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Sherman Stanley

Indian Left Wing Flays Ghandi (sic!)

(23 December 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 94, 23 December 1939, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The struggle of India’s 375,000,000 people for their freedom from British tyranny is centered today in the struggle between the contending wings of the Indian Nationalist Congress.

The conservative right wing, headed by Mahatma Gandhi, indulged in much radical talk and threats for a while, but has again staged a treacherous retreat and is doing its utmost to prevent any action. Utilizing the false grounds that the country is not prepared for a campaign of civil disobedience, Gandhi is pushing for further negotiation with the British authorities.

Subhas Chandra Bose, former president of the Congress, spokesman for the left-wing Nationalists, has lately issued a statement blasting Gandhi and his supporters from stem to stern. It is one of the bitterest denunciations of the Gandhi leadership ever to be made. In his statement Bose accused Gandhi of sabotaging the desire of the Indian people to struggle and of dissipating the revolutionary energies of the masses.

Of still greater significance was Bose’s statement that the Congress left wing would not go along with the Ghandhists unless they immediately adopted a program for action. Bose stated that the left wing would go forward on its own, regardless of Gandhi’s attempted sabotage. He likewise accused Gandhi – and correctly so – of more violently opposing the Congress radicals than the British imperialists.

No Support to Britain!

The Congress Socialist Party, India’s leading radical party, in a statement criticizing the Gandhi leadership for attempting to bargain with the British on the issue of the war, has declared: “We cannot conceive of any gesture or concession on the part of the British Government that could possibly justify the Congress in supporting the imperialist war.”

This viewpoint genuinely represents the sentiments of all Indian radical workers. No support to the British under any circumstances!

Meanwhile, the struggle of the masses continues. In the city of Jubbulpore, 100 natives were killed and wounded by British police – who were exercising their democratic right to murder unarmed people – when they held a demonstration protesting against rising food prices produced by the drainage of India’s food supplies for British war needs. Pravda, publication of the Soviet Russian government, reports “mass arrests” of Congress radicals are now going on.

Figures released by the British authorities dealing with strikes for the first six months of this year reveal the growing activities of India’s working class. There were 109 strikes, involving 100,000 workers. A total of 1,580,000 working days were spent in these strikes. Textile and jute workers accounted for 40% of the strikes and 62% of the workers involved. The figures for the last six months of 1939 will run far higher.

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