the vast majority of landless and poor peasants, agricultural workers and marginalized sections, the real tillers of soil whose only or main sustenance is based on the income from agriculture, constitute the peasantry in most of the countries of Asia. In spite of the vastness, uneven development and extreme diversities of this largest continent, agriculture still continues to be the major source of livelihood for majority. With the transformation of colonialism into neocolonialism during post-Second World War decades, feudal and semi-feudal land relations serving as the social base for colonial domination are transforming very fast. Under Green Revolution and ‘land reforms from above’, along with intensified penetration of finance capital, market forces and technology, the capitalist land relations have become the increasing trend. These new forms of imperialist onslaught on agricultural sector led by corporate forces and MNCs, has made it an appendage of imperialist market. It has also intensified the landlessness and pauperization of the peasantry and sharpened the contradictions in the agrarian sector.
Under ‘neoliberal’ globalization and consequent shift in the imperialist policies from ‘import substitution’ to ‘export promotion’, food agriculture is increasingly replaced by cash crops. As a result, both food security and agricultural employment are in peril. Along with corporatization of agriculture, large scale land grabbing for plundering mineral and natural resources and in the name of neo-liberal ‘development’ projects such as SEZs, construction of new townships, tourist resorts, etc. by speculative giants have led to displacement of millions of aboriginals and tribal people from their habitats. It has led to ecological crises and unprecedented land concentration in the hands of the super rich classes and land mafias. To facilitate land concentration in the hands of parasitic classes, the governments in these countries are repealing even erstwhile land ceiling acts. Agriculture itself is becoming captive of finance capital and market forces with ‘contract farming’ led by agribusiness companies flourishing. Imperialist and corporate market control over agricultural inputs and outputs through various price and export-import policies is also threatening the peasantry. World Bank dictated agricultural policies and ‘market access’ provisions of WTO including anti-peasant seed, fertilizer, power and credit policies coupled with the curtailment of state subsidies and public procurements under neo-liberalism are reasons for the devastation of the agrarian sector under neo liberal domination. It has led to mass suicides of peasants in many countries like India.
In this context, mobilizing the tens of millions of landless poor peasants and agricultural workers on the basis of a revolutionary agrarian program according to concrete conditions in each country or region under based on worker-peasant alliance is one of the basic tasks for leading the people’s democratic revolution in Asian countries to victory. Such a revolutionary agrarian program should aim at the capture of all lands belonging to landlords, feudal remnants and all parasitic sections and distribution among the real peasantry based on the principle, land to the tiller. Liberating the agrarian sector from the grip of imperialist finance capital and market system is an integral part of this program. The productive forces in agrarian sector can be unleashed only through revolutionizing the agrarian relations.
During the period of colonization, guided by the Communist International, the communist parties were pursuing anti-imperialist, anti-feudal struggles with agrarian revolution as the central component of the PDR. By pursuing this line under concrete conditions of each country, the communist parties in China, North Korea and Indo-Chinese countries could lead the revolution to victory and in many countries like India and Indonesia they were leading people’s struggles. By 1950s one third of the world population was living in the socialist countries. But after the Second World War the imperialist powers led by US transformed its policies and initiated new forms of plunder utilizing capital-market forces and new technological advances. To facilitate this and to prevent red revolutions from taking place they resorted to ‘de-colonization’ and transferred power to comprador classes. In order to facilitate the penetration of the capital-market forces, ‘agrarian reforms from above’ and green revolution like policies were initiated.
The ‘mode of production’ debate that took place in the 1960s and the almost absence of any such debates later reflect the confusion and sharp differences that prevail among the communist parties in analyzing these changes. Some of them analyze that these countries have become basically capitalist in character and as a result reject the importance of the agrarian revolution. They give importance only to the rural working class in their program. The second trend does not recognize that any qualitative changes have taken place in the agrarian relations. They continue to uphold the old analysis that these countries are in the main like pre-revolutionary China and semi-feudal relations still dominate. The reformist trend takes up peasant question only to serve its parliamentary line. The fourth trend recognizes the transformation of imperialist plunder from colonial to neo-colonial forms after the Second World War and consequent changes in the agrarian sector, under the capital-market forces and technological advances. Along with these what is happening to the agrarian sector in China after the breaking up of the People’s Communes, what is the character of the agrarian sector in Japan, in North Korea, in Vietnam, Laos etc are also of great importance. Analyses of the agrarian condition in these countries shall help the mode of production debate and help to evolve the approach towards development of class struggle in the agrarian sector in uneven conditions.
Advancing the revolutionary movement calls for a correct agrarian program according to concrete conditions of each country and based on the specificities of the present international situation. In order to achieve it, initiation of a debate on the present concrete conditions, on analysis of the agrarian relations and on the agrarian program put forward in each country by different trends is urgently called for. It will help to develop a broad debate involving the representatives of the different peasant organizations, agricultural scientists, economists and activists of the Asian countries. Empirical studies and analyses shall create conditions for a better understanding of the approaches followed by different trends based on “seeking truth from facts”.
The initiative taken to convene the Asian Agricultural Conference should be seen in this context.