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Reva Craine

World Politics

(5 March 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 10, 5 March 1945, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

British Labor and India

The Revolutionary Communist Party of England (a Trotskyist organization of revolutionary socialists) is running Jock Haston, general secretary, for Parliament in the by-election in Neath district. The party is calling upon the workers to support their candidate because, among other things, the RCP stands for:

“The complete and unconditional granting of freedom to the Indian people. We stand for giving all the necessary assistance to the Indian workers in their struggle, for power.”

Thus is true internationalism expressed. The RCP is for the freedom not only of those people dominated by the imperialisms of other lands, but, primarily for the freedom of those who are oppressed by its own, that is, British imperialism.

* * *

Workers in Japan

In order to put across their plans to punish and enslave the German workers for the war into which their imperialist rulers dragged them, the slander campaign about the “mad German beast” has proceeded unabated. The aim of this campaign is to make the German workers appear responsible for the war, and thus let the real culprits go free. It will pale beside the campaign which will be launched against the Japanese people once the “plans” for them are announced,

Actually, it is the working classes of all countries which are paying for the war. The same pattern is found everywhere – increasing profits for the war-makers; high prices, decreasing wages and lowered living standards for the people. The Japanese workers, in their struggle for a little more bread, sometimes resort to desperate and unusual methods.

A Tokio paper recently described one method, which is said to be widespread. The workers of concern A steal a raw material which is in short supply, such as aluminum or special steel, and offer it at black market prices to concern B, which buys it eagerly. In concern B the workers do likewise and sell the material to concern C, where the same thing happens until the sequence gets back to concern A. Tokio police report that many workers are involved in such activities.

* * *

“Liberation” in the Congo

From the time of its conquest as a colony, the native people of the Belgian Congo have been subjected to forced labor by the Belgian imperial overlords. The cruel treatment and intense exploitation of the Congo people by the profiteers in rubber, oil, copper, copal – to name but a few of the wonderful resources of that region – for a long time were an international scandal. So great, in fact, that in 1908 King Leopold, whose colony the Belgian Congo was considered, was compelled to order an investigation and reluctantly granted some “reforms.”

Forced labor, however, continues to this day. In 1933, the Belgian government magnanimously issued a decree which allowed a person called up for forced labor to send a substitute for himself. The decree became known as the Native Circumscription Decree.

We are informed that many people in the Belgian Congo used to pay an agency which specialized in hiring substitutes for the forced labor service, and that the Belgian government found this a more satisfactory arrangement because “laborers hired under more normal conditions worked more efficiently than forced laborers.”

And now, at last, in 1945, comes another great reform! The Belgian government has announced in its Administrative Bulletin of the Congo that this system of circumscription has been legalized, and that the purchasing of labor service may be legally organized by the agencies, except in cases, of course, “where conditions are not opportune and particularly where the necessary labor for executing the projects cannot be recruited voluntarily.” Also excepted are forced labor for the following projects: road repairing, building of schools and prisons (!), hygiene and reforestation.

“These reforms,” states the Bulletin, “come at a happy time. They constitute another step toward the suppression of forced labor in all its forms.”

Another little imperialist blessing!

* * *

Principles Absent at Yalta

Every thinking person knows that the decisions arrived at by the Big Three at Yalta were not based on any principles save one – each power was out to get what it could at anybody else’s expense. The decisions were based on military strength and economic power.

Drew Pearson reveals in his column of February 23 that when the question of Poland was being discussed, Stalin, in making his demands, turned to his two friends and asked:

“Did your army liberate Poland, Mr. Churchill? Did your army liberate Poland, Mr. Roosevelt?”

The Russians are now busy denouncing anyone who even suggests that they were planning to use the “Free German Committee” headed by von Paulus and von Seydlitz, former officers in the Nazi army, as a provisional government in Germany. Getting what he did at Yalta, Stalin simply did not have to use this trump card against Churchill and Roosevelt, at least not at the present moment.

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