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Opinion: Not Just Their Rights, Farmers Are Waging An Anti-Imperialist Struggle

The working class of the country has united to repeal a series of ordinances that are an organised assault on their land, their aamdani (income), and dignity. Unprecedented unity among the people has surfaced at the border of Delhi and Haryana, for this is the struggle for people’s livelihood.

The three ordinances passed by the Indian state are not just anti-farmer, but it snatches away food security from the people.

Image credit: Navneet Singh/Instagram

What these ordinances provide for include:

1. Freedom For The Corporates To Buy Farm Product At The Free Market Rate

This provision would make the producer vulnerable to the dictates of corporates. As per the norms of the free market, rates are fixed based on the dictates of the ‘monopolies’. To facilitate this freedom for the corporation’s, the pre-existing arrangement for the procurement from the farmers needed to be smashed.

The free market needs to erode such government interventions. So even if the government does not expressly proclaim the demolition of the Minimum Support Price (MSP), the MSP system will vanish in the long run and the free market system will facilitate its demise. So, the farmers will not have any role in deciding the price of the products. The government will not provide any institutional help to ensure the optimum price for the farmers.

2. Freedom For Corporates To Start And Monopolise Large-Scale Farming Through Contract Farming

What this means is that farmers’ land will be taken for the purpose of farming and the farm product would directly be available to the corporates. This would be done through a verbal or written contract between farmers and the buyer-corporates. Wherever this system has been implemented it has been found that the corporates have had more fingers in the pie. There have been instances of potatoes farmers being paid an exponentially less sum of money on the pretext that their potatoes are supposedly ‘lower quality’ than what was mentioned in the contract.

3. Freedom For The Corporates To Stockpile Farm Products

This ordinance might mean that the buyer can create a stockpile and thus will put them in a position to create scarcity in the market. By selling their farm products to the corporates the farmers are at the mercy of the same corporates to get food necessary for their survival. The Indian state has a flawed public distribution system. But whatever it’s nature may be, it will be done away with and the corporates would be in a position to decide who will get what and how much. The food distribution system will be in their (corporate) hands. The people falling below the poverty line would not be able to get the necessary foods at a rate affordable to them.

Image source: Diljit Dosanjh/Twitter

These points beg the question, why has the government come up with these ordinances and who will be served through these? The laws have to be seen in progression with the imperialist assault on the Indian people from the times of transfer of power in 1947. The neo-colonial strategy of export of capital in oppressed countries in order to exploit the resources of these countries for the sake of capital multiplication has been seen from 1947.

Imperial powers like the US and Russia, particularly US capitalism, have exploited many oppressed countries for the sake of their capital. We all know that millions of people have been displaced from their land and away from their resources through the inflow of such capital in our country. When the capital in these imperialist powers are in crisis they come down heavily upon the resources of the oppressed countries, they exploit the labour of these countries and snatched the jal, jungle, and the zameen (water, forests, and land) of the people.

In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the imperialist capital has faced an unprecedented crisis and hence, I strongly feel the assault on the oppressed countries like India has escalated like never before. In the month of July 2020, the Indian government signed an agro-business deal with the US according to which, India is to open up its farm market to US capitalists. And thus, the three laws are but the rightful culmination of the already signed pact. The Indian state shamefully accepted such a humiliating agreement. The Indian state has blatantly sold the agrarian space to these powers. Ambani and Adani conglomerates, who I feel stand to serve US imperialism and capitalism, will certainly bear the sweetest fruit of this agreement.

So what we see at the protest in the borders of Delhi is an unprecedented unity among the patriotic section of peasants, workers and the petty bourgeoisie class. The border is a line that divides the patriotic section of the masses from those who are pro-imperialism. The struggle against the three farm ordinances is the struggle for the national liberation from imperialism.

Himachal Pradesh has a rugged terrain in which production of rice, pulse and wheat is quite less than the actual demand of the people in such a condition the government procurement and distribution through PDS helped people get their necessary nutrient needs. About 34 lakh household depends on the foods from PDS, so their survival would be ruined once the PDS is destroyed. They would be left at the mercy of few monopolies working under the garb of the free market.

Image source: Twitter

Similarly, the farmers of maize in Himachal had to suffer great loss because of the failure of rain. At such time the presence of MSP system would have ensured that the government takes the products of the farmers at a fixed rate. But instead of ensuring that MSP and mandi system is bolstered and improved on, the government has done all that which was necessary to ruin the farmers in order to please the imperialist ‘masters’.

So far, about 15 farmers have died protesting this assault on their livelihood, but the government is not heeding their demands to repeal the ordinances. Such a defiant act of the government is obviously rooted in support from the global capital. Apart from India, imperialism is working with such a mission in other countries too.

Peru is an example. Here too the Peruvian government sought to increase agricultural exports and give exporters tax breaks. But the people opposed the law they realised that the law would provide an upper hand to corporates in deciding the price and can easily exploit them. Realising this, they blocked the highways, the government opened fire, one farmer was killed, but the law was finally repealed. The time is high to derive lessons from the success of Peruvian farmers and for us to rise and smash the three draconian laws.

Featured image credit: Image credit: Navneet Singh/Instagram
You must be to comment.
  1. Abhinav Dixit

    A highly surface level analysis. Completely ignores the structural deformities.
    A) The PDS and the Essential Commodities Act only cover a few things, and even that will not be replaced.
    B) The procurement at MSP is not unlimited. Happens only for 6% of the farmers. Rest engage in pvt transactions. Legitimising such private transactions will only bring more wealth, which is otherwise constrained in the garb of stupid legislations and eaten up by middlemen.
    C) “Where this has been applied” Sir please enlighten us with specific examples. For one, I’ll tell you that BT Cotton was able to break out from stupid state regulations and within two decades, a country barely self sufficient in Cotton is the second largest exporter.
    D) India needs to liberalise rn. We can’t compete in the International Market with such stats. 50% of our population js engaged in Agri, while the figure is in single digits in developed countries. We have the highest sugarcane production in the world but cannot sell anything out because we have prices at which no one shall buy.
    E) Post these, the farm land holdings reforms need to take place. For one, India needs less farmers. Stop romanticizing villages. As a person who has grown up in a village, I’ll tell you no one from the village society despises urbanisation. Ambedkar said this years ago.
    F) MSPs are but a temporary shaft.

    Lastly, shame on everyone who thinks they are an activist but instead are just using farmers for their political dividends. You won’t be able to grow leaving 50% of your countrymen behind

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