New Delhi, December 8, 2020: As millions of farmers and workers across India held one of the biggest nationwide strikes in recent times, the pro-poor, anti-reform movement isn’t just limited to this country.
India’s ongoing farmer’s protest – which has snowballed into a massive standoff with India’s pro-privatisation government – resonates with chillingly similar ones that have lately rocked Netherlands and Peru.
The protests in India, triggered by the government’s move to bring in three reform-oriented, pro-corporate farm laws last September, has key ingredients from the hugely successful farmers’ movements in both the Netherlands and Peru.
The iconic tractor-driven scenes from the Dutch showdown are similar to the scenes of protesters from Punjab and Haryana rolling into Delhi’s fringes on tractors before being stopped at the borders.
As for Peru, the success story of the farmers in forcing their government to repeal a controversial should serve as a major source of inspiration for the Indian farmers.
Farmers across the affluent and seemingly calm country of Netherlands have been agitating against their federal government since last year after a proposal was being pushed aimed at reducing the indigenous livestock produce by half.
Sensing an alarming threat to their right to livelihood and over-governance in their indigenous affairs, hundreds of thousands of livestock farmers have been taking to the streets with tractors, sparking roadblocks and drawing global attention.
Livestock farmers have been showing up in massive beelines of tractors, queuing up and choking key arteries of transport to pressure the Dutch government to give up on their anti-farm reforms.
The government at times deployed the military to take control of important roads to keep the tractors at bay. The protest movement peaked when the livestock farmers launched a massive demonstration in Hague.
Peru’s farmer protests are quite similar to the Indian case. Farmers in the South American country have been contesting the government’s drive to drastically reform the farming sector and implement a law aimed at choking the rights of small farmers.
Additionally, they have also been voicing their concerns over working conditions.
So the country’s farmers came together and protested hard for the past few weeks – including in the capital city of Lima – and the under-pressure government had to eventually scrap the farm law altogether.
Will the Indian government end up following what the Peruvian government had to do – give back power to the people?