End Corporate Loot and Save Agriculture: Grameen Bharat Bandh and Industrial Strike on 16 February


  • February 15, 2024
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The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) and Central Trade Unions (CTUs) have appealed to the workers, farmers, agricultural workers, women, youth, students and all other sections of the people to join the massive peoples’ action and support the strike action on 16 February to save the Basic Principles of Democracy, Federalism, Secularism and Socialism enshrined in the Constitution of India. They have requested all secular and democratic forces to support this joint struggle of the farmers and workers to counter the heinous religious fanaticism and jingoism and to bring the real livelihood issues of the people back to the national agenda. 

 

Groundxero| 15th February, 2024

 

 The Samyukt Kisan Morcha-SKM (the umbrella platform of about 500 farmers’ outfits that led the historic farmers’ agitation against the three pro-corporate farm laws in 2020-21) and the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions/ Federations/Associations have called a all India Rural and industrial strike on 16 February, 2024, as part of a coordinated and united farmers-workers struggle against the anti-poor, anti-farmer and anti-worker policies of the Narendra Modi-led Union government.

 

SKM and CTUs have jointly called for massive mobilisation of workers and farmers all over India on 16th February in the forms of Rail Roko/Rasta Roko/Jail Bharo/Grameen Bandh/processions and picketing before the Central Government offices. The Gramin Bharat Bandh will run from 6 am to 4 pm, with farmers joining a massive chakka jam on main roads nationwide from 12 pm to 4 pm. In Punjab, most of the state and national highways will be closed for four hours.

 

The farmers and workers unions have appeal to all the like-minded movements of students, youth, teachers, women, the social movements and those in the field of art, culture literature to extend support to their joint struggles and the strike action announced by them on 16 February. They have called on all sections of the people to extend solidarity to the joint struggle of the famers and workers to resist and decisively defeat the destructive, divisive and authoritarian policies of the corporate communal nexus and replacing them with pro-worker, pro-farmer, pro-people policies.

 

The all India Rural Bandh and Industrial Strike on February 16 is a part of the joint struggles by the farmers and workers unions in the last two years. The strike is to press the Union government for accepting the following charter of demands of the farmers and workers:

 

  1. MSP@C2+50% for all crops with guaranteed procurement
  2. Comprehensive loan waiver to small and middle farm households for freedom from indebtedness
  3. Dismissal of Union Home Minister Ajay Mishra Teni and registration of case on him for massacre of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri,
  4. Comprehensive Crop Insurance
  5. Guaranteed employment as Fundamental Right
  6. Minimum Wage of Rs 26,000/- per month for workers and Repeal of 4 Labour Codes
  7. No privatisation of PSUs including Railway, Defence, Electricity
  8. No contractualization of Jobs and Scrapping Fixed Term Employment policy
  9. Strengthen MGNREGS with 200 Days work per person per year and Rs.600/- as daily wage
  10. Restore Old Pension Scheme
  11. Pension and social security to all in the formal and informal economy
  12. Implement the LARR Act 2013 (Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013) among others.

 

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha and the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions /Federations/ Associations had a series of meetings to review the joint and independent campaigns and actions at the first ever joint all India convention of Workers and Farmers held on 24 August 2023 at New Delhi. At that convention, CTUs and SKM noted with concern, the current ruling regime siphoning off national assets and finances to a handful of private corporates and paralyzing and capturing all the institutions of Indian democracy – the Parliament, judiciary, election commission and so on. They also noted that various sections of the workers and farmers and other sections of the people are already on struggles in numerous fronts against the disastrous policies of the Central Government.

 

The Workers-Peasants Joint National Convention at New Delhi formulated a comprehensive charter of demands of industrial workers, farmers and agricultural workers. This joint Charter of Demands stands for the alternative policy regime, diametrically opposed to present pro-corporate policies of the corporate communal nexus in the country’s governance. The CTUs and SKM reiterated their resolve to take up the historic responsibility to counter and defeat the communal corporate nexus through intensified campaign among the people and intensified struggle till the demands of workers and farmers are achieved.

 

Towards this end, and in continuation of the joint and co-ordinated actions being organised since November 2020, the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions/ Federations/ Associations and  SKM have jointly called for massive mobilisation of workers and farmers all over India on 16th February.

 

 

To ensure massive participation in the struggles and make the strike successful, from 10th – 20th January 2024,  the workers and farmers had jointly organised a Jana Jagaran Campaign of house-to-house visits in all the villages across India to distribute leaflets and demand-charter.

 

In a joint statement, SKM and the Joint platform of Central Trade Unions have said, “This government is continuously carrying on barbarous onslaughts on the lives and livelihood of the toiling people as a whole and aggressively pursuing anti-worker, anti-farmer and anti-people measures through various legislations, executive orders and policy drives. It is unconstitutionally denying the rights of elected state governments. It is suppressing all democratic assertions of various sections of the people and all voices of dissent. It is continuing with the dangerous game plan of communalizing the polity and constitutional institutions, utterly misusing and abusing administrative authorities and agencies. The Union Government attacks freedom of Media and shamelessly protects the criminals accused of sexual harassment by the victims thus eroding the trust of the people on law and order.”

 

SKM and CTUs have appealed to the workers, farmers, agricultural workers, women, youth, students and all other sections of the people to join this massive peoples’ action to save the Basic Principles of Democracy, Federalism, Secularism and Socialism enshrined in the Constitution of India. They have requested all secular and democratic forces to support this struggle to counter the heinous religious fanaticism and jingoism and to bring the real livelihood issues of the people back to the national agenda. 

 

We publish below some posters released by SKM and CTUs expressing the demands of the strike.

 

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