Letter to Editor: Call to Peasantry

I read the Call of the CC of the CGPI entitled `Demands for loan waiver and public procurements are entirely just! It is the State’s duty to ensure prosperity and protection for peasants! We are not asking for charity! Secure livelihood is our basic right!, dated November 20, 2017 (printed in December 1-15, 2017 issue of MEL).

Peasants from all across the country had come together under the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee in New Delhi to put forward demands to the Central Government. The PM hypocritically claims to have doubled the incomes of peasants, whereas in reality it is that debts that have increased manifold and the so-called support prices have fallen below the cost-prices, which means that peasants go into the red in order to produce food. The all-round crisis in agriculture is complete with younger persons no longer opting to work in agriculture, and with large numbers of suicides among those still engaged in agriculture.

At no point in recorded history has the peasantry been in such dire straits, with the possible exception of times of famine. Any interested observer knows that it is the policy of the Government to roll out favours to big capitalists both domestic as well as those from overseas. It may be recalled that whereas financial institutions claim that they cannot write off debts of farmers, every single year the Government and financial institutions write off debts of big capitalist defaulters. It is also the presence of an intermediate layer of private traders that has made it impossible for farmers to get remunerative prices.

What is required is a proper public procurement and public distribution system that can at one time support farmers, and at the same time feed the population. In other words, if there is a will, there is a way. The idea that farmers should be thrown to market forces is an alien one and springs from European political philosophers, whereas in the Indian thinking, it is the state that should be the protector and guardian of farmers, indeed of all members of society. The notion that the state is duty bound to carry this out needs to be brought to the centre-stage again and again. This principle has been vitiated by the dictatorship of the capitalist class that prevails today.

It is our duty as communists to bring this point to the centre-stage now and in the future.

Sincerely,

Srilata, Mumbai

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