The WTO Threatens The Farmers’ Victory — Unless We Resist

The ministerial level meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will take place from November 30 to December 3. Generally, during such meetings, imperialist countries pressure developing countries to abolish their agricultural subsidies according to the policies of “free trade.” The new agricultural laws [the BJP’s neoliberalizing reforms against which the farmers’ movement struggled] were a result of the dictates of such meetings.

Even now, the [farmers’ movement’s] demands pertaining to the legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP), the state purchase of crops, and the legal guarantee of the Public Distribution System (PDS) stand in direct contradiction to the dictates of the WTO. Indian rulers have already committed there, in writing, not to guarantee MSP, and the coming meeting is destined to bring more of the same.

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‘Fortress Conservation’ Is Driving Us From Our Homes

Kaziranga is also a World Heritage site recognized by UNESCO and listed as a global hotspot of biodiversity by the IUCN. However, all that is under threat thanks to an increasingly militarized form of conservation. This is being promoted by the Indian Forest Department, in a feudal, colonial setup, assisted by large international and national NGOs. A flawed and exploitative idea has emerged: the plan to turn 30 per cent of the world’s surface into Protected Areas by 2030 (30×30). This idea, being pushed by the IUCN, has been greenwashed, whitewashed and sold to the world, alongside ‘nature-based solutions’ (NBS), as a way to solve climate change.

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India’s Farmers Win On Many Fronts, Media Fails On All

Farmers of all kinds, men and women – including from Adivasi and Dalit communities – played a crucial role in this country’s struggle for freedom. And in the 75th year of our Independence, the farmers at Delhi’s gates reiterated the spirit of that great struggle.

Prime Minister Modi has announced he is backing off and repealing the farm laws in the upcoming winter session of Parliament starting on the 29th of this month. He says he is doing so after failing to persuade ‘a section of farmers despite best efforts’.  Just a section, mind you, that he could not convince to accept that the three discredited farm laws were really good for them. Not a word on, or for, the over 600 farmers who have died in the course of this historic struggle.

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This Victory Gives Confidence For Future Struggles

On 19 November 2021, a week before the first anniversary of the farmers’ revolt, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi surrendered. He accepted that the three laws on agricultural markets that had been pushed through the parliament in 2020 would be repealed. The farmers of India had won. The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), one of the organisers of the protest movement, celebrated the triumph and declared that ‘this victory gives more confidence for future struggles’.

Many pressing struggles remain, including the fight for a law to guarantee a minimum support price that is one and a half times the cost of production for all crops of all farmers. The failure to address this, the AIKS notes, ‘aggravated the agrarian crisis and led to the suicide of over [400,000] farmers in the last 25 years’.

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Salute To India’s Farmers! A Big Win For Peoples’ Power!

In a big win for India’s protesting farmers, who were leading a historic agitation for nearly a year, the Government of India – on the 19th of November – announced the repeal of three controversial farm laws that threatened to corporatize the country’s agricultural sector. It is an inspirational account of what peoples’ power can achieve even in the most adverse conditions.

The Indian farmers’ protest, one of the largest mobilizations in recent history, completes a year on 26th November 2021. In the course of this historic protest, peasants and workers have braved harsh winters, heavy rains, brutal crackdowns and a wave of campaigns that tried to criminalize, imprison, defame and delegitimize the protestors and their supporters.

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Indian Farmers Defend The Rights Of Farmers Everywhere

On November 19, 2021, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi said, “[W]e have decided to repeal all three agricultural laws.” The prime minister was referring to the three agriculture laws that were rushed through the parliament in 2020. During his speech to announce the rollback, Modi told the farmers that they “should return to [their] homes, fields and to [their] families. Let’s make a fresh start.” At no point did Modi admit that his government had passed laws that would negatively impact the farmers, who have spent a year protesting the laws thrust upon them.

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Indian Government Forced To Withdraw Farm Laws

After fighting for almost a year, farmers in India finally won a victory against the three farms laws enacted by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government last year. Prime minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday, November 19, that the three laws would be repealed and all legal processes related to the matter will be completed during the upcoming session of parliament.

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Women Hold Up More Than Half The Sky

The farmers’ protests, which began in October 2020, are a sign of the clarity with which farmers have reacted to the agrarian crisis and to the three laws that will only deepen the crisis. No attempt by the government – including trying to incite farmers along religious lines – has succeeded in breaking the farmers’ unity. There is a new generation that has learned to resist, and they are prepared to take their fight across India.

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India Farmer Protests Shut Down Main Roads As ‘National Strike’ Called

Thousands of Indian farmers blocked traffic on major roads and railway lines in the national capital Delhi on Monday as they marked one year since the passage of the federal government’s contentious agricultural laws.

The farmers called for a nationwide strike to renew their protests against the “black laws” that they believe will bring an end to their livelihood, demonstrations that first began 10 months ago. The government says the changes will benefit farmers, but unions fear they could take away the protections provided by state-run markets.

“The strike was observed in several parts of the country from Kerala in the south to West Bengal in the east,” Hannan Mollah, general secretary of the All Indian Kisan Sabha, told The Independent. “Farmers in Maharashtra, Telangana, Tripura and Bihar also took part in the strike.”

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Indian Farmers’ Struggle: The Past Ten Months

As farmers and workers in India observe a countrywide shutdown, here is a look at the past 10 months of the struggle against the three agricultural laws passed by the Narendra Modi government.

On September 27, Indian farmers’ organizations and trade unions are holding a country-wide shutdown demanding the withdrawal of the three agricultural laws and other anti-farmer and anti-worker measures. We take a look at the key milestones of the past 10 months of the farmers’ struggle.

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25 Years Of Kerala’s ‘People’s Plan’

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) of the south Indian State of Kerala, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), came to power for the second consecutive time in April this year, securing 99 out of 140 seats in the State Legislative Assembly. This victory broke a 40-year-old trend of incumbents losing the elections. One of the key factors behind this victory was the successful response of the government to natural disasters, such as floods, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The highlight of this response was a community-centered approach with thorough people’s participation.

People’s participation has been a feature of many other important initiatives in the State too. The ‘Public Library Movement’ helped set up reading rooms and little libraries while the ‘Literacy Movement’ contributed to Kerala becoming the most literate State in the country.

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The Sound Of His Approaching Step Wakes Me And I See My Land’s Deprivation

On Wednesday, 8 September, party workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India’s ruling political party, attacked three buildings in the Melarmath area of Agartala (Tripura). These attacks targeted the offices of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the communist newspaper Daily Deshar Katha, and two private media houses Pratibadi Kalam and PN-24. The violence took place in broad daylight as the police stood by and watched. Across Tripura, fifty-four other offices of the communists were attacked.

The Communist Party – CPI(M) – and the media houses had been critical of the BJP-led state government. The CPI(M) and other organisations took to the streets to protest a range of policies; these protests have drawn considerable support from the population.

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Amazon And The Destruction Of Competition And Livelihoods

Global corporations are colonising India’s retail space through e-commerce and destroying small-scale physical retail and millions of livelihoods. Walmart entered into India in 2016 with a US$3.3 billion take-over of the online retail start-up Jet.com. This was followed in 2018 with a US$16 billion take-over of India’s largest online retail platform, Flipkart. Today, Walmart and Amazon control almost two thirds of India’s digital retail sector.

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Garment Workers In Bangladesh Forced To Return To Factories

Despite a strict lockdown, at least four million garment workers in Bangladesh were ordered to resume work from Sunday, August 1. The announcement made two day earlier led to thousands of workers rushing back to major production centers in overcrowded trains and buses due to the threat of job loss, increasing the risk of COVID-19 spread. A large number of workers complained of paying more than the normal rates for transportation, which was resumed by the government only on July 31.

On July 30, the Sheikh Hasina-led government issued a notice allowing garment export factories to resume operations. Following this, garment workers were seen returning to major cities from their villages in overcrowded trucks, ferries and other means of transportation. Several others traveled on foot.

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Indian Farmers’ Protest Completes 200 Days

Early January this year, while responding to a journalist’s query about the perseverance displayed by India’s farmers even after several rounds of failed negotiations with the Government of India, Rakesh Tikait of Bhartiya Kisan Union had evoked the everyday struggle of a peasant in the field.

“Resilience is in our blood. Every year after sowing seeds, we wait patiently for months on end to reap the harvest. It is back-breaking work in difficult conditions. Often, a drought or an untimely hailstorm wreaks it all and smashes all our hopes for a better yield and income. Yet, we persist. We do not give up. We do not run away. Come winter, and we plant again. In one village of Rajasthan, my people have waited 12 long years for rains. Farmers are the epitome of patience. Our farm is our life.

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