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Updates from CPI (ML) Red Star January 2021

CPI (ML) Red Star Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Star, January 2021


  1. Herald the New Year by Intensifying Countrywide Solidarity Movement in support of Farmers’ Struggle!

We are bidding farewell to 2020, and heralding the new year at a very critical time. During 2020 at international level many people’s movements were taking place against the intensifying economic crisis, together the advent of neo-fascist governments in a number of countries. Then the Covid19 pandemic paralysed the world and the economic crisis became more serious. As the whole burden of all these were thrown over to the backs of the toiling and oppressed masses, they were further impoverished. Along with this they are more dis-empowered through draconian laws imposed using the Covid as a cover. In the process of suppressing people’s upsurges, to serve the neoliberal/corporate forces, in more countries neo-fascist rulers have come to power. Though the defeat of Trump in the US elections was a welcome development, in other countries the situation is becoming more challenging for the people. In this situation, even in providing the newly developed vaccines to all people, when the number of Covid patients is increasing everyday, there is no transparency. The reactionary governments are creating a situation when the corporate forces who develop these vaccines can reap fabulous fortune at the cost of people. In this situation, as the ICOR has called, the progressive forces should come forward to strengthen the International Anti-Imperialist, Anti- Fascist United Front, demand that all the vaccines developed in various countries should be provided free to all the people, without allowing the corporates to loot the people. Similarly, as the Covid 19 virus is undergoing mutation and new, more dangerous viruses are surfacing ceating more havoc as is happening in Britain now, the governments should be asked to take responsibility to ease the burden on the masses of people, to provide free treatment and economic assistance to them and more efficient methods for providing vaccines to all people very fast. But as many of the neo-fascists in power like Bolsenaro in Brazil are intensifying their anti-people policies rejecting these demands, worldwide revolts against imperialist forces and their junior partners for socialism is the need of the time.

2020 started amidst in a militant atmosphere in India when masses of the people were heroically fighting against the Citizenship Amendment Act imposed by Modi rule as part of its efforts to whip up Islamophobia. When the first case of Covid was detected in India, for almost two months, like other neo-fascists in power in a number of countries did, Modi govt neglected it, without taking any steps to prevent its spreading. At the same time it was used to cover up the already visible economic crisis and joblessness, and to suppress the Anti-CAA/NPR movement. Then, by abruptly announcing a lockdown, tens of millions of workers were made jobless and shelterless, throwing them to great difficulties. Still Modi govt did not come to their rescue. Along with serious lapses in organizing the medical sector for facing the pandemic, no packages to help the affected people were provided, but all incentives were given to the corporates and the elites. Though the testing was limited to just 5% of the people, already more than 1 crore of people are affected. The economy which faced a severe contraction is now facing acute downfall. In spite of it, Modi went for throwing out all the eisting labor laws and replacing it with 4 labor codes to attract investors. Three Farm Acts were imposed through an ordinance and later bulldozed through the parliament for corporatization of agriculture, the National Education Policy 2020 was introduced for corporatization and saffronization of education along with other anti-people steps to take neoliberal/corporate polcies to their peak. It was an arrogant fascist challenge against people, using the pandemic as a cover. But, exposing all mis-information campaign of Modi, the farmers’ struggle that startd in Punjab as soon as the ordinance was issued, has taken an all India form with almost half million farmers marching and occupying the main roads leading to Delhi as they were prevented from entering the capital. While the neo-fascist Modi rule refuse to accept the demand of the farmers to repeal the 3 farm acts,more and more farmers are marching to besiege the capital indefinitely. All the revolutionary left foces including CPI(ML) Red Star and the working class, all oppressed classes and sections, along with all anti- BJP political and social forces are actively extending solidarity and supporting this movement spearheaded by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordintion Committee of more than 500 farmers’ organizations (AIKSCC). Though the Modi-Shah team is engaged in viciously vilifying and dividing this movement, it is getting increasingly strengthened putting forward its anti-imperilist, patriotic demand to repeal corporatization of agriculture. Similar to the Anti-CAA, NPR movement, in all states centers are coming up in support of this farmers’ Gherao of the national capital. It is a great beginning for 2021, pregnant with great possibilities!

  1. Farm Laws Laying Red Carpet for Agribusiness and Agricultural Corporatization :-

P J James

Millions of agitating farmers have laid an unprecedented siege on Indian capital, New Delhi demanding unconditional repeal of the three pro-corporate farm laws – the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. They have even demanded a special session of the Indian parliament to accomplish this without delay. In spite of the government’s willingness to bring about certain amendments such as ensuring of safeguards against land alienation via contract farming, strengthening state-run mandi system, allowing grievance redress in civil courts, etc., in the absence of a legal guarantee on the part of the Modi regime for strengthening the mandis and minimum support price (MSP) system and safeguards against the entry of corporate agribusiness, the peasants are determined to carry forward their struggle without any let up. Of course, Modi government’s intention to bring out a new set of farm laws was mentioned by Nirmala Sitharaman in May 2020 while proposing the third tranche of the Rs. 20 lakh crore pro-corporate “fiscal stimulus” package of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”. It was in continuation of this that on June 5th 2020 the government issued Ordinances opening up India’s agricultural sector to global corporates and their Indian cronies like Ambani and Adani. And using COVID as a cover, without pursuing any of the established parliamentary procedures, the hurriedly convened parliament meeting in September converted the three Ordinances in to Acts.

Among these draconian laws, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, aims at establishing free trade or barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of the agricultural markets or mandis under the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) established by state governments. That is, under the Act, freedom is given to farmers to sell outside the mandi area. The government claims that such free movement will allow the farmers to link themselves with the vast Indian and global markets and get a better price for their produce from markets outside the mandi area. However, it would be practically impossible for the marginal and small peasants with per capita land ownership of less than 2 hectares comprising more than 86.2 per cent of Indian peasantry to take their farm produce to different states and markets even at higher prices, as they are devoid of any transport facilities and already being tied up with local money lenders. In such a situation, elimination of mandis in the guise of liberating peasants from “mandi middlemen” is nothing but leaving the local agricultural markets to be pried open by corporate businesses and black marketers. After all, as everybody knows, the mandi system operates only in a few states and majority of the farmers are at the mercy of private traders. However, in spite of many drawbacks, it is the system of APMCs and mandis that have enabled the farmers of Punjab and other states to maintain a minimum standard of living as they are getting stable income through MSPs. What is required is to strengthen the regulatory mechanism rather than demolishing it.

The second, viz., the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 claims that it will “empower farmers for engaging with processors, wholesalers, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters etc., on a level playing field without any fear of exploitation. It will transfer the risk of market unpredictability from the farmer to the sponsor and also enable the farmer to access modern technology and better inputs. It will reduce cost of marketing and improve income of farmers.” The obvious agenda behind this claim is to open up the avenues for contract farming and speed up the corporate take-over of the entire agriculture including corporatisation of land itself. The farmers, on the other hand, will not be able to bargain or compete with the big corporates and eventually turn into their slaves. According to this Act, the farmers are forbidden to seek justice through civil courts from violations of agreement by corporate agribusiness. Instead of involving the judicial system for rectifying legal violations by big companies, the Modi government has entrusted the task with joint secretaries and district magistrates, which is nothing but an ingenious move towards corporate-bureaucrat nexus. Leaving dispute settlement to bureaucracy, in effect, is a violation of the legal system and rule of law itself.

And the third Law, viz., the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, removes food grains and other essentials of life from the list of Essential Commodities altogether. Abolition of state control over Essential Commodities by this obnoxious law is eulogised by Modi regime as “the freedom to produce, hold, move, distribute and supply will lead to harnessing of economies of scale and attract private sector/foreign direct investment into agriculture sector. It will help drive up investment in cold storages and modernisation of food supply chain.” This Act throws open unfettered freedom for the big corporate houses to hoard and stock food grains leading to artificial shortage and accumulation of speculative profit. This amendment to the Essential Commodities Act will also allow speculative hoarding and future trading of food grains by Ambani and Adani-like speculators. It is not against the farming community alone. Together with government withdrawal from food procurement (FCI warehouses are already taken over by Ambanis and Adanis), even the namesake public distribution system in the country will become meaningless through the first two laws. Abolition of Essential Commodities Act will allow corporate retailers through their nation-wide network of retail outlets to wipe out the 50 million small and petty retailers and kirana shops upon which roughly 200 million people of India depend for their sustenance.

As a facilitator of the most corrupt corporate-crony capital in India, and perfectly in tune with logic of corporate capital, the far-right Modi regime has superimposed the farm laws in a fascistic manner without adhering to the usual parliamentary debates and procedures, or even subjecting them to the standing committees and consultative mechanisms of parliament. No consultation was there with political parties or farmers’ organisations and even the State governments were completely sidelined and their opinion was not sought despite agriculture being in the State list as per the Constitution. As many constitutional experts have pointed out, the farm laws are “unconstitutional” and “illegal”. Demolition of mandis and APMCs till controlled by State governments is tantamount to taking over State’s federal powers. Though in a different form, the same methodology was pursued in superimposing the GST, the biggest neoliberal tax reform that took away the States’ federal right of resource mobilization after entrusting country’s economy with corporate big businesses who control the unified pan-Indian market for goods and services.

Today Bihar is a typical example to grasp about the consequences of abolishing APMCs and unleashing private corporate sector on trade in agriculture. It was in 2006 that the Nitish Kumar government repealed the APMC Act in 2006. The declared objective of APMC abolition in Bihar was to ensure better prices for farmers in the state and attract larger sums of private investment in developing state-wide agricultural infrastructure such as cold storages, warehouses, etc. However, contrary to expectations, deregulation led to an increase in storage costs in warehouses owned and operated by private traders, and the prices received by farmers also went down substantially. Often, farmers on account of immediate cash needs were compelled to sell much of their paddy, wheat, maize, mustard and even banana at throwaway prices to private traders, while farmers have completely lost whatever little control they had in the marketing boards of erstwhile APMCs. Earlier, while marketing committees in APMCs could monitor trade, tax collection for government, etc. Though PACS (Primary Agriculture Credit Society) were there for procuring food grains at MSP, the government did not maintain them with adequate support. Money lenders and middlemen could easily take advantage of the situation and often bought crops at prices that was even below 25 percent of prevailing MSP. To be precise, abolition of APMCs has brought back the system of money lending and usurer financing in Bihar agriculture in more intensified manner.

In this context, Modi regime’s superimposition of privatization-corporatisation on agriculture in the guise of farmers’ freedom is in contravention of the perspective upheld by all those who are concerned with the sustenance of Indian farming community. For, the National Commission on Agriculture had in 1976 in its Report suggested that every Indian farmer should have access to a mandi controlled by the respective Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee. It found that only 29 percent of paddy and 44 percent of wheat produced in the country was sold in mandis established by State governments and hence asked the central government to take appropriate steps to increase the number of mandis from 4145 (in 1976, the year in which the Report was prepared) to at least 41000 so as to reduce the average area served by a mandi to 80 sq. km. But India had only 6630 mandis spread across 18 states in 2019 with an average area served of 463 sq. km. In fact, even government circles in 2017 were of the view that India should have at least 10130 mandis. Moreover, though government website claims the prevalence of MSP system for 27 items including 7 cereals, 5 pulses and 8 oil seeds, in practice, only a few items like paddy, wheat, sugarcane, etc. that too only in a few States come under this procurement. Moreover, experience has brought out many loopholes of the existing mandi system since in many cases, payment of MSP for notified commodities even inside designated mandis is not mandatory.

On the other hand, with its far-right economic orientation, since its ascendance in mid-2014, the Modi government has been keen to open up India’s vast agriculture sector to corporate capital. For instance, in November 2019, the Union Finance Minister without any qualm stated that the APMC system has “served its purpose” and the State governments should “reject” and “dismantle” mandis. In continuation of this, when COVID-19 came, taking it as an opportunity, the NITI Aayog had recommended to the government that the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act be kept in suspended animation in view of the Covid-19 outbreak. And as noted earlier, Finance Minister’s announcement for corporatizing agriculture as part of ‘Atmanirbhar’ was in continuation of this. The NITI Aayog had suggested its implementation across states even through the ordinance route “to ease pressure on farmers” and ensure smooth supply of farming goods.

It is in tune with this proposal that, the June ordinances came and Modi started, including in his ‘Manki Bat’, regularly speaking about liberating farmers from the clutches of mandis and APMCs that deny them the higher prices prevailing outside regulated markets. Therefore, whatever be the Modi government’s assurances on support price and mandis, they are only for hoodwinking the farmers. And the agitating peasants are able to realize the essence of his hollow promises (Modi’s promise in 2014 was of doubling farmers income within 5 years; instead what happened was its halving, whereas the wealth of Ambanis and Adanis, Modi’s closest Gujarati friends and the biggest Indian corporates quadrupled during 2014-19), as the stage is already set for unbridled penetration of global and Indian corporate agri-businesses as well as retail giants into all aspects of agriculture including control over land and input-output markets, encompassing production, processing, storage and trade. Once mandis and MSP are demolished, Ambanis and Adanis, for whom Modi had already leased out FCI infrastructures including land and go-downs in many parts of the country, will be in complete control of everything connected with food grains market. Private trains owned by retail giants including Ambanis and Adanis hence forth will carry food grains and essential agricultural items directly procured from farms controlled by them to be hoarded in their go-downs in strategic locations to be sold at inflated prices through commodity markets and retail outlets under their firm control. It is this political understanding on the corporate undertones behind Modi’s Farm laws that prompts the agitating peasants to target the business establishments of Ambani and Adani. Coupled with corporatisation of farming and repeal of 1955 Essential Commodities Act, the unleashing of corporate forces over everything connected with agriculture envisage the death knell for farmers, retail traders, working class and all toiling masses in the country.

The three farm laws--superimposing corporate raj or corporate take-over of the entire Indian agriculture and abolishing even namesake guarantee of minimum prices to farmers, facilitating hoarding and black marketing and speculation/futures trade in agricultural commodities, laying red carpet for uncontrolled entry of corporate agribusiness to farm sector, eventually leading to corporate land acquisition and hitherto unknown levels of displacement of the peasantry from agriculture—have now become the biggest offensives against Indian people by Modi govt. If the farm laws are not resisted and defeated, there is the likelihood of Modi once again bringing back the notorious Land Acquisition legislation that was abandoned in 2015 in view of people’s resistance. The outcome of all these will be an uninterrupted mass exodus of the displaced millions from the countryside to be deployed at the cheapest wage in informal/unorganized sectors subcontracted by corporate financiers and speculators in urban and semi-urban centers.

Of course, the international dimensions of Modi’s targeting of agriculture are also important. In continuation of the market access provisions and global integration of agricultural markets as per the provisions of the Agreement on Agriculture at WTO, which was further revised in 2015, member countries are bound to remove all barriers to free trade in agriculture. And together with the latest Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of WTO, World Bank and IMF at the behest of agribusiness MNCs have been pressurizing Modi for an aggressive rolling back of all kinds of public intervention in agricultural market including MSP schemes. The US Department of Agriculture is reported to have expressed its happiness over Modi’s Farm Laws as they envisage new opportunities for American agribusiness corporations. While the percent of population depending on agriculture in developed countries where agriculture has already been corporatized now hovers around 2 percent, in India it is still around 50 percent. According to the advice of far- right neoliberal centres, Modi regime is engaged in removing this ‘anomaly’ by forcible transformation of subsistence agriculture to corporate farming.

On the other hand, imperialist powers such as US and EU have their country-specific rules and regulations to protect their agriculture and have even succeeded to incorporate specific clauses to that effect in WTO provisions. However, instead of wholeheartedly uniting with other dependent countries to overcome the unequal set of rules at WTO that favour the big powers, Modi government is faithfully pursuing WTO diktats undermining India’s food security on the one hand, and destitution and displacement of 56. 7 percent of India’s total workforce and 86.08 percent of small and marginal peasants (based on 10th Agriculture Census, 2015-16) who own only 47 percent of the total crop area, on the other. Thus Modi’s farm laws are an ingenious move to superimpose agricultural corporatisation leading to not only pauperization of the entire peasantry but also the displacement of millions and millions of pauperized peasants from even their small landholdings. That’s, unprecedented displacement of rural people from agriculture, their mass exodus from country-side to urban centres and swelling in the ranks of the informal working class are imminent. Over the past two decades, on account of the crisis in agriculture- due to lack of adequate output prices, crop failure, rising input costs, debt, etc.- more than 330000 peasants had to commit suicide. While the situation under Modi, on account of anti-peasant policies, has worsened further (A source from Oxford University’s South Asia Area Studies puts the number of India’s peasant suicides at 10281 in 2019 alone), the National Crime Records Bureau has stopped releasing data on peasant suicides.

To be precise, the ongoing historic struggle by Indian farmers is not for their sustenance alone; it is for the very survival of the broad masses, for their badly needed food security. By eliminating Mandis and APMCs which are characterised as middlemen by Modi regime, the agenda is to abolish food grain procurement altogether and hand over the existing FCI infrastructure (food is rotting in FCI go downs even as people are starving to death) to corporate retail giants like Ambanis and Adanis who have already started storing food grains in warehouses owned by FCI and leased out to them, as already noted. For instance, today the turnover of Ambani, India’s biggest corporate company, from agricultural trade alone (including commodity futures trade, a euphemism for hoarding and speculation) alone is estimated at Rs. 1.6 lakh crore (which is around 25 percent of Ambani’s current wealth accumulation which also is one component in the sudden shoot up in his wealth during COVID-19 pandemic). At present Ambani’s Reliance Fresh has 625 outlets that sells more than 180000 ton vegetables in a year. Ambani’s Jio Mart has already brought 12 crore farmers, 6 crore small industries and 3 crore traders in its pan-Indian network.

Coming to the case of Adani, who had only 44 projects across India in 2013, increased them to 99 by 2018. Since 2015, like Ambani, Adani also has made huge investments in agricultural processing and now owns 40 units with a processing capacity of 16000 tons per day. Adani Agro Logistics Ltd (AALL) has evolved as the key infrastructure builder for FCI leading to its probable take-over by the former. Along this, futures trade and consequent hoarding in essential agricultural items have been introduced by the regime, even otherwise. If not resisted and defeated, the full-fledged corporatisation of agriculture will form the basis of corporate-saffron fascism leading unmanageable havoc in India.

And, as elsewhere, this no holds barred agricultural corporatisation envisaged is integrally linked up with Modi’s “digital India” or digitisation prognosis that is transforming India into a dumping ground for US digital giants like Facebook and Google through the digital platform offered by Ambani. The entire marketing arrangements under the proposed agricultural regime led by corporate agribusiness will be through digital payments or cashless transactions. Many digital and fintech tools such as Aadhaar, payment apps, debit-credit cards, and digital platforms such as Jio (as junior partner of Facebook), etc. will become mandatory for peasants to enter in to virtual transactions with agribusiness giants (Modi is systematically moving ahead with his effort to wipe out public sector bank branches from the countryside. During 2014-19 the number of public sector banks has been reduced from 27 to 12 and is to be further pruned to a maximum of 4 as envisaged by the neoliberal banking reforms and green signal for corporate-led private banks is already issued). As in the case of GST, for the smooth functioning of the proposed agricultural corporatization, the Central government is facilitating a pan-Indian national electronic trade regime with the State governments having little say in it. And the existing mandi system and traditional procurements under State administration, even if allowed to continue, will be wiped out or become insignificant as the digitized “free trade area” facilitated by the Central regime advances further. To sum up, therefore, the Indian farmers’ agitation is not confined to agriculture alone, it is a political struggle having far-reaching ramifications. It is against corporate fascism as well as against the logic of most corrupt speculative finance capital underlying it. The peasants of India who personally know the exploitative character of corporate-agribusiness better than others have unequivocally rejected Modi’ Farm Laws. They are capable enough to foresee the trap behind them and can comprehend the true essence of the so called virtues of technocratic governance proposed by Modi and his corporate-bureaucratic advisers. Therefore, it is the solemn duty of the Indian working class and all oppressed to unite and march ahead with the struggling peasants who are repeatedly demanding a full revocation and not an of the anti-peasant legislations.

  1. Firmly Stand With Farmers Struggle!

Resist, Defeat all Efforts to Vilify, Divide and Attack the Farmers’ Struggle!

On 16th December, the 21st Day of the historic farmers’ struggle, the BKU President Jagjit Singh Dallewala has once again asserted that the farmers’ unions will make the government repeal the three agricultural laws Protesting farmers numbering more than three lakhs now, and whose number is is increasing day by day in spite of increasing cold conditions have blocked the Chilla border between Delhi and Noida also on 16th morning. The police tightened security arrangements, putting up barricades and deploying additional security personnel. The Delhi- Jaipur is already closed now apart from the Singhu border where the central leaders of agitating farmers meet regularly, and the Tikri border by lakhs of farmers from Punjab and Haryana, including large number of women and children. If the government is not coming forward with the announcement to repeal the 3 Farm Acts, in coming days other roads also will be blocked, according to the AIKSCC.

These farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi from 27th November. They were blocked from entering Delhi when they reached Singhu and Tikri borders after overcoming dozens of barricades, dug out roads, water cannons, tear gas shells and lathi charge by the central and Haryana forces.. The farmers have organized this epic march to Delhi since they understand that if they do not get the these farm acts repealed, they will be denied the minimum support price mechanism, and eventually the control over their land to the corporates as the experience of the peasantry in South American countries show. So, even when Delhi is under a cold wave, more farmers and their supporters are reaching for all over the country, especially Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, MP, Gujarat etc. The farmers recognize it is a “do or die” struggle for them, and there is no compromise on their demand. This determination is visible in various ways.

Modi government which used the pandemic time to bull-doze the 3 Acts, similar to bull dozing the 4 labour codes, is visibly disturbed by this powerful farmers’ upsurge. Farmers recognize tht these farm acts will lead to complete corporatization of agriculture. Instead of bowing to the demands of the farmers’ unions, from PM Modi to central ministers and leaders of RSS/BJP have launched a vilification campaign against the movement, repeating that the farmers are ignorant and they are misled by various forces from Khalistanis to Maoists, and used by Pakistan and China. In short they are anti-nationals and terrorists!

Meanwhile, they are forcing the Supreme Court to help them, through a petition will hear a petition to remove the farmers protesting near Delhi. They hope that similar to the order against Shahin Bagh, once again the loyal CJI will come to their aid. But nobody can stop the determination of the farmers to get the Acts repealed. They expect the working class struggling against the labour codes, students against corporatization of education, youth fighting joblessness, women against patriarchy, the oppressed struggling for land and livelihood, all will support them and join the movement in coming days. The corporate/neoliberal rule of neo-ascist Modi in frantic. It and the Godi media is spreading the rumors that a blue print to arrest the protesters and clean the borders is ready and all resistance shall be suppressed as they attacked Jamia University a year ago. If Modi has any such wild plans he is playing with fire. The farmers are repeatedly warning that if they are capable to produce food for the peole, they are capable to defend themselves too. At this critical time it is the responsibility of all struggling forces to stand firmly behind the fighting masses of farmers, to defeat all evil moves of fascist Modi rule.

  1. Farmers Struggle against Corporatization of Agriculture Intensifies.

K N Ramachandran

Under the initiative of All India Kisan (farmer/peasant) Sangharsh (struggle) Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) which coordinates more than 500 farmers’ organizations from  all states of India, the  famers in India are waging a relentless struggle against the three black Acts enacted by the RSS/BJP government bulldozing them through both houses of parliament, especially through the upper house, the Rajya Sabha where a vote was not allowed even when  these bills had no majority support.  These three Acts are: 1). Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020. 2). Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020. 3.) Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. The farmers and all progressive agricultural experts like P. Sainath were repeatedly explaining, and the farmers from their experience have learned that these Acts will put an end to government procurement of agricultural products, with frequently reviewed Minimum Support Price (MSP) through Agricultural produce Marketing Cooperatives (APMCs) and will throw them to the mercy of the giant corporates. When farmers are committing suicides in big numbers in most of the states due to economic crisis already, this corporatization, they fear, shall lead to their total ruin.

In India there is a regulatory system for food distribution that has been built up since the 60s. It consists of many Government regulated market yards (APMCs) all over the country. Farmers can take their produce to such market yards to avoid being cheated by the traders. The produce is weighed and sold at a price which is fixed by open auction. Further, the Government had set up the PDS (public distribution system) which provides ration to all citizens. For this the Government had to set a MSP (minimum support price) for each product – rice, wheat, dals, etc – every year. The Government had to set up a procurement machinery. The FCI (Food Corporation of India) was set up which stores crores or tonnes of grains. Also corporations like the Warehousing corporation etc.

This was still felt to be insufficient both for the farmers and the consumers. For the farmers many commissions were set up. The Swaminathan Commission has suggested that the MSP should be fixed such that the farmer will get 50% profit over the cost of production. In fact the manifesto of the BJP in the last election had promised to implement this. For the consumers, after much struggle, under orders from the Supreme Court the Government of India has enacted, in September 2013 (effective July 2013), the National Food Security Act which promises to provide subsidized foodgrains to two thirds of the population of India. All this was also not really sufficient. Farmers in our country are still among the poorest and people are still dying of hunger.

There has always been pressure from imperialist countries, through the WTO and other organisations, on our Govt. to dismantle this system. They wanted that food should be subject to an “open” market like any other commodity. In reality they know that food is the final captive market – human beings cannot live without food – and therefore they want to control this market.

The Modi Government has enacted laws which threaten even the meagre regulatory system. Big multinational food conglomerates are to be allowed to enter the market. The rules of the APMC will now be restricted to the premises within the four walls of the market yard. Outside the market yard the big corporations will be free to enforce their own writ. The effect on the farmers will be devastating. It is not only their produce that will be looted but the big corporates will enslave them by telling them what they should grow, what seed they should use, what fertiliser, etc. These laws were made unconstitutionally by Parliament though “agriculture” is a state subject

This will not only affect farmers (and of course the agricultural workers who are dependent on them) but also workers and the common persons. With the dismantling of APMCs and large corporations like Fci, millions of jobs will be lost. With the removal of price controls food inflation which is already very high will shoot through the roof. And the effect is not only economic. With big corporations controlling our economy the very democratic fabric of our country will be affected. For example, when large Government corporations are closed and private players move in thousands of reserved jobs will be lost. In short, these bills, like the labour codes, threaten the very independence and sovreignty of India – they threaten to obliterate the poor and weak sections of society and remove the very last vestige of democratic society that may exist.

When the Congress-led UPA government had initiaited this move under pressure from the corporate forces, the farmers all over the country had started agitating and the UPA govt was forced to stop the move. The corporate like Ambani and Adani within the country, and MNCs heavily funded BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and Modi govt came to power. But, as it had no majority in the upper house, its implementation was delayed. In 2020,  in the midst of the pandemic, these three Acts were first issued as an Ordinance, without bothering for consulting the farmers’ organizations or opposition parties. Against this, the farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, where the farming is done in developed form and where they are best organized, had started protesting through various forms. Recently this same government has passed four labour codes which basically introduce "hire and fire" and remove many of the protections given to workers. Most trade unions (incuding those associated with the BJP and its partners) have been agitating against these. These were the cause of the major strike on 26th November.

On the same day in September that Parliament passed these labour codes, the three acts against farmers were also passed. Notably, the opposition had declared a boycott of parliament on that day and had called for a day of protest. All opposition parliament members were outside taking part in the protests. At such a time, these acts were pushed through both houses of parliament and made into laws.

Soon after this the AIKSCC which was formed against the Ordinance, launched state level campaigns and then various struggles while asking the central government to revoke them. At this time, the BJP government gave another blow to the farmers abolishing the subsidy they were getting for the electricity, and introduces the Electricity Bill 2020 which stipulates that the farmers also should give the pwer charges equal to industrialists. So, the agitation against the 3 Farm Acts and the Electricity Bill 2020 soon spread all over the country, and in Punjab and Haryana took massive forms. As the central government has enacted these laws in the field of agriculture, which is a state subject according to Constitution, the state governments led by opposition parties announced that they will not implement it. Still the fascist BJP government was not prepared to re-consider them. So, the AIKSC decided to give a Delhi Chalo call all organizations to send members to Delhi on 26-27 November.

Following all India campaign and public announcements when the farmers’ started marching to Delhi on 25th November, especially hundreds of thousands of them including very large number of women farmers from Punjab, who had already paralyzed the railway services through the state, at the behest of central government the BJP led Haryana govt put strong barricades, dug out the roads, and as the marchers were still moving ahead breaking all obstacles, they were water cannoned, lathi charged and hundreds of tear-gas shells were fired at them. Still, overcoming all these the farmers started reaching the borders of Delhi, the national capital. When they were asked to move to a ground near a Gurudwara (Sikh shrine), recognizing the trap to make it as an open  jail, they refuswd. The very large number of farmers have come with their tractors and trailors with food for six months and cloths and bed to brave the very cold climate. This march by the farmers’ organizations and the general strike of tens of millions of workers on 26th November demanding the repeal of the four labour codes were a big challenge to the RSS/BJP forces.

Though three rounds of discussions took place with the government delegation, as the government is not ready to accept the four core demands, the AIKSC called for a Bharat Bandh on 8th December. All opposition parties, and revolutionary left organizations including CPI(ML) Red Star, along with a large number of class/mass organizations supported this call while large number of workers, students, youth, women and oppressed sections participated making it a great success. Roads into Delhi were blocked upto 3 pm and farmers and workers and youth held demonstrations in various parts of India. Angered by it, the home minister Amit Shah met the leaders of AIKSCC in the night and told them that only amendments shall be accepted, the anti-farmer Acts will not be repealed and Electricity Bill will not be withdrawn. Responding to this arrogant approach, the AIKSCC has called for intensifying the struggle making the protest programs countrywide, boycott all Jio, Reliance and Adani products including Sim cards, to block other roads to Delhi and close down all toll gates. It has become something like a do or die struggle, and in coming days various steps shall be taken to compel the government to accept the farmers’ demands.                                                             

What is happening is a mass upsurge of the farmers against the corporatization of agriculture to serve the crony capitalists like Ambani and Adani using Manuvadi Hiindutva as an ideological cover. The farmers have decided to go forward with the struggle prepared to face all consequences. From 14th December the BJP offices will be gheraoed by the farmers. This is an all-out move to intensify the movement.

 The Central Committee of CPI (ML) Red Star and all class/mass organizations in which party comrades are active, has extended full solidarity with the farmers’ struggle. The All India Revolutionary Kisan Organization (AIKKS). The Central Committee has called for focusing all activities in order to strengthen the farmers’ movement in the coming days also.) politically led by the party is a constituent in the AIKSCC. The Party has mobilized hundreds of farmers, agricultural workers and other sections and actively worked for the success of the Bharat Bandh.

If the corporate fascist government of Modi is thinking that this movement can be suppressed, it is going to be big folly for the RSS/BJP. It will only weaken the unity of the different peoples in this multi-national country. In this critical situation, CPI(ML) Red Star is trying to mobilize all like-minded forces to help the AIKSCC to achieve its demands.

5. AIKSCC Press Note, on 2nd January 2020



*New Delhi, 2nd January 2021*: In its first press conference organized by the 7-member Coordination Committee of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha in the national capital, the farmers’ movement delivered an ultimatum to the Government of India – they announced that farmers will march into Delhi on 26th January 2021 with their tractors, trolleys and other vehicles. It was clarified that the "farmers' republic parade" will take place after the official parade.

The press conference was addressed by Balbir Singh Rajewal, Darshanpal, Gurnam Singh Chadhuni, Ashok Dhawale , Jagjit Singh Dallewal, and shri Abhimanyu Kohad and Yogendra Yadav.

We intend to be peaceful and we told long ago to the Government of India during our talks that it has only two options – either repeal the 3 central farm acts or use force on us to evict us. The time has come for decisive action here, and we have chosen 26th January both because the Republic Day represents the supremacy of the people and also because we would have demonstrated patiently and peacefully at Delhi’s borders for two full months in extreme weather conditions by then our resolve to get our demands met”, said the farmer leaders.

Samyukt Kisan Morcha also announced their plan of action till the 26th of January 2021 to intensify and deepen the movement. A fortnight of nation wide campaign to counter the government's propaganda called “Desh Jagriti Abhiyan” during 6th to 20th of January will include rallies, conferences and dharnas all over the country. Lohri/Sankarnati will be marked as Kisan Sankalp Diwas by burning the xopies of these three laws. 18th of January will be celebrated as Mahila Kisan Diwas to underline the role of women fatmers. Azad Hind Kisan Diwas will be marked on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary on 23rd January by protesting outside Governors' official residence in all state capitals. In a press conference at Singhu Border, it was already announced yesterday that if the talks on 4th do not succeed, farmers will march on KMP Expressway on the 6th and subsequently the Shahjahanpur blockade will also move towards Delhi.

Farmers' leaders made it clear that in the last round of talks with the government, though the government agreed to two minor demands of the farmers’ movement – even these are yet to be secured in writing/legal form – the major demands of the protesting farmers remain unresolved. On the demand to repeal the three central farm acts, the Government of India had asked the farmers’ organisations to come up with ‘alternative proposals’, and the farmer leaders responded by saying that there is no alternative other than repeal. The government has refused to agree, even in principle, to our demand for legal right to purchase at MSP. “We have no alternative and if the government does not meet our demand by the 26th of January, we will be left with no option other than to start marching peacefully into Delhi”.

Samyukt Kisan Morcha.


  1. CPI(ML) Red Star is with the Farmers' Movement to Defeat Corporatization of Agriculture:

Struggling Farmers Give Ultimatum to Modi Govt to Repeal Farm Acts!

Rally with the Farmers’ Movement!

Dear Comrades, Revolutionary new year greetings!.

The AIKSCC’s ultimatum to Modi government announced today is given above. The program of action is clearly spelt out. If the Modi government does not withdraw the 3 anti farmer Farm Acts and give legal assurance to MSP in the proposed 4thJanuary Joint Meeting, following series of programs shall be carried forward:

a. If the talks on 4th January do not succeed, farmers will march on KMP Expressway on the 6th and subsequently the Shahjahanpur blockade will also move towards Delhi.

b. Jagriti Abhiyan” during 6th to 20th of January will include rallies, conferences and dharnas all over the country.

c. Lohri/Sankarnati will be marked as Kisan Sankalp Diwas by burning the xopies of these three laws.

d. 18th of January will be celebrated as Mahila Kisan Diwas to underline the role of women farmers who are participating in very large numbers in the struggle braving all difficulties.

e. Azad Hind Kisan Diwas will be marked on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary on 23rd January by protesting outside Governors' official residence in all state capitals.

f. Still if the Modi government is not repealing the three farm acts, as the Morcha leaders announced, “if the government does not meet our demand by the 26th of January, we will be left with no option other than to start marching peacefully into Delhi”.

Comrades, it means that the farmers’ struggle against corporatization of agriculture is reaching the critical stage of “do or die” struggle. So, we have to synchronize our campaign up to 10th January and mobilizations on 11th January with it. Striving hard to mobilize all the forces opposed to corporatization of agriculture, who are in solidarity with the ongoing farmers’ movement, we should join and make the programs announced by the AIKSCC great success.

We should discuss with all those forces who support and in solidarity with the movement and transform the 23rd evening mobilization in front of Governors’ houses (Raj Bhavans) in all state capitals to Gherao of Raj Bhavans till 26th January in support of the proposed March in to Delhi by all the farmers and their supporters with their tractors, trolleys and other vehicles. Whether to extend the Gherao for more days can be decided according to the developments in Delhi.

Comrades, it is a decisive phase of the farmers’ movement when the people have to join in ever larger numbers and compel the neo-fascist Modi government to repeal the three farm acts which will lead to corporatization of agriculture and destruction of the Public Distribution System. Prepare the whole Party and discuss with the class/mass organizations to ensure strengthening of the Worker- Peasant alliance joined by the youth and students, women, all oppressed classes and sections like dalits and Adivasis, the minorities and all other progressive forces, to make the movement against Modi government and the RSS parivar behind it.

KN Ramachandran, GS, CPI(ML) Red Star, dated 2nd January, 2021.

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