Land redistribution within a capitalist market economy will simply fail. Already, the land reform program in South Africa has stumbled on the hurdle of willing buyer, willing seller, and now on the hurdle of compensation. Currently 50% of commercial farms are up for sale, but the government probably lacks the finances to acquire this land.
The whole mess cannot be resolved because land is something that should be considered as the commons, belonging to all who live on it, instead of being as private property. So land in the current redistribution strategy seeks to tie the poor into the market economy. The poor on receiving the land will simply sell it because they lack the resources to do commercial agriculture and the money derived from the sale of the land will help them survive. This is why most communities in the land restitution process opted for financial compensation. This means no sooner will land be redistributed and it will end up in the hands of the business elite who will pick it up for a song by buying out the poor landless minority – who will be back at square one – being landless.
The land can only be effectively and meaningfully redistributed by returning it to the national commons and socializing it. This should be accompanied with the formation of agricultural cooperatives and collective village communities to operate and manage the farms with full and comprehensive state support. Farm workers should form the core of such cooperatives given their agricultural experience and the fact that they are among the poorest of the poor. Any revolutionary strategy places the means of production under the management and control of the working class – in agriculture the working class is composed of farm workers.