Farm unions plan ‘global’ protests against new laws
“Anti-capitalists of the world, unite,” a restatement of Marx’s iconic slogan “workers of the world, unite,” will resonate in at least 10 cities around the world on December 26 in response to a call from agricultural unions, which are coordinating plans to a worldwide protest against three agricultural laws promoted by the government of Narendra Modi.
Agricultural leaders say there will be no shortage of protesters from the Indian diaspora. A plethora of anti-Walmarters and opponents of large corporations in the US and elsewhere, in addition to independent farmers’ organizations, are also ready to answer their call, they said.
Cities where protesters have confirmed their participation include global financial centers, New York, Sydney and London. Protests have also been planned in other towns and cities abroad, including Leicester in the UK, Sacramento, California, Houston, Melbourne and Ontario.
The confrontation between the Union government and farmers continues over the approval of new legislation to open up the country’s antiquated agricultural sector to private investment, a measure that, according to the government, will allow farmers to earn better income and modernize the agricultural sector. Farmers say the reforms will leave them at the mercy of private corporations. The Modi government has repeatedly said that it is willing to find a solution through discussions, which ended in stalemate on December 8.
The global protest is part of a five-point agenda drawn up to further the agitation, said Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj India, leader of the agitation.
“We had made five major announcements,” he said.
“One, on December 21, there will be a relay hunger strike. Two, on the 23rd, the day of Kisan, we urge everyone to skip a meal in memory of our farmers. ”
“Three, on the 26th and 27th, we will write to the allies of the National Democratic Alliance to withdraw support for the laws. Four, in these two days, we have called all Indians abroad to hold demonstrations in front of Indian embassies and consulates. Five, for the next Mann ki baat(radio address) of the PM, farmers will hit thalis (utensils), ”Yadav said.
To be sure, the convocation of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the protest agricultural union’s platform, is limited solely to the Indian diaspora, according to their protest program.
But the foreign entities that oppose the big corporations are ready to join. “Large corporations have common global policies that harm the interests of consumers and small producers,” said Anastasia Elliot of Walmart Watch, a Washington-based non-governmental organization.
“So the world’s anti-capitalists must unite to protect the broader interests of society, whether in developed or developing countries. We support Indian farmers, ”he said by phone on Monday.
A section of the Sikh Indian diaspora has already staged large protests in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Mewa Singh, head of the Non-Resident Indian Council in Ropar, Punjab, said his office was coordinating with Indians abroad to make the protests global.
“My son, a resident of Texas, Houston, will lead the protests there,” he said.
Sikhs make up 1.4% of Canada’s population, but their close-knit community is an influential voting bloc.
“We support the farmers of Punjab because that’s how our ancestors were,” said Banda Singh, a resident of Brampton, Ontario.
Indians abroad are also sending political petitions to their legislators.
India recently summoned Canada’s high commissioner to express its strong displeasure at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement that Indian farmers had the right to protest.
Canadian envoy in New Delhi, Nadir Patel, was clearly told that India views such statements as “unacceptable interference” in the country’s internal affairs and that these actions, if continued, will have a “seriously damaging” impact on ties.
However, the chances of farmers’ protests morphing into a new global reaction are different.
“The Indian government has used disproportionate force against peacefully protesting farmers. We will protest in front of the parliament building on December 26, ”said Sukhdev Gill, a dairy worker in Victoria, Australia.