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Paul G. Stevens

Events on the International Scene

(29 March 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. XII No. 13, 29 March 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

United Front Against Fake “Independence” of Ceylon

In a recent column we reported how the Trotskyist deputies led the struggle in the Ceylon parliament against the fake “independence” bill, by means of which military control of the island is left in the hands of British imperialism. In the ensuing vote, the Communist (Stalinist) Party representatives joined the Trotskyists in opposing the bill.

This was followed up by a United Front of Action.

“The largest political meeting in Ceylon,” we are informed, “was held on Feb. 11 at Colombo, when 50,000 attended the meeting jointly called by the Trotskyists and the Communist Party of Ceylon ... as a counter-demonstration to the ‘independence’ celebrations of the bourgeoisie.

“The magnificent response by the people of Ceylon to the BLPI-CP call,” the report concludes, “is a crushing answer not only to the bourgeois political leaders who tried to palm off the fake independence as genuine, but also to the dissident LSSP (a split-off group of the Trotskyist Party) which contributed its mite to this deception of the masses.”

Left-Wing Conference in India

New Spark, central organ of the Indian Trotskyists, reports: “At a conference held on Jan. 21, in Patna, 25 representatives of 12 left parties and also of other working class and peasant mass organizations decided to build a United Left Front, and issued a joint statement of program, subject to subsequent ratification by the respective parties.

“This program includes complete independence, severance from the British Empire, confiscation of all British and foreign interests including banks, insurances, plantations, factories, mines, etc.; repeal of all repressive laws, release of all political prisoners, right of free speech, press and association, etc.

“On the insistence of the BLPI (Trotskyist) representative, Comrade Ajit Roy, the right of one party to criticize other parties was safeguarded, save on joint platforms of the Front. Although most of the parties were in favor, of including the aim of a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government in the program, this could not be secured on account of the opposition of the Communist (Stalinist) Party. Finally, a compromise formula, standing for the rights of the exploited people,” was adopted.

The Stalinists’ formula was “Democratic People’s Government.”

In the stormily rising mass Movement of India, the Stalinists are forced to participate in united front actions with the Trotskyists. Obviously this is not due to a change of heart on the part of the Kremlin henchmen. It is testimony to the pressure of the ranks and to already deep roots struck by the young party of the Fourth International among the workers peasants of the sub-continent.

Dutch Demand Release of Tan Malakka

The Revolutionary Communist Party, Dutch Section of the Fourth International, has issued a statement “protesting against the arbitrary arrest and continued detention in prison of Comrade Tan Malakka, the accredited leader of the Indonesian workers and peasants.” Recalling the unremitting struggle of the Dutch Trotskyists for Indonesian independence, the statement condemns the anti-working-class policy of Mohamed Hatta, Prime Minister of the Indonesian Republic. It calls upon workers’ organizations everywhere to demand Tan Malakka’s immediate release.

Viet Nam Delegate Freed

The Viet Nam News Letter, published in New York, reports that Tran Ngoc Danth, President of the Viet Nam Delegation in. Paris, has been released by the French government after being held in “protective custody” since Jan. 29. He was arrested in connection with the French government plans to return former puppet-emperor Bao Dai to the throne of Indo-China.

In a recent column, we carried a press statement by the “Central Committee of Viet Nam Workers in France” which launched, the mass protest movement that obtained Danth’s release. This movement is continuing with united front actions to free Viet Nam (Indochinese) workers in various labor camps in France. A notable united front action was organized for this purpose recently in Toulouse, where the CGT (trade union federation), the CP (Stalinists) and the PCl (Trotskyists) formally joined in a campaign.

Trotskyist Movement in North Indo-China

Militant readers are familiar with the story of the Trotskyists’ struggle in Cochin China, the southern part of Indo-China. Now comes a direct report of Trotskyist activity in Tonking, the northern section of the country.

The Trotskyist movement in Ton-king is supported by a large number of workers and students. It has organized many big meetings in which even speakers of the Viet Nam government participated. For instance, at Bach Mai, the meeting was a great success and the population of this region in its vast majority approved the Trotskyist political line. After this meeting, pro-Stalinist President, Ho Chi Minh, secretly gave orders to arrest the leader of the Trotskyist movement in Tonking, as well as other militants of the Fourth International. Nevertheless, he could not halt the publication of the paper, The Struggle, nor prevent Trotskyist participation in the movement, which now has its center in Siam.

The Fourth International movement in Tonking has been able to build up a well functioning organization which is even stronger than that of Cochin China, thanks to the activities of courageous workers and students. But the group is subjected to the same terror as the Cochin China group. A large number of Trotskyists perished during the “resistance period.”

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