Roman Pinal. Thanks also to Jono Shaffer. My work on the U.S.-Chile solidarity movement owes much to Tim Harding, Fernando Torres, Jaime Salazar, Paul Chin, Steve Volk, and Nora Hamilton. This project benefited hugely from the opportunity I had to direct the University of California’s Education Abroad Program in Santiago de Chile between 2007 and 2009. Thanks to the students who pushed me to ask new questions for a generation once removed from Latin America’s cold war. Thanks to colleagues and friends who welcomed my family and supported my work: Carmen Gloria Guiñez, Verónica Pomar, Maricarmen Leyton, Soledad Falabella, Javier Couso, Miguel Kaiser, Sarah Chambers, Claudia Mora, Elaine Acosta, Carolina Stefoni, Lucía Stecher, Consuelo Figueroa, and Patricia Reyes. Finally, I thank my family for their love and presence in my life. Erik Kongshaug, always my keenest reader, edited the entire manuscript, and steadied me in times of trial. Our sons, Arlo and Noel, gamely embraced their early education in Chile and nearly always reminded me about what is most important. This book is dedicated to my parents. My father died before its completion but would have appreciated it. As a small businessman, he was always remarkably interested in my critiques of capitalism. His commitment to building community taught me much of what I know about democracy. My mother introduced me to feminism and continues to model through her own activism and public service how much women can change the world.

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ACONCAGUA San Felipe Santa Maria VALPARAÍSO Valparaiso Los Andes





O’HIGGINS San Fernando Curicó



MAULE Cauquenes Linares





Punta Arenas


0 km 0 miles

50 50

100 100


Sacramento Berkeley Oakland San Francisco

ent ram


San Jose Fresno
Sa lin as lle Va y

y alle oV






Va ll



Los Angeles
Coachella Valley Imperial Valley

San Diego

0 km 70 0 miles 140 70 140

map.1 ★ Chile: Provinces and cities of the Central Valley. (left) map.2 ★ California: Principal agricultural valleys. (above)


By the twenty-first century, consumers in the United States expected to be able to eat a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables all year round. The produce department became the most centrally located and profitable part of grocery stores, offering scores of delicacies unknown to many Americans before the 1960s. Whether they lived in New York or Iowa, shoppers assumed that they could find kiwis, mangos, endive, and radicchio for sale, whether it was January or July. The abundance of fruits and vegetables in the United States expanded rapidly after 1970, fueled by a growing interest in fresh food and whole food as alternatives to a national diet that critics warned was saturated with fat and sugar. It was also driven by the mass reentry of women into to the workforce and the advertising industry’s appeal to women’s presumed desire for convenience and autonomy. In the very years Americans grew more obese—the country was dubbed a fast-food nation for Americans’ love of hamburgers and fries—they became obsessed with health food, ate more blueberries and broccoli, and worried about vitamins and toxins.1 Calls to eat local and homegrown food increased apace with the size of supermarkets selling ever-more produce raised in faraway places. Grapes played a special role in changing food tastes. Oranges, apples, and bananas had been year-round fruits for much of the twentieth century.2 But after 1970, growth in the U.S. appetite for grapes outpaced that for all other fruits.3 Grapes also earned political notoriety. Successive consumer grape boycotts led by Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers (ufw) aspired to improve the lives of California’s mostly Mexican American and immigrant agricultural laborers. Although the ufw had many victories, getting people to stop eating grapes for long periods was not one of them. By the year 2000,

Americans consumed three times as many grapes as they had three decades earlier.4 Grapes were no longer luxury items for special occasions or summer. They were known as a natural snack that could be eaten every day, any time of year. Since the violent overthrow of the Socialist president Salvador Allende by a military coup on September 11, 1973, almost all grapes eaten in the United States between January and April have come from Chile. Chilean grape exports to the United States rose spectacularly, from 15,000 metric tons in the early 1970s, when the military seized power, to more than 350,000 metric tons in the late 1980s, when civilian rule was restored.5 By the twenty-first century, Chile was exporting more than 500,000 tons of grapes worldwide.6 The fruit-export boom was ignited by a radical privatization of Chile’s economy during General Augusto Pinochet’s seventeen-year military dictatorship. Between 1973 and 1990, Chile became the world’s first poster child for neoliberal restructuring, a model that other developing countries embraced, or were compelled to embrace, in the following decades.7 In the early 1980s, Chile was hailed by international business circles as an economic miracle, and the fruit-export industry was celebrated as a prime example the regime’s success. But the wonder of Chilean fruit exports was also predicated on extensive repression and exploitation: persecution of organized labor, ghastly human rights abuses, and the massive employment of low-paid workers, unprecedented numbers of which were women. By the 1980s, women making less than US$1.50 a day made up nearly half of all grape workers and 90 percent of workers in fruit-packing plants. Alarming increases in malnutrition, female-headed households, and poverty testified to the limits of miracles.8 The specter of U.S. plenty and Chilean suffering invokes a familiar scenario. Americans’ growing appetite for grapes fed on the literal fruits of a coercive Latin American regime. As with food commodities that came before— sugar, coffee, bananas, chocolate—the circulation of Chilean grapes in U.S. supermarkets was propelled by miserable wages and systemic violence south of the border.9 By 2001 the labor conditions that had existed in Chile during Pinochet’s dictatorship were stock tropes for representing the perils of globalization: extreme poverty, human rights violations, and the mass employment of women. Labor activists worldwide denounced sweatshops in Haiti, Guatemala, India, and China that produced sneakers and computers for first-world desires. But it was during the cold war that U.S. consumption and its relationship to the third world became most charged. In the four decades following World


War II, the United States celebrated consumer abundance as the hallmark of capitalism’s moral preeminence over socialism. In 1959, U.S. Vice-President Richard Nixon famously boasted to the Soviet prime minister, Nikita Khrushchev, that the typical U.S. suburban kitchen—complete with state-of-the-art appliances and modern food products—exemplified American freedom.10 Nixon’s insistence that such a domestic, female space symbolized U.S. prowess invoked the superiority of U.S. nuclear families, where men worked in technologically advanced industries making consumer goods that simultaneously empowered and protected women as modern homemakers. Over the next thirty years of superpower jockeying, the United States repeatedly claimed that liberal capitalism ensured the privacy and spiritual integrity the family in contrast to socialist totalitarianism.11 Other countries would naturally choose the U.S. model if given the liberty to do so. Latin America was a primary site of U.S. campaigns to promote capitalism and democracy as alternatives to communism. The United States poured billions of dollars into development projects that promised to bring Latin Americans’ lifestyles closer to those of their northern neighbors. Chile had a privileged place in these efforts, receiving proportionally more aid in the 1960s than any other country. But in 1970, Chileans chose to elect a Marxist president—Allende—who was committed to building socialism through constitutional means. In 1973 Chile’s democracy was destroyed by the U.S.-backed military forces sworn to protect it. Other Latin American countries followed suit. By 1976 sixteen Latin American countries were governed by the armed forces.12 As Chilean grapes and other Latin American goods began to appear with greater frequency in U.S. stores, it again seemed that American consumer plenty was based on exploiting Latin American neighbors rather than sharing the American Dream. But Chileans were also consumers. During the Pinochet regime, Chilean markets opened up to a flood of imported clothes, food, cosmetics, furniture, household electronics, and automobiles from Asia and elsewhere in the Americas. Chile’s upper and middle classes shopped in new malls selling Nike tennis shoes, Sony Walkmans, and Johnnie Walker whisky. Supporters of military rule boasted that Chileans had American lifestyles. One particularly avid fan, the economist Joaquín Lavín, famously dubbed these consumer changes a “Quiet Revolution” that had fully integrated Chile into global modernity. Lavín celebrated that Chileans wore the latest international fashions in leather sneakers and T-shirts, and that they were likely to own televisions, refrigerators, microwave ovens, even cars. By age fifteen, Lavín boasted, the

average Chilean teenager had spent ten thousand hours in front of the television, “gleaning information and acquiring important didactic skills.”13 Chilean poor people also bought things never before available to them. Despite low wages, many women and men who harvested grapes for export became proud owners of televisions as well as gas stoves, radio-cassette players, dining room furniture sets, bicycles, and washing machines. Many such goods were purchased with credit and debilitating debt. Sometimes the goal of owning modern appliances took precedence over buying adequate food. But most fruit workers saw their purchases as positive improvements. Women took particular pride in outfitting their homes with new amenities—an electric iron, a blender, a stove—as well as buying occasional lipstick or blue jeans for themselves. Men’s wages went more to paying rent and purchasing groceries, now increasingly available in local supermarkets. Men also spent money at bars and soccer games. They worried about what women were doing with their own wages when male family members were not around. In short, the new consumption generated by Chile’s fruit-export economy was never just happening in the Northern Hemisphere or Chile’s wealthy neighborhoods. Buying into the Regime is a history of the relationship between Chile’s fruit-export industry and the growing appetite for grapes in the United States. The book traces the emergence of Chile’s commercial grape sector in the early twentieth century and the significant collaborations between U.S. and Chilean governments in developing Chile’s fruit exports long before Pinochet came to power and neoliberalism was in vogue. It examines the parallel, often coordinated, campaigns of Californian and Chilean businessmen after the 1960s to promote grapes inside the United States as healthy food. American consumers did not eat more grapes simply because they were there. Appetites had to be whetted and a passion for nominally fresh food created. Businessmen on both sides of the equator participated in this endeavor. Chilean fruit exporters were especially active inside the United States in elaborating consumer desires, and were particularly attentive to American women shoppers, whom they believed to be interested in convenience and low-calorie foods. Chilean and Californian marketing strategies intentionally dovetailed with American cultural trends that radically questioned the value of processed food, drawing symbolic alliances with countercultural moves to “get back to the garden” and New Left critiques of meat and dairy industries.



Buying into the Regime also examines the desires and consequences of Chilean fruit workers’ consumption. The fruit industry’s rapid expansion after 1973 brought a host of allegedly modern and urban goods to communities that most Chileans considered traditional, rural, and campesino (peasant).14 Rural ways of life did not so much disappear as dramatically transform. Decisions over what to buy and who had a right to buy it were daily negotiations among women and men. Most women fruit workers insisted on maintaining control over at least part of their earnings. They regularly criticized men for not contributing enough to household budgets. Men often welcomed women’s earning power, appreciating the televisions and stoves these wages bought. But a great many men—and women—bitterly lamented that men ceased to be breadwinners in ways they had been just recently. In the 1960s and early 1970s, Chile’s democratic governments, including that of Allende, undertook significant land-reform projects that expropriated almost half of Chile’s agricultural property and distributed massive amounts of property and jobs to campesino men heading families. Chile’s agrarian reform effectively abolished the country’s centuries-old haciendas and peonage labor arrangements, replacing them with mixed systems of government-managed estates, cooperatives, and private farms. Agricultural wages more than tripled between 1964 and 1973. Government programs encouraged campesino men to see themselves as “their own bosses,” family providers, and producers for the nation. They urged campesina women to become modern housewives who supported their children’s education and volunteered in community development. This all changed with the 1973 coup. Government-run estates were dismantled. Small farmers were forced to sell land for lack of credit and access to technology. The military’s strict monetarist policies and repression of unions sent wages plummeting to half their 1972 value. As the fruit industry expanded, men in Chile’s primary agricultural region, the Central Valley, increasingly accessed only temporary wagelabor jobs, making women’s seasonal employment in fruit-packing plants more crucial to family survival. Paradoxically, the increased vulnerability of daily life gave women more bargaining power in their relationships with men, forcing changes in how rural people thought about work and family. Buying into the Regime is especially interested in how consumption operates as a terrain of political struggle. Consumption is not itself inherently good or bad. It is a social relationship between people, mediated by things that are made, and endowed with meaning, by people. The gendered negotiations



between Chilean women and men over who had the right to buy what were always political—negotiations about power and authority in families and communities, between individuals and generations. Sometimes negotiations hooked up to struggles against military rule or conditions in fruit-packing plants. Often they did not. Daily decisions about who should buy what, and what that meant, usually did not make explicit claims about Pinochet or neoliberalism, either for or against. This did not make such acts un-political. Families’ increasing need for women’s wages, coupled with women’s determination to decide how that money was spent, signaled an erosion of men’s control over women inside and outside the family. Buying gifts of clothes and cosmetics became important to women’s solidarities with other women, especially fellow workmates. Buying a second-hand stove or television could help a woman secure better cooperation, or at least grudging concession, from a spouse. Few women saw such changes as liberating, given their connection to intensified poverty and repression. Nonetheless, new consumer practices represented a redistribution of power. They constituted an everyday politics that women and men experienced in the most immediate and personal ways. But consumption also operated as a politicized terrain in struggles over Chile’s military government. When sizeable prodemocracy movements emerged in the 1980s to challenge Pinochet, the participants constantly talked about consumption—mostly in negative ways. The regime’s critics bemoaned how neoliberalism and consumer culture had destroyed Chile’s traditional cultures or anesthetized people to political action. Activists worried that consumerism was a particular problem for women, who presumably spent more time shopping and sitting in front of the television. And, indeed, the military legitimated its power through claims that it had brought unprecedented amounts of consumer goods to families and that it especially had benefited women. Prodemocracy advocates countered that neoliberal dictatorship had made Chile a grossly unjust society. They argued that only a minority of Chileans benefited from the consumer boom, while most lacked the things they needed or had been seduced into wanting things they did not need. Many prodemocracy activities and arguments revolved around the idea of inadequate consumption—either the notion that there was not enough to go around or that some forms of consumption were morally bankrupt. Either way, Chile’s lack of democracy was to blame. The Catholic Church,



an early critic of the military’s human rights atrocities, became increasingly vocal about the evils of poverty and social inequality associated with unregulated capitalism and political repression. The church called for stronger unions to defend workers’ salaries and dignity. It sponsored communal soup kitchens and consumer cooperatives to feed people and rebuild communities. Chile’s labor movement, brutally repressed after the 1973 coup, reemerged in the 1980s and joined ranks with new social movements of unemployed people, shantytown residents, feminists, and students. Collectively, the prodemocracy movement tied Chile’s dictatorship to the widespread lack of basic consumer necessities, such as food and housing. The slogan “Bread, roof, and liberty!” became a rallying cry against Pinochet in massive demonstrations that wracked streets in Santiago for almost a decade. Even human rights groups, which successfully galvanized international criticism of torture and secret executions, expanded their mission to include the human right to a just livelihood.15 When Pinochet was finally forced to step down in 1990, it was partly because his claim to have created consumer plenty had been so challenged by prodemocracy critiques.16 Consumption was also a terrain of struggle in the United States. Agribusinesses in California worked aggressively to convince Americans that food such as grapes were aesthetically and nutritionally superior to frozen and canned goods. They proposed that unlike so-called industrial food, fresh fruits and vegetables came from Mother Nature. Grapes were harvested off the vine. Somewhat differently, Chilean fruit-export companies labored to have their grapes accepted inside U.S. markets as technologically up-to-date— produced by Chile’s ultramodern fruit industry and so clean that Chilean grapes need not be considered from the third world. Marketing from both Chile and California emphasized that grapes were healthy, capitalizing on the many critiques of commercial food processing circulating in the United States by the 1970s. Vegetarians, hippies, urban radicals, commune residents, and other counterculture groups equated prepackaged food with fakeness or even plastic. Consumer rights advocates such as Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen argued that lack of food-industry regulation made many meat and dairy products unsafe to eat. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture warned that consumption of excess fat, sugar, and salt increased heart disease and strokes.17 Chilean and Californian agribusiness answered back to these anxieties, arguing that grapes were fresh, made without additives or industrial



intervention. Advertisements for grapes especially targeted women, who did the vast majority of family shopping and who were presumed to be most interested in health and diet. By the 1980s, supermarket commercials addressed “Today’s Working Woman,” who wanted the convenience of a quick snack as well as a slim body. Images of grapes as food that made women sexy morphed into feminist messages that grapes were for independent women. Grapes were also marketed to the modern man who accepted his wife’s career and wanted smart, affectionate children. Grapes were good for you. And they were good for you because they were fresh—brought directly to the consumer as unprocessed food, cultivated under the purist conditions. The women and men who labored in California vineyards had other ideas. Under the leadership of Chavez, the ufw launched a series of consumer boycotts of grapes from the late 1960s through the 1980s. The union argued that grapes were not good for anyone, nor were they unmediated gifts of nature. Grapes were poisoned with pesticides and made with the blood and sweat of farmworkers, most of whom were Mexican American or Mexican immigrants. The ufw was heavily influenced by African American civil rights struggles as well as the antipoverty organizing of progressive Christians and the New Left. The ufw ’s boycotts explicitly tied social justice for Mexican American workers to the self-interest and morality of U.S. consumers, a majority of whom were white. Activists argued that if grapes were toxic for California farmworkers, they were also bad for American families. Only strong labor unions defending socially just working conditions could make grapes safe to eat. Connections between social justice and American consumption were also raised by activists inside the United States who were protesting Chile’s military dictatorship. Following Allende’s overthrow in 1973, a loose-knit Chile solidarity movement emerged from an alliance of leftists, academics, religious institutions, labor unions, and Chilean refugees. “Boycott Chile!” became a rallying cry in protest demonstrations, music concerts, and political lobbying aimed at raising public awareness about Chile and changing U.S. foreign policy. Activists urged U.S. consumers to stop buying Chilean imports, especially grapes, as well as wine, wood, and fish. They also advocated a comprehensive U.S. trade embargo against Chile until the military regime ceased violating human rights and accepted a return to democracy. The Chile solidarity movement built on the strong condemnation of U.S. imperialism that had fueled anti–Vietnam War protests, but the movement applied this to


Latin America, where the United States had a much longer history of military intervention. Activists blamed the Nixon administration for bringing Pinochet to power and condoning regime atrocities. Following Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, U.S. government support for military efforts to eradicate Marxism in Central America became overt. The Chile solidarity movement became a template for wider protests of U.S. policy in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.18 Boycotts of Central American coffee and clothing paralleled the “Boycott Chile!” campaigns, urging U.S. consumers to see personal choices as tied to the fate of Latin Americans. The concept of fair trade, which became central to activism around globalization in the twentyfirst century, emerged with force in the U.S.-based solidarity movements with Chile and Central America. Many Americans heeded calls to become more conscious and activist about their food’s origin. But they ate more grapes—imported and domestic—than ever before (see figures Intro.1 and Intro.2).

Transnational Turns

Buying into the Regime tells stories that weave back and forth between Chile and the United States. It is an argument about the connections—and sometimes the disconnections—that mutually shaped Chile and the U.S. during the cold war, not a comparative history of how life in Chile was different from, or similar to, that in the United States. The book engages recent debates about world history and transnational studies that emphasize the need to look beyond the framework of single nations or discrete regions defined by area studies (Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa).19 The book especially contributes to new writing about the Americas that challenge the idea of a stark difference between the North American experience (primarily stories about the United States) and that of Latin America (presumably all of it).20 Buying into the Regime considers how the histories of Chile and the United States were linked and impacted one another. Chile and the United States did not have the same experience with grapes, consumption, and the cold war. Rather, the way that grapes transformed politics and consumption in each place flowed from cultural, economic, and social dynamics operating across national borders and any neat division between North and South America. Buying into the Regime seeks to reverse the gaze of how Latin America and the United States are considered in relationship to each other. We are long accustomed to seeing the United States as acting upon Latin America, as an

figure intro.1 ★ Annual per capita grape consumption in the United States, 1950–92. Compiled by author from data published in Alston et al., The California Table Grape Commission’s Promotion Program, 11–12. 8 7 6 Pounds Per Capita 5 4 3 2 Domestic 1 0 1960 1990 1980 1950 1970 1975 1992 1965 1955 1985 Imported Total


figure intro.2 ★ Origin of grape imports to the United States in pounds. Compiled by author from data published in Alston et al., The California Table Grape Commission’s Promotion Program, 11–12.
1000 800 Millions of Pounds 600 400 200 0 1960 1990 1980 1950 1970 1994 1965 1985 1955 1975 Total U.S. Grape Imports Imports from Chile Imports from Mexico


imperialist power, liberal benefactor, or both. When thinking about the circulation of commodities, it is commonplace to imagine Latin America as responding to outside demands and cultural models emanating from, or imposed by, a far more powerful United States or Europe. In such formulations, Latin America produces products for a voracious North Atlantic, importing or emulating tastes first developed in the North. Buying into the Regime asks what it means that Chileans were actors inside the United States— businessmen who aggressively pushed grapes, networked with California agribusiness, and courted U.S. shoppers with promises of health and sleek bodies. Likewise, the book asks what it means that Chilean peasants and agricultural workers were modern, twentieth-century consumers developing new tastes and negotiating complex relationships to imported washing machines and televisions. Such questions seek to disrupt the automatic logics underpinning hierarchical binaries of North America versus South America, urban versus rural, consumers versus workers, modern first world versus abject third world. This does not mean that Chileans and U.S. Americans operated on even playing fields. U.S. domination in the Western Hemisphere—economic, cultural, political, and military—always mattered. In developing fruit exports, Chileans looked frankly to the United States, especially to California, for technology and university training. They benefited hugely from U.S. aid and investment. The U.S. military and economic support for Pinochet’s seizure of power directly enabled Chile’s radical neoliberal makeover. During the dictatorship, Chilean workers became exploited in new ways. They ate poorly and were malnourished, even as their labor allowed U.S. consumers to eat a healthier diet. In considering these dynamics, the task becomes not only reversing the gaze but also seeing in multiple dimensions. Buying into the Regime seeks to simultaneously recognize and decenter U.S. power by bringing the United States into a story about Chile’s impact inside U.S. borders. Buying into the Regime builds on traditions and new developments from both Latin American studies and U.S. American studies. As a history of Chile’s grape-export industry, the book draws on strongly materialist paradigms in Latin American studies for thinking about commodity trade, labor exploitation, state formation, economic development, and imperialism. As a history of consumption, Buying into the Regime engages wide debates in U.S. American studies about popular culture as a locus of political power, resistance, and the production of gendered and racial difference. This is not to say that Latin American studies has ignored culture or that U.S. American studies

has no materialist tradition or interest in the state. Rather it recognizes that as academic fields very much consolidated during the cold war, Latin American studies and U.S. American studies have different assumptions about their objects of study and ask different questions.21 Latin American studies has long been concerned with accounting for Latin American difference from the United States and Europe, the impact of global inequalities, the roots of authoritarianism, and the viability of democracy. This made Latin American studies inherently comparative and transnational from the start, concerned with relationships between world regions and richer and poorer countries. By contrast, one of the great innovations of U.S. American studies was taking culture as an analytical object, focusing on formations internal to the United States (the only country in the U.S. academy to constitute its own area study). Precisely because of its self-assigned responsibility to map the specificity of the U.S. nation, U.S. American studies vigorously engaged questions of gendered, racial, and sexual difference raised by the social movements of the 1960s and after. U.S. American studies have been especially generative of the linguistic turn that urged scholars to see culture and language as contested fields of political power. In recent years, both Latin American studies and U.S. American studies have gone in new directions. Latin American studies has had an outpouring of work on gender and race, bringing cultural analysis to bear on enduring materialist commitments to political economy. U.S. American studies now more often looks abroad to consider how U.S. society was shaped by projects of empire, world war, negotiated borderlands, and frontiers. Buying into the Regime bridges these different perspectives but aims to do more than mix and stir. It proposes that writing a transnational history of Chile and the United States involves writing about how area-studies paradigms have differently constructed the United States and Chile, and the book rethinks those models. For example, sophisticated traditions of Latin American studies about U.S. imperialism have often worked to eclipse the entrepreneurial role of Latin American business or suggest that a passion for neoliberal economics was always thrust upon Latin America from abroad. Likewise, the consideration within U.S. American studies of Latin Americans’ impact inside the United States often begins at the border (or in the borderlands) with studies of immigrants or the figure of the Latino. Buying into the Regime’s argument that Chilean businessmen played key roles in marketing grapes within the United States draws on the traditions of Latin American and U.S. American studies but also critiques their limits.


To similar ends, the book contends that Chilean fruit workers had complex relationships to consumption. Latin American studies has produced a bevy of fine labor histories. But they rarely consider peasants and workers as consumers; this is a lacuna that unwittingly constructs consumption as a luxury of the privileged classes and first world.22 In a reverse way, the outpouring of excellent work in U.S. American studies on American consumer culture rarely contemplates links to the lives of workers outside the United States and almost never to the ways such workers are also consumers of goods coming from abroad. Buying into the Regime takes a transnational Americas dynamic as its object of study. It does not reject older area-studies questions. It proposes that new frameworks are necessary and that they render different stories and arguments about the past. The nation-states and national histories of Chile and the United States are very present in this book. The goal of transnational studies or world history should not be to declare the nation-state irrelevant nor compel us always to see commonalities. It should be to highlight how national and regional differences are created through dynamics that develop across borders. The title of this book, Buying into the Regime, is a rhetorical question. The book argues that struggles over gender and work inside Chile were inseparable from the ways that Chilean authoritarianism enabled new consumer tastes outside Chile, such as the U.S. appetite for grapes. This, in turn, emphasized Chileans as consumers of commodities exported from other countries. The answer to “who buys into the regime?” is banal: everyone. But what the question means and to whom it applies becomes differently relevant when asked from multiple perspectives.

Considering Consumption

Consumption is important for rethinking old ways of seeing Latin America and the United States. For many years now, consumer culture has been a central topic in studies of the United States and Europe, and it is being explored more fully elsewhere.23 While historians insist that acts and meanings of consumption are ancient, they pay particular attention to the commodities circulated by capitalism after the sixteenth century. Scholars hotly debate when mass culture begins. They have distinguished between consumption as an analytical category and consumerism as a particular set of meanings attached to consumption in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, involving

mass production and use of goods. There are passionate disagreements about whether consumer culture constitutes alienation and illusion, fetishism and displacement, or self-transformation and creation of community. Such disputes echo larger arguments about the merits of capitalism itself.24 Regardless of their differences, the best discussions recognize consumption as a social relationship that generates hierarchies and differences of power.25 This makes it possible to see consumption as political, something people fight over, basic to everyday experiences of power. Until recently, Latin American history has looked little at consumption.26 It has focused more on production: Latin America’s provision of raw materials to the world, the development efforts of the state or foreign companies, and Latin American workers’ resistance to exploitative conditions. When consumption enters the story, its analysis is usually subordinated to other agendas. But Latin American history has paid plenty of attention to political struggle, the contested nature of social power. Its virtual fixation with class relationships to the state has made workers and peasants the protagonists in national narratives. Certainly U.S. labor history has done the same. But a good many histories about U.S. consumption focus on middle-class and elite lives or discuss mass culture as a stand-in for consumer practices of most Americans.27 Scholarship on the United States overwhelmingly looks at internal dynamics—struggles for inclusion, mobility, change, expression, and oppression within the U.S. nation. With the exception of labor history, studies of U.S. Americans’ consumption say little about production: where, how, and by whom consumer goods are made. This reiterates dichotomies between workers and a leisure class, abetting the notion that the United States consumes what other people in the world only produce. Studies about food in the United States have been strikingly uninterested in workers.28 Compelling critiques about the rise of corporate agriculture and industrial food processing say little about those employed in food industries. They tend to romanticize home cooking and women’s (or servants’) domestic labor that preceded food’s corruption.29 Few studies of U.S. food look at goods imported from abroad. Most ignore the long tradition in Latin American studies of tracing commodities as they journey from colonies or peripheral countries to the kitchens of the metropolitan core.30 But to be fair, historians of commodities often have shown only cursory interest in consumption—what people actually do with the goods that travel and what they mean.



Histories of Chile suffer from a different problem. Many discussions of the Pinochet years emphasize consumption as a wholly new phenomenon created by military rule. They have been especially concerned with the impact of internationally circulated goods on workers and women. But consumption is mostly seen as a bogey helping keep the dictator in power. Critics bemoan how Chilean working-class militancy was diluted by desires for American consumer goods and upper-class lifestyles projected by television.31 Chilean women are depicted as especially susceptible. It was women, after all, who in Allende’s last year, marched down the streets of Santiago banging empty pots in protest of socialism’s failure to prevent food lines and consumer rationing. On the eve of the 1973 coup, large groups of women paid personal visits to military leaders, ridiculing them as chickens and beseeching them to put on their pants and save the fatherland from Marxism.32 These foundational moments of female complicity against democracy haunt scholarship on the military period, making it difficult to see Chilean women as other than reactionary housewives. In contrast, arguments about Chilean workers (usually taken to be men) apologize for a failed class mission. The Chilean labor movement was initially silenced by violent repression. When unions remerged as part of the prodemocracy movement in the 1980s, they never recovered the same protagonism enjoyed under Allende. More fundamentally, most unions accepted neoliberal capitalism as a fait accompli for the future. The observation that one of Pinochet’s greatest triumphs was to identify consumption as a neglected site of legitimacy is crucial to understanding neoliberal authoritarianism and the force of its legacy. Likewise, arguments that, under dictatorship, mass consumer culture can illegitimate democratic claims offers a counterpoint to the literature on U.S. consumption, which despite its variety and nuance, tends to see consumption as a form of participation in civil society. Conceptually, studies of Chile under military rule draw more from Marxist debates on European fascism precisely because the hypermodernity touted during Pinochet’s regime was so tethered to democracy’s collapse rather than its spread. But consumption and consumer culture in Chile during military rule were never just reactionary. The meanings created by goods circulating among people were not fixed or invented wholesale by the military or their U.S.trained economic advisors. Like other social relationships, consumption is produced within particular relations of power and produces new ones. It is



best seen a contested terrain, or a field of force.33 We might evaluate whether par ticular forms of consumption are good or bad for those involved— emancipatory or exploitative, generative of new meanings, productive of continuity, and so on—but not whether consumption in the abstract is virtuous or not. Buying into the Regime addresses consumption as an analytical category, a site where acts of using and giving meaning to goods shape social relationships. In a distinct way, the book examines how politics of the cold war elaborated ideas about consumerism and consumer culture that endowed particular goods (grapes, televisions, cosmetics) with different values. In Chile the Pinochet regime celebrated the mass circulation of imported goods as proof of its legitimacy. Consequentially, the regime’s opponents were urgent to denounce consumerism as a handmaiden to political tyranny. The foreign origin of consumer goods was especially important and undergirded arguments about whether consumerism made Chile modern or newly victimized it by imperialism. In the United States, by contrast, debates over consumer cultures of food often assumed that the growing availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, however unequally distributed, flowed from the country’s natural endowments and internal farm economies. Where the foreignness of food products mattered, their availability in U.S. markets often affirmed the cosmopolitanism of American shopping options.

Engendering Transnational Histories

Gender is a crucial analytical category for writing transnational histories. Despite a certain wariness between feminist studies and world history, scholars of gender and sexuality have long explored concepts that are central to thinking about global dynamics, including the social production of borders, difference, and inequality as natural facts.34 Feminist materialist questions about work and gendered divisions of labor have much to offer world histories of commodities, trade, empire, and comparative state formation. Gender is also key to rethinking relationships between world regions and what constitutes region or area to begin with. The historic claims of the United States on Latin America have often been characterized by contemporary actors (and scholars) as a masculine authority (Uncle Sam) alternately seeking to seduce a feminine Latin America through trade, or to discipline unruly and childish Latin American men with military force. Transnational histories that challenge unidirectional frames upend such binaries.


Gender is especially important to thinking about consumption as a transnational phenomenon. The idea that women are more susceptible to consumer seductions than are men is hardly unique to stories about Chile. Indeed, depictions of women as vulnerable to consumer capitalism have been common in narratives about the United States and Europe.35 Dichotomous arguments about whether consumerism is good or bad for women plague these stories, mirroring older debates about whether work or capitalism itself is liberating or oppressive to women. Despite decades of feminist scholarship arguing that women’s relationships to jobs and purchasing power are every bit as dialectical and complex as are men’s, the category “women” continues to operate as a flat moral evaluation of entire regimes or systems. This casts women as either victimized by or complicit with corrupting power. There is, for example, a convergence between stories about Chilean women attracted to Pinochet’s promises of plenty and stories about the decline of U.S. food quality coinciding with women’s entrance into the workforce and feminism’s hostility to housework.36 Feminists have vigorously challenged the pathology that haunts tales about women’s desire for goods. They insist that consumption can involve creativity and resistance as well as subordination, that men are no less shaped by consumption’s complexities than are women. Feminist scholarship has also reframed understandings of class and what counts as meaningful political struggle. It insists that family divisions of labor, such as women’s responsibilities for buying and using goods to reproduce children and spouses, is inseparable from the divisions of labor between workers and employers that produce profit and structure relations in factories and fields. Consumption— whether at home or in a tavern, a public marketplace, or a theater—produces value and social distinction between peasants and urban workers and middleclass and elite people, as well as between men and women within and across class. Consumption can contest gender relationships as well as bolster them.37 Feminist studies of consumption have widened the lens for considering what is worth studying. Social and cultural histories now consider phenomena such as fashion, leisure, eating, and sports as constitutive of class and gender relations. Labor historians who look at consumption, be it daily workingclass routines or union boycotts, invariably bring more women into stories that previously focused on men. Precisely because of women’s historic responsibility for families, women are more often found in social spaces and political movements involving consumption. From a different angle, feminist scholarship on imperialism and empire emphasizes how gender and consumption

structure everyday projects of rule. They consider how the circulation of “imperial commodities” such as soap, tobacco, coffee, and sugar produced rigid racial and gender hierarchies between colonizers and natives and white female purity and the obligation of white men to protect it.38 Relatedly, feminists have stressed how the popularization of exotic commodities within Europe and the United States “brought the empire home” into women’s domestic spaces.39 Tracing the gendered nature of how commercial goods move across the globe asks us to think about class in new ways. Buying into the Regime argues that Chilean grape workers were consumers every bit as much as the shoppers who bought grapes in American supermarkets. Sexual divisions of labor within Chilean households mattered as much as they did within U.S. households in determining who bought what and why. But Chileans were never the only workers who mattered to the story. In California thousands of women and men labored in vineyards or otherwise supported families who harvested grapes for the U.S. domestic market. Marketing campaigns for grapes in the United States targeted “Today’s Working Woman” (imagined as a professional or white-collar employee) as well as the traditional housewife, whose labor had long sustained families. Here the task of mapping the transnational connections of the grape industry demands linking gender divisions of labor in production and consumption in multiple places.

Modes of Investigation

This book juxtaposes different methodologies in order to place different national histories into dialogue. Each of the five chapters in Buying into the Regime examines the significance of consumption and grapes according to a different set of questions. Together the chapters argue that the consumption of transnationally circulating goods was an important terrain of struggle in the politics of the cold war. Definitions about which countries were developed or modern hinged on claims about the things people consumed, constituting a central framework for juxtaposing capitalism and socialism. Arguments about consumption justified particular state projects (Chilean military rule, U.S. foreign policy in Latin America) as well as challenged those projects (Chilean prodemocracy movements, U.S. solidarity campaigns, ufw boycotts). Selling grapes involved elaborate appeals by California and Chilean agribusinesses to U.S. anxieties and fantasies about food. Boycott campaigns to get Americans to stop eating grapes sought to link social justice to con18


sumer choice and protection. On a daily basis, the struggles of Chilean women and men to consume enough things, and debates over who should buy what things, transformed family balances of power and gave women significant roles in actions that questioned Pinochet’s legitimacy. Buying into the Regime is deliberately interdisciplinary. This flows in part from the book’s organization around very different topics, each requiring particular analytical approaches—ethnographic, textual, sociological, quantitative. More fundamentally, the book is interdisciplinary because it engages the distinct traditions of Latin American studies and U.S. American studies for thinking about social power and narrating change. The book considers different inquiries side by side, not so much to fuse techniques as to highlight how meanings about Chile and the United States have been produced historically. Chapter 1, “The Long Miracle,” addresses the development of Chile’s fruitexport sector and its relation to U.S. institutions between the 1920s and the 1980s. The chapter employs techniques from social and economic history, including feminist-materialist models for thinking about commodity production and sexual divisions of labor. It stresses women’s centrality to Chilean agriculture long before Pinochet overthrew Allende. State-led economic initiatives (including socialism) laid a crucial foundation for the fruit boom of the military years. The chapter challenges the notion that Chile’s neoliberal makeover sprang from a sudden shock therapy instituted by University of Chicago–trained economists. Instead, the chapter traces older ties between California and Chilean agriculture, including significant numbers of Chilean agronomists trained at the University of California. When considering the history of food, the California Boys may have been more important than the Chicago Boys. Chapter 2, “Fables of Abundance,” examines what the new forms of consumption emerging during Chile’s military regime meant for fruit workers. This chapter is intensely ethnographic, drawing heavily on oral histories and the insights of cultural anthropology and literary criticism. It argues that consumption became a terrain where women challenged men’s authority in the family. Women often made decisions about what to buy without men and lay claim to privileges formerly associated with men. Men and women bought different things with their earnings and invested them with different meanings. Whereas men provided household budgets for food and rent, women’s wages more often bought the electric appliances, furniture, and cosmetics associated with imported consumer culture. This linked women

more closely to regime economic policy even as the transformation in women’s relationships with men radically challenged the military’s idealization of patriarchy. Chapter 3, “The Fresh Sell,” shifts attention to the United States. It explores the separate and joint efforts of California and Chilean agribusinesses to market grapes to U.S. consumers by promoting fresh and healthy eating. The chapter combines a history of advertising with a feminist analysis of consumer culture. It argues that both Chilean and Californian marketing targeted women, blending quasi-emancipatory messages about female autonomy with older ideas about women’s concern with family and attractiveness to men. But Californian and Chilean strategies also differed. While agribusinesses from California stressed that grapes were products of Mother Nature, unsullied by industry or artifice, Chileans celebrated the considerable technology and labor required to produce fruit. Chileans’ emphasis on industrial modernity sought to establish Chilean grapes’ essential sameness to California grapes. It simultaneously distinguished Chilean grapes as more hygienic than fruit from elsewhere in Latin America. Importers and distributers of Chilean fruit inside the United States eagerly collaborated with Chileans in pushing the idea that Chilean grapes were identical to Californian grapes because Chile itself was more like California and Europe than Latin America. Chilean grapes circulated within U.S. markets as whitened products, deliberately distinguished from tropical fruit and other Latin exotics. Chapter 4, “Boycott Grapes!,” is also primarily about events inside the United States. It compares consumer boycotts led by the ufw to the U.S.based Chile solidarity movement that also organized boycotts against grapes and other Chilean imports. This chapter relies the most on the traditions of comparative history, the side-by-side presentation of seemingly distinct stories. It draws on the different traditions of U.S. American studies and Latin American studies on social movements. Boycotts offered radical challenges to the notion that grapes were fresh and good for you. Activists insisted that American consumers take responsibility for the conditions under which their food was produced. The chapter also explores the irony that ufw and Chile solidarity boycotts of grapes had very little contact with one another, despite the extensive connections between California and Chilean fruit industries. Such lack of connection sprang from how the cold war differently constructed U.S. and Latin American political struggles. Whereas the ufw understood its mission in terms of labor and civil rights inside the U.S. nation, Chile solidarity activists focused on the United States as an imperialist force abroad.


Chapter 5, “Not Buying It,” returns to Chile to explore consumption and prodemocracy movements against Pinochet in the 1980s. The chapter combines ethnography and archival research on popular mobilization to challenge the widely held view that consumer culture during the military dictatorship served mostly reactionary purposes. Arguments about consumption were central to criticisms about how Pinochet had failed Chile, either because a majority of Chileans did not have enough of the things they needed (such as food) or because the things that they did have (such as television) were destructive to democratic values and authentic Chilean culture. Consumption was also important to concrete organizing, such as forming soup kitchens, consumer cooperatives, housing committees, and unions. Women fruit workers assumed leading roles in prodemocracy activities, especially ones associated with the Catholic Church and labor movement. Female organizing became a basis for criticizing men’s discrimination and violence against women as well as for protesting military rule. The subjects taken up in these chapters could each be the topic of their own book. At times it may seem that incommensurable topics are being asked to speak to one another, a comparison of apples and oranges. There is also the question of what is left out. Buying into the Regime does not have chapters on what consumption meant to fruit workers in California or the same detail on the California grape industry as on Chile’s. California’s grape workers enter the story as part of more specific chapters about marketing grapes and the ufw ’s boycott. Similarly, Buying into the Regime does not employ the same methodologies for what might be considered similar questions. The book’s claims about what grapes meant to U.S. women and men who bought them are based not on ethnography but on interpretations of marketing literature and studies of American consumer behavior. As a transnational project, Buying into the Regime inevitably constructs new exclusions. It leaves out Canada, a crucial part of the Americas that also imported millions of pounds of grapes from Pinochet’s Chile and was an important site for ufw boycotts. The book mentions only in passing that Chilean grapes circulated beyond the Western Hemisphere: in the Arab Emirates, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and especially Europe, the last of which was also a stronghold of anti-Pinochet activism. Buying into the Regime does not pretend to be the whole story. No story ever is. No matter what its scope, every study chooses some objects over others, producing a bounded framework. The silences and omissions of a work also produce meaning. Although commonsensical, it seems necessary to repeat this

maxim in the case of transnational studies and projects in world history. The point is not just that there are limits to the reasonable size of a good book (which there are) or daunting practical impediments to doing research in multiple languages (which there are). But these are not inherently lesser problems in area studies generally or in national history, or even in local history and mircohistory. The fundamental challenge of a transnational project is to juxtapose objects of study from different fields or traditions to bring new understandings into view. Buying into the Regime intentionally focuses on Chile’s relationship to the United States (rather than to other places) to emphasize how U.S. American studies and Latin American studies have mutually generated a range of assumptions about consumption and production, imperialism and dependency, North and South. Chilean fruit workers are the primary consumers addressed in this book because third-world workers are most assumed to be excluded from, or exploited by, global consumer culture. American consumers appear in the book less in terms of their own transformations and political struggles (which have been more thoroughly addressed by others) than as targets of advertising campaigns and consumer boycotts where Chileans had active roles. It is not that other stories are less important or would not contribute to the story, but the choices made here are part of the book’s methodology. By the twenty-first century, the hazards and benefits of globalization would replace the cold war as the dominant framework for thinking about world politics. Latin America receded as a primary target of U.S. military intervention and state-building projects, replaced by the Middle East. Islamic fundamentalism supplanted Soviet communism as the chief threat to capitalist democracy. China and India’s capacity to craft their own successful versions of neoliberalism made Asia a center for manufacturing and technology. Consumers all over the world ate food, wore clothes, and used electronics made in countries not their own. The Internet and cellphones enabled astonishing transfers of information, style, and opinion. Arguments about whether such developments were good or bad shaped world debates about freedom, sovereignty, social justice, and human rights. They were especially important to new social movements that emerged around globalization—from the many incarnations of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street to criticisms of the World Trade Organization and North American Free Trade Agreement. Buying into the Regime proposes that many of the concerns in the twentyfirst century about globalization were forged during the cold war and par22


ticularly shaped by relations between the United States and Latin America. The explosion of food choices for fresh and healthy eating in the United States was tied to Chile’s emergence, under military dictatorship, as one of the world’s most neoliberal nations. Building economies that exported to a wider world market was fundamental to both U.S. and Chilean visions of modernity and national security. Definitions of freedom and democracy or, alternatively, injustice and tyranny spun around arguments about commodities: how they were produced, circulated, and consumed.





1. Schlosser, Fast Food Nation; Fromartz, Organic, Inc. 2. See Pollan, The Botany of Desire; Sackman, Orange Empire; and Soluri, Banana Cultures. 3. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, per capita consumption of grapes almost quadrupled between 1971 and 1990, rising from 1.7 pounds to 7.6 pounds. By 2005 per capita grape consumption was 8.6 pounds. Per capita consumption of bananas were numerically higher, rising from 19.3 pounds in 1976 to 24.4 pounds in 1990 and to 25.2 pounds in 2005. But comparatively, the rate of growth for banana consumption was lower than that for grapes. Alston et al., The California Table Grape Commission’s Promotion Program, 11; Susan Pollack and Agnes Perez, Fruit and Tree Nuts: Situation and Outlook; Yearbook 2008, report from the Economic Research Ser vice, U.S. Department of Agriculture, October 2008. 4. Alston et al., The California Table Grape Commission’s Promotion Program, 11. 5. cepal , La cadena de distribución y la competitividad de las exportaciones latinoamericanas, 60. 6. The Asociación de Exportadores de Chile (Chilean Exporters Association) reported that Chile exported 506,188 metric tons of table grapes during the 1997–98 harvest. Asociación de Exportadores de Chile, Catálogo de la Industria Frutícola Chilena (Santiago: Asociación de Fruta Chilena, 2000), 43. 7. Free-trade zones existed elsewhere besides Chile and predated Pinochet, especially in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, and parts of Asia. But Chile was the first country to reorganize an entire national economy and its major political and social organizations along neoliberal principles of privatized markets, fiscal monetarism, and a privileging of international trade. See Winn, Victims of the Chilean Miracle? 8. On the commercialization of Chilean grapes during military rule, see Goldfrank, “Fresh Demand,” and “Harvesting Counterrevolution.” 9. Studies on Latin American labor and the production of consumer goods for U.S. and European markets include Chomsky, West Indian Workers and the United Fruit

Company in Costa Rica; Jiménez, “From Plantation to Cup”; LeGrand, “Living in Macando”; Minz, Sweetness and Power; Roseberry et al., Coffee, Society, and Power; Soluri, Banana Cultures; Topik, “Coffee”; and Topik and Wells, “Coffee Anyone?” 10. This exchange took place in the Soviet Union at the opening of an exhibit on U.S. culture and became known as the “kitchen debate.” The exhibit featured a model of the interior of an American kitchen, replete with a refrigerator, dishwasher, and electric blender, as well as modern American food products such as tv dinners and frozen orange juice. Historians have long stressed this exhibit’s celebration of American appliance technology and processed foods. However, also included in the kitchen exhibit was as large bowl of fruit, testimony to the abundance of American agriculture. Richard Nixon, “The ‘Kitchen Debate’ (July 24, 1959),” in Richard Nixon: Speeches, Writings, Documents, edited by Rick Perlstein (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008). 11. See Moeller, Protecting Motherhood; Oldenziel and Zachmann, Cold War Kitchen; and Tyler May, Homeward Bound. 12. In 1976 there were military governments or authoritarian civilian governments dominated by the military in Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. The governments of Colombia and Venezuela largely depended on military rather than constitutional power. Mexico and Cuba were one-party states with various levels of authoritarianism. 13. Lavín, The Quiet Revolution, 90. 14. Campesino derives from the Spanish word for countryside (campo). In its Latin American context, campesino refers to a broad range of rural poor people, or people of rural origin, including small farmers, tenants, landless agricultural workers, migrant workers, and people from rural families who may make their living in urban areas as servants or other employees. Campesino is most often translated into English as “peasant,” but it connotes a much larger set of class relationships than does the classical European definition of peasants as connected to small farming and land tenancy. 15. Hutchison and Orellana, El movimiento de derechos humanos en Chile. 16. Pinochet formally handed power back to an elected civilian president, Patricio Aylwin, in March 1990. In 1988 Pinochet lost a national plebiscite that forced him to hold elections in 1989. 17. See Belasco, Appetite for Change; Levenstein, Paradox of Plenty; and Levenstein, Revolution at the Table. 18. The Chile solidarity movement built on still earlier solidarity movements with Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil. See especially Gosse, Where the Boys Are; Green, We Cannot Remain Silent; and Lekus, “Queer Harvests.” 19. For an overview of world history as a field, see Manning, Navigating World History. Also see Pomeranz, The Great Divergence. 20. On the Americas as an emerging area of study, see Greene, The Canal Builders; Levander and Levine, Hemispheric American Studies; McGuinness, Path of Empire; Shukla and Tinsman, Imagining Our Americas and Radical History Review: Our Americas Cultural and Political Imaginings no. 89 (Spring 2004).

notes to introduction

21. On uses of Latin American studies and U.S. American studies in framing work on the Americas, see Tinsman and Shukla, “Across the Americas.” Many of the key concepts presented in the introduction of Buying into the Regime were first elaborated in this coauthored chapter and in the book Imagining Our Americas, which I coedited with Sandhya Shukla. 22. A number of excellent works address consumption as part of larger labor histories. See especially Grandin, Fordlandia; James, Doña María’s Story; Klubock, Contested Communities; and Putnam, The Company They Kept. However, as a whole, consumption has not been a central analytical category for most labor histories on Latin America. 23. The historical literature on consumption is vast. Influential works for this study include Agnew, “Coming Up for Air”; Auslander, Taste and Power; Bronner, Consuming Visions; Cohen, A Consumers’ Republic; Cohen, Making a New Deal; Cross, An AllConsuming Century; De Grazia and Furlough, The Sex of Things; Enstad, Ladies of Love; Frank, Purchasing Power; Glickman, Buying Power; Glickman, Consumer Society in American History; Glickman, A Living Wage; Lears, Fables of Abundance; Peiss, Hope in a Jar; Schwartz, It’s So French!; Weinbaum et al., The Modern Girl around the World; and Wightman Fox and Lears, The Culture of Consumption. 24. The Frankfurt School, a group of intellectuals originally associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt, played an early role in arguing that consumer culture was a central terrain of political struggle. See especially Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, edited by Rolf Tiedermann and translated by Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (New York: Belknap, 2002); Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”; and Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment. Also see Buck-Morss, The Dialectics of Seeing; and Schwartz, “Walter Benjamin for Historians.” 25. See Appadurai, The Social Life of Things; Attfield, Wild Things; Bell and Valentine, Consuming Geographies; Berman, All That Is Solid Melts into Air; Bourdieu, Distinction; Douglas and Isherwood, The World of Goods; D. Horowitz, The Morality of Spending; Jameson, Postmodernism; Lowe and Lloyd, Politics and Culture in the Shadow of Capital; Miller, Acknowledging Consumption; Miller, Modernity; and Slater, Consumer Culture and Modernity. 26. Works on consumption in Latin America include Baker, The Market and the Masses in Latin America; Barr-Melij, Between Revolution and Reaction; Bauer, Goods, Power, History; Bauer, “Industry and the Missing Bourgeoisie”; Elena, Dignifying Argentina; García Canclini, Consumidores y ciudadnos; Jélin, “Las relaciones sociales del consumo”; Joseph, Rubenstein, and Zolov, Fragments of a Golden Age; López and Weinstein, The Making of the Middle Class; Ochoa, Feeding Mexico; Orlove, The Allure of the Foreign; Seigel, Uneven Encounters; Stillerman, “Disciplined Workers and Avid Consumers”; Stillerman, “Gender, Class, and Generational Contexts for Consumption in Contemporary Chile”; Super, Food, Conquest and Colonization in Sixteenth-Century Latin America; Zolov, Refried Elvis. 27. For a critique of the early focus within U.S. American studies on elite and middle-class consumption, see Agnew, “Coming Up for Air.” notes to introduction

28. See Daniel Bender and Jeff rey M. Pilcher, “Editor’s Introduction: Radicalizing the History of Food,” Radical History Review no. 110 (Spring 2011): 1–7. 29. Especially see Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire. For a critique of Pollan and other critical writers about food, see Deutsch, “Memories of Mothers in the Kitchen.” Even many of the more academic histories of food give only passing attention to gender and labor. See, for example, Belasco, Appetite for Change; R. Horowitz, Putting Meat on the American Table; Levenstein, Paradox of Plenty. 30. The literature on Latin American history of commodities and labor is vast. Important works for this study include J. Brown, Oil and Revolution in Mexico; Chomsky, Linked Labor Histories; Chomsky, West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica; Clarence-Smith and Topik, The Global Coffee Economy in Africa, Asia, and Latin America; Gootenberg, Andean Cocaine; Grandin, Fordlandia; Klubock, Contested Communities; Mintz, Sweetness and Power; Putman, The Company They Kept; Topik and Wells, The Second Conquest of Latin America; Soluri, Banana Cultures; and Weinstein, The Amazon Rubber Boom. 31. The most representative of this scholarship includes Moulian, Chile actual; Moulian and Marín, El Consumo me consume; and P. Silva, “Modernization, Consumerism, and Politics in Chile”; Raúl González Meyer, “Reflexiones sobre el consumo: Más allá del lo privado y más acá de la condena,” Revista de Economía y Trabajo, no. 11 (2001): 207–34. 32. Baldez, Why Women Protest; and Power, Right-Wing Women in Chile. 33. My understanding of consumption as contested terrain draws on discussions of hegemony. See Roseberry, Anthropologies and Histories; and Williams, Marxism and Literature. 34. On world history and gender studies, see Strasser and Tinsman, “It’s a Man’s World.” Many of the ideas about gender and transnational history presented in this book were first developed in this coauthored essay as well as in Strasser and Tinsman, “Engendering World History.” Also see Wiesner, “World History and the History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality”; and Nadell and Haulmann, Making Women’s Histories. 35. De Grazia and Furlough, The Sex of Things. 36. Deutsch, “Memories of Mothers in the Kitchen.” 37. Important feminist work on labor and consumption include Cohen, A Consumers’ Republic; Cohen, Making a New Deal; Cowan, More Work for Mother; Delphy, “Sharing the Same Table”; Enstead, Ladies of Love, Girls of Labor; Frank, Purchasing Power; Lamount, The Dignity of Working Men; Peiss, Hope in a Jar; and Porter Benson, Household Accounts. 38. Alexander and Mohanty, Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures; Briggs, Reproducing Empire; Grewal and Kaplan, Scattered Hegemonies; Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood; Kaplan and Pease, Cultures of United States Imperialism; McClintock, Imperial Leather; McClintock, Mufti, and Shoat, Dangerous Liaisons; Renda, Taking Haiti; Rosenberg, “U.S. Mass Consumerism in Transnational Perspective”; Seigel, Uneven Encounters; and Stoler, Carnal Knowledge. 39. See especially Hoganson, Consumers’ Imperium.

notes to introduction

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