Vol. XLII No. 30 July 29, 2018

AIKS Exhorts Peasantry for Nationwide Struggles

Hannan Mollah

THE All India Kisan Committee (AIKC) meeting was held at Rajapalayam, Virudhunagar in Tamil Nadu on July 18-20, 2018. Massive struggles have been planned by AIKS independently and jointly with CITU, AIAWU and with hundreds of kisan, social, class and mass organisations.

The committee discussed the last four years of the BJP government. Attacks on the peasantry and rural poor have intensified in this period due to blind following of neo-liberal policies and increasing assault against democracy, parliament and constitution. The Modi government has undermined the interests of the common people and at the same time facilitated corporate interests. This government has encouraged all sorts of divisive, communal and casteist forces. The AIKC also noted the growing struggles and movements against all these attacks by NDA government. The struggles against land grabbing and infringement on land rights, for forest rights, against restriction on cattle trade and lynching of minorities and dalits in the name of cow protection have intensified. It noted with satisfaction the historic kisan long march in Maharashtra and massive struggles in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Himachal etc. The message has gone to the peasantry due to these struggles that BJP Modi is kisan virodhi (anti-farmer). This has created panic in the ruling circles, and suddenly after four years, the BJP has started speaking about the peasantry, just before nine months before the Lok Sabha election.

The meeting analysed the betrayal of Narendra Modi to the peasantry on MSP, loan waiver, crop insurance and farmer suicides. The electoral promises as mentioned in the election manifesto have been forgotten. The recent announcement on MSP is blatant falsehood.  While giving MSP based on A2+FL formula, the BJP is propagating that Swaminathan Commission recommendations have been implemented.  But, it is nowhere near to C2+50% -- the commission’s recommendations. Prime Minister’s Fasal Bima Yojana helped insurance companies, where as peasantry was betrayed. The promise of checking farmers’ suicides has failed, it has increased by 40 per cent during the Modi rule. To conceal the fact the government stopped publishing the NCRB report on suicides. Another falsehood in the propaganda of BJP is the doubling of peasant income by 2022. To realise that goal, annual agricultural growth should be more than 14.86 per cent for five years, whereas the present growth rate is less than two percent. The AIKC decided to expose this falsehood and betrayal of the promises made to the peasantry through intensive campaign and prolonged struggles.

The meeting noted with concern the severe price crash of many crops in the recent period and the unprecedented price rise of all essential commodities including food grain and diesel, leading to the highest rates of inflation in four years. There are large dues of money to be paid to the peasantry by the sugar mills. In spite of some good production of sugarcane and tur/arhar, the government is importing sugar from Pakistan and pulses from Mozambique. The floodgates for FDI have been opened to all sectors of economy including retail trade. Walmart has been allowed to take over Flipkart which will break the backbone of our peasantry in due course. The model contract farming law is being aggressively pushed for allowing corporates easy access to land for cultivation. The e-nam or online trading platform only benefits the large retailers, processors and exporters.

The recent report of OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) vindicates the AIKS position that neo-liberal economic policies have adversely affected peasantry and intensified the agrarian crisis. The Indian peasantry has been getting unremunerative prices for their crops for the last two decades. Though the OECD rightly diagnosed the disease, it suggested a wrong medicine. They suggested for the complete privatisation of agricultural production and marketing, eliminating subsidies and removal of domestic market regulations and trade restrictions.  The kisan movement will have to be careful to such neo-liberal prescriptions, which would lead our agriculture from crisis to disaster.

To fight against these anti-peasant policies of the Modi government, the AIKC discussed the importance of prolonged, intensive and militant struggle of the peasantry. Also the independent role of AIKS in leading such struggles was highlighted.  To achieve that, the slogan of the Hissar conference- “kisan sabha in every village, every kisan in kisan sabha” would have to be implemented seriously. At the same time, in the face of the growing unrest amongst  the peasantry, there is  massive unity of the peasantry building up. This must lead to united struggle against the powerful enemy. The Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan (BAA) has strengthened in the last three years through continuous struggles on land issues.

Secondly, we have to strengthen the struggle led by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee on two bills. 1) MSP as per the Swaminathan commission - C2+50% that is one and a  half time more  of cost of  production along with guaranteed procurement and 2) one time loan waiver of all farmers from bank, cooperatives and private money lenders. These bills were supported by 21 political parties and are being introduced in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha as private members bills. Thirdly, the issue based unity of all Left organisations of kisans, workers, agricultural workers and all other mass and class organisations along with progressive social movements and individuals and adivasi and dalit organisations is very crucial. The Jan Ekta Jan Adhikar Andolan (JEJAA) has emerged as the new ideologically cohesive united platform for this purpose.

Along with these united efforts, the three basic class organisations of the poorer sections, the AIKS, CITU and AIAWU jointly are working to strengthen worker-peasant unity in the country. For that purpose they have decided to organise a massive worker peasant rally at Delhi in the month of September, which will be the first of its kind at the national level.

To reach maximum number of rural households, a massive ten crore signature campaign, on five points demand charter, has been launched by the AIKS. These signatures would be deposited to the district collectors for sending them to the prime minister.

The next phase of mass militant movements of the peasantry will be ‘jail bharo’ on August 9, the Quit India day. Lakhs of peasants will participate in this struggle. In 379 districts, ‘jail bharo’ programme has been planned. The CITU has also decided to join this movement. The AIKS has appealed to all dalit and tribal organisations to also join. Other mass organisations of youth, students and women have also promised to have solidarity actions with this programme. Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan has also extended its support. AIKS will coordinate with all of them to make ‘jail bharo’ a historic event and August 9, would create another history of the democratic movement.

AIKS has planned to collect Rs 5 crore struggle fund for Kisan Sabha. The entire organisation and leadership would join the fund collection programme on July 22-23 and July 29-30.

The AIKC adopted the AIKS-Central Council (CC) programme of MSP-Adhikar Andolan on October 8-10 , 2018. The AIKS activists with other organisations will visit markets in their area and carry the placard of MSP announced by Modi.

The Mazdur-Kisan Sangharsh rally will be held in Delhi on September 5. CITU- AIKS-AIAWU will mobilise five lakh workers, peasants and agricultural workers on that day. For this, several joint meetings of these three organisations at national level were held and a detailed plan has been prepared. Ramlila Ground has been booked for a week. A national reception committee will be formed to organise this huge programme successfully.

AIKC has also proposed to organise a peasant’s liberation march to New Delhi on November 30, to highlight all the major demands of the peasantry and the common people. Peasants will come from different states and join at 10 places (to be decided later), at least 100 km away from Delhi. On November 28, the long march from 10 different places will proceed to Delhi for twodays and reach Delhi on November 30.

Another “pol-khol” (expose) campaign has been decided by AIKC. The AIKC has decided to counter the false campaign of Modi government on the MSP issue. Modi has declared the announced MSP as historical and stated that he will hold 40 public meetings in the country proving his point. The AIKC has decided to counter this false propaganda and will hold 400 public meetings as “kisan mukti yatra”. This campaign will be jointly organised by different kisan organisations to expose the betrayal on MSP and explain to the people, how the peasantry would lose financially.

P Sundaraiah Trust will be activated and utilised properly at the national level to organise seminars, education camps, publish documents, carry out research work on agrarian issues etc.

It was decided to build crop wise movements. Conventions in this regard have been planned. Convention of coffee farmers will be held in Bangalore, rubber growers convention in Kochi, poultry farmers convention in Tamil Nadu, sugar cane growers convention in New Delhi, milk producers convention in Maharashtra/Nasik and jute growers convention in Kolkata.

AIKC also has proposed that S Ramachandran Pillai would write the history of the peasant movement and the evolution of policies; N K Shukla would write the history of kisan movement in Bihar and Hannan Mollah would write a short outline history of kisan sabha.

The AIKC adopted many important resolutions. Some of them were on sugarcane MSP, attacks in West Bengal and Tripura by TMC and BJP criminals, against barbaric lynchings by RSS outfits, on killing of people in Tuticorin Sterlite plant firing, Prime Minister’s Fasal Bima Yojana, on natural disasters, atrocities against women, FDI in retail trade and Walmart entry etc. 

There was a well attended public meeting after the AIKC session was over. A procession marched through the city of Rajapalayam. Though there was heavy rain which disrupted the meeting, still the meeting was held.  Ashok Dhawale, Hannan Mollah, P Sanmugham, K Varadarajan and K Balakrishnan addressed the gathering.