Indian Farmer Protests and Distributism (3)

This is a selection from the seminar I’m teaching on Distributism. For months now, thousands of Indian farmers have been protesting in an occupy-style encampment near Delhi. They fear that they are in danger of losing not only their livelihoods but their way of life due to changes in the laws leading to deregulation of the agricultural sector in India. They are worried that these changes will make many small farms financially impossible and will lead to a great agricultural consolidation into the hands of big agriculture, changing Indian food security and leaving them without the support of the land and extended families they have relied upon. These farmers are in the situation GK Chesterton saw unfolding in England in the early part of the 20th Century. Chesterton called for something like the Indian farmers want back–government regulation and aid to help maintain numerous and plentiful small farmers in an economy of cooperation with subsistence farming with a market element. The farmer protests are a test case as to whether people now can demand a different economic arrangement that protects and preserves food security and their way of life.

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