For over 50 days now, India’s peasants and workers have been holding massive protests at the country’s national capital, New Delhi. They continue to agitate at several inter-state borders and district centres, urging their national government to recall three controversial legislation that are deemed to corporatise India’s agricultural landscape.
These three legislations if read together, the peasants’ allege, will dismantle the country’s public procurement system, will push down prices of farm produce, will encourage large scale monoculture cultivation through contract farming, and will also allow private businesses to stock up and speculate on essential pulses and cereals, thus driving up food prices. In a country, where nearly 700 million people have their livelihoods tied to agriculture and allied activities, these “reforms” are nothing but devastating news. The protests that are taking place in New Delhi, other state capitals and inter-state borders prove that people are angry at this move, which may only benefit a handful of private agribusiness corporations in the country.
La Via Campesina, as a global movement of peasants and small-scale food producers in 81 countries, is inspired by the struggle led by the peasant movements in India. On behalf of our members worldwide, La Via Campesina extends its solidarity to Bhartiya Kisan Union, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangham and several other organisations and movements who are spearheading this protest at different parts of the country.
In December several members of our movement had sent messages of solidarity and support to their Indian counterparts, resonating their demands and citing adverse examples in their own countries where privatisation led to dispossession and displacement of the peasantry. This act of global solidarity must continue. It will be necessary for peasant movements everywhere to echo our sisters and brothers’ struggles in India, who have kept their spirits high and refuse to budge despite adverse weather and an indifferent government.
According to Bhartiya Kisan Union, more than 70 protesting farmers have sacrificed their lives so far in the biting cold and rains of New Delhi. La Via Campesina recognises and honours these martyrs, who gave their lives for the peasant struggle. Every peasant, worker and indigenous person anywhere in the world will recognise and relate to this brave fight that India’s food producers are putting up.
India will celebrate its Republic Day on the 26th of January. The protesting peasants and workers want to step up the pressure, and as a way to make themselves heard, they will be holding a massive “tractor parade” in New Delhi that day.
All LVC members and allies everywhere can support India’s movements and give visibility to our global solidarity by lighting a candle on the 26th of January 2021.
Wherever you are, whichever corner of the world you are in, when you join this simple act of solidarity, the light of fraternity will reach our people in India and give them the strength and courage to continue until their victory.
The struggles of all peasants everywhere are the same. We seek dignity, autonomy, and control over food production, respecting our territories’ food sovereignty and remaining in harmony with nature. May this be another moment to globalise our struggles and globalise our hope for our secure collective futures!
Post your images and messages with the hashtag #ShineOnIndiaFarmers on social media. Let the whole world hear the roar of peasants and workers.
La Via Campesina
ArtWork: Sophie Holin/La Via Campesina