The following statement was released March 24 by John Staggs, Socialist Workers Party candidate for City Council At-Large in Philadelphia. Staggs grew up on a family farm in Illinois.
Working farmers are victims of conditions over which they have no control. But these are not primarily natural conditions — flooding or freezes or insect attacks. They are social conditions that result from the workings of capitalism — usurious interest rates; monopoly-rigged pricing of farm machinery, fertilizer, seeds and fuel; and monopoly control over marketing.
The only way out of this crisis is for a fighting alliance of workers, who are wage slaves, with exploited working farmers, who are debt slaves. Farmers and workers face the same enemy, the capitalist system, which puts the profits of the bankers and corporations ahead of the needs of working people.
Our unions and organizations of farmers need to demand that farmers get a price for what they produce that covers the cost of production plus enough to live on. Farmers should be guaranteed the right to work the land without fear of foreclosure. There should be a permanent moratorium on taking away their land.
The rents and mortgages system saddles family farmers with big payments and debts just to use the land they work on. The produce of their labor is sucked off by landlord and banking parasites.
The Cuban Revolution in 1959 solved this problem by nationalizing the land and turning it over to those who worked it. Peasants in their millions, backed by workers and the new revolutionary government led by Fidel Castro, led the land reform. This is an example that can be emulated here.
I will be one of the participants on this year’s May Day brigade to Cuba April 21-May 5. We will do volunteer work on farms there and meet with members of the farmers’ organization. I will tell them about the struggles of farmers and workers here and bring back the truth about what Cuban toilers have accomplished to share with farmers here.
If you would like to join with me, contact one of the Socialist Workers Party branches in the directory here.