Temperatures are rising, and so is Hindutva hate. Rainfall is drying up, and so is employment. The people are losing to the corporates and ruling classes on every front, except one: the farmers’ movement of 2020–21 managed to push them back. The anti-people farm laws passed in September 2020 were repealed in November 2021. The Journey of the Farmers’ Rebellion explores, by the medium of interviews, what caused this historic retreat. And it does so through the standpoint of those who were right in the middle of the struggle and those who stood in unwavering solidarity with it.
The repeal of the three farm laws was achieved by an unprecedented unity of the coalition of 32 farmer unions in the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) along with others. They mobilised lakhs of farmers to surround Delhi and not give in until their demands were met. Interviews with leaders of the most important and radical farmer unions in this book show how this unity was achieved in the face of sustained state repression and distortion of the movement through powerful biased media houses. They also explore the socio-economic conditions that led to this awe-inspiring mobilisation.
Historic unity is only one part of the story. The contending realities and conflicting interests within the peasantry make it a double-edged struggle for women, agricultural wage workers and the Dalit peasantry. Their candid accounts from a distinctly different vantage point of view in this book helps broaden the canvas of peasant resistance. The interviewees also point out the myriad ways in which people set aside these differences to find new ways to work together and fight the enemies of the people as a whole.
By weaving these interviews together, the co-publishers GroundXero, Notes on the Academy and Workers Unity pay a rich tribute to the historic farmers’ movement. And in doing so, they seek to strengthen the collective political will of all struggling sections.
The Journey of the Farmers’ Rebellion is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to understand the farmers’ movement, the socio-economic and cultural conditions of rural Punjab and, indeed, what is needed to beat back fascism and imperialism in this age.
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Book Launch on 18th September
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