Global warming underlies India’s “giant agrarian crisis”

November 29, 2018

Farmers on the march as drought pummels productivity

A guest post by NAGRAJ ADVE, first published in The Wire (India)

A few years ago, a group of us from Delhi, along with members of the Gujarat Agricultural Labour Union and the International Union of Foodworkers, went to eastern Gujarat to speak to farmers about how a changing climate could be affecting their livelihoods. We found that warmer winters, particularly higher night-time temperatures, had resulted in a reduced or complete absence of dew. This was adversely affecting the rabi crop.

“Winters have been getting less cold for about 7-8 years,” a group of farmers told us in Jer Umaria, Panchmahal district. “Our wheat production has halved. The dew does not fall anymore.”

Village after village in Panchmahal, being unable to afford wells and with poorly developed water markets in this predominantly Adivasi belt, most marginal farmers faced sharply reduced yields thanks to lesser dew. Many were forced to leave their land fallow.

Rising temperatures have also been impacting agriculture in faraway Sikkim, but differently. Across the Hindu Kush Himalaya, the average temperature has risen by 1.24º C in 1951‒2014, about twice as much as India’s average rise over the same period.

A demonstration by farmers on 2 October on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border. Photo: PTI/ Arun Sharma

Together with a steep rainfall decline in the Northeast – 15% below normal over the last 20 years – and prolonged dry spells, this has left many mountain springs with lower discharge, if they haven’t dried up entirely.

As a result, “the productivity of crops has drastically declined,” Ghanashyam Sharma, Head, The Mountain Institute India, Gangtok, said. “In Pendam, East Sikkim district, many farmers now cannot cultivate wet rice due to water scarcity. Its impacts are unequal [–] Read the rest of this entry »

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Let’s remember victims of British tyranny. You said it, Akala

November 5, 2018

The vindictive, cowardly racism that black Britons face on the streets is rooted in empire, the hip-hop artist and writer Akala insists in his book Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire.

The argument that racism is shaped by imperial oppression, and by class relations – that it doesn’t just appear out of nowhere in people’s heads – runs through the book. And so

Akala. Photo: Alexis Chabala / Two Roads books

does the theme that struggles against empire are a key part of the path to a better world.

“As much as a tendency to dominate, divide and brutalise has been a seeming constant for the past few millennia at least, so too has the tendency of sharing and co-operation, of rebellion against dominant powers and attempts to create a more just order”, Akala writes (p. 148).

“The degree to which humans have secured a more just world has been born out of the struggles against empires as much as anything else.”

Akala recounts the British empire’s crimes – from slavery, through colonialism in Africa to selling weapons to Saudi Arabia for the genocidal onslaught in Yemen right now – and Read the rest of this entry »


London: callout for solidarity with Russian anti-fascists

November 1, 2018

We are an ad-hoc collective of anti-fascists in London who want to organise a solidarity event to support anti-fascists in Russia on 19th January 2019.

19th January is a significant day for anti-fascists and anarchists, as each year demonstrations are held to remember Russian comrades, the journalist Anastasia Baburova and lawyer Stanislav Markelov, who were murdered by fascists in broad

“They’re not terrorists. The terrorists are at the FSB, and they torture people.” Participant in a picket in St Petersburg in May this year. Photo by Jenya Kulakova. Courtesy of the Russian Reader.

daylight 10 years ago, as well as other fallen comrades who were victims of fascist violence.

Markelov, an experienced lawyer and social democrat, spent years fighting for justice in workers’ struggles, environmental protests and against the violence of the Russian state. Read the rest of this entry »


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