Indian farmers strike

April 2024 Forums General discussion Indian farmers strike

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    I’ve heard it described as the biggest strike in history:

    “At least 15 opposition parties have backed the call for the strike. Tens of thousands of farmers have laid siege to capital Delhi for the last 12 days, choking almost all the entry points. There is also heavy police deployment along border checkpoints.

    “The governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said the reforms, which allow private players a greater role in the farming sector, will not hurt farmers’ incomes.”

    It does seem to be a bait and switch, allow farmers out of the state controlled markets now, so they can take advantage of higher prices, and then remove the price floor in the state sector later.

    According to the WSWS Trots:

    “These measures include three agricultural bills that are the focus of the farmers’ agitation, and a “reform” of the labour code. The latter illegalizes most worker job action, promotes precarious contract-labour employment, and guts restrictions on mass layoffs and plant closures.”

    Of course, Stalinist parties are rallying to the bourgeoisie…

    Delhi is apparently under siege, and this does seem to be a huge rural movement.  Whether it will rock the BJP is another matter…


    And the 14 million gods and the nationalist  Hinduism have not eliminated the poverty of millions of peoples


    Go on, since I’ve been quoting American trots, lets quote Indian Maoists:

    “The people of the country have observed a near-complete General Strike and there has been a massive outpouring of peoples’ opposition to the Central Govt’s adamant attitude and rigidity towards the just and genuine demands of farmers to save their livelihood means from being captured by big corporate and MNCs.”

    Lets of talk about brining cities to standstill, and support from workers: but they would say that, wouldn’t they.


    This bandh is not exceptional although it has record number of participants. Cross-union solidarity strikes particularly against the national government has been a favoured strategy for many years.

    India has always been very state-capitalist since independence but has increasingly relaxed the government control under pressure from the reality of international capital.

    Will it reduce hindutva? We should mention the new law aimed at discouraging mixed marriages between hindu women  and muslim men, called  “love jihadism”

    J Surman

    Direct from India cover this topic (and more) daily.


    Receiving less attention is the farmers protests in Peru, over much the same issues.

    Cracks Appear in Peru’s Neoliberal Agriculture | Dissident Voice


    An interesting Marxistante article on the Indian situation:
    “In summary, this is a powerful movement that has challenged the Modi government, as few other movements have been able to do. Since it is an explicitly class-based movement, it is more difficult to demonize than many of the social movements that have preceded it. The prime minister has gone from saying “the Opposition is misleading some farmers” to “I beg with folded hands, come and discuss these acts with us”. The agitation shows us that the peasantry in India is still strong and must form the backbone of any transformative political project.”


    Over a number of years, Colin Todhunter, has been writing on Indian farming. Mostly from an anti-GMO, anti-Monsanto perspective but that should not deter those interested in India’s rural problems as he includes many other important facts and data.

    Also a useful read is the prominent Indian eco-activist, Vandana Shiva, especially on the suicide rates of poor Indian farmers and the causes.

    Libcom have posted a list of resources on the farmers campaign here


    Again negotiations have broken down with the farmers rejecting a government offer of suspending the reforms for a year and a half – seen as a ploy of disrupting the successful momentum of the protests and dividing the protesters.

    Expect a show of strength from the farmers on the 26th – a public holiday to mark the adoption of India’s constitiution


    A useful read by Colin Todhunter

    Indian Farmers on the Frontline Against Global Capitalism

    per day, each cow in Europe receives subsidy worth more than an Indian farmer’s daily income.

    And another by him

    Farmers’ Protests Reflect Existential Crisis of Indian Agriculture

    the richer countries are applying enormous pressure on India to scrap its meagre agricultural subsidies; yet their own subsidies are vast multiples of India’s.


    In itself, encouraging 400 million to move out of agriculture and into cities is probably a good thing: if done with consent and inducement rather than with force, although in this case I suspect it’ll be into low wage employment and mega slums. Isn’t that basically what has happened in China?

    J Surman

    YMS ‘encouraging 400 million to move out of agriculture and into cities is probably a good thing’
    What is your rationale for this statement? Urbanisation is certainly not part of what the farmers are protesting about. They are not being given a voice on how agriculture should be organised, being largely shut out of any discussion, knowing that mega corporations are chomping at the bit for more profit.
    I can’t imagine that the majority of those looking ahead with some idea of dismantling capitalism would not wish to support diversity in every area and that means having a voice and expectation of being listened to. Colin Todhunter is one of the best writers on the Indian farmers topic, but Countercurrents has a daily selection of writers from different states.


    One of those articles claims it’s an underlying aim of the government. In itself, cities have better health outcomes and have energy/environment and other benefits, but my point was it should be through choice not force.


    I think we should be fully aware that there is an on-going global land-grab including in India taking place and more often than not it is by force…not necessasrily by the point of the bayonet but the choice of employment or hunger. Hence the migration of rural populations into the cities to find work.

    Our blog recently posted that the richest 10% of the rural population control over 60% of land assets, while the poorest 50% own just over 3%.

    And earlier posted the story that one per cent of the world’s farms operate, directly or indirectly 70% of crop fields, ranches and orchards. In Latin America, where the poorest 50% of people owned just 1% of the land.

    And this land-grab is not producing more food for people but to develop monoculture plantations soya, palm oil ets. Often it is for food for livestock or for ethanol fuel.

    Those small family farmers being displaced are the food producers. It leads to food importation and that raises the cost of living. Africa is a prime example.

    I view the Indian farmers strike as part of the wider issue of food sovereignty and food security. It is a lot more than just protecting their income.

    Nor is it merely a undeveloped or developing country’s problem but one that is being faced by farming in the developed world too.

    As for the trend in China, the demographic imbalance in rural districts are recognised as detrimental. Younger population migrating to industrial regions leaving the farms to an older generation, frequently unable to work the farms productively.

    YMS, is your point that urbanisation is a positive trend if conducted democratically and peacefully?

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