From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 14, 5 April 1942, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
The British government has delivered a “take it or leave it” ultimatum to the people of India.
Through the medium of its agent, Sir Stafford Cripps, the British have made it clear that if the proposed plan “were to be rejected by the leaders of Indian opinion, there will be neither the time nor the opportunity to reconsider this matter till after the war.”
At the moment, the various political groups of India are considering the proposition of Cripps. The leading body of the Indian National Congress Party – made up entirely of conservative nationalists – is clearly split and divided on the question of acceptance or rejection. The remarks of Gandhi have indicated his opposition to accepting this phoney proposal of British imperialism!
As for the plan itself, it is a typical British fraud from start to finish. Indeed, if it were ever put into effect it would prove the most reactionary scheme imaginable for further dividing India.
And such an assembly is supposed to draft a constitution for a Free India! The only assembly that could do that would be a constitutional assembly of the people themselves, called through their own action and elected directly on the basis of universal suffrage.
To sum up, the Cripps scheme is a continuation of the same old run-around; seeking only to drag the unwilling people of India into the imperialist war. Even if the Congress leaders should accept it, it will obviously fail to arouse any enthusiasm or support among the population as a whole.
But it is difficult to see even how the most conservative leaders could accept such a proposition. Gandhi has referred to it as a “post-dated check,” one that cannot be cashed until some indefinite date in the future.
On the basis of experience and according to customary British trickery in the past, it could better be described as a RUBBER CHECK, issued by a Tory ruling class whose credit has less and less value each day.
Even Nehru (who is reported as being ready to accept) recognizes this and understands what the masses would say if Congress says yes.
“Suppose we did come to an agreement with Britain, short of independence. Various political groups would immediately say that the Congress was selling out. We can only resist the Japanese through the creation of a nation-wide feeling that India is already free.”
Exactly, and only complete independence now will create that feeling. The Cripps mission to India has failed. He brought nothing but a promise of “blood, sweat and tears for the preservation of the British Empire.”
Last updated: 13.6.2013