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Paul G. Stevens

Events on the International Scene

(23 February 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 8, 23 February 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Campaign Against Trotskyism in Eastern Germany

The weekly Weltwoche of Zurich, Switzerland reports on Jan. 23 that one of the main topics dealt with at the Institute of the Soviet Military Administration located in Koenigswuestrehousen near Berlin is – Trotskyism. Hundreds of Stalinist functionaries, trade union officials and returned prisoners of war from Russia are trained at this institute for high office in Soviet-occupied Eastern Germany. Against America and Trotsky, an article signed Thomas Vandenbergh says, “a much fiercer struggle is waged than against the remnants of Fascism or militarism.”

Although Trotskyism has been declared “dead” for years by the Kremlin, in Germany it appears to constitute a rising threat to the Stalinist bureaucracy. Why? Because only Trotskyism means Communism – every principle of which is betrayed by the Stalinists. And in Germany there are many Communist workers who for ten years and more were cut off from the rest of the world and consequently have not experienced the step-by-step degeneration of the Comintern. To remain true to the principles they have always held, to remain revolutionist, these workers must turn their backs on Stalinism and seek the Fourth International.

Awakening Labor Movement in India

Evidence that an independent labor movement is arising to challenge the capitalist government of newly created independent India fills the pages of New Spark, English language paper of the Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India (BLPI) section of the Fourth International. In its last issue to be received here, the paper reviews the months since “freedom” was achieved in August. It is a record of extraordinarily violent struggle between the workers and their capitalist masters. Here are some of the highlights:

The New Spark of Dec. 20 reports: 150,000 government employees strife in Madras; prominent Indian Trotskyist and trade union leader, Amarnath arrested “preventively.”

A united front of trade unions, student organizations, women’s organizations, backed by a bloc of the parties of the left (there are several calling themselves Revolutionary, Socialist or Communist, Bolshevik, Republican Socialist, Forward Bloc, etc.), in which the Indian Trotskyists participated prominently, organized huge demonstrations three successive days before the West Bengal Assembly in Calcutta to obtain the revocation particularly vicious “Special Powers Ordinance.”

The Socialist Party, in the past affiliated to the Indian National Congress, had called a one-day token strike against the arbitration machinery set up by the Congress leaders in the Bombay government.

Comrade Ajit Roy, recently returned from a long stay in England, continued his successful tour with a mass meeting attended by 15,000 in Madura, at which a Stalinist attempt to break up the meeting failed miserably with the workers driving off the CP hooligans.

Strike Wave Hits “Prosperous” Belgium

Last week a strike wave hit “prosperous” little Belgium. Several hundred thousand miners, textile workers, postmen and gas and electrical workers walked out successively demanding a cost-of-living bonus and wage increases. The government threatened to call out troops and ordered a “civil mobilization” or labor draft for strikers.

Belgium has been played up as the pet of the “free enterprise” system in Europe by Wall Street spokesmen. It was supposed to be an oasis of prosperity on the continent. Its capitalists have been especially favored with American loans since the end of the war. The Belgian strike wave is thus a preview of Europe after the Marshall Plan. American loans have not been able to solve the problems of inflation there any more than anywhere else; the workers are forced to strike in order to get wage increases to meet rising costs.

The official leadership condemns the strikes. Yet there is a strike wave, “wild cat” though it is. The Cominform certainly plays a negligible role here compared to Italy and France. But the mass of the workers in Belgium, as in the rest of Europe, show that they are determined to fight and solve their problems in struggle. The strike wave in Belgium is thus a resounding refutation of all those who try to picture the fermenting class struggle in Europe as simply an emanation of the Kremlin.

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