You are here: Home / 2016 / Updates from CPI (ML) Red Star

Updates from CPI (ML) Red Star

by CPI (ML) Red Star, 11 October 2016

 

Get Prepared to Observe Centenary of October Revolution

The Central Committee of the CPI (ML) Red Star along with the International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organizations (ICOR) has called for observing the centenary of great October Revolution from 7th November, and culminating with ideological-political campaigns and massive mobilizations at state level all over the country on 7th November, 2017.  ICOR has planned a theoretical seminar evaluating the contributions of October Revolution and Soviet Union along with a review of the shortcomings which led to the disintegration of the SU and an international rally in Europe in September, 2017. At the present historic juncture when the imperialists and their lackeys are utilizing the setbacks suffered by the international communist movement to intensify their fierce counter revolutionary offensive to inflict further damage to the revolutionary movement, it is a great challenge before the communists to confront them by overcoming past weaknesses and re-establishing the universal superiority of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and Proletarian Internationalist spirit.

The October Revolution, formation of Soviet Union, initiation of socialist transformation there and the launching of the Communist International were epochal developments which shook the global imperialist system. They gave great boost to the World Proletarian Socialist Revolution, with the national liberation movements getting strengthened in all countries under colonial domination and the People’s Democratic Revolutions under the leadership of communist parties advancing in many among them. By 1950s a situation was created when the forward march of socialist camp was challenging the imperialist camp.

But if the International Communist Movement (ICM) suffered severe setbacks and the Comintern (Communist International) was dissolved, they call for serious evaluation. Lessons should be taken from the positive and negative aspects of the past experiences. The centenary of the October Revolution is an important occasion to take up these tasks. This occasion also calls for emphasizing the need for developing the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism according to present conditions, when major changes have taken place in all fields under the neo-colonization drive by the imperialist forces and their lackeys. Let us take up the centenary observation of October Revolution with revolutionary spirit to re-establish the superiority of Marxist theory, to intensify the ideological-political campaign for bringing together the communist revolutionaries and to reorganize and strengthen the communist parties internationally making them capable of leading the struggle for social justice and democracy to great victories, by launching the struggle of all oppressed classes and sections in all fields and putting an end to the rule of oppressors of all hues. n

Stop Undeclared War: Kashmir Calls for Political Solution

More than two months have passed since the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen Commander, Burhan Wani on 8 July, 2016. The days after that have witnessed the intensification of the undeclared war going on for last almost seven decades between the Indian state and the people in the Indian occupied Kashmir. Similar is the situation in the PoK also. The imposition of curfew over Kashmir continues amid temporary relaxations; mobile internet service is shut down; attendance in government offices is thin. Clashes between protesters and the police, para-military continue on a daily basis. The number of injured till 20th September is reported to be about 15,000. Over one hundred are killed and nine hundred have had eye injuries due to rubber pellets fired by the security personnel. The monumental figure of those injured includes mainly the protesters, by-standers as also the police/para-military personnel. Thus on an average about 200 people have been injured per day or about eight per hour. The number of injured over a period of sixty days is frightening and calls for a comparison with other conflict situations in the last hundred years where the Indian army/ British Indian Army was engaged with an uprising within the country or a conflict with a neighbouring country.

After two visits of central home minister Rajnath Singh and an all party delegation of MPs led by him the situation remains more grave with people battling with the military and security forces whom they consider an occupation force. These visits repeatedly fail as like BJP and Congress, none of these parties accept the right of self determination of the Kashmiri people who were not part of British India. The consecutive Indian governments had/have no right to speak about the 1951 accession agreement with the king of Kashmir, as they have violated its provisions totally. Though the all party delegation has stated that any solution can be found only through discussion, why do they not ask for withdrawal of the military from policing the valley to create a favorable condition for talks? Why the government as well as the opposition does not accept that the 1951 accession agreement was violated and any solution is possible only through a referendum in both PoK as well as in IoK? Both Indian as well as Pakistan governments is aggravating the agony of the Kashmiri people.

We appeal to all democratic forces to raise their voice against this barbarism perpetuated on Kashmiri people and for a referendum to give an opportunity for the Kashmiri people to decide their future.

Inquilab Zindabad!

Workers of World, Unite!

Workers and Oppressed Peoples of the World Unite!

Take Lessons from the October Revolution, Pave the Path for Future Revolutions!

-- 

The Centenary Programs of the October of Revolution of Russia are starting from 7th November of this year. This shall culminate with programs across the world on 7th November next year. This shall be a year of great celebrations for the working class and oppressed peoples of the world; also this shall be a year for learning from the past and to develop concepts to create the future.

Hundred years ago on 7th November, 1917, the working class of Russia had seized political power and established the worker-peasant state for the first time in history. Before that in 1871 the workers of France had tried to establish the workers’ state. In history it is known as Paris Commune. Though it could continue only for 70 days, it had left many glorious lessons for the working class. The Russian working class took advantage of these lessons.

The Russian Revolution took place during the First World War when the imperialist plunderers were engaged in a bloody cut-throat war for re-dividing the colonial world among themselves. The dreams of the Russian capitalist class who had joined with Britain and France in this War were shattered. Discontentment among the workers, peasantry and army men were intensifying. They were getting mobilized around the program and declarations of the Bolshevik Party. “Peace, Bread and democracy” and “All Power to the Soviets” had become the main slogans of the revolution. The bourgeois revolution had taken place in Russia in February, 1917. But the bourgeois state formed only further intensified people’s discontentment, as it betrayed the toiling masses and started moving along the path of Tsardom.

After October Revolution the state of the worker-peasant alliance was formed in Russia. While the bourgeoisie around the world condemned it, the worker-peasant masses recognized what is people’s democracy. For the first time they recognized how the bourgeois democracy was cheating them. The people’s democracy overturned all the policies of the bourgeois state. The land was confiscated from the landlords and distributed among the tillers. The control of the factories was handed over to the workers. A peace proposal was put forward before the warring bourgeois states of Europe. In this way it declared that the sons and daughters of the workers and peasants of Russia were not prepared to shed blood for the imperialists and their Russian bourgeois friends.

These achievements of the October Revolution deeply influenced the workers, peasants and oppressed masses around the world. It inspired and gave new direction to the national liberation movements in the countries under colonial domination. Communist parties were formed in many countries. In some countries revolutions took place under working class leadership. Giving freedom to the nationalities kept under oppression by the Tsardom, this revolution gave the message that the workers’ state does not keep any weaker nationalities under subjugation by force. On the other hand, by organizing the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union) it inspired the concept of forming union of nationalities based on equality and democracy. The Socialist revolution in Russia contributed greatly in liberating the women from the shackles of patriarchy. For the first time women got the right to vote based on universal franchise, which the women of US or any other capitalist countries had not received yet. The defeat of fascist forces during the Second World War was such a great achievement for which all humankind will be grateful to Soviet Union. In spite of all these great contributions, it is a fact that the Soviet Union is no more due to internal sabotage by the capitalist roaders, and is today reduced to Russian imperialism before us. Thus there are two important questions in front of us: how to provide correct leadership to the working class revolution and how to save the workers’ state from internal sabotage by the capitalist roaders.

Today’s situation is quite different from the situation during the October Revolution. There is no threat of World War immediately before us. But presently imperialist system is confronting the greatest internal challenges. Though the phases of two super powers and cold war have passed, the US superpower is finding it difficult to impose its hegemony around. World has never witnessed such a situation when the sparks of people’s discontentment is spreading everywhere, even if the level of the discontentment is different from country to country. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya are going through civil wars. Syria is also moving in this direction. In Europe while the insecurity and dissatisfaction among the working class is increasing, on the other terrorist attacks are increasing. The Brexit in Britain is a reflection of this insecurity. In spite of all these, the working class is not in a position to take advantage of them, as they themselves are unorganized and confused.

In our country also, neither the condition of the ruling class nor of the working class and oppressed masses is any way different. In the context of neoliberal policies, there are no basic differences among the ruling class parties about economic-fiscal policies. Still there are no ruling class parties whose influence is spreading at all India level, or has such influence among the people which the Congress once had. In spite of having unity on economic policies, the main thrust of their politics has become dividing the people based on caste, religion, language, provincialism etc. Besides, in front of the people the bourgeois politics has become the den of corrupt, criminal and communal (especially Hindutuavadi) forces. The Modi government which came to power following last Lok Sabha elections creating illusions about development, stands exposed now for its lies and false promises. It is failing to cover up the galloping unemployment through its distortion of statistics. While failing in all these fields, this government has become notorious for spreading communal hatred and unleashing unprecedented oppression of dalits and minorities. This has led to ever increasing resistance against these policies regionally or spontaneously everywhere. This is the crisis of the bourgeois politics.

In spite of this, the left and democratic political forces in our country are still incapable of taking advantage of this crisis and providing revolutionary orientation to the mounting resistances of the people. The Left Front has become part of the ruling class politics and is passing through a period of defeat and despair. Many other sections are victims of deviations and disintegration In this situation, the Democratic People’s Forum has the  main task of bringing together all struggling left, democratic and oppressed classes and sections including the dalits, the adivasis and women on a broad platform of struggle, taking lessons from the great October Revolution and the innumerable revolutionary movements of the toiling and oppressed masses of our country so that a people’s alternative which ensures livelihood, food and democracy for all can be achieved.

With this firm determination let us mobilise our forces at Delhi to make the 7th November rally a great success; Our slogans:

Message of October Revolution: Let this country is of the toilers!

Only under worker-peasant raj, People’s Democracy becomes reality!

Livlihood, Food and Democracy: People of India demands them!

(Draft handbill matter prepared for the constituents of the DPF for organizing propaganda for the rally on 7th November 2016 at Delhi.  Constituents can propose necessary changes and send to Convener as early as possible. Meanwhile based on the slogans and Common Minimum Program of the DPF the campaign may be started

Brazilian Coup Made in USA

PJ James

The August 31 ouster of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, leader of the Workers Party (PT) who came to the presidency after former metal workers union leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is certainly a watershed in Brazilian politics. The year-long impeachment process led by the most reactionary sections of the Brazilian bourgeoisie sponsored by US imperialism has been a clever move to impose an ultra-rightwing regime since the end of US backed military dictatorship in 1985 and the return of civilian rule thereafter. Though a separate vote was taken for barring Rousseff from holding any public office or employment for eight years, it failed to obtain the necessary two-thirds vote. Impeachment was the culmination of the long drawn out process when the Senate found in 2015 that Rousseff was guilty of issuing three unauthorized supplementary spending decrees intended to conceal the depth of Brazil’s economic crisis in the run up to her 2014 reelection.

Her conviction and ouster based on trumped-up charges of fiscal misconduct have already led to wide repercussions across the political spectrum in Latin America and internationally. Almost 40 Democratic US congressmen casting doubt on the impeachment process followed by a condemnatory statement by Democratic contender Bernie Sanders, letter of condemnation by several British MPs as published in the Guardian on May 26, 2016, recalling of the Venezuelan, Bolivian and Ecuadorian ambassadors from Brazil, and so on are instances of such political repercussions in the Americas and Europe.

Statement on Rousseff’s ouster as “a decision made by the Brazilian people” immediately issued in Washington by John Kirby, US government spokesman is hard to digest since fiscal measures similar to those resorted by her had been routinely employed by previous Brazilian presidents as well as by various state governors. For instance, when the Republicans in the US Congress threatened to shut down the government over the debt ceiling in 2013, the Obama administration used a number of “accounting tricks” to extend the deadline, and there was little controversy over this.

Unraveling Wall Street’s deep financial interests in the impeachment proceedings Kirby added: “The Brazilian Senate, in accordance with Brazil’s constitutional framework, has voted to remove President Rousseff from office. We’re confident that we will continue the strong bilateral relationship that exists between our two countries… We plan to continue this very essential collaboration.” This statement is fully in consonance with the overwhelming public opinion in Brazil that the final seal of approval for ousting Rousseff came from Washington and was fully driven by the demands of Wall Street thugs and international finance capital that wanted a change of regime in order to accelerate neoliberal policies that were allegedly lagging and not getting the desired momentum under the rule of the PT.

The far right-wing forces who worked behind the impeachment led by Eduardo Cunha, president of the Chamber of Deputies and the new president Michel Temer (who was Rousseff’s vice-president) of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB- a party representing the “wealthier and white sections” of Brazilian society) already involved in allegations of massive corruption scandals and kickbacks are reportedly having firm connections with Washington. Ironically, around 60 percent of the parliamentarians who voted for the impeachment are themselves either under criminal investigation or have already been convicted on corruption charges, while no such concrete allegations are there against Rousseff.

According to the popular mood in Brazil, the provocation for the impeachment was the government’s failure to protect leading politicians caught up in the massive corruption scandal involving huge bribes and kickbacks in connection with the public-sector energy conglomerate Petrobras. Even as independent observers see no “Presidential crime warranting an impeachment,” common people are increasingly becoming disgusted with the continuing revelations of the so called “Operation Car Wash” investigation in to the multi-billion-dollar Petrobras scandal unfolded under the presidencies of Lula and Rousseff, in which both of them are also charged with obstruction of justice.

Still majority of the people feel that the allegations against Rousseff and Lula are the handiwork of an opposition that disguises its heinous move to remove an elected government as judicial and constitutional. Obviously the team leading the investigation is openly biased against PT while shielding the leaders of PMDB and other parties. Selective leaks from the investigation team through pro-US corporate media are used as raw material for the “political-judicial coup” against Rousseff and Lula.

However, from its very inception in the late 1970s, the PT has been a conglomeration of various Latin American petty-bourgeois nationalist and guerrilla trends drawing inspiration from “trade unionism”, “anarchism”, “adventurism”, “Trotskyism”, “liberation theology”, “Freirean pedagogy” and “neo-Marxian prognoses” except Marxism. Obviously, the banner of so called left unity built up by PT over the years has been rooted in a dismissal of  class analysis and around a pact of silence over the ideological-political issues confronting international proletariat in the postwar neocolonial phase of imperialism.

No doubt the PT lacked a theoretical clarity and a historical perspective on all contemporary questions. Thus, devoid of a scientific understanding and ideological perspective on the laws of motion of corporate capital under neoliberalism, like Lula, her predecessor, Rousseff has been engaged in implementing an unsustainable neo-Keynesian agenda espoused by PT entitled “progressive national project”. Almost in tandem with the left-of-centre economic policies and programs of Chavez of Venezuela and Morales of Bolivia, the “progressive national project” of PT under both Lula and Rousseff consisted of increased welfare spending and social assistance programs made possible by increased export earnings taking advantage of the relative rise in primary commodity prices that persisted till the global meltdown of 2007-08.

At the same time, at the behest of imperialist finance capital and its Brazilian junior partners, the Rousseff regime has been faithfully pursuing the diktats of IMF by implementing a series of neoliberal programs. On the other hand, the upper elite  and more privileged sections of the Brazilian middle class who vehemently opposed the social democratic orientation of PT and accused it for halting Brazil’s rise to “first world” status by diverting wealth into minimal social assistance programs for the poor were whipping up people’s disgust into a right-wing frenzy. In the meanwhile, the Latin American economic crisis that accentuated since the 2007 global meltdown has undermined this “populist” model in Brazil, just as it has made the so called “progressive national projects” unsustainable in Venezuela and other Latin American countries resulting in a rightward shift in mainstream politics and ascendancy of reactionary regimes reversing the progressive trend that had begun since the beginning of the millennium.

For instance, immediately after his assuming power, the new Brazilian president Temer, like the new right-wing regime in Argentina, has unequivocally declared that his “mission is to show businessmen and investors of the whole world” that Brazil is offering “good deals” and will “guarantee investors political stability.” As the faithful agent of international capital, he offered an investor-friendly “modernization” and “reform” of Brazil’s labor laws as required by corporate investors from Wall Street. Temer’s program is aimed at placing the full burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of the Brazilian working class and toiling masses and he hinted at a constitutional amendment that would bar any increase in public spending for up to 20 years and scraping of budgetary allocations even to essential social services such as health and education. At an ideological level, though the difference between Rousseff and Temer, both as leaders of neoliberal regime is only of degree, impeachment of the former will certainly be used by both international capital and Brazilian bourgeoisie to rapidly intensify the attacks on Brazilian workers and broad masses of toiling people.

A Coup Made in USA

Professor de Sousa Santos noted progressive intellectual and writer on Latin America has recently explained what he characterizes “the return of US imperialism to its backyard through various “development projects” and a whole set of US-based NGOs and  “ CIA-related organizations whose gestures in defense of democracy are just a front for covert, aggressive attacks and provocations directed at progressive governments.” According to him, their explicit goal is “replacing progressive governments with conservative governments while maintaining the democratic façade.” While Latin America’s modern history is riddled with well-documented examples of US operations aimed at overthrowing regimes, apologists of US imperialism would argue the situation in Brazil is tied to a popular “protest movement” that has sprang up due to the corruption scandal under the Rousseff government.

This prognosis, however, is far from true. For, since the ascendancy of Obama, Latin American coups are no longer commonly “overt military actions” or “covert CIA operations”; rather they are what are called “silent coups”- coups that never take off their masks and reveal themselves as coups, but that are “silently disguised as domestic current events.”

In the background of the ouster of Rousseff, Wikileaks has revealed several murky details regarding the profiles of Temer, the interim president along with other Brazilian coup leaders. The most striking part of these leaks is the proof of Temer’s service as an “embassy informant for Washington.” Two cables dated January 11, 2006, and June 21, 2006, obtained by WikiLeaks reveal that Temer, leader of the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), briefed US diplomats on the political process in Brazil and his party’s aspirations to gain power at the time of 2006 elections, which then was won by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the PT. WikiLeaks’ website also notes the then US evaluation of Temer’s party as an “opportunistic” group with ”no ideology or policy framework” which eventually entered into a coalition with PT that enabled Temer to become vice-president under Rousseff. On hearing the appointment of Temer, whose popular approval rating is estimated at around 2 percent, as president, Glenn Greenwald, Brazil-based US journalist pointing out  his ineligibility to serve Brazilian people noted in The Intercept thus: “He’s planning to appoint Goldman Sachs and IMF officials to run the economy and otherwise install a totally unrepresentative, neoliberal team.” 

According to information that appeared on the Consortium News along with The Intercept, just a day after Rousseff’s ouster, senator Aloysio Nunes, of Temer’s PMDB, who led Rousseff’s impeachment in the Senate had a three-day visit to Washington to meet members of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and a former US ambassador to Brazil, Thomas Shannon and other US think tanks including Wall Street oligarchs. These are nothing short of suggestive evidences of US involvement in the coup.

Another aspect that throws light on the US involvement is the role of current US ambassador to Brazil, Liliana Ayalde, who is nicknamed as the “coup-experienced US ambassador” by Latin American media for her notorious role in overthrowing elected Latin American governments. Before she was sent to Brazil, Ayalde had served as an ambassador to Paraguay ahead of the 2012 coup, which saw the country’s president Fernando Armindo Lugo Méndez ousted from office through impeachment in a procedure similar to that of Rousseff’s. Carlos Eduardo Martins, well known sociology professor at the University of Sao Paulo opines: “That ambassador acted with great force during the coup that happened in Paraguay and she is in Brazil, using the same discourse, arguing that there is a situation that will be resolved by Brazilian institutions.”

2013 and 2015 revelations by WikiLeaks that the US National Security Agency was spying on Rousseff by intercepting her communications and tapping the cell phones of 29 Brazilian top officials including Rousseff herself had led to the cancelling of her visit to the US. At the same time, US imperialism made maximum use of its “own chosen agents” close to Rousseff regime. As noted by Glenn Greenwald, the published transcript of the call between former senator Romero Jucá, who is currently planning minister in the new Temer government, and former oil executive, Sergio Machado, also lays bare “a national pact” to remove Rousseff and install Temer as President. Jucá reveals that, not only opposition politicians, but also the military and the Supreme Court are conspirators in the coup.

Regarding the military’s role, Jucá says, “I am talking to the generals, the military commanders. They are fine with this, they said they will guarantee it.” And, as for the Supreme Court, Jucá admits that he “spoke with and secured the involvement of numerous justices on Brazil’s Supreme Court.” Jucá further boasted that “there are only a small number” of Supreme Court justices that he had not spoken to. Pinpointing the heinous move by “powerful oligarchic, media and imperial forces” in getting rid of “progressive forces” and “popular revolutionary leaderships of the continent,” Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro said: “I have no doubt that behind this coup is the label ‘made in USA.” Expressing concern that the next victim may be Venezuela, he also described the political events in Brazil as ”a grave threat for the future stability and peace of the continent.”

US Reclamation of Latin America

The entire political history of Latin America and Caribbean is inseparably linked up with US sponsored coups that have toppled several progressive and social democratic governments. The 1954 CIA overthrow of Guatemala’s Jacobo Arbenz, the 1964 brutal military coup that removed Brazil’s Joao Goulart from power, the 1973 overthrow of Chile’s Salvador Allende, 2002 plot in Venezuela, 2004 and 2011 interventions in Haiti, 2009 sabotage in Honduras, 2012 coup in Paraguay are only a few among such notorious “aggressions” engineered by the Yankees during the postwar neocolonial period. Though the Kennedy administration started the preparation for the Brazilian coup in 1962, it was carried out by the Johnson administration in 1964 under the direct supervision of the then Secretary of State McNamara, shortly after Kennedy’s assassination. It was the military dictatorship that came to power after the coup that imprisoned and tortured Rousseff, though that US-backed military dictatorship ended in 1985.

However,   the post Cold War period had witnessed the emergence of elected governments in almost all Latin American countries and the turn of the twenty-first century gave rise to a swing to several social democratic or “left-wing” governments in Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia and so on.  But today, Latin America is experiencing a return swing of the pendulum as US has initiated a “reclamation” of Latin America since “control over its own backyard”, as Henry Kissinger said in the seventies is essential “to achieve a successful order elsewhere in the world.” With the death of Chavez, US imperialism has intensified the “repossession” process, and the “silent coup” in Brazil, the leading and the largest neocolonial country in Latin America is a landmark in that sense.

Today, an inalienable component of this imperialist repossession or reclamation of Latin America has been the effective use of neocolonial economic tools still managed by the US. For instance, one of the bullying tactics pursued by Obama Administration has been the blocking of loans and grants to progressive Latin American regimes from neocolonial lending institutions such as the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. For instance, in his recent visit to Argentina now ruled by a right-wing government, Obama announced a reversal in lending policy pursued towards the previous left-wing governments.  Another effective imperialist tool has been massive spying on elected popular governments in Latin America.

In the recent political developments in Brazil leading to Rousseff’s impeachment, as revealed by Wikileaks, all the relevant information about Petrobras was first gathered by Washington and shared the same with its chosen agents in Brazil including Temer who was the vice-president himself. While on the one hand, this undermined the political position of PT and Rousseff, on the other, due to their own mistakes, the Brazilian economy faced an unprecedented 3.8 percent collapse in 2015. In the absence of a clear-cut ideological-political approach to neo-liberalism, confronted with the downturn in world economy and fall in commodity prices since 2008, the Rousseff government at the behest of neo-liberal institutions like IMF embarked on a harsh austerity package including spending cuts and interest rate hikes resulting in a shrinkage of the economy coupled with horrific decline in people’s living standards.

As the economy shrank further, to appease both her rightwing domestic collaborators and Wall Street advisers, Rousseff pursued more harsh neoliberal policies since 2015 leading to a deep recession with unemployment rate reaching double-digit level. Still having a foreign exchange reserve worth $ 360 billion and hence not being constrained by balance of payments problems confronting other Latin American countries, she had the option of an expansionary “Keynesian-type” policy and increased social spending at least in the short run. She could not do this due to her extreme dependence on neoliberal advice from IMF, etc. To be precise, the worsening economic situation coupled with political instability arising from dissension within backed by US machinations ultimately put matters beyond the control of PT.

Conclusion

For the Brazilian working class, the largest contingent of international proletariat from a Latin American country, this is a critical moment. Being Latin America’s largest economy having extensive investment and trade links with other countries in the continent, the ultra-rightist policies in Brazil pursued by the Temer government will have far reaching repercussions, especially in the form of intensified corporate onslaughts on workers throughout the Americas.

The successful coup that installed a pro-US government in Brazil will embolden the new US government, whether Republic or Democrat that is going to assume power after the November election, to pursue an aggressive ‘reclamation’ approach towards other ‘recalcitrant’ rulers in Latin America like Morales of Bolivia and Maduro of Venezuela.

Rather than being a direct military or CIA intervention, with the backing of international corporate media, it will be in the form of a “quiet coup dressed in the disguise of democracy.” This calls for a concrete evaluation of the emerging neoliberal situation and the building up of a pan American unity of the working class comprising workers and toiling masses of both Latin America and North America together with workers and oppressed peoples of the whole world against imperialism.

Since the PT, like Syriza in Greece or Podemos in Spain, has no political alternative to neoliberalism, there is no sense in pinning hopes on it or defending for a restoration of it anymore. What requires is an independent political mobilization of the working class that totally breaks away from “left bourgeois positions” and that bases itself on an internationalist ideological perspective towards the present neocolonial-neoliberal order of imperialism.

 

Dimensions of World Agricultural Crisis and the Task of Overcoming It

(AIKKS Paper in Kathmandu World Peasants' Conference No. 2)

Introduction

Over a century, world capitalist agriculture has transformed from ‘industrial’ to ‘corporate’ in consonance with the laws of motion of finance capital.  In conformity with this, corporatization of agriculture and depeasantization and proletarianization of vast majority of the peasantry are the two major inseparable trends visible in global agriculture today.  Intensification of corporate land grab and unprecedented expropriation of the peasantry from land and massive displacement of rural population from their habitats resulting in horrific levels of migration in search of livelihood and sustenance leading to worldwide refugee crises and swelling urban slums are all integral part of the crisis confronting agriculture now.  Coupled with these, neoliberal pricing and market policies pertaining to agricultural inputs as well as outputs that serve the interests of corporate farms, agribusiness MNCs and commodity speculators also contribute to the forced withdrawal of peasants from agriculture. As a corollary of corporatization of agriculture as manifested in  large scale dependence on imports of food, fertilizers and  animal feeds for the breeding of animals in mechanized or “factory farms”, cultivation of  bio-fuels and ever-intensifying use of genetically modified seeds, mono-crop agriculture , all resulting in loss of biodiversity, etc., have acted as major factors behind the ecological catastrophe and environmental crisis along with food insecurity for the vast majority of the common people. According to FAO, three quarters of the global genetic diversity of crops (along with animal breeds) have been lost by the turn of the 21st century.

The ubiquitous global drive to corporate farms together with new trade agreements especially based on Market Access and Plant Breeding provisions (including intellectual property rights pertaining to plants, animals, and micro-organisms) of WTO have compelled peasants to abandon agriculture altogether. For instance, the North American Free Trade Agreement –NAFTA (repercussions from the forthcoming Tans-Pacific Partnership—TPF—which encompasses a geographical area comprising 48 percent of global GDP will be more disastrous) — has forced subsistence farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean to withdraw from agriculture and join the ranks of urban slum dwellers or ‘informal working class “ as they cannot compete with massive imports of cheap grains and other agricultural products from corporate farms in the US. This is in addition to the IMF- World Bank mandated “structural adjustments” and imposition of neoliberal policies in which protective tariffs on food and agricultural raw materials were lowered or eliminated in many countries.

In several Afro-Asian Latin American countries “contract farming” has become the dominant trend where farmers are fast transforming as appendages to agribusiness companies and commodity speculators (so called futures traders) at terms dictated by the latter. Coupled with this, unprecedented land concentration with big corporate farms has rendered the tillers of the soil landless leading to a rapid growth in the number of agricultural workers relative to that of the ‘peasantry’ almost everywhere.  Thus, the economic, social and ecological problems created by corporatization of agriculture have become part of the central political question in both imperialist and neocolonial countries albeit with their own specificities.

As other spheres of the economy, it is common logic that capitalism subjugates agriculture also to the narrow perspective of profit accumulation. According to Marx, “the dependence of the cultivation of particular agricultural products upon the fluctuations of market-prices, and the continual changes in this cultivation with these price fluctuations—the whole spirit of capitalist production, which is directed toward the immediate gain of money—are in contradiction to agriculture, which has to minister to the entire range of permanent necessities of life required by the chain of successive generations.” However, the dislocations and distortions created by corporate agriculture today are more complex than the situation under industrial capitalism and even incomparable with any other previous epochs in history. For instance, while subsistence farmers and real tillers of the soil including agricultural workers everywhere are ready to incorporate environmental and social goals into cultivation, corporate farms and agribusinesses are opposed to it.

Though several governments under compulsion have passed laws mandating access to food, clean water and sanitation facilities to agricultural workers and rural people, they cannot be implemented due to the power of the corporate agricultural lobby and relative lack of power of the peasantry and rural proletariat. At a global level, enough food is currently produced to feed everyone in the world and it is possible that hunger could be abolished. However, pro-corporate policies that allocate plenty of money to subsidize financial speculators, provide corporate tax breaks, and divert money for military expenditures will not allow adequate spending for food subsidy that can feed everyone. To be specific, environmental degradation, growth of urban slums and food insecurity are the outcome of corporate agriculture today.

De-Peasantization and Proletarianization

Within a span of a century, concentration of land among the corporate monopoly farms has shown steady growth. Thus, total number of farms in USA that stood at 5.9 million in 1945 declined to 2.1 million in 2000 even as average farm size has grown from 19.5 to 441 acres and percent of rural population dwindled from 36 to 21 during the same period. The same period also witnessed a steep fall in the proportion of agricultural work force from73 percent to 7 percent of the total workers in US (www.agriculture.org). However, by the year 2010, the number farmers in United States has further declined to 1.3 million compared to 2.3 million prisoners in American jails. According to the latest Global Report of FAO, the average farm size in the entire North America comes to 300 hectares. The same is 166 hectares and 67 hectares in Latin America and Western Europe respectively. While the total number of small farms in the world defined as those with less than 2 hectares is estimated at 404 million, Asia is having their largest concentration with 87 percent. Africa, Americas, and Europe respectively are home to 8, 4 and 1 percent of the small farms in the world (www.fao.org).  Among the Asian countries, India still has an agricultural population of almost 50 percent where the per capita availability of agricultural land is just 0.29 hectare.

In fact, the trend towards increasing land concentration in Asia and Latin America and to lesser extent in Africa during the postwar period has been inseparably linked up with the transplantation of what is called industrial agriculture to them under the camouflage of Green Revolution backed by imperialist-sponsored research and development investments. Concentrating on favourable agricultural areas and sometimes supported by massive infrastructural investments in irrigation, transport and storage, industrial monocultures of rice, maize and wheat, as well as cotton and oilseed cash-crops replaced traditional agro-food systems. Introduction of high-yielding varieties combined with artificial fertilizer, pesticides and machinery increased agricultural output dramatically, yet not necessarily food security in those regions. The adverse impact on soil, water and natural resources and the consequent environmental, social and cultural consequences of Green Revolution have been far-reaching.

However, the most conspicuous transformation brought about by the super-imposed Green revolution has been the nurturing  and building  up of  an agricultural bourgeois class as a social base and a firm ally of state power in neocolonial countries. Since the adoption of new agricultural technology necessitated substantial investments which were beyond the reach of vast majority of small and marginal peasants, at the instance of World Bank, USAID, Ford-Rockefeller philanthropies and other funding agencies, comprador regimes had to  resort to a series of super-imposed land legislations that brought about changes in feudal or pre-capitalist land relations not based on the principle of ‘land to the tiller’ but with the purpose of creating a bourgeois landlord class or ‘kulaks’ who can imbibe both the ideology and technology of green revolution. The logical outcome of the imposition of this American agricultural model in neocolonial countries has been what is called depeasantization or proletarianization of the peasantry.

Of course, India is a classic case of this transformation. The first Green Revolution implemented by US imperialism in Indian agriculture along with other neocolonial countries since the sixties acting as a conduit for the penetration of imperialist capital and transforming it as an appendage of agribusiness MNCs has also led to the strengthening of land concentration in a new agricultural bourgeoisie and corporate farms on the one hand, and accentuation of landlessness of the peasantry on the other. It has also led to the complete loss of Indian peasants’ self-reliance on domestic seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, transfer of the Indian gene pool of food crops to the seed banks controlled by MNCs, and above all the irreversible soil degradation and natural resource depletion having long lasting ecological problems. In the twenty-first century, the so called second Green Revolution in continuation of the first has added a new dimension to India’s agrarian crisis. With the inclusion of agriculture along with intellectual property rights into the WTO regime, led by agri-business MNCs who have completely monopolized the agriculture technologies, India is now witnessing an unprecedented corporatization of agriculture.

Along with the ongoing corporate land grab in the name of various neocolonial projects such as SEZs, tourism zones, townships, etc., agri-business companies in the name of corporate agriculture are also concentrating vast land areas leading to further landlessness and destitution of the peasantry. Even existing land ceiling acts are repealed to facilitate this corporatization resulting in large scale displacement of the peasantry. Corporate and contract farming of export-oriented cash crops are replacing vast areas of foods crop agriculture in different parts of the country.

Together with the worsening land question, corporate control over agricultural inputs and output markets through various price and exim policies of the comprador regime is also mounting. In continuation of the green revolution that facilitated the monopolization of the entire input-output market for agriculture by MNCs and agri-business companies, WTO dictated agricultural policies including anti-peasant credit and price policies coupled with the curtailment of state support programs like subsidies and public procurements have led to mass suicides of peasants throughout the country.

On account of these new developments in agriculture, the marginal and poor peasants who cannot maintain their meager holdings are compelled to sell them off to corporate farms, rural elite and the rich and are migrating to the urban slums to join the ranks of unorganized and ‘informal’ workers, the fastest growing segment of world proletariat today. Homelessness, joblessness and mushrooming of slums have become the hallmark of so called development today. As a result of the massive displacement of the peasantry and extreme pauperization of the country-side, currently India is facing one of the fastest growing internal migrations ever recorded in history.

Corporatization of agriculture and the consequent surge in corporate farms coupled with the growth of “factory farms” for animal breeding have forced the vast majority of displaced land less poor peasants everywhere, to migrate to urban slums as “informal working class” or enroll themselves as agricultural workers in corporate farms.  And the problems confronted by farm and processor labour are immense and quite unprecedented. Of course, grain production all over the world is more or less mechanized now. But there is a limit to mechanization of several farm operations. This is especially the case with the production of fruits and vegetables as well as animal farms. Farm workers who apply pesticides and harvest crops, especially fruits and vegetables that form one of the largest agribusiness components today are abysmally facing inhuman conditions. Their wages are low and their housing is generally nil or substandard. State laws on treatment of farm workers wherever exist are commonly ignored. Workers, many of whom are like bonded labourers, are often undocumented. They rarely complain since they are in a subservient position, quite reminiscent of the feudal periods. Workers in slaughterhouses (euphemistically called animal-processing facilities) have high rates of injuries, and are often treated as animals. More often, slaughterhouse workers are immigrants or informal workers who are recruited to subvert unions and reduce wages. Undocumented immigrants live in fear, reluctant to report violations of the labour code. Ironically, many animal rights groups which are so concerned over the inhumane treatment of farm animals (which is true) safely ignore the gruesome conditions of human workers in modern factory farms.

For instance, a recent report in Los Angeles Times has exposed slavery-like conditions prevailing in several corporate factory farms situated in northwestern Mexico which supply a major part of the food requirements to US during the winter season. Displaced people brought in from southern part of Mexico work under harsh conditions, including near-slavery. Many farm workers who are mainly immigrants are trapped for months in rat-infested camps, often without beds and sometimes without functioning toilets or a reliable water supply. It is usual on the part of bosses in charge of camps illegally withholding wages to prevent workers from leaving during peak harvest periods. Workers often go deep in debt paying inflated prices for necessities at company stores. Some are reduced to scavenging for food when their credit is cut off. It is common for workers to head home penniless at the end of a harvest. Those who seek to escape from their miserable living conditions are dealt with guards, barbed-wire fences, and threats of violence and even death from camp supervisors.

In the modern corporate farming system, the fate of peasants who have no other option except to cling to agriculture is not basically different from that of workers. The farmers have no say in the decision-making with regard to cultivation/breeding as everything is dictated by the corporate agribusiness firm. Based on their market survey, the agribusiness firms enter into contract with farmers who must adhere to the corporate specifications. Such “contract farmers” will be supplied with seeds in the case of cultivation and in the case of chicken farming, for instance, with baby chicks, feed, veterinary medicines like antibiotics, etc. The farmers own nothing but the barns and the manure, and are paid based on how many birds are produced and their rate of weight gain. The farmer is in reality a bonded labourer for the corporate firm. Under pressure from corporate agribusiness, in 2005 the US passed the Agricultural Appropriations Bill that took away even nominal protections that existed for contract farmers. With the emergence of large scale domestic and export-oriented plants for processing (slaughtering) animals controlled by integrated corporations, medium and small  independent farmers have no way to process large numbers of animals. They are also driven to penury and destitution.

Loss of Biodiversity and Mounting Ecological Crisis

Profit-oriented mono-crop cultivation and commercialization of agriculture have inflicted immense damage to global biodiversity.  Biodiversity is lost as native plant species are eradicated in order to grow the crops desired by agribusiness companies for sale in the market. The loss of habitat for diverse species means that there is also a loss of natural control mechanisms. There is also loss of biological diversity in soils as a single or a few crops are grown consequent to which soil organic matter is depleted. Another type of biodiversity loss is that of the genetic diversity of the crops themselves arising from the application of genetic engineering to plant breeding. According to an estimate of FAO in 2004, about three quarters of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops have been lost over the last century. And of 6,300 animal breeds, 1,350 have become endangered. Seeds from commercial companies have penetrated much of the world’s agriculture, displacing native varieties even in the areas of the species’ origin where the highest genetic diversity is normally found.

For instance, in India, there were about 3000 rice varieties prior to the so called Green Revolution. Today there are around ten only. This has been the direct fall-out of the super-imposed monoculture and crop homogeneity enforced by corporate finance capital.  As private agribusiness companies focus on few varieties that are themselves genetically uniform, this creates a lack of genetic diversity within the crop making it more susceptible to pest/insect infestations leading to heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Along with the social repercussions arising from the shift away from small landholdings to large commercial farms, the environmental and ecological issues arising from new practices such as bio-fuel cultivation aimed at producing ethanol-fuel by corporate agriculture have made cultivation itself unsustainable. Surveying the new developments in agriculture at a global level, a study conducted by the Institute for Food and Development Policy in 2000 noted the complex agrarian scenario thus: “First, where farmland is bought and sold like any other commodity and society allows the unlimited accumulation of farmland by a few, super farms replace family farms and all of society suffers. Second, where the main producers of food—small farmers and farm workers—lack bargaining power relative to suppliers of farm inputs and food markers, producers get a shrinking share of the rewards from  farming. Third, where dominant technology destroys the very basis for future production by degrading the soil and generating pest and weed problems, it becomes increasingly difficult and costly to sustain yields.”(www.foodfirst.org)

Growing Food Insecurity

Despite agriculture’s long trajectory from subsistence to industrial and finally to corporate farming  constantly increasing agricultural production, the number of hungry people the world over has steeply increased over time and reached an historic peak of about one billion victims as of now. The solemn commitment of the World Food Summit in 1996 to halve the number of the then 830 million undernourished to 415 million by 2015 and its continued reiterations during the past ten years have all become mere rhetoric.  While one-seventh of the world population suffers from acute hunger, five million children are dying from hunger every year. And this is the worst global assault on human rights and dignity by corporate capitalism today. Hunger has become the underlying problem beneath displacement, migration, social instability and the unprecedented refugee crisis.  World hunger is also linked with environmental degradation and natural resource depletion in many regions of the world.

From a global perspective, sufficient food is there to feed all and lack of food output is not the cause of hunger. While world population has doubled over the past 40 years, agricultural production including food has increased about two-and- a-half times. Of course, nobody can deny the fact that adequate levels of food production are a prerequisite to ensure the right to food. According to well-meaning agricultural experts and economists, world output of food today is more than sufficient to provide all people of the world with enough healthy food and will also be able to nurture a population of 9 billion, predicted to inhabit this planet in 40 years time. Paradoxically, most hungry people today actually live in countries that are exporters of food and agricultural products. It is deplorable indeed that India, a country which inhabits more than half of world’s extreme hungry is one of the exporters of grain and vegetable oil to the US. Today, rather than its availability, the food question is directly related with both international and national policies dictated by global agribusiness and market forces who through unfair trade practices, concentration of market power and outright speculation create artificial scarcities of food and essential items of livelihood.  For instance, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (2000) of the US that came into being at the behest of corporate speculators including pension funds, hedge funds and investment banks has allowed them to speculate in food and commodity futures without any limit or regulation. While the prices of industrial raw materials like copper, iron, rubber and oil are collapsing, food prices are galloping. The value of speculative trading in food and other necessaries of life through what is called “index trading” has reached around $ 9 trillion at the end of 2007.

According to a US Congressional Report, on the eve of the ‘sub-prime crisis’ in mid-2008, 42 percent of all soybean trade and 64 percent of wheat trade in America have been owned by what are called “index traders”. The obvious outcome of this commodity speculation, which yields super profit to financiers at the expense of both producers and consumers, is sky-rocketing prices of food and other essential items. A striking trend in recent years is the flocking together of leading financial companies to indulge in futures trading in commodity exchanges in the context of the huge reverses they are facing in currency and financial markets. With the institutionalization of futures trading in commodities in the neoliberal period, the erstwhile International Commodity Agreements that came into being for avoiding fluctuations in the prices of primary commodities exported by neocolonial countries during the decades of international Keynesianism have practically become redundant.

Not only agribusiness companies but even leading global financial corporations like JP Morgan, Chase Manhattan, HSBC, etc., have specialized wings for futures trading in food grains. Cargill, the biggest world trader in food products has trebled its profits in 2009 immediately after the sub-prime crisis solely due to rise in food prices. It has been reported that a portion of the recent “bailout” that transferred trillions of dollars of public money to financial monopolies in America, Europe and elsewhere is being driven to speculation in food grains. Comprador regimes in neocolonial countries are also pursuing the same policies. In India, for instance, while the credit needs of tens of millions of real peasantry are seldom met, taking advantage of the deregulation in banking and finance, banks are channeling huge amounts to food grain speculators who are operating as per the 2005 Forward Trading regulation of the Indian government, modeled after the aforesaid 2000 American Act. Reliance, the leading comprador Indian corporate financial player has already invested Rs. 250000 million in food grain speculation. The consequent rise in food prices has made it beyond the reach of common people. According to FAO, global food price index at 2002-04 prices has doubled during 1990-2011 and the trend is still continuing. The recent political upheavals in North Africa and West Africa, including Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Mozambique, Jordan and Yemen and so on are directly linked with the speculation-induced rise in food prices.

The problem of hunger and lack of food for the poor are also linked with other trends. For instance, only less than half of the total global cereal production is presently being used as food. Much of the increased output of cereal is diverted to ‘other uses’ comprising fuel, energy production, animal fodder as well as other industrial uses. According to an FAO study, a 5 percent increase in cereal production in today’s conditions will result in only 0.1 percent increase in food availability per capita. Hoarding, black marketing and futures’ trade in food and diversion of it to other means reduce the actual availability of food in accordance with people’s requirements.

Recent explosion of food prices has been attributed to, among other factors, an increased demand for bio-fuels. It has a direct impact on climate too. Worldwide diversion of prime agricultural land for bio-fuel or agro-fuel production by the US and EU and emulated by other countries with a view to breaking the influence of oil producers and promote so called “greener” fuels (which are not at all “green”) is a threat to sustainable agriculture. In 2008 some 30 percent of the entire corn crop in the United States was used to produce ethanol to blend with gasoline to fuel cars. Estimates of how much ethanol production contributed to the rise in food prices varied from less than 5 percent (as reported by U.S. Department of Agriculture) to upwards of 80 percent (as estimated by the World Bank). For, corporate agriculture today accounts for more than 25 percent  of global greenhouse gas emissions though the plants and soil it is based upon have the potential to reduce rather than increase global warming.

Price volatility of agricultural products arising from corporatization and commercialization has an immediate bearing on the prevalence of hunger as it encourages the conversion of land for cash-crop production, competing with food production. The poorest food-importing countries as well as the marginalized and downtrodden sections are the worst sufferers. Without a reversal of these pro-corporate policies, any strategy to fight hunger and poverty will be meaningless.

Market Dynamics and Agriculture

According to conventional capitalist market logic when prices are high producers seek to maximize production to capture the higher prices and maximize total income, and when prices go down production will be curtailed with the expectation that reduced supply will boost up prices. This usual response applicable to other economic activities is not the case with agriculture. Firstly, because of the seasonal as well as climatic and geographical character of agriculture, a time lag needed either to increase or decrease production according to market logic is much longer in agriculture than in other spheres of economic activity. Certainly, as with other businesses, high prices will tempt peasants to produce more.

But when prices are low, the conventional practice of decreasing production will be at variance with agriculture. When prices are low, farmers need to maximize production in order to reduce the per-unit cost of production, with the goal of covering variable costs and as much of the fixed costs as possible. Because farmers have high fixed costs relative to other businesses they face challenges quite different from those faced by non-agricultural avenues. However, the efforts on the part of peasants to increase production and cover costs and reduce losses inevitably lead to a further reduction price. Thus a decision which may appear to be rational for the particular farmer may end up being irrational for the farming community altogether.

It is this vulnerability of the peasantry that is being exploited by corporate finance capital led by agribusiness companies and commodity speculators. Agricultural policies of the neoliberal state dictated by financial corporations are intended to accentuate this inherent vulnerability of the agriculture. World’s agribusiness MNCs such as Cargill, Monsanto, Pepsi, Archer-Daniels-Midland, Du Pont, Nestle, Kraft, Coca-Cola, etc. who are the largest purchasers, sellers and processors of grains and agricultural products the world over can expand their profits manifold by manipulating state policies and influencing agricultural output prices, often compelling peasant to resort to “distress sales.”

While corporate monopolies on account of their global reach and clout in national governments and international institutions are “price makers”(due to their control over market), peasants in general are “price takers” as exemplified in their abject dependence on market fluctuations. Today, the entire WTO provisions pertaining to agriculture such as “market access”, “tariff and non-tariff barriers”, subsidy regulations, input-output prices, export-import policies and intellectual property rights including plant and animal breeders’ rights are all driving global peasantry to destitution and pauperization of hitherto unknown levels.

Disregard of Environmental, Social and Equity Goals

In brief, global corporate agriculture driven by profit accumulation is far removed from the basic needs people. Rather than serving the social and environmental goals of society, its exclusive focus is on maximization of productivity and output of individual commodities. In the process, it props up mono-cultural practices that heavily rely on chemicals and fossil fuels at a level often comparable with that in industry. For large farms, the investment needed for installation of huge equipment and big machines is very high. Though the manufacture and use of machinery takes lots of energy, approximately one-third of all the energy used to grow corn, for example, is used to make and apply the nitrogen fertilizer as it takes a lot of energy to convert nitrogen gas in the atmosphere into forms like ammonium and nitrate that can be absorbed by plants. Peasants’ control over land and its use, local and regional knowledge and social and cultural values which are essential for the sustenance of agriculture whose main purpose should be provision of food and livelihood are totally disregarded.

Commodification of food itself on a global level is a major challenge at present. While humankind has never before produced as much food, feed and other agricultural produce on this planet, the number of unfed and underfed people has also never been as high as today, nor has been the number of obese individuals, often living right next to those undernourished. It is not an exaggeration to say that in terms calorific value, the waste of prepared food alone is more than what is required to remove world people’s hunger. The development paradigm encompassing the entire policies, R&D, etc. pertaining to food postulating that continuous increase in both production and productivity of food is the key to fight hunger has been met with several flaws.  Rather than ensuring food security, corporate production, processing and marketing of food along with the concomitant policies is destroying the very basis of food security itself.  More precisely, global market-driven corporate agriculture has little concern regarding the social, environmental and equity goals of agriculture.

Conclusion

1)         In the background of the brief sketch above, the grave challenges that strike at the very root of the sustenance of humanity call for a fundamental restructuring of entire global agriculture today, the basic ingredients of which among other things are:- (!) Neoliberal policies and corporatization of agriculture leading to depeasantization should be stopped forthwith. Urgent steps should be initiated towards changes in land relations by which the real peasants, the tillers of the soil, wield control over land in an appropriate collective or cooperative form as necessitated by concrete conditions. Corporate farms and urban elite holding of agricultural land should be abolished. According to a study by FAO, in India, redistribution of only five percent of farm land in favour of the tillers of the soil coupled with improved access to water could reduce rural poverty levels by 30 percent. A six-country study by the ILO, which estimated that if land were equally distributed among all agricultural families including the landless and the new holdings achieved yields equal to the present holdings of the same size and used similar level of inputs, food output could potentially rise by anything from 10 percent (Pakistan) and 28 percent (Colombia and rice growing Malaysian regions) to 80 percent in Brazil.

2)         While ensuring peasants’ and women’s (not only women are the pioneers of agriculture but still provide the larger part of agricultural labour, food processing, health and nutrition services in many societies) access to and control over land who prefer to work with less expensive methods and use local resources more than purchased industrial inputs, adequate and unhindered distribution of farming resources, production inputs, and services as necessitated by local conditions is indispensable.

3)         The first and foremost priority of agriculture is production of the required food for humankind starting from local residents. All other uses of agricultural land must be compatible with and adapted to “food first” as the fundamental human right for which all governments and international institutions should be held accountable.

4)         Mono-crop cultivation should be replaced with multi-crop and diversified agriculture. Monocultures are propagated in the name of productivity and economies of scale, but bourgeois economic and industrial concepts have no little relevance in agriculture. While mono-crop may result in higher yield of a particular crop, it is prone to pest, insect and weeds infestation on the one hand, and decline in fertility and soil nutrients on the other requiring more capital investments in agriculture.  From a scientific perspective, both wild and domesticated diversity of plants and animals, as well as the cultural and traditional diversity of agricultural practices and solutions evolved over time according concrete conditions is the safeguard against ecological catastrophe and crop failures. Disproportionately large scale diversion of corn grain and soybeans to factory farms as animal feeds and increasing share of meat and decreasing share of grains total food availability are inauspicious trends associated with the growth of agribusiness.

5)         WTO provisions pertaining to agriculture including the role of genetically modified seeds in consolidating corporate control over the input sector and neoliberal farm practices such as contract farming should be repealed. Though agribusiness corporations have aggressively promoted the idea that the genetic engineering of crops and seeds is the key to improving world agriculture, so far GM cultivation has no reliable and documented results on increase in yields over equivalent non-GM crops. Claims that genetic engineering will “feed the world” by making crops more resilient and healthier have time and again proved false. Meanwhile, though independent research on GM crops is largely stifled by proprietary control over it by agribusiness MNCs who have every interest in suppressing systematic studies of the technology’s consequences, scientists continue to reveal new information demonstrating that the technology is inherently disruptive of cellular metabolism and gene expression. 

6)         Redrafting of agricultural policies in such a way as to enhance the multiple social, cultural and ecological functions of agriculture along with food security is an urgent task. Agricultural finance and R&D research must be redirected towards achieving these goals. Corporate farming models that promote unsustainable, input-intensive and export-oriented agriculture are to be reversed.

7)         Waste of food and other agricultural products at every step of production, processing and distribution should be avoided.  Starting with minimizing post harvest losses at farm and storage facilities, to reducing losses in production and processing, waste of food in supermarkets and on catering and household level has an enormous potential to improve eco-efficiency and availability of food worldwide.

8)         It is common knowledge that agriculture today just like any other economic enterprises is energy intensive and based on large-scale use of fossil fuels such as diesel. Minimization of fossil fuel dependency should be one of the conditions for making agriculture people-oriented. Certainly, unavoidable situations may be there where improved efficiency and productivity will require machinery in relation to irrigation, preservation and storage of agricultural products. However, as a general rule reducing fossil-fuel-based imported inputs is essential for reducing overall global warming and to free agriculture from external price shocks.

10)       Postwar farming experience at a global level proves that the chemical war against pests will never be won. Efforts to control pests and microorganisms by means of toxic chemicals has resulted in poisoned rivers and air, contaminated soils, and globally dispersed proliferation of acute and chronic toxins in all biotic systems. Loss of biological checks and balances and disruption of natural ecosystems have led to threatening pest levels. In this context encouragement should be given to such practices as “organic farming” combining with biological and agro-ecological methods, based scientific understanding biological process including both traditional and modern knowhow.

These and other tasks are not easy to fulfill. Only a broad democratic agrarian movement of the peasantry led by the most advanced ideology and politics with an internationalist perspective and capable of allying with all progressive sections of society can shoulder this responsibility. What is needed is a thorough overhauling of the existing institutions and policies pertaining to not agriculture alone but to all aspects of the polity, society, economy, culture and so on.  Obviously, it can never be an isolated task, but is integrated with the fundamental transformation of the existing ruling system and capture of political power by the people based on a revolutionary alternative to today’s mainstream development paradigm.

Acknowledgement

In preparing this Note, the following sources among others are used

1.    Asian Agricultural Conference: A Compilation of the Papers Presented and Summary of Discussions, Convening Committee, New Delhi, 201

2.    Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. 1

3.    Peter Rosset, Lessons from the Green Revolution”, Institute for Food and Development Policy, April, 2000

4.    S D Sawant and C V Achutan, “Agricultural Growth Across Crops and Regions”, EPW, March 25, 1995

5.    P J James, Imperialism in the Neocolonial Phase (Second Edition), Massline Publication, Kerala, 2015

6.    www.greenpeace.org

7.    www.foodfirst.org

8.    www.agriculture.org

9.    www.fao.org

10.  www.wto.org. n


Democratic People's Forum Calls for 7th November Rally at Delhi

The Constituents of the Democratic People’s Forum (DPF), the CPI(ML) Red Star,  NJLM, MCPI(U), Samajvadi Forward Bloc, Sarvodaya Prabhat Party, Jan Jagrutik Abhiyan, and All India Workers’ Council held a meeting on 28th August at CPI (ML) Red Star, Delhi, and decided to organize a rally on 7th November at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi with the slogan: Roji, Roti, Janavadthe slogan of October Revolution.  Representatives of the New Socialist Movement-Gujarat, Karnataka Janashakti and DSS –Karnataka who could not attend the meeting also agreed to implement the decisions of the meeting.

The meeting discussed the national situation when the corporate-communal raj of Modi govt is intensifying the miseries and oppression of the masses and emphasized the importance of strengthening the DPF. The meeting finalized the 7th November mobilization program at Delhi. A sub-committee was constituted to draft handbill and the slogans to be sent to all constituents for finalization. The meeting appealed to all constituents to mobilize maximum number of comrades and organize a vigorous campaign in all the areas to make the program really effective.

The meeting declared solidarity with the 2nd September All India Hartal. It called for rejecting the draft New Education Policy of the Modi government. It condemned the growing atrocities against dalits, adivasis, women and all other oppressed sections and called for political solution to the Kashmir issue involving the people.

The meeting decided to hold discussions with other remaining struggling left and democratic forces and dalit/adivasi forces based on the CMP, and to win over them to DPF. The meeting called on the constituent organizations active in UP, Punjab and Delhi to chalk out common minimum program based on the concrete problems of the states and to organize DPF at state level for contesting the coming elections with the objective of building people’s alternative. 

 

Message of Greetings to the Tenth Party Congress of MLPD

To

The Central Committee of the MLPD,

Dear Comrades,

Revolutionary fraternal greetings

On the occasion of the Tenth Congress of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD), the Central Committee of the CPI (ML) Red Star extends revolutionary greetings to your Central Committee as well as, through you, to all members of your party.

Our two parties have more than two decades of close fraternal relations. During this crucial phase, the Central Committees of our two parties, upholding the spirit of proletarian internationalism, have worked together to strengthen the unity of the working class and the oppressed peoples all over the world. In the course of this, along with other Marxist-Leninist parties, we could play important role in the building and development of the International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organizations (ICOR). In the present turbulent international situation when the crises ridden global imperialist system has become more barbarous and working hard to impose its neocolonial domination through neoliberal policies, this unity of the revolutionary forces who are struggling uncompromisingly for revolutionary social change is of great significance.

The setbacks suffered by the international communist movement starting with the degeneration of Soviet Union in 1950s have thrown up great challenges before us. It calls for concrete analysis of the present world situation and the hitherto experience of the international communist movement for the development of the Marxist-Leninist theory and practice accordingly. It is for continuing to take up this great challenge our party adopted a Resolution on Theoretical Offensive in its Tenth Congress held in the beginning of last year. It calls for an evaluation of hitherto experience as well as all theoretical questions for the development of the Marxist theoretical positions. We expect close cooperation from your party and all Marxist-Leninist parties for intensifying the struggle against imperialism and its lackeys both in the theoretical and practical fields.

We hope that the important decisions you are going to debate and decide in this Tenth Congress shall help to further strengthen the fraternal relation between the MLPD which is leading the class struggle in a front ranking imperialist country like Germany and our party which is trying to unite all communist revolutionaries for building a powerful communist party in a country of more than 1.3 billion people, which is among the vast number of countries under various stages of neocolonial domination.

Once again we wish great success to your Tenth Party Congress.

Long Live ICOR!

Long Live proletarian Internationalism!

Long Live the Unity of the MLPD and the CPI (ML) Red Star!

KN Ramachandran

General Secretary

CPI(ML) Red Star 

 

Nation Means Its People and National Interests Mean People’s Interest, Those Who Try to Intensify Indo-Pak Conflict are Working against National Interest

The CPI (ML) Red Star in a statement has condemned the killing of Indian military men at Uri camp in an attack by terrorists. At the same time it has called for defeating all moves to use the terrorist attack in Uri to intensify the Indo-Pak conflict. It has stated that the Modi government and the RSS should not be allowed to utilize it as a cover to divert attention from the 75 day long undeclared war against the Kashmiri people and the deployment of army for policing all over Jammu and Kashmir. It should not be allowed to escalate tension on Indo-Pak border. It should not be allowed for another excuse for a new bout of Indo-Pak war. We appeal to all toiling masses and progressive forces to raise their voice for the solution of J&K issue and Indo-Pak conflicts linked to it through political discussions and to resist all moves to escalate tension on Indo-Pak border. 

 

Anti-Nuclear Seminar At Vijayawada

In memory of late communist revolutionary leader Com Kolla Venkaiah, CPI(ML) Red Star Andra Pradesh State Committee organized Com Kolla Venkaiah Memorial Day meeting at Vijayawada on 17th September 2016. This year’s Memorial Day programs were significant as it included a Seminar on Nuclear Power in the context of Central and State Governments decision to make AP a ‘Nuclear Hub’ with a number of Nuclear Power projects in the state. CPI (ML) Red Star General Secretary Com KN Ramachandran, Renowned Environmental Scientist Dr. Soumya Dutta, Party State Secretary Com Venkateshwar Rao, OPDR Leader Com. C Bhaskar Rao, other leaders and representatives of various Anti-Nuke movements participated. State secretary of CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML) New Democracy led by comrades YathindarKumar as well as Chandram, state secretary of MCPI(U), secretariat member of CPI(ML) Class Struggle com. Vijaykumar and many other leading intellectuals addressed the Seminar and assured to work for a joint movement against nuclear power.
The AP state committee which met on 18th September has decided to take up follow up actions for organizing state wide anti-nuclear movement joining all forces who can be united on this issue.

 

Party Committees Observe Kashmir Week, demanding Right of Self Determination for Kashmiri People.

Following the call of the Central Committee, the party committees in different states organized campaigns and dharnas supporting the right of self determination for the people of Kashmir, and demanding the withdrawal of army and para military from policing in the state.

 

Patriotism or chauvinism or fascism buttressed with slogans of nationalism and patriotism.
When Indian army men were killed in terrorist attack at Uri all condemned it. But today patriotism is replaced by chauvinism of the worst sort by the prime minister and his men. But Kashmiri people are killed for raising the demand for their right of self determination or Manipuri women are attacked for demanding  repeal of AFSPA, dubbing them as traitors. If tens of thousands of peasants commits suicide due to government policies, if dalits and adivasis are attacked by the state forces under Manuvadi hysteria, if Muslims are attacked by the Hindutua forces, if the struggling peasants in Hazaribagh are gunned down, all these are justified as patriotic acts of government or the state is least bothered. In the name of opposing Islamophobia Hindutua phobia is promoted. Are not these worst cases of chauvinism buttressed with slogans of nationalism and patriotism?

 

A massive women's convention was held against liquour at Raichur, Karnataka, led by "MadyPana Nisheda Aandolana Samithi" (Struggle Committee against Consumption of Liquour), the joint action forum of various womens organisation and other mass organizations including AIRWO, TUCI and RCF.  Representatives  of these organizations addressed the Convention  held on 2nd October demanding immediate steps by the government to ban the proleferation of liquour and urging the people’s movement to educate the masses against liquour consumption.

 

People’s Forum at GOA against Nuclear Power at the time of BRICS Meet.

Comrades Arun Velaskar and Vijay, conveners of the AIPIANP has cordially invited to a related workshop - "BRICS Energy trends & Climate connections" from 10 am to 1 pm, on 14th October, in Hall 2, Xavier's Institute for Historical Research.  Com. Soumya Dutta has confirmed time & space for the "BRICS and Nuclear Energy" workshop in Goa, as part of the People's Forum on BRICS program.  Apart from AIPIANP (All India People’s Initiative Against Nuclear Power) the program is organized by  NAAM and CNDP. This is a broadest possible participation as of now. Any more groups who wish to be co-organizers also shall be participating. On 13th October morning, there will be a plenary, while self-organised  workshops start in the afternoon.  A 3-hour workshop slot from the program committee is received while the general/common spaces shall be utilized to continue the discussions.

On 14th afternoon, there are plans for a larger public meeting. The People's Forum is on 13-14, and the official BRICS summit - on 15-16.  All are invited to arrive by 12th afternoon/13th early morning. The venue is 7-8 kms north of Panjim, not far from the main N-S highway. All constituents of AIPIANP are requesed to arrange maximum participation. Com. Akshay of AIRSO and student comrades from Maharashtra and Karnataka shall be participating.

 

Document Actions