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No Farmers, No Food

The world is now in a state of crisis. The population has grown exponentially, but the land we once used to grow our food has been taken away from us and turned into farms for livestock or crops. This led to the creation of a
No farmers no food

Submission to The Social Lens: A Social Work Motion Weblog by Jasman Dhillon, Anisha Mahal, Sunny Manhas and Aneesh Vashisht

We, college students from the College of Social Work on the College of British Columbia, stand firmly in solidarity with the over 250 million farmers in India who’ve been peacefully protesting towards new agricultural legal guidelines. As descendants of India, we write to specific our unconditional help for farmers in India as they wrestle towards a authorities that seeks to take away their ancestral rights to farm on their lands. We write from the stolen and ancestral lands of the Skwxwú7mesh-ulh Temíx̱w (Squamish), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsleil-Waututh). Whereas we’re compelled to talk out towards State violence in India, we additionally acknowledge state violence towards the First Folks of Turtle Island that characterizes Canadian historical past and continues into the current day. Simply final yr we witnessed the state violate Canadian legislation and commitments to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as militarized RCMP invaded Moist’suwet’en territory, arresting Indigenous elders, girls and youth who sought to guard their sovereign lands from financial improvement initiatives. Whereas we are able to condemn the violence of the Canadian State, we’re cognizant that we profit instantly from the dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their land. We additionally acknowledge that as immigrants we help settling and perpetuating colonization of those lands.

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The local weather of democratic protests in India for the protection of farmers’ livelihood has been shaping since September 2020, however has solely began gaining worldwide recognition inside the final month. The farmers are demonstrating towards payments that had been enacted with out the session of agricultural associations or members working in agriculture, but dangers monetary uncertainty for over 500 million farmers inside India by deregulating the crop market and eradicating assured minimal crop costs. This act successfully permits farmers to be undercut. Subsequently, it dangers not solely their assured revenue but in addition denies their ancestral proper to work on their land. This class disparity has been evident all through India’s historical past, highlighted within the modern-day by the Sikh genocides of 1984 and the Tamil farming protests of 2017. The continual narrative describing the Sikh inhabitants as terrorists is clear below the State’s portrayal of these protesting. Just like earlier demonstrations in 2017, suicide charges are rising as a result of State neglect.

Whereas the Indian media is portraying these peaceable farmers as “terrorists” and “extremists,” it’s the Indian authorities partaking in terrorist acts in the direction of the farmers. The agenda to create a unfavourable picture of protesters is ongoing. In a press assembly in the beginning of February, Prime Minister Modi referenced protesters as “Andolan Jivis,” implying that those that are preventing towards this invoice are parasitic and that the nation needs to be cautious of those teams. In the identical assembly, Modi brazenly invited farmers to reply the query of whether or not these payments have taken away any of their life conveniences, and claims that no farmer has felt the unfavourable results of the invoice, but has not had a dialog with any farmers negotiating the brand new payments. By passing a invoice with out session and to say that no farmer can say it impacts them negatively, Modi has falsely represented the farmers and has known as them incompetent, however fails to acknowledge the potential future devastation that the farmers could face. Certainly, the results of the invoice could not have ruined the livelihoods of farmers but, however when the talons of neoliberal privatization start to choke the agricultural market, the farmers may even be suffocated. These payments are a company takeover of agriculture, and the farmers are the final line of defence.

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Since demonstrations started in September 2020, non-violent protesters, lots of whom are veterans and aged, have been met with pointless power. The Indian authorities has used tear fuel, water cannons, and barricades to stop protesters from leaving demonstration websites. Because the protests proceed, the Indian authorities has been escalating techniques to suppress dissent. This contains kidnapping journalists and protesters who’re being unlawfully detained, reducing water sources at protest websites and harassing and beating these in peaceable protest. In a fascist transfer by the Indian authorities, the state has censored protesters to hide state-sanctioned violence and brutality by suspending Web entry for days at a time. It’s vital to state right here that girls who’ve been detained have reported experiencing sexual violence, together with sexual assault and rape whereas in police custody. Additional, many farmers have sustained extreme accidents and even misplaced their lives, with the loss of life toll above 250—a quantity that continues to rise.

Though Prime Minister Modi colludes with Twitter to take away and/or droop hundreds of accounts that advocate and unfold consciousness for the protestors, he can’t silence the highly effective voices of farmers in India. Social media has proved a useful gizmo within the farmers’ resistance, as these on the bottom share first-hand accounts of the protests. From afar, we’ve watched horrifying movies of unarmed, non-violent elders being arrested and brutally abused within the streets of Delhi. The protests gained widespread worldwide consideration since Rihanna tweeted, asking why no one is speaking in regards to the farmers’ protests. Whereas farmers and their allies in India have been talking out for months, Rihanna amplified their message, sparking world expressions of help. Following her tweet, public figures comparable to Greta Thunberg, Meena Harris, Rupi Kaur, Susan Sarandon, and Mia Khalifa have used varied social media platforms to indicate their help for the farmers. In response, the Indian authorities continued to unfold false data and issued arrest warrants, claiming worldwide allies are being paid tens of millions of {dollars} by the “terrorists” (the farmers) to tweet in help of the farmers. Moreover, Hindu nationalists reacted to feminine supporters from overseas with hateful and misogynistic feedback on-line, together with loss of life and rape threats.

Whereas they’re being handled inhumanely by the Indian authorities, farmers proceed to serve langar (free meals) on the Delhi borders to anybody in want, whether or not that be protesters, or cops who proceed to make use of violence towards farmers. As well as, farmers proceed acts of service for others by organising makeshift faculties for underprivileged youngsters, organising hospitals for hundreds, and making a grassroots newspaper to fight corrupt media. In distinction, Indian police have put up steel spikes, barbed wire, and concrete partitions to stop farmers from receiving important provides and trying to cease them from getting into the protest websites. As an alternative of backing down or selecting violence, farmers responded by planting flowers the place the police had put in steel spikes. This demonstrates the resilience, positivity, and braveness of the farmers. Whereas the vast majority of the protesters have been Sikh, many spiritual teams have joined the farmers’ protests and proven their help together with Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhist monks. Because the Indian authorities seeks to silence, suppress and in the end destroy the farmers’ motion, it solely grows stronger and extra highly effective as a variety of teams come collectively in solidarity to combat towards injustice. We admire our farmers and our elders’ power, and are deeply dedicated to their wrestle and their victory.

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THE SOCIAL LENS: A SOCIAL WORK ACTION BLOG – The views and opinions expressed on this weblog are solely these of the unique creator(s) and don’t specific the views of the UBC College of Social Work and/or the opposite contributors to the weblog. The weblog goals to uphold the College’s values and mission.

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