I am writing to thank you for carrying the important and educative article entitled 'What is the way out of the crisis of agriculture?' in the May 1-15, 2017 issue of MEL. This article is an outstanding example of Marxist-Leninist analysis of the concrete problems faced by the people of the country engaged in the agricultural sector, accounting probably for 70% of the population. The article begins by noting the recent directive from the Madras High Court to the Government of TN to waive all farm loans through cooperative banks. Indeed, the UP Government followed suit and waived loans of small and marginal farms. This change in heart is not due to the sudden empathy from ruling circles to the plight of farmers, but due to the protracted crisis and the knowledge that the loans of large capitalist defaulters have been waived by successive Governments. This is a way to salvage some credibility for ruling circles.
The article also notes the widespread poverty in rural circles and the significantly low incomes across the length and breadth of the country amongst agricultural households, so much so that this is below the prescribed monthly minimum wage. Furthermore, such loan waivers offer partial, if at all, relief only to some sectors of agricultural workers, because the system is mired in crisis, due to the policy of the Government, which is dictated by the advancement of capitalism into this sector. Several examples abound, including those where imports of tur dal at high rates are carried out in years where there is a production shortfall, and low selling prices in years when the tur dal production is high, so as to bankrupt productive farmers. This is the spectacle that agriculture presents to the world. The legacy we see is that of the British who destroyed the existing relations of land, based on the dualism between rights and duties, to one where the only duty was to procure the highest rate of return for the British capitalists.
In the post 1947 era this system has been further strengthened, which completely denies the tiller any rights at all. Different phases came into being, first under the Green Revolution, and the second starting in the 1990s which is the era of globalization and free market. The article points out that there is indeed only one way out, which is to reorient the aim of agriculture and all sectors of social production. Simply put, the aim should be the well being of all, and to take away the goal of maximizing profits for capitalists. This can be done when there is a State whose duty is to provide for all. Land use should be according to a social plan to provide for all. Natural resources belong to all and it must be harmonized with the needs of the individual and of the general. This would result from a united struggle of workers and peasant. Let us all work for this goal.
S. Nair, Kochi