By Dr B K Kango
Since 1980 there was a concentrated effort of multinationals to impose structural adjustment on all nations through IMF and World Bank.
Simultaneously, seeing a huge possibility of profit in Agribusiness due to increase in population (In 1950 World Population was about 200 crores, by 1985 it was 750 crore), the GATT agreement renewal process which took place every 10 years was scheduled in 1986 at Uruguay was stalled as multinationals or transnationals and state governments under their guidance tried to impose new rules like control on subsidy to the farmers to be given by state, allowing free trade and investments etc. the negotiations failed as most developing and underdeveloped nations opposed these new rules.
However, through persuasion and pressure a new formula under Dunkell, the chairman of GATT, was introduced which was called as “Dunkell draft”.
This was opposed by Left and progressive forces but most nation states accepted it and WTO was formed. However, due to strong opposition of developing nations particularly India, Brazil, etc. certain concessions were made and new rules were introduced gradually.
However, the pressure of transnational companies operating in Agribusiness has compelled most nations to surrender, through control of technology and by pursuing the nation state through vested interest within the nation. However, farmers through their mobilisation in India which had acquired political clout or influence after the implementation of Green Revolution and Rationing system for which the state help or an intervention was a must, is now trying to move over to oppose taking over of Agribusiness by transnationals.
Present conflict between farmers and central government after passing of three farm laws is to be seen on this background.
BJP central government under the guidance of RSS is pursuing pro-corporate agenda and hence wants to implement laws and policies which would help in “Corporatisation of Agribusiness and Industries”. This means that present kisan lobby or kisan movement will have to play secondary role to corporate lobby. Few rich capitalist farmers are ready for this, like in state of Maharashtra where organisation under the leadership of Sharad Joshi and his followers welcomed the process of globalisation and also Dunkell Report. No wonder they supported the three farm laws.
However, most kisan organisations are cautious and want to oppose this corporatisation. They want Indian state to help them in maintaining their independence vis-à-vis big transnational corporations. This is a fundamentally a question of vision of India.
BJP-RSS vision is a pro-corporate big powerful India or ‘India First’. They do not talk of Indian people or their empowerment. Whereas our Constitution framed under the influence of freedom struggle puts ‘Indian people first’. By Indian people first we mean toiling masses which includes workers (includes informal and agriculture labour), farmers, working women, tribals and many other oppressed sections of the society.
Hence, farmers struggle is not only a struggle for vested interest but an ideological one.
For farmers struggle to be successful, state power must oppose big transnational corporatisation. The same logic prevails when it comes to workers, tribals, women and oppressed communities along with MSME’s who are directly in collusion with big corporates. Thus the role of state power assumes importance. As the realisation dawned, communal forces like RSS-BJP and many others working with narrow agenda try to divide people and misguide them through communal mobilisation or divisions and undermine empowerment of people at large while working for empowerment of few. This is a big challenge before left and democratic forces.
In a democracy, people are supreme. Majority is the rule hence it is natural that majority will prevail but ideological orientation or hegemony of ideas on this majority is of utmost importance if Left and democratic forces succeed as they did during freedom movement, then progressive values and vision will prevail otherwise the reactionary forces will highjack the democracy.
It is hoped that 24th Congress of CPI will provide a successful progressive vision to succeed in directing Indian people towards a progressive vision. (IPA Service)