‘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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HM Online 2021: States and Geo-Politics

Regimes of Extreme Permission? State-corporate repression and the realization of neocolonial accumulation in SE Asia
Joe Greener and Pablo Ciocchini, University of Liverpool in Singapore

Agency in the Periphery: the controversy between Marini and Cardoso in Geopolitical terms
Rafael Alexandre Mello, University of Brasília
Pedro Salgado, Federal University of Bahia and University of Brasília

Conceptualising institutional disobedience in a context of authoritarian neoliberalism: The Catalan case
Monica Clua-Losada, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA
Clara Camps Calvet, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
Shaun McCrory, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA

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Opening session of HM Online 2021: Marxism, State, Politics

Is a Strong State all that it takes? The State, Coercion and Social Transformation
Pangiotis Sotiris

The Dominant Political Cultures of the British State
Mike Wayne

From Neoliberalism to Neostatism: Transformations in the Post-Pandemic Ideological Horizon
Paolo Gerbaudo


Panagiotis Sotiris teaches for the Hellenic Open University, Greece, and is a member of the Historical Materialism Editorial Board. He is the author of numerous articles and books on Marxist theory and politics.

Michael Wayne (Brunel University UK)

Paolo Gerdaudo (Kings College, UK)

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The Household and the State

Prabhat Patnaik

IDEAs | August 16, 2021

Simple analogies can be deceptive, even dangerous. An example is the analogy often drawn between the household and the state. Just as a household cannot “live beyond its means” for ever, and sooner or later its creditors not only stop giving loans but take away the assets of the household for defaulting on loan repayment, likewise, the state cannot “live beyond its means” for ever and go on borrowing ad infinitum; sooner or later its creditors stop giving loans and even attach its assets.

This is a very common argument. One has heard it innumerable times, from spokesmen of Bretton Woods institutions and from Finance Ministers’ budget speeches, providing a rationale for restricting the fiscal deficit. Since the fiscal deficit is a measure of the state’s additional borrowing, incurring a fiscal deficit implies that the state is “living beyond its means”, which would eventually bring it to grief, as happens with a household.

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Democratic Socialism in Global Perspective

Electoral Politics and Transformative Perspectives in the Americas and Europe
January 11-15, 2021

Co-sponsored by the Havens Wright Center and the Transnational Institute (Amsterdam)

SESSION 5, The Crisis of the Capitalist State and the Democratic Socialist Response

Lucio Oliver, UNAM, Mexico (9:15) 

Jeffery R. Webber, York University, Toronto (31:29) 
Costas Lapavitsas, SOAS, London and Spyros Marchetos, Thessaloniki (51:49) 
Jorge Viaña, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Bolivia (1:22:42) 

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The Unraveling of A Script In Two Parts And Writing A New Script By Farmers

Amit Bhaduri and Chaman Lal

Frontier | January 30, 2021

The script of collaboration is in two parts. The first part was written long ago when the once revolutionary Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was released after long years from prison in the Andamans. He collaborated with the British as he had promised in several petitions for mercy he had written to the British authorities from jail. In what psychologists describe as ‘transferred anxiety’ he seemed to have transferred his hatred of the colonial British power to a hatred of fellow Indian Muslims. Since then, Guru Golwalkar and others in the RSS took this agenda forward. They all stayed away from the then anti-colonial struggle, and joined neither its non-violent stream led by Gandhi nor its violent stream led by martyrs like Bhagat Singh or Subhas Bose.

In a curious similarity the one-time revolutionary Savarkar became a collaborationist of the British, while Jinnah, a one-time resolute secular nationalist Congress leader who had stood firm even against the Khilafat movement because of its religious overtones, came to depend increasingly on the British for helping the Muslim minority against a majoritarian Hindu nationalism.  Both Savarkar and Jinnah who had started as secular political leaders ended their careers as leaders whose politics were defined by the religion they championed.Read More »


For Capital, the Calamitous Farm Reforms are an Opportunity

Saulat Nagi

News Click | January 11, 2021

Agrarian Crisis.

“Why send out murderers,” Brecht inquires, “When one can employ bailiffs?” And bailiffs being the executioners of the judicial orders of the capitalist state—for Nietzsche, “the coldest of all cold monsters”—execute the masses with legally-sanctioned brutality. If bailiffs are parliamentarians, the execution becomes constitutional.

In India, workers and farmers battling against the elected bailiffs are striving to stave off the process of accumulation through dispossession unleashed by a neo-liberal state. The calamity of COVID-19 and an overwhelming majority in Parliament have provided the state with a rare opportunity to open the agrarian sector to the corporate world. Aware of the fact that contesting the dominant mantra of progress through corporatisation has become non-negotiable, the farmers have made the minimum support price of the yield as their main slogan.Read More »

As US Protests Show, the Challenge is How to Rise Above the Violence Inherent in State Power

by Jonathan Cook

Here is one thing I can write with an unusual degree of certainty and confidence: Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin would not have been charged with the (third-degree) murder of George Floyd had the United States not been teetering on a knife edge of open revolt.

Had demonstrators not turned out in massive numbers on the streets and refused to be corralled back home by the threat of police violence, the US legal system would have simply turned a blind eye to Chauvin’s act of extreme brutality, as it has done before over countless similar acts.Read More »

Six U.S. Cities Make the List of Most Surveilled Places in the World

by Ema Coleman

CITYLAB | September 19, 2019

Conversations about privacy concerns in recent years have often focused on the online space, given high profile data breaches and repeated revelations of tech companies’ misuse of personal information. But the private sector isn’t alone in surveilling people, and invasions of privacy aren’t just threats online.

Offline surveillance by the government has grown exponentially in the past few years. One estimate found that the number of security cameras in the U.S. grew from 33 million in 2012 to 62 million in 2016. Now a new report from Comparitech, a technology research firm, takes a count of the number of closed-circuit television cameras owned by both government and private sources in cities around the world and compares that with the city’s population to find the density of cameras.

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