ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Jonathan PattendenSubscribe to Jonathan Pattenden

A New Class Alliance in the Indian Countryside?

Processes of socio-economic differentiation alter balances of power. This article explores the possibility that the current wave of farmers’ protests partly reflects a resetting of class alliances in the Indian countryside centred on small farmers and farmer-labourers who now account for over 85% of farming households. It does so by returning to the new farmers’ movement mobilisations of the 1980s and 1990s, and comparing three key relations between then and now: relations between farmers and the state, between farmers and large capital, and relations within the countryside between larger and smaller farmers and landless labourers. Smaller farmers, it is argued, are now more likely to ally with farmer-labourers and the landless, who are in turn less dependent on larger farmers than they used to be because of the growth of non-agricultural wage labour. The neo-liberal Indian state’s pro-corporate farm bills mean that contradictions within the countryside are for now overshadowed by external contradictions. And if implemented, they will accelerate processes of socio-economic differentiation in ways that make a new centre of political gravity in the Indian countryside more likely.

Trickle-Down Solidarity, Globalisation and Dynamics of Social Transformation in a South Indian Village

This article situates the globalisation of agriculture and anti-capitalist globalisation networks amongst processes of transnational solidarity and dynamics of social transformation in a south Indian village. As against the thesis of 'horizontal social movement practice' as advanced by new social movement theory, the global justice movement literature, and discourses of both the Karnataka State Farmers' Association (KRRS) as well as transnational anti-capitalist globalisation networks, the article shows the persistence of 'vertical' politics between social movements and inequalities of class, caste and gender relations that remain within social movements. Accounts of globalisation and anti-globalisation often overlook micro-level complexities but the article employs a 'situated' analysis of globalisation and shows how KRRS's social bases are excluded from transnational networks by the 'paradox of incommunicability' between castes/classes and the hierarchies that sustain them. The paper also explores the possibility for renewed collective action amongst marginalised groups, and suggests that political networks sustained via a wider social base may be more successful if wrought by a process of trickle-down solidarity.

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