STATEMENT SUPPORTING THE INDIAN FARMERS’ CALL FOR THE REPEAL OF THREE NEO-LIBERAL FARM LAWS

We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle Commission No. 6, on behalf of all our member organizations, stand with the Indian farmers in calling for the repeal three neo-liberal farm laws.

These are 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.

These will take away state subsidies for agricultural goods, deregulate the prices of basic agricultural commodities, and allow stricter and more expansive corporations including foreign imperialist control of Indian agriculture.

Essentially this is under the frame of neo-liberal economic policies like deregulation, liberalization, and privatization and of “free market” globalization.

In short, farmers income will go down if this is left to the dictates of market forces instead of an assured minimum support price (MSP) from the government. This includes local and foreign corporations dictating the prices of the farm produce that they buy from their growers.

Other than that, private corporations are allowed to lease agricultural lands in India. In effect they are the ones who own such lands because they are the ones who dictate which crops to grow besides dictating the price of the farm produce as stated above.

While Foreign Direct Investments (FDI’s) in India in the agriculture sector (including food processing) is still low at the moment, the three new farm laws can increase its share.

Already the Indian government allows 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) through the automatic route into India for a number of agricultural activities such as among others: development and production of seeds and planting material; animal husbandry (including breeding of dogs), fish farming, aquaculture, under controlled conditions.

Other than that, 100% FDI is allowed through the automatic route into India into tea, coffee, rubber, cardamom, palm oil and olive tree plantations.

Foreign companies also practice contract farming in India such as Cargill India Pvt. Ltd., Hindustan Lever Ltd., ITC-IBD, Appachi, Nestle India Ltd., and Pepsi Foods Pvt. Ltd. These are in such agricultural products as wheat, maize, soybean, cotton, milk, chillies, groundnut, seaweed, tomato and basmati rice.

The advancement of such laws amid a pandemic and a global rise in hunger is an utter betrayal of the Indian people’s interests. While the restructuring of food systems all over the world is deservedly on the agenda of national governments, most so-called reforms are nothing but a repackaged return to the same failed neo-liberal framework.

Such is the main theme of the United Nations’ coming Food Systems Summit in 2021, hijacked by monopoly capital through the World Economic Forum and development aid agencies. Peoples and peasants’ movements across the globe are closely monitoring these developments and are prepared to expose the truth behind attempts of food corporations at capitalizing on the pandemic and on famines.

ILPS Commission 6 commends the valiant Indian farmers for their series of militant actions.Protests against said acts started in August 2020 but escalated when these were enacted in September. On September 25, farm unions all over India called for the blocking of trains locally named as Bharat Bandh.

In October farmers from different states marched to Delhi to protest against the laws. On November 25 they were met by the police at the city gates who tried to disperse them with different kinds of methods.

Said march on Delhi was accompanied by a 24-hour strike of 250 million people across India on November 26 that opposed both the farm law reform and proposed changes to the labor law.

From November 28 – December 3, the number of farmers blocking Delhi in the Delhi Chalo was between 150 to 300 thousand.

Talks with the government have failed as the latter did not want to repeal the laws. Organizers have decided to intensify their protests including the planned blocking of trains on December 14.

The Commission urges the Modi government to heed the Indian peoples’ demands and repeal the neo-liberal farm laws. At the same time, we warn against the promotion of similar neo-liberal policies elsewhere, especially on underdeveloped neo-colonies. As the Indian people demonstrate, the peoples of the world are prepared to fight back.

Repeal the three neo-liberal farm laws!
Stop the repression of the farmer’s strike!

Stop local and imperialist corporate control of Indian Agriculture!

Resist neo-liberal economic policies and “free market” globalization!
Long live international solidarity!

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