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Paul G. Stevens

In the World of Labor

(18 August 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 60, 18 August 1939, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A Sharp Split in the Communist Party of India

The Bengal Labor Party, led by the young militant, Butt Mazumdar, is the foremost working class political organization in the important British province of Bengal, with great influence in the peasant and trade union movements. In 1936 it merged with the Communist Party of India and appeared to be lost in the swamp of Stalinism.

Differences with the Peoples Front policy developed, however, and culminated recently at the Tripuri session of the Indian Nationalist Congress, where the Stalinists fell prone before Mahatma Gandhi, sacrificing everything for the sake of unity with the Indian capitalists and landlords whom Gandhi represents.

Dutt Mazumdar openly dissociated himself from this Stalinist line, delivering a scorching attack on the Gandhi wing of the Congress. He compared the Gandhists with the counter-revolutionary generals who rebelled against the Spanish republic. So effective was his attack that the Stalinist delegates were confused and didn’t know who represented the official Stalinist line at the Congress.

After that the Stalinist machine went to work on Mazumdar and publicly attacked him in its press as a “disrupter of unity”, “agent of reaction”, etc. Mazumdar stuck to his guns, and he and the Bengal Labor Party were expelled from the Stalinist organization.

While Dutt Mazumdar has by no means arrived at the revolutionary position of the Fourth International, he has nevertheless taken decided steps towards a correct class analysis of the Indian revolutionary scene.

He correctly understands the dilemma facing the impotent Indian capitalist class, which is rapidly driving it to capitulate to British imperialism.

“One step to the left and the capitalists might ignite the powder heap of agrarian revolution, in the wake of which might come other revolutions.”

Mazumdar understands that one cannot fight British imperialism without fighting its ally, the native capitalists and landlords.

“... it is apparent that the struggle is between the outspoken aim of the millions of Indian people and the secret aim of the Indian bourgeoisie, between the fighting, genuine democracy of the masses and the dictatorship of the diplomatic bourgeoisie.”

As to what must be done – “to consolidate our power we must throw all our forces on the mass front and defend each mass struggle, however small or local in character, with our initiative. Our efforts to bring Congress into the struggle must be exercised to the utmost. But we (the workers) must jealously guard the initiative.”

Rumblings in the C.P. of the Mother Country Also

Nor is the Communist Party in Great Britain immune to the internal disintegration resulting from the People’s Front policies of the leadership.

Recently we reported in these columns on the tragi-comical dispute between the French and the British Stalinists on the subject of British Conscription. The following item from the London New Leader puts the finishing touches to the running story of this “dispute.”

“All is not well either politically or organizationally with the Communist Party of Great Britain,” says the New Leader.

“Some weeks ago Harry Pollitt published a pamphlet against Conscription.

“The French Communist Party protested. It urged that British Communists should support Conscription to strengthen the ‘Peace Front’ against Hitler.

“An international consultation of Communist Party leaders took place to settle the question. It decided in favor of the French Communist Party view and Pollitt’s pamphlet was withdrawn.”

Pollitt, like all the paid Stalinist scribblers the world over, can withdraw a pamphlet from publication just as easily as he can write one – and that holds true for any subject under the sun.

How the ranks are reacting to the miserable juggling of these “leaders” with the lives of the workers may be gathered from the concluding paragraphs of the New Leader’s report:

“Nor is the British Communist Party happy organizationally. It has suffered such severe losses recently that it has now decided to ‘recall’ members whom it sent into the Labour Party. We have heard this week of daily resignations from the Labour Party. These represent not conversion to the Communist Party – because they were always its instruments – but obedience to the instructions of the Communist Party and its latest change of line.”

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