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Workers’ International News, July 1939


Pre-War Empire Policy


From Workers’ International News, Vol.2 No.7, July 1939, p.12.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


In spite of the vast arms spending, the volume of world trade continues to dwindle. Bourgeois economists in Britain who prophesised that the latest spurt in British armaments expenditure would give rise to an industrial boom accompanied by the disappearance of unemployment in Britain have been refuted by the facts. Government securities maintain their level, but industrial securities continue on their headlong decline. The economists, seeking for something to blame for the failure of their predictions, point to the unsettled international situation, and the stockjobbers are blamed for succumbing to panic and paralysing the stockmarket by marking down securities in the absence of dealings.

The capitalist finds to-day that the best field for the profitable investment of funds is in Government securities, not only because the capitalist class is collectively piling up the instruments of death but because the need to hold together the Empire to face the strains of the coming war involves the outpouring of funds.

As the slump and the war-crisis simultaneously intensify, the Empire is shaken to its foundations. The Irish bourgeoisie was won over by concessions enshrined in the Anglo-Eire Trade Treaty, but the explosion of bomb after bomb in Britain testifies to the determination of a section of Irishmen to exploit Britain’s difficulties to the full.

The “solution” of the Palestine problem resulted in the substitution of Jewish terrorist bombings for Arab terror.

The Indian bourgeoisie has been won over by means of concessions to the support of British imperialism in war, but the peasant war in India steadily deepens and widens while the number and extent of strikes are mounting to new record levels.

A series of revolutionary strikes has taken place: in Jamaica, Burma, British Guiana, Straits Settlements, and in the endeavour to end the general “unrest” that is sweeping through the native colonial peoples, new conciliation measures enable the British Government to pose as the friend and protector of the native workers against their employers. Labour codes are being laid down for the Barbados and British Guiana.

The generosity towards the national bourgeoisie, the fatherliness towards the workers, both flow from the same source, the need to build up support and manpower for the coming war. But the greed for profits makes British imperialism incapable of extending any real relief to the colonial peoples whose allegiance they are seeking to cultivate, and they resort again to the whip and the bullet when militant demands are made. In Jamaica, demonstrators were fired upon on June 19th, and unemployed meetings banned by the police. A bill to empower the Government to prohibit meetings or processions is now before the Legislature. In this way the workers are given a taste of the “British democracy” which to-morrow they will be asked to die for.

In spite of all the hopes of industrial revival which the British bourgeoisie places on the arms spending, the slump will deepen, the colonial “unrest” will intensify, the demands of the colonial bourgeoisie will grow more exacting. British and’ colonial workers, fellow-inmates of the same imperialist prison, must unite their efforts to break down the capitalist barriers that hem them in.

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