[Ground Report] IFTU (Sarwahara) At Delhi Borders: Intervention In The Farmers Movement (18th-26th Jan 2021)

S Raj //

Indian Federations of Trade Unions (Sarwahara) [hereinafter IFTU (S)] has launched a ground campaign for intervention in the ongoing farmers movement (with whatever limited strength as of now) from a working-class standpoint. The aim of this intervention is to present our perspective, as representatives of the working class, on the question of emancipation of farmers and role of the working class in it. The first phase of campaign commenced from 18th January and continued up till 26th January 2021 in Delhi.

For this campaign, leaflets had been printed in Hindi for widespread distribution among the peasant masses at the border protest sites and the working-class masses within Delhi NCR. The leaflet was titled “Appeal to the working class, struggling farmers and common masses: Intensify the struggle against various anti-farmer, anti-worker and anti-people laws as well as their source of origin!” (in Hindi) Along with this, a booklet titled Kisaano Ki Mukti Aur Mazdoor Warg (The Proletariat and Emancipation of Farmers) published in Hindi by ‘Proletarian Reorganizing Committee CPI (ML)’ was also printed albeit for targeted distribution to the leadership of the farmers movement as well as the left and revolutionary movement. The content of the booklet, translated in English, has also been published in this (#10: Feb 2021) issue of The Truth with the same title.

Through our leaflets, booklets, speeches and meetings, we unhesitantly told the protesting farmers at the borders (and to the workers in bastis of Delhi NCR as well), that while we, as representatives of a revolutionary class – the working class, salute the historic struggle taken forward by them till now in an uncompromising manner against eviction from agriculture and their lands, it must be understood that the crisis and the rightly placed fear of eviction looming over the vast majority of the farming populace which has only deepened in the last decade has its roots in Capitalism and capitalist farming. Since centralization and concentration of capital is the natural flow in which the big fishes (rich farmers) which had hitherto gobbled up the small fishes are now pitted against corporate sharks, their demands cannot be met in this system based on exploitation. Even if the Modi Government takes back the farm laws, it will only be temporary since rapid implementation of policies like these farm laws is the primary reason for which its corporate masters have helped set up this Modi Government. It was explained that the demand of guaranteed purchase of all agriculture produce on a fixed price (MSP) and abolition of the genuine fear of eviction from their lands can only be met in a proletarian state based on alliance of workers and toiling peasants. Hence, the path of emancipation of farmers (as farmers itself) and of actual fulfilment of the primary demands of this movement is the path of eradication of Capitalism which can only be achieved through a decisive struggle under the leadership of the working class for setting up of a proletarian state.

The IFTU (S) team visited Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders, while staying overnight at the first two border sites in tents of various farmers’ and students’ organizations. The commonality among all the border protest sites was the omnipresence of energy and fervour. Loudspeakers constantly roaring with speeches and slogans from the stage, langars constantly being served at various locations with different items, tractors and trolleys constantly arriving after long journeys from the villages for the 26th Jan Tractor Parade, and their sound systems and decks blaring varied songs in Punjabi and Haryanvi on the ongoing protests (two of which were titled ‘Kisan Anthem’ and ‘Hum Delhi Aage’). In addition to this, the tents buzzed with sounds of farmers chatting or watching news to know about the latest developments in the country around their protests. There were makeshift libraries set up by various organizations mainly from the left (displaying revolutionary literature) and religious groups (displaying Sikh literature) Completely dependent on the masses there for our night stay (tent, blankets etc.) and the seemingly unending supply of langars and tea, we actively carried out the campaign work at the borders.

Apart from distribution of leaflets and booklets, speeches were also delivered by our comrades from the main stages at Singhu and Tikri border which was warmly received with claps and slogans of Inquilab Zindabad! Mazdoor-Kisan Ekta Zindabad! Punjiwad Ho Barbaad! (Long Live Revolution! Long Live Worker-Peasant Unity! Down with Capitalism!) from the protesting masses. A nukkad sabha (mass meeting) was also organized by us at Tikri Border on the National Highway among the tents which was heard by the protesting farmers as well as the passersby. At Ghazipur, a demonstration was organized by us with our banner and red flags near the stage (which was not operational at the time) that resulted in gravitation of the protesting masses there in hundreds around us, who also started sloganeering with us and as a result, the whole border, particularly around the stage area, was engulfed in roars of revolutionary slogans and energy emanating from them. Within Delhi NCR, the campaign was organized in Mayapuri, Dwarka and Faridabad from 23rd-25th Feb as part of the #Delhi4KisanParade campaign planned by ‘Delhi For Farmers’, a joint platform formed in Jan 2021 itself comprising almost all left and democratic organizations of Delhi in to organize solidarity campaigns within Delhi, of which IFTU (S) is also a constituent. On 26th January 2021, the Tractor Parade from border points to within Delhi was organized and this marked the end of the first phase of our campaign.

The campaign’s second phase has also been launched under the banner of Kisan Aandolan aiwam Mazdoor Jan-Jagran Abhiyan (Farmers Movement and Workers Mass Awareness Campaign) from 25th January to 5th February 2021, with a new leaflet titled ‘Ruin of toiling farmers is the product of capitalist farming, freedom from which is possibly only on the path towards a proletarian state of toilers!’ A third leaflet has also been released on 1st Feb and is being currently distributed, titled ‘Appeal of the masses of the country: Stand in solidarity with farmers who are mounting a struggle peacefully with a firm resolve!’ With the quite significant insights and experiences obtained from the first phase, groundwork under the second phase in the form of leaflet distribution, mass meetings, demonstrations, meetings with workers etc. is currently underway in Patna, Delhi and Paschim Bardhaman (West Bengal).

[Originally published in The Truth: Platform for Radical Voices of The Working Class (Issue 10 / February 2021)]

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