Wal Hannington

British Terror in India and Egypt

Source: Workers’ Weekly, January 16, 1925
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2009). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Seldom does the British worker discuss such places as India and Egypt although they are British colonies.

It is only with some crisis or sensational happening in these countries that he is aroused to a realisaition that these countries are under British rule.

Such was the case just recently when Sir Lee Stack, the Sirdar of Egypt and Governor-General of the Sudan, was assassinated by an Egyptian Nationalist driven to desperation and despair by the long drawn out episode of imperialist trickery being pursued by Great Britain, and the failure of the British Labour Government to show themselves any less imperialistic in the affairs of Egypt than their Conservative and Liberal predecessors had been.

The assassination of Sir Lee Stack provided Great Britain with a long sought for excuse to go further with their imperialistic aims and to trample down every remaining vestige of Egyptian and Sudanese right.

Our Failure to Really Understand

Egypt became a subject of discussion at all industrial and political working class meetings. Thousands of resolutions were passed denouncing the imperialist demands of the British Conservative Government, but many of them at the same time lead off by emphatically deploring the murder of the Sirdar.

Not a word about the murder and imprisonment of the Egyptian workers that has been going on for years in Egypt under British rule.

These are happenings that seemed to have missed the notice of the British workers although they are crimes committed against the Egyptian working class in the name of the British nation.

Communists and sympathisers have been brutally persecuted under British supervision by Zaghlul Pasha himself, who hated Communist activity much more than he did British imperialism. Hundreds of working class fighters of Egypt are lying in jail to-day because of their activities.

These are never discussed by the British Labour Movement, yet when a representative of British imperialism meets with sudden death, the Labour Movement and its professed sympathisers tumble over them selves to deplore the assassination, yet at the same time anxious to show how advanced they are by denouncing British Imperialist policy.

This undoubtedly is due to the fact that British workers are not informed by glaring headlines in the daily Press when Egyptian workers are murdered and imprisoned.

The capitalist Press is wise in its silence, but it will be the duty of the International Class War Prisoners’ Aid to break this silence and show to the British workers what British rule in Egypt means to the Egyptian workers, and to render all material assistance possible to the imprisoned Egyptian workers and their dependents.


If we turn to India we find the same brutal persecution conducted in the name of Great Britain there. A legal Communist Party is not permitted in India. Its members have suffered savage repression and many of them sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for nothing else but that they were known members of the Communist Party of India.

But it is not only Communists that are suffering persecution (although against them it has been most severe) but any worker that dares to take an active part in the struggles of the Indian working class comes in for his share of “British justice.”

The Bombay Strike

In the early months of 1924 when the Indian cotton operatives came out on strike in the Bombay textile factories they were shot down in hundreds by the British military forces.

Most of the Bombay textile factories are owned by British manufacturers who must not have their rabid exploitation and inflow of enormous profits cut off by strikes, so to the Indian worker the answer to strike action is Death.

The Nationalists

The Indian Nationalist Party has now been made the object of British imperialist persecution. By special order of the Viceroy, 66 leading members of the Nationalist Party in the province of Bengal have been arrested. The police have raided hundreds of houses all over the province.

The men that have been arrested, and the party they belong to are frankly partisans of constitutional action, and do not stand for complete separation from the Empire. In spite of their moderate programme, the Nationalists have during the last year been a source of trouble to the Government. At every step they have opposed the autocratic action of the Government and repeatedly inflicted on it Parliamentary defeat.

Although their actions have been purely constitutional, British imperialism has opened up a bloody repression against them, as they will against any organisation that proves a stumbling block to their autocratic adventures and exploitation.

A short while ago it was the Communist Party of India that was singled out for attack. It was predicted at that time that it would not end with the Communists. That prediction has now proved correct.

The mailed fist that to-day strikes down the workers of India and Egypt will in its turn strike you down.

We must show our solidarity with our Colonial brothers—victims of British imperialism.

It is essentially the duty of the British workers to stand up in their defence. These crimes are committed in the name of the British nation, and unless the British workers manifest their opposition our Egyptian and Indian comrades will for ever be entitled to point to us as hypocrites whenever we speak of International working class solidarity.

Organise protest meetings, and proclaim your support with the struggling workers of these countries.

Rally to the International Class War Prisoners’ Aid!