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Lerche, Jens (2021) 'The Farm Laws Struggle 2020-2021: class-caste alliances and bypassed agrarian transition in neoliberal India.' Journal of Peasant Studies, 48 (7). pp. 1380-1396.

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The article analyses the farm laws struggle in India which, at the time of writing (September 2021), has lasted more than a year. It aims to explain its unusually broad support base and to discuss the potential wider impact of the new social coalition that is emerging. It argues that the unity of the movement is forced upon the concerned social groups by the threat that the farm laws and, ultimately, the oppressive Hindu fundamentalist government poses to all of them. The involvement of the different social groups is analysed with a focus on exploitation and oppression along inextricably linked lines of class, caste, ethnicity and gender. This also includes a focus on the ongoing structural change in Indian agriculture and – at least as importantly – in the Indian economy at large. It is shown that this has exacerbated their predicament but also enabled the broad alliance. The article concludes that there are a number of different reasons why the farm laws struggle is important for exploited and oppressed groups as well as for capitalist farmers and that an important progressive aspect is its potential to disrupt the present government’s political oppression well beyond the agricultural sector. However, there is little evidence that the broad-based unity will persist beyond the farm laws struggle, as the alliance is crosscut by exploitation and oppression between its constituent parts, based on class, caste, ethnicity and gender.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: India, farm laws struggle, class and caste, agrarian questions, non-agricultural employment, alliances
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
ISSN: 03066150
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2021 11:37

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