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A Firm and Deeply Rooted Ground

Without a scope for even a second thought, it can be confirmed that capitalism has started swallowing the agriculture industry. This is a major issue that needs to be confronted not just in political or economic terms, but most importantly in human terms. Capitalism for that matter has never been humane ever in its making too. It is in this contextual background the 3 Anti-Farmer Acts need to be confronted upon. It is equally important. also to be aware of why the protests and voices are being raised by the farmers.

The Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 are effective means to remove the role of the state and centralize commerce and trade. Agriculture has always remained a state subject and it is absolutely the private motives that pave way for this act. This needs to be understood in the first place. That is, through introducing a concept of contract farming, capital will start flowing but at the same time, the surplus will not reach the farmers who are the primary source of production. This is because contract farming makes the contractor reap all the benefits and not the toilers who work in the field (Farmers) in order to produce yield.

An in-depth analysis of the 3 agriculture acts may give one a feeling that things have turned more transparent; farmers can now sell their produce without any intermediary etc. In other words these acts enable farmers to bypass levels, thereby gaining access directly into the ‘be all and end all’ in agriculture field. This ‘be all and end all’ gang is nobody other than the contractors. Soon these contractors will be seen as synonymous to the existence of agriculture. In other words, without them, agriculture will not survive the test of time feeling will be generated. A blatant way of putting it would be, in this process farmers soon will be ‘othered’. Varied means to trigger this process of othering are systematically manoeuvred with the least concern for the very fact that ‘all of us are humans’. ‘There is no you or me’ even in this narrative created, rather it is ‘The Other’ versus the ‘Corporates’. ‘The Other ‘here being the farmers and the ‘Corporates’ being the people who will take up the contract farming endeavours put forward by the government.

A major example would be the culmination of making the agriculture sector into an arena of digitized commerce, wherein the farmer is thrown out of his/her own land. Digitisation of agriculture otherwise too is something very tough to be implemented, because without physical markets farmers fail to sell their produce. Sadly this failure happens to be the need of the hour politically. This comes through in the name of creating a ‘free market’ for agriculture produce. Why because through the contracts, the sponsors gets a foothold of these farmers and can start manoeuvring them as per their will. Needless to say, who the contract holders would be, the farmers will soon be thrown away from all their capabilities. In other words, like the way telecom and other sectors are monopolized, agriculture also will soon be monopolized. The reason for the same is because of an excessive drive to extract the surplus-value. This implies that there is also a persisting tendency to hold down wages and even depress the farmers, which adversely affect the production and consumption of their wages as well. Hence this making of a free market through creating mechanisms and acts is nothing but a means of making things easier and free for the corporates to swallow the agriculture industry and the farmers too. In other words the free market will be free for the capitalists but not for the farmers who are the source producers.

Since it becomes free only for a few, the contractors will soon start accumulating their capital reaped out of the toil that the farmers have carried out with their labour. A looking back into Marx would prove vital in this context – ‘Accumulation, therefore, presents itself as increasing concentration of the means of production, and of the command over labour; on the other, as repulsion of many individual capitals from one another. . . . It is concentration of capitals already formed, destruction of their individual independence, expropriation of capitalist by capitalist, transformation of many small into few large capitals. . . . Capital grows in one place to a huge mass in a single hand, because it has in another place been lost by many (Capital, I, p. 586). 

The above tendency is triggered by the arrival of the 3 acts. This inorganic and inhumane othering mastered by the rule is what the farmers are fighting against for. Many have even lost their lives. A rule that is not federal in character is a rule of imperialism. No icons and no drama can wipe off the toil and tears of the farmers. Their protest is a protest of and for survival. It might be easy for anybody to extend solidarity and support or not support, but the primary point to be remembered is that, if there are no farmers there will be no corporates or machines or anything. You will not even get food on your plate when you come and sit in front of your dining table. This is not to be considered as a valourisation of the farmer as a cult figure either rather this is a fact that has to be understood in this test of time.

The test of time right from the beginning of the demonetisation up till now has crippled the farmers undoubtedly. Without agriculture and without farmers a nation cannot survive. Even the biggest of crony capitalists cannot survive if agriculture and farmers are ceased to be thrown away to crony capitalists. These acts seem to be so, but the protests by farmers seem to overpower any rule, for they are the men of the soil. Lest not forget!

 

 

 

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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