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The Events in India

(April 1930)

From The Militant, Vol. III No. 17, 26 April 1930, p. 7.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In recent weeks the struggle of the Indian proletariat and peasantry against the intense exploitation of British imperialism and their home bourgeoisie, and for independence has been intensified. In Calcutta six were killed and over 100 injured in a demonstration against the domination of British capitalism. One killed and over thirty-three injured in Karachi. Similar conditions are to be observed everywhere. Trolley cars turned over and burned, telegraph wires cut, means of communication destroyed, are evidence of the temper of the masses. The British government is using every conceivable form of repression against the Indian proletariat. Armored cars, police armed with guns, lances, and sticks, militia, and civil troops are mobilized to thwart the struggle.

Thus far the movement is under the leadership of the Swaraji Party, the organization of the national bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie. Under the head of Gandhi with a policy of non-resistance, the movement is being misled into channels that will spell its death. When the Indian Nationalist Party, through the initiative of Gandhi, adopted at their congress in January, the resolution calling for “complete Indian independence” it only expressed the pressure of the masses. Gandhi’s “march to the sea,” with the intentions of boycotting the salt Laws, and in this manner struggle for independence, carried with it elements that destroyed the original purpose. It must be remembered that the policy of Gandhi and the Party is that the independence of India can only be gained through a boycotting of the products of Great Britain and a “struggle” for independence with a policy of non-resistance (non-violence) to the British government. “Non-resistance” to the severe exploitation that the Indian masses undergo, to the shooting of striking and demonstrating workers, can only result in the betrayal of the revolutionary movement in India.

The Masses Struggle Despite Gandhi

Paradoxical as it may seem, Gandhi’s mobilization of the masses, on the basis of non-resistance has already taken the form of militant struggle and RESISTANCE of the masses to the brutal regime of the British “Socialist” government. The demonstrating workers have taken the only possible course in the struggle against the domination of the British government – open struggle and resistance It has as always overstepped the limits which the policy of Gandhi places on the movement for independence.

India is the foundation rock of the British Empire. The British investment in India today is over four billion dollars. Over fourteen percent of the British exports are sent to India. It is easy to understand, then, why the struggle of the Indian proletariat and peasantry for independence will meet the stubborn resistance of the British government. That stubborn resistance is already exhibited in the present reprisals. One can easily see how much fiercer will be the resistance of the British government when the movement for independence outstrips its present stage and reaches the point of an open conquest for power.

The British Labor Government Defends the Empire

The role of the “socialist” government of Great Britain is highly illuminating. The policy of Baldwin and the Conservative Party and MacDonald and the Labor Party alike is the use of violence against the Indian masses. Both defend the interests of British capitalism with enthusiasm. This is understandable, when we recall that one of the planks of the MacDonald administration is to save the tottering Empire. One cannot say that efforts of MacDonald and his “socialist” government in this direction have been lacking. The role of the Labor government in India is only an additional commentary to the fact that the only solution for the proletariat is the complete destruction of capitalism and the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

One of the sad features in the present situation in India is the almost total lack of a Communist Party. The policy of the Communist International in India calls for the organization of almost every kind of Party except that of a bona fide Communist Party. The Stalin leadership continues to carry over the same policy that was responsible for the glaring defeat suffered in China. The organization of a Workers and Peasants Party remains on the agenda of the Comintern in India. This flows from its false orientation that the revolution in India must be accomplished through and together with the national bourgeoisie. It led to the subordination of the Communist Party and its eventual collapse in China. It can have no other result in India. Neither the big bourgeoisie nor the petty bourgeoisie can lead a successful revolution for the overthrow of British imperialism. Neither can this be done by the most revolutionary trade unions. For that, the leadership of a Communist Party, which centralizes the political action of the masses, which gives it direction in the struggle, and prepares the revolution, is necessary. Without a genuine Communist Party capable of carrying out such tasks, one cannot hope for a successful struggle of the revolutionary masses in India.

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Last updated: 14 February 2020