National Sections of the L5I:

Revolution in the countryside

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Today, in many semi-colonies, the peasantry remains an absolute majority of the population. The dissolution of the colonial empires and the establishment of US world hegemony meant global capital’s deeper penetration of agriculture. Huge territories were placed under cultivation for cash crops for export. Millions of peasants were bullied, defrauded and expelled from their land. As a result, countries which were self-sufficient in food have been transformed into importers of the basic necessities of life.

The most radical figure in the countryside is the landless peasant, robbed of his or her inheritance by the oligarchy and foreign agribusiness. Today, there are hundreds of millions of landless peasants. In the Indian sub-continent, in Central and South America and in Africa, a huge proportion of the rural population is landless. They stream into the barrios of the huge cities which have sprung up over the last thirty years. This class is a key actor in the global revolution of the twenty-first century.

The revolutionary working class must fight to realise the demands of the rural poor: land to those who work it – support the land invasions of farms, latifundia, ranches, plantations. For committees and militias of landless peasants. Building voluntary co-operatives is essential to fight food shortages. For those already driven to the barrios of the big cities, we must fight for a programme of public works to find them useful work and a living wage.

Struggling to prevent their own descent into the army of the landless are the poor peasants. Their smallholdings are either weighed down with onerous rent obligations or burdened with debt as a result of harsh purchase terms. Borrowing to buy equipment and fertilisers has added to this debt, a step forced on them because the size of their plot cannot guarantee subsistence for the poor peasant family.

For the poor peasants we demand: abolition of rent and renunciation of all debts to the rural usurer, the urban banker and the merchant; free credit to purchase machinery and fertiliser; incentives to encourage subsistence farmers to voluntarily join production and marketing co-operatives.

But the struggles of the rural poor point in one direction the necessity of a workers’ and peasants’ government which will expropriate the land of the oligarchs and the multinational agribusinesses and place them under workers’ and poor peasants’ control. We need a massive programme of public works to improve conditions for the masses of the countryside – electrification, irrigation of the land, provision of clean water and adequate sanitary facilities and the construction of cultural facilities.

The solution to land hunger, high rents, crushing debt and primitive technique can only be reached through an alliance of the peasantry with the working class in the revolutionary overthrow of global capitalism.