India: Zameen Prapt Sangharsh Committee stage Indefinite Strike in Sangrur

Harsh Thakor

Countercurrents Collective | December 20, 2022

Members of the Zameen Prapati Sangharsh Committee (ZPSC) launched an indefinite protest outside Sangrur Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) office yesterday as a result of abject failure of the authorities to fulfil promise to their long-pending demands. Around 400 persons participated, mainly women, with wrath written on their faces against the government apathy. Illustration of the bankruptcy of the Aam Admi party and the futility of legal recourse..Admirable to witness the resolute spirit of the women of the dalit community. Arduous preparations were undertaken in village blocks for this gathering.

Mukesh Malaud, zonal chief, ZPSC, said, “Despite repeated meetings with CM Bhagwant Mann and senior officials, no action has been taken to fulfil demands of Dalit labourers. The state government has compelled us to start the protest.”

The protesters fortified themselves with ration and other items to prolong their agitation for a considerable time.

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India: Report of Struggle of Punjab’s Fight-for-Land Movement by ZPSC and Agricultural Labourers

Harsh Thakor

Countercurrents | December 14, 2022

Ei Muhurte Kichhu Bhavna  of West Bengal activists have been closely studying the  movement of dalit agricultural workers f Punjab in relation to the agrarian revolutionary movement of Punjab  and integration with movement of landed farmers. It just presented a report on its experiences and reflected their interpretation.

The organisation in Punjab that is fighting for land for the landless, and all agricultural labourers’ unions together called for a Protest demonstration at Sangrur, the home of the Chief Minister of Punjab, on November 30, 2022. Previously the CM gave an appointment to meet the landless and labourers on September 13 — thousands and thousands went there — but the CM could not find time — for 3 days the police blocked all road to CM’s residence and kept thousands sitting on the road. So, they had to return. This was the reason for Nov 30 programme. A few delegates of this journal Ei Muhurte Kichu Bhavna (and Workers Peasants Unity) were fortunate to be to be present there. They were grateful to  Zpsc for providing hospitality for a couple of nights. Also, they held discussions with comrades of leaders of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union nad Pendu Mazdoor Union., and some other labourers’ organisations and successfully obtained knowledge from them, owing gratitude to all of them.

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The farmers braved the barricade

Farooque Chowdhury

Countercurrents | November 29, 2022

To loot, or to advance economy, farmers are encountered. Role in economy makes farmers an important question in countries. This sub-continent too can’t ignore the question.

Amit Bhaduri examines aspects related to recently concluded farmers’ movement in India in his The Emerging Face of Transformative Politics in India Farmers’ Movement (Aakar Books, Delhi, India, 2022, The Emerging Face … stands with a backdrop: The unprecedented farmers’ movement in India, which had its center of gravity near the capital city New Delhi. The book, with 11 articles, according to Amit Bhaduri, “was written primarily in a campaign mode as the farmers’ movement went through various phases of ups and downs.” This statement tells about the book and its author, a teacher who worked in renowned universities around the world, and an economist.

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Labour Series: India

Samyukta Kisan Morcha Rally inaugurates 2nd phase of struggle

Harsh Thakor

Countercurrents | November 27, 2022

Responding to the  the call of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), today (26 November, 2022), thousands of farmers, supported by workers, students, youth, women and ordinary people, staged  mega foot-marches and rallies all over the country. Protest gatherings engulfed 25 state capitals, more than 300 district headquarters and numerous tehsil headquarters .History of a kind was made. The spirit of resistance engulfed the entire nation like a spark igniting into a prairie fire. A manifestation of the polarisation of democratic forces against the anti-people policies of the BJP government and repressive socio-economic order as a whole. An ample testimony of the striking capacity of the masses of India to challenge neo-fascism. Rallies were staged in cities of  Chandigarh, Lucknow, Patna,Kolkata, Trivandrum, Chennai,Hyderabad,Bhopal and Jaipur, comprising a total of around 5 lakh persons. Altogether, it is estimated that more than 3000 protests were held all over India. More than 5 million people poured out on the streets to join the ‘Raj Bhawan Chalo’ or ‘March to Raj Bhawan’ call of SKM, to register their protest against the anti-farmer BJP-led Union Govt and send Memorandum of Demand of Farmers to the President of India through State Governors, to intervene and stop the anti-farmer activity of the ruling party at the Centre.

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Zameen Prapt Sangharsh Commitee conducts 10 day hunger strike outside DC Office in Sangrur

Harsh Thakor

Countercurrents | November 24, 2022

The Zameen Prapt Sangharsh commitee launched a 10 day hunger strike dharna pressing for legitimate demands promised by the Aam Ami party at the DC office at Sangrur .Around 1500 dalit agricultural labourers converged at the venue.

The ZPSC expressed determination in waging a persistent battle to achieve demands of allotment of 1/3rd Panchayat land, Implementation of law for Nuzrool land, awarding of 5 marlas to every dalit family, implementation of Manrega scheme, minimum of 100 days of work for very labourer, cancellation of all dummy auctioning, scrapping of all debts, lifting of charges on ZPSC leaders framed etc. Leaders like Mukesh Mulaudh spoke about how the ruling AAP never fulfilled it’s promises and made it imperative for the dalit labourers to come out on the streets. The ruling AAP has displayed a partisan approach with upper caste elements, patronising their welfare and being hand in glove in their anti-dalit actions.

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Delhi State Aanganwadi and helpers Union expose treachery of Rulers

Harsh Thakor

Countercurrents | November 23, 2022

On 20th November on the first day of the MCD Elections in Pahadganj Delhi Aanganwadi workers Union organised a boycott campaign. They exposed the lies of the Aam Admi party, who betrayed all promises to the workers. Women raised slogans, raised the back flag, and recited songs. They reminded people of 884 workers terminated, for merely voicing heir just demands.

They exposed how the frontline workers in times of Corona were confronted by goondas and abuses by the Kejrival govt.Women were also mercilessly attacked. Speakers narrated that in essence the AAP was a ruling class party which deployed goondas to terrorise workers and suppress resistance of women. They expressed that he workers would remain undeterred from the threats of AAP and no stone would be left unturned in engulfing every possible nook and corner to confront Kejriwal.,in streets of Delhi. Not only will the bankruptcy of the elections be exposed, but candidates of AAP will be openly challenged. The Aama Admi party is now engaging in a smearing campaign of face book  to malign the credibility of the Delhi Aanganwadi workers Union, which is being effectively countered by the DWHU.

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Massive Workers Protest at Jantar Mantar against anti-people policies of Modi government

Harsh Thakor

Countercurrents | November 22, 2022

3 massive dharnas of workers were organized at Jantar Mantar in the country’s capital, Delhi.yesterday.They represented massive polarisation against the anti-people policies of the Modi govt.and illustrate the wrath of the working class whose lives have been thrown in peril.

Firstly, Asha workers converged from all over the country to stage a sit-in for their demands by Delhi Asha Kamgar Union affiliated AICCTU. For the first ever time, when there have been demonstrations against the new policies of the Modi government in Delhi in the last one week.

Another demonstration was organized by CITU with the slogan “21st November Delhi Chalo” demanding repeal of the anti-labour code.

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India: The Peasantry’s Victory over Imperialism

Prabhat Patnaik

People’s Democracy | November 28, 2021

PARTICULAR battles often have a significance that goes beyond the immediate context, of which even the combatants may not be fully aware at the time. One such was the Battle of Plassey, which was not even a battle since one side’s general had already been bribed by the other not to lead his troops against it; and yet what happened in the woods of Plassey that day ushered in a whole new epoch in world history.

The battle between the kisan movement and the Modi government falls into the same genre. At the most obvious level it has been seen as a climbdown by the Modi government in the face of the incredible resoluteness shown by the agitating peasants. At another level it has also been seen as a setback for neo-liberalism, since corporate ascendancy over the agricultural sector, by making peasant agriculture subservient to the corporates, is a crucial part of the neo-liberal agenda, which the farm laws were seeking to promote.

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Indian Farmers’ Victory: Politics of Mass Struggle

Brinda Karat

People’s Democracy | November 28, 2021

THE historic victory of the kisan struggle in forcing the government to roll back the anti-farmer, pro-corporate three farm laws underlines the importance of the politics of mass struggle. The strength of the farmers’ united movements under the leadership of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha put the government on the defensive with the struggle organically transforming into a mass struggle against the BJP and its governments at the centre and states. This transformation with direct and spontaneous kisan mobilisations against BJP leaders’ visits to villages in Haryana and Western UP was linked to the real life experiences of the kisans themselves of the arrogant and aggressive promotion of corporate interests when kisans were suffering due to a variety of reasons created by government policies. The Lakhimpur Kheri atrocity symbolised both realities – that of kisan mobilisation and the other of the brutal nature of the BJP response.

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‘They Are Not Just Numbers’: Families of Farmers Who Died During Protest Demand Justice

“Had the protest ended soon, my family would have been together today,” says the wife of a farmer who killed himself at the Tikri border.

Sumedha Pal

The Wire | November 26, 2021

'They Are Not Just Numbers': Families of Farmers Who Died During Protest Demand Justice
Representational image: Farmers during a protest against the Central government in front of the FCI office on Sirhind Road in Patiala, April 5, 2021. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: “The government is not listening to us alive. Hopefully, it will hear us out when we are dead.” These were the last words of 42-year-old Jai Bhagwan, a farmer from Haryana. 

Bhagwan, like several others from his village, was a regular at the Tikri border protest site ever since the farmers’ protest began last year against the three contentious farm laws.

“He would volunteer all the time. He would be present at the protest site all the time and urge everybody to join the protest. His last words still ring in my ears all the time,” says Bhagwan’s wife, Renu Rana, who is yet to come to terms with her partner’s death. Bhagwan consumed poison at the protest site and killed himself.

“If it wasn’t for the protest, my family would have been together today,” she adds. 

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India: Police Brutality, FIRs and a Hostile Khattar Govt: What Haryana Farmers Overcame

From supplying food to border protesters to physically lifting barricades on a crucial day, farmers in Haryana ‘kept the protest alive with blood.’

Vivek Gupta

The Wire | November 30, 2021

Police Brutality, FIRs and a Hostile Khattar Govt: What Haryana Farmers Overcame
Police use water cannon to disperse farmers who were protesting against Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar’s Kisan Mahapanchayat rally in Kaimla village, in Karnal, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Photo: PTI/File

Chandigarh: The protest against the farm laws mainly centred around Punjab. Yet two developments played a vital role behind taking them to Delhi’s doors and onto international spheres.

First, representatives of around 30 Punjab farmers’ unions that later became part of Sanyuta Kisan Morcha that conducted the protests at the national stage decided in a meeting on October 27, 2020, to take their stir beyond Punjab’s borders.

Second, on November 20, 2020, the SKM itself was formed, when the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh and various factions of Bharatiya Kisan Union came together. A meeting in Chandigarh in connection with the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march on November 26 saw farmers resolve to march together.

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The Anatomy of a Successful Protest, or How the Farmers Won Their Fight

In a circumstance where one side controls institutions like the media, police and other organs of the state, the success of a movement rests on developing creative means of breaking through the government’s control over institutions.

Shivam Shankar Singh and Anand Venkatanarayanan

The Wire | November 23, 2021

The Anatomy of a Successful Protest, or How the Farmers Won Their Fight
People stand in front of candles lit at the Singhu border farmers agitation site to celebrate Prime Minister Narendra Modis announcement of repealing the three Central farm laws, at Singhu Border in New Delhi, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Photo: PTI/Arun Sharma

Why do some protest movements succeed while others fail?

There are three major elements that determine the success of a protest. The foremost amongst these is the ability of a movement to establish narrative dominance and get its message across. Next is understanding who the opposing forces are and developing the resources to counter them. The tactics of protest against a corporate entity look very different from those required to mount a successful protest against the government, an entity with unlimited resources at its disposal. And lastly, any movement must grow its support base beyond its core supporters if it is to succeed.

In theory, the validity of the grievance plays a major role in determining if a movement can gain traction. But in a circumstance where one side controls institutions like the media, police and other organs of the state, the success of a movement rests on developing creative means of breaking through the government’s control over institutions – or sidestepping it.

The farmers’ protest is an apt illustration of how this can be done.

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India’s Farmers Have Shown the Way to the Long Democratic Pushback

The farmers quite nicely did understand the fake nature of the claims sought to be made for the laws, which is why their mobilisation remained unbreached by the various shenanigans resorted to by the establishment.

Badri Raina

The Wire | November 23, 2021

India’s Farmers Have Shown the Way to the Long Democratic Pushback
People walk past candles lit at the farmers agitation site near Singhu border to celebrate repealing the three farm laws, New Delhi, November 19, 2021. Photo: PTI/Arun Sharma

It can be said with confidence that the year-long peaceful satyagraha by India’s farmers has made a watershed contribution to returning democracy to the beleaguered republic.

This historic movement has been marked by some exemplary features:

Foremost, the protesting farmers have evinced, to the last man and woman, in fact even child, a comprehensive and sophisticated grasp of the ideological import of the three farm laws (now happily set to be repealed).

No disingenuous diversion or fake interpretation managed to shake down that clarity.

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