VIDEO: Cycling the Sacramento Farmers Protest

Last week, I biked over to the California State Capitol in Sacramento to join a protest to support farmers in India. Reportedly, thousands of people came to the Capitol from all over Northern California in a show of support, solidarity, and to let the Indian government know that the world is watching.

Farmers in India are peacefully protesting laws rushed through over the summer by the Indian central government that threatens their livelihood and that gives corporations control over the agricultural market. The Indian government has met these protests with tear gas, water cannons and police/military violence. They have barricaded the capital city of New Delhi to stop the farmers from entering, and so the almost half-million protesting farmers are camped out at the city’s entry points.

The protest has gone global with solidarity demonstrations happening all over the world including in the United States. As such, it’s been called the largest protest in the world.

One may find that what is happening in India is not unlike what has happened to farming in the United States, as independent small farmers have been squeezed and are trying to make a diminishing living while corporations extract large profits. India seems to also want to head down that path, but the path already trodden has been a very expensive one for farmers whose livelihoods (and lives) have been at risk under increasing health risks as they push their crops for higher yields, and increasing suicide rates as farmers are burdened by mounting debts. The new laws hurriedly enacted by the Indian government appear to have been a last straw.

Here are some articles to help better understand the issues around the farm bills, their impact on the farmers, and the concerns for their safety as they protest:

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