04 October Wednesday

Breaking Barriers, 
Winning Battles

Vijoo KrishnanUpdated: Sunday Apr 10, 2022

The combination of extreme repression, extremities of climate, the  extraordinary situation due to pandemic and the Goebbelsian propaganda failed to crush the unique issue-based unity of hundreds of organisations of the  peasantry. The historic farmers' struggle realised the repeal of  three anti farmer laws of the Modi government. The human cost and suffering of the protagonists of the historic struggle was  incalculable. The State is culpable for the death of more than 700 farmers in the course of 13 months of incessant resistance.

The three laws brought by the BJP Government are as per the diktats of the global  imperialist trinity of WB-IMF-WTO which has been pressurising India to cut farm and  food subsidies as well as dismantle its public stock holding. This was articulated in 2014  by the Shantakumar Commission set up by the present regime which openly called for  liberalisation and privatisation of stock holding and the dismantling of the price  support system for crops.

The three laws brought simultaneously with the labour codes  that snatch away the hard-won rights of the workers including eight -hour workdays and  unionisation, came amidst a pandemic. The BJP Government locked down the peasants, workers and toiling masses  but  literally unlocked the doors for  corporate loot. It  would allow corporate profiteering at the expense of the farmers, agricultural labour and the hungry millions. Farmers soon realised that it was a `do or die'  moment for them.  

In the run-up to the Republic Day Tractor Parade, a  rehearsal was held in the first week of January 2021. The Haryana AIKS had reported that  150 tractors would participate under its banner. Over 480 tractors took part with the Kisan Sabha's red flag.  On Republic Day, over 5,000 tractors with red flags took part

at different borders. AIKS as one of the main constituents of the Samyuktha Kisan Morcha (SKM) and AIKSCC had been at the forefront of the  planning and mobilisation for the massive Mazdoor- Kisan (Worker- Peasant) Tractor  Parade around Delhi and across the country. Kisan  Maha Panchayats and Tractor Rallies across the country electrified the nation. In Uttar  Pradesh, a State not known for the strong presence of the Left, for the Muzaffarnagar Kisan  Mazdoor Maha Panchayat from Bulandshahar alone 91 buses full of people came under the AIKS banner. Overall, over 20,000 farmers from other parts of UP and from other States participated.  

AIKS made special efforts to make it a pan Indian struggle with incessant  campaigns in all States with the active participation of the CITU, AIAWU and other fraternal  mass organisations. Shahjahanpur Border became a Mini India with people from across the country joining and strengthening the struggle.

Hope in 
The strike against three Anti- Farmer Bills have by far been the most widespread action of the farmers; spread across the length and breadth of the country. It was a unique  show of active solidarity by the toiling masses with the farmers. Despite the pandemic, restrictions, repression and rain in many States, the participation in the protest action was overwhelming. This united action that  has broadened over time could emerge as a defining moment in the history of the  peasants movement as well as in charting a direction for building a struggle around a  pro-people alternative that is resolutely against Neoliberal policies, communal, casteist  forces and in defence of India's secular democracy.  

The message from the farmers was clear: the struggle will not end; it will be intensified  till all the demands are met. The Central Trade Unions have decided for a two-day strike with the full participation of the peasantry and the toiling masses.  The workers and peasants have transcended fear in the course of this historic struggle,  they are asserting like Subramanya Bharati said: Even if the sky would crumble and fall, we have no fear, we have no fear, we have no fear at all'. Workers and peasants have sown  fear in the minds of the ruling class. It is appropriate to quote Lenin here: `THERE ARE DECADES WHERE NOTHING HAPPENS, AND THERE ARE WEEKS WHERE DECADES HAPPEN.' Indian Kisans wrote a new chapter in history defying all  prophecies of imminent defeat and canards claiming that the united struggle was  petering out.

The united Kisan struggle with the unprecedented support of the working  class and the masses has won a historic victory forcing the arrogant Narendra Modi led  BJP Government to bend down on its knees, tender an apology to farmers and announce  the decision to repeal the three Acts; it has also agreed to the other demands of  the farmers like withdrawal of cases, compensation to families of martyrs, not proceeding  with Electricity Act Amendments and setting up of a Committee to ensure legal guarantee  for MSP. This victory will have a cascading impact on the politics of this country; the  fragility of personalities considered invincible has been exposed and the castles built on  lies are also crumbling down. Decades will happen in the coming weeks; our struggle for  a pro-people alternative will emerge victorious. Minds without fear and heads held high  we will hand over many more defeats to the enemies of the people.