The path ahead for the kisans

Statement of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, December 13, 2021

The year-long protest of kisans at the Delhi borders has come to an end. The decision to leave the borders was taken by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on 9th December, in response to the repeal of the three anti-kisan laws and a written assurance from the Central Government regarding its other demands. A Committee is to be set up by the government to recommend how MSP can be guaranteed for all crops in all states. The government is promising to include representatives selected by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha in this committee.

Politically conscious kisans know well that setting up a committee to deal with a popular demand is an old trick of the ruling class, learnt from the former British rulers. It is a method by which the ruling class tires out the protestors, co-opts some of their leaders and breaks the fighting unity of the people. Inclusion of some kisan union leaders in such a committee does not mean that the interests of the kisans will prevail.

The Indian Republic, which is called the most populous democracy in the world, is in the service of a super-rich miniscule minority, headed by the Tatas, Ambanis, Birlas, Adanis and other monopoly houses. It is these monopoly houses which set the agenda of every government. Every party that has been entrusted with running the government, both in the centre and in the states, has worked to enrich the capitalist class and increase the domination of monopoly capitalist companies, Indian and foreign.

The kisans of our country are faced with the question: What next? Having carried out such a prolonged and heroic struggle, braving the lathis, teargas shells and water cannons, as well as blazing summer heat, biting cold, and pouring rains, they cannot leave their fate in the hands of the government or its committees. To determine the future course of action, it is necessary to correctly sum up the struggle thus far, what has and has not been achieved.

After protesting at the Delhi borders for more than a year, kisans are now returning home to their villages, to face the same problems as before.  They will continue to face rising costs of inputs supplied by capitalist companies. They will continue to face the uncertainties of nature, insufficient and unreliable supply of irrigation. Vast majority of kisans will continue to be forced to sell their produce at ruinously low prices.  Thousands of kisans will continue to be driven to suicide every year.

No change has taken place in the direction and aim of government policy towards agriculture. There is no change in the agenda of liberalisation of agricultural trade. There is no change in the policy of wrecking the public procurement and public distribution system, so as to expand the space for private monopoly companies.

What has been gained from the year-long protest is a rise in the level of political consciousness of the toiling people. Workers and peasants have recognized that they are fighting the same enemy – the corporate houses.  There is growing unity against the liberalisation and privatisation program. More and more workers and peasants are questioning the political system and the kind of democracy. They are recognizing that decision making power is not in the hands of masses of people. Decisions are taken by the corporate houses and the Cabinet implements it. Parliament acts as a rubber stamp to turn the decisions of the corporate houses into law.

Over the past several years, this political system has been increasingly discredited. The Note ban in 2016, the passing of the CAA in November 2019, the callous uncaring attitude to workers revealed by the sudden lockdowns in 2020 resulting in the migration of crores of people to their villages, the enactment of anti-worker and anti-kisan laws in the midst of lockdown – all these have contributed to discredit the system in the eyes of workers and peasants.

The ruling class does not want parliamentary democracy to get totally discredited and workers and peasants to turn to a revolutionary alternative.  The parliamentary system works best with two parties or coalitions which change place periodically in running the government.  The ruling class recognized the absence of a credible parliamentary opposition which could deceive the toiling people. Right from when the kisans arrived at the Delhi borders, the rulers have sought to use this struggle to advance their agenda of developing a credible parliamentary opposition to BJP.  Having done so, they decided to concede some of the demands and work out a deal to bring the agitation to an end.   It is this deal which the ruling class and its politicians are portraying as a “victory for democracy”.

Historical experience, including the experience of the movement in the 1970s to “restore democracy” and the more recent anti-corruption movement, shows that a change of party at the helm, brought about through elections in the existing system, has never led to any qualitative change in the conditions of working people.  It will be futile for workers and peasants to expect that another change of party through elections can address their problems.

The struggle of kisans is part of the struggle of the toiling masses of people for secure livelihood. It is part of the struggle for people to have a say in decisions that affect their lives.  This struggle needs to be waged with the perspective and aim of transforming the existing system and political process so as to make the toiling majority of people the decision-makers. Only under workers’ and peasants’ rule can agriculture and the entire economy be reoriented towards fulfilling human needs rather than fulfilling monopoly capitalist greed.

The immediate task facing kisans is to defend their fighting unity from all attempts to divide them, on a communal basis or through electoral rivalry.  It is to build and strengthen political unity of workers and peasants around their own independent program to empower themselves and carry out the socialist reorientation of the economy.

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