Sunita Narain, Down to Earth (CSE)
As Indians break into 2021 with the fervent hope that it will be different from last year’s devastating pandemic, we have angry faces staring us down. Farmers — many thousands — have gathered peacefully at the doorsteps of the nation’s capital, demanding that the government repeal the recently formulated agriculture-related laws. There is a lot of noise on who is right and who is wrong. But this protest should challenge us to think — not as researchers or academics or even policy wonks, but as consumers of food that farmers grow.
The question we need to ask is why does the food that we consume need to be subsidised? Why are farmers, not just the ones camping in the bitter cold at the capital’s borders, but also the voiceless silent majority, demanding price support? Are they unproductive and lazy?
The fact is that across the world — even, and especially, in the rich world — agriculture is heavily funded by governments. Paris-based inter-governmental think-tank Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates support to this sector through what it calls producer support, as a percentage of gross farming receipts.
It finds that in rich countries like Japan, South Korea, Norway and Iceland, producer support ranged between 40 and 60 per cent of the gross farming receipt in 2019. In the United States it is roughly 12 per cent and in the European Union (EU) it is 20 per cent.
But in India, the producer support — what the government pays as a percentage of the farming receipt — is actually negative (-5 per cent). In other words, the farming sector, owned and managed by some of the poorest people in the world, subsidises what we eat.
But that’s not all. Rich countries are also innovating fast to support their farming sector in the time of growing climate change risks — the payment is not paid directly for production, but is conditional to the farming sector adopting practices that are more sustainable.
The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy will now be directed towards ecosystem services payment to farmers. So, more subsidy, but with new names. In this way, almost all large food-producing countries include subsidies as part of their social and environmental welfare measures.
The subsidy may be given through direct payments to farmers or through support pricing for certain crops, or through investment into key agricultural inputs like water, fertilisers and seeds.
It is in this world that farmers of the poorer world — including those from India’s rich states of Punjab and Haryana — have to compete.
First, they are disadvantaged because they do not get the financial support needed to make farming lucrative. Second, when their crops become costly due to either extreme weather or other reasons of scarcity, the government steps in to import cheaper food. Our farmers suffer at both ends.
It is for this reason that farmers are demanding a minimum support price (MSP) as an insurance against price volatility. At present, there is no doubt that the system is broken. While MSP is fixed for 22 crops, in reality, it is used only for a few crops — wheat and paddy, where the government has a procurement system.
It is this reason that the farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are up in arms, fearing that the system will be disbanded. They grow wheat and rice that is mostly procured by the government.
But for the remaining crops, MSP is an empty promise. As my colleague Richard Mahapatra has analysed in his recent article on the farm support, the market does not end up paying the price that is required to the farmers.
According to the government’s own data, almost 70 per cent of the market transactions for 10 select crops in 600 wholesale markets were at prices lower than MSP.
The key issue is what should be the price of food? The fact is that the cost of inputs is increasing — from seeds and water to labour. Then there is the fact that the risks are increasing because of extreme weather due to climate change. In this way, farmers need to be paid both for the increased cost of growing food and for the increased risk of loss of crops.
Indian farmers invest huge amounts of private capital into building infrastructure for their operations, unlike any private company or industry. They pay to build irrigation facilities — more than half of the irrigated land uses groundwater. Some 19 million wells and tube wells have been built with private capital.
Nobody pays for this — in fact, the computation of MSP is rigged against the farmer because the government needs to ensure that the cost of food is cheap for its procurement system and stays affordable. The worst fear of any government is food inflation, as consumers then fret and fume.
This is when government imports food to drive down prices — food from rich countries, where food growing is subsidised and against whom our farmers cannot compete. It is time we talked about the real cost of our food, about how to benefit farmers who grow our food. This is not a business we can afford to lose.
This is what the farmers at our doorstep want us to discuss. Let’s not let them down.
The farmers’ movement for the repeal of the three farm laws which affect them closely but have been rammed through without consulting them, has now entered its second month. It is of historic significance. It is not just about minimum support prices but also about the survival of the entire system of public procurement and distribution of foodgrains. Without ensuring the economic viability of foodgrains production in North India the grain basket of the country no continuity can be ensured for the public procurement and distribution system, which, despite its drawbacks, continues to provide a modicum of food security to vast numbers of our population.
Recreation of Colonial Times
Northern industrial countries, namely the United States, Canada and the European Union (EU), cannot produce the tropical and subtropical crops in high demand by their own consumers while they have mountains of surplus grain and dairy products, the only goods their single crop lands are capable of producing for climatic reasons. They must find export markets for these. For over two decades, they have put relentless pressure on developing countries to give up their own public procurement systems, insisting that they should buy their food grains from advanced countries, while diverting their foodcropproducing land to contract farming of export crops that these industrial countries want but cannot themselves produce.
In short, they want a recreation of the economic scenario of the colonial period. Dozens of developing countries, ranging from the Philippines in the mid-1990s to Botswana (Africa) a decade later, succumbed to this pressure. They paid the price when with rapid diversion of grain to ethanol production in the U.S. and the EU, world grain prices trebled in a matter of months from end2007. Thirty seven newly import dependent countries saw food riots, with urban populations being pushed into greater poverty. Food security for the developing world is far too important a matter to be left to the global market, but the relentless attack on their public stocking of grain for ensuring food security continues. India had barely managed to pull back from the brink a decade ago: procurement prices were raised substantially after virtually stagnating during the six years preceding the 2008 pricespike and grain output in Punjab grew again from nearstagnant levels as economic viability improved. But absorption of foodgrains did not improve as much owing to continued exclusion of many of the actually poor from ‘Below Poverty Line’ ration cards, while unemployment caused by the 2016 demonetisation followed by the 2020 pandemic has reduced aggregate demand by now to a historic low.
A Case of Unfair Trade
Our farmers have been exposed for no rhyme or reason to unfair trade, and to the volatility of global prices that has plunged them into unrepayable debt and distress — in one village in Punjab, there were as many as 59 widows of farmers forced into suicide. Trade with the North is unfair, because the advanced countries in the mid1990s, converted their own price support measures to massive subsidies given as direct cash transfers to their own farmers, transfers that in a blatantly self-serving manner they wrote into the Agreement on Agriculture as ‘not subject to reduction commitments’.
India along with other developing countries signed the Agreement with very little idea of the implications of the small print. For the U.S., the direct cash transfers it gives to its 2.02 million farmers, amounting to a huge half or more of its annual farm output value, uses up only 1% of its budget. For India, over 50% of the entire central government annual Budget would be required to give even a quarter of annual farm output value to our 120 million farmers, which is an economic impossibility and an administrative nightmare.
It’s About a Reasonable Price
The farmers have made it amply clear that they do not want petty cash handouts; all they want is a reasonable price for the vital crops they produce for the nation, so that they can cover costs and live at a modest standard. In Indian circumstances, the price support system is in fact the only feasible one. While depletion of groundwater in Punjab is a real problem, the solution lies in introducing improved agronomic practices such as the System of Rice Intensification which economises water, not in reducing rice production. One does not cut off one’s head because of a headache. It is precisely the support prices for crops that had been deliberately put by advanced countries under completely arbitrary and absurd computation rules in the Agreement on Agriculture.
The U.S. complained against India to the World Trade Organization in May 2018 that since the ‘reference price’ for calculating support was the 198688 average world price of a crop which they converted to rupees at the then prevailing ¹ 12.5 per dollar exchange rate, India’s support price per quintal for rice and wheat in 2013-14 should have been at the most 235 and 354, respectively! The actual support prices were 1,348 and 1,386, and the difference, over 1,000 per quintal, was then multiplied by the entire 201314 output of rice and wheat, and came to 77% and 67% of their output values (https://bit.ly/3mROANe).
This, the U.S. claimed, was support provided in gross violation of the permitted 10%! Two months ago the U.S. sent fresh questions to India. Every kind of dishonest and absurd rule had been put into the Agreement on Agriculture to shortchange gullible developing countries. Our farmers are among the lowest cost producers in the world, and the support prices in 2013-14 at the prevailing exchange rate of ¹ 60.5 per dollar were well below global prices, which mean that actual support was negative.
Current compression of global demand means that wheat and riceprices are at historic lows, advanced country farm subsidies are at historic highs and their desperation to dump their grain on our markets has intensified. While our protesting farmers have correctly identified domestic firms as potential beneficiaries of the new marketing laws that they oppose, foreign agribusiness corporations are as great a danger.
Farmers have already experienced contract farming with foreign agribusinesses in Punjab and Haryana. They say clearly that they do not wish to deal with powerful, faceless private corporations that renege on price and quantity contracts when it suits them. Despite all its inefficiency and payment delays, they prefer to sell to government agents at the stipulated minimum support prices. They are absolutely correct in thinking that deregulation of markets as mandated by the new laws, and the entry of business firms, which will be not only Indian but also foreign mean a severe undermining of the entire system of public procurement and minimum support prices.
The ‘Green Energy’ Push
There are many Indian intellectuals who argue that importing subsidized grain from the North will benefit poor consumers here. They forget that there is an increasingly powerful opinion advocating ‘green energy’ in advanced countries, pushing for even greater conversion of grain to ethanol; hence initial lowpriced grain imports, if permitted today, will not only destroy our farmers but will soon give way to a scenario of price spikes and to urban distress as experienced earlier by developing countries forced into import dependence. Anyone with a concern for our own hard working farmers and poverty-stricken consumers must support the farmers’ demands against the machinations of both local and global business elites.
This note is written on the eve of the historic tractor rally going to take place at the national capital, Delhi, as part of the assertion of people’s right to get the laws adopted by the party in power, if it goes against their basic interests. The Delhi police had barricaded Delhi heavily to prevent the farmers who were marching to the capital to participate in the Delhi Chalo call of the AIKSCC from entering the city. So, after reaching the borders they blocked all the six National Highways and went on strengthening the siege as even after rounds after rounds of discussions the Modi government refused to repeal the three Farm Acts.
As the farmers declared to organize the tractor rally to express their determination to get the Acts repealed, on the appeal of the Delhi police, the Supreme Court gave it the right to take decision on giving permission for it. Even when thousands of tractors started marching to Delhi from different states, till 23rd January afternoon police refused permission. Following this, when the Samyukta Sangharsh Morcha announced its decision to hold the rally even without permission, the police was forced to change its stand. It has now decided to remove the barricades and allow the tractor rally through the city streets. Probably, this is the first time after coming to power six years ago, Modi rule is compelled to change its decision. As the struggle is going to be intensified following the rally, and powerful solidarity actions by the fraternal organizations are increasing, the Modi rule will be compelled to repeal the 3 Farm Acts also sooner or later.
By successfully leading the struggle to stop corporatization of the agricultural sector through these Acts, the farmers as well as their supporters all over the country are greatly enthused. It is going to lead to more mobilization of the toiling masses for the victory of this struggle. Besides, all over the country the left masses along with the oppressed classes and sections have joined their movements in ever larger numbers, to resist and defeat the neo-liberal, corporatization moves by the neo-fascist forces. As a result, the objective conditions for developing the revolutionary advances as well as for preparing the subjective forces capable of taking this task forward have also become more favorable.
Presently, the Modi rule, guided by the neo-fascist RSS and representing the most reactionary section of the ruling class, serving as junior partner of imperialism, mainly US imperialism, is engaged In wiping out all parliamentary opposition for establishing a stable Hindutva vote-bank through its hate-politics and using the state machinery, judiciary and media in all of which the RSS has penetrated effectively. Grossly violating the Constitutional provisions, it has brought Ram temple and Jai Sri Ram as its manifesto and slogan. In continuation to lynching in the name of alleged beef eating to cow slaughter the hate politics and Islamophobia is intensified through campaign against the so-called Love Jihad.
At the same time, using saffronization intensified at maddening pace, and now Covid-19 as covers, a series of economic measures are taken starting with de-monetization, GST, liberalization-privatization of all remaining public sector units including Railways, etc, to reduction of all labor laws to 4 Labor Codes, imposition of the New Education Policy-2020 and the bull-dozing of the 3 Farm Acts are speeded up for the corporatization of all fields, taking the neoliberal raj to its zenith.
In its bid to weaken and terrorize the parliamentary opposition, it has succeeded to poach Congress MLAs in MP and replaced the Congress government in the state by its own govt, is engaged in de-stabilizing the Congress govt. in Rajasthan, managed to win a majority in recent Bihar elections, is engaged in bulldozing to power somehow or other in W. Bengal in the coming elections and using forceful collection of funds in the name of construction of Ram temple terrorizing the Muslim minority and al opposition led state governments. In this, it is utilizing all the central agencies including the CBI, NIA, ED, IB etc and the Constitutional institutions like the Supreme Court, Election Commission etc. As happened during the discussion on the 3 Farm Bills in the Rajya Sabha, even the parliament is reduced to serve its whims violating the well established procedures. The J&K is reduced to a colony under military boots. An atmosphere of terror and overwhelming domination of the RSS is created giving its parivar right to dominate everywhere and in everything and everyone opposed to it as anti-national. An impression was being created that RSS and its Modi rule have become omnipotent. The Godi media through lies and slanders is creating the impression that the Hindurashtra has come in to existence.
Following BJP led NDA’s big victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections riding on the saffron wave and chauvinist fervor created based on the Pulwama incident, in which 43 para-military forces were killed, and the Balakot surgical strike master-minded by the central agencies, horrifying details of whose planning and execution are slowly coming out now, the Modi-Shah team further intensified the fascist offensive. Article 370 ws struck down, J&K was reduced to 2 UTs, and even the whole leadership of opposition parties there were detained, terrorizing the people there. The Constitutional amendment to the Citizenship Law was passed, with the threat of preparing a new NPR, threatening millions from Muslim minority with the danger of losing the citizenship.
Though against this a powerful mass upsurge took place spear-headed by the Shahin Bagh movement, the outbreak of the Covid19 helped Modi to suppress it. The RSS openly provoked the communal rots in Northeast of Delhi, destroying the life and properties of Muslims terrorizing them. RSS parivar got further boost as the Supreme Court allotted the land where Babri Masjid stood for Ram temple construction, Modi launching the construction violating all secular principles, and BJP using Jai Sri Ramas its main election slogan. It is an all out offensive by the neo-fascist RSS forces.
In this situation, it is a welcome development that the parliamentary opposition has come out against the Modi government. But they have proved themselves incapable for organizing meaningful resistance against the corporate this fascist offensive of Modi government. Similarly, even after the privatization of all core sectors including the Navratnas, and severe attacks on the rights of the working class, except for occasional one day strikes in protest, the central trade unions have not launched any serious movement against these onslaughts on the working class and the people by the fascist forces in the interest of the corporate forces. Similarly, the parliamentary left, which was already decimated in W. Bengal and Tripura, is almost paralyzed in many states or uncertain to use al forms of struggle against RSS/BJP, primarily targeting it. Many of the Communist revolutionary forces who are sticking to their old concepts in spite of vast changes in the society, are left clueless, have become inactive or have gone behind the parliamentary left. In this grave situation, the question of resisting and beating back the RSS led offensive through Modi govt had become the most serious challenge before the revolutionary forces and the masses of the people.
It was in such an almost desperate situation, following the Delhi Chalo on 27th November call by the AIKSCC, the farmers started marching to Delhi, especially from Punjab, where they were protesting against the Ordinance issued in June for corporatization of agriculture using various forms of struggle including the railway bundh. As the Haryana police dug up the NHs and raised barricades on the roads from Punjab and Rahasthan, it looked like the farmers will not be able to advance towards Delhi. But, from 26th November, when the farmers threw away the barricades, overcame the lathi charge, water cannons and tear gas shells and reached the Delhi borders at Singhu and Tikri on 27th, the situation started changing.
As the Delhi police had raised very strong barricades and deployed large forces of police, CRP, BSF, Rapid Action Forces and Commandos on all border points, the famers’ organizations decided to start siege of the capital city by mobilizing more forces. Soon the farmers from UP, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and all over the country started reaching the borders, and siege of Delhi from Gazipur Chilla and Palvel on UP border, and Shajahanpur on Rajasthan-Delhi road also started. Though 11 rounds of discussions took place between Kisan Sangharsh Morcha (KSM) and representatives of the government, they have failed as Modi govt is not prepared to accept the farmers’ demand for repeal of the 3 Farm Acts. So, the KSM is organizing a massive tractor rally in the city on 26th January as announced earlier and going to continue the siege till its demands are accepted.
In order to weaken and disintegrate the struggle the Modi govt as well as the BJP led state governments have resorted to all heinous moves, with the RSS parivar and ministers indulging in vicious propaganda, including dubbing the movement as led by Khalistanis, funded by China and Pakistan, tukda-tukda gang and even anti-national, when tens of thousands of ex-servicemen from Punjab and Haryana are also active in it. The PM, Modi, and top BJP leaders are repeatedly asserting that these farm laws shall benefit the farmers, consciously concealing the fact that they will not only harm the interests of the farmers immensely, but also destroy the food security and devastate the Public Distribution System. So, it is not only a struggle of the farmers, but of all toiling and oppressed masses.
Contrary to Godi media propaganda, the farmers’ movement has spread to all regions and more sections of people are coming forward in solidarity. Though the central trade unions could not mobilize the workers in large numbers in support of the struggle, all of them and other TU centers like TUCI, mass organizations of students, youth, women etc also have come forward to support the struggle. Though Modi tried to involve the Supreme Court to confuse the KSM leaders, he has failed. The only result was that the SC and the CJI got more exposed. As the movement is completing two months, already more than 150 comrades have become martyrs in the cold weather of Delhi. In spite of it, the farmers and their supporters are in fighting spirit. As thousands of tractors have started marching to Delhi from all states, the Delhi police came under great pressure and it has now permitted the tractor rally inside Delhi. As the farmers’ organizations have declared unanimously if is a victory for the farmers. As the historic movement is spreading to all corners of the country challenging the Modi government, it is coming under great pressure. Giving permission for the tractor rally is a reflection of this. The farmers’ organizations have declared that they will not lift the siege of Delhi until the 3 Farm Acts are repealed.
Without any doubt, it is the most powerful people’s upsurge in the history of our country: it challenges the neoliberal policies dictated by the IMF-World Bank-WTO trio to serve the interest of the imperialist powers. So, it is an anti-imperialist struggle, in essence. It is a positive thing that almost all the political parties, mass organizations and people’s movements, except those of the RSS parivar have come out in some form or other in support of the struggle. If the Anti-CAA/NPR movement had attracted large sections of people last year, the farmers’ struggle and the solidarity movement in support of it is many times more powerful and broad-based. It has exposed the advocates of pessimism who come out with many theories why such a broad based movements and revolutionary changes cannot take place in India, including many from the parliamentary left. On the contrary, the ongoing farmers’ upsurge shows that India is no exception; in this phase of neoliberal/corporate offensive of the global imperialist system, similar to the numerous people’s upsurges taking place against the ruling forces in both neo-colonially dependent and imperialist countries, there are increasing possibilities for the anti- CAA, anti-farm Acts like upsurges taking place repeatedly in India also. Experience during last 2-3 decades show that in the absence of a powerful revolutionary communist party to guide it to higher phases and even up to seizure of political power with a clear vision of people’s democracy and socialist transformation, either they are led to reformist channels, or their development on the revolutionary path suppressed.
A study of the political forces who are supporting this historic farmers’ movement will explain this question clearly. The activities of the Congress party, which introduced the neoliberal regime in India, carried forward the reforms linked with it and even tried to go for corporatization of agriculture in 2013, are only limited to getting back to power defeating BJP which is speeding up the reforms in fascistic ways and pursuing the hard Hindutva path of Hindurashtra. If it comes back to power along with its old UPA allies, it will go back to its former rightist path with the soft Hindutva line. The other regional or caste-based political parties, which are basically part of the ruling class spectrum, but support the farmers’ struggle and oppose the BJP, wherever they are in power, are pursuing the neoliberal policies in one form or other.
The parliamentary left, the CPI(M) led Left Front or LDF parties, are also doing the same as can be seen in Kerala. What about the organizations to the left of CPI(M)? Among them, all those who still consider Indian society as semi-feudal, in spite of the fast development of capitalist relations in the agricultural sector under land reforms from above, introduction of finance capital, new technology and market forces (Green Revolution), they do not organize the small, middle or big land owning sections of farmers where they have influence, because it goes against their theoretical positions. But, in Punjab and nearby areas they are working with one or another faction of BKU, focusing all their activities in the struggle for MSP and against corporatization of agriculture!
This is the same case with those who call themselves Maoists, though they do not accept anything less than armed squad actions in the forest regions for liberation of semi-colonial, semi-feudal India! At the same time those groups who consider India as a capitalist country in the stage of socialist revolution, while some of them oppose the farmers’ struggle as a reactionary struggle led by the rich farmer class, others support it, in spite of their theory that only the working class is capable of leading any anti-capitalist movement!
In such an extremely complex situation, when the countrywide upsurge created by the farmers’ movement, two important questions calls clear-cut explanations: what should be the approach of the Communist Partyto the agrarian question in India and to the intensifying farmers’ movement? What should be the role of the Communist Party in present situation in developing the anti-fascist movement, and at the same time building the party pursuing the path of independent communist assertion while participating actively in different forms of united fronts?
To address the first question, we have to start with a historical analysis of th revolutionary line of the communist movement. As Lenin explained in “Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism”, by the end of 19th century, capitalism was transformed to monopoly capitalism, i.e., imperialism. By that time, the imperialist forces had divided the Asian, African, Latin American countries among themselves. Among them, including India, largest number of these countries had become colonies of one imperialist country or other, In China and few other countries imperialist forces were contending for hegemony and were in semi-colonial stage, and the Latin American countries were dependent countries under US imperialist domination.
While US introduced capitalist transformation in the dependent countries, in the colonial and semi-colonial countries, the imperialists used the pre-capitalist, feudal and semi-feudal relations/forces as their social base for domination. It was by analyzing this international situation, the Comintern in 1921 document called for socialist revolution in the imperialist countries, and anti-imperialist, anti-feudal democratic revolution in the countries under various phases of colonization as democratic revolution, both together constituting the World Proletarian Socialist Revolution.
But, during the Second World War, the hitherto dominant imperialist power, Britain, became weaker, and US came to the leadership of the imperialist camp. In 1943 it convened the Brettenwood Conference and initiated the IMF, World Bank and GATT agreements to guide the post-war re-organization of the relations with the countries under colonization, introducing de-colonization by transfer of power to its junior partners in these countries, introducing the neo-colonial phase of imperialist domination. Under this, direct rule by imperialist powers was replaced by indirect control through increasing penetration of finance capital, technology, and market forces, along with military alliances. As part of this, the land reforms from above was advised, along with land ceiling laws and introduction of capitalist transformation of production relations in the agricultural sector.
In India, it was Punjab where irrigation was available with the completion of Bhakra Nangal project and the implementation of land ceiling laws took place was selected for the beginning of the Green Revolution by the end of 1950s. Soon using new hybrid seeds developed by the Indian and imperialist research institutes, chemicals and fertilizers, cultivation of wheat, rice and other food grains was started. Soon came up the question of marketing the outputs for which large inputs were used with the help of loans from money lenders and banks. These were new questions for which new answers were required.
When the CPI and CPI(M)embraced Soviet revisionist path and degenerated to parliamentary path, the Kisan organizations led by them abandoned the agrarian revolution based on revolutionary land reforms. When the GR areas were expanding fast, as they failed to recognize the changes taking place in the agrarian sector, they could not address the demands of the lower middle, middle and rich farmers who were adopting the GR mode for Minimum Support Prices for agricultural products and subsidy for inputs. Though the CPI(ML) and other streams of CRs after Naxalbari uprising adopted the line of agrarian revolution and initiated land struggles in some areas, their analysis of India as semi-feudal, failed them also to recognize the changes in the mode of production taking place in Punjab and expanding to nearby areas. So, they also could not address the problems of the new classes of lower middle, middle and rich peasants.
After the parliamentary left, when the revolutionary left also failed to recognize the transformation of imperialist plunder from colonial to neocolonial phase, and the fast changes taking place in the agriculture with the entry of finance capital, new technology and market forces, many new groups emerged addressing these issues. With the merger of eleven of these groups in Chandigarh n 1972, the Punjab Khetibari Zemindari Union was formed, which was later called Punjab Khetibari Union (PKU).In 1978, following the launching of the struggle for MSP and increase of subsidies, the PKU was transformed into the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) as a national forum for farmers with association to the Bharatiya Lok Dal of the Janata Party (Secular).
In 12 December 1980, an “All-India Kisan Sammelan” was organised which saw the unification of the Kisan Sangarsh Samiti (Haryana), Raytu Sangha (Karnataka) and Vyavasayigal Sangham (Tamil Nadu) under the ambit of the BKU. In 1982, the union faced a split under the designation of BKU (N) led by Narayanasamy Naidu and BKU (M) led by Bhupendra Singh Mann. It was however reunited by the intervention of SharadAnantrao Joshi under a federal structure with autonomous state units. Following the massive Delhi march, it was again re-organised in 17 October 1986 by Mahendra Singh Tikait with its headquarters in Sisauli in western Uttar Pradesh as a non-partisan organisation contrary to its previous association with the former Prime Minister, Charan Singh.
BKU continued without getting affiliated with any political parties. Later its federated units in all states faced many splits and some of them became inactive. In every state, especially in Punjab where it is the strongest aced faced the maximum splits, with all of them continuing as BKU groups. But in spite of all these splits, in Punjab and Haryana especially, all these groups fought for the Minimum Support Price for the agricultural products and succeeded to achieve the Agricultural Products Marketing Committees and numerous Mandis (markets) under it, ensuring the procurement of the 12 items at MSP and fast payment to the farmers. In spite of corruption and bureaucratic delays, it has ensured a better security for the farmers in Punjab and Haryana, with 50-55 % of them lower middle farmers owning less than 5 acres, 25-30 % of them middle owning 5 to 10 acres, and about 15 % of rich farmers owning more than 10 acres. It is because the three farm laws bull dozed by Modi rule will destroy the decades of security provided by the hard earned system, leading to their devastation under corporatization, that they are in the forefront of this do or die struggle.
The interesting feature is that whatever may be their organization’s ideological, political line about the changes taking place in the agriculture sector, not only the CPI, CPI(M), the RMPI, MCPI(U) like CPI(M) dissident groups, as well as most of the CPI(ML) or CR groups ranging from Liberation to ‘Maoists’ are active within some of the BKU groups or their peasant organizations are working with these BKU groups. At the same time, almost all of them have in the main abandoned the agrarian revolution addressing the problems of the landless and poor peasants and the agricultural workers. At Singhu and Tikri borders where almost all the farmers from Punjab and Haryana are camping, along with the BKU groups we can see the peasant organizations of all left parties/organizations, and left leaders who are active in most of the BKU groups, some of them in their leaderships. But at the same time, their units in other states keep away from the same task, fervently sticking to their semi-feudal analysis. One can only hope that the ongoing historic farmers’ struggle will compel them to abandon dogmatic approaches and force these organizations to make concrete analysis of the present situation and seek from truth.
Presently, the transformation in to capitalist mode of production is the dominant trend in the agriculture field and the question of marketing is the concern of the farmers who own even small holdings. So, the struggle to repeal the 3 Farm Laws imposed by the Modi government has become the concern of all cultivators. The Communist movement should recognize this reality and peasant organization focusing on it should be developed in all states make the members conscious about the negative aspects of corporatization.
Along with this, the organization of the agricultural workers and poor peasants should be developed with a program of revolutionary land reforms providing land to the tillers, developing co-operatives for development of agriculture in this land, better wages and continuity of work for the MNREGA workers, housing, healthcare, education like facilities etc. Organizations in these two fields should work together to develop the powerful peasant movement as part of the program for completing the tasks of the democratic revolution, immediately overcoming present ideological, political weaknesses.
The second task is to build th broadest possible anti-fascist united front to end the RSS led Modi rule as early as possible, and at the same time build the Communist movement always pursuing the path of independent communist assertion. This can be explained as follows:
Firstly, it has to be recognized that advent of neo-fascist RSS to power through the Modi government and its saffronization of all walks of life at maddening pace, while surrendering the country to neoliberal/corporate loot is the main danger confronting the people. So, we should work for the broadest understanding among all forces opposed to RSS/BJP to defeat it in all fields including parliamentary struggle. Any weakness in this approach will pave the way for further strengthening of the fascist forces, and should be exposed and defeated.
While doing so, it is imperative that the path of independent assertion of the revolutionary line should be pursued, without harming the united front. For example, in an election, while trying to unite all forces to vote out BJP, the party or the revolutionary left alliance led by it should put forward its Manifesto and campaign for it along with fielding its own candidates where it has sufficient strength among the masses. It amounts to building a Mass Political Platform to defeat the fascists.
Secondly, based on a Common Program evolved through mutual discussions according to concrete conditions, putting forward the vision of democratization of the society and an alternate path of development opposed to neoliberal paradigm, the left and democratic forces, oppressed classes and sections and people’s movements in the fields of ecological protection, secular-socio-cultural- fields and progressive intellectuals should be united to develop all forms of struggle including parliamentary struggle as part of the class struggle.
Thirdly, based on a self-critical analysis of the experience of hitherto communist movement and analysis of present situation, the theoretical offensive should be carried forward struggling against all alien trends for uniting all communist revolutionary forces and to develop mass fronts of youth and students and to recruit large number of cadres from them as part of building a powerful communist party capable of leading every people’s movement to higher phases and to mobilize the masses for a countrywide upsurge to seize political power. In the excellent objective situation and enthusiasm created by the ongoing historic farmers’ struggle let us carry forward the theoretical struggle and practical work in all fields with the outlook discussed above.
What happened on 26th January, the Republic Day proved our worst fears correct. As was apprehended, following the drama of 11 round of discussions, the intervention of Supreme Court, the last minute permission from Delhi Police to hold the Tractor Rally through agreed routes, Amit Shah and Delhi police worked with RSS goons to infiltrate the border areas where farmers were camping, especially at Gazhipur on UP border with a blue-print to create disturbances, with Delhi Police violating the agreement to open the barricaded road in the morning, erecting more barricades along the agreed routes or strengthening the existing barricades, thus provoking the farmers who were forced to stay for 61 days in bitter cold, with 155 of their comrades becoming martyrs, indulging in brutal attacks on selected spots provoking the farmers further, leading to the disturbances that happened on that day, with one farmer driving tractor killed and hundreds of farmers injured.
Right from 26th morning, the Godi media worked hard to spread false news to create confusion to create the image that the farmers are responsible for all disturbances, while it is thee Modi—Shah government and RSS- Police nexus as happened in Northeast Delhi pogrom, tis time ona mega scale. Soon the Godi media stepped in demanding action and now the movement is under fierce attack. All it leaders are booked, hundreds of farmers are arrested, and a vicious slander campaign using lies are resorted to. It is a grave situation.
But the AIKSCC and KSM are standing united and called for observing as a day of fast in protest, while postponing the parliament march. They have called for continuing the struggle mobilizing more forces. This is a critical time. This is the time for the Party along with all left forces and struggling sections to stand with the farmer movement. Let us try hrd to strengthen the movement at this critical juncture!
Delhi Police And Those Criminal Elements Who Infiltrated In The Rally Are Responsible For The Violence!
Do Not Allow Modi Government, RSS Parivar And Godi Media To Divert Attention From The Central Issue, Repeal Of Three Farm Acts, To Vandalism, For Which They Are Responsible!
Rally In Support Of Repeal Of The Three Farm Acts And The Farmers’ Struggle Till It Is Achieved!
CPI(ML) Red Star extends revolutionary greetings to the hundreds of thousands of farmers and supporters who organized a mighty rally along with thousands of tractors through the streets of Delhi reiterating their demand for repeal the 3 farm laws for corporatization of agriculture.
Earlier, after the Supreme Court asked the Delhi police to take decision on allowing the rally, the Delhi police and central home ministry under Amit Shaw were consciously creating confusion, repeating that permission will not be allowed either inside Delhi or through the outer ring road, forcing the Kisan Sangharsh Morcha to declare that whether permission is given or not they will organize the rally. It was at this stage, Delhi police came forward announcing permission for the rally and through mutual discussion three routes were agreed upon. The KSM and AIKSCC leaders made all arrangements accordingly.
But from 26th morning the police tried to create problems by not removing the barricades as agreed upon; instead they strengthened the barricades in the night and erected numerous other barricades on the way. Enraged by it the farmers who had endured all difficulties for last 61 days in the bitter cold conditions during which more than 150 of their comrades became martyrs, decided to break the barricades and march in to Delhi.
By 9.30 they broke the barricades at Singhu, Tikri and Gazipur borders and started the march with the farmers on foot in the front and tractors next. But the police and other security wings created provocations lathi charging and firing tear gas shells on the farmers near Azadpur by-pass and Nangloi, and killing a farmer in police firing near ITO. Along with this some criminal elements infiltrated the rally and tried to create disturbances allegedly with the knowledge of police and RSS parivar.
Because of these disturbances some of the farmers were provoked, forcing them to march up to ITO, Red Fort and some other spots in the city. Utilising these incidents the spoke persons of Modi government, RSS parivar and Godi media have started malicious propaganda that farmers resorted to vandalism, diverting attention from the fact that in spite of the participation of so many lakhs of people, vast majority of them maintained discipline as instructed by their leaders, and it was the provocation from the police and the acts of the criminal infiltrators responsible for whatever disturbances happened.
There is a conscious effort by these forces and Amit Shah to use these disturbances in order to divert attention from the central demand of the many lakhs of people who rallied in Delhi and the many more lakhs who rallied in Mumbai, Kolkata and other centers calling for repeal of the three farm laws for corporatization of agriculture.
We appeal to the working class, all oppressed classes and sections of people to reject this conspiracy of the corporate fascist Modi government to malign the farmers movement against corporatization and to firmly stand behind the demand of the farmers for the repeal of these farm laws with the slogans given above.
By yesterday evening, in continuation to the anti-farmer offensive by the fascist Modi government with the RSS/BJP coming out with vitriolic narratives, RSS organizing demonstrations in the name of ‘local people’ demanding removal of agitating farmers, and Godi media launching vicious propaganda with lies and slanders against them, thousands of UP policemen started attacking the farmers from their side and Delhi police, para-military and rapid action forces closing the NH and azhipur border, stabilizing the situation. Thus gazhipur has come out of the scare and is getting strengthened.
Yesterday, the Delhi police had erected more intimidating barricades and started digging the NHs both at Singhu and Tikri borders. RSS goons demonstrated with provocative slogans pretending as local people, demanding removal of the agitating farmers. Police submitted more than two dozen FIRs, charge sheets alleging murders and dacoity against 40 farmers’ leaders, arresting more than 200 farmers, and even charge sheeting senior journalists for backing the farmers. Sanghi/ Godi media continuing their shrill, venomous attacks on the struggling forces. But the farmers and their supporters reacted by organizing rally from one end to the other at the border points. As more farmers and supporters have started for the border points, by today evening the resistance to RSS/BJP goons and the demand for repeal of the 3 farm laws are going to be strengthened.
Meanwhile , solidarity campaigns should be organized wherever possible, strengthening the movement at all India level.
Comrades, this is a critical phase of the movement. Let us mobilize more and more farmers under the banner of AIKKS, and organize solidarity movement by all mass organizations and people’s movements in support of them. Recognizing its significance as an anti-corporatization, anti-imperialist, and also an anti-fascist movement, let us mobilize all our strength to make the farmers’ movement powerful day by day.
CPI (ML) Red Star
29th January, Morning
Punjab Peasantry Re-Write History in Delhi
In depth they summarized how it gave Corporates a license to plunder the peasantry by having a total monopoly in dictating prices or obtaining land. The speakers elaborated how now the Corporates had a complete monopoly over the public distribution system and thus morally were a far greater menace to the peasantry than the traditional middlemen.”
The peasantry of Punjab belonging to 32 different organisations of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Co-ordination Committee have literally written a new chapter in history after igniting a spark into a Prairie fire. Arguably in the entire world has a farmers movement hit such a crescendo. There is hardly a adjective in the dictionary that can do justice to the extent of intensity or relentless spirit of the peasant agitators. Facing the deepest depths of despair and thwarted by impregnable police barriers they revealed death defying courage of an army. It was not just the vast numbers which climbed over 10 lakh but the great qualitative or electrifying impact it had striking the ruling classes in their very backbone.
Contribution of BKU-Ekta (Ugrahan)
The greatest credit for galvanisng the combat forces and their crystallisation in such magnitude goes to the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugarhan).It galvanised over one and a half lakh people, including around 50000 women alone. More than 50% of the protestors were the youth which was a positive trend. It was a perfect illustration of their surgical mass line practice. It confronted any type of legalism or economism to the core, by sustaining the agitation when other organisations decided to withdraw. Their storming into Delhi reminded one of a surgical operation of an Army batallion, with in depth understanding of the subjective conditions. It created the impact of a tornado in bordering regions of the capital. It has created such a thorn in the flesh for the ruling classes who are now even embarrassed to deploy the police to foil the protest.
It may take a book to describe the most soul-searching scenes at Tikri, Singhu, Jharoda, Ghazipur and Chilla, areas at the border of Delhi. The farmers confronted the teargassing, water cannons and barricades of the police weathering the chilliest of temperatures, with courage in proportions of Vietcong challenging the might of America in the Vietnam war. It was reminiscent of a boulder weathering the most turbulent of storms or gales. It set up Langars, established base camps, raised slogans waved flags and pounded tractors in. With the great methodology of an architect or surgeon it chalked out strategic points to agitate.
Significant solidarity was initiated by the Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa), Nauawan Bharat Sabha and Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union. It speaks volumes of the painstaking class -mass work to sharpen essence of revolutionary democratic politics has been undertaken at the very base. I would compare this effort of Ugrahan group with the best ever mass organised protests of the poor peasantry in world history. I apologise if I am being partial but most intellectuals have failed to portray the distinguishing features of the Ugrahan group in this development.
Speeches were continuously made highlighting how the agricultural bills were morally neo-fascist and destroy to dust any democratic aspirations of the peasantry. In depth they summarized how it gave Corporates a licence to plunder the peasantry by having a total monopoly in dictating prices or obtaining land. The speakers elaborated how now the Corporates had a complete monopoly over the public distribution system and thus morally were a far greater menace to the peasantry than the traditional middlemen.
The speakers stated that the dominance of corporate houses in agriculture sector meant the complete tarnishing of public distribution system. The new sytem would l ensure profit for the corporate houses and imperialist multinational corporations by depriving people of essential commodities. The new system would also increase black marketing and artificial glut and scarcity in the market. The leaders stated that this agitation was an attempt to save a profession like agriculture and to ensure food security of the masses. This is the reason that the agitation is getting support from people across the country and different walks of life.
The connivance of opposition parties be it the Congress or Aam Admi party or Akali Dal was exposed in no uncertain terms explaining that their economic policies were an integral part of the semi-feudal,semi-colonial state and thus in essence not different from the Bharatiya Janata Party. However still the main attack was on the Narendra Modi led Bhartiya Janata party illustrating how it blessed imperialism at crescendo never reached before or patronizing corporates more than any ruling party ever did in India. The expression on the faces of the peasantry was the very writing on the wall on the semi-slavery they were subjected to. The relevance of a broad united front of al democratic classes was brought to the fore. The manner reinforcements are sent reminding one of how a great army replenishes its forces.
In recent days it even highlighted how Industrial families were seizing Panchayat land and violating the Punjab Village Common land rule of 1964.They narrated how the state has about one and a half lakh acres of Panchayat land and their contracts and make crores of income with the government’s eye now on these lands. The intention of looting the prices of Panchayat lands is a direct raid on the interests and rights of the poor farmers. Whose interests are in farming on these lands.
Contribution of Other Democratic Forces
I also applaud the heroic role of the Kirti Kisan Union and the Naujwan Bharat Sabha who most qualitatively shimmered the spark of resistance and also mobilised a significant dalit landless labour section. Around 20,000 participated from Kirti Kisan Union who placed accent on the fascist rule unleashed by the centre and how it was empowering itself to crush all federal status of Punjabi people. In recent days some very notable work has been undertaken by the Punjab Students Union in solidarity and consolidation.Many convoys of Punjab Students Union are on their way to Delhi .No organisation shave mobilsed the Dalit agricultural labour Community as these forces. The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda)) has too risen to the hour significantly.
Sadly some important leaders of Kirti Kisan Union accused the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) of sabotaging the movement projecting is as trying to promote its own image and violating the collective spirit. This was countered by many intellectuals and refuted by Urgahan activists themselves who explained that only by prolonging resistance can any revolutionary alternative path be paved. Even an ex- cadre from their camp to the core was critical of the comments of Comrades Sardara Singh Mahil and Rajinder. Publicly such leaders expressed that the BKU (Ugrahan) hosting a langar at the initial stages near the border was derogatory. However, the Ugrahan group gave no counter statement in light that it would cause friction amongst the participants. Almost every day interviews were carried out with Joginder Singh Ugrahan,the president of the BKU.
Reports of Important Protests in Delhi Movement
On 4th December BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) continued its protest at Tikri border where protesters have occupied kilometres of road and established five stages to address the gatherings. Shingara Singh Mann, Jaswinder Singh Soma, Harinder Kaur Bindu, Paramjit Kaur Pitho, Zora Singh Nasrali of Punjab Khet Mazdoor union, Amolak Singh of PLS Manch, Amitoz Singh Maur of Punjab student union (Shaheed Randhawa), Sushil Kumari, Rajesh Dhankar, Mukesh Khasa and Khushbir Kaur from Haryana addressed the gathering. The speakers explained that Modi government Is responsible for the discomfort of the local community is facing due to ongoing agitation. It was reiterated that this is an agitation for the security of the farmer as well as the food security of the country. (Sukhdev Khokri)
The speakers stated that the dominance of corporate houses in agriculture sector mean end of public distribution system. New system will ensure profit for the corporate houses and imperialist multinational corporations by depriving people of essential commodities. The new system will increase black marketing and artificial glut and scarcity in the market. The leaders stated that this agitation is an attempt to save a profession like agriculture and to ensure food security of the masses. This is the reason that the agitation is getting support from people across the country and different walks of life. The speakers appealed to the residents of Delhi that they should take the purpose of agitation into account while facing the problems caused by it. While appreciating the cooperation extended by the local community the speakers asked for more support from the capital city. (Information from Sukhdev Khokri)
A play, Superpower was performed along with choreographies by PALS Manch. Jagsir Singh Jida and his Lok Sangeet Mandali Jida performed in their typical style. Ajmer Singh Akalia presented revolutionary songs on the occasion.
On 4th December BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) has named five protest sites after the names of historical personalities representing the legacy of struggles leading up to the ongoing agitation against farm Bills passed by the Modi government. The protest site spread over kilometres have been divided into cities named after these personalities – Baba Banda Singh Nagar, Chacha Ajit Singh Nagar, Bibi Gulab Kaur Nagar, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and Shaheed Sadhu Singh Takhtupura Nagar.
Union’s state secretary Shingara Singh Mann and Wome leader Harinder Singh Bindu said that these cities have been settled on the names of the heroes of our fighter heritage. They told that this city was settled in the name of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, Uncle Ajit Singh, Gadri Gulab Kaur, Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Shaheed Sadhu Singh Takhtupura.
Shingara Singh Mann e said that a press gallery has also been installed in the name of Shaheed Ashfaq Ula Khan to provide information to the press in the ongoing front. He said that Baba Banda Singh Bahadur is the hero of the great rebellion of the farmer who has made the farmers own the lands with the strength of long and slowing down. He said that uncle Ajit Singh is the leader of the Jatt movement to take care of the Shanamati turban against the British government which is still a light torch for the farmers fighting for their rights. He said that Gadri Gulab Kaur is the heroine fighting against the colonial government who is fighting for his rights and is a light for the women in the Delhi front.
He said that Shaheed Bhagat Singh is the great martyrs of the National Liberation Movement who first presented the program of the British government as well as the elimination of the loot of indigenous robbers for the freedom of farmers, labourers, youth and countrymen. He said that Shaheed Bhagat Singh is still a great hero who made the heartbeat of farmers, laborers, women and youth who struggle to get rid of loot. He said that Shaheed Sadhu Singh Takhtupura is the hero of the current Kisan Movement who has been important in giving the form of a huge movement to our organization and the farmer movement by drinking the jam of martyrdom against the government-sponsored Bhau Mafia during the Akali BJP rule. Played the role.
Farmer leaders said that the towns, named after these heroes of their great fighter heritage, are the symbol of the narrow element of the Kisan Movement, whose roots are in the great heritage of the country’s secular and democratic traditions. He said that the city is also a symbol of the strong intentions of farmers, labourers, youth and women who stand against agriculture laws that they will return home after returning the five laws.
The leaders explained that the sites named after these legendary personalities manifest the progressive and secular character of the ongoing agitation against farm laws. The ongoing movement is in continuity with the glorious history created by struggling masses and that history inspires farmers, workers, women and youth to struggle against the injustice, they said. The duo remained confident that the ongoing movement would carry the people’s history forward and emerge victorious.(Tribune News )
On 5th December BKU Ekta Ugrahan embarrassed the Modi Government at its boiling point at six places and more than 500 places in districts in Punjab and Delhi Kisan Morcha.
Gathering together Shingara Singh Mann, Harinder Kaur Bindu, Paramjit Kaur Pitho, Amarjit Singh Saidoke, Jaswant Singh Tolewal, Puran Singh Doda, Manjit Singh Niyal, Gurpreet Singh Noorpura, Jora Singh Nasrali, Amolak Singh, Rajasthan leader Santvir Singh Mohanpura Haryana Teke Ram Narnol, Manjeet Julka, Om Prakash Rathi, Joginder Kathota Sarv Employees Association Haryana, Munisa Student Ekta Manch Haryana, Chandigarh, Young Student Amrit Kaur, Leader of Five Member Kisan Sangharsh Committee Gurbaz Singh.
Shingara Singh Mann said expressing solidarity on the invitation of all farmer organizations in the country that the BKU unity will also take a strong participation. Invitation to the different workers of the society to connect their leaders with this solution. Addressing them especially to the Dalit community and farm workers, they said that they should be a big part of the society in support of the movement of the labor stage and give a strong reply to the politics of the BJP which is distributing caste distribution. He said that shopkeepers and small businessmen who are being oppressed by the FDI and GST should raise a joint voice to dismiss these people’s killing policies. In the same way, this day should be made a joint voice of people of every stage including the workers, employees, students.
Solidarity Protests in Punjab
In solidarity in Punjab to illuminate spark of the agitation in over dozen places in Punjab solidarity rallies have been launched or cultural programmes.
On December 3rd on invitation of the Kirti Kisan Union, the leader of the Rural Labor Union Hariram Rasulpuri, Mata Gujri Women’s Chetna Committee, was held in support of the historic farmer’s struggle in the country at village Mehmudpur (District Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar). Addressed by Mehmudpur President Madam Kulwant Kaur, Secretary Ranjit Kaur and Press Secretary of Democratic Rights Sabha Punjab Buta Singh. Bawa Singh Atwal, the leader of Kirti Kisan Union and rational leader Ninderpal Maidita were also present on this occasion. The people of the village responded to the invitation of Jago with so much enthusiasm that more than 200 villagers including young people, children and women joined. And for two hours in the village, the slogans of Modi government Murdabad, Farmer’s struggle Zindabad, Labour-Farmer unity Zindabad were echoed. Demanding the abolition of anti-people agriculture laws and opposing the dictatorial decisions of the fascist Modi government, the villagers were invited to reach the maximum number of protests in Nawanshahr on December 4.
On December 5th effigies of the Modi government were burnt in Rasulpura, Mehamudpur and Kahma. At Chandigarh Road on December 4th Kirti Kisan Union undertook a major solidarity action in support of the Farmer Morcha organized in Delhi on December 8, Nawanshahr announced to close the district Nawanshahr on Langdoa Bypass on December 8. In the meeting, Auto Workers Union, Tempu Union, Taxi Union, Women Jagriti Manch, Indian Federation of Trade Unions, Kirti Kisan Union, Rehri Workers Union, Migrant Labor Union, Bhatha Workers Union, Dr. Ambedkar Mission Society, Rural Labor Union, Medical Practitioners Association, Democratic Teachers Front, Punjab Students Union, Sikh Organizations, Social Organizations, Leaders of Cooperative Meeting, Traders and Panchayat Representatives attended. Representatives have announced to make this closure a success with an opinion. Kirti Kisan Union Nawanshahr leader Tarsem Bains, IFTU state president Kulwinder Singh Waraich, Jasbir Deep, Buta Singh of the Democratic Legislative Assembly, said that people are protesting against the central government’s agriculture laws, electricity bill 2020.
On December 2nd in Bathinda city, the Farmers Struggle Support Committee conducted a huge torch march in the city in support of the farmers sitting in Delhi. The number of 4-500 mobilised comprised of 100 women, of whom 80 % were teachers. The projection of the slogans was contentful and the enthusiasm and rally completely effective. Funds were also given by the shopkeepers from the same market.
Support to Farmers Protest and Most Positive Happenings
Arguably never in Indian history has the base of Hindutva neo-fascism been given such a striking blow by democratic forces illuminating spark of liberation. There could hardly be a better illustration of the peasantry to establish its own striking power or how in essence the so call neo-liberal economy is model or manifestation of proto-fascism engripping the entire nation.
Major solidarity has been undertaken in states like Andhra Pradesh,Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh etc. Farmers organisation have openly intervened from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Very impactful solidarity demonstrations were undertaken by workers in industrial areas of Ludhiana. It is also a significant development that many small traders, shopkeepers or businessman have supported the struggle and even integrated with it. The student and youth community most sporadically came out in support of the peasantry which must be welcomed.
One of the most inspiring instances of this agitation was how BKU women leader Harinder Bindu shimmered flame of resistance to mobilize over 10000 women. It paid a fitting a tribute to the valiant effort of the organised movement to make women an integral part of the movement. The morale support of singer Diljit Dosanjh also was most inspirational in an era when most commercial singers turn their backs on people’s movements and literally sell themselves like slaves of the culture of imperialism or exploiter classes. I was also most impressed by a University student Hindol Mazumdar from West Bengal openly describing the BKU (Ugrahan) movement as an outstanding one which distinguished itself from economist or sectarian trends. It highlighted how the BKU Ugrahan thwarted leader Yogendra Yadav from making the peasants retreat. Even this is rare today when most revolutionary sympathisers are either absorbed in heroics of Maoist armed squads or neo-Ambedkarist pro-Dalit movements. In a small article he narrated the class essence of this struggle.
A most welcome developments has been the support of top sportsman and artists from Punjab wholeheartedly supporting the farmers struggle and willing to relinquish their awards or medals. This is a very rare occurence in India where top sportsman and artists are sold on making hordes of money and have scant respect for social values. Such a phenomena is a vitally lacking ingredient in the Indian democratic movement today.
Gatherings were also addressed by young film Saj Jatinder Mahar, renowned Rangkarmi Samuel John, student Vijay Dhankhar teacher leader Haryana. On this occasion, plays were played by Manavata Kala Manch Nagar (plus stage) and revolutionary songs were presented by Jagsir Jida, Ajmer Singh Aklian and Nargis.
The leaders of this struggle are not willing to sit on the negotiation table after even the fifth talk and have boldly declared a bandh on December 8th.They find the Govt.solutions or amendments futile after 5 successive rounds of talks ending in a stalemate.
A most welcome development has been the support of top sportsman and artists from Punjab wholeheartedly supporting the farmers struggle and willing to relinquish their awards or medals. This is a very rare occurrence in India where top sportsman and artists are sold on making hordes of money and have scant respect for social values. Such a phenomena is a vitally lacking ingredient in the Indian democratic movement today.
On December 4th Hundreds of students, Women’s Rights leaders, industrial workers and intellectuals of Delhi rallied today at Jantar Mantar to protest against the Govt. of India’s callous attitude towards the just demands of the Farmers. They were stopped and heckled by the Delhi police, but they held their ground and continued with their meeting, where leaders expressed their anger firstly the repression and hurdles placed on the march of the Punjab & Haryana farmers, then the failure to address their main concern and now the repression that has begun by giving Police Notices and preventing protests.
All over the nation organisations are boycotting toll plazas supporting the peasant protest. Above all, whatever differences the basic unity of the agitation against the bills has not been broken which is most heartening.
What Steps Should Be Taken to Consolidate Agitation
What is binding and will intensify this stir is the solidarity from force s outside Punjab and abroad. However, one must guard against trends that wish to portray this uprising as a resurgence of ‘Sikh movement’ confronting the anti-federal dictates of the state or a consolidation of ‘only rich peasantry. ‘Here I remind readers that Sikh or Punjabi people do not comprise a separate nationality. Tooth and nail we must of course refute those who identify Khalistani politics in this agitation. The essence of class polarisation must not be diffused here particularly by Ruling class politicians fostering Sikh identity sentiment and dividing the movement on communal lines. Leaders must also strike a balance and not become victims of either compromising with ruling class leaders or under estimating subjective forces at crucial junctures.
So far, the leaders have shown great political maturity when participating in talks with the rulers. Another crucial aspect is that it should not just reduce the Dalit landless labour community into an appendage or cosmetic force but an integral part of the agitation. The working class must also be mobilized in tandem with the peasantry, highlighting its relationship with their day to day lives or class struggles. I have never witnessed an agitation which has harnessed support from such a wide range of sections.
It is important that democratic forces all around the nation are galvanised in support to form a broad spectrum and that every oppressed or democratic section must form separate platforms in support be it students, teachers, government employees or doctors. It should also be connected to the secular democratic revolutionary resistance to Hindutva fascism as a whole with an acute connection made between Hindutva ideology and patronage to classes of Corporates and big landlords.
A protracted effort must be made to sharpen revolutionary class politics sand make peasantry demarcate from the ruling class ideology which in essence only divides the rich and mighty. It is also important that caste politics does not intervene to divide the agitation and even Ambedkarites come out in full support. It is important that Communist revolutionaries do not claw the agitators with their political line and pursue a patient, painstaking approach to educate the peasantry.
It can also develop in a platform to demarcate from the revisionist or reformist policies of the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and win over m any cares belonging to peasant unions of those parties.
In my view however acute is the contradiction with feudalism such a development testifies the role or impact of imperialism in determining feudalism and how in regions like Punjab feudalism may not be the principal contradiction.
It is also of vital importance that polemical issues do not break the fundamental unity of the organisations, which would splinter the movement. Sharp demarcation must be made of electoral politics which in the past has often induced parliamentary tailism by democratic peasant forces.
A most important contribution will be a report on the agitation by Punjabi revolutionary journal ‘Surkh Leeh’. It should be propagated very widely in all circles with its incisive revolutionary democratic analysis. In detail is publishing a study on its political significance. For politically advanced leftsis sections the statement of the Communist Party Re-Organisation Centre of India (Marxist-Leninist) when it is published which would be of great relevance in connecting this agitation with the interest of the agrarian revolutionary movement as a whole
I thank the inputs or reports from BKU (Ugrahan) secretary Sukhdev Singh Khokri, Surkh Leeh editor Pavel Kussa, Rupinder Chaunda of Naujwan Bharat Sabha, Shingar Singh Mann of BKU (Ugrahan) as well as from Kisan Morcha and Delhi Kisan Morcha