Seattle rally backs farmers protests in India

By Edwin Fruit
January 18, 2021
Militant photos: Above, Rebecca Williamson; inset, Edwin Fruit

KENT, Wash. — In the third such rally this month in the Seattle area, hundreds gathered here Dec. 26 to show support for the tens of thousands of working farmers camped out on the main roads outside New Delhi, India’s capital. They’ve been protesting since November in a fight to overturn new laws that threaten their livelihoods.

At the rally, a semi-truck covered with posters backing the farmers and denouncing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi provided a speakers’ stage before a caravan of cars and trucks set off for Seattle. One of the speakers, inset, was Henry Dennison, representing the Socialist Workers Party.

Similar rallies took place in other cities across the country and around the world. On New Year’s Eve, over 200 people held a vigil outside the Indian Consulate in San Francisco.

The Modi government claims to be promoting “free market choice,” the Sikh Student Association at the University of Washington said in a statement. But in fact the government “privileges the interests of large corporations over farmers who struggle to support their families.”

“For many of us, farming is our history,” Jasmit Singh, a leader of the Sikh Coalition, a nationwide organization, said in an op-ed in the Dec. 24 Seattle Times. “The earliest Sikh immigrants to the United States came to the West Coast specifically to make a living by growing food. Many of us have family and friends still in Punjab, who are now leading on the front lines of this movement.”