Peasant justice now!

An alliance from the fields of agriculture, human rights, food, climate and environmental protection protested today in front of the Foreign Office in Berlin for the protection of peasants and global food sovereignty.

One day before the International Day of Peasant Resistance on 17 April, we showed solidarity with the farmers and farm labourers in India, who have been protesting for over four months against a wave of neoliberal policies.

This is what we said:

We stand with the farmer and farm labourers of India who are protesting the three new laws that have now been passed into acts to be implemented. I would like to firstly bring your attention to the three new laws and what they are doing to the agricultural system in India and then focus on the socio-political aspect within these protests.

The first law attacks mandis, which are the country’s public agricultural markets and a meeting point between farmers and consumers. Mandis assure that farmers are rightfully compensated for their products by ensuring a minimum support price. Previously, the state governments could levy taxes on produce sold outside the mandis. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 prohibits the levy of such taxes. It further enables private companies to engage with farmers outside the safety of the mandis and does nothing to improve efficiency the current markets. It also opens the door to the eventual removal of the minimum support price which guarantee a proper income for farmers and affordable nutrition for India’s poor.

The second law, which is the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, that the Modi government has introduced attacks crops that are vital for food security from the list of essential commodities. In favouring an environment for agri-tech and logistics business to flourish, the government is disabling itself from maintaining stockholding limits to control food price inflation and scarcity. Also, this law, which could be referred to as the Food Hoarding bill, legitimises hoarding as the government gives up its capability of knowing what stocks are existing with who, when and where. This is being done to attract private investment in post-harvest infrastructure. Despite there being a caveat for extraordinary circumstances (war and famine) where regulatory powers would kick in, that this bill makes hoarding possible is preposterous in a country that is already struggling with food security. In spite of food surpluses, India remains one of the world’s most food-insecure countries with the highest rates of malnourishment. The withdrawal of the state from purchasing agricultural produce, from maintaining public stocks of food, and from controlling private hoarding, is a retreat from any public attempt to reduce hunger.

The third law which is, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, permits agribusiness firms to enter into contracts for the sale of future farming produce at a pre-agreed price. This law deregulates contract farming and leaves the arrangement between sponsors and farmers on voluntary terms.  This will only allow large firms to dictate the livelihoods of farmers. Also, this law is not only counter-intuitive but also non-sensical because it pegs the price to the mandi prices although the first act is meant to make the mandi system collapse. 

By completely ignoring parliamentary procedure, the government passed these bills into laws despite wholesale opposition against them. Instead what the government is offering are local monopsonies and big monopolies by selling its regulatory powers to the same companies. One is reminded of nationalist movements that agreed on the independence of their countries on occupier’s terms. This is no different, the colonial relationship is repeated once again except this time it is governments that are selling the interests of its electorate to private firms and businesses in their own country and globally. This is because capital has never had any borders and neither does it have any now.

Now, the socio-political context concerns the tribal and Dalit farm labourers who work on agricultural farms of those who own the land and come from upper caste backgrounds. The latest census of 2011 divides farmers into the 2 categories of cultivators and labourers. According to the census 71% of Dalit farmers are labourers and not cultivators as opposed to national average of 47.3% of farmers being landless labourers. It also shows that agriculture labour has been increased by 37 million more people taking up farm labour in the past 10 years. Agrarian crisis is evident when the data shows that while number of farmers have dipped by 3.8% the number of labourers has increased. These landless farmers have no right of their own and majority are from Dalit or tribal backgrounds. Out of 263 million people engaged in agriculture, almost half of them are labourers, a trend that has not been seen in the past 40 years. Around 70% labourers are in debt pushing them to extreme measures like suicide. Last year more than 40k farmers committed suicide and majority of these farmers came from disenfranchised backgrounds and those that will be doubly impacted by the continued implementation of these 3 new acts. Dalit farm activists such as Nodeep Kaur and Shiv Kumar who have stood with farmers in this protest and forwarded the movement have had to face the brunt of police brutality despite bringing to the fore important issues of inequality within the farming community in India and Indian society as a whole. It is critical to note that Dalits and Tribal farm labourers have more at stake than others and will be at the losing end twice over if these neoliberal draconian laws are to stay. 

We stand with all farmers and farm labourers of all communities in India who are fighting against a government that is intent on selling the interests of its electorate to big business. In their fight against the wave of neoliberalisation, we stand firmly with their demands to secure their livelihoods and their dignity. Food as a very basic necessity ought to be privileged over any other need of private gain.

Dalit History Month in Berlin

On the occasion of Dalit History Month,  South Asian Scholars and Activists Solidarity (SASAS Germany) and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation are organizing a series of lectures that focus on various aspects of the caste system and the institutional oppression of Dalits.

Five researchers and activists who are involved in the anti-caste movement are invited to present their work and thoughts on the subject of caste.

You can find the detailed programme here.

You can also register for the events on Facebook (below):

The caste system and caste-based sexual violence

Dalit women’s rights activists and their influence on political processes

Dalit Christianity as a way of self-determination: Current perspectives

Read The Queerness in Ambedkar

The long history of the traditions of casteless Indians

Rally in solidarity with the farmers’ protests in India and international farmers’ rights

On the occasion of the global day of resistance of small farmers all over the world and on the occasion of the farmers’ protests in India, which have been going on for months, we invite you to a protest rally.

It will take place on Friday, 16 April 2021 between 11:00 to 12:00 in front of the Foreign Office, Werderscher Markt 1, 10117 Berlin

For more than 4 months, farmers in India have been protesting against a package of agricultural laws that are supposed to liberalise the Indian agricultural sector and open it up to multinational corporations. We – an alliance of groups from different sectors working on the issues of agriculture, human rights and food – would like to draw attention to the conflicts in India in front of the Foreign Office in Berlin, express our solidarity and call on the German government to make the demands of the farmers an issue in talks with the Indian government.

We would also like to call on the German government to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Small Farmers and Others Working in Rural Areas as a recognised UN instrument (A/73/589/Add.2).

Delegates from organisations such as Arbeitsgemeinschaft bĂ€uerliche Landwirtschaft, Berlin for India, Black Earth, 15th Garden, Bloque Latino, BĂŒndnis junge Landwirtschaft will take a stand at the rally.

The rally will be Corona compliant, but with tractors.

 

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

anlĂ€ĂŸlich des weltweiten Widerstandstages der KleinbĂ€uerinnen und Kleinbauern in aller Welt und anlĂ€ĂŸlich der seit Monaten andauernden bĂ€uerlichen Proteste in Indien laden wir Sie zu einer Protestkundgebung ein.

Sie findet statt
am Freitag, den 16. April 2021
11:00 bis 12:00 Uhr
vor dem AuswÀrtigen Amt, Werderscher Markt 1, 10117 Berlin
Thema: SolidaritÀt mit den Bauernprotesten in Indien und internationale Bauernrechte

Seit ĂŒber 4 Monaten protestieren BĂ€uerinnen und Bauern in Indien gegen ein Agrargesetzespaket, das den indischen Agrarsektor liberalisieren und fĂŒr multinationale Konzerne öffnen soll. Wir – ein BĂŒndnis von Gruppen aus verschiedenen Bereichen, die zu den Themen Landwirtschaft, Menschenrechte, ErnĂ€hrung arbeiten – möchten vor dem AuswĂ€rtigen Amt in Berlin auf die Auseinandersetzungen in Indien hinweisen, unsere SolidaritĂ€t bekunden und die Bundesregierung auffordern, in GesprĂ€chen mit der indischen Regierung die Forderungen der BĂ€uerinnen und Bauern zum Thema zu machen. Wir möchten ebenfalls die Bundesregierung auffordern, die ErklĂ€rung der Vereinten Nationen ĂŒber die Rechte von KleinbĂ€uerinnen und Kleinbauern und anderen Menschen, die in lĂ€ndlichen Regionen arbeiten, als anerkanntes UN-Instrument umzusetzen (A/73/589/Add.2).
Delegierte u.a. der Arbeitsgemeinschaft bĂ€uerliche Landwirtschaft, Berlin for India, Black Earth, 15th Garden, Bloque Latino, BĂŒndnis junge Landwirtschaft werden auf der Kundgebung Stellung nehmen.

Die Kundgebung wird Coronakonform, aber mit Trecker durchgefĂŒhrt.

Call for the Revolutionary Internationalist May Day Demonstration (1. May) 2021

The ruling classes probably thought they were being very clever when they tried to co-opt our term “solidarity” at the beginning of the pandemic early last year.

We will keep our distance. We will isolate ourselves. We will think of the old and the sick. We won’t let the overworked healthcare and care workers be burdened anymore. Yes, looking after each other and not gambling with human life is important. What they are hiding, however, is that they are the ones who created these conditions of inhumanity in the first place. They ruined the health system, enabled wage dumping, and promoted privatization. It is they who put the profit interests of the few above the health and livelihoods of the many. They are the ones who benefit from our unemployment and then humiliate us every time we go to the job centre.

And then they try to sell us their meagre measures as solidarity. They preach the doctrine of individual responsibility, but then represent the interests of corporations at every possible opportunity, never ours. And with their goon squads of the police, they maintain the system defined by money and private property.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, the ruling class has been constructing an arbitrary calm and a state of permanent surveillance through a large number of ordinances and new powers granted to the police and border guards in order to expand control, tighten measures, and increase violence across Europe.

As their system, capitalism, fails, we have been forced to isolate ourselves further, to lose our jobs but pay our rents; many others are supposed to work overtime, forego wages and ruin their health in the process; we have been made to wait for months on end for little money, which after seventy years of toiling in Almanya should actually be due. So now, we are not supposed to show solidarity, but shut our eyes in the face of their violence. Their violence has been ongoing since well before the corona pandemic, but now it is impossible to keep hidden. This we won’t do.

The fact that the rulers here, from their villas in Grunewald and their 240sqm lofts in Mitte, can lead their shitty liberal life and talk about responsibility is only possible because of the over-exploitation of workers. This is especially true for the workforce of women in the Global South and migrant women here in the imperialist centre. Whether in industry, carework or household work: the prosperity of Germany and Western Europe is created off our backs – the backs of workers and the exploited here and around the world.

And let’s not forget – the lofts, which today house very few, were once workers’ homes for many. What a morbid reality we live in – where our friends are criminalized for their homelessness even as homelessness is created by the rulers. What an untenable situation: where our migrant friends are disproportionately affected by the inhumanity of gentrification, homelessness, and evictions.

For too long, our labour has been exploited, our voices ignored, our communities murdered. For too long our bodies and our livelihoods have been criminalized in order to maintain the apparatus of exploitation of capitalism through ever new forms of imperialism.

It is our survival and the legacy of our struggles that sustain hope for a better world!

And that’s why we also know what solidarity means; and to whom it belongs! We invite you to set an example together with us on the 1st of May and to continue the tradition of the international and revolutionary struggles of our ancestors and predecessors!

We know that we only have each other and that the foundation of a new world can only be created together. So it’s time to fight, hand in hand: with our neighbours, siblings, children, uncles and aunts, with our migrant comrades and friends on the frontlines. It is their labour that empowers us to lead the class struggle.

We won’t let ourselves be sold what has always been ours. The only ones who will lay claim to anything from now will be us, the exploited workers. And we will reclaim what is ours! Our solidarity with each other, our apartments, our jobs, our society, our communities, our streets! We won’t let our solidarity or our city be captured! Against their system of selling our homes, we will stand up with real, lived solidarity in tenant struggles against rent, and for the expropriation of their real estate companies without compensation!

Come together, comrades, so that this 1st of May, the International Workers’ Day – we can thank those who, through their labour, have created this world and thus will make the conditions for a new world possible.

Come join us so that we may raise the voices of solidarity of the international working class in all our languages.

Let’s not forget: the applause doesn’t make our day’s work easier, the cheers from balconies don’t make the working day any shorter. To truly be thankful, we need change!

Let’s not alienate our migrant communities in Berlin from their struggle. Let us find an expression of solidarity that emboldens our struggle and reminds us of the historical continuity of migrant, diasporic and international labour struggles. Let us not forget the undocumented among us, those of us whose bodies have been criminalized, and those of us who are only one fight away with cops from being deported. So let’s find new perspectives through protest, let’s protect each other, let’s invite all passers-by to join our ranks. We remain open to our friends who are in need.

Because once we have recognized our situation, how can we be stopped?

Solidarity with Aurat March organisers – 1700, March 24, Hermannplatz

BerlinforIndia stands with the participants and supporters of Pakistan’s Aurat March.

On March 8, since 2018, women from various backgrounds risk their personal safety to join public demonstrations organised in cities across the country. This year in particular, the organisers of the march have been targeted through incendiary statements and deliberate misinformation by the right-wing, including death threats from the Pakistani Taliban.

We are unequivocal in our support for the slogan “Mera jism, meri marzi” (my body, my choice), which calls for women and men to have autonomy over what happens to their bodies.  You can read more here.

Show some support for the event on Facebook.

Grupper Arbiterrinenmacht have called for an expression of solidarity from anti-fascist groups in Berlin at a protest demonstration on Wednesday, March 24 at Hermannplatz. We will also be present at the event.

Solidarity with Polish wom*n and their fight for self-determination

We read out this statement at the protest demonstration called by CoLiberation at Hermannplatz on February 13, 2021

We stand in firm solidarity with the women and people in Poland in their fight for self-determination, bodily-autonomy, and in co-creating a future where abortion is legal; and sexual and reproductive health care is available and accessible.

The systemic power wielded by patriarchal, neoliberal, fascist, racist and casteist states in Poland and India have unleashed deliberate havoc on women’s bodies, health and their right to a life free from violence.

As we speak, India is alight with the fire of resistance as farmers from across the country have been organising for over three months against the regressive farm laws in India. Striking along with their comrades are women farmers and labourers, as they occupy the borders to Delhi and demand their right to shape their own futures. Braving poor sanitation facilities while protesting in the cold and facing the wrath of the police, they continue to make their voice heard. The Indian government is clamping down on them through placing industrial scale physical barricades, raining down tear gas, and shutting off the internet.

Last month, Nodeep Kaur, a Dalit woman and trade union activist who was protesting at one of these border sites was arrested. Since then she’s been tortured and sexually assaulted while in police custody. Nodeep Kaur has faced (and continues to face) violence for resisting and being vocal in ways that have managed to shake the fragile foundations of the casteist and patriarchal Indian state. We will not rest till she is freed.

But our fight is longer. The Polish anti-abortion law, in denying women their autonomy, is similar to the systems of control exercised by Indian brahminical patriarchy. In seeking to control women’s bodies, they seek to control not only their autonomy and choice, but it is part of a broader quest for holding on to caste power by forcing caste endogamy so that wealth and capital remain in the hands of upper castes. By controlling these most intimate aspects of women’s lives, including love and where they seek to find community –  they also seek to dismantle equality.

These systems of control are aided and abetted by global capital. One only needs to remember, how last month, when Jayasre Kathiravel, a 20-year-old Dalit worker at an H&M apparel factory in Tamil Nadu, a state in Southern India, was found dead after reportedly being raped and murdered by her supervisor at the factory, after facing months of harassment at his hands.

It is more urgent than ever to resist common forces of oppression and create communities of care. We join you today in an endeavour to create such a community that can thrive.  We stand together with queer-feminist, socialist, LGBQTI, and progressive alliances to do the work of solidarity, to strengthen one another, and amplify our demands.  Your struggle, organising, and mobilisation has energised and inspired us. We will continue to fight till Polish, and all women can determine their own self-hood and live with dignity.

Our solidarity with the women* of Poland

We read out this statement at the protest demonstration on January 30 called by Constellation of Liberation after Poland’s constitutional tribunal published the justification of the ruling which declared abortion arising from severe, incurable, and fatal foetal defects to be unconstitutional.

We stand with our Polish sisters and comrades in their fight – solidarity is our weapon! #strajkkobiet

Protest demonstration on January 9 – Noon at Rathhaus, Neukölln

On 9 January 2021, we will be demonstrating in solidarity with the protesting peasants in India.


On 26 November 2020, an alliance of ten trade union organisations and over 250 peasant collectives called for a nationwide general strike in India, in which hundreds of thousands of workers, students, unemployed, peasants and farmers participated.

On 8 January 2020, the Common Platform of Central Unions (CTU) had organised a general strike against three new labour laws that, among other things, severely restrict the right to strike. Now, three new agricultural laws aimed at deregulating the agricultural sector are driving farmers onto the streets, with another general strike on 8 December.

At the centre of the recent protests are three new agricultural laws aimed at “reforming” the agricultural sector. Doubling farm incomes was one of the biggest promises of the Narendra Modi government after it took office in 2014, but incomes have rather declined. The new laws – which also break with the principle that laws on agriculture actually lie with state governments – are being sold by the central government as a way to increase incomes. They envisage a greater role for the market and the private sector in agricultural value addition by deregulating contract farming, lifting restrictions on food transport and storage, and allowing trade in agricultural products outside the mandis (the regulated markets for agricultural produce). In almost all states, farmers receive licences and pay commissions to sell their produce on registered mandis.

However, 85 per cent of Indian farmers own less than two hectares of land. Most of them do not have access to mandis. They lack storage capacity and other infrastructure, and are already forced to sell their produce immediately at the prices offered. The vast majority of farmers from India’s marginalised communities fall into this category.
(For more info, see here.

We therefore want to express our solidarity with the affected farmers together with comrades from different social movements worldwide.
We thank the following collectives for their support:
– El Bloque Latinoamericano
– La Via Campesina
– Dziewuchy
– Die Linke Internationals
Farmers Protest DE
The Independent Farmers’ Voice

Against neoliberalism and fascism everywhere!

Feel free to bring comrades, friends and companions. See you next Saturday at 12pm at the Rathaus Neukölln.