Support the “Bharat Bandh” or country wide shut down called by farmer organizations

A large part of the population in India is linked with the agriculture sector. This sector contributes 17 percent of the Indian GDP. But working conditions in the agriculture sector have not developed under capitalism and are worsening every passing day. The farmers are being pushed into further debt-traps because of the policies of liberalisation and privatisation under successive capitalist governments. There has been a general decline of living standards for farmers under the rotten capitalist system, with farmers being forced to live at the mercy of traders and multi–national corporations for their survival. The Farm Bills passed recently by the parliament are a big blow for the farmers, who were already living in miserable conditions and thousands of whom each year are opting for suicide across the country.

These new bills, rather than benefitting farmers, will only fill the pockets of multi–national corporations. The Farm Bills will enable farmers to sell outside the Agricultural produce market committee (APMC) and state controlled markets, but instead of aiding farmers this will replace middlemen with corporate monopolies. They will be left at the mercy of big business. The minimum support prices (MSP) set by the state for the commodities have not been included in the new legislation and this will drive farmers into further poverty as they will be forced to sell below even the cost of production by the players controlling the market. The amendments to the Essential Food Commodities Act would lead to hoarding of potatoes, pulses, onion, rice and other essential food items by the big market players leading to further exploitation of the masses. This will cause increases in food prices, which are already astronomically high, and threaten the food security of the majority of people. These bills clearly show that the Modi government has the utmost contempt and disregard for the interests of working masses.

The privatisation & liberalisation of agriculture sector has accelerated under Modi regime. There has been no end to farmer suicides which are increasing with time. In the state of Maharashtra there are 300 farmer suicides every month and 1000 in India as a whole.  Apart from this, the Modi government is bringing in hydrocarbon and methane exploration projects in states like Tamil Nadu, which would lead to further exploitation of farm lands for corporate profit.  Successive capitalist governments in the last decades, from the Indian National Congress to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have only aggravated the poverty of farmers and peasant laborers. Now, however, there are huge protests, sit-ins and strikes by farmers all over India against the pro-corporate Farm Bills passed by the Modi government.

Modi repression image satish acharyaThe Modi government is using various measures to break this movement / Image: Satish Acharya

The farmers' organisations in India like AIKSCC (The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee) and others are continuing the indefinite strike which started on November 26. The march to Delhi by farmers from all over the country has put the Modi government under immense pressure, but still the government is using various measures to break this movement. The government first tried to crush this movement by repression and using police and paramilitary forces to attack the protestors with baton charge, water cannons and tear gas in which some farmers were killed and many others got injured. Later, they tried to break the unity of farmers through dirty tactics and involved them in farcical negotiations which have not solved anything up till now. The farmers have so far stuck to their demands to repeal pro–corporate Farm Bills and waive all loans. Tens of thousands of farmers have besieged the Indian capital, Delhi. They have blocked all entry points to Delhi especially the Singhu and Tikri borders. The farcical negotiations by the Modi government are a ploy to dilute the farmers' strike. Corporate media is also playing a dirty role to malign the genuine struggle of farmers by blaming them for being anti-nationals, separatists or any other malicious label they can invent. But despite all these attacks, the struggle of the farmers continues.

Now the farmers unions have called for a Bharat Bandh or national shutdown on December 8. The trade unions and left parties have also extended their support for this call and are participating in big numbers tomorrow to shut down the whole country for their demands.

Comrades of the IMT in India extend their complete support and solidarity to the protests of farmers and peasantry. There is no solution for the farmers' problems under capitalism or within the walls of the parliament. We firmly believe that an indefinite strike organized by farmers and workers together should be the next step to achieve all their demands. This strike will also be an important milestone in the struggle against capitalism in India and will pave the way for the overthrowing of the rotten capitalist system and its replacement with a workers' state and a socialist planned economy under workers' and peasants' control. This alone will solve all the crises of the working masses of India and will lead them to prosperity and happiness.

Stop farmer suicides! Stop the increase in food prices! Ensure food security!

No to pro-corporate Farm Bills!

All farmers' loans should be waived!

Provide a minimum support price to farm products!

No to hydrocarbon or methane exploration projects in agricultural lands!

Repeal electricity bill 2020!

Provide land, housing, social security to landless peasant labourers!

Expropriate the monopoly agriculture industries!

For an indefinite general strike

Overthrow the Modi regime! 

Long live worker and peasant unity!

For a socialist revolution!

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